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Are you looking for a way to keep your boat clean? Boats tend to get quite dirty very quickly, which is why you might want to consider getting a boat vacuum.
Boat vacuums are typically lightweight and made specifically for small and tight areas. Still, choosing one isn’t always as simple, especially if it’s your first time buying.
Need some help? We reviewed the best models, but you might also want to check our buyer’s guide as the information included can help you pick.
Short on time? See our top picks for keeping your boat neat:
- Best Handheld Boat Vacuum – Dyson V7 Car+Boat Cord-Free Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
- Best Wet Dry Boat Vacuum – DeWALT Portable 4 gallon Wet/Dry Vac
- Best Handheld Boat Vacuum (Runner Up) – BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Lithium-Ion Cordless Hand Vacuum
- Best Shop Boat Vacuum – Armor All, AA255 Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum
- Best Cordless Option – Dyson V6 Car + Boat Handheld Vacuum – Cordless
|Product Name||Weight||Cord Length/Run Time||Capacity|
|Dyson V7 Car+Boat Cord-Free Handheld Vacuum Cleaner||3.77 lbs||30 min||.15 GAL|
|DeWALT Portable 4 gallon Wet Dry Vac||13.23 lbs||20 ft||4 GAL|
|BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Lithium-Ion Cordless Hand Vacuum||4.25 lbs||up to 17 min||0.7 l|
|Armor All, AA255 Wet Dry Utility Shop Vacuum||7 lbs||10 ft||2.5 GAL|
|Dyson V6 Car + Boat Handheld Vacuum - Cordless||3.4 lbs||20 min||11 l|
|BLACK+DECKER Flex Car Vacuum (BDH1200FVAV)||3.31 lbs||16 ft||19 oz|
|Puweike Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner 2 in 1 Design, P80||4 lbs||up to 35 min||27 oz|
|WalVac Stow-A-Vac Boat Compact Central Vacuum System||16 lbs||N/A||2.5 GAL|
Top 8 Boat Vacuums to Buy
Dyson V7 Car+Boat Cord-Free Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
(Best Handheld Boat Vacuum)
This model is among the most convenient compact handhelds, made specifically for car and boat maintenance. It’s small, lightweight and cordless, making it among the best choices for spot-cleaning and small messes.
It features a .15-gallon dust bin that’s see-through and easy to remove. You’ll maybe have to empty it several times during the cleaning process, depending on how much dirt and dust you’re dealing with.
The hygienic dirt ejector makes it easy to empty the bin without actually touching any of the dirt trapped inside.
It’s also important to note that this one comes with a mini motorized tool, combination tool, extension hose, and a car charger. It’s powered by Dyson digital motor V7 that’s among the most powerful options. It offers up to 30 minutes of run time, which should be enough for most of your cleaning needs.
- Suitable for boats and cars
- Reduced run time on MAX
DeWALT Portable 4 gallon Wet/Dry Vac
(Best Wet Dry Boat Vacuum)
This is not your everyday vacuum, and it might not even be the first type you’d consider. However, being that you need a vacuum for a boat, you should give it a chance. It’s a wet/dry boat cleaner that’s portable and convenient to use at any time.
The 4-gallon toolbox design provides plenty of space and capacity for both dry particles and water. The 5HP motor provides enough suction to pick up even the most persistent dirt, dust, and larger debris.
Another thing worth noting is the washable and reusable cartridge filter. It’s meant for both dry and wet pick up. On top of that, the boat cleaner comes with on-board accessory storage for all the included attachments.
It features a flexible hose that extends up to 7′, along with a 20′ power cord. The cord wraps around the vacuum, making it easier to store away neatly.
- For wet and dry cleaning
- Large capacity
- Waterproof on/off switch
- No brush attachment
BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Lithium-Ion Cordless Hand Vacuum
(Best Handheld Boat Vacuum – Runner Up)
This is a small but powerful pet hair vacuum that’s perfect for tight areas with embedded dirt. It’s a handheld, specially made to tackle hairs, so it might be your best choice if you often bring your furry friend on the boat.
