No one loves to have a dirty car.
However, vacuuming your car can sometimes be a huge pain.
Sure, you can use your household vacuum or your shop vac, but is that really the most convenient option?
Certainly, it isn’t convenient to run to the local car wash and pump one of those industrial vacuums full of quarters, and getting your car detailed can be pricey.
So, what are your options when it comes to the best vacuum for your car?
Today, there are a ton of options on the market when it comes to car-friendly vacuums.
You can buy portable vacuums that plug into your car, handheld vacuums that run on rechargeable batteries, and heavy-duty shop vacs.
Even a conventional home vacuum is a useful tool for cleaning your car. But which do you pick?
In this review, we’ll breakdown the best vacuums on the market for keeping your car clean.
We’ll tell you what’s great about each, and where each could do better. We’ll even give you advice on what to look for when buying.
Then we’ll answer all of your burning questions about vacuums for cars, and give you our well-researched answers to those burning questions.
So, here we go, our picks for the best car vacuums on the market.
Best Overall: BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Flex Handheld Vacuum
The 20V Black + Decker Flex vacuum with accompanying pet hair brush features fade-free power, heavy-duty suction and is packed with lithium technology, making it our top choice for best car vacuum.
This ultra-compact, portable and cordless vacuum allows you to tackle your car cleaning chores without lugging out your full size vacuum.
The included pet hair brush removes stubborn pet hair from tight spaces in between seats. It is equipped with a flexible four foot hose that allows you to reach spots high and low.
The powerful performing motor delivers strong suction for jobs big and small and the charging base quickly gets your vacuum charged back up and keeps all the accessories well-organized.
A 3-stage filtering system inhibits dust and debris from escaping as its cyclonic action spins dirt away from the filter to help maintain peak performance.
It also comes with an easy to empty, washable canister and filter so you can give your vacuum a thorough cleaning when you’re finished.
Dustbowl capacity 20.6 ounces, Weight: 3.2lbs.
Strong suction, easy to empty, portable, lightweight.
Short battery lifespan, noisy.
4ft flexible extension hose for the floor to ceiling cleaning, charging case, 3-stage filtration system, pet brush.
Great vacuum for tight spaces and hard to reach places.
|Power Type:||Lithium-ion battery|
|Size/Dimensions:||14.9 x 10.7 x 6.5 inches|
|Warranty:||2 year limited|
RUNNER UP: Dyson V7 Car+Boat Cord-Free Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
Keep your vehicle spotless with this cordless Dyson Car/Boat handheld vacuum. It's portable and lightweight.
Providing up to half an hour of cordless, no power fade performance. This handy vacuum is also useful for cleaning small areas in the home or office.
It can pull up and capture both large as well as small elements thanks to the dual tiers of cyclones and digital motor which creates a powerful airflow system.
Use this convenient car/boat vacuum on a range of other surfaces as well with the incorporated attachments. It's ideal for getting in between tight seats, deep crevices or removing dirt from upholstery and more.
The included flexible hose allows for a longer reach.
This vacuum comes with all the features that you love about your home’s Dyson vacuum, only in a smaller, portable, cord-free version.
Up to 30 minutes of fade-free suction.
Great range of utility, handle grip, lightweight.
Pricey, long charge time.
Tools included: car charger, mini motorized tool, extension hose combination.
It’s recommended that you wash the filter with cold water at least every month.
|Power Type:||Lithium-ion battery|
|Power:||Powered by Dyson digital motor V7, Suction Power: Maximum 100 Air Watts|
|Size/Dimensions:||12.4 x 5.2 x 8.1 inches, 3.77 pounds,Capacity (volume) - .15 gallon|
|Warranty:||Dyson Free 2 year Warranty covers parts and labor|
ALTERNATIVEs: ThisWorx for TWC-01 Car Vacuum
Clean your vehicle like the pros. Save money and time and get professional results every time yourself.
ThisWorx’s car vacuum has a powerful strong suction 106w motor and a durable metal turbine that leaves nothing behind.
Whether you are having a hard time eradicating the crumbs that fell between the seats or you are a busy mom driver who needs to keep your van sanitary for kiddos, ThisWorx portable vacuum is the answer!
ThisWorx vacuum quickly and effortlessly gets all of the dirt from daily commutes or outdoor exploits.
Keep your interior sharp, clean and free of crumbs, dirt and filth! This portable car vac is the perfect solution for parents with little ones or professional drivers’ who want to keep a fresh car for all their passengers.
It works effectively for both dry and wet dirt and even the ashtray. Be rid of bacteria, germs and other allergens that may be concealing themselves in your seats, backrest or floor mats by vacuuming your car regularly.
Offers robust, non-clunky suction for the best maneuverability along with a 16 foot power cable than can reach every corner of even the biggest cars.
Washable HEPA filter, an auto-shut-off lid, the generous volume of the transparent waste container and design all attribute to maximum ease of use.
