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Best Car Vacuums

Updated September 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 52 Models Considered
  • 13 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 92 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best car vacuums

    Last Updated September 2018

    Keeping a car’s exterior clean is easy as long as you have some soap and water. But cleaning the interior can be more difficult, and crumbs, dirt, and debris can accumulate in the folds of the seats and other crevices in a hurry. With a good car vacuum, you can clean your car’s interior quickly and easily, so it always looks brand new. But with the wide variety of car vacuums on the market, it’s not always easy to figure out which one is best for your vehicle. How do you narrow down the options?

    At BestReviews, we’re here to help. Our reviews are meant to simplify shopping for you. We do in-depth research, test products in our labs and the field, interview the experts, and analyze data from customers, so you don’t have to. And since we never accept free products from manufacturers, you can always trust that what we have to say is 100% unbiased.

    Ready to buy a car vacuum? Take a look at the matrix above for our top five picks. For general tips on choosing a good car vacuum, keep reading.

    Portability and mobility are the most important features in a car vacuum. With a good car vacuum, you can easily get around the car and into its tight spaces for the most effective cleaning.

    Do you need a car vacuum?

    A car vacuum comes in handy for anyone who has a car. It makes cleaning a car’s interior quick and easy, so you can make a habit of keeping your car looking shiny and new.

    If you have children, a car vacuum is an even more important tool, as you’re more likely to have crumbs and dirt in the backseat. Any time a spill or other mess occurs, you can clean it up right away with a car vacuum, so you don’t have to worry about stains.

    A car vacuum is also important if you travel regularly with pets, who leave hair, dander, and other dirt on your car’s seats.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    A good car vacuum is particularly important if you have allergies because it can keep your car clean of dust, pollen, mites, and other debris that might cause a reaction.

    Benefits of car vacuums

    • With a car vacuum, you’ll get rid of significantly more dirt and debris than simply shaking out the mats.

    • Most car vacuums are extremely easy to use with a single power button and only a few speeds to choose from.

    • A car vacuum offers much more mobility when cleaning your car than a traditional vacuum. Most models are cordless, so you can move around easily and get to hard-to-reach spots like under the seats.

    • A car vacuum often comes with specialty attachments that make thoroughly cleaning a car even faster.

    EXPERT TIP

    A car vacuum that converts to a blower allows you to easily get rid of deeply embedded dirt and debris in your car.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    What to look for when buying a car vacuum

    Corded vs. cordless

    There are two types of car vacuums: corded and cordless.

    • Corded

    A corded car vacuum must be plugged into a power source. Some models require a standard wall outlet, while others can be powered by the cigarette lighter in your car. A corded car vacuum has stronger suction power.

    • Cordless

    A cordless car vacuum is powered by a rechargeable battery. A cordless car vacuum provides greater mobility as you clean your car. It also allows you to clean your car when a power source or outlet isn’t available.

    When it comes to a cordless car vacuum, a model with a lithium battery usually offers the longest running time and the shortest charging time.

    Tank capacity

    A car vacuum collects dirt and debris in a tank that must be emptied periodically. For the easiest cleaning, look for a vacuum with a large tank, so you don’t have to empty it too often.

    While car vacuum tanks vary in size from one to 18 gallons, the best options have tanks with at least two- to six-gallon capacities.

    Weight

    A car vacuum should be lightweight and compact, so it’s easy to maneuver when you’re cleaning in the confined space of a car. Choose a car vacuum that’s no more than five pounds to ensure that you can handle it easily and reach all the car’s nooks and crannies.

    For the easiest cleaning, opt for a car vacuum that’s two to two-and-a-half pounds.

    A brush attachment allows you to use your car vacuum to clean the dashboard, sun visors, seats, console, and gauges in your car.

    Suction power

    As with any vacuum, it’s important to choose a car vacuum that has enough suction power to clean your vehicle quickly and easily. Suction power in cordless vacuums is measured in volts, while suction power in corded models is measured in amps.

    For cordless car vacuums, it’s best to choose a model with at least 15 to 20 volts. For corded car vacuums, it’s best to choose a model with at least five to seven amps.

    Filter

    To ensure that a car vacuum picks up even the smallest particles of dirt, debris, and dander, it’s important to choose a model that’s equipped with a high-quality filter.

    For the most effective removal of small particles like pollen and dust mites, opt for a car vacuum with a HEPA filter.

    If you choose a cordless car vacuum, look for a model with a battery level indicator, so you’ll know when it needs recharging.

    Wet/dry capability

    All car vacuums can pick up dry messes, but some models can also clean up wet messes and spills.

    If you have children, it’s handy to have a car vacuum that can handle wet messes like spilled drinks in the backseat.

    Accessories

    Some car vacuums come with additional accessories or attachments that make it even easier to clean your car. An extender attachment is especially helpful because it allows you to easily reach under the seats, beneath the pedals, and into other tight areas.

    Brush and upholstery attachments also come in handy for cleaning a car’s interior.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    A car vacuum with a wet/dry function comes in handy if any spills occur in the car.

    How much should you pay for a car vacuum?

    Car vacuums vary in price based on their size, power, and attachments, but you can typically expect to spend between $15 and $65.

    Inexpensive

    For a small, low-power car vacuum, you’ll usually pay between $15 and $20.

    Mid-range

    For a medium-size, mid-power car vacuum, you’ll usually pay between $20 and $35.

    Expensive

    For a large, high-power car vacuum with several attachments, you’ll usually pay between $35 and $65.

    FOR YOUR SAFETY

    Most car vacuums only come with a one-year warranty, though some manufacturers offer two-year protection for added security. Check the terms before you buy.

    Tips and tricks for using a car vacuum

    • Remove the mats from your car before vacuuming. It’s easier to clean the mats separately. First shake them out over a trash can or the ground, and then vacuum them.

    • When cleaning your car’s floorboards, use wide attachments on your car vacuum, so you can work more quickly.

    • The extender attachment that comes with many car vacuums works well for reaching under the seats and into other confined areas.

    • For dirt that’s trapped in the fibers of your car’s carpeting, use the brush attachment on your car vacuum.

    • Don’t forget to vacuum the seats when you’re cleaning your car. Dirt, debris, hair, and dander can get trapped in the seats’ fabric just as easily as the carpet fibers.

    • Use the extender attachment with your car vacuum to clean difficult-to-reach areas like under the pedals and in the folds of the seats.

    Keep your car vacuum in the trunk of your car, so you’re always ready to clean up any mess that might happen.

    FAQ

    Q. What should I consider about my car when choosing a car vacuum?

    A. Start by considering the size of your car. The larger it is, the bigger the car vacuum you’ll need. Your car’s interior is also an important factor. Fabric interiors require stronger suction power than leather interiors because dirt, hair, and debris are more likely to get stuck in their fibers.

    Q. What are the best attachments for a car vacuum?

    A. An extender attachment is especially helpful for vacuuming a car because it allows you to easily reach under the seats. You may also want to look for a car vacuum with an upholstery attachment, so you can remove hair and dirt from the seats. A crevice tool allows you to vacuum between the seats and reach into the air vents to give your car a very thorough cleaning.

    Q. What should I look for in a car vacuum if I have pets?

    A. A car vacuum with a HEPA filter is a good choice if you have pets. A HEPA filter more effectively removes hair and dander, so it’s also an excellent option if you have allergies. A car vacuum with a HEPA filter will easily remove pollen and dust from your car.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer
    • Katherine
      Katherine
      Editor
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor

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