Vacuums are extremely helpful pieces of equipment. They are essential for keeping your home and garage clean—as we’ve discussed in many of our review articles. However, if you have an RV (or boat, trailer, etc.), you need a vacuum as well. The best RV vacuums will help you keep your RV super clean.
Cleaning is essential in an RV because they are much smaller than most homes. But, because of their size, you will also need to find an RV vacuum cleaner that is correct for your situation. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about vacs for travel trailers, and we will provide reviews of the top five products available in 2019.
So, keep reading and never have to worry about keeping your RV clean again.
- What is An RV Vacuum?
- Types of RV vacuums
- Features to look for when buying an RV vacuum
- Top 5 Best RV Vacuum
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is An RV Vacuum?
In one sense, there is really nothing that special about RV vacuums. They are essentially just vacuums. Technically, you could use your home vacuum for your vacuum for full time RV. However, you really need a portable vacuum for RV or at least a lightweight vacuum for RV to truly get the most out of the appliance.
And, that brings us to the actual definition of an RV vacuum. RV vacuum cleaners are small, portable, and light. They can be stored easily and fit in an out-of-the-way location in your travel trailer. Because these spaces are small, compact vacuums for RV do not have to be large. In fact, a handheld vacuum for RV work just fine.
In the rest of this article, we will tell you the different types of RV vacuums available on the market in 2019 and how to choose the one that will work perfectly for your RV.
Types of RV vacuums
First of all, let’s talk about the most common types of RV vacuums. If you’ve read our other review articles, you will notice that come of these types are similar and some are different than traditional home vacuum cleaners.
Handheld vacuums for full time RV are the smallest and lightest type of RV vacuum. These products are designed to be carried and used in your home. Think Dust Buster.
However, modern handheld vacuums for RV have more power and are more versatile than the classic Dust Buster. These RV vacuums have enough power to clean almost any surface. And, they come with a variety of accessories to help you keep everything in your RV clean.
The one drawback to handheld vacuums for RV is that they do not have the same amount of power as some larger vacuums. If you have a larger RV, you will likely need more cleaning power. That is where the stick vacuum comes into play.
Stick vacuums for RV are pushed along the ground like an upright vacuum cleaner, but they have an extremely thin body and are much lighter. Also, many stick vacuums are cordless vacuums for RV. And, they likely fold completely flat, which allows them to fit under furniture and around corners easily.
Canister vacuums for RV use are a cross between a handheld vacuum for RV and a stick vacuum for RV. These products have two parts: a drum that houses the motor and dirt collection bin, and the cleaning head and hose. The drum gets pushed along the ground. You use the hose to reach the locations that need to be cleaned.
Canister vacuums for RV living are usually heavier than handheld or stick vacuums. However, they will likely have the most power, which makes them ideal for larger RVs. They also come in professional-grade models and with lots of accessories. And, you can even find canister vacuums for RV living that fold up for storage.
Depending on the type of mess you typically have in your RV, you may want to consider a wet/dry vacuum. Often, these are the types of vacuum cleaners that are found in garages or shops. You are probably the most familiar with the Shop-Vac brand.
Wet/dry vacuums for RV use can be very helpful if you make a lot of wet messes. Today you can find smaller wet/dry models designed specifically for RV or boat use. And, traditional vacuums cannot clean up a lot of wet substances. Therefore, wet/dry vacuums are best for RVs with both types of messes. If you do not make a lot of wet messes, you can probably stick with the more traditional varieties of RV vacuums described above.
The final type of common RV vacuum is the steam vacuum. These products can be used as a regular vacuum, but they can also be used as a steam cleaner. These are by far the most versatile type of RV vacuum cleaner.
Steam vacuums can clean a wide variety of surfaces, including clothes and linens. Plus, they also provide a deep clean that cannot be gotten by just a vacuum alone. However, steam vacuums for full time RV can be much heavier than other types of vacuums. And, their regular vacuum function will not work as efficiently as the other types on this list.
Features to look for when buying an RV vacuum
Once you have decided on the type of RV vacuum you want; the decisions are not done. In fact, you still have a number of decisions to make. Keep the following features in mind as you begin looking for your next vac for travel trailer.
Power is a big consideration for any vacuum cleaner, no matter where you plan on using it. All types of vacuums should have a decent amount of power, but that suction can vary widely. You want to make sure to get an RV vacuum that is powerful enough to clean dirt and debris from any surface within minutes.
Another power consideration to keep in mind is that your power needs will vary depending on the surface being cleaned. If you have a lot of different surface types in your RV—hardwood, linoleum, carpet, etc.—you may want to consider an RV vacuum cleaner that allows you to change the suction power settings.
