Newsletter Issue Number:
AICCM National Newsletter No 136 December 2016
Sheldon Teare and Sarah Babister

Cordless Backpack Vacuum Comparison

Nilfisk GD5 v Pacvac Superpro Battery 700

To assist in the upcoming maintenance of the new Australian Museum: Wild Planet gallery, I decided to contact my good friends at Museum Victoria to steal their ideas on a good mobile vacuum cleaner. What are good friends in conservation for?

Sarah Babister and Dani Measday work in the Conservation department at Museum Victoria, and had recently delivered a talk at the National AICCM conference in Hobart about their own gallery maintenance program in Wild: Amazing animals in a changing world. They had used a cordless backpack vacuum as part of the maintenance equipment, which greatly appealed to me. Last time I did maintenance in the gallery, I had cords dangling from a scissor lift several metres up inside a whale skeleton’s chest. From their talk I learnt that Sarah and Dani had also encountered similar issues, and on a number of occasions even observed damage caused to specimens through contact with cords. In addition their gallery had few electrical outlets in close proximity to displays making a cordless vacuum a practical option.

I sent off a quick email asking if they would be so kind as to provide me with details of the Nilfisk backpack vacuum they had purchased, saving me the time and effort of investigating! The vacuum they had purchased was a Nilfisk GD5 Battery Backpack. However, when I put in a request with the NSW stockist, I was told it was no longer available. The stockist suggested another vacuum, the Superpro Battery 700 by Pacvac, also a cordless HEPA filter vacuum.

In the end, it turned out that the Nilfisk model was available, but I decided to purchase the Superpro for a number of reasons, mainly to do with its size and weight.

Sarah has put together a compare and contrast table of the two vacuums below. In the end I think I won the “Who Has the Better Cordless Backpack Vacuum Cleaner” competition or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.



Superpro battery 700

Nilfisk GD5 Battery Backpack



Dry vacuum cleaner

Dry vacuum cleaner



$1578 not inclusive of spare battery or HEPA filter. These items were a separate cost totalling $820

Battery included

2 included

1 included


6.3 kg with battery pack

7.7 kg with battery pack


L: 31 x W: 30 x H: 53

L: 38  x W: 33 x H: 70

Run time

45-60 mins

45 minutes

Battery charge time

Optimum charge of battery in 2 hours

50 minutes


L: 31 x W: 30 x H: 53

L: 38  x W: 33 x H: 70

Noise level



HEPA filtration


Yes, but must be purchased separately and be fitted by buyer.

Tank capacity

5 litres

5 litres

Air flow volume

27 litres per second

30 litres per second

Frame and harness

Ergonomic, adjustable harness, body moulded frame

Ergonomic, adjustable harness.

Flat frame

Design features

Clear lid to identify bag fullness.

No clear lid. Unit must be physically opened to determine tank capacity


2 years

Full 1-year Nilfisk commercial warranty

Included accessories

  • Vacuum hose
  • 2 piece chrome wand
  • Combination Floor tool
  • Crevice tool
  • Upholstery tool
  • Dusting Brush
  • Accessory Belt
  • Battery charger
  • 2 Batteries
  • 5 disposable dust bags
  • 2 Reusable cloth dust bags
  • Vacuum hose
  • 2 piece chrome wand
  • 1 bag
  • Crevice tool
  • Upholstery tool
  • Combination floor tool
  • Battery charger






Battery charge indicator

Bars indicating remaining charge.

LED indicator on battery charger.

No bar on unit to indicate remaining charge. 

LED indicator on battery charger.

Environmental sustainability


All components recyclable


Sheldon’s thoughts on using the Superpro

  • Charge indicators on the battery, which are accessible when installed, are very helpful.
  • Battery charger has Red, Yellow, Green light charge indicator.
  • Can charge battery without removing it from the vacuum.
  • Clear plastic top allows you to see how full the canister is.
  • Motor and battery feel isolated from your body – they don’t make you hot
  • Relatively compact allowing you to squeeze between those Giraffe and Hippo skeletons or whatever…

Sarah’s thoughts on using the Nilfisk GD5

  • Although the Nilfisk has some good features including a fast battery charge it is an expensive choice in comparison to the Superpro. In addition many components had to be purchased separately making the total cost even higher.  
  • A major drawback is the absence of a charge indicator on the unit. As a result the charge must be tracked by the user. This is can be an issue when you run out of charge seven metres up in the air in the knuckle boom!
  • While comfortable and robust, it is considerably heavier than the Superpro and this is a shortcoming when spending extended periods of time cleaning specimen’s in-situ.

The Nilfisk GD5 Battery Backpack is a trusted brand in conservation circles. In comparison to the Superpro Battery 700, the Nilfisk has fewer features and a higher cost of purchase, making the Superpro a good alternative for gallery maintenance. So Sheldon I declare you the winner!

We would be interested to know if anyone else is using either of these vacuums and has any comments or information.