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The 5 Best Car Vacuums - Fall 2022 Reviews

Best Car Vacuums

No matter how hard you try to avoid or prevent it, it's impossible to keep your car completely clean. Kids accidentally drop snacks on the floor while pets shed or leave mud prints on the upholstery. Luckily, a vacuum designed for cleaning your car's interior can help make your automobile feel like it's dealership-new once again. These vacuums tend to be very portable and lightweight. They also favor better performance on low-pile carpet over other surface types, and they come with several tools to help you reach more difficult areas like crevices.

We've tested over 130 vacuum cleaners, and below are our recommendations for the best vacuums to clean the inside of your car to buy. These picks were selected not only based on their performance on different types of surfaces but also on their feature set, battery life, and price. For more recommendations, look at our lists of the best vacuums, the best cordless vacuums, and the best vacuums for pet hair.

  1. Best Car Vacuum

    The best vacuum for cars we've tested is the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+. Its compact size allows you to store it on a garage shelf or even in the trunk of your car. It's also lightweight, letting you carry it around with little effort. Performance on flat, hard surfaces is superb, and the vacuum does an excellent job of clearing away solid debris and pet hair on low-pile carpeted surfaces like floormats. Its dirt compartment is pretty large for a handheld model, so you won't need to empty it too frequently. Unfortunately, its battery life of a little over 10 minutes isn't especially noteworthy, even by the standards of other handheld vacuums.

    This vacuum has a crevice tool for dealing with debris in tight corners and a miniature turbo brush. However, the latter attachment isn't very effective for cleaning pet hair on upholstered surfaces like car seats. Its lack of a HEPA filter also contributes to its terrible particle filtration performance, while its short battery life of roughly 10 minutes forces you to work fast when cleaning most surfaces. If you want a similarly designed model with HEPA-level filtration and much longer battery life, the iRobot H1 is also a solid option. However, it's also a lot pricier and has a much smaller dirt compartment.

    See our review

  2. Best Mid-Range Vacuum For Cars

    If you're looking to spend a little less, the Black+decker dustbuster Hand Vacuum is the best handheld vacuum for cars we've tested. Unlike the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+, it doesn't come with a turbo brush attachment and takes longer to recharge while offering a similarly short battery life. That said, it is cheaper and has a larger dustbin that won't need emptying quite as often. It's on the larger end of the scale for a handheld vacuum, but it's still very lightweight.

    This vacuum's integrated extension wand/crevice tool makes it a lot easier to clean tight spots. It also has a flip-out hard-bristle brush for dislodging stuck-on dirt from seats or any plastic surfaces. Unfortunately, its battery isn't designed to be removable, so you can't swap in a new pack if its charge performance degrades over time.

    See our review

  3. Best Budget Vacuum For Cars

    If you're shopping for a cheaper handheld, the Wyze Handheld Vacuum is among the best cordless car vacuums we've tested. This cordless handheld vacuum has a much smaller dirt compartment than the Black+Decker dustbuster Hand Vacuum, but it does carry a few advantages aside from its lower price tag. It's even more compact, making it easy to clean tight recesses in your car, and its max battery life of about 30 minutes is plenty long for most spot-cleaning jobs. It comes with a relatively wide assortment of attachments, like an upholstery tool for clearing away messes on seats and floormats, and a hose to give you a bit of added reach. That said, unlike the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+, there's no miniature turbo brush to facilitate cleaning fabric surfaces. However, it has an onboard HEPA filter to help seal any fine particles like pet dander or pollen.

    It's effective in dealing with pet hair and other lightweight material, with a strong enough suction force to draw out most debris in low-pile carpet fibers. However, its narrow suction inlet can get clogged by bulky debris far more easily than larger, pricier handheld vacuums.

    See our review

  4. Best Shop Vacuum For Cars

    If you want a shop vacuum that can handle dry and wet messes inside your car, you need a shop vac, and the RYOBI 18V One+ 3 Gal. Project Wet/Dry is among the best cordless car vacuums we've tested. Its bulky handheld form factor makes it harder to clean tight spots than a conventional handheld like the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+. However, the trade-off is a far more powerful suction motor that enables it to easily clear away heavy debris and liquids⁠—just make sure to remove the filter before using it to clean up wet messes. While the 4.0 Ah battery that this vacuum is bundled with only supplies roughly 15 minutes of runtime, you can easily swap out the depleted battery for another if you have any other RYOBI One+ products in your home, like a cordless drill or reciprocating saw.

