The Best Car Vacuum

Best Vacuum Cleaners for Cars

Rather than having to drive all the way to a self-serve car cleaning station to vacuum your car, you can save a lot of time and money by simply doing the job at home with a vacuum cleaner that is made for cleaning cars.

First, let's consider whether you really need to go out and buy the best car vacuum cleaner, or if ​the vacuum cleaner you already around the house have would work just fine.

Then, we'll take a look at some portable vacuum cleaners, and decide on the best car vacuum based for your needs. We rank and review the best vacuum for ​car, truck, and RV. 

​Is a Car Vacuum Best Suited for your Needs?

With so many different types of vacuum cleaners available, you may be wondering which is the best vacuum for car cleaning. If you're like the rest of us, you have likely tried using your regular household vacuum cleaner.

"Why buy another vacuum cleaner when the one I use in my home works great?" At least, that's what we were asking ourselves.

​However, we consistently found that our home vacuum is far too big and bulky for cleaning out the inside of a vehicle, especially when it comes to getting in between the seats. It's annoying to lug out to the car, and it's even more annoying trying to deal with the cords as you navigate through cleaning your car. Even our lightweight stick vacuum was too much hassle. 

Because of the annoyance, we found ourselves not cleaning our car. It seems trivial, but the facts are there. Our car wasn't getting cleaned, and we needed a solution.

​So what are the options?

  • We​ could waste a lot of time and money by going to one of those coin-op car cleaning places that has vacuum cleaners. You get about ​3-4 minutes of suction, and then you have to put more money in.
  • We could hire someone to clean and detail our car. However, that is​ very expensive and we couldn't afford to do that every time we wanted our car cleaned.
  • Or, we could make a small, one-time investment and get a ​best rated car vacuum. That is what we did, and it was well worth the investment.
Best Vacuum Cleaners for Cars

How to Choose the Best Car Vacuum Cleaner

Before we get into the specific car vacuum cleaners we recommend, lets have a conversation about what is important in choosing the best car vacuum cleaner.

Some of the ​important factors include:

​Portability

​This was one of the biggest driving factors (pun intended) for purchasing a car vacuum. We were tired of lugging our upright vacuum cleaner out to the garage, unwinding the cord, and plugging it in.

We we tired of awkwardly working the wand extender through the car, while the vacuum would sit outside of the car. Inevitably, it would fall over at some point, and the process would start over again.

​When you're considering the best ​portable car vacuum, ​you need this convenience. And, there are several different factors to consider:

  • Corded Handheld Vacuums that plug into the wall. The best handheld vacuum cleaner for car, truck, and RV often times charge in the car, and can be stored in the trunk. These handheld vacuums can potentially also double to be used in your house to clean spills and vacuum the stairs.
  • Corded Handheld Vacuums that plug into your car. Corded handheld vacuums, specifically designed for you car, are not necessarily a bad option either. The best corded car vacuum will usually have the most suction power, and come with an extra long cord for convenience.
  • Cordless Handheld Vacuums. Of course, a cordless car vacuum is the ultimate in portability. The best cordless car vacuum cleaner will maximize portability because you don't have to worry about the pesky cords as you wind in and out of your car.

In the end, the best vacuum for car cleaning is portable and convenient, because that's the only way most of us will consistently utilize the vacuum.

Power

​The typical car has all sorts of awkward angles, crevices, and hard-to-reach places where dirt, debris, and food can get trapped. It is vital that you select a car vacuum cleaner that has plenty of suction power.

High suction power will help you in several ways.

  • First, you'll be able to pull dirt and debris out of the hard-to-reach places, such as under your front seats, and in between the mats. Often times, the angle is so tight that you can't place your vacuum hose right up against the debris. High suction allows you to still get all of the dirt and debris.
  • Second, high suction power means less passes over your high trafficked areas in the car, saving you time and energy. With a lower suction power, you might have to make several passes over your mats. But, the best car vacuum cleaner has enough suction power to take care of cleaning your car in one pass.

Charging and Cord Length

​This might seem self explanatory, but there are several ways to "charge" your small car vacuum, and it's important to consider the options before you purchase. We briefly went over this above in the Power section, but lets go into a little more detail. 

​You can buy a corded car vacuum that plugs into a wall outlet. In this case, there is no battery charging involved, and you'll want to focus on the cord length, and​ that you have a conveniently located power outlet near where you will be cleaning your car.

