Despite the benefits of switching to cordless, battery runtimes and recharge times can hinder productivity. Robarge estimates runtimes of 40 to 75 minutes and recharge times of one hour to three hours, depending on the battery’s size and capacity.

Typically end users need to purchase back-up batteries — an added but necessary expense — to ensure uninterrupted workflow. Quality may also suffer as batteries lose power.

“As you near the end of the runtime, suction deceases,” says Hyde. “The vacuums can be a little heavier as well because of the batteries, which can add to worker fatigue.”

Nevertheless, battery technology has come a long way, and end users anticipate improvements that extend runtimes and decrease the time needed to recharge batteries.

When it comes to replacing batteries or other wear parts, BSCs say that they rely heavily on distributors for support.

“If something goes wrong with a battery or it’s reached the end of its useful life, I need to know that I can get a replacement battery in a timely manner,” says Robarge. “It’s important for that supply chain to be in place.”

In fact, partnering with distributors is essential for a successful transition from corded to cordless vacuums.

“Distributors need to spend time with their customers and provide hands-on training,” says Hyde. “They also need to help them understand the math and calculate the return on investment.”

Contract cleaners find that their clients support the move toward cordless equipment —and so do janitors. Teat says her staff used to look at vacuuming as a tedious chore; now they enjoy the process. The cordless vacuums are easier to maneuver, and productivity has doubled.

“Using the plug-in upright vacuums, custodians took approximately one and a half hours to vacuum a 5,000-square-foot office,” says Teat. “Now, with the cordless upright vacuums, they can complete the same task in half the time.”

Kassandra Kania is a freelancer based in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is a frequent contributor to Sanitary Maintenance.

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The Benefit Of Cordless Backpacks