Photo courtesy of Southeastern Janitorial

I oftentimes encounter criticism from people who dispute my claims regarding the use of backpack vacuums. They will note that the units are 1) too heavy, 2) hot, 3) hurts user’s back, 4) cost too much when compared to uprights, 5) don’t pick up as well, etc. I could go on but you get the drift. First, let me repeat my position that they are useful tool when used correctly. They can be a very expensive brick when given to an untrained, unmotivated worker who “doesn’t like backpacks” and can find a reason for them to fail. Let’s look at the complaints noted above:

The complaint that they are too heavy doesn’t make sense IF and only IF they are worn correctly with a quality harness. The first time I put on a backpack I “felt” awkward since it was new to me. In no time, I was moving from room to room with ever increasing speed and accuracy. I will note that the first unit I tested tended to blow papers on desks and shelves and I did bump a picture on the wall in a really tight area.

Some units can be “hot” if they do not have good insulation and air space. I also found that I tended to generate a certain amount of body heat on my own due to the way the unit fit. I have found others that have addressed those concerns.

One final note is that you are doomed for failure if you strap on a backpack to a new employee and make him/her wear it all day. Have them wear it for an hour or so and then perform other tasks. Let them decide when to extend its use. 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