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Old 10-05-2008, 14:51   #1
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12 Volt vacuums for boats

Hi Everyone (not just the ladies this!!!),

Just wondering if anyone has one of those small hand held 12 volt vacuums on their boat?

I am looking at getting one and have been doing some research on the internet. There seems to be a few different models around and they have one on the Boaters World website and you can buy one here in Saint Martin from Budget Marine.

I ideally was hoping to find one that was either cordless but had a recharger with the cigarette lighter so that I could re-charge it on the boat or one that had a very long cord so that I could use it around the whole boat.

I want to be able to vacuum behind things, under things and in all the little corners and spots that collect dust/sand/fluff etc and also give the cabin cushions etc a really good clean with a vacuum regularly to keep them clean and free from dust etc.

It would be great to hear from anyone who has one and how they have found using it (i.e is it good value for money, do you use it reguarly, does it make cleaning a bit easier etc) and where the best place might be to get one etc.

Thanks so much for all of your help!

Have a wonderful day & happy/safe cruising.

I am off to have a lovely sunset drink on deck!


Our Life At Sea

"Life is all about Sailing, Smiles & Inspiration"
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Old 10-05-2008, 15:16   #2
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I have a Waeco PowerVac PV-100 on the yacht, it runs on it's inbuilt rechargeable battery, cigarette plug or mains via the inverter.

Happy with it, so would buy again.

Waeco 12V PowerVac [PV-100] - $79.95NZD : Discount Marine, Ships chandlers, boat supplies, inflatable boats, electronics, hardware and everything else

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Old 10-05-2008, 17:09   #3
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Be aware that if you want to keep carpet and cushions clean or suck up more than small loose dust, crumbs, etc particles you need to go to a bigger AC powered cleaner - even small domestic cleaners are 1100 watts and this power is needed if you want any real suction.

We tried a series of 12v ones before giving up on them as they just do not have the power required - we now carry a small domestic sized AC powered one that is 1100 watts and it is fine. Friends' experiences have been the same.

But the 12 volt ones are fine if it is that you are just wanting to pick up loose crumbs, etc.
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Old 10-05-2008, 17:22   #4

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Same experience here as MidLandOne.

If you have an inverter (good LORD Mark is going to find me and kill me), you can plug in a nice Shop-Vac or wet/dry vac.

They make a little 1 gallon one that will pick up marbles, or if you take the filter out, you can use it to suck water out of a bilge. VERY useful on a boat. Goes the extra mile and allows you to clean up the messiest of messes.

(think a clogged head)

shopvac vacuums, vacuum shopvac, Shop Vac 201-15-00 1 X 1 Portable Handheld Wet / Dry Vac - 1-hp X 1-Gallon. -

I have something like the above. And... I dare to say I *have* used it to clean out the nasty water from a broken head.
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Old 10-05-2008, 17:26   #5
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Ditto the 1 gallon shop vac!!!! It has a LOT of uses.

Don't bother with 12 V vacuums.
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Old 10-05-2008, 18:01   #6
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We have a 12 volt "dust buster" model with a power beater head that works pretty good for what it is. It came with a few accessories like a narrow tip that's good for getting inbetween seat cushions etc. It pretty much craps out at cat litter but anything smaller than that it's ok. Great for those quick clean ups.
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Old 10-05-2008, 18:59   #7
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Just don't use it to suck spilled gas out of the bilge, as a few boaters have been known to do. RIP
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Old 10-05-2008, 23:35   #8
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I had a really nice 110 VAC shop vac small unit. But it did not have a hose connection for the discharge. I replaced it with a Stinger model (which I think is also made by Shop Vac). Now I can inflate the dingy, or kayak with it. I have also been known to unplug/blow out the galley sink drain with the pressure when my wife has plugged it up.... many times. Oh yeah. Ocassionally I put the hose on the suction side and actually vacuum with it. The hose that comes with all of the wet/dry units I've ever seen is painfully short. When I bought the Stinger, I walked over the the hose isle and also picked up the proper sized hose to get the length I wanted. Now the vacuum usually sits in one spot and the long hose comes out to do the work, then it all tucks back into it's cubby hole on the boat.

