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Keeping a car in good shape takes a lot of routine maintenance and cleaning. While most people focus on the outside of their car or what’s under the hood, you can't ignore the car’s interior if you want to maximize its value and lifespan. A car’s interior quickly collects dust, debris, oils, and more as it is driven on a daily basis. For a quick and routine cleaning, you'll need a car vacuum.
Like home vacuums, these cleaning tools come in many shapes and sizes. Tending to be smaller and less powerful, you will need to decide between the consistent performance and limited range of a corded vacuum or the limited use, but greater range of a battery-powered option. You should also keep an eye on the different accessories a vacuum offers to make the cleaning quicker and easier, like attachments for upholstery or small corners of your car.
Here, the best car vacuums on the market.
While you should not expect a lot of suction and power out of a car vacuum compared to traditional household options, the best car vacuums will not leave you hanging when it comes time to clean the car. In fact, a good car vacuum balances power, suction consistency, and portability so you can weave your way around a car’s interior effortlessly anytime you need or want.
The Hotor 4th Gen Car Vacuum takes the top spot for the portability and reliability it offers when you need to clean the car quickly anytime, anywhere. The vacuum comes with a small but powerful motor capable of a 4.5kPa suction level that will take care of most dust and small debris. Using the car’s 12V plug, you can plug the vacuum in and use it anywhere, even on the road.
While it may be nice to have a pet beside you during a drive, your car’s interior may suffer from more hair and dirt. Pet hair can be a challenge to remove for most vacuums, but Bissell's Pet Hair Eraser is a powerful handheld vacuum with a specialized array of accessories to clean up after your furry friend. While the motorized brush tool dredges up embedded messes, the upholstery tool cleans up your car's seats, and the crevice tool removes pesky messes in between seats and in corners.
In addition to its attachments, this cordless vacuum is equipped with a lithium ion battery, which keeps it running for up to 17 minutes at a time. With unwavering suction and a three-level filtration system, this model from Bissell can handle messes from even the most excessive shedders.
Saving money on a vacuum can mean sacrificing suction, important attachments, and battery life for the sake of a bargain. But GALSOAR’s handheld vacuum doesn’t skimp where it matters: This model is powered by a 12V outlet and 14.8-foot cord, and it can reach small spaces thanks to its attachable soft, flexible hose and crevice nozzle (which provides a boost in suction, too).
A particularly noteworthy feature, especially on a budget-friendly model like this, is the fact that the GALSOAR can clean up dry and wet messes, leaving your car free of dirt and spills. If you take advantage of its wet/dry capabilities, be sure to clean the reusable HEPA filter thoroughly after use to ensure its longevity.
With twice the suction power as Hoover's regular ONEPWR dustbuster and a battery life of 35 minutes, this little vacuum is an unexpected workhorse. It's a great pick if you're willing to spend a little more money on your next car vacuum.
The Hoover ONEPWR Dust Chaser comes with an extendable nozzle and a 2-in-1 crevice and dusting brush, allowing it to efficiently clean narrow spaces, floor mats, and upholstery. Plus, it weighs less than three pounds, so even longer cleanups won't feel like chores. The dual stage HEPA media filter captures 97.9 percent of dust, dirt, and allergens and the 3.84-ounce dirt cup releases and empties with ease. This model's suction won't fade with use and its filter can be rinsed and reused. If you're looking for a high-quality car vacuum that's built with small spaces in mind, this option from Hoover is a worthy investment.
SUVs present a unique challenge when cleaning since they have larger interiors and more space to cover. The main challenge with many car vacuums and SUV interiors is the cord. A limited cord length means you only have a small range to clean unless your SUV has multiple 12V outlets in the back rows. This is where a vacuum with an extra long cord comes in handy. The Black+Decker Flexi Automotive Vacuum takes a unique approach to vehicle vacuum design. Featuring cyclonic suction often found on larger vacuums, this option creates a consistent and continuous air suction that is not affected by larger dust and debris. The included hose and pivoting nozzle make it easy to reach in between seats and into cracks when necessary as well. Finally, the 16-foot cable is perfect for larger vehicles.
Those who want to be ready to pick up a mess at a moment’s notice may be best served by keeping a smaller vacuum right in their car. Bissell’s AeroSlim model is a handy, compact option that’s small enough to fit in the trunk, back seat, or glove compartment. The two-in-one crevice tool and brush attachment stores alongside the vacuum for maximum space efficiency and reaches dirt and dust under, around, and even in the car’s seats.
Despite this model’s diminutive size, it boasts powerful suction and a 12-minute battery life. Users can charge it through a regular power outlet or a USB port if they’re on the go.
With the right attachments, you can clean every corner of your car, not just the mats and seats. The ThisWorx Portable Car Vacuum Cleaner provides users with all the necessary tools to clean their vehicle’s interior from top to bottom, with a 16-foot power cord to make it happen. Its flathead nozzle creates a small profile for cracks and under the seats. Its extension tube reaches deep under the seats. Finally, Its brush head is perfect for getting clinging hairs and larger debris out of the seats and mats without needing a full-size vacuum.
In addition to its attachments, ThisWorx’s model empties cleanly into the trash and comes with a filter-cleaning brush, plus an extra HEPA filter when the time comes to replace the current one.
The only downside to most car vacuums is the lack of power they have compared to other suction devices. For really dirty cars, you may need something with a larger capacity and more powerful motor. Wet/dry vacuums, often found in homes and wood shops for better suction, are the perfect option for a good, deep clean. When designed for use in a car, this type of vacuum is the best choice for tough jobs.
The Ridgid 3 Gallon Wet Dry Vac is the tool to choose when nothing else will get the job done. As a wet/dry vacuum, the motor offers 3.5 horsepower which overshadows the normal handheld options you will find for the car. Despite the power, the body is small enough to fit inside a car interior where you can use the extension hose and 10-foot power cord to get a deep clean of the seats.
The Hotor Corded Car Vacuum (available at Amazon) checks all of our essential boxes for a car vacuum: It’s portable and reliable, with a convenient 12V plug for on-the-go cleanups. You can trust its consistent suction to remove dust, dirt, and other annoying messes that accumulate in your car with ease. For a lower price, your best option is the GALSOAR Handheld Car Vacuum (available at Amazon), an affordable model that can tackle wet and dry messes anywhere in your car, thanks to its flexible hose and crevice attachments.