If you’re spending more than just a few days in your caravan or motorhome at a time having a vacuum cleaner to hand is pretty essential. When choosing a vacuum cleaner for your home you are usually just looking for a product that provides the best suction. Its a bit trickier to choose the best vacuum cleaner for your caravan or motorhome. You have less power available (230V 16A or 12V) and you obviously have the size and weight restrictions to consider. I’m writing this post based on feedback I’ve had from our guests to Horton Common over the years on the vacuum cleaners I’ve seen them use. Its also from my own personal experience of the vacuum cleaners we have used in our own caravan.
What are the best features a vacuum cleaner for your caravan or motorhome should have? Image – Amazon.co.uk
Disclaimer: Hey! By the way… any links on this page that lead to products on Amazon or Caravan Guard are affiliate links and I earn a commission if you make a purchase, with no additional cost to you.
While I will reference certain vacuum cleaners below, unlike many sites this is not a ‘Top 10 List’. Consumer products and models change so frequently I think the idea of providing such a ridged list of recommended products is redundant. As part of my research for this post, I came across a number of websites recommending discontinued caravan vacuum cleaners.
What I’m going to do is pose a series of scenarios and questions for you to consider to help you choose the best vacuum cleaner for your caravan or motorhome. That way, no matter what point in time you read this post the information will be of use to you.
Introduction to Vacuum Cleaners for Caravans and Motorhomes
So let’s start with an obvious statement. In a caravan or motorhome, you have less space than you do at home. Therefore, there are two repercussions to this scenario. First, the type of vacuum cleaner you choose for your caravan or motorhome needs to be able to navigate around a tight space without bumping into (and damaging) the caravan furniture. Secondly, it needs to be small enough to store properly in your caravan. Weight is another consideration…
Storage Space for a Vacuum Cleaner
When it comes to storage space for the vacuum cleaner in your caravan or motorhome you need to think about two scenarios. First, where will the vacuum cleaner be stored during transit/towing? You have to load your caravan properly so your possessions don’t move around affecting caravan noseweight or causing damage.
Secondly, where will you store the vacuum cleaner when you arrive on-site? Is there sufficient space to store the vacuum cleaner within the caravan? It may be possible to store the vacuum cleaner under the seats or at the bottom of the wardrobe. If you set up an awning you may consider storing the vacuum cleaner in the back of your car.
Generally, with a caravan/awning/car, you have more potential storage space. If you have a motorhome storage space is at more of a premium. Therefore the physical size of the vacuum cleaner is more of a consideration.
Do you have sufficient storage space in your caravan or motorhome for your chosen vacuum cleaner? Taking your bulky vacuum cleaner from home is probably not an option: Image – Amazon.co.uk
Caravan Vacuum Cleaners and Weight
When it comes to the weight of a vacuum cleaner in a motorhome however that’s less of an issue due to the often high user payload. In a caravan keeping below the user payload weight can be a bit tricker. You may think a vacuum cleaner is going to make little difference in payload, however, it obviously all depends on the vacuum cleaner you choose.
A typical upright home vacuum cleaner will weigh around 10kg. Your typical portable vacuum cleaner is going to weigh between 2-5 kg. If you have a heavy awning that you store in the caravan or a motor mover fitted its amazing how quickly a caravan user payload can be used up. It can get to the point where every kilogram has to be scrutinized.
You can get very lightweight portable vacuum cleaners for your caravan or motorhome such as this B&D at 1.42kg. However, while it is very light does it provide enough suction power? Image – Amazon.co.uk
Please don’t interpret my comments above to mean you should always purchase the lightest vacuum cleaner you can find for your caravan or motorhome. The lightest units are also typically the lowest powered units. Hence, do they still generate enough suction to actually do a reasonable job cleaning the caravan or motorhome?
Over a flat/smooth surface, even the lowest powered portable vacuum cleaners can do a reasonable job. However, you try that same low powered vacuum cleaner on a carpet with some pet hair and its out of its depth.
Caravan Vacuum Cleaner Features to Look Out For
So I’ve noted that you need to consider the size and weight of the vacuum cleaner for your caravan or motorhome. You may be able to take your vacuum from home or you may need to purchase a separate and smaller/portable vacuum cleaner etc. So let’s presume you need to get a new portable vacuum cleaner for your caravan or motorhome, what features should you look out for?
