This is the first part of a three-part article about battery-powered backpack vacuums.

Good, quality vacuum cleaners are an essential component of any building service contractor’s janitor’s closet.

Vacuums have come a long way since the motorized versions were first used at the beginning of last century, but with emerging technology, they are continuing to evolve and improve all the time.

One of the latest trends in the janitorial industry is that of battery-powered backpack vacuums. Historically, corded backpack vacuums became too heavy when batteries were added. In addition, run times were extremely short and janitors had to stop working to recharge batteries.
Today, however, technology has advanced enough for manufacturers to be able to offer effective battery-powered machines.

“Over the last three years, we’ve seen a significant weight savings and a longer battery life, which is what we needed to happen to justify buying them,” says Brandon Schneider, who, along with Chris Abel, co-owns Southeastern Janitorial in Charleston, South Carolina.

Southeastern Janitorial operates in five southern states and provides nightly janitorial services to large commercial clients, with the bulk of the clients being office buildings. Industrial facilities and medical office buildings are also a big part of the client roster, and the company also services arenas, parking garages and schools. The size of the buildings it services can range from 10,000 square feet, all the way up to over 1 million square feet.

Schneider’s cleaning crews had been using corded backpack vacuums; they only use upright models when they have to, such as when one of their porters cleans a building during the daytime for a little spot vacuuming.

“Overall, [backpacks] do a much better job than the uprights,” says Schneider. “They have more suction power and they’re not as hard on the carpet, because they don’t have the beater bars as uprights do.”

Schneider has always been drawn to the battery-powered backpack vacuums, but originally they were too heavy and too expensive. Due to the improved technology, however, he bought some of these vacuums about a year ago. One important factor was that the lithium battery used to operate the machine had recently decreased in weight and the life of the battery had increased.
Adding battery-powered backpack vacuums to the equipment arsenal has translated into greater efficiency and productivity.

“You can vacuum much faster, which leads us to saving time on labor,” says Schneider.

next page of this article:
Cordless Backpack Vacuums Recoup Cost Through Saved Labor