The small spaces of your RV may not take long to clean, but they need cleaning often. The amount of sand and dirt that quickly accumulates can easily become frustrating. Sweeping is great, but the real winner is an RV vacuum to suck up those tiny bits. We have a few things you should keep in mind. Let’s dive in!
What Is an RV Vacuum?
An RV vacuum cleaner is specifically for use in an RV. Due to small spaces and sometimes limited access, this vacuum style is ideal.
Most often, an RV vacuum is a central-vac system, but there are corded and cordless models. You can use both systems successfully within an RV, and evaluating your individual needs will help you select which is right for you.
Corded vs. Cordless RV Vacuums
A corded RV vacuum requires electricity access. It’s plugged into a power source, and the vacuum’s power cable length limits its functionality, just like a residential vacuum. They generally have increased power and suction. If you don’t want to worry about a lengthy cable, maybe a cordless RV vacuum is what you need.
A cordless vacuum lets you charge the vacuum and use it without tripping over cords. Cordless vacuums can provide optimal performance and maneuverability, especially in your RV’s tight spaces. As long as you keep them charged, cordless vacuums are great for keeping your RV clean.
Traditional Vacuum vs. RV Central-Vac System
A traditional vacuum refers to a corded vacuum setup as well as cordless versions. These are great mobile options that you can use in any RV. Your RV will not need any special equipment or features to use a traditional vacuum.
The bulk of an RV central-vac system is usually in a cabinet or the under-storage compartment of an RV. While you don’t have to pull out an entire vacuum, you do have to pull out the usually very long hose and attachments to use.
The long hose reaches the far corners of your RV and delivers all the dirt and debris it picks up into a special central vac bag. You’ll occasionally need to empty or discard and replace this bag when full. This means you can empty the contents less frequently than a standard vacuum.
RV central-vac systems are often factory installs, and usually, also come with a “VacPan” or automatic dustpan. A small lever turns on the central vacuum system so you can sweep dust up with ease.
- GREAT VALUE: 1 automatic Dust pan attachment with On/Off switch...
- COMPATIBILITY: Designed to fit any major Central Vacuum brands...
- EFFECTIVE: Lets you just sweep debris into the inlet mouth and...
The Benefits of an RV Vacuum
RV floors can get dirty incredibly fast, especially when parked in nature. You’ll likely come and go frequently, and the dirt and sand can quickly accumulate.
While using a broom is an option, a vacuum helps you get tiny pieces that are difficult to get into the dustpan. A vacuum can make quick and easy work of the job.
The Challenges of an RV Vacuum
Storage is always a challenge in RVs, and storing a vacuum is no different. Often vacuums can be bulky and even awkwardly shaped. There’s not usually a lot of utility closet space like you might have in a home.
Additionally, if you prefer boondocking, you’ll need to have some way to power the vacuum unit. RVers should know that corded vacuums use a considerable amount of energy while in use.
If boondocking is your preference, it might be worth considering a cordless option and having enough batteries to last while you’re away from shore power.
How to Choose an RV Vacuum
There are many things to consider when purchasing an RV vacuum. Decide what you need from your vacuum in your space. Do you take your RV out a few times a year and need it for light-duty work? Or do you need something to run every day all year?
As with most items in an RV, multi-functionality is ideal. A vacuum that can easily clean up indoor RV messes is fine, but a vacuum with attachments that can clean vehicles or tight spaces in storage compartments is even better.
Evaluate what your vacuuming needs will be for your camper before making a purchase.
Size & Weight
Size and weight are important factors as they’re often deal-breakers for RVs. If the vacuum doesn’t fit in your storage spaces, it won’t work for you, no matter how great it is. Evaluate your available storage options and eliminate any vacuum options that would be difficult to store.
Also, consider the vacuum’s weight. Some RVers are working with minimal weight margins and need to count each pound. Vacuums can be cumbersome, and that weight adds up quickly. Additionally, if the vacuum is physically challenging for you to carry upstairs or put into storage, it may not be suitable.
If you boondock, the power usage is likely more important than for someone always hooked up to shore power. Keep in mind that if you’re using a corded vacuum, you’ll need power access to utilize it.
