5 Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaners for RVs, Boats & Cars

RVs and boats are small to begin with, so there’s really no need to drag a big honkin’ vacuum cleaner around two do small cleaning jobs. This is where handheld vacuum cleaners are best 

 If you have an RV or camper van, a portable handheld vacuum cleaner is really all you need to clean your small interior spaces. And these handheld vacuum cleaners are so adorably compact. Not only do they get the job done, these little dirt suckers are super convenient to store in small compartments in your RV, boat or the trunk of your car.

While your big powerful vacuum cleaner may do a fantastic job at sucking up crumbs and pet hair, they are cumbersome and not conducive to RV living. But, there are several different smaller handheld vacuum cleaners that are perfect for getting into those small spaces, yet not cost you an arm and a leg.

Always On Liberty - Handheld Vacuum Cleaners for RVs and Boats

How Handheld Vacuum are Powered

There are three different ways handheld vacuums may be powered in your RV, van or any road vehicle.

12V Aux Outlet – 12V tells us that the battery supplies 12 volts under a nominal load. So, 12 volt handheld vacuums have a cord that you plug into a 12V auxiliary outlet (cigarette lighter) that runs off your RV, car or truck battery. Or, it can also be plugged into a 12V outlet anywhere in your RV that runs off of your inverter. 

120V Electric – These small portable vacuum cleaners can be plugged into your regular electric outlets. The advantage of 120V hand vacs is they are  more powerful because the get a stronger current of electricity. However, these mini vacs are restricted by the cord length. And of course, to operate them, you need to be hooked up to electricity or run off of your RV’s power inverter which requires battery usage.

Rechargeable Lithium Battery – Rechargeable cordless vacuums offer freedom to use anywhere; making them a great option for on-the-go RVs, van lifers and boats. But, some handheld vacuum may not hold a decent charge to allow you to complete bigger cleaning jobs. And, be aware that these rechargeable vacuums still require electricity to charge its’ lithium battery, either through direct current from your 120v outlet or through your inverter and 12v outlet. So, pay attention to charge times.

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Now that we’ve learned a little about the different ways these small portable vacuums are operated, let’s jump right in to see which are the best handheld vacuum cleaners for RVs, Vans and boats.

How Handheld Vacuums Clean

There are two ways these portable mini vacs clean. Dry vacuuming cleans up dry material such as crumbs, pet hair, sand and dirt. Wet/Dry vacs can suck up wet messes as well as dry materials mentioned prior. That said, wet/dry vacuums typically have less suction power and are more costly. Also, those vacuums designed to absorb water or wet messes generally require electric power to operate.

The downside of handheld mini vacs is they simply are not as powerful as the larger vacuum cleaners in your sticks and bricks. But, their portability and accessibility is what makes them great for cleaning up simple messes.

Vacuum Cleaner Safety Tips

Handheld Vacuum Cleaners - Cordless Car Vac

Never vacuum up combustible substances or that have been soaked in flammable materials such as gasoline, kerosene, lighter fluid, bug torch oil, etc.

Clean out your vacuum after each use. Shake out or blow out the filter thoroughly and remove any hair or debris that may be stuck inside. Every so often, take your mini vac apart and clean your attachments and dirt collection reservoir with hot soapy water. Do not immerse or subject your hand vac to water. Inspect all parts to ensure they are not broken. And, replace filters as needed.

Discontinue use if cord is frayed or plug is broken. Also, never use a cord from a different appliance to power or recharge your handheld vacuum. If you lose or misplace your cord, contact your vacuum manufacturer for a replacement.

Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaners for RVs, Boats & Cars

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Black + Decker Furbuster

Black + Decker FurbusterUsing Black and Decker’s Furbuster handheld vacuum, you can eliminate dirt that’s out of reach, but not out of sight. With their longest built-in crevice tool, you can extend your reach into hard-to-reach corners and crevices. The versatile 20V dustbuster mini vac with AdvancedClean+ feature sucks up dust, debris and pet hair in hard to reach areas with less effort. It’s power boost provides 4X more powerful suction with the touch of a button to tackle any mess. And, it offers up to 145% more runtime and a battery indicator to get those cleaning jobs done.

