5 Best Small Vacuum Cleaners for Caravans & Flats (2017) – Which are the Best Compact Vacuums?

Written by James Hall | 0 Comments| Last Updated: November 7, 2017

Do you live in a small flat, dorm or caravan? Spotless Vacuum editor James Hall lists five of the best small vacuums for 2017. Each provides great cleaning performance yet doesn't require much space to store.

When I received an email from a reader asking for small vacuum recommendations (the reader lived in a less-than-spacious apartment and didn't want her vac to take up too much space), my first thought was to recommend a handheld vacuum. These models are compact, lightweight and seemed to meet her requirements.

But the problem with many handheld models is that they don't provide the cleaning performance of cylinder, upright or even cordless vacuums. They are great for spot cleaning - and the best can even handle pet hair - but what if you want a powerful vacuum that's also compact?

That's why I decided to write this post of the best compact vacuums. The goal is to help people buy a great vacuum cleaner that also doesn't take up much space. Small appliances are especially useful for people living in shared accommodation, tiny apartments or caravans.

This created a new set of problems though. How should I define "small?" ​I couldn't just list the smallest vacuums, as they would all be handheld models (or even carpet sweepers). I also didn't want to recommend a vacuum just because of its size. There are naturally going to be trade-offs when choosing a small vacuum compared to a full-size model, but they should still provide strong cleaning performance.

In the end, I decided to try and choose the best small vacuum cleaners in terms of size, price and cleaning performance. They might not be the smallest vacs, but they are more compact than competing vacuums with similar cleaning performance. I've also included a range of different types of vacuum so you can pick the model that best suits your requirements. ​

Which are the Best Compact Vacuums?

The vacuums listed below provide strong performance in a compact package. Keep in mind that these vacuums are typically less powerful than larger models with bigger motors, but they can still do a great job around the home.

1. Black+Decker PD1420LP Flexi Vacuum

The Black+Decker is a small model that is between a standard handheld and a cordless vacuum

One of our top recommendations for a small vacuum cleaner is the excellent Black+Decker PD1420LP Flexi. It's actually slightly larger than many handhelds, but the hose attachment and strong suction make it better suited to tougher tasks.

What are features of this vacuum? The Black+Decker has a unique design that allows it to function as both a regular handheld and via a 1.4 metre hose. This makes it great for cars, stairs or getting into tight spaces via the crevice tool. It also has a lithium-ion battery that provides a 12.5 minute run-time without losing suction as it gets low on charge.

Why buy it? We love the versatility of this vacuum, as the hose means it's much easier to use in awkward locations than a typical handheld. It's also lightweight, relatively powerful and charges in under four hours (due to the lithium-ion battery).

Who is it for? The Black+Decker is a great choice if you want a compact handheld vacuum for quick cleaning in cars, caravans or apartments. The hose, crevice tool, pet fur attachment and soft brush mean it's a versatile model, although it doesn't come with a wide motorised brush bar tool. This makes it less suited for cleaning large areas of carpets than other models on this list. Even so, we think it's the best small vacuum cleaner for basic cleaning.

  • Dimensions: 30 x 27 x 16 cm
  • Weight: 1.42kg
  • Type: Handheld
  • Price Range: £
  • Pet hair attachment is good for removing hair from carpets
  • Versatile handheld model
  • 1.5 metre flexible hose

2. Zanussi ZAN3002EL Bagged Cylinder

The Zanussi is a very compact cylinder

An inexpensive option if you want a small cylinder vacuum cleaner is the Zanussi ZAN3002EL. It's a highly compact model, with a body width of just 33cm. It's also lightweight and simple to use.

What are the features of this vacuum? The Zanussi is a cylinder bagged vacuum that's designed for small homes. It's powered by the company's Eco Force technology, which provides stronger suction power while using less power. It's also a lightweight model that has a 2 litre capacity, combination tool and upholstery nozzle.

Why buy it? Unlike the small handheld vacuums on this list, the Zanussi is a full-size vacuum with a proper floor head. This means it's great for cleaning large areas of carpets and hard floors. In fact, the vacuum has an A-rating for hard floor pickup, which is impressive for a model in this price range. The lightweight and compact design also makes it easy to store.

Who is it for?​ If you live in a small apartment but still want a vacuum that can do a decent all-round cleaning job, the Zanussi is a great choice. It's not as powerful as larger and more expensive cylinder vacuums, and it's less effective on carpets than hard floors, but considering the low price it's an option to consider for a small flat. It can overheat relatively quickly though, so it's only suitable for short cleaning sessions.