For most, this is in the garage or in front of their house. If you live in an apartment complex or dorm, where will you be vacuuming your car? Is there a power outlet close by?

Once you find the outlet that is closest to your car, it makes sense to measure the distance of cord you'll need on your vacuum cleaner. Yes, you can always plug in an extension cord. But, if you are purchasing a car vacuum for convenience, needing an extension cord just to clean your car might be antithetical to the entire reason you are purchasing the car vacuum!

A second type of corded cleaner you can buy is a handheld car vacuum that runs off of your car's cigarette adapter. This will use your car battery to run the vacuum, and typically are listed as a 12 volt car vacuum.

​Lastly, if you are going to purchase a cordless car vacuum, there are several other factors to consider. Cordless car vacuum cleaners run on battery power, and need to be charged. You can buy a version that has a charging unit that you would keep in your garage or closet. You can also buy a version that charges in your car off of the cigarette adapter.

Best Vacuum for Car Detailing Cars

​Pet Hair

​Will you be vacuuming up pet hair in your car? If so, then you must consider this factor when you are looking for the best car vacuum. 

​Pet hair interacts very uniquely with car upholstery. It's almost as if the pet hair sticks to car upholstery, making it next to impossible to pick up. Undoubtedly, you've been vacuuming your car at some point, and noticed that the vacuum isn't picking up the pet hair, even after several passes.

The best car vacuum for dog hair will have special accessories and strong suction power, designed to overcome the challenges of picking up pet hair. ​To rank as a best vacuum for pet hair, it also needs to have a HEPA filter, which will remove the allergens found in pet hair and dander.

Wet/Dry

​A wet/dry car vacuum will draw in dirt and water, which is great if you have any spills inside your vehicle. The only problem is that they don’t generally have filters, and some dust and dirt goes back into the air.

​Most of the options on our list are both wet and dry in their functionality, and we'll go into more detail in the individual reviews.

​A​dditionals and  Accessories

​When you buy the best car vacuum, it's going to come with a plethora of accessories to help you with car cleaning. What is important is for you to consider if there are any that you need, so that you can ensure the car vacuum model you chose has it. 

When we say "​additionals", we're really talking about all of the little things that make a car vacuum unique. Cord and hose length, HEPA filter, noise volume, wet/dry functionality, and cleaning of the unit are all things to consider.

When we say "accessories", we are talking about additional tools that attach to the vacuum cleaner to make a specific job easier. Nozzles, brush rollers, and extended tubes are typically what you'll see.

These extenders and nozzles are essential when you consider the ​best car upholstery cleaner. Without these accessories, it can be next to impossible to clean all of the nooks and crannies of your car upholstery.​​​

We'll review each of these factors as we ​recommend the best car vacuum cleaner for you.

​Our Picks for the Best Car Vacuum

​As we've noted, there are a lot of different factors to take into consideration when selecting the best car vacuum. We've selected the best options for a variety of situations. The first two vacuums are 12 volt handheld car vacuums that plug into your car. The final three vacuums are canister car vacuums that plug into a wall outlet. 

The handheld options are highly convenient, and will do a great job. However, the canister vacuums have quite a bit more suction and accessories. Depending on your price point and needs, you'll want to decide between the two options for your preference on the best car vacuum.

Hikeren Car Vacuum Cleaner, Handheld Wet&Dry ​Vacuum Cleaner

​Product Specs

Vacuum Type:

Corded Handheld Car Vacuum

Motor Size:

4300 PA - 4500 PA 

Cord Length:

16 ft

Price Point: 

​Under $50

Weight: 

2.3 lbs

​Accessories: 

Brush Mouth, Long Mouth, Soft Long Tube, Stainless Steel HEPA Filter, Black Zipper Carry Bag

The Hikeren Car Vacuum Cleaner is a handheld, wet and dry, multi-functional car vacuum cleaner that makes cleaning your car fast and easy. It even comes with a handy carrying bag, so you can take it with you.

Since the vacuum plugs into your 12 volt power adapter in your car, this is great vacuum if you are on the ​go a lot and need to have a vacuum handy. You don’t have to wait until you get home, and you'll never run out of power using it.

This vacuum cleaner has loads of suction power, with CE, ROHS Certification (12volt, 106watt, 4300A – 4500PA suction). 4500 PA is very good for a vacuum in this price range

This is a quiet machine at 75db, and it has a stainless steel HEPA filter that can get rid of the dust and allergens inside your car. This vacuum cleaner has an LED light, which makes it easy to see all of the areas in your car that need to be cleaned, and you don’t need a flashlight or to turn on your car's overhead light.

