The best car vacuum

Stacey L. Nash

Suction is measured in volts for cordless models and amps for corded models. For the best suction, look for cordless vacuums with 15 to 20 volts or corded models with five to seven amps.

It's hard to keep up with all the dirt and debris that makes its way into every crack and crevice of your car's interior. However, a solid car vacuum that includes the right accessories can help reach the unreachable and do it without having to contort your body or break your vacuum. Today's car vacuums may come with a complete detail kit, extendable hoses, and extra-long cords. Our top pick is the Black + Decker 16-volt cordless dustbuster for its impressive and consistent suction all the way through the battery's charge. Add a transparent dust cup, and it's truly one of the best options on the market.

Considerations when choosing car vacuums

Corded and cordless car vacuums each have their pros and cons. Corded models require an electrical outlet, or they may plug into your car's cigarette lighter. A cord can be a problem when you're trying to move around and reach under seats. However, these models have the most powerful and consistent suction. Cordless models give you free range of movement and the ability to clean your car without having to access an electrical outlet. However, they can only run as long as their battery lasts, which may only be 15 to 20 minutes, and their suction isn't as strong as a corded model.

A lightweight car vacuum lets you clean for longer so stick to models that are under five pounds. If you have poor wrist, arm, or shoulder strength, look for models no more than 2.5 pounds. Models with a separate canister may weigh more, but you don't have to hold the full weight of the canister while you vacuum.


Larger tanks or dirt cups mean less emptying on your part. Models with two- to six-gallon tanks give you the best balance of size and weight for the capacity, although you'll find some models with an 18-gallon capacity.

Models with wet/dry capabilities can handle wet carpets and fabric. If you live in a wet climate or you have kids, a wet/dry car vacuum can be a lifesaver.

Accessories can make all the difference in cleaning ability. An extension attachment or hose lets you reach under seats, while crevice or micro crevice tools get between seats and other hard-to-reach places. While not completely necessary, brush and upholstery attachments can be helpful with seats and carpeted areas.

Car vacuum prices

Car vacuums usually fall somewhere between $15 and $65. The price usually reflects the power, battery life, and accessories that are included.


Q. What kind of car vacuum features help with pet hair?

A. Look for a vacuum with a HEPA filter. These filters are designed to remove small particles, hair, and dander, which is exactly what you need for pets. HEPA filters can also help remove pollen and other allergens.

Q. Do car vacuums come with a warranty?

A. A typical warranty for a car vacuum lasts one year, although there are manufacturers who offer a two-year extended warranty.

Car vacuums we recommend

Best of the best: Black + Decker 16-Volt Lithium Cordless Dustbuster

Our take: Consistent power and suction make this cordless model a standout among both cordless and corded vacuums.

What we like: Fade out isn't an issue with this powerful battery. The onboard tools get a big thumbs up from us because the crevice and brush tools are not only helpful, they're right at hand when you need them.

What we dislike: It lacks an extension wand for deeper cleaning. While the battery keeps suction up for the entire life of the charge, the length of that charge tends to vary from vacuum to vacuum.

Best bang for your buck: Hikeren Handheld Wet & Dry Multifunctional Auto Vacuum Cleaner

Our take: If you want a vacuum that's user-friendly with some great features, this is the one for you.

What we like: We love extra tools, and this one has a brush, crevice tool, and an extension hose. It's hard to beat the washable, stainless steel HEPA filter that removes tough debris, such as pet hair and dander. The customer service department also gets a big shout out, so if you do have problems, they'll get it addressed right away.

What we dislike: While it has a lot of great features, the suction can be lacking for some  debris.

Choice 3: ArmorAll Utility Wet/Dry 2.5-Gallon Vacuum

Our take: This model straddles the line between a shop vac and a car vacuum. Its canister design makes it less portable, but it gives it extra suction that's hard to beat.

What we like: Wet/dry car vacuums really are great if you have children, go to the beach or pool often, or simply live in a wet climate. This one also includes a blower function for drying or blowing off your car mats.

What we dislike: The motor is loud, and it loses suction as the tank gets full.

Stacey L. Nash is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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