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Luckily, there’s a simple solution, and it comes in the form of a car vacuum. These are made for tight spaces, featuring unique accessories and features that make the job easier.
Take a moment to read the article below to discover the best models and how to pick one.
Here’s a quick breakdown of our favorites:
|Product Name||Weight||Cord Length / Run Time||Suction Power / Motor Power|
|BLACK+DECKER Flex Car Vacuum||3.31 lbs||16 ft||12 V|
|ThisWorx Car Vacuum Cleaner High Power||2.65 lbs||16 ft||110 W|
|Armor All AA255 Wet Dry Utility Shop Vacuum||7 lbs||10 ft||Unknown|
|LOLLDEAL Hand Car Cleaner||11.8 oz||14.8 ft||3200 PA of suction power|
|LIBERRWAY Car Vacuum Cleaner High Power||2.6 lbs||14 ft||5 kPA of suction power
|Dyson V6 Car + Boat Handheld Vacuum||2.4 lbs||20 min||Unknown|
|Foxnovo DC 12V Car Vacuum Cleaner||2.35 lbs||14.8 ft||4000 PA of suction power|
|Dewalt DCV580H 18 20V MAX Cordless Wet Dry Vacuum||8 lbs||N/A||18/20 V battery
|HOTOR Corded Car Vacuum Cleaner||2.44 lbs||16.4 ft||12 V|
|XDesign Car Vacuum Cleaner||2.2 lbs||14.6 ft||4500 PA of suction power
|Metro Vacuum VM6SB500 Professional||2.7 lbs||12 ft||500 W|
|Hikeren Cordless Vacuum Cleaner||2.07 lbs||30 min||100 W|
|Nulaxy Car Vacuum Cleaner||1.3 lbs||16.4 ft||5000 PA of suction power
How to Choose the Best Vacuum for Car Interior
How to choose between the big names like Dyson and Black Decker? Well, choosing the best car vacuum isn’t as complicated as long as you pay attention to all the critical factors. Checking the wattage and suction pressure is often more important than the brand name, but there are other things to consider as well.
In this buyer’s guide, we’ve included some info on all the things you should check before opting for a particular car vacuum.
Ease of Use
Having a car vacuum that’s easy to use makes all the difference. The last thing you want is to struggle with it inside such a tight space. For this reason, it’s essential to look into weight, maneuverability, and portability of the car vacuum you have in mind.
A car vacuum should be lightweight because you’ll likely use it often. Cleaning the interior of your car usually takes time, and it’s much easier to go through if you have a lightweight car vacuum.
Maneuverability is also a significant factor that you should focus on. It’s essential to think about things like additional tools and whether or not they’re easy to use. Is the car vacuum small enough to work within such a small space? Can it get to all the nooks and crannies? These are some of the questions you should ask yourself regarding ease of use.
Nowadays, most models come with several attachments and accessories you can use in different areas. When it comes to cleaning cars, you don’t need much other than a few small tools, depending on the mess you’re cleaning.
Key attachments like a crevice tool and a dusting brush go a long way and are usually quite simple to use. Some models come with special kits to use in car interiors, so testing and playing with that might also be a good idea.
Some feature motorized tools that might come in handy if you’re concerned about pet hair. But still, if you don’t have a pet, you can even get away with no tools at all.
Filtration is that much more important if you’re allergy-prone or a pet owner. In most cases, HEPA is the best choice for those prone to allergies.
Much like all vacuums, those meant for cars come with different filtration systems that are more or less efficient. Most models have at least one HEPA, while others feature as much as two or three.
Keep in mind that a weak filtration system can lead to engine failure, reduced air quality, and excessive dust buildup. For this reason, it’s one of the most critical factors to consider.
Warranty is always important to look into regardless of what kind of unit you’re buying. It’s the same when it comes to car vacuums as well as any other.
In most cases, the best products come with some great warranty deals. Brands that stand behind their vacs aren’t afraid to back them up for a more extended period.
For this reason, make sure that the car vacuum of your choice has at least a year-long warranty. Keep in mind that some come with deals that last as long as ten years, covering for more than just damage caused by faulty materials. Nonetheless, make sure to read the fine print.
Caring for your vacuum is essential for longevity. If you’re looking for a car vacuum that’s going to last you a long time, make sure you can keep up with its maintenance requirements.
Typically, car vacuums have dust bins more than bags, so you’d have to empty them quite regularly. By regularly, we mean after each use since these appliances are usually rather small.
There’s also the question of filter maintenance. In most cases, filters are washable, so you’d have to rinse them once in a while. Those that are replaceable are even easier to use. Regular maintenance of the tools and attachments is also necessary for the suction to remain at its peak.