Storage options should also be kept in mind when you are looking for a small vacuum cleaner for RVs. Most RVs are small. This means that storage space will be at a premium. You don’t want to take up every bit of storage you have with your vacuum. Instead, you need to find a vacuum for my RV that can be stored easily and without taking up much space.
The vacuum type will determine the storage options of your RV vacuum. For example, a stick vacuum for RV can typically be hung on the wall or in a closet. Handheld vacuums for RV can also be hung. However, canister vacuums will need to be stored in a cabinet or on the floor of a closet. Yet, these types of vacuums can usually be folded up for the purposes of storage.
When looking for an RV vacuum, consider the types of storage you can available. That will help direct your search to the type and size of vacuum for RV use.
Corded vs. cordless
One of the biggest decisions you have to make when choosing an RV vacuum is whether you want a corded or cordless vacuum. Corded vacuums for RV have a power cord that must be plugged into an outlet to power the vacuum. Cordless vacuums for RV run off of a rechargeable battery, like a lithium-ion battery.
Corded vacuums for RVs work well because the travel trailer is so small that you should not have to worry about changing plugs. However, you still have an electrical cord to worry about tripping over. The cord may also get in the way of your vacuuming around certain furniture or areas of the RV.
Bagged vs. bagless
Bagged vs. bagless vacuums presents another important decision you must make when looking for an RV vacuum cleaner. This feature refers to whether the dirt collection bin on your portable vacuum for RV has a bag or not.
Bagged vacuums for RV living and the home are the more traditional option. Yet, these types of vacuums are much less commonly found today. It is likely that if you want a bag lightweight vacuum for RV, you will have to look hard to find it. Still, bagged vacuums for RV use are great because they have much less danger of causing a mess as you change the dirt collection bin. But, you will have to touch the dirt collection area, which is a deal-breaker for some people.
Dyson vacuums for RV became famous for introducing the bagless vacuum cleaner. These vacuums do not use a bag. Instead, you just press a button on the small vacuum cleaner for RV and the dirt and debris empty right into the trash can. You don’t have to touch anywhere near the mess. However, these types of products can be a little messy if they are not emptied correctly.
Many RVs have a variety of flooring types. This is especially true if your RV is on the larger side of the spectrum. If you have a lot of different types of floors in your RV, you will need a portable vacuum for RV that can clean all of them.
The most common differentiation is between carpet and hard flooring. Modern vacuums will typically be able to clean both carpet and hard floors. However, you should specifically look for products that have a beater bar that can be turned off. Additionally, if you have carpet or rugs of different heights, then you need an RV vacuum with adjustable height settings.
Most brands will tell you the floors that their models of RV vacuum cleaner can handle. So, look for that information in the product’s ad and specifications.
You will also need to ask yourself what type of accessories you want to be included with your RV vacuum. The more accessories, the more surfaces, and areas that you can clean.
For the full RV cleaning experience, there should be at least a few different cleaning attachments. Storage options like hanging brackets or accessory bags are also common accessories. These can be essential for the person who lives in an RV because they help you store your portable vacuum for RV properly, which takes up much less space.
Warranty is an important consideration in any appliance purchase. The longer the warranty, the more your purchase will be protected. While RV vacuums are not as expensive as many other appliances, they still cost enough that we recommend only buying a product that comes with a good warranty.
But, what is a good warranty? Most RV vacuum cleaners have a warranty that lasts for one to five years. You want to purchase a lightweight vacuum for RV that has a warranty that covers any defects or problems with the machine. Additionally, the warranty to cover shipping costs.
A final factor that you should consider when purchasing a vacuum for full time RV is its weight. Not only is this important for the person using the vacuum, but it also impacts the RV itself. You should only put so much weight into your RV. A heavy vacuum can cause you to go over the weight limit easier than you might think, especially if you have a number of other appliances on board.
In general, the top vacuums for full time RV livers are lightweight and portable. They should be easy to move around and lightweight enough that picking them up will not cause any problems.
Top 5 Best RV Vacuum
Crevice tool, Dusting brush, TruePet motorized brush, Extended-reach stretch hose
Carrying strap, Telescoping extension wand, Dusting brush, Upholstery tool, Crevice tool, Hard floor tool
Detachable motorized brush, Crevice tool, Lithium-ion battery
Dusting tool, Crevice tool, Hose assembly, Upholstery tool, 10-inch rug/floor tool, Mesh tool bag, Replacement bags
#1 Shark Rocket Ultra-Light Vacuum HV292
Our top choice is a Shark vacuum for RV. The Rocket Ultra-Light Vacuum HV292 is a great handheld RV vacuum. It is a corded product. But, it has a fifteen-foot power cord, which should not struggle to reach any location in your RV. Plus, the entire vacuum weighs less than four pounds, which is ideal.