​Highlights

  • ​4500 PA Suction Power
  • ​16ft cord
  • ​Lightweight 2.3lbs
  • HEPA filtration
  • ​Many accessories
  • ​Wet/Dry capabilities
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    Plugs into car

You can easily store this vacuum cleaner in the trunk of your car, because it is so lightweight and portable, weighing only 2.3 pounds. It has a carrying case, and you can plug it right into your car to use.

As mentioned, the HEPA filtration system is made from stainless steel, and it is detachable and easy to clean. ​If possible, give it a clean after each use to keep it performing well.

​It comes with a lengthy 16ft cord, so you should be able to cover your entire car. And, the Hikeren comes with ​the normal supply of accessories, which includes the standard long mouth extension, brush extension, and soft long tube. 

For the price, the Hikeren Car Vacuum Cleaner is a fantastic, all-around handheld car vacuum that you won't go wrong with. ​

​Why Buy?

​Good all-around handheld car vacuum for a killer price.

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Deik Car Handheld Vacuum Cleaner ​​with 12V 100W High Power

​Product Specs

Vacuum Type:

Corded Handheld Car Vacuum

Motor Size:

4500 PA

Cord Length:

13 ft

Price Point: 

​Under $50

Weight: 

2.25 lbs

​Accessories: 

HEPA filter, Extension Hose, Brush Attachment, Crevice Attachment, 4 meters long Lighter Cable, Carrying Case

The ​Deik Car Vacuum Cleaner is one of the only small vacuum cleaners for cars that comes with a lifetime warranty, ​which really separates it from its competition. 

The vacuum has very similar suction capabilities to the Hikeren we reviewed above, with ​12volt, 100watt, 4300A – 4500PA suction). You'll notice the Deik uses slightly less watts, equaling slightly less power. But, it has the same 4500PA, so you won't notice any differences. Again, this is an ample amount of power and suction for the price point.

This machine has a stainless steel HEPA filter, along with a triple cyclone filtration system, so no dust, dirt, and allergens are released back into the air. This system uses three stages through a high-density PU sponge mesh, and it is a lot more durable than other filters in other machines.

​Three stage filtration certainly sets this vacuum apart. It is not typical to see that in a handheld vacuum this affordable. 

​Highlights

  • ​4500 PA Suction Power
  • ​13ft cord
  • ​Lightweight 2.3lbs
  • HEPA triple cyclone filtration
  • ​Many accessories
  • ​Lifetime warranty
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    Plugs into car

​The HEPA filter is coated with nona-materials, and it can easily be cleaned by rinsing it under clear running water. Cleaning the machine regularly, including the filter and the front cover, will help to prolong its life.

​The Deik has a 13ft power cord. Included in your purchase is the handheld car vacuum, one HEPA filter, one extension hose, a brush attachment, a crevice attachment, a​nd a carrying case. 

There isn't much of a difference between the Hikeren and the Deik, and they are virtually the same price. However, if we had to vote, we'd say the best handheld vacuum for car interiors would have to be the ​Deik Car Vacuum Cleaner. While the Hikeren is both wet/dry (and the Deik is not), we love the added features like the lifetime warranty and triple filtration.

​Why Buy?

​​Similar to Hikeren but with better filtration and a lifetime warranty.

Black+Decker CHV1410L 16V Cordless Lithium Hand Vacuum

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​Product Specs

Vacuum Type:

Cordless Handheld Vacuum

Battery Size:

16 volts

Runtime:

20 minutes

Charge Time:

4 hours

Price Point: 

​Under $75

Weight: 

5.2 lbs

​Accessories: 

On-board extendable crevice tool, On-board flip up brush, Washable filter, Wall mount bracket

​The ​Black+Decker CHV1410 14.4-Volt Cordless Hand Vac is the only cordless car vacuum to make our list, and that's because this model does things that no other vacuum does. We love this cordless handheld car vac, and vote it the best cordless car vacuum on the market. 

​Unlike all of the other other models we've reviewed, the cordless features of the Black+Decker CHV1410L mean that we need to review battery capabilities and time. The good news is that this model outperforms much of the competition, giving you 16 volt lithium battery, which supplies plenty of battery power. This equates to roughly 20 minutes of cleaning time.

