Best Vacuums For Sailboats - 12V Battery Cleaners

Best Vacuums For Sailboats: 12V Battery Cleaners | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

June 15, 2022

Thanks to longer-lasting rechargeable batteries and efficient motors, today's compact sailboat vacuums are better and more affordable than ever.

The best vacuums for sailboats are the Holife handheld vacuum, Orfeld cordless vacuum, Black + Decker Dustbuster, Eureka RapidClean, and the Thisworx 12 corded vacuum. Other options include the Cherylon vacuum, F/F 4-in-1, Black + Decker Flex, Wagen Wet, and Dry vacuum, and the GN Netcom rechargeable vacuum.

In this article, we'll cover ten of the best 12-volt corded and cordless vacuums for sailboats. These vacuums aren't necessarily designed for sailboats, but they're affordable and highly effective for small and medium-sized boat cabins.

We sourced the information in this article and item specifications from leading portable vacuum manufacturers. We also considered the experiences of liveaboards and sailboat owners who use portable vacuums.  


Table of contents

Corded vs. Cordless Sailboat Vacuums

There are two primary options for sailboat vacuums: corded and cordless. Cordless vacuums have the benefit of being the most portable, as you can move them around without dragging a cord along. However, they're heavier due to the batteries and have a limited use time.

Corded vacuums can run as long as the boat produces power, and they tend to be lighter. However, they need to be plugged in at all times to work. That said, 12-volt corded vacuums draw very little power and should be safe to use for extended periods.

Best 12v Corded and Cordless Sailboat Vacuums

Through our research, we found ten of the best 12-volt corded and rechargeable portable vacuums for sailboats. These vacuums are all highly effective and affordable, and most of them are energy-efficient.

1. Holife Handheld Cordless Rechargeable High Power Portable Vacuum

Here's one of the highest-rated portable cordless vacuums on the market today. The Holife handheld cordless vacuum is affordable, compact, and ideal for use on a sailboat. This vacuum comes in the traditional 'dustbuster' configuration, and it comes with several accessories.

This 14.8-volt vacuum comes with several brush attachments, including a narrow nozzle attachment and a convenient and secure charging dock. The vacuum charges completely in two to three hours, and it automatically stops charging for safety. The docking station also functions as a convenient storage base for the vacuum.

When stored, the width of the vacuum and its base take up no more than just a few inches of room. This vacuum has 7 kPa of suction, which is quite high for a handheld unit. It uses cyclonic suction, which greatly improves power. The 2200mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery delivers around half an hour of continuous run time.

2. Orfeld Cordless 22KPA Battery-Operated Stick Vacuum

If you're looking for something a little bit larger and more powerful, consider a compact Orfeld cordless stick vacuum. This battery-operated vacuum has 22 kPa suction power and an impressive 60-minute run time on a single charge.

This compact stick vacuum is lightweight and easily converts to a small handheld vacuum to save space. The vacuum comes with an automatic dust detection system that detects dust particles as small as 15 microns.

It automatically adapts the vacuum to handle some of the smallest dust particles. The vacuum also comes with several attachments, including a standard brush, a narrow nozzle, a floor brush, and a wide brush.

This miniature home-style vacuum cleaner is great for cleaning carpets, upholstery, even food messes in the galley. This vacuum uses cyclonic suction, which increases the power and saves energy. In its handheld configuration, the Orfeld portable vacuum can use all the attachments, including the spinning floor brushes.

3. Black + Decker Dustbuster Cordless Vacuum

Here's a popular and reliable Black + Decker vacuum modeled after a traditional dustbuster that you're sure to recognize. The Black + Decker handheld dustbuster is a classic name in vacuums, and it uses a time-tested system for cleaning the toughest messes.

Black + Decker states that this new model has a 125% longer run time than other models, which makes it ideal for sailboats where energy conservation is a must.

The unit comes with a standard wall charger, a filter, and an extendable attachment that nearly doubles the length of the vacuum. The vacuum also has four times more suction power than a standard dustbuster.

This dustbuster eliminates messy emptying with an easy-to-use 'One Touch' dust container latch. It operates with two speeds, which are adjustable based on Section requirements. That means that you can use a lower speed and save battery power if you need it to last longer or clean a larger area on your sailboat.

4. Eureka RapidClean Pro Lightweight Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

The Eureka RapidClean Pro is an ultralight portable battery-operated vacuum cleaner that uses cyclonic suction to reliably eliminate dirt and grime. Like the Orfeld cordless vacuum, this unit uses a removable extension tube to connect the battery and tank to the floor unit. It can be easily disassembled and turned into a compact handheld unit.

The primary benefits of cordless stick vacuums over dustbuster-type vacuums are power and dust compartment size. The tank is much larger and can hold more dirt, dust, and other boat gunk. Additionally, this vacuum has multiple section speeds, and it's much more powerful than a typical dust buster.

On a full charge, this vacuum can operate for 40 minutes on full power. It includes LED lights in the floor-mounted unit, which illuminate dark and cramped areas, such as under seats or inside of sailboat cabinets. The vacuum also lays completely flat, which allows you to clean under tight spaces like tables or compartments.

