10 Best Car Vacuums to Keep Your Car Looking Brand New
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If you thought using your home vacuum in your car was no big deal, think again. These top-rated car vacuums are actually what you need.
When you’re buying a home vacuum, it’s essential to do your homework in order to find the best vacuum cleaners on the market. Whether you’re a pet parent in search of the best vacuums for pet hair, a multitasker who wants to save time with a vacuum-mop combo, or a brand loyalist who wants a top-rated Dyson, a vacuum is an investment. So, do you really need a separate car vacuum when you already have something fabulous? In a word: Yes! In fact, according to car experts, it’s a big no-no to use your regular vacuum on your car.
“Think about the wintertime, when you get in your car with your boots on after trekking through your yard or a parking lot,” says Dave Utecht, owner of Connecticut-based Torrington Toyota and Torrington Ford car dealerships. “That muddy slop on your boots ends up on the floor of your car.” That’s problematic, he explains, because regular vacuum cleaners aren’t designed to suck up liquid. If you try to vacuum the sorts of messes caused by muddy boots or other spills, not only do you run the risk of electrocution, but you’re also likely to clog the hoses on your vacuum and ultimately ruin your machine. That’s why you need something specialized for your car.
How we chose the best car vacuums
Food, sand, dirt, and pet hair are among the most common messes you’ll want to clean in your car, says Utecht, and there are tons of car vacuums on the market to deal with those issues. On the one hand, that’s great. On the other, choosing the one that best suits your needs can be overwhelming. Luckily, we did the hard work for you. Aside from consulting our expert, we went through tens of thousands of five-star reviews and best-selling products to find the best car vacuums for every need and budget. Trust us: Your car will look amazing in no time!
The best car vacuums to shop
- Expert recommended: Shop-Vac 6-gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum
- Best for big messes: Craftsman 16-gallon Heavy-Duty Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum
- Best for pet owners: Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ Cordless Handheld Vacuum
- Best for quick cleanups: Turbotube Car Vacuum Cleaner
- Best wall-mounted option: Bissell Garage Pro Wall-Mounted Wet/Dry Vac
- Best for air filtration: Dyson Humdinger Cordless Handheld Vacuum
- Best corded option: Black + Decker Flex Car Vacuum
- Best value: Thisworx Portable Car Vacuum
- Best for stain removal: Bissell Pet Stain Eraser PowerBrush
- Best for roadside emergencies: Varsk 4-in-1 Car Vacuum Cleaner and Air Compressor
Shop-Vac 6-gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum
When it comes to sending cars home looking brand new, Utecht’s service department relies on Shop-Vacs to get the job done. Not only do they have powerful suction, but, as Utecht notes, these car vacuums are designed to suck up moisture as well as debris. This $70 Shop-Vac comes with a foam sleeve for wet pickup and a large cartridge filter and collection bag for dry pickup. You’ll also get a hose, two extension wands, and a large floor nozzle, which can conveniently be stored on the vacuum. It’ll become one of the car gadgets you won’t know how you ever lived without.
- Cleans wet and dry messes
- Three-year warranty
- Weight (11.2 pounds)
- Filters and bags need to be changed
- Crevice tool, dust brushes, and other attachments sold separately
Craftsman 16-gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum
Best for big messes
If you’re looking to clean multiple cars or want something that can handle your car and then some, a larger wet/dry vacuum is your best bet. Craftsman’s heavy-duty shop vacuum, which has an average 4.8 rating and 5,700-plus five-star reviews on Amazon, will suck up everything from Cheerios to the slush you trekked in on your winter boots. It features an oversize top carry handle, built-in accessory storage, a 20-foot power cord, and a built-in drain so you can easily empty any liquids you suck up. This vacuum also comes with a range of accessories, including a seven-foot hose and two extension wands, as well as a utility nozzle, car nozzle, wet nozzle, Qwik Lock pleated paper filter, and dust collection bag.
- Heavy-duty capacity
- Attachments included
- Built-in accessory storage
- Not as easy to maneuver as other models
Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ Cordless Handheld Vacuum
Best for pet owners
Pet hair is one of the most common messes found in cars, according to Utecht, and it’s not always easy to clean. That’s why you’ll want this cordless Shark. It fuses two cyclonic air streams, which generates powerful suction and enables long-lasting battery life, and comes with three attachments, including a crevice tool and self-cleaning brushroll attachment that’s perfect for sucking up pet hair. Plus, while this vacuum may be small, its extra-large dust cup allows you to tackle the messiest of cars. When you’re finished, empty the dust cup with just the push of a button.
A fan favorite car vacuum, it has racked up more than 3,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, including this one: “I am in my car for 15 hours a week, so things get kind of messy in there. This picks up the dog hair, the random dropped French fry, and all the sand and dirt that gets tracked in. This isn’t going to replace your regular vacuum, but it will make those tedious small spaces so much easier to clean up.” For inside messes, we also love the Shark VacMop Pro, which gets floors cleaner than you ever thought possible.
- Hands-free emptying
- Included pet power brush removes pet hair from seats and carpets
- Not suited for cleaning wet spills
Turbotube Car Vacuum Cleaner
Best for quick cleanups
Don’t let this vacuum’s size fool you. This small but mighty machine has an 80,000 RPM brushless motor that allows it to suck up just about anything in its path. From sand on your floor mats to crumbs in your child’s car seat, the Turbotube will get it all. And what you can’t reach with the standard top or bristle brush attachment, you can blow out using the included flexible rubber attachment. Keeping a vacuum like this in your car is one of the secrets of people who always have clean cars.