Other great features of the HV292 include its powerful suction, bagless dirt collection bin, and motorized pet brush. With the HV292 you can clean up any dry mess that occurs in your RV. This product even has accessories to clean upholstery.
#2 Bissell Featherweight Vacuum
As we mentioned in our RV vacuum types section, stick vacuums are a great intermediary between a handheld and canister RV vacuum cleaner. The Bissell Featherweight Vacuum illustrates why. It is extremely like and affordable. Plus, it converts to a handheld vacuum with the push of a button. So, you get the best of both worlds with the Bissell Featherweight.
This RV vacuum only comes with once accessory, the crevice tool. And, it does have a fifteen-foot power cord. But, it is by far the best buy for the money, which makes it rate highly on our list.
#3 Oreck Commercial BB900DGR XL Pro 5 Vacuum
If you want a commercial-grade RV vacuum than look no further than Oreck’s Commercial BB900DGR XL Pro 5 Vacuum. This is an ultra compact vacuum for RV. But, it still has the accessories and suction power not usually found on home vacuum models.
The BB900DGR XL Pro 5 Vacuum will clean your RV without any problems. It works great on a variety of surfaces. And, this canister vacuum has a four-foot hose and extension wand, which is guaranteed to reach any surface in your RV.
#4 Shark Pet Perfect Vacuum LV801
Shark is such a great producer of vacuums for RV life that we had to include a second Shark vacuum for RV on our list. The Pet Perfect Vacuum LV801 is the first cordless handheld vacuum on our list. It comes with a lithium-ion battery. This means that as long as you keep it charged, it will be ready to clean whenever the mess occurs.
Additionally, the LV801 comes with a motorized pet brush. It will not struggle to remove pet hair or dirt. Thus, you can travel with pets in ease when you use the Shark LV801. Finally, the lightweight nature, portability, and storage capabilities of the LV801 make it highly desirable for RV traveling.
#5 HP Products 9880 Dirt Devil Central Vacuum System
The final product on our top five list is an RV central vacuuming system. We discuss these more fully below. However, with an RV central vacuuming system you do not need to push around or plugin a vacuum every time you want to clean your RV.
Instead, the HP Products 9880 Dirt Devil Central Vacuum System attaches to the wall of your RV. You hook up the hose and cleaning head when you are ready to clean. Importantly, these systems have a much larger dirt collection bin than other types of RV vacuums, which means less bag emptying for you. And, that’s it. For convenience and suction power, you can’t beat the 9880 Dirt Devil Central Vacuum System.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Now that you know our top five picks for RV vacuums, we’ll leave you with answers to the two most common questions about RV vacuum cleaners.
What is an RV Central Vacuuming System, and do I need one?
While you can choose to purchase a stand-alone vacuum, there is also such a thing as an RV central vacuuming system. You can see an example of this type of RV vacuum in our number five pick above.
RV vacuuming systems are very similar to central home vacuums. There is a central container that holds the motor and dirt collection bin. This container is attached to the wall or inside a closet of your RV. Then, you plug the hose and cleaning heads into the container every time you vacuum. With RV vacuuming systems you don’t have to move anything other than the cleaning hose.
RV vacuuming systems are a great option for people who want the lightest and most convenient RV vacuum possible. However, you will need to navigate the hose over and around your RV furniture. Plus, these types of compact vacuums for RVs do not clean the same number of surfaces as other RV vacuums like wet/dry vacs or steamers.
Can’t I just use my household vacuum?
Technically, you could use your household vacuum in your RV. This is especially true if you use a stick vacuum in your home. However, you may want to consider a dedicated RV vacuum for a couple of reasons.
- If you are not a live-in RV traveler, then you will be returning home to your house at some point. It can be inconvenient to constantly cart your home vacuum to the RV and back again after every trip. Thus, having a lightweight vacuum for RV that stays in the travel trailer is a much better idea.
- If you use a powerful, but a heavy upright vacuum in your home, it may be too large for the RV. Large uprights do not work well in RVs, which is why they do not appear on our top five list.
Obviously, the best RV vacuum is needed to make your traveling experience much easier. These helpful appliances are essential for keeping your traveling trailer clean and spotless. In a small living situation, this cleanliness is highly important.
If you take nothing else from this article remember that you should purchase a dedicated RV vacuum cleaner. It will make your life much easier. And, if you are worried about where to begin, that is what this article has been for. Follow our advice in the buyer’s guide section. Then try out one of the five top products we recommend. Anyone could be a perfect fit. So, try out a small vacuum cleaner for RV today.