Best Car Vacuum 2017: Reviews, Top Picks, Guides

When you are cleaning the interior of your car, a vacuum cleaner is the ideal tool for picking up dirt and small particles that can accumulate over time. However, most electric broom are not suitable for cleaning inside a car, for a number of reasons:

  • The electrical cord seriously limits freedom of motion.
  • The vacuum cleaner is too large to move around the car easily.
  • The weight of an upright vacuum cleaner makes it difficult to use in a car.

For these reasons, the best car vacuum cleaner is needed.

Car vacuum cleaners are handheld and battery powered, so they are easy to move around inside a car. They are designed to reach into the tight spaces that you typically find inside a vehicle, and they are very light. They differ from household handheld vacuums as they usually have a longer battery life and better power.

Your Requirements

Before you even start looking at car vacuum ads and customer reviews, take the time to understand your own requirements. Here are some of the points that you should consider its not an exhaustive list, as everyone is individual. As you look through this list, pay attention to your own unique needs and wants.

How Dirty Will Your Car Get?

A dirty car needs more power. Less dirt means that you will require less power. The size of your car is the first consideration. A small car will accumulate much less dirt than a large SUV. Another factor is how often do you use your car? Where will you be driving it? A car that is driven through a desert all day, every day, is going to pick up a lot of extra dirt; if you are just driving the kids to school and picking up groceries, your car will be a lot cleaner. Who and what are you carrying in the car? Toddlers covered in food, agricultural workers with muddy boots, smart businessmen, just yourself? You can see that all of these are going to play a big role in predicting how dirty your car is going to get.

Interior Surfaces and Materials

Different materials require different treatment in order to be kept clean and also to preserve their good looks and maintain them in the long term. For instance, leather upholstery needs to be treated with care and respect. On the other hand, rough floor mats will require (and can take) rougher treatment in order to dislodge trod in dirt and small stones. Some surfaces may require special cleaning, such as steam cleaning. The construction of your car plays a large role in the choices that you will need to make in selecting the correct model for you.


Some people are very sensitive to dust particles in the air; for instance, people with allergies or respiratory problems can suffer due to airborne particles.

This will affect your choice of car vacuum. There are special vacuums that filter the air to a higher level in order to eliminate the fine particles which can cause these problems. Some vacuums with inadequate filters can put a lot of dirt particles into the air, so make sure you check the specifications and reviews very closely if these are important requirements.

Also, if airborne particles are a health issue for you or any of your passengers, you should also consider the how often you will need to change the filter and empty the dirt. Some vacuums are easier to maintain than others.

Conditions Of Use

Where and how will you be using the best handheld vacuum? Will you be cleaning the car from time to time, as needed, or every day? Will you be cleaning from home, or do you need to clean the car when you are outside? Are you going to be spending a lot of time on the road, or on vacation in the wilderness? All of these will have a big impact on the battery life requirements for the vacuum that you pick.

Vacuum Cleaner Specifications

Now lets look at some of the features and specifications which will play a role in your selection.

With most vacuum cleaners, you will need to weigh these different features one against another its unlikely that you will ever see a single vacuum cleaner that is perfect for you in every way this would be the holy grail of car vacuum cleaners the true best car vacuum which, as I have pointed out before, does not exist.

In reality, you will need to consider the pros and cons of each model and then make your own balanced decision, aided by customer reviews.


One of the simplest physical specifications to measure, understand and confirm, weight information is available for virtually every model of car vacuum. The weight of a car vacuum cleaner has a number of implications that you will need to understand when making a buying decision.

When you are cleaning inside the car, you will be moving the vacuum around, holding it up, leaning across seats, etc. Over time, using a heavy vacuum cleaner can be quite tiring.

On the other hand, while a lighter vacuum cleaner will be easier to handle and less tiring, this usually comes with a number of compromises that may be a deal-breaker. For instance, in order to get the weight down, the motor and the battery will be smaller. This at once means that the battery life will be shorter, and the suction power will be lower.

A less powerful vacuum cleaner will take more time to clean the same amount of dirt, so you can get into a situation where you are spending longer to clean your car, which can be more tiring! Now consider that the battery will die quicker, and you will get an idea that a lightweight vacuum can actually be more trouble than a heavier one!

Another point to consider is the strength of the construction one way to make something lighter is to use less material in its construction. This means that the vacuum cleaner would be weaker and more prone to damage.

Finally, cost is also a factor. To make a small vacuum cleaner with a good battery life, good power and strong construction require more expensive components and materials, which means that you will need to pay more.

Battery Specifications

Next, lets look at the battery. There are 2 main important considerations whenever you are considering a rechargeable battery for any type of device, including a vacuum cleaner these are battery life, and charge time.