    While it's bigger than most conventional handhelds, it's still much smaller than most conventional shop vacuums, so it won't take up too much space if you store it in a garage or workshop. However, it can become somewhat hard to carry around as it fills up with debris. While its hose is short, it does come with a crevice tool to slightly extend your reach and an upholstery tool for taking care of debris on seats and floormats. Build quality is impressively robust and has a very simple design that's remarkably easy to clean and maintain.

    See our review

  5. Best Corded Car Vacuum

    If you don't want to worry about running out of charge partway through cleaning your car, the Eureka Mighty Mite is a very good option. It doesn't have the go-anywhere range of a cordless model like the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ and, unlike the RYOBI 18V One+ 3 Gal. Project Wet/Dry, you can't use it to clear away liquid spills. Still, it delivers fantastic performance on hard surfaces and is very effective in clearing material on low-pile floormats. It also does a great job of clearing away pet hair on upholstered surfaces like car seats when used with its mini brush tool. The vacuum's simple design lets you quickly dispose of its high-capacity dirtbag once it fills up. It has a lightweight body that lets you carry it out onto the street or on your driveway with minimal effort.

    However, it has a short power cord, so you'll probably need to use an extension cord to fully clean everywhere inside your car. Thankfully, its long wand, made of two hollow plastic tubes, gives you a bit of added reach for cleaning tight spots, though it's worth noting those plastic tubes can fall apart if they aren't put together with sufficient force.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Shark WANDVAC: The Shark WANDVAC is a cordless handheld vacuum with a very good performance on low-pile carpets. However, its battery performance is sub-par compared to similarly-sized alternatives like the Wyze Handheld Vacuum. See our review
  • BISSELL AeroSlim: The BISSELL AeroSlim is a cheap and extremely portable handheld vacuum. It has decent performance on low-pile carpet. However, it has a tiny dirt compartment and fails to suck up bulky debris like cereal since its entry is too small, especially compared to the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+. See our review
  • Hoover ONEPWR Cordless Hand Vacuum: The Hoover ONEPWR Cordless Hand Vacuum is a solid alternative to the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ and uses a detachable battery pack that offers a longer runtime out of the box. However, it doesn't perform as well on carpeted surfaces and doesn't come with a turbo brush. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Dec 05, 2022: Extensive article restructuring to better align with user needs. Removed less relevant Notable Mentions picks.

  2. Nov 02, 2022: Ensured all main picks are still available and represent the best choice for user needs.

  3. Aug 02, 2022: Replaced Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ with Dyson V12 Detect Slim as 'Best Car Vacuum' pick. Recategorized Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ as 'Best Mid-Range Car Vacuum' Added Samsung Jet 60 Pet as 'Best Upper Mid-Range Car Vacuum' pick. Added Hoover ONEPWR Cordless Hand Vacuum and Samsung Jet 70 Pet to Notable Mentions. Removed some less relevant picks from Notable Mentions.

  4. Jun 15, 2022: Article restructuring to better align with user expectations. Recategorized Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ as 'Best Car Vacuum' pick. Recategorized Eureka Mighty Mite as the new 'Best Corded Vacuum For Cars' category pick. Added Wyze Handheld Vacuum as 'Best Budget Vacuum For Cars' category pick. Replaced Dyson V8 Animal with Samsung Jet 70 Pet as 'Best Stick/Handheld Car Vacuum' category pick. Removed Black+Decker dustbuster AdvancedClean+ Pet, Dyson Humdinger, and Wyze Cordless Vacuum from main recommendations. Removed Dyson V7 Animal from Notable Mentions and added Dyson V8 Animal to Notable Mentions.

  5. May 13, 2022: Ensured all main picks still represent the best option for user needs and expectations.

All Reviews

Our recommendations are based on what we think are currently the best vacuums to clean the inside of your car. We don't just base our results on overall performance, but also on factors like availability, price, and reader feedback.

If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our vacuum reviews, ranked by their suitability for car cleaning. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no vacuum is perfect for every use, most are good enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.