The 7 Best Car Vacuums in 2023 — Reviews & Top Picks
If you have ever tried to vacuum out your car with a typical upright vacuum made for hardwood living rooms and not the backseat of a van, you know how frustrating it can be. Thankfully, there is a whole line of vacuum cleaners designed specifically for use in and around cars. These vacuums make cleaning your car out much easier and require much less hauling, wrapping, and crawling to get the job done. If you are looking for a vacuum cleaner to use on your car, we have plenty of excellent options to choose from.
This up-to-date guide features seven of the best car vacuums available today, including the pros and cons of each one. It also includes a detailed buyer’s guide with some tips and thoughts to consider before landing on a specific vacuum. By the end, you will have everything you need to make a decision you feel comfortable with that fits your car, lifestyle, budget, and home. Soon you will have the perfect car vacuum for your everyday needs.
|Best Overall||BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster AdvancedClean Cordless Handheld Vacuum||
|Best Value||Dirt Devil Scorpion Handheld Vacuum Cleaner||
|VacLife Handheld Vacuum||
|Hoover ONEPWR Blade MAX||
|Armor All Portable Utility Vacuum||
1. BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster AdvancedClean Cordless Handheld Vacuum – Best Overall
|Power Source:||Rechargeable battery|
When it comes to the right blend of power and quality, there are few better options than the Black+Decker Dustbuster Cordless Vacuum. This vacuum has a variety of features that make it perfect for use in your car. It is lightweight, coming in at less than 3lbs, and has a rechargeable battery which allows you to take this vacuum into your car without having to worry about plugging in anywhere.
It features a rotating nozzle that allows you to get into hard-to-reach places that are common inside a vehicle as well as a flip-up brush for cleaning the upholstery. The bowl is clear, so you can see exactly how much dirt is inside the vacuum at any given time, and then it empties with the press of a button. No bags or complicated filter fiddling is required.
The biggest downside with this product is the fact that the battery is not replaceable. That means if the battery goes bad you will need to replace the entire unit. This vacuum is not overly expensive but the prospect of having to replace it after just a couple of years is a big downer for some people. The battery has a lifespan that reportedly ranges from 18 months to 48 months based on user feedback. That is something to keep in mind. When the battery is working, this is one of the best handheld car vacuums available to buy, and it should definitely receive some serious consideration.
- The rotating nozzle makes it easy to use
- Upholstery attachment included
- Good suction
- Batteries cannot be replaced
- Iffy battery lifespan reported
2. Dirt Devil Scorpion Handheld Vacuum Cleaner – Best Budget
|Power Source:||Cord (15 ft.)|
Not everyone has the budget or the desire to sink a bunch of money into a car vacuum. Luckily, the Dirt Devil Scorpion is a great product for those looking for an affordable alternative to the more expensive options on the market. This compact vacuum is perfect for use in your garage to clean out your car.
The vacuum is lightweight, small, and comes with a respectable 15ft power cord which gives continuous and consistent suction power without having to worry about batteries. It even comes with a 2-½ foot hose that is perfect for reaching into the crevices of your vehicle. Dirt always likes to fall to the lowest points that are the hardest to reach with your vacuum. It also comes with extremely powerful suction, especially for the size and the price.
The powerful suction also has some drawbacks. Some people reported that the suction was strong enough that it sent dirt flying out of the vents. The motor can also quickly burn itself up if the unit gets severely clogged and the power is not cut in time. Both of these issues are the result of the powerful suction that is provided. If you can manage the strong suction and avoid clogs and lots of loose dirt at once, this is a great little vacuum that has more than enough power to clean out your car at a seriously low price.
- Lots of suction power
- 15ft corded power
- Handy hose included for tough spots
- Super affordable
- Vents sometimes blow dirt out when overloaded
- Clogs can cause the motor to burn up if not addressed quickly
3. VacLife Handheld Vacuum
|Power Source:||12-volt corded (15 ft.)|
If you are someone who likes to keep their car vacuum in their car, there are few better options available than the VacLife Handheld Vacuum. This is a handy little vacuum made specifically for use inside your vehicle. It plugs into the car’s 12-volt DC outlet and runs directly from your car’s engine, making it the perfect on-the-go cleaning device.
But that is not all. This vacuum also comes with a few other handy features that make it perfect for taking with you on the road. It comes with a built-in tire inflator which reverses the suction and turns it into a blower so you can blow away dirt and dust or inflate a low tire. It also comes with a tire pressure gauge and a bright LED light for use in the dark. If you are going to keep a vacuum in your car, you might as well get one with some extra features that could come in handy while on the road.
The biggest downside to this vacuum is that it does not pack the same powerful punch as other vacuums on the market. The suction is average, and it struggles to pick up larger objects such as gravel, clumps of hair, or food. If you are okay going over some spots more than once to ensure the perfect clean, this is a great multifunction vacuum that has a lot to offer at an affordable price.