Bag or Bagless
Choosing between the two usually comes down to your preference. Both types have their pros and cons, but testing both is often the best way of figuring out which one suits you better.
Many people think that bagless vacuums are more convenient to use for cleaning the interior of your vehicle. These are easier to maintain, and you wouldn’t have to deal with any additional expenses.
However, bagged vacs usually have a somewhat larger capacity, although that’s not a rule since some exceptions do exist. You should carefully consider all the benefits and disadvantages of both types.
Cord or Cordless
There’s a vital difference between the two, but again, both types have pros and cons you should carefully consider. First of all, cordless vacuums are easier to work with in terms of maneuverability. There’s no power cord you could get tangled in, which allows you to move freely.
However, there’s a battery that can only last so long, meaning that you might not finish if you’re not fast enough. This can’t happen with a corded car vacuum because it uses a power source that’s a bit more reliable.
Do you have a power socket near your car? Most people don’t, which is why cordless models are a bit more popular.
If you’re looking for a cordless vacuum, you should think about the battery life it comes with. The best handheld vacuums usually have some ten minutes of runtime. That’s not a lot, but in most cases, it’s enough.
Still, many models on the market offer more than that, which is excellent if you think you need more than ten minutes to clean your car. Some feature 20 to 30 minutes of runtime, depending on the tools you use. Keep in mind how long it takes the battery to charge, as well.
If you don’t like the idea of battery-operated or corded vacuums, you might want to consider the cigarette lighter of your car as a power source.
It’s quite a convenient option that gives you what resembles a corded vacuum but without the lengthy power cord. These are somewhat easier to work with in terms of maneuverability, but they’re usually not as powerful. Battery-operated and classic corded vacuums often have more power than those running on a cigarette lighter.
Still, this might be enough for some people. If you’re only dealing with some dust and no pet hair or dried grass in your car, then you might benefit from such a car vacuum.
You should think about motor power and suction power as the two equally important things. Motor power is usually stated in watts while suction is in kPa.
Still, power rating, as such, might not mean a lot to you. For this reason, testing the vacuum is often the best and only way to figure out whether it’s right for you or not.
Keep in mind that handheld car vacuums typically don’t have as much power when it comes to suction. They can usually only tackle sand, dust, and other small particles though some exceptions exist. If you’re looking to pick up small rocks, chunks of leaves, and other such things, you might need something stronger.
Wet/Dry or Dry?
Choosing between wet and dry is again pretty much a matter of your preference. It depends on what kind of messes you’re dealing with in your car.
The key thing about wet vacuums is that they can pick up moisture without damaging the electrical components. It’s a convenient option if you often have wet floors in your car.
On the other hand, dry models can’t pick up liquids. Cleaning any kind of moisture with a regular car vacuum would most definitely result in short-circuit.
Top 13 Car Vacuum Reviews
BLACK+DECKER Flex Car Vacuum
(Our Top Choice)
Black Decker is a big name in the industry that’s been around for years. According to its users, Black Decker Flex handheld vacuum is one of the best for keeping your car neatly clean, hence its spot at the very top of the list of our reviews. It comes with a 4ft flexible hose, flip-up brush, long crevice tool, and a wide nozzle tool.
It’s a corded vacuum, featuring a 12V adapter for your car’s battery socket. This means you’d probably have enough time to clean all the nooks in detail.
This one comes with a 19oz dustbin that’s see-through so that you can see when it’s time to empty it. Emptying the bin shouldn’t be too complicated, although it’s recommended you do it after each use.
The cyclonic action of this Black Decker model does a fantastic job of picking up different debris such as sand, dust, dirt, and hair. This system also helps keep all of that away from the filter, allowing maximum suction.
- Great suction
- 16ft of cable
- Poor storage of the power cord and attachments
ThisWorx Car Vacuum Cleaner High Power
(Best Heavy-Duty Option)
This heavy-duty car vacuum connects to your 12V cigarette lighter and is combined with a 16ft power cord. It features an LED light, making it easy to work with in low-light conditions.
It features an ergonomically-designed handle and a “smart” flat bottom body, allowing the vacuum to slide across different surfaces. It efficiently picks up even the most persistent crumbs and various debris from floorboards and seats.
It’s important to note that this one is suitable for both wet and dry cleaning. You can pick up everything from dust, sand, and mud.
It’s a good choice if you’re looking for a corded vacuum you can use with your car’s battery. Since it features 16ft of power cable, you probably won’t struggle to reach even the most distant parts of your vehicle. The vacuum comes with a narrow tube nozzle, long hose nozzle, and a brush nozzle.
