Backpack vacuums are designed much like the backpacks that people use for hiking and camping. When properly secured, they are engineered to distribute weight in a way that allows them to be worn for long periods of time without causing discomfort.

Some experts have differing opinions regarding how to properly secure backpack vacuums. However, there are some important commonalities.

First, the backpack vacuum should be tightened so that it is snug but not uncomfortable. The cleaning technician should be able to move freely.

Second, the backpack vacuum should not jiggle or slide too much while being worn.

“If you do it right, the equipment will fit like a piece of clothing, and you will hardly tell you have anything on,” says Morrison.

But even when properly fit, Griffin cautions that backpack vacuums are not for everyone. Those with certain medical conditions, back problems or those who are not capable of supporting the weight should not use them.

One good way to adapt to wearing a backpack vacuum is to ease into it. Wear it for a short period of time the first day and then gradually increase the amount of time. This will help to keep the facility worker from feeling sore due to the added weight, and it will allow them to get used to the new equipment.

Making sure staff uses the equipment is important because it is an investment. Backpack vacuums can cost 2 to 4 times as much as a standard upright, but many managers have seen a return on their investment once they factor in productivity and the price of labor. Experts agree, backpack vacuums are 3 to 4 times more productive on flat level surfaces, and significantly more productive on vertical surfaces, when compared to a standard upright vacuum.

“The way we go about cleaning has been changed tremendously,” says Griffin. “We would not be doing nearly as good of a job without the innovations that came with the backpack vacuum. They have revolutionized the way we clean buildings.” 

ANGELICA DUDENHOEFER is a freelance writer based in Milwaukee.

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Maintaining Mobility With Backpack Vacuums