It comes with a motorized brush tool and crevice and upholstery tools. These accessories, combined with powerful suction, make it easy to keep the entire boat clean. It’s a great choice if you want to maintain the floors as well as above-floor surfaces.
It’s equipped with a 14V lithium-ion battery and a dust cup measuring some 0.7 liters. It’s a see-through cup, so you can see when it’s time to empty it.
On top of that, the boat vacuum has triple filtration that helps prevent any of the dust and dirt from going back into your breathing space.
- Suitable for animal owners
- Easy to empty
- Only up to 17 minutes of run time
Armor All, AA255 Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum
(Best Shop Boat Vacuum)
This might be your best choice if you’re looking for a heavy-duty, durable, and powerful vacuum. It’s a shop vac that’s built to last and withstand everyday, rough use.
The shop vac is built like a toolbox, featuring a 2.5-gallon polypropylene tank. It’s highly durable and pretty impossible to break, which is great for people who intend to use it often.
Because it’s a wet and dry boat vacuum cleaner, you can use it to pick up everything from dry debris to water. This is especially useful when it comes to boat vacuums.
It’s equipped with a 2 peak HP motor that provides enough power to clean different kinds of messes. On top of that, the boat cleaner has a blower port, allowing you to use it as a blower as well.
- On-board accessories
- Works as a blower
- Crevice tool, car nozzle, and a few other tools included
- Short power cable (10′)
Dyson V6 Car + Boat Handheld Vacuum – Cordless
(Best Cordless Option)
This is another cordless car and boat vacuum cleaner. It’s powerful and compact, so it’s equally as simple to use as it is to store. The boat cleaner is equipped with Dyson digital motor V6.
It features 2 Tier Radial cyclones that are fifteen cyclones arranged across two tiers. These work in parallel, increasing airflow and helping to capture more particles, fine dust, and debris.
The boat vacuum cleaner comes with a mini motorized tool that’s perfect for hairs and dander. However, keep in mind that the motorized tool will reduce its overall battery life. Normally, you get about 20 minutes.
This one comes with a few additional attachments such as a combination tool, crevice tool, mini soft dusting brush, and an extension hose. An additional brush for more stubborn dirt is also included.
- Battery-saving trigger grip release
- Boost mode
- Ideal for tight, hard-to-reach areas
- Small dust cup
BLACK+DECKER Flex Car Vacuum (BDH1200FVAV)
This is one of your best choices for boats, car interiors, stairs, and other small areas. It’s designed to make it easy to clean hard-to-reach areas as well as all the nooks and crannies.
Although it’s a corded boat vacuum, you can plug it in your cigarette lighter socket with the 12V adapter included. This is particularly useful for boat cleaning.
The 19-ounce capacity might be a bit too small for some people, but the vacuum cleaner is quite easy to empty nonetheless. This means that even if you have to empty it a few times, the process isn’t as complicated.
It comes with an integrated 4′ flexible hose, 2-in-1 flip-up brush/wide nozzle, and a crevice tool. Plus, its equipped with cyclonic action, which helps spin the dirt away from the motor.
- Versatile and easy-to-use attachments
- Small and compact
- 16′ cable
- No cord or accessory storage
Puweike Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner 2 in 1 Design, P80
This is a stick cleaner without a cord, so it’s a bit more versatile than others on this list. It’s cordless and convenient as it converts from stick to handheld as needed,
The lightweight boat vacuum weighs only 4 pounds and even less when used as a handheld. The minimalist design allows simplicity and ease of use regardless of where you’re using it.
This one is equipped with cyclonic suction and is suitable for ceramic tiles, hardwood, as well as carpet. Since it can also work as a handheld, it’s equally as suitable for above-floor surfaces.