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Hand Vac

Bissell Pet Hair EraserWith Bissell’s Pet Hair Eraser, you can remove more embedded dirt and pet hair with a motorized brush tool The pet hair eraser handheld cordless vacuum features triple level filtration and a large, easy-to-empty dirt bin to help get rid of pet hair easily. It comes equipped with specialized pet tools; motorized brush tool, upholstery tool, and crevice tool. It’s perfect for under dinettes, around motorhome cockpits, cleaning stairs and around tight places, upholstery, and more. The best part is it’s a cordless vacuum that runs on a rechargeable lithium ion battery. So, it’s the perfect little vacuum cleaner for boondocking or camping off the grid.

VacLife Cordless Handheld Vacuum

VacLife Cordless Handheld VacuumThe VacLife handheld cordless hand vacuum utilizes its’ super-strong motor with powerful suction. This high power cordless vac comes equipped with 2 different nozzles to meet all your car cleaning needs and the super bright LED light to ensure you don’t miss anything. Also, the VacLife handheld vacuum cordless is equipped with HEPA filters and innovative wraps, which are washable and more durable. And let’s not forget this car vac has a long last battery that allows up to 20 minutes to finish those small vacuuming jobs. 

THISWORX Car Vac

THISWORX Car VacThe totally practical ThisWorks car vac is the perfect little mini vac for car, truck, RV or boat. Because it’s so compact and lightweight, it takes up very little storage. It’s powerful cyclonic force and strong suction picks up sand, pet hair, dirt and those pesky crumbs that unwanted attract pests. This mini car vac even has a washable filter and 3 different attachments for detailing, storage bag, filter brush, and even a spare filter. ThisWorks car vac uses the 12v aux outlet for power. The 16-foot cord gives you the slack you need to clean your van or small RV without unplugging. ThisWorks is one of the best on-the-go mini vacuum cleaner manufacturers on the market.

Shark Rocket Ultra Light Hand Vacuum Cleaner and Car Detail Kit

Shark Rocket Ultra Light Handheld Vacuum CleanerThe Shark Rocket Ultra Light hand vacuum is the one to grab for an RV’s simple, daily cleaning tasks. Weighing under four pounds, this lightweight little crumb eater gobbles up gunk and debris, including pet hair. Thanks to its corded design, you’ll experience powerful suction that just doesn’t quit. Use the varied attachments plus the detailing kit to eradicate dirt from both easy and hard-to-reach areas around your motorhome, camper van and auto. Everything from snacks spilled beneath seats to those tiny bits of gravel that seemingly migrate from shoe soles to floor mats. Then quickly dispose of the collected dirt and debris by emptying the dust cup. This little mini vac powerhouse includes handheld vacuum, pet multi-tool, flexible hose, duster crevice tool, home and car detail kit, dust cup and accessory bag. Its’ 15′ electric cord is UL listed.

Wrapping up the 5 best handheld vacuum cleaners for RVs, Cars and Boats

Handheld Vacuum Cleaners - Cordless Mini Vac

Mini handheld vacuum cleaners are essential to RV living and van lifers. Just because we live small doesn’t mean we have to forgo vacuuming or deep cleaning. Cleanliness is important as to keep out unwanted pests such as rodents or bugs. These small handheld vacuums are the perfect cleaning tool to do just that.

Check out these HOW-TO articles on how to keep your RV clean

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Care for Your RV Plumbing and Drains

Stop Condensation in Your RV or Boat

Prevent MOLD from Growing on Your Mattress in your RV or Boat

Trash Disposal for RVers: Where to Get Rid of the Garbage on the Road

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