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Updated Feb 2, 2022 5:29 PM

Whether you are a car detailer, a parent, a pet owner, or simply a person who likes keeping your vehicle clean, a car vacuum is a great device to have on hand. You can use these machines for light cleanups and any time you want to remove unwanted dog hair,  crumbs, or other debris from your vehicle. 

Whether you choose one to store in your car or truck or prefer to hang it on your garage wall, they’re great tools for anyone who likes having a tidy, organized interior. Check out some excellent options in our buying guide.

Our Methodology

We took several things into consideration when compiling our list of the best car vacuums. We made sure to choose products from reputable brands. We also looked at the price and made sure to include items that suit most budgets. User feedback was also an important feature. 

We wanted to see how these vacuums performed in real-world conditions. We didn’t want to highlight a product that looked good on paper but failed to deliver in person. While we were unable to do hands-on testing with all these products, we made sure to select ones that provide strong suction, reliable performance, and overall excel compared to lesser-known, inferior options. Learn more about our methodology here

Best Car Vacuums Reviews & Recommendations

If you’re looking for a lightweight, easy-to-use car vacuum, consider the Black & Decker Quick Clean Cordless Car Vacuum. Designed to clean small messes and spills, this vacuum has a motorized head with rubber tines to tackle dirt and grime. It picks up everything from grass and small pieces of gravel to candy wrappers. The vacuum features lithium technology, which promotes strong suction ability, so crumbs and debris are easy to remove. It includes a crevice tool for hard-to-reach areas. That and the motorized brush are easy to put on and take off. The dirt cup is also simple to take off, and it’s washable.

The vacuum has an indicator light that lets you know when it’s fully charged. However, if you have a SUV or other type of large vehicle, the battery life may not be long enough. As a result, this vacuum may be best suited for smaller cleaning jobs.

Specs
  • Brand Black & Decker
  • Type Handheld
  • Power Source Battery
PROS

Lightweight

Easy to use

Good suction

Battery charge indicator

CONS

Not great for larger vehicles

Best for small cleanups

We like this compact, handheld cordless vacuum largely because it does a good job with suction and doesn’t take up a lot of storage space. It takes about four hours to charge and features three status lights, so you know how much battery life is left while you’re using it. It comes with a USB charger, washable HEPA filter, an extended nozzle attachment, and a brush. It efficiently removes dirt, debris and even hard-to-pick-up glitter. The nozzle does a good job of cleaning the gap between the front seats and the center console. The 3.4-ounce tank can contain small messes, while the brush attachment effectively removes dirt and grime from upholstery and carpet.

This vacuum is also compact enough to fit in some glove compartments, so you always have it on hand when you need it. One downside is that it lacks a storage bag, which could keep the vacuum, attachments and charging cord together.

Specs
  • Brand Sun Joe
  • Type Handheld
  • Power Source Battery
PROS

Good suction

Small profile for storage

Nozzle tackles hard-to-reach spots

Battery indicator light

CONS

No storage bag

We’re featuring another product from Black & Decker because the company produces high-quality, durable products. This 16-volt lithium hand vacuum features strong sucking power and quickly picks up dirt, debris, dust, and hair. The washable dirt canister is clear, so you visually know when it needs to be emptied. The vacuum takes just four hours to charge and comes with a crevice tool for tiny areas and a brush for tackling upholstery.

While it’s great for car use, this vacuum is also perfect for the home and office. It’s lightweight, portable, and you can mount it on the wall in your garage or home for storage. One downside is that it’s a little loud, which can be bothersome to some users. Also, the battery is not replaceable, so once it stops working, the unit will no longer function.

Specs
  • Brand Black & Decker
  • Type Handheld
  • Power Source Battery
PROS

Good suction

Washable dirt caniste

Crevice tool, brush, and wall mount included

Lightweight and portable

CONS

Noisy

Battery is not replaceable

For larger jobs, you need a larger vacuum. The Vacmaster Red Edition Portable Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum features two horsepower, making it more powerful than standard handheld vacuums. It’s efficient at removing dirt and debris from your vehicle. It includes a 2.5-gallon tank, plenty of room to contain big messes. What’s great about this machine is its 14-foot cleaning reach.

