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.



  1. "All the appalling things happening in the world and they’re worried about hoovers."

    Although regulating hoovers sounds daft, what they are worrying about is very serious: climate change, money and fuel security. Better efficiency in household appliances means lower CO2 emissions, less government expenditure on electricity generation infrastructure and less reliance on foreign fuel.

  2. As it happens Anon I agree with you. My Mum's first upright hoover was rated at 550w. Our current model is 1400w. It will be interesting to if see they apply a similar ban on kettles as has been suggested. A physics lesson may be in order!

  3. There are many different types of vacuum cleaners with many different features. So before you buy one make sure you know what type of vacuum cleaner is best for your needs.

  4. This Vacuum looks promising but i never heard about this company

  5. I bought this at Sams yesterday. Being that we live in a small travel trailer, I needed something that would take up little space, but be strong enough to clean up sand, dirt etc, so it was perfect size. Let me tell you I am SUPER impressed with this little vacuum. Little but Powerful! Honestly it's stronger than any vacuum I've ever used, and I am not kidding. The only draw back is there is no where to store the attachments to the vacuum, as far as I can tell. I read the manual, but no mention of that. Otherwise, I highly recommend this vacuum.

  6. Hi Laura, glad you like it. We are still using ours 18 months on and are very happy with it.

  7. Just bought the Arnica Merlin today and tested it. Works on wood floors but not good on carpet; picks up larger things well but NOT good for pet fur. I vacuumed the stairs and the upstairs carpeted bonus room with the Arnica Merlin AND then followed with the SHARK vacuum. The Merlin left lots of dirt (from 3 dogs who are indoor/outdoor dogs) and lots of dog and cat hair which the sharp picked up. I am NOT happy with it but it will be good for an electronic broom (I hope) on wood/laminate/tile floors. I would NOT buy this again for a general purpose vacuum- I think the absence of rollers/brush on the carpet attachment explains the lack of pickup of hair and dirt from the carpet. If you want to pick up bigger things, dry rice, nuts and bolts, it has the power. Very disappointe; it was lightweight.