Product Review: Merlin 2 in 1 Mini Vacuum Cleaner

Recently the kind folk at Arnica sent us one of their mini vacuum cleaners for testing, hoping to tap in to the caravan market, so let’s have a look.IMAG3053

First, there’s the main body of the unit with attached cable. Extension tube and handle for upright use, floor brush, fabric brush and crevice tool. Each attachment is a simple push fit in to the main body of the unit.

Cable length is a fairly generous 6 metres which should be plenty for most caravans and the body contains both a cloth and HEPA filter. Power is rated at 1000w so it doesn’t breach new EEC regulations. Yeah, I know. All the appalling things happening in the world and they’re worried about hoovers. Anyway. As you can see it’s finished in black plastic except for the body of the collection chamber, which is purple. Orange green and blue are also available. At around 2 Kilos it’s not too heavy either.

Unexpectedly it’s not made in China, like seemingly everything else but Turkey and looks pretty well put together, although of course, time will tell.

At the risk of stating the obvious, a vacuum cleaners’ prime function is to er, suck. So how good was it? Well, in an entirely unscientific experiment it managed to lift - and hold - one of our copper bottomed saucepans without any bother but the real test would be in actually cleaning. Our caravan was some 20 miles away in storage, with no access to mains electric - and we’d left her pretty clean anyway. The flat was remarkably tidy too - something to do with us being absent for the last few weeks, so that left the car. Half heartedly hoovered out just once on our recent travels it was an ideal subject to test the Merlin on. Grass, dried mud, gravel and other detritus would prove a stern test. So, with photo’s taken we headed outside.

IMAG3075Well, the Merlin acquitted itself pretty well. Using it without any attachments first it picked up most of the loose dirt struggling only with some of the larger  lumps of accumulated gravel and stone There was not enough room to effectively use the carpet attachment so I tried the fabric brush next and this proved quite effective in shifting some of the more ground in dirt. The crevice tool was handy for those gaps between the seats and centre console and was long enough for all but the hardest to reach corners.

Overall, I would say it’s a useful bit of kit. We already have a similar type of in the caravan but this works better, is lighter and the motor is a little quieter too. The lack of a rotating brush in the floor attachment means it’s not going to be as effective as a normal upright unit at home -  but will serve you well as a stand in.  I would recommend that the dust chamber is emptied regularly and the filters cleaned to maintain performance. There are better products on the market - but at a price. At around fifty quid you don’t need a mortgage to  buy this and if you’re in the market for a product of this type I believe you wont go far wrong with a Merlin. The test model will be replacing our current device on board as it certainly performs better.

The Merlin is available from and comes with a two year guarantee.