By November 29, 2007

ReadiVac 36104 12-Volt Wet/Dry Auto Vacuum review

Nothing like a new car to jumpstart the desire to keep things clean again. I have a kit in the hatch of my MazdaSPEED 3 with a quick auto detailer spray, an interior cleaner spray, two microfiber cleaning cloths, a wheel cleaner spray, a tire cleaner foam, and a dash duster. So, we have the exterior and the dash covered, but what about when I chow down on two “sausage” biscuits from McDonald’s while I am on the road? The biscuits are yum, but they get crumbs everywhere. I wanted a portable vacuum that would allow me to keep the carpet clean while I was away from home.

For $10 before shipping, the ReadiVac 36104 seemed to fit the bill. Even if it was junk, there aren’t a lot of items I can pick up for ten bucks and review for Gibberish. 🙂

http://gallery.drfaulken.com/d/3838-2/ReadiVac.jpgThe ReadiVac 36104 is about the size of the old Dustbuster hand vacuum my parents had when I was a kid. For ten bucks, it had some impressive features, including three attachments and a HEPA filter. The front cone of the vac is clear so that you can see when you need to empty the bin. The vacuum plugs into your car’s 12-volt (cigarette lighter) adapter. There’s a simple on-off switch on the top of the vacuum. Build quality and heft were surprising given the price.

The ReadiVac did a pretty good job at getting larger-sized bits like leaf chunks and biscuit crumbs. Vacuuming the floor mats and seats of the car was easy, and went by very quickly. The long power cord made it easy to transition the vac to the back seats of the car, but that’s when the positives ended and the negatives began. My dogs ride in the back from time to time, and leave one inch white hairs all over the black interior. Unfortunately the ReadiVac 36104 isn’t powerful enough to suck the hairs up if they are even slightly embedded in the fabric. I wound up plucking a few hairs from the seat and then running the hand vac over them … which was obviously not efficient.

The ReadiVac comes with three attachments: a brush, a crevice tool, and a horseshoe-shaped upholstery attachment. The crevice tool isn’t long enough to get past the thick bolsters of my seats. It’s only really useful for tiny nooks and crannies of your dashboard and center console. The upholstery attachment is also pretty useless. It was unable to dislodge the pet hair in the back seat. The wide nose of the vac makes it impossible to really work it into small corners of the car, so there are a few no-man’s land spots where the crevice tool and upholstery attachment can’t reach. The brush is the only decent piece of kit out of the trio. It does a good job of flipping up little pieces of whatnot so the vac can suck them up. Unfortunately it suffers from the same problem as the rest of the vac in that it’s too big to fit in the really hard to reach areas, like under the seats.

The worst part of the ReadiVac attachments is removing them. A plastic slot on each attachment slides inside the nose cone of the vacuum. The brush is easy enough to remove, but the crevice tool and upholstery attachment are really hard to pull off. I had to pry the upholstery attachment off with a flathead screwdriver the first time I used it. I didn’t feel like fishing around for a screwdriver the second time I used the vac, so I took the nose off and pushed the attachment off from the inside. While it was easier this way, I managed to give myself a quarter-inch gash on my hand from some previously unseen jagged surface. The pain (literally) of removing the attachments kept me from wanting to use them, and their inefficacy coupled with the fitting issue really put the final nail in the 36104’s coffin.

If you have kids and need to suck up Cheerio bits or live in the country and have grit and dirt in the floor of your car, then the ReadiVac might do a good enough job for you. As a quick touch-up device for a borderline obsessive geek, the ReadiVac 36104 falls a little flat.

ReadiVac 36104 12-Volt Wet/Dry Auto Vacuum, I whirr out
Three and a half out of five STFU mugs!

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1 Comment on "ReadiVac 36104 12-Volt Wet/Dry Auto Vacuum review"

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  1. Starbuck says:

    ummm, sausage biscuits from McDonalds 🙂