- Designed for use in cars and on the go
- A vacuum, tire inflator, digital pressure gauge, and light all in one
- Great price for the number of features
- Average suction
4. Hoover ONEPWR Blade MAX
|Power Source:||Rechargeable battery|
If you are someone looking for the best available power in a car vacuum, you want to check out the ONEPWR MAX by Hoover. This vacuum packs a serious punch and has some of the best and most consistent suction on the market. This is the perfect vacuum for people who like to achieve professional-level detailing from the comfort of their own homes.
The power is derived from Hoover’s High Performance Digital Motor which creates a powerful cyclone that picks up over 99% of particles after just one pass. The ONEPWR MAX also comes with a host of accessories that are designed to make cleaning out your vehicle as painless as possible, including an extendable hose and crevice attachment. This vacuum also comes with a battery that is compatible with all of Hoover’s ONEPWR devices, making this vacuum just a little more versatile than average.
The downside is all that power does come with one drawback, and that is the size. The powerful motor is not small. This handheld vacuum is nearly 7lbs, which can get burdensome after extended use. This vacuum is also bulky. The listed dimensions are 11.2 x 7.3 x 28.5 inches making this one of the larger handheld vacuums available. If you are looking for a car vacuum with serious suction and professional potential, then this is one of the best options on the market right now.
- Amazing suction
- Lots of attachments for vehicles
- Long lasting battery and easy-to-use charging system
- Fairly heavy
- Large and bulky for a handheld vacuum
5. Armor All Portable Utility Vacuum
|Power Source:||Cord (10 ft.)|
|Style:||Wet/dry, shop vac|
If you are looking for a car vacuum with a little more power than the average handheld, then you should take a look at the Armor All Portable Utility Vacuum. This is a shop vac made by a company that focuses entirely on car detailing products which is a plus. This is a small and compact wet/dry shop vac that can completely detail a car without the size and hassle of a full-sized vacuum.
This product features 2 horsepower of suction, 2.5 gallons of debris space, and the ability to be mounted on the wall as a permanent cleaning station or for easy storage. If you do not want to mount this shop vac, it is easy to move and supremely portable. It is small enough and light enough to easily be placed inside your vehicle. It is able to clean up wet messes such as spills or water from the beach as well as typical car messes involving dirt, sand, or food. It also comes with a blower function to blow away messes on the outside of a car or from a truck bed or trunk.
This vacuum is a weird size. It is not as powerful as a full-sized shop vacuum nor is it as small and lightweight as a typical handheld vacuum. It exists in a middle ground between the two. This will not appeal to everyone. Some people are going to want either a handheld vacuum or a large shop vacuum with no compromises.
- Lots of power
- Manageable size
- Can be mounted or made portable
- Made for car detailing
- It is a weird size
- Won’t appeal to everyone
6. Vacmaster HP Stainless Steel Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum
|Power Source:||120-volt power cord (12 ft.)|
|Style:||Wet/dry, shop vac|
For some people, their garage vacuum is their car vacuum and vice versa. If you want a vacuum that lives in your garage and is perfect for both having around the workshop and for cleaning out your car, you need to look at the Vacmaster HP Stainless Steel Shop Vac. This rugged wet/dry vacuum has all the accessories, attachments, and power that you need to keep your garage clean and your car clean.
It wheels around easily and has a long hose for hard-to-reach places ten included accessories ranging from upholstery hoses to filters. Between the hose and the power cord, this vacuum has a reach of 19 feet. It also features a three-horsepower motor and a large six-gallon bin for all of the dirt and dust you might collect. This is the perfect all-around shop vacuum that can handle wet messes, dry messes, floor messes, and car messes with ease.
The main issue that users run into with this model is that assembly can be a little difficult. Some holes were not properly predrilled, and some boxes came without instructions which caused a headache for some consumers. Otherwise, this is a great vacuum that can serve multiple purposes in your garage.
- Looks great
- Good power
- Large dust bin
- Long reach
- Some assembly required
- Manual not always present
7. Dyson V8 Animal
|Power Source:||Rechargeable battery|
In today’s world, it is not uncommon for people to travel everywhere with their beloved furry friends. Dogs and cats go everywhere, from the beach to the park to the groomers and over to friends’ houses. All this travel with pets can leave an irritating mess behind in your car. No one wants to sit in fur or breath in allergenic dander. If you are someone who spends a lot of time in the car with your pet, you want a car vacuum that can deal with the unique messes that pets can leave behind.
Enter the Dyson V8 Animal Vacuum. This product is specially designed to pick up animal fur without clogging, and it has an extra strong filter to ensure that it gets, traps, and disposes of all the skin, dander, and fur that animals can leave behind. Other car vacuums will buckle under the weight of large amounts of hair because they are mostly designed to pick up dirt and crumbs. The Dyson V8 Animal is made by a reputable brand with a stellar track record and guarantees that it can pick up the hair left behind.
