When you hear the name Dyson what comes to mind? For the fans of Lost Girl (TV show), I am not talking about THAT Dyson. Nor any other celebrity or schoolmate with the name. Rather, I am going to present you with vacuum cleaners. I can hear your excitement from here! But “stick” with me. Find out if the preinstalled InterVac system in a lot of RVs is better than a Dyson cordless stick vac.
I did a lot of research to be able to provide you with all the numbers possible. It is my hope that between this information and your own research, you can make the hard decision of what vacuum will be your go-to RV companion.
We will give you the “dirt” on each topic: the size of the unit, weight, power, run time, features, ease of usage, and of course the cost of not only the vacuum cleaner but accessories too.
Today we will go over the InterVac that comes preinstalled in a lot of RVs. We will compare it to a Dyson v8 Motorhead.
Why the v8, since there are newer models out there? Simply because of all the research we did, the Dyson v8 Motorhead fit our needs in 2019 and the price was right. This blog is based on our actual use and experience with these two products.
We have NOT been paid or compensated by Dyson or InterVac to write this. Our desire is to help you make an informed decision.
The InterVac looks like a long black rectangular-shaped box that is mounted inside a closet or in the cargo bay of the RV. That is the vacuum canister. Wires are run to the RV electric. There is an outlet on the inside of the RV (if mounted in the cargo bay) to plug the vacuum hose into. The debris is collected in the canister, that needs to be changed as often as you would a traditional bagged vacuum.
Dyson v8 Motorhead
The Dyson v8 Motorhead is a battery-operated stick-vacuum. It seems every year or two they come out with a newer model, yet if you start looking at the actual specs, not much changes. For this reason, we decided to go with this older v8 Motorhead model. That way we could save some money while keeping the accessories, power, and other features we wanted.
Speaking of accessories, the V8 comes in Motorhead, Animal, and a few others. Each one comes with different accessories. This is what sets the Motorhead apart from the Animal. Sometimes one will have a different color option, but nothing to do with performance.
Onto the nitty-gritty of the: size, weight, power, run time, features, ease of usage, and of course the cost, plus accessories.
Size does matter when you live in a small place that lacks storage. The bigger and more clunky the item is, I tend to send it to the back of the closet. That is where most things go to die in our home. It is out of sight, but not out of mind. I can see the floor needs to be cleaned. But to dig out the huge vacuum stored under the RV, or at the back of the closet is no small task.
When I began the hunt for the perfect RV vacuum, size played a key role. Ideally, the vacuum would have a wall mounting system in an easy to get to the closet. However, that is not possible in our current Bayhill 320RS, 5th wheel.
So what I really need is something that is very compact. So small that I could lay it on the floor of the closet or in the under-bed storage. I say all of this in the event you might need to consider where you are storing your RV vacuum.
7” x 24” x 14”
Vacuum hose, head, attachments all in a mesh bag.
6” x 11” x 6”*
Size of the wall mount ‘canister’ typically in the RV cargo bay or closet.
*Need more space to open the door front to change the vacuum bag.
With the InterVac you will need to have space for the mesh bag that contains the vacuum hose, head, and attachments. In addition, you will need to mount the ‘canister’ unit someplace. You may need to consider where to mount the unit if your RV is limited on easy to access space.
7” x 22” x 9”
Vacuum and attachments on the hanging rack – less the vacuum ‘stick.’
Vacuum stick length – would increase above 22” to 33” if hung on the wall
The Dyson does not need to be hung on the wall. The base that all the attachments go on, is also the charging unit for the vacuum. You may need to consider where to plug in the charging base before you decide to mount or house it someplace in the RV. For us, it is on the floor of the closet that was set up for a washer and dryer unit (closet has power).
The top two key things to remember in RV life are: 1) space is limited and 2) you are limited on the carrying weight. Of course, a vacuum is only a few pounds. But, these numbers really surprised me:
Vacuum head and two poles (vac sticks)
Attachments and mesh bag including the head and poles.
The weight of the canister.
Canister capacity for the dirt and debris.
In total weight, you are looking at 6-pounds for the vacuum with attachments. If you are in an RV then you will need to add on the 8-pound vacuum canister. Plus another 8-pounds the canister can hold of dirt and debris. For a grand total of around 22-pounds.
The vacuum, battery, base, and all the attachments.
Vacuum with battery, alone.
As you can see the Dyson is more than 50% lighter than the InterVac. However, as a user of the v8, I can say that the 2-pound gets heavy. You have a trigger to constantly pull to engage the power with one hand. The few pounds on that wrist may be too much for some people.
Like any vacuum, you want it to ‘suck.’ As a full-time RVer we need powerful suction to pick up all the dirt, sand, and wherever else that gets tracked in from the campsite. Let us not forget about the hair that seems to weave it’s way into the carpet, making it a challenge to grab. Or that one potato chip that fell onto the floor and is now crushed into the carpet.
100 water lift
Per their website in 2020.
111 water lift
What I found on several secondary source sites.
So what is Water Lift? After a complete seal, the motor is tested to see how many inches it can lift a 1-inch column of water. Basically, the ‘suction power.’
We needed to know how long we can get out of the Dyson v8 battery. Would it be enough time for us to vacuum, effectively, the entire 32-foot 5th wheel? Then with the InterVac, would we have a battery bank that is adequate to run it. Or do we need to be on shore power?
*for as long as your RV power or batteries hold out
The maximum time for the Dyson v8
With the Dyson, they designed it to provide consistent continuous suction regardless of the battery level. It will run the same when it has full battery strength all the way until it shuts down due to needing to charge. There is a batter strength light system to watch while you vacuum.