5. Thisworx Portable 12v Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

Here's a portable dust buster-style vacuum cleaner that runs directly off a standard 12-volt power supply. The Thisworx portable handheld vacuum includes a 16-foot cord, and it's lightweight enough for use on the smallest sailboats. This is the ideal vacuum cleaner for small coastal cruising sailboats like the Cal 20 and the Catalina 22.

The vacuum can be used in a standard one-piece configuration or with a solid extension. It also includes several accessories, including a brush to clean the bristles of the larger brush. It also comes with a flexible hose extender, which can be fitted to any of the attachments.

This portable vacuum is designed for use in cars, though it's also an excellent choice for boats. It comes with a convenient carrying bag that stores all the pieces, including the long cord. The Thisworx portable vacuum includes a washable HEPA filter Bridges easy to reuse.

6. Cherylon Portable 12v Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

Here's another great corded 12-volt vacuum that's ideal for sailboats. The Cherylon handheld corded vacuum has a very large tank for dust and particles, and it's easy to empty without making a mess. It's a wet and dry vacuum, meaning it can be used to suck up dust and wet messes. This vacuum has no batteries, so it's lightweight and compact.

The cable is 16.4 feet long, which means it can be used in almost any space for a 12-volt outlet can be reached. Having a wet vacuum aboard a sailboat is a big plus, as water is often a source of messes and itself. That doesn't mean you can use it as a bilge pump, but it should be safe to use to vacuum up mud and other damp substances.

The vacuum comes with a flexible extension hose and a solid extended crevice nozzle. Additionally, a standard brush attachment is included for carpets and upholstery. The vacuum and all of its accessories fit in a convenient carrying bag, which can be stored under a seat or a standard sea locker.

7. F/F 4-in-1 Portable 12v Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

The F/F compact 4-in-1 portable vacuum is a handheld 12-volt DC vacuum cleaner with powerful cyclonic suction and plenty of useful attachments. This vacuum features a strong flashlight, which can be used as an emergency beacon. The light also helps illuminate dust on dark surfaces.

This handheld vacuum cleaner, which is designed for automotive use, includes a tire inflator and a pressure gauge. An alternative use for the inflator is for inflatable dinghies or recreational floaters. It can also be used to inflate air mattresses for camp sailing.

The F/F vacuum features a washable HEPA filter, which can be reused multiple times. Additionally, this model comes with an upholstery brush, a crevice extension tube, a secure air hose for inflating, and a flexible suction hose. All of these items, including the vacuum, fit into a convenient storage bag.

8. Black + Decker Portable Flex 12v Vacuum Cleaner

Here's one of the most powerful and capable corded 12-volt vacuums on the market today. The Black + Decker Flex portable vacuum features a long power cord and a flexible extension hose. It's designed like traditional floor vacuums, and it holds a whole lot of dust into its container.

This is a corded vacuum, so it's more lightweight than similar cordless models. It comes standard with a long extendable hose with a solid bent arm for leverage. When not in use, the cord wraps around the body of the vacuum for safe and organized storage. It's larger than most dustbuster vacuums, but it weighs only 19 ounces.

Out of all the vacuums we've mentioned so far, this corded vacuum is probably the best corded vacuum for sailboats due to its high power. It's essentially a compact floor vacuum with a washable HEPA filter. From these features, it's safe to assume this vacuum is capable of keeping a 25-foot to 35-foot sailboat clean, even with pets.

9. Wagen 12v Wet and Dry Portable Corded Utility Vacuum,

The Wagen portable vacuum is almost purpose-built for use on sailboats. This durable utility vacuum is designed for wet and dry cleaning, and it can also be used to inflate recreational floaters and dinghies. This coded model connects to a standard 12-volt automotive or marine outlet.

The vacuum comes with a 40-inch flexible hose and three accessory nozzles. The accessories include a standard crevice nozzle and an upholstery dust brush. The unit comes apart into two pieces, and the accessories can be stored inside for compact storage.

The Wagen portable vacuum utilizes a 120-watt motor for powerful suction and relatively efficient operation. It's easy to dump, as the collection bin splits apart in the middle and opens up widely. The carry handle folds conveniently into the body of the vacuum. This lightweight model has a flat base, so it can be left on the ground when in use.

10. GN Netcom Handheld Portable Rechargeable Vacuum

The final vacuum on our list is a slick rechargeable model with powerful lithium-ion batteries and 20 minutes of operational time on each charge. The GN Netcom portable vacuum cleaner uses cyclonic suction and charges completely in just two and a half hours.

The unit comes equipped with a flexible extension hose, a dust brush, and a standard solid crevice extension. Additionally, all of the accessories can be stored with the vacuum in a compact rectangular carrying case. This model comes with a clear hard-plastic waste receptacle for mess-free cleaning.

Unlike many comparable dust busters, this vacuum can be charged using a traditional 120-volt home plug or a 12-volt automotive/marine plug. Both cords are included, and they stow conveniently in the storage bag. For the price, the all-in-one compact GN Netcom vacuum is an excellent value for sailboats.

Best Vacuums For Sailboats - 12V Battery Cleaners
Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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