While it weighs more than six pounds, it’s relatively lightweight for a wet/dry vac, so you can easily maneuver it as needed. The small attachment is great for crevices and hard-to-reach places. In addition, it comes with a wall mount and on-board storage for the accessories, cord, and hose. However, the wheels may fall off if you don’t attach them properly, and the hose may clog up occasionally due to its small diameter.

Specs
  • Brand Vacmaster
  • Type Canister
  • Power Source Corded electric
PROS

Good for larger messes

14-foot cleaning reach

Accessories included

Wall mount included

CONS

Wheels may fall off

Hose can clog up

One of the reasons why we like the ThisWorx portable car vacuum is because it has three handy attachments: a bristle brush head, an extra-long hose, and a crevice tool for hard-to-reach areas. Plus, it comes with a storage bag where you can keep the machine and accessories together in one place. The cord is long enough to reach most if not all the places in your vehicle. The suction is also good, and easily removes sand, crumbs, dirt, and other debris from your carpet and upholstery.

Weighing just 2.4 pounds, the vacuum has an ergonomic design for comfort and a 106-watt motor that works with your vehicle’s 12-volt outlet. It also features a washable HEPA filter that can eliminate bacteria, dust, and pollen—things that a brush doesn’t always have the capability to remove. Unfortunately, you may have to empty the dirt bowl quite often due to its small size. The vacuum may also struggle to remove dog hair from the carpet.

Specification
  • Brand ThisWorx
  • Type Handheld
  • Power Source 12-volt cord
PROS

Several attachments

Storage bag

Long cord

Ergonomic

Washable HEPA filter

CONS

Small canister

Dog hair can be challenging

This Ryobi One has strong suction for a hand vacuum and easily picks up everything from pet hair to dirt and debris. The battery lasts a long time, and it stays powered up even if you don’t charge it for several days or even a couple weeks. The vacuum features a dual-filter system, but what makes it most attractive is the battery is part of the same platform as 260 cordless tools made by Ryobi. So, if you have another Ryobi product, you don’t need to purchase a separate battery.

The unit includes a crevice tool, built-in slide brush, and a replaceable filter. It’s designed with a special grip zone for comfort. It has on-board storage for the attachments, and the filter is replaceable. It also comes with a three-year manufacturer’s warranty should you experience any issues. Unfortunately, the crevice tool has a tendency to fall off the storage position, which can be a hassle. Also, if you don’t have other Ryobi products, you have to pay extra for the battery.

Specs
  • Brand Ryobi
  • Type Handheld
  • Power Source Battery
PROS

Long-lasting battery

Good suction

Dual-filter system

CONS

Battery and charger sold separately

Crevice tool doesn’t stay put

Our Verdict

Our pick for the best car vacuum is the Black & Decker Dustbuster QuickClean Cordless Handheld Car Vacuum. We like this product because it’s lightweight, easy to use, and has good suction for a handheld unit. It has a crevice tool for tight spots, and the dirt cup is washable. Overall, it’s very efficient and a great choice for the price. For a more budget-friendly option, consider the Sun Joe 8.4-Volt Handheld Cordless Auto Vacuum.

What to Consider When Buying Car Vacuums

Once you determine your budget, you need to decide what type of vacuum you want to do the job. Next, you have to look at the amount of suction it provides, the accessories included, and what its power source is. 

Types of Car Vacuums

Handheld

The best thing about handheld car vacuums is that they’re easy to maneuver, particularly if they are battery operated. You don’t have to worry about a long cord impeding your progress as you suck up dirt and crumbs. You can bend down to clean the carpet in the front of the car and then take the vac to the trunk without worrying about a cord getting in the way or lacking enough length to reach all the nooks and crannies. Handheld vacuums tend to be less powerful than their canister counterparts, however. In addition, many are battery operated, so they will eventually run out of juice and will require a recharge before you can use them again.