- An easy-to-empty dustbin
- Storage bag included
- Two-layer filtration system
- Not the best for pet hair
Armor All AA255 Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum
(Best Shop Vac for Car Cleaning)
This shop vacuum might not seem like it belongs here, but it’s actually one of the best to use for cleaning car interiors. Due to its size, it’s ideal for larger cars, trucks, and jeeps.
The vacuum features a 2.5-gallon polypropylene tank that’s not too large to fit in a vehicle. It’s rather small compared to most shop vacs, which is precisely what makes it a good choice.
Thanks to the 2 Peak HP motor, the AA225 Wet/Dry vacuum does a great job of picking up different debris such as sand, dust, small leaves, pet hair, and mud.
It’s a corded vacuum, featuring some 10-ft of cable, so you’ll need an outside power socket for it to work. It comes with a reusable cloth filter and foam sleeve, a crevice tool, 2-in-1 utility nozzle, blower nozzle, deluxe car nozzle, and a detail brush.
- Blower function
- Onboard attachments
- For wet and dry messes
- Difficult to store the hose
LOLLDEAL Hand Car Cleaner
(Best Mini Car Vacuum)
If you’re looking for a portable vacuum with powerful suction, you’ll probably love this 75W mini handheld vacuum. It’s a convenient little appliance with a pivot, allowing you to get to all the dark places and hard-to-reach nooks.
It’s a corded vacuum with some 14.8ft of cable, which means you probably won’t struggle to clean the entire car. However, it only works with your car’s battery. You need an ac power adapter if you ever want to use the vacuum at home.
This one is suitable for allergy-prone people thanks to its HEPA filter. It’s a washable filter which you can rinse or wash with some mild detergent.
Thanks to its suction and brush, the vacuum is great for cleaning crumbs, dirt, cigarette ash, dust, and other small particles. It also comes with a crevice tool for some more hard-to-reach areas of your vehicle.
- CE and ROHS certified
- HEPA filtration
- Storage bag included
- It’s a bit tricky to empty
LIBERRWAY Car Vacuum Cleaner High Power
(HEPA Filtration Option)
This handy little vacuum comes with a two-year warranty and three different attachments. You get a brush, an extension hose, and a nozzle to help you clean different areas of your car.
The vacuum features 5.0 kPa of suction, which is enough to tackle most things like crumbs, pet hair, dust, sand, and cigarette ash. It can also clean water, being a wet/dry vacuum cleaner.
It comes with a 14ft cable that plugs into your car’s battery. It should be enough to reach all the areas of the vehicle, allowing you to clean behind the seats as well. Still, you’ll need an adapter if you want to use it at home.
Another one of its key features is the HEPA filtration. The washable filter is eco-friendly and cost-effective, but make sure to dry it thoroughly before the next use.
- Compact and lightweight
- Easy to empty
- Cleans both wet and dry messes
- It might kill your car’s battery
Dyson V6 Car + Boat Handheld Vacuum
Dyson is one of the best names in the industry, and judging by product reviews, this handheld vacuum is quality-made, efficient, and durable.
This small and lightweight vac is powered by Dyson V6 digital motor, featuring increased airflow and 2 Tier Radial cyclones. The 15 cyclones are arranged across two tiers, working hand in hand to capture more particles.
The vac comes with a mini motorized tool for hair and other stubborn debris from the trunk, seats, and other surfaces. It also includes the combination tool, crevice tool, mini soft dusting brush, dirt brush, and an extension hose.
It’s cordless, which allows you to move through the car with more freedom. It has some 20 minutes of runtime with a non-motorized tool. Another thing worth mentioning is the power trigger for saving battery life when you’re not using the vacuum.
- Packed with attachments
- Long battery life
- It’s quite loud
Foxnovo DC 12V Car Vacuum Cleaner
This Foxnovo vacuum is suitable for both wet and dry cleaning. It’s a 12V 106W cleaner with some 4000Pa of powerful suction. Right off the bat, it’s important to note that its noise doesn’t exceed 75db, so according to customer reviews, no high-pitch noise will disturb anyone.
It’s designed to work in different conditions, allowing you to clean both wet and dry messes. Featuring a stainless steel HEPA filter, the vac picks up even the tiniest allergens and particles. It’s a washable filter that you should rinse after each use.
It comes with a dusting brush, flexible hose, and a crevice tool to use in different nooks and crannies. It’s not the biggest when it comes to capacity, but it should be enough for most vehicles. You will, however, have to empty the bin after each use.
