Are you embarrassed to offer friends a lift in your car?
Does your feet skid on the grit and stones in the footwell?
Once you accept that you have to do something about it, the question is then
“What is the best car vacuum to use?”
The best car vacuum for detailing your interiors needs to be powerful enough to pick up grit, light enough to use one-handed with enough accessories to get into awkward places.
What do you need in the best car vacuums
You may already be detailing your car with your own standard vacuum cleaner. Now I can only presume if you’re looking at this article then you are having issues doing this.
Home vacuums aren’t always flexible enough to cope with the small space inside a car.
Corded car vacuums
If you have a corded vacuum, the first issue is the length of cable. Do you have sockets close enough so you are able to get around all sides of the car, if not you may have to use an extension cord to get it done.
The other issue is the ability to get the suction end into different areas of the car. By the time you add the crevice tool it can be a bit too big to manoeuvre.
That’s not to say that there aren’t any benefits to a corded vacuum. If it has a flexible extension hose it can make cleaning much easier and the power is always consistent. They are usually very capable at dealing with pet hair.
You also tend to have a larger dust canister so that you can clean the whole car interior without having to empty it.
The main downside is that you can’t store it in the car to have on hand when you need it.
Corded 9v lighter car vacuums
The second kind of corded car vacuum is the type the 9v that plugs into your car lighter socket to power it up.
The benefit of these vacuum cleaners is that they are designed to do the job. Small in size with the right type of accessories to get to every bit of dust and dirt.
You don’t have to worry about runtime. The power source comes from the car battery through the cigarette lighter socket. You normally get a good length of cable to work your way around the parts of the car you need to clean, even in the trunk.
The biggest problem with 9v car vacuums is that some of them don’t have enough suction power to get the dirt up. Customer experience is priceless in this situation to find the best ones.
The dustbin is small but very easy to open up and empty. A filter completes the vacuum and helps to keep the dust confined in the canister.
You tend to get a storage bag to hold the vacuum and all the accessories safe and in one place for easy access. It doesn’t take up much space so you can keep it in the car
You may have a cordless stick vacuum at home. If it can adjust to a handheld vacuum then that might suit you well for your car.
The only difficulty with these handheld vacuums is that the size doesn’t make it easy to get into all areas. The dustbin has to be large enough to deal with dirt from your house. This can make the body a little bit large to get under the seats and around the floors in the back seat.
You can get a cordless vacuum that is specifically for cars. These have a shorter, narrower shape to give you a better chance of getting into tighter spots.
The benefit of cordless vacuum cleaners is the ease of handling. There’s no cord to get tangled up with and it’s usually lighter and easier to use which can make it one of the best car vacuums. Accessories included let you get into all the narrow crevices around the seating.
Most of them have reasonably good suction which can deal with the normal dirt build up in a car. Some are smaller too which means you can store them in the car if you want to.
This is useful if you have pets that travel in the car that shed their coat. You can quickly vacuum the area where they’ve been sitting. Stopping the hair from migrating around the car and embedding into the carpets.
Tips for vacuuming your car
If you think car cleaning is too much of a bother, check out this video. Learn how to get it done in 10 minutes.
5 Best Car Vacuum Choices
1.HOTOR Corded Car Vacuum Cleaner
Our best car vacuum choice is the Hotor car vacuum. It’s not the most expensive unit but it has a lot of love from buyers. This is a small handheld vacuum that is powered by a cable that plugs into the cigarette lighter socket.
With a cable of over 16ft it lets you work around the whole car with ease. It has enough suction power to tackle dirt and dust in the car. With a washable hepa filter it doesn’t just push the dust around the car.
The dust cup isn’t massive but it’s quick to remove and empty. It comes with 3 interchangeable nozzles. You can brush, get into crevices or use the hose so no part in the car is unreachable.
With an led light on the front so that you can see what you’re doing. There is also a storage bag to pack it all away. It’s proving to be a useful tool and one of the best handheld vacuums to have.
- High power motor
- Washable Hepa Filter
- 3 different nozzles
- Suction is not strong enough
- Light switch in a bad place
- Some people feel it’s not well made
2.ZesGood Portable Handheld Vacuum
The ZesGood is a rechargeable vacuum that you can use in your home or in your car. It’s designed to be easy to hold and at a press of a button you can remove the dust cup for emptying.
It takes around 3 hours to charge up and gives you a battery life of 20 minutes to get the car cleaned. This is charged using a normal outlet and not with the cigarette lighter.
With a display that shows what percentage of power is left you know at a glance if you need to hurry up. It comes with 2 brush nozzles and a crevice tool so that you can get into awkward areas. And there are 2 led lights so you can see what you’re doing.
