Best Vacuums For Small Sailboats

Best Vacuums For Small Sailboats | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Jacob Collier

August 30, 2022

There are many perks to having a sailboat but their ability to remain clean is not one of them. Fortunately, you can buy small sailboat vacuums to manage that.

Small boat vacuums come in cordless and corded variety and the best ones are lightweight and can easily get in cramped space. Over the years, I have tried vacuums from brands like Black + Decker, Dyson, DeWALT, Bissell, Eureka, and Armor All and found them to be excellent options for boat cleaning.

In this guide, we will cover some of the best small sailboat vacuum models from these brands. These vacuum cleaners may not be designed for exclusive use on a sailboat but they are compact, affordable and offer exceptional service.

I have considered my own experience using these vacuum cleaners in my own boat as well as taken the opinions of my friends and relatives who also use these convenient products. Consequently, I have made a list of the best performing ones in this guide.


Table of contents

Types of Small Sailboat Vacuums: Corded & Cordless

There are two main types of small sailboat vacuum cleaners: corded and cordless.

Corded Vacuum Cleaners: Corded vacuum cleaners are plugged to a power supply so they can run as long as the boat has power. Since they do not have an internal battery to contend with, they are lighter. If you invest in 12-volt corded vacuum cleaners, they draw very little power so you can safely use them for extended periods of time without draining your boat’s power supply.

Cordless Vacuum Cleaners: Cordless vacuum on the other hand are more portable and hence more convenient. They do not have a cord that you have to drag around the boat so they are easier to maneuver. However, since they are equipped with batteries they are heavier and can work only until their batteries last.

The Best Small Sailboat Vacuums for 2022

I have analyzed the vacuums listed below based on their power capacity, versatility, ease of use, tank capacity, battery life, and more. Let us take a look at them:

Black + Decker Flex Car Vacuum (BDH1200FVAV)

The Black + Decker Flex Car Vacuum is one of the best choices not just for sailboats but also for cars, stairs and other compact areas. The vacuum cleaner is designed to easily access and clean small nooks and crannies that can be difficult to reach.

One of the best features we found on it is that even though the vacuum cleaner is corded, it is designed to be plugged into a cigarette lighter socket with a 12V adapter. This is very helpful and convenient when it comes to cleaning your boat.

The vacuum cleaner has a wraparound 16-foot cable and 19-ounce capacity which is adequate for smaller sailboats; however, it depends on how much dust your vessel has gathered. That said, it is very easy to empty, which is a plus for owners, since you can empty the bag multiple times quickly.

The vacuum is equipped with a 4-foot flexible hose, 2-in-1 flip-up brush/ wide nozzle, and a long crevice tool. It also comes with cyclonic action that spins the dirt away from the filter, preventing it from getting clogged.


  • Very versatile and comes with easy to use attachments
  • Small and compact and can access hard-to-reach areas
  • Wraparound 16-foot cable and 4-inch flexible hose


  • No accessory storage given
  • 19-ounce dust bowl capacity may not be enough for a boat

Eureka RapidClean Pro Lightweight Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

The Eureka RapidClean Pro Lightweight Cordless Vacuum Cleaner is a super lightweight portable battery-operated vacuum cleaner that uses the cyclone suction technology to quickly and conveniently remove dust and grime from the boat.

The vacuum comes with a removable extension tube that connects the tank and the battery to the floor unit. It can easily be taken apart and transformed into a handy compact unit. It has a dust cup capacity of 0.185 gallons which is quite large and it also comes with multiple suction speeds.  It can also lie down completely flat which allows you to fan it out under tight spaces like tables.

If it is charged fully, it can operate for 40 minutes at full speed. The unit is also equipped with LED lights which are super helpful in illuminating cramped, narrow and dark areas, like inside the sailboat cabinets and under the seats.


  • Can be adjusted for three different speeds
  • Can run for 40 minutes on full power
  • Can lie flat to sweep low and cramped horizontal surfaces
  • Equipped with LED light for lighting dark spaces


  • A bit pricey

Dyson V7 Car+Boat Cord-Free Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

The Dyson V7 Car+Boat Cord-Free Handheld Vacuum Cleaner is one of the handiest and most convenient compact vacuum cleaners, designed specifically for sailboat and car maintenance. The vacuum cleaner is small, light, and cordless and is a great option for cleaning small messes and spot cleaning.

It features a huge 0.15 gallon dustbin that can be easily removed and is transparent. Depending on how much dust and dirt your sailboat has accumulated, you might need to empty it multiple times. It is equipped with a hygienic dirt ejector that allows you to clean out the bowl in a contactless way.

