Comparison of Work Rates, Energy Expenditure, and Perceived Exertion During a 1-h Vacuuming Task with a Backpack Vacuum Cleaner and an Upright Vacuum Cleaner



The purpose of this study was to evaluate two types of industrial vacuum cleaners, in terms of cleaning rates, energy expenditure, and perceived exertion. Twelve industrial cleaners (six males and six females, age 28-39 yr) performed two 1-h vacuuming tasks with an upright vacuum cleaner (UVC) and a backpack vacuum cleaner (BPVC). Measures for oxygen uptake (VO2) and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were collected continuously during the 1-h vacuuming tasks. Cleaning rates for the UVC and BPVC were 7.23 and 14.98 m2min(-1), respectively. On a separate day subjects performed a maximal treadmill exercise test to determine their maximal aerobic capacity (peak VO2). Average absolute energy costs (in Metabolic equivalents), relative energy costs of the vacuum task compared to the subjects’ maximal aerobic capacity (% peak VO2), and RPE responses for the 1-h vacuuming tasks were similar between vacuum cleaners, but % peak VO2 and RPE values differed between genders. These results indicate that the BPVC was more efficient than the UVC. With the BPVC, experienced workers vacuumed at a cleaning rate 2.07 times greater than the UVC and had similar levels of energy expenditure and perceived effort, compared to the slower cleaning rate with the UVC.


Mengelkoch LJ, Clark K


Florida A & M University, Division of Physical Therapy, 333 School of Allied Health Sciences, Tallahassee, FL 32307, USA. [email protected]


Appl Ergon. 2006 Mar; vol. 37(2) pp. 159-65