You don’t need to remove the filter when you empty the dirt out but when it needs cleaning you can wash it and re-use. You just need to make sure it is dry before you install it.
It’s lightweight at only 1.5lbs and small enough to store. Keep it in the car or in the cupboard at home. It’s also a wet dry vacuum, so it’s handy for those small spills.
- 6PA Powerful suction
- 20 mins runtime
- Washable hepa filter
- Some buyers had trouble with the suction
- Battery discharges fast
- Struggles with pet hair
3.Dyson V7 Car+Boat Cord-Free Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
The Dyson is a well known name especially in cordless vacuums and that reflects in the price. Although this is a car vacuum it can be used in the home.
The V7 digital motor offers good suction. It should be good through the whole 30 minutes runtime. Though that isn’t proving true for some customers. Some have found that the suction is only good when the tubular accessories are used.
Speaking of accessories, you also get a motorised brush head which is very useful for getting up pet hair. Sometimes the suction power isn’t enough without some brush action to lift the hair off the carpet.
The dust canister is easy to empty without you having to touch it. Hold it over the rubbish bin and press the button which releases the base and the dirt falls out.
The vacuum weighs 2-3lbs so is not too difficult to use one-handed. To use you have to press a trigger switch which some find a little hard to hold continuously. It’s not too large to keep in the trunk of your car and comes with a 9v charging cable.
This isn’t the cheapest option but does have a 2 year warranty.
- Powerful Digital Motor
- 30 minutes runtime
- Motorised brush
- Max power only lasts 10 mins
- Takes too long to charge
- Trigger is tiring on hand
4.BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Flex
This is a mini, cordless BLACK+DECKER vacuum cleaner that’s handy enough to use in your house or your car. It’s not meant to replace home vacuum cleaners but to supplement them. Use it when you’re needing something small for the stairs or on top of the curtains.
The vacuum can run for around 20 minutes which is usually enough to clean the floors and seats of your car. It has a long 4ft hose to reach anywhere you can and it has a crevice tool and pet hair brush for full cleaning options.
The dirt is easily emptied from the canister although it is reasonable large and can hold 17oz which is a lot. One good thing about this car vacuum is that the canister is washable along with the filter. You must make sure it is dry before you put it back and use the vacuum again.
This BLACK+DECKER looks like a large vacuum cleaner on photos but it is very small and light to carry around. You could probably store it in you car but you would have to charge it in the house as it doesn’t have a 9v charging cable.
All in all, this is a handy little vacuum as long as you don’t expect it suck as strong as a home vacuum.
- 4ft hose
- Charging base
- High-performance motor
- Filter can clog quickly
- Suction is lacking
- Motor is loud
5.Armor All, AA255 Wet/Dry Vacuum
The Armor All AA255 is classed as a wet and dry shop vacuum. It’s great for cars because it’s small and easy to carry around. It also has a long hose so that you can stand the vacuum on the floor while vacuuming inside the car.
This is a corded vacuum which might put you off for a car vacuum but it’s ready to go at a moments notice without charging. You also don’t have a time limit for cleaning. The cord is 10ft long, whether you will need an extension cord will depend on how close you can get you car to a socket.
Different nozzles are included to help you detail your car including a brush to help lift pet hair. There are also cut outs in the top of the vacuum so that you can store the nozzles and always have them to hand.
The AA255 comes with a cloth bag filter which fits over the motor intake. This is reusable and you can buy replacements. There’s a sponge filter for when you want to use it as a wet dry vacuum. There is no bag for the dust or water collection it goes directly into the canister. You can tip this out when you need to empty it. To get inside you unclip the motor from the top.
This is a small vacuum cleaner around 14 inches tall so it doesn’t take up much cupboard space. It’s had a lot of positive reviews and is certainly worth considering.
- Wet and dry vacuum
- 6ft hose
- On board tools
- Lid can pop off if not secured correctly
- Stopped working after a few months for some
- Cheaply made
The HOTOR Corded Car Vacuum Cleaner is our top choice of all the car vacuum cleaners. It comes with a storage bag to keep all the accessories together. It’s also small enough to not take up much space in the trunk.
Suction is the biggest problem with car vacuums. All have buyers who feel the suction is enough for the job in hand and some who don’t.
The Hotor vacuum has over 3000 positive reviews and that’s hard to argue with. Most find the vacuum’s suction works well enough for them.
It has a good range of accessories to give access to all the tight spaces in your car and is simple to empty. The cable plugs into the lighter socket and is long enough to get around the car without issue. It’s also low priced.
If you don’t want to pay a lot then check out the best vacuum. Make your car a pleasure to sit in.