How to Pick a Good Commercial Grade Vacuum Cleaner

commercial grade vacuum cleaner under CC0 Creative Commons

We have vacuum cleaners and then we have commercial grade vacuum cleaners.

The question is: can you tell the difference?

Now, I have to admit that some manufacturers can be a clever lot. You see, I have come across some pure residential cleaners being marketed as commercial grade vacuum cleaners simply because they have a longer 3 prong cord. And a higher price!

Let me tell you this. There’s more to a commercial cleaner than just a cord.

Here is how to tell a true commercial cleaner from residential vacuum cleaners;


The principal reason why even some home users pick commercial vacuum cleaners is that they do an absolutely thorough job.


Commercial vacuums are available in a variety of styles. They include wide area; backpack/shoulder strap and upright (more on style later).

They are also much heavier.


As you would expect, these vacuum cleaners come ready to face truckloads of workload and have higher levels of endurance and longevity.


You will also notice that unlike their small-scale counterparts, these vacuum cleaners are highly flexible in their use.

For instance, carry it to your home and watch it scrub everything sparkling clean.


Types of vacuum cleaners

Having seen what makes a commercial grade vacuum cleaner, let’s now look at the different types of cleaners currently in the market:



These may have a bag, a powered cleaning header or a canister on the handle plus an extended power cord and excel in cleaning hotel rooms, open restaurant areas, and offices.

Then, they can easily be carried in housekeeping carts.

2.Canister vacuum

These have a cleaning head attached to their dirtbag and the motor by a stiff wand and a rather long, flexible hose. Though they occupy more space in storage, they are quieter, lighter and more maneuverable. You will like them when cleaning under furniture and vacuuming staircases.

3.Backpack vacuums

Designed to be easy to carry and super lightweight, these are ideal for guys who clean for longer durations. Also, most have ergonomic pads and better back support.


4.Wide area vacuum

You can look at this as an upright cleaner on steroids. They clean larger floor space in one pass hence they give more value to cleaning spacious open rooms. No wonder they have an extra-long power cord.


5.Hand-held cleaner

These are the smallest and lightweight. They are the best if you keep moving from one task to another.


6. Wet/dry cleaners

They are specialized machines that sweep up everything-dust, debris at your construction sites, liquids…name them.  And do you mop up scenes after a natural disaster or a renovation? Don’t look further than these.


Factors to consider when buying commercial grade vacuum cleaners

So, what should you look out for in a commercial grade vacuum?

Here they are:

  • Edge cleaning

Some upright models have extra brushes purposed for cleaning along walls, baseboards, and other edges.

  • Height adjustment

If you clean different floor surfaces, check its height adjustment. Some are manually adjusted while others adjust automatically so you can clean non-stop.

  • Hard floor option

If you do hard floors, pick a cleaner equipped to comfortably handle them. Many upright cleaners do well on hard floors.

  • Roller brush type (Brushroll)

Which type of roller does your vacuum cleaner have? Some brushes are motor powered, while others are suction powered.

Some can be turned on/off, while others use power level settings. Turning your brush on/off is ideal when you are cleaning hard floors as a powered brush may scatter dirt all over your surfaces.

  • Hose diameter

Most commercial vacuums have their hose diameter listed. Generally, these fall between 1 ¼" to 2". Now, a narrower is easier to store, but can only handle less debris.

So, narrow hoses (1 1/4") will do for light cleaning like in a hotel, but for heavy-duty cleanup like after renovation or in construction projects, larger hoses are a deal.

  • Filtration

All vacuum cleaners use some sort of filters. Now, if you are worried about allergens, choose a vacuum with HEPA filtration. HEPA filters are tested and officially certified to eliminate a high proportion of microscopic particulates.

  • Easy-to-use on/off

For continuous use, it is a must to have an easy-to-use on/off switch.

  • Bagged or Bagless

Bagless units have additional filters that require cleaning and often replacements.

Then, emptying your bagless vacuum cleaner is a dusty job so it may cause symptoms in people with asthma/allergies.

Comparatively, a bagged cleaner ensures that collected dust and debris stay safely inside until disposal.

  • Cord

In many applications, the common 35' or 40' cord is adequate but if you are cleaning larger spaces, consider the longer 50” power cord as you power sources may be more spaced. Such a commercial-grade power cord helps keep your business within set safety guidelines.

  • Bag/canister capacity

Which holds more dirt before requiring to be emptied? Smaller bags need frequent emptying meaning more downtime and labor expenses.

  • Weight

A lightweight cleaner is best for multi-storey buildings, as it is easier to maneuver, store and lift.

But don’t forget to check its performance.

  • Noise level

If you clean areas where people are relaxing or working, like in offices or hotels, you need an especially quiet cleaner.



Commercial grade vacuum cleaners are generally more durable, power-packed, and are built for longer use. They are also intended for heavy uses and rough treatment.

Now, we have seen how to tell commercial from residential units so at least you won’t make a mistake. So, which of the above features of commercial-grade vacuum cleaners do you love most? Let us know from the comments section. 

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