The whole system is meant to prevent dust from going back into your breathing space. It comes with a combination brush nozzle, high-torque cleaner head, soft bristle brush, tool organizer, mounting dock, and a charger.
- Works as a stick and handheld
- Only 4 pounds
- 35-20 minutes of run time
- It tends to get clogged with larger debris
WalVac Stow-A-Vac Boat Compact Central Vacuum System
If you’re into something a bit more reliable and easy to use, you should consider this central vacuum. It does require professional installation that tends to be a bit costly, but the investment is definitely worth it.
WalVac Stow-A-Vac comes with a standard 3 prong electrical outlet plug. It turns on automatically as soon as you plug the hose in. This makes it one of the simplest central vacuums out there regardless of where you decide to install it.
It’s a two-stage vacuum that’s set to last a long time. It doesn’t require much maintenance, and the replacement parts are available directly from the manufacturer. Another thing to note is that additional attachments are also available for separate purchase.
It’s a bagged vacuum that uses WalVac 54062 bags, although these aren’t included in the package.
- Plenty of power
- Easy to use
- Large bag capacity
- Attachments sold separately
Choosing a Boat Vacuum
As we said, choosing a boat vacuum can be a bit tricky if you don’t really know what you’re looking for. There are a few buying factors you should consider so that you can be sure that you’ve got the highest quality vacuum.
Take a few moments to read the guide below as we discuss these buying factors.
Think about what you need a vacuum cleaner for. If you only need it for daily spot-cleaning, then you can do well with a smaller vacuum such as Dyson V7, for example.
If you need to clean larger particles and water, you might want to consider a more heavy-duty vacuum cleaner that can do both.
Convenience is critical because boats have plenty of tight areas that can be tricky to clean. For this reason, you need a convenient vacuum that’s easy to use and store away.
Still, convenience may be very different for many people, so make sure to think about what it means to you.
Cord / Cordless
Both corded and cordless vacuums have their pros and cons, and it’s a matter of finding what’s more suitable for you. Corded vacuums have unlimited run time, but a cord could be a hassle, especially if it’s not particularly long.
On the other hand, cordless vacuums are perfect for hard-to-reach areas and have the unlimited reach, but their run time is limited.
Bagged / Bagless
Again, it’s up to your needs and preferences. Bagged vacuums are somewhat more suitable for allergy-prone people, although you’d have to buy additional bags, which is an extra expense.
However, bagless vacuums are more eco-friendly and cost-efficient, but as great for people who are sensitive to dust.
Warranties tend to vary from brand to brand, so make sure to check this for each vacuum that you’re interested in. Make sure that the vacuum cleaner of your choice comes with at least a year-long warranty. Also, double-check what it is that the deal covers.
On-board accessory storage is crucial when it comes to convenience and ease of use. Unless you can store the tools on the vacuum, you’ll have to store them elsewhere on your boat. This makes it easy to lose some of the tools, especially the small ones.
As you know, there are quite a few different vacuum types. The versatility makes it so that there’s something for everyone, but it can also make it a bit challenging to choose just one.
Handheld, wet and dry, and central vacuum systems are the three types that are most suitable for boats. Here’s what each type brings.
Handhelds might be your best option if you’re looking for a small and compact vacuum. These are typically light and easy-to-use regardless of the size of your boat.
Handhelds usually come with a few tools that can help with cleaning nooks and crannies. Also, they’re usually cordless, but corded models are also available.
These are great for spot-cleaning and above-floor surfaces. They’re often also bagless, portable, easy to store, and suitable for car interiors as well.
Wet and Dry
Wet and dry vacuums are often the number one choice for boat vacuums. It’s because they can pick up liquid, which is something very commonly found on boats. These cannot be damaged by wet messes.
Some wet and dry vacuums are handhelds, while others are shop vac and commercial types. It depends on the motor, filters, and the overall built of the cleaner, not so much the type.
It might be your best choice if you often have water and other liquids on the floors of your boat.
