In several studies, backpack vacuum cleaners have proven to increase productivity four fold over traditional upright units.  When used correctly, one backpack can replace four or more uprights while reducing dust, simplifying maintenance and improving outcomes considerably.  


Think of how an old fashioned upright works.  It usually weighs 25-40 pounds due to the motor(s), beater bar, housing, bag and attachments.  Compare its structure to a backpack which is a light weight wand with the attachments on a belt with the vacuum unit worn on the back.  When one uses an upright vacuum cleaner, they must go back and forth limiting motion and increasing the chance of carpal tunnel syndrome and other wrist/elbow/shoulder injuries.  If an upright is not kept emptied, the weight increases the effort required to push or lift it.


With an upright the belt must be checked/replaced often and in the cheaper models, it can easily be attached incorrectly resulting in the beater bar spinning the wrong direction.  Of course the beater bar has brushes which must be replaced and adjusted on a regular basis.  With a backpack unit, the light aluminum or plastic wand allows the user to twist at the hips covering more territory in each sweep.  Finally the backpack wand does not have a bottom plate which can often come loose or be damaged on an upright.


Most time studies only compare the actual use time of each unit but when servicing an upright is taken into account the upright becomes even less productive.  Although there are times when an upright unit (with good HEPA type filtration) may be needed, the backpack continues to lead the field in productivity and effectiveness.


Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean…


Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or