- 8ft power cable
- Carrying bag included
- Flexible hose included
- Doesn’t pick up hair
Dewalt DCV580H 18/20V MAX Cordless Wet-Dry Vacuum
According to numerous reviews, DeWalt might be your best choice if you’re looking for a vac you can use for more than just cleaning your car. This is a cordless vacuum that can clean both dry and wet messing from different areas.
Though it’s battery-powered, it comes in two variables, allowing you to choose between 20v and 18v battery. Selecting one of the two is entirely up to you, depending on what you’ll use the machine for.
It features a washable and reusable HEPA filter you can use for years to come. Make sure to let it dry for at least 24h before using it again. The vac comes with onboard attachments such as a heavy-duty hose, crevice tool, and a wide nozzle attachment.
- Works as a blower
- 2-gallon capacity
- Washable HEPA
- Battery and charger sold separately
HOTOR Corded Car Vacuum Cleaner
This Hotor vac is one of the best handheld vacuums thanks to its many unique features and specifications its many users love. It’s a corded machine with 16.4ft of power cable; enough for you to clean the entire car.
It’s equipped with LED light, allowing you to clean in low-light conditions and hard-to-reach areas. It makes this one more user-friendly and straightforward to use than many similar models on the market.
Also, it comes with a washable HEPA as a more eco-friendly option that’s more cost-effective. The body of the vac is quite small, so you don’t get as much bin capacity. For this reason, you’ll have to empty it after each use. Nonetheless, the bin is easy to empty.
This one comes with various brushes and nozzles, as well as a carry bag for convenient storing.
- Detachable dustbin
- Washable filtration system
- Powerful suction
- Might drain your car’s battery
XDesign Car Vacuum Cleaner
This handy, ergonomically-designed vacuum features 98W and 4500Pa, allowing you to pick up even the most persistent particles and debris. It’s a corded vac with a 14.6ft cord, which plugs into your car’s battery.
It’s lightweight, sleek, and easy to use, mainly thanks to the LED lights included. With a simple push of a button, LED lights make it easy to clean all the nooks and crannies.
It’s essential to add that this one cleans dry debris and liquids with equal efficiency. It features a steel filter and detachable head, which helps dump the debris in the trash. Its users claim that the bin is easy to empty without touching any of the dirt that’s inside.
The HEPA makes the vac suitable for allergy-prone people, trapping even the tiniest particles and allergens. The XDesign comes with a brush attachment and an extended nozzle.
- Cord Length: 14.6 ft
- Weight: 2.2 lbs
- Suction: 4500 PA
- Stainless steel filter
- 6ft power cable
- For dry and wet cleaning
- Small dust bin
Metro Vacuum VM6SB500 Professional
If you’re looking for a vac with plenty of attachments, you might want to add this one to the list of your options. It comes packed with a crevice tool, upholstery nozzle and tool, dust brush, flexible hose, and a shoulder strap.
Its 500W of power is enough to clean even the most persistent particles like hair, sand, dust, and dirt. The entire machine weighs no more than 2.7 lbs, although it’s made entirely out of steel. It’s lightweight and straightforward to use in all the hard-to-reach areas.
This one convenient and suitable for home use as well, making spot-cleaning quite simple. Use it to pick up everything from dog kibble, hairs, and other such debris. It’s bagged with small, disposable dust bags you’d have to throw out and replace after each use.
- Many attachments
- Steel body
- Little dirt capacity
Hikeren Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
This Hikeren is one of the best vacuums for cars and trucks, which has been confirmed in numerous reviews. It’s compact, lightweight, and features cyclonic suction that’s always worth considering. Equipped with 100W motor, the radial cyclone suction picks up persistent debris and particles of all kinds.
This one is cordless with a battery that should last you some half an hour. Still, keep in mind that it takes almost four hours to recharge, which you should do after each use.
It features a washable, removable stainless steel filter, which helps trap the tiny particles, enhancing its overall suction. This makes the vac suitable for pet owners since it can pick up both long and short hairs from your seats and footrests.
It comes with a unique duckbill, rubber nozzle, and a carry bag for easier storage.
- Long battery life
- Powerful suction
- Great for small areas
- It’s a bit loud
Nulaxy Car Vacuum Cleaner
If you’re looking for a quiet vacuum to use at any time, you might want to check this one. With 5000Pa, this one can clean everything from hair, dust, and dirt to liquids and crumbs.
It’s corded, working on your car’s battery. However, make sure to start the car before you turn on the vac to prevent it from draining the battery. It has a 16.4ft power cord, which should be enough to reach all the areas of your car.
Another thing worth noting is the HEPA filtration system. It’s removable and washable, helping maintain its best suction. Also, since it weighs only 1.3lbs, this is one of the lightest vacuum cleaners for cars.
