Free Shipping on Equipment & Parts orders over $99.99!* Click for Restrictions
You are here: Home > About/Help > Buyer's Guides > Carpet Vacuum Buyer's Guide

Why vacuum?

One of the most neglected areas of floor care is regular carpet cleaning. We may vacuum only when we see visible signs of soiling on the carpet but we all know that it is important to vacuum on a regular basis. Regular vacuuming not only removes loose dirt and dust but also extends the life of the carpet. Also, regular vacuuming just makes your carpet look better! A groomed carpet is an excellent sign of a clean business. But as we know, there are a ton of options when it comes to commercial carpet vacuums. What are some things to consider when purchasing a vacuum? Also, what are the different types of carpet vacuums? Here is a brief overview of the commercial vacuum cleaner options.

What to consider

The type of carpet vacuum you go with depends on your individual needs. Some things to consider:

  • How big is the area you are cleaning?
  • Is it mainly open area you are cleaning or do you have a lot of obstacles?
  • What types of soil are you going to encounter?
  • What sort of detailing needs will you require? For example, will you need to vacuum furniture on a regular basis?
  • How quiet of a machine will you need? If you will be cleaning during business hours, will you require a quiet carpet vacuum?
  • What are you indoor air quality requirements? Will you require a HEPA filter which filters 99.97% of harmful allergen particles?
  • What is your budget?

As you can see, there are many important things to consider when deciding on the right machine for your needs. You may even need multiple types of carpet vacuums depending on your individual situation.

What are the different types of carpet vacuums?

There are basically 4 different types of carpet vacuums depending on your needs: Upright, canister, backpack and wide area vacuum.

Upright vacuums are by far the most widely used vacuums on the market. Their versatility and maneuverability makes them easy to use in virtually all applications. Many have detailing capability thanks to onboard tools. The major factor to decide when purchasing an upright vacuum is whether to get a single motor or dual motor model. Single motor uprights are usually lighter in weight and generally less expensive than a dual motor upright. The benefits of having a dual motor is that you get more power which allows for one-pass vacuuming. Also, the brush motor stops on a dual motor when using the detailing wand, preventing burns or marks on the carpet. Single motor uprights are commonly used by cleaning contractors, retail facilities and hospitality companies. Dual motor uprights are popular with health care facilities, schools and government agencies.

Versatile and maneuverable
Detailing Capability
Light weight
Single motor designs could mark carpet
The canister vacuum is essentially a motor and dust collector, usually mounted on wheels, which is connected to the vacuum head by means of a flexible head. The main advantages of a canister vacuum is the flexibility and maneuverability. They are great for cleaning around and under furniture and many canister vacuums come with different heads to attach for different jobs. The main disadvantage is it can be cumbersome to transport the machine, wand, hose and cord around. Schools and colleges are the most common users due to the many obstacles found in the classrooms.

Flexible and maneuverable
Great for cleaning around and under objects
Can be cumbersome
Multiple pieces to transport

Backpack Vacuums

Tennant Backpack Vacuum V-BP-10

Shop: New Backpack Vacs

Shop: Used Backpack Vacs

A backpack vacuum is exactly how it sounds, a vacuum you can wear. It is essentially a smaller canister that a user can wear by means of backpack straps. The main advantages of backpack vacuums is that it allows for higher productivity and is useful on both carpet and hard surfaces. The disadvantages is that they are not as thorough as an upright vacuum and it does not groom the carpet. They are widely used by cleaning contractors and by schools.

High productivity
Useful on both carpet and hard surfaces
Not as thorough as other carpet vacuums
Does not groom carpet

These vacuums are designed with high productivity in mind. They are upright, walk-behind machines designed to clean with one pass. Their typical path is 28 to 30 makes for an excellent choice when cleaning large open areas. Most have detailing capability but cannot be used in small rooms or around obstacles. These are commonly used by schools, hotels, and other facilities with large open areas of carpet.

High productivity
One pass vacuuming
Detailing capability
Cannot be used in small rooms or around obstacles


There are many different options that are based on your individual needs. Depending on your business layout, you may need a wide area vacuum for the wide open spaces and a backpack or upright machine to take care of the smaller rooms. Most likely, cost is going to big factor in determining your choice in carpet vacuums. However, it is important to keep in mind the cost of labor when choosing a machine. For example, if you choose to go with a less expensive carpet vacuum, you may be sacrificing productivity. It turn it will take longer to complete a job, thus increasing your labor cost. That is something to keep in mind when choosing any floor cleaning machine.

If you have additional questions or still need more information, feel free to contact us and speak to one of our experts to assist you in choosing the right piece of equipment to suit your needs