Log in
Article search:

Q & A

12 v vacuum cleaner

We have recently bought a Narrowboat with a 1500 W inverter and are having problems with our 1400 W vacuum cleaner and have been told that the only answer is a 12v one, but my experience of those is that they are useless on carpets. Does anyone sell an efficient 12v cleaner or a lower wattage mains cleaner, or do you have any other advice to solve the cleaning problem?

Asked by: Chris Dann  | 4.40pm, Tuesday 16 November


WW says:

One problem is that anything with an inductive load (such as a motor) will often draw a much higher current, however briefly, before they work properly.
A very cheap, small 1000W 230V cleaner might work- recently tried a £14 mains cleaner from Argos, and it worked rather well aboard the boat, so I agree with Mick in his comments- some cheap cleaners are quite good.
Also, running the engine is a good idea, or even better, vacuuming when the boat is cruising, rather than the engine just off-load.
Check the wiring to your inverter is up to scratch as well, as most inverters should be able to take the overload startup current, without cutting out. Large currents need thick wiring, with good connections- see the manufacturers guide- and remember the long the cables are from the battery, the greater the diameter needed.

Mark Langley  | 11.09AM, Thursday 18 November


Readers say:

we got a 1000w vacuum from tesco and have a rough collie dog that leaves long hairs this does the job ok also maybe run the engine to help the batteries

mick turner  | 10.00AM, Wednesday 17 November

maybe the answer is to use one of those push carpet sweepers that don't use electric-or if gett a 240v link-up then you can use any type of vacuum

gaz bee  | 12.26PM, Thursday 18 November

No, 12v vacuum cleaners don't suck.
In the January 2011 edition, Mr Chris Dann was enquiring about vacuum cleaners on narrow boats. I agree with Mr Dann in that generally speaking, the 12v car/truck cleaners are not powerful enough for what is to all intents and purpose a domestic situation. Recently, my wife bought an ORECK upright vacuum cleaner. This is a lightweight American make designed for hotel staff. With it came an ORECK standard compact cylinder vacuum cleaner. This is a 500W vacuum (they also do a de-lux model) with dimensions of:- L-13.5ins, W-5.25ins, H-8.0ins. At only 5lbs in weight, it can easily be carried around using the supplied shoulder strap. This very compact unit can be powered by a 1.0kw generator (we use a Honda). Whilst this vacuum cleaner is not the most powerful we have come across, we have found it to be very satisfactory for boat use, and with its very compact dimension, easy to stow. The price of this unit is just over £100.00p, but I have seen them for sale on e-bay at about £25.00p. I hope that this information is of help to Mr Dann

Thomas Montagu  | 10.30PM, Monday 28 March

Thank you for all your responses. now we have replaced a dead battery, (still under warranty, that's another battle to fight) the system is providing adequate power and our £20 vacuum from Comet works fine. MRS Chris Dann

Chris Dann  | 1.55PM, Wednesday 6 April

You must log in to post an answer.