A typical corded vacuum uses approximately 1.44 kWh. Vacuums that use less power can generally do so because they utilize less power and suction. These can be less effective and fail to pick up certain types of debris.
If you need to clean up wet messes such as flooded under-storage or saturated bathrooms, a wet/dry vacuum might be necessary. A wet/dry vacuum lets you suck up dry debris as well as water that could cause severe damage in an RV.
These are convenient, but they also take up a generous amount of precious storage space.
How Dirty Is Your RV Lifestyle?
If your RVing style takes you boondocking in dusty and sandy locations, you’ll soon discover how quickly those tiny particles add up! If you mostly stay in RV parks with paved RV pads and use an outdoor rug, you might see very little dirt. Knowing your RV style helps you discover what you’ll need from an RV vacuum.
Traveling with pets and kids who may track additional dirt into your RV will also factor into your RV vacuum needs.
A vacuum is one area where you can keep budget-friendly or end up spending a pretty penny. Vacuums with fewer features will cost customers less, whereas vacuums with more abilities will be on the higher end of the cost spectrum.
With that said, you don’t have to break the bank to get an excellent vacuum for your RV.
The 7 Best RV Vacuums
You’re likely already familiar with most of these vacuum brands. Many brands that you know and love have a smaller version of their popular models. These smaller models are helpful when you’re living tiny.
Check out our recommendations of the best RV vacuums.
1. Shark Ion Lightweight Cordless Stick Vacuum
About the Shark ION: Shark has become a famous vacuum brand, and for good reason! Shark Ion is a cordless stick vacuum that doesn’t take up much space but still works hard. The Shark Ion comes with two rechargeable batteries that yield 80 minutes of runtime.
- Powerful cordless suction for everyday dirt, debris, pet hair,...
- Up to 80 minutes of total runtime with 2 batteries in hand vacuum...
- 2X ION Power Pack System includes 2 removable, rechargeable...
It features the “DuoClean Technology” created to tackle fine dust and large debris on carpets as well as hard flooring. This vacuum comes with one powerhead and two brush rolls for cleaner floors.
2. Dyson Cyclone V10 Animal Lightweight Cordless Stick Vacuum
About the Dyson Cyclone: If you want a powerful vacuum from a well-known and trusted brand, you can’t go wrong with a Dyson. The Dyson Cyclone helps you create a cleaner and healthier home.
They claim their vacuums are proven to capture particles as small as allergens and bacteria.
- Powerful suction to deep clean everywhere. 55% more suction than...
- Dyson technology helps create a cleaner, healthier home - Our...
- Engineered for whole-home, deep cleaning. Suction power, run time...
The Dyson Cyclone will run for 60 minutes before needing to be recharged. This vacuum will work on all floor types, making it a fantastic tool that fits all units.
3. Shark Rocket Corded Vacuum
About the Shark Rocket: Those who like Shark products but want to keep their budget lower will appreciate the Shark Rocket. This vacuum does it all!
- SHARK ROCKET PET CORDED STICK VACUUM: Ultra-powerful, corded...
- PERFECT FOR PETS: Powerful pet hair pickup attachments like the...
- SWIVEL STEERING: For excellent control and a low-profile design...
It converts into a handheld vacuum for easy floor-to-ceiling cleaning. Essential for small spaces, it features swivel steering for maneuvering around furniture. You can conveniently hang this vacuum on the wall with its built-in hook, which is excellent for an RV!
Also, check out its little brother, the Shark Rocket Ultra-Light.
4. Bissell Crosswave Pet Pro Wet/Dry Vacuum
About the Bissell Crosswave: This Bissell Crosswave Pet Pro Wet/Dry Vacuum washes and vacuums simultaneously. While this is a corded unit, the cord is 25 feet long, giving you an extensive range.
This vacuum is excellent for pet owners as it features a multi-surface pet brush roll and pet hair strainer for an even deeper clean. While this vacuum will take up a bit more space than some of the others, it washes floors in addition to just sweeping them.
- EVERY PURCHASE SAVES PETS. BISSELL proudly supports BISSELL Pet...
- VACUUM AND WASH AT THE SAME TIME. Makes everyday pet mess...