HEPA Filtration, dry/wet cleaning.
A lot of power, affordable, lightweight, long cord.
A little loud, cleaning it can be challenging.
It comes with a 16ft long power cord, elastic hose and nozzle set, carry bag and additional HEPA filter.
If you have any issues they have awesome customer service.
|Power:||12 volts, 106w motor|
|Size/Dimensions:||2.4 pounds- 13.4 x 4 x 4.3 inches|
|Warranty:||100% risk free satisfaction|
Armor All 2.5 Gallon 2 Peak HP Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum
The Utility Vac from Armor All is specifically designed for cleaning vehicle's interiors.
When you need to easily clean both wet and dry debris in your car, this is the ideal vacuum that gets the job done.
It can handle both dry and wet material, includes all necessary accessories needed for comprehensive interior cleaning and without difficulty, converts to a blower to dry car grills wheels or even motorcycles.
To prevent overflow it has an automatic shut off and for noiseless operation, a built-in air and noise diffuser. It comes with a large volume canister approx. 2.5 gallons so it doesn’t need to be emptied continuously.
With the lengthy power cord, it’s easy to plug into any power source and boost the task.
Besides all of that, its ergonomic design makes it super comfortable to operate. It is one of the top-selling portable vacuums you need in your toolbox.
10 Ft. Cord, auto shut-off.
Large capacity, quite, multiple uses.
Shorter cord, bulky.
6 Ft. x 1-1/4 Inch Hose, Reusable Cloth Filter, Foam Wet Filter, 2-in-1 Utility Nozzle with Brush, Crevice Tool, Deluxe Car Nozzle, Blower Nozzle with Adaptor, and Detail Brush.
Great for cars, boats, and garages.
|Power:||2 Peak HP Motor|
|Size/Dimensions:||2.5 gallon, 7 pounds, 10.6 x 14.2 x 14.4 inches|
|Warranty:||2 year limited|
Best For The Money: HOTOR Corded Handheld Auto Vacuum Cleaner
Here we look at one of the most popular car vacuums, The HOTOR corded handheld.
The HOTOR features an innovative design that allows for straightforward operation reducing the overall time it takes to clean your interior.
This car vacuum has a strong stainless steel HEPA filter maximizing the filtration procedure, combined with a motor that is powerful, speeding the vacuuming process.
This is another portable car vacuum that is well suited to handle both wet and dry clean up. The lightweight design, long cord and portability make it more ideal for everyday use.
Despite all the top-notch features, the HOTOR is an affordable, everyday car vacuum cleaner you will be happy you have. This is the perfect choice for best vacuum for the money that will clean your car better than expected.
16.4ft /5m power cord is a wet/dry vacuum.
Affordable, lightweight, low noise level.
Filter tricky to remove,car should be running to use.
Comes with 4 accessories, extra paper HEPA filter as a replacement, hard brush for ground-in dirt, crevice tube for deeply clean, soft long tube for mobility.
Perfect little vacuum at a great price point that does the job.
|Size/Dimensions:||2.5 pounds, 13.6 x 4 x 4.3 inches|
|Warranty:||All HOTOR products are offered to a full refund or a replacement|
Car Vacuums FAQ
Are car vacuums any good?
Like any other appliance on the market, car vacuums have their pros and cons.
When you are considering a car vacuum, it’s important that you look at all of the features and decide what is going to work best for you.
Some handy things about car vacuums that make them a great investment include portability, small size, and versatile power supplies.
Let’s delve a little deeper into these positives:
A lot of car vacuums are meant to be stored in your car.
They are small in size and they can easily tuck into your trunk or into a wheel well storage compartment.
While a conventional vacuum may be bulky and heavy to move around, your car vacuum is going to be easy to move and can be carried by children or small adults.
This makes them the perfect solution if you don’t want to heave around a big vacuum or if you want to include your kids in the process.
This also means that you can quickly vacuum a mess when you’re on the go, instead of waiting until you get home.
If you are considering a car specific vacuum, you’ll notice that they are all pretty tiny.
And while this is handy from the portability standpoint, it is also handy from an efficiency standpoint.
Car vacuums are made to fit under seats and into the tiny spaces in your car.
If you struggle to get your regular vacuum into the nooks and crannies of your car, the vacuum is a perfect alternative.
Many car vacuums work on a couple of different power supplies.
Some have a regular plug and battery which can be charged in your garage and then used cord-free in your car.
Others have a battery and a 12-volt power supply that you can plug into the power port in your car.
Both options are great, and both mean that you don’t have to be tied to a wall to clean your car.
While these features of the car vacuum make them handy, they can also have some drawbacks.
One of the most frequent complaints about car specific vacuums is not enough suction.
This can be a problem when you are relying solely on battery power or 12-volt power from your car battery.
