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Home Tradesman Insights How to Choose a Vacuum for Commercial Cleaning

How to Choose a Vacuum for Commercial Cleaning

This month, we thank James Hall of Spotless Vacuum, who has put together this informative article about commercial vacuum cleaners.

When it comes to commercial environments, a domestic vacuum cleaner isn’t up to the job. You need a durable vacuum that’s reliable, powerful, and built to last.

In this article, we’ll discuss the advantages of a commercial vacuum cleaner, along with some tips for choosing the right model.

Why Buy a Commercial Vacuum Cleaner?

Commercial vacuums don’t include the flashy features found on modern Dyson or Shark vacuums. You won’t find adaptive suction, LCD screens, or anti-hair wrap technology on these vacuums.

Instead, the best commercial vacuums are durable, powerful, and have a large dust capacity. They are designed for daily use on large areas of floor, while being easy to use and ergonomic.

In many cases, commercial vacuums are also cheaper than domestic models – despite being more powerful and long-lasting. This is because they tend to have simple designs.

Choosing a Commercial Vacuum Cleaner

Type of Vacuum

There are two main types of commercial vacuum: dry and wet/dry.

If you’re going to be vacuuming liquids, then a wet/dry vacuum is essential. Look for a model with an automatic shut off function, so that the vacuum cuts out when the tank is full.

It’s also worth considering whether you want a cylinder or upright model. Most commercial vacuums have a cylinder design, as these have large capacities and are versatile. For cleaning large areas of floor, however, an upright vacuum can be a good choice.

What About Cordless Vacuums?

Cordless vacuum cleaners might be convenient, but the vast majority of current models can’t provide the suction power or durability required for commercial cleaning. This may change in the future, but probably not until there are improvements in battery technology.

There are a few exceptions though. If you’re going to be cleaning an area without a power socket, for example, then you may have no choice but to use a cordless vacuum cleaner.

The Karcher T 9/1 Bp is an option to consider in this situation, as it’s a durable cylinder vacuum that can last up to 43 minutes on a single charge.

Type of Debris

Make sure you consider the type of cleaning you’ll be doing with the vacuum. Not all commercial vacuums are designed for the same type of work.

If you’re going to be cleaning offices, for example, then you’ll want a model that’s mobile, has a large dust capacity, and is great at cleaning floors. If you’re going to be using the vacuum during house renovations, then a model that can handle sharp debris is vital. You may also want to look for a vac that can be linked to a power tool (such as a grinder).

Motor Type

A commercial vacuum needs to cope with extensive use and tough jobs. For this reason, it’s important to choose a vacuum with a motor that’s built to last.

Cheaper vacuums often have a single stage motor. With these models, the same air that pulls in dirt is used to cool the motor, which makes it much more likely for debris to end up inside the motor. This reduces the longevity of the vacuum and makes faults more likely.

Instead, we recommend buying a vacuum with a two-stage motor (also known as a by-pass motor.) The motors inside these vacuums are isolated from the airflow, which makes the vacuum more likely to last a long time. The downside to two-stage motors is that they are more expensive.

Dust and Dirt Capacity

Dirt capacities vary widely when buying a commercial vacuum cleaner. Basic models typically have an 8-10 litre dirt capacity, which is plenty for basic jobs.

The largest models can hold considerably more than this though.

If you need to vacuum large quantities of debris, or you’re buying a wet/dry vacuum for fluids, then a bigger capacity is important. The Maxblast 10678, for example, has an 80-litre capacity.

Construction Quality

Commercial vacuums are nearly always more durable than those for home use. But if you need a vacuum that’s going to last many years, then it’s worth paying extra for strong construction.

The most durable vacuums often use stainless steel, aluminium, or high-density plastic exteriors. It’s also worth checking reviews to find out which models are proven to be dependable.


It’s vital to choose a vacuum cleaner with a filtration system that can handle the type of commercial cleaning you’ll be doing.

True HEPA filters are a great choice for everyday commercial cleaning, as they filter particles down to 0.3 microns in size. This makes them much more effective than standard foam filters, which typically only catch particles that are more than 10-15 microns.

If you may be vacuuming any hazardous materials, then you’ll need a filter that’s safe for this type of material. Not only that, but you’ll need to ensure that the vacuum is properly sealed.

If you’re not sure which filter to use, then consult with an expert before vacuuming any material that might be dangerous.

Other Considerations

  • The length of the cord and stretch hose determines the cleaning radius of a vacuum. Don’t underestimate how much more efficient it is to vacuum with a  model with a wide radius.
  • If mobility is an important factor when choosing your vacuum cleaner, then you may want to consider a backpack vacuum. These models are particularly  useful for cleaning large areas with lots of obstacles, such as offices.
  • If you’re going to be cleaning while other people are working, then the noise output of the vacuums important to consider. The lower the dB, the less likely the vacuum is to cause a disturbance. Anything under 80dB is a good place to start.
  • Try to buy for brands that make it easy to repair the vacuum, such as Sebo. If the company doesn’t provide fast support, or it’s hard to get hold of spare    parts, then even a small issue could put your vacuum out of action for a long time.
  • Similarly, look for a model with a long warranty.


Choosing a commercial vacuum cleaner isn’t always easy. There isn’t a “best” vacuum for all situations, as each model has strengths and weaknesses. Instead, look for a vacuum that’s suitable for the type of cleaning and debris you’ll be tackling.

If you’re in the commercial cleaning business, it’s vital that you’re covered with the correct insurance. Working with the public comes with significant risks, and if you damage property or injure your client, costs can run high. Commercial cleaners’ insurance reduces these risks and is available for as little as £67 a year.

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