I wouldn't be without it. New teak and holly floor covering, so I'm vacuuming all the time so I can stand back and admire the floor all the more.
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Old 11-05-2008, 19:34   #9
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Thanks for all of those helpful suggestions & links about 12 volt vacuums.

I will do some more research and see which one is right for me.

Thank you, I really appreciate all of your thoughts and suggestions.

Have a wonderful day!


Our Life At Sea
"Life is all about Sailing, Smiles & Inspiration"
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Old 17-05-2008, 06:30   #10
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We have a black and decker 12v vacuum and, while it will pick up dust and small breadcrumbs, it takes a looooooonnnnng time to get a carpet looking clean. Its actually quicker and easier to brush it up with a dustpan and brush. I would love one of those cordless mini dysons- but they're 240v and you only get 6 minutes when fully charged- which does not seem like that long a time- although probably enough to get all the bits that show! Recharging would be a problem though. Let me know if you find a good answer!
People who say things can't be done should stop getting in the way of the people doing them.....
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Old 17-05-2008, 10:41   #11
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I like the DeWalt 18V series. For household chores you can get a very powerful wet/dry shopvac. And the 18V battery packs fit a host of really great power tools - circular saw, jigsaw, sawzall & hammer drill, etc.

That combo ought to keep everyone happy!!
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Old 17-05-2008, 18:47   #12
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This may sound odd, but I found an excellent, simple and powerful 12V- plugs into a female 12V socket- vacuum in a truck stop on land. Mine was $24. U.S. dollars and (typical) draws alot of amps, so I usually use it when the solar panel is getting sun or have the diesel engine running. It's got attachments and pulls up small dirt. Compact, easy to store. NO fuss, no AC or inverters. Also saw at the truck stop a 12V wet/dry shop vac. After going through a few types of vacs, this trucker's version is really nice. Those guys use lots of interesting 12V things that us boaters would enjoy. Now, a fellow solo-cruiser (Defiant) and I are using CB radios to share our random chat while underway so we don't tie up VHF channels.
I found this vac when venturing ashore in the Carolinas (U.S.) along Hwy 95, that famous route up & down the coast. Probably trucker sites on the web as well. Wonder what RV-ers use...don't they have 12V goodies too?
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Old 18-05-2008, 11:06   #13
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We have the Hoover Road Rat 12v wet-dry vac on the boat and like it a lot. It's made for use in a car, but works well on a boat too. I agree with other posters that this type of vac is not really made for vacuuming carpets (who wants to be down on their hands and knees for that anyway?), but it has plenty of suction for getting up small spills or messes made while doing boat maintenance, cooking, etc, especially on uncarpeted areas. The fact that it can also get up wet spills is also nice, though the capacity for liquid is limited. It has a very long cord with cigarette-outlet type plug. For the price, we're quite satisfied.

The Road Rat can be purchased at Target and other places. Here's a link to it at Target: |Hoover_Road_Rat_WetDry_Car_Vac_BlueL2020&ref=tgt_ adv_XSN10001

Hope this helps! No affiliation with Hoover or Target of course, just passing along the information....

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Old 27-05-2008, 19:43   #14
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My boat partner went for the mini-Dyson (ours is 110V). Yes, it only runs for 6 minutes, but it works REALLY well. Pro: small, easy to store Con: Needs AC to charge, cannot be used for wet vac jobs. But, for keeping the place quickly neat and picking up crumbs and stuff between bigger cleanings, its a gem and makes her very very happy. That, alone, was worth the cost.

When is the last time you tried something for the first time?
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Old 01-06-2008, 09:52   #15
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dyson is great!

I have the same one windsaloft has - the Dyson hand-held vac. It is not 12v, but it is AMAZING.

I always feel the mini-vacs never pick up anything & run out of battery too quickly. The Dyson is not that way at all. Charge it up (16v battery), then have enough power & time to get all around the entire cabin. It was expensive as all get out (like $150 US) but now that I've used it for awhile I can tell you it is 100% worth it.

I know it isn't exactly what you're looking for, but honestly, it is the only way I'd go!

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