- Long battery life (18 minutes on a single charge)
- Can charge in your car while you drive
- Can suck up debris or blow it out of tight spaces
- Long charging time (180 minutes)
Bissell Garage Pro Wall-Mounted Wet/Dry Vac
Best wall-mounted option
If you’re tight on garage space, or you simply hate clutter, you’ll love this wall-mounted Bissell. Of course, you’ll also love it because it gets the job done with its 32-foot hose, its seven car-detailing attachments for wet and dry messes, and its blower function, which lets you easily get rid of leaves and other dry debris that makes its way into your garage. This vacuum also has a four-gallon semi-translucent dirt tank and LED full water tank indicator, so you’ll know exactly when you need to empty it.
Several reviewers have purchased this setup for their professional auto-detailing businesses and say they’re glad they did. And non-professional types love it, too. One verified Amazon reviewer, who mounted it between the two garage bays, writes, “No more fighting with a short hose, as this one is long enough to reach the front and side of the vehicle, and it allows me to walk to the other side of the vehicle with it, without having to turn the vehicle around. The vacuum sucks all the tiny dirt particles and animal hair out of the carpet, and it comes with attachments to make getting between the seats and console [easy]. This was money well spent.”
- Mounts to wall
- Long hose
- Powerful suction
- High price point
- Some consumers report that the hose is difficult to wrap around the designated holder
Dyson Humdinger Cordless Handheld Vacuum
Best for air filtration
No one does a vacuum quite like Dyson. They recently added this handheld vacuum to their collection, and not only will it clean up the dirt and crumbs that litter your car, but it will also help clean the air. Yep, you read that right—similar to an air purifier, it captures dust and seals in 99.99 percent of microscopic particles, expelling cleaner air. Other details you’ll want to know: It runs for 20 minutes on a full charge, which makes it perfect for quick, everyday cleanups, and it includes three specialized cleaning tools that will keep your car looking like it’s fresh off the showroom floor. Fans love that it’s lightweight yet powerful, with one happy customer raving, “It works better than the vacs they have at the car wash places.”
- Powerful suction
- Traps 99.99 percent of microscopic particles
- Compact design
- High price point
- Cleans dry messes only
- Can’t charge in your car
Black + Decker Flex Car Vacuum
Best corded option
Don’t want to worry about battery life? We don’t blame you. This car vacuum has a 16-foot power cable with a 12-volt adapter that plugs right into your car’s lighter socket. Plus, its four-foot flexible hose and long crevice tool allow you to clean those hard-to-reach places, like under the seats or in between your seat and center console, with ease. Everyone from truck drivers to busy moms to ride-share drivers adore this little vacuum. Take it from this Uber driver, who says, “I store this in my trunk, especially when I’m driving for Lyft or Uber. (I like to keep my car presentable at all times.) It is easy to use, has a long extension cord to get to every corner of the car, and provides a powerful suction to make cleaning quick.”
- Don’t have to worry about recharging a battery
- Small enough to store in your trunk
- The cord can be tricky to wrap up neatly
- No accessory storage
Thisworx Portable Car Vacuum
More than 109,000 people have given this affordable Amazon best seller a five-star rating, thanks to its portable, lightweight design and stellar cleaning capabilities. While this vacuum isn’t cordless, its 16-foot-long power cord allows you to clean your car from bumper to bumper. Just plug it into your car’s 12-volt lighter socket and you’re ready to clean! “It’s really handy for vacuuming my seats and cup holders, but it handles my floors pretty good, too! I live on a ranch, so my floors are FILTHY with leaves, dirt, sand, and dog fur,” writes verified Amazon reviewer Kaya. “I did have to empty it frequently, but it picked up 80 percent of the mess, so I’m happy. I would definitely suggest buying it—you can’t beat it for under $40!”
- Under-$40 price point
- Long power cord
- Includes three all-purpose nozzles
- Not cordless
- Small canister
- Not made for deep cleaning
Bissell Pet Stain Eraser PowerBrush
Best for stain removal
Raise your hand if you’ve ever spilled a cup of coffee in your car. When it comes to accidents like that, this vacuum is a lifesaver. Not only will it suck up the spill, but it will also remove any stains with its rotating PowerBrush. Plus, its pre-mixed carpet-cleaning formulas, which can be stored in the machine so they’re ready to go at a moment’s notice, are highly effective when it comes to tackling stains and odors. In other words, your car won’t smell like coffee (or worse) for weeks on end! Fans love its sleek design and ease of use, along with its ability to remove old, set-in stains. Learn more about the best tips and products for cleaning the interior of your car.
- Don’t have to mix any cleaning solutions
- Removes stains and odors
- Charges quickly
- You have to push down pretty hard to suck up liquid
- Cleaning solution is around $10 per bottle
Varsk 4-in-1 Car Vacuum Cleaner and Air Compressor
Best for roadside emergencies
If you’re looking for a multipurpose machine that extends the life of your car, thousands of Amazon shoppers recommend this 4-in-1 miracle worker by Varsk. Not only will this machine vacuum your car (and vacuum it well), but it will also reinflate your tires. Don’t know how to inflate a tire? That’s OK. It will automatically stop once your preset pressure is reached. It also has an easy-to-read, digital tire pressure LCD display, as well as a built-in LED work light.
One reviewer says, “This is one of the coolest vacuums I’ve ever owned. The tire pressure gauge is super handy. In New England, my sensor is always on because the weather changes so often, so this is very helpful. The flashlight is even handier than I imagined it would be to see underneath the seats. This vacuum surpassed my expectations and more!”
- Can be used on most inflatables, including motorcycles, sedans, SUVs, and balls
- Easy-to-clean HEPA filter
- Not suitable for RVs, large trucks, or other high-pressure tires
- Power cord is one foot shorter than other corded car vacuums
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