​Normally you don't see amazing suction on a cordless handheld car vacuum, but Black+Decker incorporates cyclonic cleaning action, typically only found in upright and stick vacuums, in order to provide a deep clean. They use a Smart Charge Technology to provide this high-powered suction combined with long-lasting battery charge.

​Highlights

  • ​16 volt battery
  • ​15.2 Watts of power
  • ​Lightweight 2.6lbs
  • ​Bagless
  • check
    Comes with charging station

​The battery will take you roughly 4 hours to charge, and they provide a charging base with the vacuum. The car vacuum is bagless, and comes with a 2 year warranty.

One downside worth mentioning: this model doesn't come with a HEPA filter, while so many others on our list do. If you have pets that frequent your car, keep this in mind. You'll want to vacuum the car once in a while with a car or household vacuum that does have better filtration.

Cordless car vacuums are the ultimate in convenience. We love to keep this model plugged into our garage, and it is incredibly simple to quickly clean the car upholstery, without having to invest time getting a vacuum out and unwrapping the cord.

You'll want to decide what type of car vacuum you need. If you heavy duty usage, you'll probably want to opt for one of the canister car vacuums we recommend below.

However, of the three best handheld vacuums for the car that we've listed, the ​easyazon_link identifier="B004BSH9FG" locale="US" tag="jarbauinc-20"]Black+Decker CHV1410 14.4-Volt Cordless Hand Vac[/easyazon_link] is by far the most convenient. And, you don't have to spend that much more to get this convenience.

​Why Buy?

​​Cordless Car Vac that provides both convenience and strong suction.

Armor All 2.5 Gallon​ Utility Wet/Dry Vacuum​ AA255

​Product Specs

Vacuum Type:

Corded

Motor Size:

7.4 amps

Cord Length:

33 ft

Price Point: 

​Under $50

Weight: 

8.3 lbs

​Accessories: 

Tool bracket, Telescoping extension wand, Floor brush, Dusting brush, Crevice tool, Carry strap for canister

One of the best vacuums for detailing your car, the Armor All AA255 comes with everything you need to detail your whole car from top to bottom with total ease. It features a very powerful two horsepower motor that provides you with more than enough suction for the biggest of messes.

This model features a very large 2.5 gallon tank so you can clean your whole car in one go, plus the tank is very easy to clean as well.

The Armor All AA255 is large enough for most jobs, but also light enough to carry around. What is also neat about this vacuum is that it can suck up both wet and dry messes for your convenience.

​Highlights

  • ​2 Horsepower Motor
  • ​2.5 gallon storage canister
  • ​Lightweight 7lbs
  • Reusable air filter
  • ​Many accessories
  • ​Relatively quiet
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    Plugs into wall outlet
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​One of the coolest features about this vacuum is that it can be converted into a blower to dry off the outside of your vehicle, motorcycles, etc. This actually makes this machine an even better bargain, because it is two tools in one.

It has a 10-foot cord with wrap, and a six-foot hose so it has plenty of reach. The built-in air and noise diffuser helps to keep this vacuum fairly quiet.

Moreover, all of the tools you need to detail your car come included in this package, including a two in one utility nozzle, a crevice tool, a deluxe car nozzle, a blower nozzle, and a detail brush too.

The reusable cloth filter that this model comes with means that the air which gets released from this vacuum is clean, plus you don’t have to deal with bags. You also get a fairly long power cord so you don’t have to worry about needing an extension cord.

We love the Armor All AA255, and have voted it the best cheap car vacuum cleaner on the market.

​Why Buy?

​Inexpensive ​canister car vacuum with a powerful motor and loads of accessories.

Shop-Vac 5986000 5-Gallon 4.5 Peak HP Stainless Steel Wet Dry Vacuum

​Product Specs

Vacuum Type:

Corded

Motor Size:

12 amps

Cord Length:

18 ft

Price Point: 

​Under $75

Weight: 

14.9 lbs

​Accessories: 

7' x 1.25" Hose, (3) Extension Wands, Crevice Tool, Gulper Nozzle, Floor Nozzle, Cartridge Filter, Foam Sleeve, Filter Bag

We really like th​e Shop-Vac 5986000 Wet Dry Vacuum because it is both reliable and inexpensive. We also really like how this particular vacuum has a five gallon dirt canister. This means that you can easily clean up huge messes in your car or shop without having to empty it all of the time. It has a huge capacity, making it very convenient and user friendly.

Moreover, the canister and overall design of this vacuum is meant to be able to handle both dry and wet debris. You can literally soap down the leather seats in your car and then suck up everything including the water, thus eliminating the need for more water oriented tools.

