Upright Vacuums

Overview

Commercial upright vacuums are one of the most frequently used tools on a custodial or housekeeping cart. These units are designed to clean small to medium-sized areas such as: office suites, hotel rooms, or lecture halls and are more powerful than a residential grade vacuum.   

When comparing upright 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 upright 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?
  • 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. Will it fit on an existing custodial cart? Is there storage space in an existing custodial closet?
  • Portability: Ease by which a user can get the equipment to the job site. Is there elevator access? If not, is it easy to get it up and down stairs?
  • 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?

NOTE: Selection of a lower criteria rated vacuum such as the CleanMax Zoom 800 or Karcher CV 300 may be appropriate for use in specific work environments or to augment a standard.


Highly Recommended Vacuums

Mfr. & Model

ProTeam
ProForce 1200/1500XP

Karcher
Versamatic HEPA 14/18

Criteria Rating

★★★★★

★★★☆☆

Photo

ProTeam ProForce 1500XP
Karcher Versamatic HEPA 14

Review

Stand out features and performance

Great overall performance, with a lay-flat feature and automatic brush height adjustment makes this a preferred vacuum.

Great overall performance. The 1200XP and the 1500XP both have excellent suction and automatic brush height adjustment that helps reduce fatigue from having to make multiple passes. Their lay-flat feature helps reduce awkward postures and lifting of furniture. Both are preferred vacuums.

Great unit with all the necessary features.

It may not have the additional features that others have but it does have exceptional suction power, a choice of a 12" or 15" cleaning path and it's a few pounds lighter. You can't go wrong.

At 17 lbs this particular model has exceptional power and has a height-adjustable brush height. It can clean most areas in a single pass. This unit can help reduce overall fatigue associated with vacuuming tasks. This is a strong unit to consider.   

UC Supplier

Waxie Waxie

Specs

CFM: 96

Water Lift: 84"

Airwatt: 949

Weight: 18 lbs

Cord: 50'

Decibel: 69 dBA

Cleaning Path: 12" / 15"

Attached Wand: Yes

HEPA Filter: Yes

Removable brush: Tool-Less

Brush Height Adj: Auto ♠

Lay-Flat Feature: Yes ♠

Height-Adjustable Handle: No

CFM: 102

Water Lift: 92"

Airwatt: 1112

Weight: 17 lbs

Cord: 40'

Decibel: 64.5 dBA

Cleaning Path: 12"/15"

Attached Wand: Yes

HEPA Filter: Yes

Removable brush: Tool-Less

Brush Height Adj: Manual

Lay-Flat Feature: No

Height-Adjustable Handle: No

Resources

ProForce 1200XP

ProForce 1500XP

Versamatic HEPA 14 Website

Versamatic HEPA 14 Brochure

Versamatic HEPA 18 Website

Versamatic HEPA 18 Brochure


Recommended Vacuums

Mfr. & Model

NSS
Pacer 12 UE & 15 UE

Karcher
Sensor S12

ProTeam
ProGen 12/15

Criteria Rating

★★★★☆

★★☆☆☆

★★☆☆☆

Photo

NSS Pacer-15 UE
Karcher Sensor S12
ProTeam ProGen 12

Review

One of the better all-around units with a height-adjustable handle 

Comes standard with a height-adjustable handle to fit multiple users. There is a 12” or 15” cleaning path model to suit your application. One of the heavier models at 19 lbs.

Lighter unit with added features and limitations

Lay flat feature helps with reducing awkward postures when cleaning under furniture. The non-height adjustable brush may affect its cleaning capability for lower pile carpets.

Acceptable performance with limitations

Lay-flat feature helps reduce awkward postures when cleaning under furniture. Similar to the Sensor 12, its non-height adjustable brushes may limit its cleaning capability for lower pile carpets.

UC Supplier

Waxie Waxie Waxie

Specs

CFM: 100

Water Lift: 92"

Airwatt: 1082

Weight: 19 lbs

Cord: 40'

Decibel: 67 dBA

Cleaning Path: 12" / 15"

Attached Wand: Yes

HEPA Filter: Yes

Removable brush: Req Tool

Brush Height Adj: Manual

Lay-Flat Feature: No

Height-Adjustable Handle: Yes ♠

CFM: 105

Water Lift: 90"

Airwatt: 1112

Weight: 16 lbs

Cord: 40'

Decibel: 69 dBA

Cleaning Path: 12"

Attached Wand: Yes

HEPA Filter: Yes

Removable brush: Tool-Less

Brush Height Adj: No ⚠

Lay-Flat Feature: Yes ♠

Height-Adjustable Handle: No

CFM: 100

Water Lift: 93"

Airwatt: 1094

Weight: 17 lbs

Cord: 40'

Decibel: 69 dBA

Cleaning Path: 12" / 15"

Attached Wand: Yes

HEPA Filter: Yes

Removable brush: Tool-Less

Brush Height Adj: No ⚠

Lay-Flat Feature: Yes ♠

Height-Adjustable Handle: No

Resources

Pacer 12 UE

Pacer 15 UE

Karcher Sensor S12 Website

 

ProTeam ProGen 12 Website

ProTeam ProGen 12 Brochure


Legacy/Specialty Vacuums

Mfr. & Model

Advance
Spectrum 12P

Clean Max
Zoom Cordless 800

Karcher
CV 300

Criteria Rating

★★☆☆☆

★★☆☆☆

★★☆☆☆

Photo

Advance Spectrum 12P
CleanMax Zoom Cordless 800
Karcher Axcess 15

Review

A workhorse with a height-adjustable handle

Equipped with a height-adjustable handle to fit multiple users. It’s a workhorse but is also one of the heavier models that may add to use fatigue. it also has a cleaning path that is under the recommended 12”. Consider one of the 3 or 4-star units.

Lightweight, strong suction, battery-powered vacuum

Battery-powered, very lightweight, easy to maneuver, and has a lay-flat feature. Preferred for use in buildings with stairs and no elevator. No attached cleaning wand which may require an alternate vacuum for hard-to-reach areas such as crevices and ceilings.

Useful for hard to reach areas

The detachable vacuum body is useful for hard-to-reach areas and detail cleaning. The non-height adjustable brush may affect its cleaning capability for lower pile carpets.

UC Supplier

Waxie Waxie Waxie

Specs

CFM: 93

Water Lift: 92"

Airwatt: 1007

Weight: 19.8 lbs

Cord: 50'

Decibel: 69 dBA

Cleaning Path: 11.5" ⚠

Attached Wand: Yes

HEPA Filter: Yes

Removable brush: Req Tool

Brush Height Adj: Manual

Lay-Flat Feature: No

Height-Adjustable Handle: Yes ♠

CFM: 115

Water Lift: NA

Airwatt: NA

Weight: 11 lbs

Battery Life: 50 min

Decibel: <70 dBA

Cleaning Path: 13"

Attached Wand: No ⚠

HEPA Filter: Yes

Removable brush: Req Tool

Brush Height Adj: Auto ♠

Lay-Flat Feature: No

Height-Adjustable Handle: No

CFM: 102

Water Lift: 92"

Airwatt: 1104

Weight: 17 lbs

Cord: 40'

Decibel: 69.5 dBA

Cleaning Path: 15"

Attached Wand: Yes

HEPA Filter: Yes

Removable brush: Tool-Less

Brush Height Adj: No ⚠

Lay-Flat Feature: No

Height-Adjustable Handle: No

Resources

Spectrum 12P Website

Spectrum 12P Fact sheet

Zoom Cordless 800 Website

Karcher CV 300

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 - ⚠