Now if your purpose is to be able to clean up a mess on the fly, this might not bother you, but if you are using this tool for heavy-duty cleaning, a conventional vacuum or shop vac might be a better option.
All in all, car vacuums are a great tool for the job of cleaning your car.
They can easily fit in tight spots and are designed to give the right amount of power, suction, and portability to allow you to clean up messes whether you’re on the go or at home.
Can a car vacuum cleaner be used at home?
Have you ever needed a small size vacuum to reach behind a piece of heavy furniture or in those tiny places that your normal vacuum just can’t reach?
Don’t let the name “car vacuum” fool you, this is a handy tool to use at home too.
One of the great things about car vacuums is their portability.
Many people like to use their car vacuums for doing chores like vacuuming under beds, dressers and behind refrigerators.
Because they are small, portable and have hoses and attachments that are made for small spaces, a car vacuum is a perfect tool for those hard to reach places at home.
We’ve also heard that many people like to use their car vacuums for cleaning their stairs.
If your conventional vacuum is heavy or doesn’t come apart for easy handling upstairs, you may want to invest in a car vacuum for cleaning your stairs.
They’re lightweight and their small size will allow you to clean close to the wall and in the corners of the stairs.
You may find that using a car vacuum on your stairs will get them cleaner than they’ve ever been.
Just remember, some car vacuums don’t have a ton of suction, and if your car vacuum is meant to run off the 12-volt battery in the car, it won’t do you much good.
So, if you’re looking for the biggest bang for your buck, consider a car vacuum that has battery power or plugs into a standard wall outlet, and make sure you research suction power before you run out and buy.
How long does it take to vacuum your car?
The answer to this question really depends on the quality of the clean you are looking for.
To be honest, if you just want to catch some surface dirt or aren’t looking for a deep clean, you could spend as little as a few minutes to vacuum your car.
However, if you really want to get a good deep clean, you could spend an hour or more vacuuming your car.
Cleaning time will also be dependent on the amount of suction power that your vacuum has.
If you have a tiny vacuum that doesn’t come with a lot of power, you can expect that vacuuming your car could become a much longer task.
Additionally, battery-powered, handheld vacuums may slow down your cleaning process if they require a frequent charge.
In general, for a good, thorough, cleaning, plan on spending half an hour to an hour of time vacuuming your car.
This will allow you to hit all of the tiny spaces, clean the creases of your seats, suck up all the random junk under your seats and in general, do a complete cleaning of your car.
What type of vacuum is best for car vacuuming?
This is really dependent on what you’re looking for in a vacuum for your car.
If you are a mom, and you are regularly cleaning up the spoils from hauling kids around town, or need a quick way to clean up spills on the fly, you will probably benefit from a car specific, handheld, portable vacuum.
Look for ones that are small enough to fit in your trunk and are powered by rechargeable batteries or have a 12-volt plug that connects to the power port in your car.
On the other hand, if you love to detail your car, and aren’t really interested in portability but want solid performance, you may want to consider a more versatile, and less vehicle specific vacuum.
A small size shop vac with a variety of handy tools, a couple of different hose lengths and a bit more power may be the best option for your garage.
These smaller shop vacs can also be hung on the wall of your garage, so if you don’t need it for anything but detailing your ride, this might be a great, space saving option.
Portable shop vacs and conventional vacuums are always a viable option for folks that want one option that will work for a variety of applications.
You might not want to have a vacuum that is dedicated to cleaning your car, so if that’s the case, look for a multi-purpose vacuum that has some handy tools and can be moved from place to place with relative ease.
What type of vacuum do professionals use?
Professional detailers really rely on a product that is going to clean quickly, have plenty of power, and is portable.
If you look inside a detailing shop you’re going to see a couple of products in use.
If your local auto detailer doesn’t have a central vacuum system, that allows them to just pull a hose from place to place, adding attachments as needed, you’ll likely find some version of a shop vac or industrial canister vacuum.
These products allow a professional detailer to have plenty of suction power for speed and efficiency, but they also have plenty of drum capacity, so they don’t have to empty the canister or bag after every car.
There are shop vac type vacuums that are made specifically for cleaning vehicles that come with a range of tools and attachments that work perfectly in the small spaces between seats and around the edges of your car’s interior.
You may not want to invest in a full size shop vac or industrial canister vacuum, but a small shop vac will give you plenty of suction power, easy portability, and performance similar to what a professional detailer uses.
If you’re looking for a great way to keep your car’s interior clean, you have a range of options.
Before you run out and buy a vacuum for your car, make sure that you consider your needs and the product that will give you the most bang for your buck.
In this guide, we’ve tried to give you a variety of products that are useful cleaning tools for different types of applications.
Whether you’re a busy parent trying to keep your car tidy, or you’re that guy who loves to detail his car, the vacuums that we’ve recommended can meet your needs, and then some.
Let us know your thoughts, and tell us about your favorite car vacuum.