Product Review: Black & Decker 12V Handheld Vacuum

When it’s time to suck up all the dirt and debris that’s collected inside your sailboat since the last time you cleaned it, what do you do? Haul out a bulky, heavy shop vacuum? Wrestle with its big hoses and extension cords? Put it off because it’s too much of a hassle? Before I got this handy little vacuum, that’s what I did.

But you know what happens. No sooner do you get the dirt cleaned up and the mess starts all over again. Messes happen while you’re out sailing or when you’re just working on your boat, especially drilling holes and sanding. You know you shouldn’t wait until the end of the season to clean them up but it takes longer to set up the shop vacuum than it does to clean up the mess. If you question whether you need to clean it up right away, just ask your first mate and she’ll set you straight.

Before I continue, a bit of legal housekeeping. This post contains affiliate links. That means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using these links. Those commissions help to pay the costs associated with running this site so that it stays free for everyone to enjoy. For a complete explanation of why I’m telling you this and how you can support this blog without paying more, please read my full disclosure.

I decided my cleaning problem was worth investing in a better solution, so I bought this Black & Decker PAV1200W handheld vacuum cleaner. Problem solved.

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Use it with the dusting brush to pick up debris on the cabin sole, mats, and in the bottom of lockers

Unlike rechargeable vacuums like the Dustbuster, the PAV1200W runs off your 12V battery. It doesn’t lose power quickly like a rechargeable and it doesn’t need recharging. You won’t throw it away because the battery stopped holding a charge.

The PAV1200W has a number of other features that make it especially well-suited to housekeeping on a small boat:

  • Nozzle pivots 180° and has a built-in extendable crevice tool to get into tight areas.
  • Includes an accessory hose and upholstery brush
  • 16′ self-stowing cord to reach from stem to stern and everywhere in between
  • Cyclonic action maintains suction as the dirt cup fills
  • Quick and easy to empty.
  • Has a washable filter. There’s no consumables to buy.
  • All parts fit into the included bag and store in any locker
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Use the nozzle with or without the dusting brush to clean cushions. Notice the large orange button that opens the dirt cup for easy emptying

It Sucks and You’ll be Glad

The PAV1200W doesn’t suck like a shop vacuum but it’s good enough for most cleanup jobs. The fact that it’s small enough to keep onboard and to pull out frequently means you can stay on top of the cleaning. If you keep the boat relatively clean, you won’t need to make time to set up the big gun for industrial-strength, deep cleaning. This vacuum will save you time in the long run.

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The included nozzle adapter, hose, and brush tool reach into small spaces

Some of the things I particularly like about it are:

  • The nozzle brush attaches to the base when it’s not in use so it’s harder to misplace
  • The hose is handy for catching debris while you drill holes, especially in bottom surfaces
  • The weight, balance, and handle are ergonomic and comfortable to use
  • The cord winds onto the vacuum itself and stays there during use
  • It’s solidly built to take the knocks that come from use in a sailboat cabin
  • It works just as well for auto interiors, campers, and anywhere there’s a 12V accessory outlet
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The nozzle pivots to reach places that other vacuums cannot. Press the orange button at the front of the handle to unlock it. Notice the extra long cord wound up and locked in place.

I have three 12V accessory outlets in the cabin of Summer Dance that make plugging this vacuum in convenient without stringing out the whole cord.

If you’re tired of sand getting seemingly everywhere onboard your boat, you have kids who make messes everywhere they go, you have a pet hair problem onboard, or if you just want to leave the shop vacuum in the shop where it belongs, you’ll appreciate the Black & Decker PAV1200W. Click the preceding link to get one from Amazon for your sailboat.


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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Tom Luque says:

    I could not see if the exhaust port could be used for blowing up air mattress or rubber dinghy.
    May you can build a diverter tube or chamber so you can suck up water?

    1. The exhaust is a row of slots so it’s not built for that but maybe you could wire a DPST switch into the cord to reverse the polarity and turn it into a blower.

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