Last updated on December 3rd, 2018 by Garrick Dee
Cleaning an RV poses a different set of challenges as opposed to cleaning homes.
Biggest challenge would be finding the right balance of power, size and versatility.
A bulky upright wouldn’t be the best option because of its sheer size and weight because storage would be an issue.
So the ideal vacuum for an RV would be something that’ll have just enough power on carpet (if your RV has such).
And have enough tools for cleaning floors but also areas above it.
In short, a good RV vacuum should be compact, versatile and have enough power.
We’ll be sifting through different options here and how to pick one. I’ve read some guides in forums and blogs but I feel those lack detail so I’ve come up with a more comprehensive guide.
Can be used on
|Nooks & Crannies|
2 x 20-volt lithium ion
3 hours (each battery)
20 minutes (normal)
6 minutes (max)
50 minutes (combined)
100 AW (Max/boost)
|Brush roll on/off|
9.9 pounds (with floor tool and wand)
3.5 pounds (hand vac only)
No two people are alike and that principle also apples to an RV vacuum. Joe’s needs are different Barry.
So I’m here to help you sort out and narrow down options and pick something that’ll fit your needs.
The truth is there is no single vacuum that’s perfect for an RV. An upright vacuum has power but it is very bulky and lacks versatility.
The best products will cost you some $$$
Shark however has broken the mold and their latest “Lift Away” series combines upright power and the versatility of canister. The latest Duo Clean technology also offers better agitation on hard floor and carpet. And you’ll be able to use this technology even in canister mode.
Cordless vacuums free you up from the cord but most brands lack power. One brand does boast power but it’s very expensive. Dyson probably is the best cordless cleaner available right now but you’d have to spend over $500 for their latest product.
Set a budget
The Shark I’m talking about above will cost roughly $380 but it’s an all-in-one product that will clean most areas in your RV. If this is something you can afford then congratulations, this tool will be useful in keeping the RV interior clean.
But if it’s not something that’s within your spending capability, move on to the next option. This is why setting a cap in the amount you’re willing to spend is important. It helps you weed out options out.
Size of RV
Another thing to consider is the size of your RV. This will determine if you need a cordless or a corded vacuum.
Folks who own a smaller RV could get away with a weaker tool that has less run time and power. But larger RVs would require longer run time and perhaps more power.
Does it have any carpet?
Another factor to consider would be what’s on the floor. For RVs with carpet, you’ll need something with a motorized brush. Good examples of products with such are the Hoover Cruise or a Dyson V6 MotorHead.
If it does not have any carpet then something like a Dyson V6 Fluff would be a great option because won’t cost as much as a V8 but still provide you with comparable performance and versatility.
What if my RV has a central vacuum?
There are a lot of factors to consider.
How long is the hose?
Can it reach every nook and cranny?
Does it have a motorized brush to clean fabric upholstery or carpet?
If the central vacuum inside your RV has a hose that’s long enough to reach every nook and cranny then you’ve got yourself a gem. But unfortunately in the real world that’s not always the case.
You may need a separate handheld to reach areas like the bathroom or above the storage areas like cabinets.
A good option for this would be the Black & Decker BDH2020FL Max. It’s a handheld vacuum with a flexible hose that gives it the capability of extending reach. This would be the perfect tool for cleaning vents or venetian blinds.
Check out this video to see a central vacuum in action…
Location of outlets
For those considering a corded vacuum, they’ll need to look at their RV and take notes of where the outlets are. More outlets are better for obvious reasons. Also look at the placement of these outlets if they’ll allow full coverage.
One big advantage of a corded would be the ability to run much longer plus it has more power.
You can run this for as long as you want without worrying about the battery running out of juice.
Consider a wet/dry vacuum
A wet/dry vacuum is a great option for cleaning up wet spills on carpet or upholstery.
It has two functions – cleaning up dry and wet messes. The latter is a great to have feature for RV owners with young children. It will quickly suck up any liquid messes on rugs or fabric upholstery.
Dewalt has a bunch of wet/dry cordless vacuums that will serve this purpose well.
After reading through the how to section, I’m pretty sure you have an idea what type of vacuum you’d want and how much you’re willing to spend. If you have not read it, do yourself a favor and read through it.
Cheaper than a V8
But it’ll provide you with the same amount of flexibility minus the soft roller cleaner head. It won’t run as long as the V8 but inside an RV that should not be an issue because you won’t be cleaning that big of an area anyway.
It comes with enough tools to clean other above the floor areas like upholstery with the crevice and combination tool that should be able to cover 95% of your cleaning needs.
Some issues you need to be aware of
Now the V6 has several issues that have dogged it for years. This includes the bin that’s messy to empty and the max feature that can be difficult to engage.
Consider the V7
The V7 has the body of the V8 and the motor of the V6 only with a longer run time (30 vs 20 mins).
Another thing I like about the V7 is that it comes with a mini-motorized tool capable of cleaning pet hair off fabric upholstery.
Dyson also has 10 other V6 variants that come with different sets of tools for different types of consumers. You can also check out my other articles about the differences of the V6 and V8 plus an in-depth guide to the V7. Make sure to check those out.