  • Dimensions: 33 x 28 x 22 cm
  • Weight: 3.2kg
  • Type: Cylinder
  • Price Range: £
  • Excellent value
  • Strong hard floor performance
  • Lightweight design

3. VonHaus 2-in-1 Stick & Handheld Vacuum

The VonHaus is a stick vacuum that provides good performance for a low price

If you're looking for a cheap vacuum cleaner that's easy to store in a cupboard, the VonHaus is one of the best options. It's a stick vacuum that can convert into a handheld - and provides decent cleaning performance considering the ultra-low price.

What are the features of the vacuum? The VonHaus is primarily a stick vacuum with a 1000W motor. It's a bagless vacuum cleaner with a 1.3 litre dust capacity, combination of sponge and HEPA filtration (which is great for allergies) and a six metre small power cord. The vacuum can be converted into a handheld mode by detaching the extension tube. While it has decent suction, the floor head doesn't have a motorised brush bar.

Why buy it? The first thing to note about this vacuum is that it's incredibly cheap. So while it doesn't provide the cleaning performance and suction power of more expensive models, it offers great value. We like that it comes with a HEPA filter to prevent the release of allergens. It's also a versatile vacuum due to the handheld mode.

Who is it for? The VonHaus 2-in-1 vacuum is a great choice if you want a small upright vacuum cleaner for basic cleaning. Its less than one metre tall, so it's easy to store, and is also lightweight. It doesn't come with a proper brush bar in upright mode though, so it's more of a sweeper than a true vacuum cleaner. We also don't recommend it for tough jobs such as pet hair.

  • Dimensions: 97 x 23 x 15 cm
  • Weight: 2.9kg
  • Type: Stick + Handheld
  • Price Range: £
  • Very cheap stick vacuum
  • HEPA filter
  • Handheld mode

4. Beldray BEL0427 Quick Vac Handheld & Stick

The Beldray is a 2-in-1 vacuum

If you want a more powerful stick vacuum than the VonHaus, the Beldray BEL0427 could be a good alternative. It's still relatively cheap, but has a stronger brush bar for more effective cleaning. 

What are the features of the vacuum? The Beldray is another stick vacuum that converts into a handheld when you remove the tube. The tube itself is extendable, which is great for cleaning but means it can be collapsed when packed away. The floor brush is designed to be suitable on all types of flooring.

Why buy it? The Beldray is great for cleaning an apartment or caravan quickly. It's a versatile model, so you can whip around floors before using the handheld mode to clean higher up. The collapsible tube also makes it easy to store.

Who is it for? If you want the cleaning speed of an upright vacuum but without the bulky design, the Beldray is a great choice. The compact vacuum head is easy to store, while the collapsible tube also doesn't take up too much space. This models doesn't come with a motorised pet tool, however, so it's not great for apartments with dogs or cats.

Note: If you want more suction power and better performance for pet hair, we recommend the Shark Rocket True Pet as an alternative stick vacuum. It's not the most compact vacuum on the market, but it's still relatively small and much more powerful.​

  • Dimensions: 29 x 12 x 22 cm (when not extended)
  • Weight: 3.4kg
  • Type: Stick + Handheld
  • Price Range: £
  • More powerful than the VonHaus
  • Handheld mode
  • Lightweight design

5. Vax H85-GA-P18 Gator Pet

The Gator Pet is a cordless handheld that provides strong cleaning performance

The Vax H85-GA-P18 is another of our top-rated handheld vacuums. It's a powerful model (for a handheld) that's also small and easy to store.

What are the features of the vacuum? The Va H85-GA-P18 is a bagless handheld vacuum with a compact and lightweight design. The stand-out feature of the Gator Pet is that it comes with a powered turbo head. This is great for getting rid of pet hair from carpets and upholstery. The 18V battery also provides a run-time of up to 20 minutes, which should be enough for most small cleaning tasks.

Why buy it? The Gator Pet is one of the best compact vacuums on the market at the moment. The 20 minute run-time is relatively long, yet it provides strong suction and cleaning performance. The powered tool is great for digging into carpets, sofas and stairs to remove more hair.

Who is it for? If you don't have space to store a full-size vacuum, but need a model that can handle pet hair, the Gator Pet is one of the best small vacuum cleaners. It doesn't have the suction power of an upright or cylinder, but does a decent job at a fraction of the size.

  • Dimensions: 32 x 14 x 9.5 cm
  • Weight: 1.9kg
  • Type: Handheld
  • Price Range: £
  • Power tool for pet hair
  • Lightweight design
  • 20 minute run-time

Summary

If you don't have much storage space, the best small vacuum cleaners can help keep your floors and furniture clean without taking up lots of room. While the models on this list may not have quite as much suction power or advanced features as larger models, they are all relatively cheap and still provide decent performance.

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