- MULTI-SURFACE CLEANING. Safe and effective for use on tile,...
5. Shark WV201 WANDVAC Handheld Vacuum
About the Shark Wandvac: Those seeking an affordable, small, and powerful vacuum will be excited to put this into their Amazon cart!
- POWERFUL CORDLESS SUCTION: High-speed, brushless motor delivers...
- ULTRA-LIGHTWEIGHT: At just 1.4 lbs., the hand vacuum is designed...
- EASY TO MAINTAIN: Hand vacuum maintenance is simple with a...
This handheld vacuum weighs only 1.4lbs, making it perfect for RV living. It has an ion charging dock for fast charging and convenient storage, high-powered suction, and a brushless motor.
One drawback of this unit is that the run time is only 9.5 minutes. Fully charging the vacuum from empty takes 2.5 hours. If you have a small RV, that run time shouldn’t be too much of a challenge, and if you always leave it on the charger when not in use, it’ll always be ready to go.
6. Dirt Devil Central Vacuum System
About the Dirt Devil Central Vacuum System: Want a central-Vac system, but your RV didn’t come with one? No problem. Enter the Dirt Devil Central Vacuum System.
- Built in for convenience and space-saving purposes
- 7' to 35' expandable length hose
- One gallon capacity
This vacuum system was designed specifically for RVs. The compartment holds up to one gallon of debris, meaning you spend less time emptying the container than in a standard vacuum. It comes with a hose that’s expandable from 7’ to 35’.
You can likely reach all areas of your RV with this hose. It also comes with several attachment tools to make the job easier too.
We personally had this model installed in our fifth wheel RV, although we opted to remove it in favor of a Shark Rocket. It worked great for the majority of the time, but eventually couldn’t keep up with the fur from our two dogs. (It was the original installed in 2005 from the factory!)
The Price of the Dirt Devil Central Vacuum System: $240
7. Ryobi One+ Evercharge Cordless Hand Vacuum
About the Ryobi Vacuum: If you use Ryobi tools for projects around your home or RV, the Ryobi One+ Evercharge Cordless Hand Vacuum will be a sure win.
This handheld vacuum is compatible with the standard Ryobi One+ rechargeable lithium batteries and convenient for the Ryobi user.
The compact design is perfect for RVs since it only weighs 2lbs. It has a cleaning path of 3.5 inches and includes an attachment for even smaller spaces.
Keep the Outdoors Outside With An RV Vacuum
The takeaway here is that having a good vacuum can save you the annoyance of bringing the great outdoors indoors.
Do you have an RV vacuum that you love? What aspects of a vacuum are important to you? Let us know in the comments.
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Friday 25th of February 2022
I bought the vacuum cleaner from Shark Rocket for my Motorhome, there is carpet in the bedroom and under the table and sliding doors, ceramic tiles everywhere else. I got it in a few days and had to give it a try. Let me tell you... I fell in love with it already! It picks up all the hair, stickers, and feathers on the carpet and tile. It does not splash small dirt particles onto the tiles from the carpet. It is very easy to use. At less than 4 pounds, I won't have to worry about my arms getting tired while holding this handheld model.
Sunday 18th of July 2021
Thank you for taking the time to write this post. Shark rocket corded RV vacuum is great. Increased suction results if you remove the fine dust filters from the motor module. I empty the dust cup with my shop vac and empty that every few months. For ‘top heavy’ complaints, select a few places in each room to rest the Shark vertically. Or put it on the floor and pick it up. No big deal.
Mortons on the Move
Thursday 22nd of July 2021
Thank you for sharing your experience with the Shark Rocket vacuum! :)
Monday 3rd of May 2021
I’ve got both the Ryobi cordless hand vac and the stick vac... I’ve heard bad things about both but they’ve been great for us! (Bought them both used for under $100 total)! I’m considering the 3 gal Ryobi cordless shop vac because I’d like something with wet/dry and vac/blow ability!
Wednesday 28th of April 2021
Tineco Pure One S11 or 12 is now being rated extremely well. It is rated better than the Dyson at half the price. The problem with many cordless stick vacuums is that they break more often than the traditional canisters/upright corded models.