A few days ago I asked a question on The Boat Galley’s Facebook page about what onboard vacuum cleaners people really liked. I was asking both on my own behalf — we’d had several on Que Tal and not liked any and I know I need one for Barefoot Gal — and also on behalf of Donna, a reader who had emailed me with the same question.
I specifically asked for one that was:
- able to get replacement filters and
- lasted more than a year
I got so many responses that I decided to make them into a post — and please add more recommendations in the comments. If you wish to read all the comments in full, you can do so here but you must be logged in to Facebook.
Because some vacuums had several recommendations, I’ve grouped them together by maker or model. Some are corded — requiring an appropriately sized inverter as none of the recommended ones are DC — and some cordless. However, those also require an inverter to charge them. Only one 12 volt vacuum was recommended.
I’ve put the ones with the most recommendations at the top; that doesn’t mean that others aren’t good, just that not as many people discussed them. Prices range from around $25 to several hundred.
Amazon links go to the particular model being discussed. Many are sold in local stores, but including links so you can see more.
Shop Vac Micro Wet/Dry (sold in many stores and on Amazon) — 6 recommendations; 1 dislike
- I also have an older version of this Shop Vac in the 1 gallon size. It is really handy because I can bring the hose from my big shop vac at home and have twice the reach. That lets me get into some pretty tight places.
- We use this little shop vac too … and probably more to pump out the bilge than sweep up dirt and dust.
- We currently have a mini-shop vac from Home Depot and its a back breaker to use the attachments in tight quarters.
- . . . have been happy with small shop vacs
- We use the small shop vac. It has come in handy for both wet and dry clean ups.
- I can attest to the stow-ability and usability of the ShopVac Micro. It is the best vac we’ve had aboard.
- We use a 1 gal shop vac and it has been working great for 4 yrs so far , plus since its wet/dry it comes on handy on the boat for pumping out water too
Dyson Hand Held (best price on Amazon) — 5 recommendations for various Dysons
- It is the best!!!
- Any Dyson hand held or stick – rechargeable. We love ours. Better than anything we’ve ever tried. Pricey, but perfect.
- Dyson Animal Handheld all the way! We have their products at home and on the boat, and have never regret the expense.
- Trust me…the dyson is worth every cent…it is a small compact one…when I think of the name i will post!
- I have a Dyson handheld and use it a fair bit – powerful but not exactly quiet.
- Dyson is a hella good vac.
- UPDATE: We bought a Dyson about 6 months ago after two Ryobis died. So far, we absolutely love it!
Ryobi 18 volt Cordless Hand Vac (sold at Home Depot and on Amazon) — 4 people recommended
UPDATE 12/7/15: NOT RECOMMENDED. The first one of these that I bought was great. Two subsequent ones failed in less than six months. Read more here.
- Uses the same battery packs as my cordless tools (2 comments to this effect)
- I almost gave up [on a vacuum, the batteries didn’t last or the suction was so weak], until I used my husband’s Ryobi ZRP712 ONE Plus 18V Cordless Hand Vac. It is the hardest working little vacuum with incredible battery life. I highly recommend it.
- I have a Ryobi, rechargable battery operated. You clean the filter.
NOTE: Battery and charger are not included — assumes you have other Ryobi tools with batteries and charger. While it’s designed for you to clean the filter, you can buy a replacement on Amazon when it gets too gunky.
Shark Lift Around (occasionally available from 3rd party sellers on Amazon) — 2 recommendations
- Small, powerful, 25 ft cord,fair sized dirt cup. We have lived aboard for almost a year and have a dog on board and this vacuum has all the accessories I need plus a power head! We have been completely happy with it, especially the price!! Less than $70!! [CKS note: could not find it for $70 online . . .]
- Have had a Shark a/c plug in for 7 or 8 yrs on our boat and it works amazing. No bags. [Note this may be a slightly different model]
Shop Vac All-Around EZ (available on Amazon) – 1 recommendation
- It comes with all the attachments and even has an adjustment on the floor head to drop bristles for rugs. It work for both wet and dry…inexpensive (I think it was around 40$) at Home Hardware and on our 53 the cord is long enough if I plug in the galley to do the whole boat. Very happy with it as it’s light and small enough to store and picks up dirt very well.
Shop Vac Hang Mini (1.5 hp no longer available but see 2 hp model on Amazon) – 1 recommendation; 1 “okay”
- Our Shop-Vac Hang Mini is great when more [than a hand broom] is needed. ACE Hardware has parts throughout the Eastern Caribbean (our full-time cruising grounds). For the short time it is on, I can put up with the noise.
- ShopVac HangOn has done a fair job.
Shop Vac Bucket Head (available on Amazon) — 1 recommendation
- It met our multi tasker requirement. It fits on a standard 3 or 5 gallon bucket, it’s wet or dry, has a floor attachment as an option, has the ability to blow up the dinghy with the exhaust port. The bucket is our wash down bucket and is about to be turned into a look bucket.
NOTE: Bucket not included.
Shark Hand Held — 1 recommendation and 1 NO
- My husband gave me the Shark hand held…..very powerful , works great on our boat !
- [CKS: We have a Shark Cordless Hand Held and the battery life has been horrible despite taking care to always fully dischange before recharging . . . would NOT recommend]
ArmourAll 12 volt Car Vac (available on Amazon) — 1 recommendation
- We love our 12 volt car vac by ArmorAll. Has 20 ft cord. Has brush attachment with crevice flip out feature. Very powerful. Cost $25.
Eureka Rapid Clean (Rapid Clean is no longer available, see Easy Clean on Amazon) — 1 recommendation
- I bought this Eureka RapidClean in November of 2013, after going through several other vacs that never worked the way I wanted them to. I love this thing! I ordered extra (washable) filters and a mini attachment set at the same time. This little guy stores well, vacuums great, and the cord is long enough that I can plug it in in the saloon, and reach the entire (57′) boat.
Eureka Easy Clean (on Amazon) — 1 recommendation
- Eureka easy clean is awesome for the boat. no bs, inexpensive.
Bissell Featherweight Stick (on Amazon) — 1 recommendation
- Converts from stick to hand held
- Had another recommendation for a Bissell Lightweight purchased at Big Lots
2-in-1 Electrolux Ergorapido (available at Costco and Amazon) — 1 recommendation
- Love it! It’s a stick and handheld unit in one. No bags needed. Rechargeable. Works great on rugs an wood floor.
Hoover LiNX Stick Vacuum — 1 recommendation
- We’ve used this for three years aboard. Works great on hard surfaces and the indoor/outdoor rugs we use inside. It’s fantastic.
Volta (Australian brand) — 1 recommendation
- I have a small Volta. Been on the boat 8 years still going strong. Fits under the steps to our cabin. Only place on the boat it can go….and a small rechargable dustbuster for little bits.
DeWalt 18 Volt Cordless (on Amazon) — 1 recommendation
- No remarks made, just a recommendation
Oreck — 1 recommendation
- I have this cute little Oreck backpack vacumn….it’s the best!
Dirt Devil Scorpion Bagless (on Amazon) — 1 recommendation
- For galley and floors I have used the Dirt Devil Scorpion bag less vac.I have used it for five years and it and replacement filters are on Amazon.
A couple of people also recommended vacuums that they’ve had for 20+ years, but as these are no longer available, I didn’t list them here.Some links above (including all Amazon links) are affiliate links, meaning that I earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more.