With so many types of commercial vacuums on the market, selecting the right one for your job can be a daunting task. With an array of options and features to choose from, narrowing down vacuum cleaner choices can be time-consuming and often confusing, even for seasoned cleaning professionals.

Here is a look at the different types of commercial vacuums and their best applications for commercial cleaning.

Upright vacuums

Upright vacuums have been on the market a long time and as such remain one of the most popular types. Commercial upright vacuum cleaners differ in terms of number of motors and type of bags used to collect debris. Single-motor uprights are used largely in classrooms, lobbies, office space, hotel rooms and smaller areas that require quick cleaning. These machines are relatively lightweight so users can clean at a faster pace. It’s also easier to transfer single-motor uprights to and from cleaning carts or between rooms. These models are often used in hotels and hospitals as they also provide excellent dust control.

Alternatively, dual-motor uprights are used in areas that require a more thorough cleaning. Heavier than their single-motor counterparts, these models are frequently used by building service contractors and workers who clean lobbies in hotels, schools and other areas with high amounts of foot traffic. Dual-motor vacuums serve two functions: they extract dirt from the carpet while simultaneously grooming it.

Both types of uprights can be fitted with a high filtration bag for debris collection. High filtration bags require users to unzip a cloth bag, remove the filter bag and replace it with a new one, and the user can easily see when the bag needs to be emptied.  Since they are designed to capture dust, high filtration bags are used by long-term care facilities and other environments where air hygiene is a high priority.

Backpack vacuums

Cleaning spaces like cubicles, stairways, under furniture and other tight quarters calls for a more versatile machine. Backpack models are vacuums with a hose and wand that sucks debris, dust and dirt into a canister which is designed to fit on the users back, hips and shoulders.

In this way, the repetitive back-and-forth motion of vacuuming with an upright is eliminated. Since this type of vacuum is smaller and easier to manoeuvre, users can navigate highly populated areas without disturbing passers-by. For this reason, backpack vacuums are also frequently used to clean office spaces and education facilities. Since they are usually only fitted with a floor nozzle, they may not be as efficient at removing dirt from carpet as an upright’s revolving brushes.

Canister vacuums

Canister vacuums operate similarly to a backpack vacuum, except the user does not wear the machine on his or her back. Instead, the machine is fitted with wheels, allowing the user to easily pull it along from one area to the next. Canister vacuums can clean a variety of surfaces, making them useful in facilities with multiple floor types.

Because canister vacuums have small and manoeuvrable cleaning heads, they can easily clean under desks and furniture. They can also manoeuvre around obstacles and fit in tight spaces. As an added bonus: canister vacs are usually quieter than upright versions, making them ideal for noise-sensitive environments like hospitals.

Wide-area vacuums

A different type of machine is required to efficiently clean large, spacious areas. Wide-area vacuums are useful in airports, meeting and ball rooms, broad hallways, hospitals and other facilities with lots of large areas to clean.

The machine’s agitator brushes penetrate carpet to remove dirt and dust. High-power motors and a larger overall size ensure productivity. Wide-area vacuums are more expensive than standard upright models, but production gains will quickly make up for the initial outlay.

Wet-dry vacuums

Cleaning up moisture and soiled areas on floors is most effective with a wet-dry vacuum. Also called “jumbo vacs,” “tank vacuums”, or “industrial vacuums,” these are not the models you might find in a suburban garage. These professional wet/dry vacuum systems are typically purchased through janitorial equipment companies.

Capable of vacuuming wet and dry messes simultaneously, these systems also help speed up floor stripping and refinishing. Wet/dry vacuums are perfect for cleaning up construction and renovation sites, removing moisture from floors and carpets in schools, removing debris and particles from industrial settings and cleaning other heavy-duty jobs.

Battery-powered vacuum cleaners

Daytime cleaning calls for a special kind of vacuum. A cordless vacuum cleaner works perfectly when building service contractors must work around tenants during the workday and in stores and hospitals when cleaning around patrons and patients.

Lightweight cordless vacuums don’t need to be plugged into the wall and they allow you to go anywhere! The absence of a cord also prevents the vacuum from getting hung up on furniture and feet and reduces trip/fall hazards.