What we also like about the Shop-Vac 5986000 is that it comes with a myriad of accessories like special wands and car detailing tools. It truly comes with everything you need to make cleaning your car a simple and easy task.

​Highlights

  • ​4.5 Horsepower Motor
  • ​5 gallon storage canister
  • ​Average weight 15lbs
  • Good air filtration
  • ​Many accessories
  • ​Very mobile
  • check
    Plugs into wall outlet

We like how this model comes with a filter to remove fine dust particles in order to prevent dust and dirt from reentering the air.

However, this model does require a bag for dirt storage, which is something that some people may not like too much. We like the ​Shop-Vac 5986000 Wet Dry Vacuum because it has a powerful 4.5 horsepower motor. This means that it has more than enough suction power to clean up everything in your car including heavier particles.

You might also like how this particular vacuum comes on a little wheeled cart for easy transportation and a high level of versatility. Even better is that it comes with a rear blower port so you can dry off wheels and other wet objects. This is a great mid-tier option and high on our list when it comes to the best vacuum for car cleaning. 

​Why Buy?

​Middle tier canister car vacuum pricing for top end power and tank storage.

Vacmaster 5 gallon 5 HP Wet/Dry Vacuum

​Product Specs

Vacuum Type:

Corded

Motor Size:

5 HP

Cord Length:

20 ft

Price Point: 

​Under $100

Weight: 

25.1 lbs

​Accessories: 

10 ft. Flex hose, 11 ft. standard hose, 20 ft. Cord with Cord Wrap, 2 extension wands, round dust brush, combo floor nozzle w/brush, crevice tool, car nozzle, air/noise diffuser, accessory caddy and remote control handle, Washable cartridge filter, and foam sleeve

We love the ​Vacmaster Wet/Dry Vacuum, and it gets our vote for overall best vacuum for ​ car detailing and cleaning. A powerful 5 horsepower motor and a large 5 gallon storage canister are just a few of the things that make this car vacuum stand out.

One of the very best features of this Vacmaster Vacuum is that it comes with a whole lot of cleaning accessories. When you buy this model, you get a 10 foot flexible hose, an 11 foot standard hose, two extension wands, a round dust brush, a combo floor nozzle with a brush, a car nozzle, and a crevice tool.

Literally everything that needs vacuuming in your car can be done with this one great machine. And, of course, it comes with all of the onboard storage space required for all of those accessories.

One of the really neat parts about this Vacmaster Vacuum is that it has a remote controlled ON/OFF switch for your convenience. Even better is that it comes with a wall mounting system for easy storage.

What you might also like about this model is that it comes with an air and noise diffuser to help keep it extra quiet at all times.

​Highlights

  • ​5 Horsepower Motor
  • ​5 gallon storage canister
  • ​Heavier weight 26lbs
  • Wall Mount
  • ​Tons of accessories
  • ​Quiet
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    Plugs into wall outlet

The 5 horsepower motor on this vacuum is more than powerful enough to deal with the heaviest of jobs, plus the 5 gallon dirt canister is more than large enough to keep you going for a long time without having to empty it. This combo makes it a great fit no matter how large your car or how tough the job.

The foam sleeve and the washable cartridge filter help makes things even easier for you. The carrying handle on this vacuum makes it easy to carry around.

Moreover, th​e Vacmaster Wet/Dry Vacuum is ideal for both wet and dry messes, thus making your life just that much easier once again, plus it even comes with a blower function so you can blow dry your car from top to bottom.

We vote the Vacmaster the best car vacuum overall, and also the best vacuum for car detailing. It has a price tag, but this vacuum is well worth it.

​Why Buy?

​​A top line shop vacuum with tons of power and an army of accessories.

​Final Votes

You know just how dirty your car can get. And, as soon as you get it clean, the process just starts over. Keeping a car clean is a constant job, and a portable, convenient car vacuum will help you keep the inside of your car clean.

When you have any of these portable vacuum cleaners on board, you can always clean the messes right away so they don’t become annoying stains. If you are looking for the best car vacuum, any of the vacuums we have discussed to keep your car clean.

Our Picks for the Best Car Vacuum

Category

Vacuum

Price

Best Car Vacuum Overall

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Best Cordless Car Vacuum

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Best Handheld Vacuum for Car

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Best Cheap Car Vacuum

Best Vacuum for Car Detailing

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