Traditionally, portable vacuum cleaners have been a bit underwhelming. Fortunately, manufacturers are improving them all the time, striving to be the best in this competitive market.

Practical Caravan asked James Stanbury to run an expert eye over nine top brands of portable vac, testing them against each other. 

Not only did he look at suction power and battery life, but he also looked at the cleaning attachments supplied as standard. Plus, we wanted to know if the portable vacs could cope with wet usage, how often each one needed emptying and whether the filter was washable. Above all, which portable vac offers the best value for money?

We have a separate accessory view devoted to each of the vacuum cleaners in our group test of nine current vacs. They are: Hitachi Koki R18DSL, Sealey CPV144, Hoover Jovis Turbo Power SJ120CB, Argos 406/4815, Dyson DC44, Ryobi CHV182M, Halfords 12v Car Vacuum Cleaner, Makita BCL180Z, Draper 75033.

Many of us habitually refer to any vacuum cleaner as a Hoover, despite the wide variety of brands available. This is our test report on the Hoover Jovis Turbo Power SJ120CB portable vacuum cleaner. Since Hoover was one of the first to invent the vac, we were keen to find out how the brand would do in our test.

Hoover Jovis Turbo Power SJ120CB

The best suction and best battery performance accolades go to other vacuum cleaners in the group, so why does this Hoover score so highly? Simple, this is the cheapest vac here that features a motorised brush head. Big deal, you may well think. But actually it is, because those motorised brushes like this one make a massive difference on carpets – both in spinning up the dirt and brushing all the pile in the same direction.

Combine that brushing action with good suction on a par with the Halfords portable vac, add the usual crevice and brush tools, and a handy charging pod, and you’ll see why we like this package.

Dry-only usage, an un-washable paper filter, and lacklustre battery performance are the biggest drawbacks.