Friday, December 8, 2023


Looking for an RV rug sucker (aka vacuum cleaner)

Dear RV Shrink:  rvshrink
I use an older self-propelled upright vacuum cleaner in my motorhome. I  love it but every time I use it I have a ton of dust everywhere. In our enclosed 40-foot motorhome, it doesn’t take long to build up. I know that everyone claims to have the best vacuum out there, so here’s hoping someone has experience with a smaller, efficient vacuum. I also boondock a lot so I’m wondering if there is one that runs on battery that works on carpet. Thanks y’all. —Dusty in Dayton

Dear Dusty:
I would start out cleaning the machine you have. The bag may be too full, broken or not attached properly. You might also look into hypoallergenic bags that fit your machine to keep the dust down. Most handheld machines I have used are all bark and no bite and don’t work well on carpets.

A vacuum is one product you buy that you hope really sucks, and often it doesn’t. If you read the comment section of this post over the next few days you will likely hear from many readers who have tried different machines and are willing to share their experience with you.

Another method I find helpful is Amazon comments/reviews. Often Amazon customers have written reviews on products they have bought. These comments are ranked 1-5 stars. I read a few of the lowest and highest rankings to get a consensus. When I think I have narrowed my choice down to one product I read them all.

My weapon of choice is a small shop vac. I just get down and dirty with the handheld wand. This would not be the answer for everyone, but it is powerful and allows me to reach into all the small nooks and crannies.

Depending on your budget, you could explore the cost of having a central vacuum system added to your coach. It would sure be a lot more fun than buying a new kayak or mountain bike, and probably just as much exercise if you use it enough.

Okay, folks. Let’s hear from you out there on the road. What should Dusty do?  —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

Note from editor: Here’s the vacuum of choice in the RV Travel motorhome. And here are many battery-powered vacuum cleaners at

Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his e-book: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.






0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe to comments
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Thomas Hansen (@guest_37308)
4 years ago

Whatever you do just don’t fall into the “bagless vacuum” trap – they suck, and not in the good way that you want a vacuum to suck.

BO (@guest_35165)
5 years ago

We also had the central vac and hated it, both the lack of suction and all of the hose that had to be stored somewhere! I purchased a Hoover LINX for at-home use when my standard vac got too for taking upstairs. I love it! So we got another for the RV. No bags. Light and easy to store. Great suction. Carpet/floor adjustment.

If I had no carpets, I would get an Eye-Vac electric dustpan and not even own a vacuum. I have one in my sewing room and love it.

Gene Cheatham (@guest_34144)
5 years ago

Dyson fan. Stopped using our central vac in the house to use an Animal 2 from Dyson. Yes it is only 5 months old but sold on the brand. Worth The cost, super easy to use and maintain.

Phil Smith (@guest_33996)
5 years ago

We have a Stanley 12v shop vac that works great (a.k.a., really sucks). We have no carpet though, and there is no powered brush head, if that is important.

Karen Pattist (@guest_33993)
5 years ago

We’ve been motorhomers for 40 years, sometimes we’re out for a day or two, sometimes months. I don’t know why motorhomes collect more dirt than houses, but they do! Maybe cause we go in and out so much, and track mud, sand and gravel onto the floors.

For years, we had a carpeted motorhome. We tried LOTS of different vacuums. We agree with others who have posted here that battery-powered vacs just won’t suck it.

For a small motorhome, we liked the Dirt Devil Ultra Bagged Handheld Vacuum – Amazon sells for $62. We decided we like bags that can just be replaced, although we often empty them and use them several times. The little handheld does admirable work on carpets, but the easiest solution for carpets was to use throw rugs! We eventually had our entire floor covered with small rugs, and it was just faster and easier to gather them up, bang them against a tree and put them back once a week than to work the vacuum.

Our current motorhome has wood floors. Non-carpeted floors always seem to be dirty – but they are so much easier to clean! We have a Dirt Devil built in vac system, and it has enough suck to do upholstery with the revolving brush attachment, but it is so time-consuming to do the entire floor surface with a wand or the brush attachment! YIKES!

A while back, our trusty household Hoover finally decided it had been repaired enough times, and gave up. We replaced it with a Miele. Wow – talk about the right tool for the job! It’s powerful, and so ergonomic and well-designed, that I now vacuum more often! Enough said.

So I figured, why not a portable Miele for the Motorhome? The Compact C1 is easy to store, has TONS of suck, and is fast and easy to use! It has an easily changed bag that makes sure all the dust stays inside! Great for pet hair, and all the small stones my husbie brings in with the tread of his shoes. The perfect tool for the job, and I don’t miss the built-in at all!

It’s taken us 40 years to find the right vacuum for us – but we highly recommend the Miele – any canister model will be an excellent choice. Plus – many vacuum sellers have a 30 day trial policy – if you don’t like it – you send it back and get your money back. If you’re really going to use a vacuum, it has to be fast and easy. I can have the Miele Compact C1 out, finish vacuuming, and put it away in the time I could put together the hose and attachment for the built-in and have just started cleaning.

Conclusion – If you hate vacuuming as much as we do – you need the right tool to make the job a bit less odious! Miele works for us!