Portable Corded Vacuum Cleaners (230V and 12V)
There are several portable corded vacuum cleaners available such as that in the image below. They do tick the boxes in terms of being low weight and not taking up much storage space. You also don’t have to worry about ‘Run-Time’ or worry about the life of the battery. Furthermore, they are significantly cheaper than their battery-based cousins.
The obvious downsides to these portable corded vacuum cleaners are that using them in the tight space of a caravan or motorhome may be tricky. Getting the cable caught on objects (and people) may get annoying. You can get 230V mains corded portable vacuum cleaners and 12V variants.
You may think, “Great I’ll get the 12V version, I could use it on both a mains hook up pitch and wild camping off-grid!”. This is true, however, the 12V corded vacuum cleaners from the reviews I’ve read appear to be underpowered for most applications. Again as referenced above, they are probably fine for flat smooth surfaces but not suitable to tackle carpet and pet hair.
A 12V portable vacuum cleaner such as this B&D is fine for your car with just a couple of small carpets. However, the carpets and upholstery in your caravan or motorhome present a much bigger cleaning challenge: Image – Amazon.co.uk
Battery Portable Vacuum Cleaner Run Time
With regards to run time, its dependant on two factors. How powerful is the vacuum cleaner and what is the capacity of its battery? From this point forward I would recommend only considering a portable vacuum cleaner with a lithium battery. There are still a few products floating around the internet with nickel-metal hydride batteries (NiMH or Ni–MH).
I’ve never owned a portable vacuum cleaner with a NiMH rechargeable, but I’ve had several portable drills. NiMH rechargeable batteries are an inferior technology to lithium. No battery lasts forever, but you’re going to get much more use (and suction power) from a portable vacuum cleaner with a lithium battery.
What about Dyson Portable Vacuum Cleaners?
A couple of years ago I bought my parents a Dyson Corless ‘Animal’ portable vacuum cleaner for their caravan. Not that they actually have a pet in their caravan, but the animal range has the better head brush attachments for cleaning carpets and upholstery. They still have it and take it with them on each trip to clean the caravan. Would I actually buy another one today? No.
It is a powerful and well built portable vacuum cleaner. But it was very expensive and the run time at full power is only about 20 mins. Today, I feel there are now better options available. And if you are reading this post a few years from now there are even more options.
For instance, I currently have a VAX Blade 32V portable vacuum cleaner. I live in a small cottage and I have used this rechargeable portable vacuum cleaner a couple of times a week for 2 years and its still going strong. If I was buying a portable battery vacuum cleaner for my parent’s caravan today, its the one I would go for.
I have used this Vax Blade 32V for the past two years twice a week. However, there are probably even better versions available now: Image – Amazon.co.uk
Portable Vacuum Cleaner Charging
What you do have to consider is how are you going to charge your chosen portable vacuum cleaner? If you only ever use serviced pitches with mains hook up no problem. But what if you do want to go wild camping off-grid and keep your caravan clean? I have found some 12V rechargeable portable vacuum cleaners.
However, there are all low quality/underpowered generic Chinese imports. The best solution is to choose whichever portable rechargeable vacuum cleaner suits your budget and then factor in a 12V to 230V Inverter. This will turn the 12V from your caravan leisure battery into 230V power to recharge the vacuum cleaner in your caravan or motorhome.
Conclusions on Vacuum Cleaners for Caravans and Motorhomes
So as you can see from my comments above. Choosing the best vacuum cleaner for your caravan or motorhome involves many more variables than when you are choosing a domestic vacuum cleaner. Personally, I would focus on a cordless portable vacuum cleaner with a lithium battery.
A higher voltage (24V compared to 32V for instance) indicates more power and hence more suction. As always, read customer reviews factoring in the star rating but also the number of reviews. I will generally choose a 4-star product with 1,000 reviews over a 5-star product with 100 reviews. Anyway, you may also be interested in my other relevant posts on the page how to clean a caravan.
I hope you found this post helpful to help you choose the best vacuum cleaner for your caravan or motorhome. Hopefully, you also consider coming to visit us here at Horton Common in the near future. 🙂