Read more: The Top Shop Vacuums on the Market
Central Vacuum System
As we mentioned, these usually require professional installation. In most cases, this can cost you a bit more than what you’d have to pay for any other vacuum type.
However, it’s the investment you’re unlikely to regret. Central vacuum systems are easy to use and quite convenient, especially for smaller boats that don’t have as much storage space.
These can include plenty of tools and usually have strong suction power, allowing them to pick up both small and large particles.
More info: Highest Rated Central Vacuums
Boat Maintenance Guide
Maintaining your boat is critical in order to prevent corrosion and mold. Plus, regular cleaning makes your boat look nice at all times, while also preventing dirt built-up.
There are a few things you should do when it comes to maintenance, regardless of the size of your boat. Here’s a short guide to what you should pay attention to.
Cleaning Your Boat
This is something you should do on dry land in order to prevent debris from ending up in the water. If you’re cleaning in water, make sure to use eco-friendly products and biodegradable detergents.
Use products with baking soda, borax, and vinegar while avoiding things like lye, bleach, and ammonia. You should also always rinse the sides with fresh water in order to wash off the salt. This is quite critical, and it’s something you should do on a regular basis.
Sticking to a Schedule
The schedule and maintenance checklist is important and can be very helpful. They’re supposed to help you ensure that no task is left undone, which is specifically important if you’re boating in saltwater.
Set yourself a cleaning schedule, and make sure to stick to it. Make a checklist of all the tasks you’re supposed to complete and use it as guidance.
Also, make sure to clean your boat at least once a week with more thorough cleaning done each month.
Maintaining the Engine
Engine maintenance is critical to keep your boat running. As a part of regular maintenance, you should check and clean the spark plugs, replacing those that are defective.
Make sure also to check the oil level. Change your oil every 100 hours and replace the filter every three months. Don’t forget to check the battery’s charge and all the terminals. Regularly remove the grease that’s built up.
Mold on a boat is as annoying and ugly as anywhere else. It tends to appear due to excess water, which is why it’s so important that you remove it.
Make sure to remove the excess water after using your boat, but also give it a quick bath with a mild white vinegar solution that kills the mold spores.
All metal parts of your boat can corrode, which is why you should check all those parts regularly. You’ll notice some white crust as the corrosion starts to appear.
Check your engine for rust as well, but make sure to check all the other parts that are in contact with salty water. Replace all the pieces that have rusted before they break.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I protect the battery during the off season?
A: The first thing you should do is remove the batteries in the offseason. Don’t let them sit there, but get them out. Clean the batteries and apply some lube to the metal terminals and bolts.
You should charge the batteries and store them away. However, make sure to read the instructions on how to properly store the particular battery you have.
Is it necessary to dewax before applying a new wax coat?
A: You don’t have to remove the old wax before applying a new anew coat. However, by doing this, you can improve the efficiency of wax.
Use a dewaxing solvent to remove the old coat before applying a new one. Luckily, dewaxing is easy to do as most of those solvents are readily available.
Why is it important to keep a boat dry?
A: Keep some towels around so that you can always wipe off the excess moisture from different parts. Water is bad for your boat, so it’s important that you remove as much of it as you can.
This is especially critical for people who are boating in saltwater areas. Saltwater will most likely corrode your boat.
Finding the best boat vacuum cleaner doesn’t have to be as complicated. It’s critical that you consider your needs and preferences regardless of whether you’re going for a handheld or shop vac. Think about the kind of boat you have and what would work the best in your case.
Most vacuum cleaner models we reviewed are recommended by regular boat enthusiasts. Look for a vacuum cleaner that’s easy to use and convenient for space and floors you have.
Of course, use the information we shared in our buyer’s guide if you need help with picking out the best boat vacuum. The factors we discussed are the most critical when it comes to buying a boat vacuum, regardless of how big your boat is.
Sources and Resources
- Public health and economic impact of dampness and mold.
- Basic Boat Maintenance: How to Maintain a Boat