NOTE: The newer models do have longer run times than the v8.
There were only a couple of features, for us, that were important. We would like a spinning head on the vacuum. A rolling brush head is ideal to pick up fine hairs, grass, and that infamous potato chip out of the carpet. The other is to have an on/off switch.
Rolling Brush Head
The problem with not having an on/off switch for the InterVac…
Our InterVac hose ‘plug’ is in the middle of the RV. Once it is plugged in, the vacuum starts running. So, no matter where I end in the RV, I can’t turn it off until I walk back to unplug the hose.
If you want to change the attachment, you need to unplug the unit first. Then switch the attachments, then plug the hose back in for the vacuum to run. When you are done, walk over again to unplug the unit to stop the vacuum.
In the event your InterVac grabs a rug corner, you can not switch the vacuum off quickly. Rather you need to drop the vacuum handle, run to unplug it while trying not to trip over the hose. I would like to say this only happened once to me, but sadly, no.
EASE OF USE
The vacuum must be easy to get to, easy to use, and easy to clean. If not, I find myself not wanting to use it. Both the InterVac and Dyson v8 have their pros and cons with storage as we outlined above. So, let’s move onto how easy or not they are to use…
For me, the only downside to using the InterVac is the hose. The plastic accordion hose is 2 inches in diameter and a very good trip hazard. In addition, it seems to be about 1 foot too short to make it around the bed in the nose cap of the 5th wheel. I have tried to hoist the hose over the bed to vacuum, but that failed. Because our bedroom design has a slight catwalk on the furthest side from the InterVac plug, you can only vacuum at one angle. In a smaller RV, I’m sure the InterVac works well.
As I mentioned in the power section (above), the Dyson has a minor flaw. With the Dyson v8 you need to pull a trigger and hold it, for the power to engage. I find that after a good 20-minutes of holding it, I have a slight indent in my finger. That is because you are not only holding the trigger button in, but also using that same wrist/arm to move the stick-vac. With the 2-pounds of weight, it can be a bit of a workout for the ‘old’ shoulder of mine.
NOTE: If the trigger design is a deal-breaker for you, please check out their redesigned newer models.
DUMPING THE ‘STUFF’
The dust bunnies, sand, hair, leaves, and potato chips need to go someplace. Here is how both systems stack up in the dumping area:
All the sucked up stuff goes into a bag inside the canister. Again, the canister is either mounted to the wall inside the cargo bay of the RV or in a closet. There will be a door to the unit to fold down. Inside there is where the vacuum bag is. Per their website the bag can hold up to 8-pounds of ‘stuff’, you suck up.
IF the suction of the InterVac is decreased by the bag filling up, I am not sure. I know this can be the case with traditional bagged vacuums I have had in the past.
Dumping the stuff out of the Dyson could not be any easier with this v8 model. Holding the vacuum the same way you would to vacuum, hover it over the trash can. With the other hand pull up on the release marked with a trash can icon. The trap door on the bottom swings down to dump the contents.
In addition, there is a filter on the Dyson you can clean yourself – no need to buy a new one until you have to. We have had ours for a little over a year now and still do not need a filter. But, it will depend on how many people are in our house, how many pets, and how often you use it.
The cost changes all the time on these items. Therefore, you will find a link for each, which will show the current prices. The links are to Amazon, which the pricing seems to be equivalent to that of buying off the direct manufactures site and paying for shipping and taxes. As always, the choice is yours in where you purchase yours.
Unit with attachments & vacport*
Mesh bag with accessories
*Vacport is often called an Electric Dustpan. This is the unit that you flip open with your foot to activate the vacuum dustpan. Sweeping away the kitchen or bathroom debris without having to bend down with a traditional dustpan.
Dyson v8 Motorhead
Dyson v8 Battery, Replacement
The Dyson battery, on average, will last you 4-years. If you use it less, you will get more years out of it and vise versa.
The InterVac came with our 5th wheel which we used for about a year. We knew that the power draw of our traditional bagless vacuum would not be ideal for the RV camping we were planning to do. But hoped the power draw of the InterVac would be less on the RV batteries. I think, had we tested it, it is one of those flip a coin situation.
For several reasons, I was not in love with the InterVac. Mainly because it did not clean well. Without a spinning roller, we still had hair and other objects embedded in the tall carpet. The noise was so loud, I wished we had a device to measure the sound level.
I did not want to spend the money on a Dyson. For several months I looked at all of the other cordless stick-vacs available. For a little extra money, Dyson seemed to be the winner for us. We have been using it for close to a year now and I do not regret the purchase. The Dyson v8 operates very well, and it amazes me how much dirt it sucks up!
The only drawback is the trigger to engage the motor. As I have stated before, the newer models have been redesigned. I must not have been the only one with this complaint!
The run time on the Dyson v8 is just enough for me to clean the entire 32-foot 5th wheel from front to back. This is with a combination of the Max suction (more of a battery draw) and regular mode. I prefer the ‘max’ setting to really get deep into the carpet around the kitchen, dining table, and steps.
At times I would like to have a couple more minutes to get a deeper clean. With that said, it is my understanding that the new v11 Dyson has a run time around 60-minutes. As a reminder, the v8 is around 40-minutes.
Which is right for you?
We would love to hear your thoughts. Do you have the InterVac? If so, what do you think about yours? Do you have a Dyson? If so, what model and how do you like yours?
Before you go, be sure to check out the recipe collections HERE Thanks for reading our blog and we will see you on our next Adventure!