Battery life measures how long a battery will last in other words, how many minutes or hours of operation you will be able to get out of your vacuum from a fully charged battery. More is always better. Also, batteries with a longer life tend to be bigger and heavier than short lived batteries. Charge time refers to how much time it will take to fully charge a battery after it has been exhausted. Shorter is always better. A battery with a long life will take longer to charge so its not possible to have the best of both worlds.

Battery scientists (if thats the correct term) are constantly working on ways to improve battery life, size and charge time. The best car vacuum batteries require fancier and more expensive batteries, so if you want more impressive figures, be prepared to pay more.

Another consideration is that battery performance can also degrade over time; for this reason, you cannot always trust the manufacturer specifications to tell the entire story. Check them carefully against customer reviews before laying down any of your hard earned cash.

Docking stations these can make your life a lot more pleasant, as they are easier to use than manually charging a battery, and also provide the added function of giving you a nice place to store the vacuum. As a result, you will naturally use it and are unlikely to ever be surprised by a flat battery unless you unplug the docking station! However, almost all docking stations feature a red or green on light, so you will be able to see at a glance if the station is not powered.

If you are going to be spending a long time away from a power supply, and you are expecting to need to use the vacuum often, then it is definitely worth investing in a spare battery, which you can keep charged. This is a simple way to double the effective battery life of the vacuum.

Motor Power

A vacuum cleaners power is essentially the key factor in knowing how effective it will be in cleaning your car. All other things being equal, a more powerful vacuum cleaner will be able to pick up more dirt in less time and with less user effort than a weaker one. However, as with all these other features, there are trade-offs and compromises to consider. Pure power alone will not be the deciding factor. More power requires a larger, heavier motor. A larger motor will make more noise, which may be a problem for you if you are sensitive to loud noises, or if you will be using it in an environment which should be kept quiet. A more powerful vacuum cleaner will suck energy out of the battery faster. And finally, there is no universally agreed upon standard for specifying power in the vacuum cleaner industry! This makes it really hard to compare the two different models side by side.

Some manufacturers will talk about the watts of the motor. This is how much energy the motor eats from the battery every second. But a more efficient motor will give you more suction than a less efficient motor, even if they are using the same number of watts. A less efficient motor will waste more energy producing sound and heat (not beneficial, but this still counts towards the total number of watts). So this figure is not so useful!

If watts is confusing, then amps is even more useless! Amps is the electrical current that is drawn from the battery. This is a very important figure to know for battery manufacturers and vacuum engineers but on its own, it wont tell you how powerful the motor is.

Finally, there is air watts. This is an attempt to measure the amount of useful energy coming out of the motor the amount of suction. However, this is quite subjective and is difficult to compare from model to model.

So, when it comes to power, these figures are more of an indication, or hint, than a fully trustworthy statistic. This is why you will need to look at customer reviews to get a good idea of the power of the vacuum. In particular, try to pay attention to reviews from customers who have similar requirements to your own. And remember, of course, that power alone is not the only factor for choosing the best car vacuum.


In order to clean all the different surfaces and places in your car, you will need to have a good selection of attachments and extensions. Most vacuums come with a number of attachments. You may want to invest in more if you have specific requirements most manufacturers make additional extensions for their vacuums, and you can buy some which are made by third parties, too.

Some examples of attachments include hoses for reaching into small tight spaces. Crevice cleaning attachments, for cleaning the spaces where 2 surfaces meet (a favorite place for dirt and dust to hide!)

Roll brushes for leather and upholstered surfaces. Soft brushes, for easily scratched surfaces such as vinyl.

Stiff brushed attachments are useful for sucking dirt out of mats and for cleaning air vents.

There are many other types of attachments, so feel free to investigate them as you comparison shop.

Ease of Use

While we have been looking at lots of different features and options that distinguish one vacuum cleaner from another, it is worth remembering that perhaps the most important feature of all is ease of use. Its no use having the most complex vacuum cleaner in the world if you cant use it easily!

Ease of use also refers to the ease of maintenance and cleaning. You should be able to empty the vacuum easily and cleanly when it gets full, without having to cover yourself in dirt!

The vacuum should be ergonomic (easy and comfortable to hold and move about). This is really important to avoid stress and strain, and for some people this can be even more important (for instance, if you are recovering from a shoulder injury, you dont want to have to struggle with an awkward vacuum cleaner!)

The controls should be simple and easy to reach and use while you are holding the vacuum. Ideally, you should be able to operate it with just one hand.

Product descriptions can give you an idea of the ease of use, but ultimately customer reviews are the best source of information.


As you can see, choosing the best car vacuum is not something that someone else can do for you. Its a highly individual choice based on your own needs and requirements, which you understand better than anyone else. This is why there is such a range of choice of different vacuum cleaners with so many different features available on the market.

Hopefully you now have a much better idea of what you are looking for. Remember, customer reviews are your friend, although they can sometimes be an opinionated friend these customers have their own needs and wants which can be quite different from your own! Feel free to refer back to this guide as you search, and good luck finding your ideal car vacuum!

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