We did the research and testing for you, so you can worry more about driving and less about cleaning.

Advertiser Disclosure

A car vacuum is essential to keep your car looking brand new. The Motor1 reviews team tested car vacuums to compare suction power, maneuverability, attachments, noise levels, and emptying capabilities. We also pored over thousands of car vacuum reviews to learn what customers value most when purchasing a car vacuum. Here’s what we found. 

 
Car Vacuum

Car Vacuum Reviews Guide 

Keeping a car’s interior clean can be a challenge—crumbs get stuck in cracks and crevices, dirt sticks to car mats, and sticky beverages splash the sides of your vehicle doors. With the right car vacuum cleaner, you’ll be able to clean your car’s interior quickly and efficiently. These vacuums are especially helpful for parents who have young children who are prone to making all kinds of messes and spills in the car. They’re equally useful to pet owners who travel regularly with their pets.

So, how do you know which one to choose? With an oversaturated vacuum market, it can be hard to find the right car vacuum cleaner. That’s where the Motor1 Reviews team comes in.

We test and review multiple products on the market to help you find the best product for you. Keep reading our guide to car vacuums to learn what you should consider when buying a car vacuum cleaner and which products we highly recommend.

Benefits of Car Vacuums

Portability and size are some obvious benefits of a car vacuum. You can take it with you on road trips and clean out your car on rest stops or keep it in your car to clean messes as they happen. Its compact size is also perfect for cleaning those hard-to-reach spaces in your vehicle. Here are some other benefits that may not be as obvious.

  • Car vacuums help you get rid of significantly more dirt and debris than if you were to simply shake out the car mats. We recommend always shaking out your car mats before you start vacuuming to make the cleaning process a little bit easier.
  • Most car vacuums are cordless and just require the push of a button to start sucking up messes.
  • Though a car vacuum is small, it usually comes with special attachments and tools for reaching small cracks and crevices. For example, a brush attachment can suction up dirt that’s trapped in the fibers of your car’s carpeting and an extension wand can reach underneath seats.
A car vacuum with a HEPA filter is ideal for those with allergies and can keep your car clean of dust, pollen, and other allergens.

Buying a Car Vacuum: 7 Factors to Consider

1. Corded vs. cordless

A corded vacuum comes with a power cord that needs to be plugged into an outlet—this can be tricky since some cars don’t have outlets. Unless you don’t mind parking your car next to a wall outlet everytime you want to use your vacuum, opt for a cordless vacuum cleaner. An advantage would be endless power for longer, detailed cleanings.

A cordless vacuum is a more versatile option as it’s powered by a rechargeable battery and doesn’t come with a cord. Though less powerful than a corded vacuum, a cordless vacuum offers greater mobility and allows you to clean your car on the go. Note: you will have to charge the batteries through a wall charger, so make sure these are fully charged before taking the vacuum on the road.

2. Dust cup capacity

Car vacuums are smaller than traditional uprights and stick vacuums, so they will have smaller dust cups. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing—it just means that you’ll have to empty the cup out more frequently.

3. Weight

A car vacuum should be lightweight and compact so it’s easy to hold and maneuver as you clean in and around your vehicle. Most handheld vacuums will weigh five pounds or less.

4. Suction power

Though car vacuums are small, they still pack a powerful punch. Before buying a car vacuum cleaner, look for suction power under the product description. Suction power in cordless vacuums is measured in volts, while suction power in corded vacuums is measured in amps. Look for cordless car vacuums that have at least 15 to 20 volts or corded car vacuums that have at least five to seven amps.

5. Filter

To ensure that a car vacuum cleaner picks up the smallest debris, choose a model that’s equipped with a high-quality filter. Even if you’re the driver of the car and you don’t have respiratory problems, other passengers in your car (like your spouse, children, or coworkers) could have these sensitivities. We recommend choosing a vacuum with a HEPA filter—these filters can remove up to 99.97% of particles and keep them from circulating back into the air.

6. Wet/dry capabilities

All vacuums can pick up dry messes, but some can pick up dry and wet messes (an example of a wet mess is a spilled drink in a cup holder). 

7. Accessories

The best car vacuums come with accessories and cleaning tools that make cleaning your car even easier and more effective. Consider buying a car vacuum that comes with an extension wand, a dusting brush, and an upholstery tool. Extension wands and flexible hoses will allow you to target crevices and clean those hard-to-reach spaces, a dusting brush can help you clean delicate parts of your car like your air vents, and an upholstery tool can help remove pet hair and other dirt and debris from your car’s interior.

Choose a cordless car vacuum with a battery level indicator so you know when it needs to be recharged.

Car Vacuum FAQ

How much does a car vacuum cost?

Car vacuums will vary in price based on their suction power, size, and accessories. Some might cost as little as $20 while others cost as much as $150. 

What is the best car vacuum cleaner?

In our opinion, the best car vacuum cleaner is the BLACK + DECKER 16-Volt Lithium Cordless Dust Buster. Not only is it a stellar car vacuum, but it also does a great job around your house. It has an extremely long battery life, making it easy to use and carry on long trips, it has powerful suction, and it comes with a two-year limited warranty. Not to mention, maintenance is incredibly easy with this vacuum cleaner. It has an easy-to-empty dust canister and a washable dirt bowl.

Do gas stations have car vacuums?

Some gas stations may have large, coin-operated car vacuums. Though these are quite powerful, you lose out on the immediate access you would get if you had one in your possession. Imagine if your child spilled their food in your car and you had to drive all the way to the gas station just to clean the mess up. A personal car vacuum saves you the drive time by providing you with the power to clean up the mess quickly and efficiently.

Can you use a car vacuum cleaner inside the home?

Yes, most car vacuum cleaners can be used inside the home. Some have specific car-cleaning settings for vehicle upholstery and car mats, but these settings can also be used to clean stairs or upholstery in the home.

What are the best attachments for a car vacuum?

Many handheld vacuums designed for car use include attachments that make cleaning a car more effective. These attachments typically consist of a stretch hose, a crevice tool, an upholstery tool, and a dusting brush.