Gloria Sluder (@guest_33965)
5 years ago

I use Shark V-10 comes with lots of attachments. I use to get under slides we have 5 cats??

David Hagen (@guest_33941)
5 years ago

I installed a Dirt Devil 9880 central vacuum under a dinette seat and it works great. Just $199. Easy to install.

DaBus (@guest_33930)
5 years ago

We have used the Dyson Animal for 2 years. Absolutely nothing better. You can usually find them used on Craigslist and often refurbished for less than 1/2 price on Amazon.

rvgrandma (@guest_33928)
5 years ago

I have yet to have a vacuum that does not get covered with dust when vacuuming. I can’t afford the dyson type. I finally researched and bought a Dust Devil Power Max upright. I thought with the way the handle was it would work on that horrible carpet on the ceiling – nope. But, it does a great job sucking up dirt. Before I got rid of my Hoover I vacuumed, then vacuumed the same area with the dirt devil. Was shocked at how much more it pulled out. I can just dump the dust and pet hair out afterwards but every few uses have to take apart the container and rinse with the hose.
Unfortunately it will not work when boondocking unless you want to fire up the generator while doing it.

Aktravler (@guest_33926)
5 years ago

It has to be the one for $109. It is the most powerful Deik listed and it has a 10% coupon.

Peg (@guest_33871)
5 years ago

I have a Shark Rocket which does the job well and the cord reaches the whole coach from kitchen to front and back. I have two dogs so have to vacuum at least every other day. I also use a battery powered Black and Decker hand held cleaner for spills and quicker jobs. Both travel in the closet. Only have carpet in bedroom and in one slide and an area rug in LR.

Nanci Dixon (@guest_33850)
5 years ago

Our motorhome came with a central vac – what a pain! We love our Dyson battery hand held with an extension and powered two vacuum heads- one for floors and one for carpet. So worth the way-too-high price! Recharges quickly, even when boondocking.

CWahl (@guest_33847)
5 years ago

We use a wired Shark rocket. Small to store, doesn’t use much electric and does a great job. We thought the small amount of electricity used did not warrant a battery operated model. More of a pain to keep batteries charged than to actually plug in for short periods.

Joe Dobry (@guest_33844)
5 years ago

Dyson cordless does a really good job for us, but short battery time hurts usage. Can usually get the entire fiver done, but sometimes not. Surprising how much dirt/dog hair it finds.

Dr4Film ----- Richard (@guest_33843)
5 years ago

We use a small 3 gallon Wet/Dry Shop-Vac stored under the bed. Versatile, can be used inside the coach or out for many different purposes.

Wolfe (@guest_33877)
5 years ago

Likewise use a 3 gallon shop vac – it picks up wet messes, small rocks, sand, etc unlike home vacuums. I upgraded the filter to a HEPA (kept the original for really nasty messes!). To beat the carpets I put a turbine (suction) powered beater from my home vac on the hose. More than covers all the bases for a couple weeks until I’m home again…

Shop vac ALSO inflates my inflatable kayak in two minutes…handy to have a blower when you need one!

TravelingMan (@guest_33824)
5 years ago

Central vacs seem to have a pretty good suction (to a point). We like the feature where you can sweep the hard floor to a central point and then use the foot pedal to vacuum that portion away.

What doesn’t work well is the heavy hose and the agitation head. These are truly the weak links. For this reason, I don’t recommend a central vacuum system. If we want the carpet cleaner, we always use the old standby Hoover upright. It’s bulky but does a great job. As pointed out, we use the better vacuum bags. It also has the HEPA filter on the side. The attachments are on-board. It is hard to find a place to store it. But what vacuum will not be trouble? Even the central vac has a long hose and multiple head attachments.

We use the battery Dyson at work. They are EXPENSIVE and parts are even more expensive. Batteries alone are $80. They take off the top surface but do nothing for deeper cleaning. And you know where dirt heads…Again, for that reason, we’ll stay upright. They are $50-$60. When they need parts, throw them away and get another one.

Darrel (@guest_33795)
5 years ago

Dyson V8 (or newer version) cordless stick vacuum. Well worth the premium price. Best Buy usually has them in stock.

Lisa Cantrell (@guest_33790)
5 years ago

We started out with a cordless rechargeable Dyson which did well but was VERY expensive. When it broke (about 6 years old) I was going to get another but ended up going for a Deik which I found on Amazon for $129. I LOVE it. The suction is EXCELLENT and it has a beater function for rugs. It runs for a good 20 minutes which I find is more than enough time to do our entire rig. It comes with a crevice tool and brush attachment as well and easily hangs on the wall where the power cord plugs into it to recharge. Visiting my mom lately I found that she has a Hoover that I believe my sister got at Walmart that is also very good. Not quite as strong as the Deik but it does a good job on carpets, has the beater function and attachments. They both come apart for cleaning but I find the Deik FAR superior in terms of intuitiveness for taking apart and ease of cleaning.

Cheryl (@guest_33797)
5 years ago
Reply to  Lisa Cantrell

Which Model Deik is yours, please?

Sign up for the

RVtravel Newsletter

Sign up and receive 3 FREE RV Checklists: Set-Up, Take-Down and Packing List.