The biggest downside to this vacuum is the price. This is by far the most expensive vacuum featured on this list. However, this vacuum can also double your home’s vacuum as well as your car’s vacuum. It is small enough and light enough to be used inside your vehicle but durable enough and high-quality enough to also vacuum your living room. But if you are not prepared, you could be facing a little bit of sticker shock.
- Perfect for cleaning up after pets
- Light and thin enough to fit into your vehicle
- Can double as a home vacuum
Buyer’s Guide: Buying the Best Car Vacuums
Size & Portability
Car vacuums come in all different shapes and sizes. The shape and size that is perfect for you will differ depending on a host of different factors. A large, cumbersome vacuum might not fit well inside a compact car. Similarly, a small handheld vacuum might not clean out a large truck with anything resembling speed.
Portability is also a factor. Some people like to keep their car cleaning supplies in their car. If you want to take your car vacuum on the go, you should not buy a large product that will take up a lot of space. Some vacuums are larger in person than they appear in pictures so if you are worried about the size of your car vacuum make sure to check and double-check the dimensions before clicking that buy button.
When you are climbing over the tops of the seats in your vehicle to reach a pile of crumbs you are going to appreciate a lighter vacuum. Weight is important for many people. People who vacuum their cars frequently might not want a super heavy vacuum weighing them down.
Similarly, if you are someone that needs to carry your vacuum long distances from, say, a basement to the garage, you don’t want to be lugging something that is many pounds. There are some car vacuums as light as just 2lbs and others that are 10lbs or more. Pay attention to the weight before buying a car vacuum. Your arms will thank you.
How Does It Charge?
The power source for a car vacuum is more important than other types of vacuums, especially if you plan on keeping your vacuum handy for cleaning up quick messes or have a garage or driveway that does not have any nearby outlets. Some car vacuums are corded, meaning you will have to plug them into the wall in order to get them to run. Be sure you have a way to do so before buying a corded car vacuum.
Other car vacuums charge via old school cigarette lighter or 12v charging port. Not all modern vehicles have this type of outlet in them anymore. Lastly, a lot of handheld vacuums come with rechargeable batteries. This could be the best option for many people, but you have to take into account battery fatigue, charging options for when they are out of batteries, and potential battery failure and replacement.
Suction power is the main feature of many vacuums, but not everyone needs the most powerful suction to achieve their goals. Some cars are small and only have some dirt or sand in them. That does not necessitate the money that top-level suction often demands. Higher suction helps remove dirt from deeper cracks and pick up heavier objects than typical dirt.
Some people can get away with average suction and still manage to leave their cars in tip-top shape. However, some larger vehicles with more persistent messes might want to splurge on better suction. Families with messy children or rideshare drivers looking to keep their cars as clean as possible might need better suction than the average person.
Do you plan on storing your vacuum in your car, in your garage, or in your home? The question sounds trivial, but it could have big implications when choosing a car vacuum. If you plan on storing your vacuum in your car, you will want to choose a compact one that comes with a travel bag or storage case.
If you are planning on keeping your vacuum in the garage, make sure you have enough room and a nearby outlet. If you are planning on keeping the vacuum in your house, be sure that the vacuum you choose is not too heavy or has a lot of unwieldy accessories that you will have to move between your car and your closet when you want to clean up your car. Consider if the vacuum is portable, compact, or heavy. See if the vacuum you want folds down or collapses in any way to save space.
Type Of Car and Typical Use
The type of car you own and how often you clean said car are two things to take into consideration when looking to purchase a car vacuum. If you have a large vehicle like a three-row SUV or a minivan that frequently gets dirty, you might want to invest in a higher quality vacuum with more features and better suction power.
If you own an older sedan that is smaller and requires less frequent cleaning, you might not want to drop $100 or more on a car vacuum. Larger cars take more time to clean and require more power, longer cords, and better suction in order to get the job done right. It won’t do much good if you realize you purchased a car vacuum with a cord that won’t reach the back row because the outlet in your garage is too far away. Smaller cars can be cleaned with a lighter outlet, 12-volt battery, or a shorter cord.
There are plenty of great options and knowledgeable tips here to help anyone choose their next car vacuum. There are options for everyone, whether you want a simple vacuum to toss in the trunk or a large shop vacuum that you can use around the garage to deep clean your restoration projects. Cars are sizable and long-term purchases, and keeping them clean is important. Some people take the cleanliness of their cars more seriously than others, and there are vacuums for people of all levels. You just have to know what you are looking for and select the best option for you and your vehicle.
Featured Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock
- 0.1 1. BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster AdvancedClean Cordless Handheld Vacuum – Best Overall
- 0.2 2. Dirt Devil Scorpion Handheld Vacuum Cleaner – Best Budget
- 0.3 3. VacLife Handheld Vacuum
- 0.4 4. Hoover ONEPWR Blade MAX
- 0.5 5. Armor All Portable Utility Vacuum
- 0.6 6. Vacmaster HP Stainless Steel Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum
- 0.7 7. Dyson V8 Animal
- 1 Buyer’s Guide: Buying the Best Car Vacuums
- 2 Conclusion