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5 Best Small Vacuum Cleaners for Caravans & Flats (2024) – Which are the Best Compact Vacuums?

Written by James Hall |

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

#1 Pick: Black+Decker PD1420LP

Black+Decker PD1420LP

Black+Decker PD1420LP
Our top pick for a small vacuum cleaner is the Black+Decker Flexi.

It’s a handheld vac, but has a hose attachment and strong hard floor cleaning performance. The Flexi is also versatile, lightweight, and great for caravans, flats or cars.

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 Black+Decker PD1420LP Flexi. It’s actually slightly larger than many handhelds, but the hose attachment and strong hard floor performance make it a versatile choice.

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 1.5 metre hose. This makes it one of the top car hoovers, great for stairs, or perfect 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.

Black+Decker vacuum showing the hose

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 vacuum cleaner. It’s also lightweight and charges in under four hours (due to the lithium-ion battery). However, our testing showed that it performs better on hard floors than carpets, and that it doesn’t have enough suction power for stubborn dirt or hair.

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’s a shame it doesn’t come with a motorised brush bar tool. This makes it less suited for cleaning carpets than other models on this list. Even so, we think it’s the best small vacuum cleaner for basic cleaning.

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

2. Zanussi ZAN2100WB Compact Go Cylinder

Zanussi Compact Go

The Zanussi Compact Go is an inexpensive small cylinder vacuum cleaner. It’s a highly compact model, with a body width of just 35cm, that’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 a 700W motor, which provides decent suction power considering the low price. It’s also a lightweight model with a 1.8 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 a B-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 has a relatively short 4.5 metre power cable though, so be prepared to change plug sockets more frequently than other vacs.

Key Features:
  • Excellent value
  • Decent hard floor performance
  • Lightweight design
  • Dimensions: 35 x 27.5 x 22 cm
  • Weight: 3.2kg
  • Type: Cylinder
  • Price Range: £

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

VonHaus 800W

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 800W motor. It’s a bagless vacuum cleaner with a 1.3 litre dust capacity, HEPA filtration (which is great for allergies) and a six metre 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 not too 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 don’t expect it to match the cleaning performance of pricier vacuums. We also don’t recommend it for tough jobs such as pet hair.

Key Features:
  • Very cheap stick vacuum
  • HEPA filter
  • Handheld mode
  • Weight: 2.9kg
  • Type: Stick + Handheld
  • Price Range: £

4. Shark HZ500UKT Corded Stick

Shark DuoClean HZ500UKT

If you want a more powerful stick vacuum than the VonHaus, the Shark HZ500UKT could be a great alternative. It’s an excellent vacuum cleaner with a pet turbo tool, Duo Clean floorhead, Anti Hair Wrap technology, and LED headlights – plus it has a folding design for compact storage. It’s not as small as some of the other vacuums on this list when unfolded though.

What are the features of the vacuum? The Shark is a corded stick vacuum that converts into a handheld when you remove the tube. The tube itself has a folding joint (Flexology), which is great for cleaning under furniture and for storage. The Duo Clean floor brush is also designed to be suitable on all types of flooring. Additionally, the HZ500UKT includes Shark’s new “Anti Hair Wrap” system, which prevents most hair from getting caught around the brush bar.

Why buy it? The Shark is great for quickly cleaning an apartment, caravan or even a small house. It’s a versatile model, so you can whip around floors before using the handheld mode to clean higher up. The folding tube also makes it easy to store and the pet tool is great for hair.

Who is it for? If you want the cleaning speed of an upright vacuum but without the bulky design, the Shark HZ500UKT is a great choice. This compact vacuum has a brilliant floor tool and decent suction, while the pet turbo tool is great for removing hair from carpets and upholstery. Keep in mind that it’s not as compact as other options on this list, but we’ve included it because of the folding design that helps with storage.

Note: If you don’t need the pet turbo tool, the Shark HV390UK has many of the same features and is available for a cheaper price.

Key Features:
  • Powerful stick vac with a pet tool
  • Folds for easier storage
  • Duo Clean floor head for both carpets and hard floors
  • Dimensions: 118 x 26 x 41 cm (when not folded)
  • Weight: 5.25kg
  • Type: Stick + Handheld
  • Price Range: £££

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.

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


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.

Do you have any questions about buying a small vacuum cleaner? Let us know in the comments section below.

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