RIDGID Tools is known for vacuum cleaners that provide enduring quality and suction power. Today we are going over a particular item in their product line that I’m fond of: the RIDGID NXT Backpack Vacuum. Typically, “backpack” style vacuums (and other tools) sit well with me. The decreased amount of bulk and space taken up compared to conventional upright vacuums really pays off in a cluttered workspace. With less equipment to “drive around”, especially in tight corners and hard-to-reach spots, cleaning gear like the RIDGID NXT Backpack Vacuum merit a closer look.
RIDGID NXT Backpack Vacuum Overview
As alluded to earlier, any backpack vacuum comes with inherent benefits over most upright styles. First off, there is no pulling hose, no getting caught on corners, and so on. Overall, it is far easier to navigate and capture dust from every nook and cranny using a backpack than driving an almost cart-like little vehicle around your workspace. I have vacuumed sawdust, baking soda, outdoor dirt, and God-knows-what-else from carpets, hardwood, and cement floors alike. Without fail, upright vacuums can leave a little “line” of dirt right against the wall and in tight corners where clutter hinders a “smooth pass” with the upright vacuum brushes. In such situations, either you resign to a B+ cleaning job or you make a second pass at the wall-hugging dirt with a hose accessory. Though that isn’t the end of the world, it is an extra step that can be circumvented. Backpack-style vacuums like the RIDGID NXT Backpack Vacuum reduce this kind of hassle.
RIDGID NXT Backpack Vacuum Features
Some details and considerations to chew on:
- The RIDGID NXT Backpack Vacuum is specifically for “dry pickup” cleaning. Don’t ignore this specification, the vacuum is likely to malfunction if try to use it as a wet-vac. Though a few drops of water won’t kill it, stick to dry jobs.
- RIDGID offers a lifetime warranty.
- Select specs, per the RIDGID website for this item:
- RIDGID Model HDB600
- Filtration system: one cloth filter and two dry paper filters
- 6-quart drum
- 20-ft. power cord
The 20-ft. power cord allows plenty of maneuverability. Unfortunately, there is no battery-powered option with this model, but still, the range afforded by the power cord is respectable.
This backpack vacuum comes with shoulder, waist, and chest straps. The generous straps ensure comfort for users of almost any size and body shape. I can appreciate this point; the strap versatility – which I have tried on myself and another test subject – goes a long way to ensure comfort and ease of use. Though not a core function of vacuuming, long jobs will wear down your patience if the vacuum simply doesn’t “sit right”. Making ergonomics a high priority in their design was a smart investment by RIDGID that, in my opinion, pays off.
The bright red, large power button is easy to access when the vacuum is strapped to your back. Also, note the thick power cord design. Over time, backpack vacuum parts will experience a lot of pulling and tugging, not to mention even possible abrasions to electrical cords. The thick rubber insulation helps reduce cord kinks and should provide protection and longevity for the life of the cord.
Accessories include two extension wands, a crevice tool, dusting brush, and a floor tool that has your choice of a carpet brush and a floor brush. With the 4-ft. hose, two extension wands, and your choice of attachments you can definitely reach into those deep corners, high spots, and the like. Extra filters are also included with the initial purchase of the RIDGID NXT Backpack Vacuum.
The hose is made from a harder plastic than I anticipated. It is 4-ft. in length and is 1-7/8-in. in diameter at the cuff. You can see the closely-spaced ridges that serve two functions:
- Provide mechanical protection from external abrasions.
- Provide enduring flexibility and maneuverability without compromising performance.
With any vacuum, you will inevitably have to change the filters. The RIDGID NXT Backpack Vacuum is designed with a dual filtration system that can process the 153 CFM this model generates. Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM) is the most direct measure of suction power, which is rendered moot without a compatible filtration system. By comparison to RIDGID’s 153 CFM, the Powr-Flite Pro-Lite Backpack Vacuum only generates 100 CFM. Even the ProTeam Super CoachVac Backpack Vacuum pulls in a comparable 150 CFM, but for nearly twice the price.
Potential buyers would be well advised to research filtration and CFM in more detail, but to sum it up, a filtration system that can stand up to high CFM – as the RIDGID NXT Backpack Vacuum does – speaks very well for the product. RIDGID NXT Backpack Vacuum does well in this regard.
I also went through the steps to change filters. I felt the filters are easy to access and change. Three metal brackets allow access to the filter. And no tools required.
One of my favorite design features of this vacuum is that all the accessories lock in place. Again, I’ve vacuumed more times than I can count with premium as well as budget brands. Inevitably most extended-reach accessories fall off which is frustrating. This won’t happen with this vacuum.
Another concern I’ve had with vacuums (not this one in particular), is decreased suction power with the addition of accessories. Airtight seals are critical; during use, vacuum hoses and accessories are pulled on, and banged into corners and furniture all the time. Whether suddenly or gradually, decreased suctioning power when utilizing accessories has turned me off from many a vacuum model that I might have liked initially. The locking mechanism on the RIDGID NXT Backpack Vacuum’s attachments reduces or almost eliminates suction loss due to poorly sealed connections.
Something interesting I found: it turns out you can place some attachments on the waist belt. With a complex and long cleaning job, carrying or going back and forth for hose accessories can be very inefficient. This waist-belt-compatible design feature is great.
RIDGID NXT Backpack Vacuum Performance
Weighing in at 11.6 lb (excluding accessories), the RIDGID NXT Backpack Vacuum is so light, I’m tempted to say that you really don’t need the chest strap. The waistband does a good job of keeping the backpack vacuum on your hips, supporting the vacuum’s weight without much hassle. Having said that, we’re aware that customer preferences, body shape, and extent of use will vary, so I appreciate the chest strap to give users extra support as needed.
At first, I thought RIDGID NXT Backpack Vacuum maneuverability and ease of use would be compromised with a harder hose material. But it turns out that the overall design gives substantial ease of use.
We put the RIDGID NXT Backpack Vacuum through a fair amount of work. Though we didn’t push performance and durability to the limit, I can say that this backpack vacuum model does a great job at collecting dirt and dust. Also, again I emphasize, this model is a “dry vac” so steer clear of sucking up moisture.
RIDGID NXT Backpack Vacuum Value
This model is available for $249.00 at Home Depot. All things considered, I think this product from RIDGID offers decent value for the price. Remember, the RIDGID NXT Backpack Vacuum generates 153 CFM; a very similar competing product generates 150 CFM but costs over $490.00.
RIDGID NXT Backpack Vacuum Wrap Up
I like the RIDGID NXT Backpack Vacuum. For dry pickup jobs, this is a vacuum that is hard to beat considering its power (153 CFM), lock-in-place accessories, reasonable price, and lightweight.