The Dyson V7 Car+Boat vacuum cleaner is equipped with a mini-motorized tool, an extension hose, combination tool, and a car charger. One of its major perks is that it is powered by the Dyson digital motor V7, which is among the most powerful vacuum motors in the market.

You can run the unit easily for 30 minutes which should be able to take care of your small sailboat maintenance needs.


  • The vacuum is cordless which makes it easy to handle
  • Specifically designed for small boats and car interiors
  • Equipped with a powerful Dyson digitized motor
  • 30 minutes of run time on a single charge


  • Run time may become reduced if you run it on the MAX setting

DeWALT DXV04T Portable 4-Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum

The DeWALT DXV04T Wet/Dry Vacuum is not your average vacuum cleaner and may not be the first vacuum you consider for your boat. However, we believe it is worth a try. The unit is a wet/dry cleaner which is very portable and convenient to use.

It has a 4-gallon toolbox design that provides a lot of space for disposing both dry and water particles. The unit is run by a 5HP motor that delivers powerful suction that can effectively pick up the most stubborn piece of grime, dust, and debris.

Another interesting thing about the vacuum is that it has a reusable cartridge filter and is washable. You can pick up both wet and dry things with it. In addition, it also comes with a nice on-board storage for all accessories and attachments.

The DeWALT Portable Wet/Dry vacuum cleaner features a flexible hose that is up to 7 foot long and a 20 foot power wraparound cord that makes for easy storage.


  • The vacuum unit is good for both wet and dry cleaning
  • Comes with a huge 6 gallon tank size
  • Has a waterproof power switch


  • Does not have a brush attachment

Black + Decker Pivot 20 V (BDH2000PL) Vacuum

The Black + Decker BDH2000PL vacuum cleaner is a dedicated cordless handheld vacuum cleaner with a stick vac design. One of its very best design features is that it is equipped with a flexible pivot joint that allows you to bend the unit 200 degrees. This means you can turn your vacuum cleaner into a literal hook to reach cobwebs from the top of cabinets and cupboards. This feature also allows you to easily fold it up for storage.

On the other hand, the Black + Decker Pivot 20 V has a large body and a lack of hose that makes it a bit tricky to maneuver under seats and tables. In addition, the dusting and crevice tool are not removable either.

The Pivot 20 has a lower run time than the other vacuum cleaners in our list at just 11 and a half minutes. However, it is quite powerful and was able to capture 70% of the dust in our sailboat. For its low price, this unit offers a lot of value.


  • A powerful 20V motor that creates excellent suction
  • Can pivot its head to fit to access tight spaces
  • Pivot head can fold up for easy storage


  • Quite affordable
  • Dust bowl capacity is only 15 ounces
  • Run time is 11 and a half minutes only

Bissell Lithium-Ion Cordless Hand Vacuum

You might be surprised to find this product in our list but this small vacuum offers just as good a service on small sailboats than they do in removing pet hair from home. The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Lithium-Ion Vacuum is a powerful but compact handheld vacuum cleaner that is specially made to tackle hair and dander so it is a wonderful choice if you are living with your pets on a sailboat.

The BISSELL vacuum is equipped with a motorized brush tool as well as crevice and upholstery tools. Coupled with the unit’s powerful suction force, it can keep your entire boat squeaky clean. This is a wonderful choice if you want to clean the floors as well as above-floor surfaces like your upholstery clean.

The unit is equipped with a 14V lithium-ion battery and a dust cup with a 0.185 gallon capacity. The cup is transparent so you will know immediately when it is time to empty it. Moreover, the vacuum cleaner also comes with a triple filtration system that prevents any mote of dust or strand of hair from slipping back into your breathing space.

The device has a run time of 17 minutes on a single charge


  • A great option for pet parents
  • Very easy to empty
  • Is compact and cordless so handles easily


  • Has a 17 minute run time which is not the lowest in our list

Armor All , AA255 Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum

If you are looking for a powerful, heavy-duty, and durable vacuum cleaner, the Armor All AA225 is one of the best options out there. This is a shop vacuum and has a strong build that guarantees long-lasting as well as everyday rough usage.

The vacuum is built like a toolbox and comes with a 2.5 gallon polypropylene tank. The body is almost impossible to break and is excellent for people who want to put it to good use every single day. Since it is a wet/dry boat vacuum, it can be used to clean up everything from debris to water, making it particularly useful for a boat.

The unit also features a 2 peak HP motor that is powerful enough to suck up different kinds of messes. Aside from that, the vacuum cleaner is also equipped with a blower port that can be used as a blower as well.