More power and versatility but…
The next product provides you with more power, agitation and with more versatility. And here’s the kicker, it has as much power (if not more) but it’ll cost less.
This is a great option inside RVs that are bigger and with enough outlets to cover the whole area.
Duo Clean Technology
What I like about this product is the DuoClean head that combines the soft roller and bristled brush.
I’ve never seen this combo before in my 3+ years doing reviews. And this this tool really picks up dirt on hard surfaces and carpet.
Got lots of large debris like cereal to clean up? No problem with the DuoClean because it will literally pull dirt toward the suction chamber.
It won’t have as much power as a full sized upright but the agitation part makes up for it.
The vacuum with the wand and main floor tool will weigh just below 10 pounds and it comes with a 30 foot power cord.
What it lacks is a flexible hose that would allow it to reach tight spots but that can be purchased separately.
This next vacuum I’m about to show you is another versatile option that has a flexible 4 foot out integrated.
It allows it access to areas between upholstery and appliances a product without a hose can’t.
Great versatility thanks to the hose
It’s a product of their “Platinum” product line that utilizes Black & Decker’s 20 volt lithium ion batteries that run longer and have less fade than previous generation cordless that have a NiCad battery.
This particular variant is an upgraded version of the BDH2000FL. The major upgrade is the inclusion of a stick floor head that allows you to use this on bare floor without bending.
More power than a Dyson V6
Don’t sleep on this product because it has more power than a Dyson V6 in normal mode (25 vs 22 air watts). And you don’t need to spend $300 for it, this product will cost much less in Amazon.
The 20 volt lithium ion battery will run for about 15 minutes and will need 4 hours to fully charge.
It comes with a 2-in-1 nozzle/brush tool, crevice tool, pet hair tool and stick floor head. The diversity of tools makes this an ideal handheld inside small RV where space is a premium.
This compact handheld has the right combination of tools that are functional inside a tight space like an RV. And yet not compromise on suction.
The hose makes this very versatile
It does not have the DuoClean head found in the HV382. But it has stretchable hose that’s a little bit longer than the Black & Decker’s.
This hose is central to this vacuums ability to reach in tight areas – something that you’ll encounter a lot in an RV.
Other tools that come include the 12″ crevice tool, TruePet mini motorized tool and a mini dusting brush.
You can use these tools on the vacuum or hose – this gives you more options.
This gives it more versatility than the Dyson V6 that does not come with the hose.
Power is sufficient but don’t expect a whole lot. Lastly this handheld has a 15 foot cord which is half the length of the DuoClean Rocket.
They are the first to utilize an upright design without the cord. This allows them to put in a larger bin that will hold more dirt. The more dirt it holds, you’ll need to empty it less often.
A lightweight upright
This second generation Air Cordless isn’t like other uprights that are big and clunky. It is versatile enough to use at just about anywhere and power won’t be an issue.
And this translates well inside an RV where you need that flexibility.
It has two cleaning modes – an upright and canister mode. In upright mode, you use it like an upright – to clean floors, rugs or carpet.
Here’s where the magic comes in. With a push of a lever this machine morphs from an upright into a canister. Hoover calls this the “Lift” and this same feature is also found in the Shark DuoClean Rotator.
What this feature does is separate the canister (or body) from the main frame. This frees up the excess weight and allows folks to use this machine like a canister.
Combine that with the cordless feature, you have a machine capable of cleaning most (if not all) parts of your RV. It comes with combination crevice/brush tool and pivoting dusting tool to clean tops of cabinets or shelves.
The two lithium ion batteries combine for a 50 minute run time – more than enough inside a mobile home.
There you have it 5 different vacuums that’ll suite any price range. You’ll notice that all of the products I shared can do multiple things because this is a necessity in a cleaning a cramped area like an RV.
Why the Dyson?
For RVs without any carpet then opt for the V6 Fluffy because it has the soft roller cleaner head that works great on bare floor.
If you want something cheaper
The Shark DuoClean Rotator is another good option that offers the same features as a Dyson. But this has better agitation thanks to the DuoClean head.
This combines the soft roller and bristled brush that will literally pull dirt – both large and small. Even though it has a cord, it’s much cheaper and will yield a similar result.
This is a great option if you need a handheld
Black & Decker offers the most compact option here with the BDH2020FLFH. It’s a handheld with a stick attachment that allows you to use it on floors without bending.
One feature that separates this from the other two is the 4 foot flexible hose that allows it to reach in tight crevices.
The Shark Rocket is another compact option with a hose but the biggest difference would be it has a cord – a relatively short one at just 15 feet.
Feature-wise, it has the same functionality as the Black & Decker but it’ll be less mobile because of the cord.
Don’t sleep on this cordless upright
Last on the list is the Hoover Air Cordless Lift.
This product combines two products in one – an upright and canister. Hoover was able to pull this off thanks to the “Lift” feature that separates the body from the frame. The upright frame allows it to store more dry dirt than a Dyson or Shark Rocket.
It isn’t cheap though but you’ll get a 5 year warranty
If you think I missed any brand just let me know in the comments section below and I’ll do my best addressing it.