Canister

Canister vacuums are a lot larger than handheld ones, so they are generally more powerful. They tend to be better at sucking up dirt and debris, so larger messes are much easier to tackle. One downside is that they are corded, and some cords are short and require an extension for optimal reach. In addition, they’re not quite as maneuverable as a handheld vacuum. But if you are looking for a car vac that can clean up tougher spills, a canister option may be the way to go.

Car Vacuum Key Features

Suction

The most important feature of any vacuum, whether it’s for your car, home or office, is how much suction it provides. The more suction, the better. Check out the size of the motor/battery and compare it to other options. That should give you a good idea of its capabilities. Also, look at user feedback, which is a good indicator of how well a vacuum does in real-world conditions. Canister vacuums tend to be a little stronger than handheld vacuums when it comes to their suction power.  

Ease of Use

The best car vacuums feel good in your hands and have attachments that let you reach tiny crevices and other areas of your vehicles such as under the seats. Look for accessories such as an extended hose or crevice tool. Other things to consider are brushes to clean the upholstery and carpet. If you purchase a handheld vacuum, it shouldn’t be too heavy in your hands. If it has a cord, it should be long enough to reach a good portion of the vehicle. 

Dry and Wet/Dry

Some vacuums are only designed to clean up dry messes, such as dirt, crumbs, pebbles, pet hair, and other debris. Other vacuums are made to suck up spills. You may not need a wet/dry vac if you don’t consume beverages in your vehicle and don’t anticipate having to clean up wet snow or other moisture-related issues. However, it’s always a good feature to have on hand in case you do encounter some wet messes, particularly if you’re a parent or a pet owner. 

Battery Life

Many handheld vacuums are battery operated, which means you have to make sure the battery is properly charged before use and that it will last long enough to clean your entire vehicle. Nothing is more frustrating than to have your vacuum sputter out and die in the middle of a deep clean. Some batteries require longer charging than others, and some simply hold a charge better. Check the specs and user feedback to make sure you choose a product that will have a long lifespan. 

Car Vacuum Pricing 

The good news is that car vacuums are not that expensive. They typically range in price from $30 to $60, depending on their features, size, and type. Some handheld vacuums are as expensive as small canister ones, but they may have more attachments, making them easier to use in smaller spaces. For the best suction, you may have to spend more money on a shop vacuum, which is designed for garage use and may not be as practical when it comes to storage due to their large size. These machines can cost upwards of $100 and more.

Tips and Tricks

As with anything you do for years, you pick up a few tips and tricks along the way in terms of selecting the right product. That’s the case with us and car vacuums. To help you bridge the information gap, here’s a selection of what we’ve learned along the way.

  • Remove the floor mats and make sure to vacuum underneath them to remove any dirt and debris. You can also vacuum the floor mats themselves.
  • Look for vacuums with a small nozzle attachment, so you can reach small nooks, crannies, and crevices. Use the brush accessory for carpet and upholstery.
  • You  may have to run the vacuum over an area several times to pick up certain types of debris. Be patient, and make sure to move the seats forward and back to clean as much of the carpet as possible.
  • Don’t forget to vacuum the trunk, which can also attract a lot of lint, dirt, and dust. 

FAQs 

Car Bibles answers your burning questions.

Q: How do you keep the inside of your car clean?

A: One of the best ways to keep your car interior clean is by investing in a car vacuum. Many of these units are small and portable, so you can keep them in your car. Others can be mounted on the wall of your garage, giving you easy access.

Q: What is the most powerful car vacuum?

A: There are numerous powerful car vacuums that can get the job done effectively. We include many on this list, and you really can’t go wrong with any of them.

Q: How do I choose a vacuum for my car?

A: There are several features to take into consideration, such as suction power, accessories provided, and type of vacuum. Choose between a handheld unit and a canister option, and pick one that best suits your needs.

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