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Large vacuums come in different categories that include: walk-behind, stand-on, and ride-on machines. They are designed for use in medium to large sized areas such as: hallways, office suites, large conference rooms and lecture halls. Their size and weight are significant and require a dedicated storage space. 

When comparing vacuums, it is important to consider the air watt or airwatt rating - a ratio of the airflow and water lift. The airflow and water lift are measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM) and inches of water (inH2O) respectively. Manufacturers use CFM to convey the strength of a vacuum, a higher CFM will move more air through the unit at a faster rate than a lower CFM unit. Water lift, also known as static pressure refers to the suction force. Airwatts can be expressed in the following formula:

(CFM x inH2O)/8.5 = Airwatt Rating

A commercial vacuum should have about 1000 airwatts in order to achieve a desirable cleaning outcome or include an adjustable brush that is either manual or automatic. 

Decision-makers should review the following considerations and are advised to standardize on a single unit.

  • Space: Area(s) where the vacuum will be used. Is the vacuum the right size for the job and will there be obstacles or furniture to navigate? Are the doorways large enough to accommodate the unit?
  • Surfaces: Type of surface(s) the vacuum will be used on. Does the brush head need to be adjustable for various carpet pile heights?
  • Users: The physical characteristics of the worker. Is the unit adaptable to be used by different height users?  
  • Storage: The units will need to be stored somewhere. Is there storage space in an existing custodial closet or storage area? Are the doorways to the storage area large enough to accommodate the unit?
  • Portability: Ease by which a user can get the equipment to the job site. Is there elevator access? Can the elevator accommodate the weight of the unit?
  • Maintenance: Ease of changing filters bags/brushes. Is a special tool needed for regular field maintenance?
  • Power: Access to power. Units can be corded or battery-powered. Are there outlets available? Is the cord long enough? Is the battery capable of lasting the entire shift on a single charge?
  • Noise and Vibration: Are noise or vibration an issue where the unit will be used? Are equipment operators exposed to hand-arm or whole-body vibration?
  • Testing and Feedback: Demo the product. What was the users’ feedback on the unit after trying in the work environment?


Recommended Large-Vacuums

Mfr. & Model


Chariot 2 iVac24 ATV +140 Wet

Carpetriever 28

Criteria Rating





Karcher CV66
Karcher Chariot 2 iVac24 ATV +140 Wet
Advance Carpetriever 28


Powerful and compact vacuum

Exceptional power with an adjustable handle that can fold flat, along with a floating brush head makes this a standout unit capable of taking on just about any task.

Long-lasting battery, great for small spaces.

This quiet unit has less suction power than some other units but its floating brush head ensures contact is made with all surfaces, eliminating multiple passes. It maneuvers easily in small spaces and has an exceptionally long run time.

Powerful high capacity vacuum

This powerhouse unit tackles most jobs in one pass. The unit has an optional Microstat filter. Its high collection capability, built-in wand and hose makes this a unit to consider.

UC Supplier

Waxie Waxie Waxie


CFM: 129

Water Lift: 63

Airwatt: 956

Weight: 151 lbs

Cord: 75'

Decibel: 73 dB

Cleaning Path: 26"

Attached Wand: Yes

HEPA Filter: Yes

Removable brush: Tool-Less

Brush Height Adj: Auto ♠

Height-Adjustable Handle: Yes ♠

CFM: 72

Water Lift: 44.3"

Airwatt: 401

Weight: 605 lbs

Battery: 20 hr 

Decibel: 68 dB

Cleaning Path: 24"

Attached Wand: Yes

HEPA Filter: Yes

Removable brush: Tool-Less

Brush Height Adj: Auto ♠

Height-Adjustable Handle: No

CFM: 224

Water Lift: 63"

Airwatt: 1660

Weight: 111 lbs

Cord: 75'

Decibel: 70 dB

Cleaning Path: 28"

Attached Wand: Yes

HEPA Filter: Yes (Microstat Filter)

Removable brush: Req Tool

Brush Height Adj: Manual

Height-Adjustable Handle: No


CV66 Website

CV66 Brochure

Chariot 2 iVac24 ATV +140 Wet Website

Chariot 2 iVac24 ATV +140 Brochure

Carpetriever 28 Website

Carpetriever 28 Brochure

Products are rated on a 5-star scale based on the Criteria Rating - ★
The product specification exceeds minimum UC Criteria - ♠
The product does not meet minimum UC Criteria - ⚠