  • On-board accessories
  • Comes with a car nozzle, crevice tool, and a few more useful accessories
  • Good for both wet and dry messes


  • The power cable is a bit short at just 10 feet

Dyson V6 Car + Boat Handheld Vacuum - Cordless

The Dyson V6 Car + Boat Handheld Vacuum is another very good boat and car vacuum cleaner. The unit is compact and powerful and very easy to use as well as store. The cordless vacuum is equipped with Dyson’s powerful digital motor V6 which offers powerful suction.

The vacuum features 2 tier radial cyclones that feature 15 cyclones that are set across two tiers. These tiers work in parallel, which increases the airflow and enables capturing of finer dust, debris, and particles.

The Dyson V6 Car + Boat Handheld Vacuum is equipped with a mini motorized tool that is specifically engineered to pick up pet hair and dander. However, using this motorized tool will reduce the overall battery life of vacuum cleaners. In regular use, the Dyson V6 will give you a run time of 20 minutes, which is enough to clean a small boat.

The unit also comes with a few extra attachments such as a combination tool, a crevice tool, an extension hose, and a mini soft dusting brush. There is also another brush that you can use to remove stubborn bits of dust from the floor of your boat.


  • Equipped with a battery-saving trigger grip release
  • Comes with a boost minute and a mini motorized tool for more efficient cleaning
  • A good option for hard-to-reach and cramp areas


  • Is equipped with a small dust cup 

What Type of Small Sailboat Vacuums You Should Buy

When choosing a vacuum cleaner, get the one that offers the most value for money. To get the best small sailboat vacuums, here are some factors you should consider:

Cleaning Tasks

If you want a vacuum cleaner for casual use that can clean up small messes on your boat, then I recommend getting a lightweight, cordless, and portable cleaner for small jobs. These can clean up the mess in just a few seconds.

However, if you want the vacuum to clean up your entire boat, I recommend buying a heavy-duty vacuum cleaner that can be plugged to a power supply for extended use. These vacuum cleaners have powerful motors and better suction capabilities so they are more efficient when it comes to cleaning the whole sailboat.

Power Mode

Both corded and cordless vacuum cleaners come with their share of pros and cons. The biggest advantage of vacuum cleaners that need to be plugged to a power source is that they can run for as long as your boat has power. However, you should try to invest in a unit that has a cord of decent length, otherwise, it can be a hassle.

On the other hand, cordless vacuum cleaners are easier to maneuver and can access hard to reach areas. However, they only run for a limited time after which they need to be recharged.

Ease of Use

Since boats are compact spaces, they have many cramped areas and nooks and crannies that can be tricky to clean. For this reason, you should invest in a vacuum that can access these areas easily and can also be stored in a small space.

In addition, the vacuum cleaner itself should be easy to clean out and should be durable so that it can withstand everyday use on a boat.

Accessories Storage

On-board accessories storage is a very important element when it comes to the storage of your vacuum cleaner. Unless the extra tools can be fixed on to the vacuum and stored, you will need to store them somewhere else. This means it is easier to misplace them. An accessories storage prevents this from happening.

Wet/ Dry

Vacuum cleaners that offer dual wet and dry functionalities are often the best choice for boats. It is because they can also clean up liquid without getting damaged because of the water. Since boats frequently get wet, these vacuums may actually be essential for you.


If you are looking for a compact or small vacuum, handheld vacuum cleaners are a good choice. They are super-light, compact, and can be used on the boat easily, regardless of its size. They also come with extra tools like crevice tools to clean out nooks and crannies. In addition, they can be great for both floor and above-floor surfaces.

Best Vacuums For Small Sailboats
Jacob Collier

Jacob Collier

Born into a family of sailing enthusiasts, words like “ballast” and “jibing” were often a part of dinner conversations. These days Jacob sails a Hallberg-Rassy 44, having covered almost 6000 NM. While he’s made several voyages, his favorite one is the trip from California to Hawaii as it was his first fully independent voyage.

Read more articles

by this author

Home /

Best Vacuums For Small Sailboats

Best Vacuums For Small Sailboats
7 Best Places To Liveaboard A Sailboat >>Can You Live On A Sailboat Year Round? >>

Most Recent

Important Legal Info

Similar Posts

Popular Posts

Get The Best Sailing Content

Welcome aboard! Check your email...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.

(866) 342-SAIL

© 2024 Life of Sailing
Address: 11816 Inwood Rd #3024 Dallas, TX 75244
DisclaimerPrivacy Policy