It has a transparent dirt container so that you know when it’s time to empty it. Three different nozzles and an extendable tube are also included.
- Simple maintenance
- Long power cord
- HEPA filtration
- Mostly for small cleanups
Why invest in a car vacuum in the first place?
Have you ever tried using your household vacuum in your car? Vacuums we use at home are usually much bigger than these handhelds, and also a bit trickier to work with in such tight areas.
Modern household vacs can be lightweight, but in most cases, they’re bigger and more challenging to use than car vacuum cleaners. If you’d use a standard vacuum, you would at least need some attachments to get to all the nooks and crannies where all the dirt is.
And even that can only work if your vac is cordless. If it’s corded, you’d need an outside power source, which would then make it difficult to use in a car. On the other hand, car vacuum cleaners are either battery-operated or corded and meant to plug into the cigarette lighter in your car.
Regular vacuums are designed to cover large areas, but there’s almost nothing else but tight spaces inside a car. For this reason, it’s only logical to opt for a compact vacuum that can reach those areas. What the best car vacuum can bring is the convenience, ease of use, and maneuverability that a full-size vacuum can’t.
Handheld vacuums are usually lightweight and rather maneuverable. In most cases, they come with several equally as compact attachments, making it that much easier to clean even the most embedded dirt. Luckily, some also clean wet messes, which allows you to clean your car after a downpour.
On the other hand, there are also wall mounted vacuums for your garage that you can use to make it easier when it comes to cleaning your vehicle.
How to vacuum a car properly
Cleaning the interior of a car seems quite simple, and, theoretically, it should be so. However, it all depends on what the interior looks like, as well as on the particular vacuum you have.
While the general process is quite familiar to everyone, many people still find vacuuming car interiors complicated. In most cases, it’s because they’re taking the more difficult way around it.
Just a few hacks and tips can make this process much easier for you, especially if you don’t have as much experience. Let’s dive right in.
Go from the top down to make sure all the dust falls before you clean the floor. It’s the same principle you’d use when cleaning your house, right?
Make sure to clean the dash in whatever way you prefer. Some people like to use their vacs and dusting brushes, while others prefer cleaning wipes, microfiber cloths, and adequate sprays.
It’s also quite important to use all the attachments for what they’re meant. If you got a crevice tool, make sure to use it for the nooks and crannies. It’s going to make all the difference in how thoroughly you do the job.
If there’s too much hair and you have a small bin/bag capacity, you might want to consider removing some of that hair by hand first.
If your car vacuum works as a duster as well, you can switch and blow out all the dust from hard-to-reach spots.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between a car vacuum and a car duster?
A: A car duster is an ideal machine meant for quick maintenance. While these are quite handy, they don’t have as much cleaning power. This is where car vacuum cleaners come into play, being that they’re meant for more thorough cleanups and heavy-duty messes.
What is the best vacuum for car detailing?
A: The best car vacuum for detailing would be the one with several attachments and powerful suction. It should also be lightweight, eliminating any chance of hand fatigue. Make sure it’s also easy to maneuver with in all the tiny spaces of your car.
Would it be better to invest in a regular vacuum cleaner instead?
A: This depends on what you’re trying to achieve. If you need to just clean the seats, you can likely do that with a regular vacuum (see our vacuum cleaner reviews here). However, if you need a vac to clean even the tiniest areas of your car interior, then you should probably consider investing in a car vacuum.
Will my car vacuum be able to deal with pet hair?
A: It depends on the particular vacuum you choose, its suction, and attachments. However, if you shake off as much of that hair as possible, it’s more likely that your vac will be able to remove the remaining ones.
If you’re cleaning hair, make sure to care for your vacuum properly. In other words, empty and clean its dust cup and filters after each use.
Finding the best car vacuum might seem like quite a hassle, but it doesn’t really have to be like that.
We tried to keep our list of reviews versatile so that there’s something for everyone. Keep in mind that testing and asking other users are the best ways of figuring out what works for you. But if you’re on a budget, you might want to consider the ultra-compact Black Decker from our list.
Either way, this is something you should take time for, carefully considering what you want from a hand vacuum. Will you clean liquids? Do you drive pets or children? Do you need an extension cord? What’s your preferred power source?
These are the simple questions you should ask yourself. Also, aside from reviews, think about what we mentioned in our buyer’s guide. The information included can help you have a more precise picture of what would be a good hand vacuum for you.
Sources and Resources
- Assessment of penetration through vacuum cleaners and recommendation of wet cyclone technology
- Older, cheaper vacuum cleaners release more bacteria and dust