Written By
Published Nov. 10, 2020

Having a clean, fresh car interior makes driving or riding in your car a much more pleasant experience. A good car vacuum is an important part of keeping your carpets and seats looking new, no matter the mess that gets tracked in or dropped inside your car.

Ground-in dirt causes abrasions to interior fabrics that wear them out prematurely, so not only does keeping things clean make for a more pleasing environment, but it also reduces the internal damage that can diminish resale value.

A car vacuum that is easy to use, fits into all the small spaces under and around your seats, and is powerful enough to remove the dirt and allergens that build up on your carpets and seats can sometimes be hard to choose. We’re going to help you out with that choice by looking at some of the wide variety of car vacuums out on the market, so you can find one that suits your own specific needs.

The Best Car Vacuums

The wet/dry Armor All Shop Vacuum is specifically designed for cleaning your car interior, as well as your garage or shop. Although it’s a canister-style vacuum, the light weight, six-foot hose with rotating base and ten-foot power cord make it easy to use inside your vehicle, and the variety of included attachments makes cleaning those hard-to-reach places simple and efficient.

Because of its wet/dry capability, spilled messes are an easy job to tackle before stains and odors set in. The two-horsepower motor gives the unit strong suction, and a two-and-a-half gallon tank capacity means you can pick up quite a lot before you need to empty it.

Key Features
  • Wet/dry capability
  • 2.5-gallon tank
  • 2 horsepower motor
  • Brand Armor All
  • Model AA255
  • Weight 7 pounds

wet pickup capability

variety of attachments

Long hose

long power cord




Black & Decker’s 12-Volt Dustbuster plugs into your cigarette lighter outlet with a 16-foot cord to clean up your car’s interior and trunk. It has an extra-long nozzle with a wide mouth, as well as a flexible hose with long crevice tool and brush attachments for getting into tight spaces and loosening dirt.

The lightweight, handheld Dustbuster is powerful and easy to empty, and comes with a storage bag for the included accessories.

Key Features
  • 12-volt operation
  • Included attachments
  • Lightweight
  • 16-foot power cord
  • Brand Black & Decker
  • Model BDH1220AV
  • Weight 2.8 pounds

Long 12-volt cord

Easy to use in small spaces


Includes attachments and storage bag



Not as powerful as canister-type vacuums

The VacLife Handheld Model H106 Vacuum gives you cordless convenience for cleaning your car interior. It uses rechargeable lithium ion battery power to provide up to twenty minutes of running time after a three to four hour charge time.

The VacLife includes a long, crevice tool attachment, as well as a brush attachment for loosening dirt, while a built-in LED illuminates dark areas while you’re cleaning. This lightweight vacuum uses a washable HEPA filter and has a detachable dust cup for easy emptying.

Key Features
  • Cordless operation
  • Crevice tool and brush attachments
  • Washable HEPA filter
  • Built-in LED light
  • Brand VacLife
  • Model B08548WD5P
  • Weight 1.9 pounds

Cordless design


HEPA filter


Short battery life before recharge

The Black & Decker Flex Car Vacuum operates on your vehicle’s 12-Volt power through a sixteen-foot cord that plugs into your lighter outlet. Its unique, compact design allows it to be used as a unit as a traditional hand vacuum, or with the four-foot flexible hose and attachments that allow you to reach into tight spaces.

The Flex includes a long crevice tool attachment and a two-in-one flip-up brush and wide nozzle attachment for losing dirt in larger areas. A transparent dust bowl makes it easy to tell when the unit needs to be emptied through its easy-to-use side door.

Key Features
  • 12-Volt operation
  • Unique hand-held and hose use options
  • Transparent dust bowl
  • Model BDH1200FVAV
  • Weight 3.3 pounds

Flexible use options

12-Volt operation

16-foot power cord

Compact design



The ThisWorx Portable Car Vacuum Cleaner operates on 12 Volts through a sixteen-foot power cord plugged into your car’s outlet. Although lower priced than some other similar vacuums, it includes flathead, extendable, and brush attachments to meet all your needs for easy cleanup inside your vehicle, as well as a spare HEPA filter, filter cleaning tool, and a carry bag to store everything neatly in.

Key Features
  • 12-Volt operation
  • Storage bag and extra filter included
  • Washable HEPA filter
  • Brand ThisWorx
  • Model TWC-01
  • Weight 2.4 pounds

12-Volt operation

16-foot power cord

Three attachments, filter cleaning tool, and spare filter included

Storage bag included

Low price



Car Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide

Picking the right vacuum cleaner for your vehicle actually has a lot to do with how often you clean your car, how ‘dirty’ it can get with each trip, and how obsessive you are keeping it in pristine condition. You will have to consider the gadget’s vacuum power, its tank capacity, its weight, and the various attachments that come with it. To help you better arrive at a product that’s perfect for you and your vehicle, we’ve prepared this buying guide.

best car vacuum

Corded vs. Cordless Car Vacuum Cleaner

Making the choice to go corded or cordless really depends on your own preferences.  Here are some of the pluses and minuses of each type to help you decide. 

Corded vacuums are powered either by 110-Volt house current or 12-Volt power from your vehicle.  If you have a garage with a handy power outlet, this option can be a good one.  However, you may need a heavy-duty, weather-proof extension cord to allow you to reach all the areas of your vehicle that you want to vacuum.  You also have to deal with getting the cord tangled or pinched in door openings and the like.  However, 110-volt vacuums usually provide the most suction power, so the inconvenience can be worth it.

12-Volt vacuums rely on your vehicle’s battery for power, by plugging into your lighter or power outlet.  With these, you don’t need to be near your house or garage in order to use your vacuum, and don’t need an extension cord.  Of course, extended use could run your battery down, but most cleaning tasks shouldn’t take enough time for that to be a problem.  You can always start your vehicle to charge the battery if your vacuuming will take an extraordinarily long time.  You still have to deal with potentially tangled cords, and be careful not to pinch them in door openings, or snag them under seats.

Cordless Vacuums that run on rechargeable batteries eliminate the problem of tangled cords and restricted movements because of snags or cord length.  They also allow you to vacuum pretty much anywhere at any time.  That great convenience is offset a bit by the fact that cordless vacuums typically only have a run time of fifteen to twenty minutes before needing a charge, so if your work will take longer than that, you’ll have a problem.  Additionally, charging times will be measured in hours, so you’ll have quite a wait before finishing your work if you run out of power.  

With those factors in mind, you can decide what will work best for you in the location and amount of cleaning you typically expect to do.  No matter what type of power source you choose, you’ll find that there is an almost infinite variety of each type of vacuum available for you to find just the right one to keep your vehicle interior looking great.

Tips on Using a Car Vacuum Cleaner

best car vacuum 2

Now that you have an idea of the type of vacuum cleaner to get for your vehicle, it is equally important to know how to use it properly. Here are some tips you might want to consider.

Our Top Pick for Best Car Vacuum

In this list of the best car vacuum cleaners, we’ve seen a variety of units from corded to cordless and from bin units to handheld. It is quite difficult to zero-in on a single absolute best.

ArmorAll’s Utility Wet/Dry Vacuum is a formidable gadget for the mere fact that it has the most powerful suction capabilities on this list, and has the capability to deal with wet spills. It’s very affordable, too, considering the various attachments that it comes with, enabling you to clean not only your car but your house and garage, too.


  1. Vacuum Cleaner – Wikipedia