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The right car vacuum can make cleaning your vehicle’s interior easier and more efficient. To find the best options, we purchased 15 car vacuums from a variety of brands and tested them in real-world conditions. We timed each product’s unboxing and setup process, evaluated its effectiveness on hard and soft surfaces using debris (like cereal, sand, mulch, and hair), and rated how easy it is to empty the dust bin. When shopping, you’ll need to decide between a cordless and corded version, and factor in a vacuum’s weight and maneuverability, along with any included accessories.
The BLACK+DECKER Flex Auto Vacuum was the clear winner because it cleared debris from all surfaces and offered steady suction, thanks to its 12V power supply cable. The built-in flexible hose and handy attachments provided us with plenty of reach while cleaning a vehicle, too.
Here, the best car vacuums on the market, backed by our thorough testing.
The BLACK+DECKER Flex Auto Vacuum is our top choice for a handy, capable car vacuum. It has a compact footprint but substantial suction to clean hard and soft surfaces in your vehicle. It operates using your vehicle’s 12V charger, so you never need to worry about battery life. If you’re shopping for the most affordable option, we appreciated the basic but efficient features of the corded THISWORX Portable Car Vacuum. It has a bulkier design and basic accessories, but worked well at removing debris and includes a storage bag.
We purchased and sent 15 car vacuums to our at-home tester, who put each option to work in their own car and in real-world situations for six hours. To start, they unboxed and set up each vacuum, noting how difficult or easy the process was, how long it took, and whether the instruction manual was clear. Next, they tested the effectiveness of each car vac on both hard surfaces (like, the cup holder and dashboard) and soft surfaces (like, the floor mats, seats, and trunk) in their car. On soft surfaces, they spilled ¼ cup of Cheerios, sand, hair, and rubber mulch to mimic all the messes you might encounter in your own vehicle. On hard surfaces, they spilled ¼ cup of sand.
They noted how many passes it took to suck up the debris, and whether any got stuck or tangled in the vacuum. In addition, they tried out the different included attachments to see how easy it was to use them and whether they were effective as well. During this test, they also rated each car vacuum for maneuverability, noting whether it was easy to navigate each into tight crevices and between vents. They also rated the portability and noise level of each pick. They noted whether you could hold a conversation over it or not, and whether the corded or cordless design was easy to carry and hold, or if they had to adjust their grip often.
After all of these tests were complete, they tested the ease of emptying each vacuum, evaluating how messy or simple the process was from start to finish. They then considered their entire testing experience when rating the overall value of the vacuum. All of the consistently applied data turned into this list of, what we believe are, the very best car vacuums for keeping your interior fresh.
For a handheld cleaning tool like a car vacuum, weight is a key feature to take into consideration before you make your final purchase. Most models should be relatively lightweight, especially corded models that aren’t laden with a rechargeable battery. Meanwhile, cordless car vacuums, as well as ones that come with an array of accessories, may weigh slightly more and, therefore, be a little more cumbersome to handle while cleaning.
Most car vacuums can plug directly into your car’s 12V outlet, making them a breeze to take with you and clean on-the-go. Of course, these models are corded, which limits their reach and mobility. If you opt for a cordless option instead, make sure to consider its battery life and how it recharges. Some models can recharge via USB port, while others will need access to a conventional household outlet for several hours at a time.
If you hope to use this vacuum for deep cleaning, make sure it has the attachments to get the job done. A crevice tool can access tight spaces, an extension hose can reach under seats, and an upholstery brush can dredge up ground-in dirt from seats and floor mats. A model that lacks these accessories might not be able to clean your vehicle as thoroughly as you’d like.
It’s no secret that the filter of a car vacuum gets dirty quickly. Sucking up fine particles, like dirt, dust, and sand, can quickly clog filters and hinder the vacuum’s suction power. Car vacuums equipped with a washable filter make for easier maintenance and don’t require frequent replacement. Just be sure that you allow the filter to fully dry before reassembling and using the vacuum. Manufacturers usually recommend 24 hours of drying time.
For battery-powered car vacuums, a charging dock is a valuable feature to look for. The convenience of a cordless car vacuum is quickly ruined by a low battery, but a charging dock helps to reduce the likelihood of this occurring. By putting your cordless car vacuum back on the charger after each use, it maintains a full battery and is ready to go at any time.
Some charging docks also include accessory storage. This is a big plus, since it puts attachments like a brush or crevice tool within easy reach when its time to clean.
Whether you keep your car vacuum stashed in the trunk of your vehicle, on a shelf in the garage, or tucked into a coat closet, a storage bag keeps the vacuum and its accessories organized and accessible. This can save time and frustration when you need to clean up a mess in a hurry and don’t want to waste time searching for accessories, or carrying the vacuum and its various attachments to your vehicle.
Like any other handheld vacuum or dustbuster, your car vacuum likely has a dust cup or bag that you should be able to access, remove, and empty with relative ease. Beyond that, check your car vacuum’s manual to determine whether its filter is washable or needs to be replaced. The manual should also note whether it’s safe to clean out the interior with soap and water or if you should only use a dust rag. If you wash it with water, let all of its components dry before reassembling.
If messes tend to accumulate in the spaces between your car’s seats, a car vacuum with the right set of attachments will come in handy. Make sure your model of choice comes with a crevice tool and an extension hose, both of which will allow you to reach tight spaces that the vacuum’s main body can’t. In addition to these useful attachments, you can blow debris out of even the smallest spaces. Some picks come with a blower feature that lets you target certain areas this way.
If your car vacuum of choice relies on your car’s 12V outlet for power, you might be concerned that running it will drain the car’s battery. This is, indeed, a risk, but it will depend on how powerful your battery is, how long you vacuum for, and how weak or old your car’s battery is. It’s unlikely that a quick clean will completely deplete your battery, but if you’re worried or vacuuming the whole interior, you might be better off opting for a cordless model.
Erica Puisis has been a writer for The Spruce since 2017, specializing as a product researcher for both large and small appliances. To find the best options for car vacuums, she tested 15 models in her vehicle, comparing each vacuum’s ability to capture debris (including cereal, sand, mulch, and hair) from hard and soft surfaces. Notes were also made regarding maneuverability, portability, noise levels, and how simple it is to empty the dust bin. We included options for both cordless and corded models, since each one offers its own advantages.
For additional insight on how to choose the best car vacuums, we also interviewed Igor Pomishchyk, owner of NYC-based EcoStates Elite Car Detailing. He provided input on the design features to look for in a car vacuum, as well as factors to consider when deciding on corded versus cordless car vacuums.
Disclaimer: Curated and re-published here. We do not claim anything as we translated and re-published using google translator. All images and Tattoo Design ideas shared only for information purpose.