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 your 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. While we haven't tested any wet/dry vacuums just yet, we plan to add these to this list in the future.
We've tested over 80 vacuum cleaners, and below are our recommendations for the best car vacuums to buy. These picks were selected not only based on their performance on different types of surfaces but also their feature set, battery life, and price. For more recommendations, take a look at our list of the best vacuums, the best cordless vacuums, and the best vacuums for pet hair.
The Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ is the best car vacuum with a cordless design that we've tested. This compact, extremely portable model is easy to carry out to your car. It delivers a fantastic performance on low-pile carpets, where it easily sucks up pet hair and debris.
It's well-built and has a simple design that makes it easy to assemble and maintain. There's only one part, the dust cup filter, that needs to be replaced regularly, so it incurs low recurring costs. It comes with some tools and brushes that can help you clean your car, including a turbo brush for dislodging dirt from fabric-covered furniture like car seats, a hard bristle brush for scrubbing away stubborn dirt, and a crevice tool for getting into tight corners.
However, its battery only provides roughly 11 minutes of continuous use, so you need to work quickly if you have a big mess on your hands. Also, like most handheld vacuums, it has a small dirt compartment, so you need to empty it fairly often. That said, its outstanding performance and handy tools make it a great choice for cleaning your car's interior.
If you want a cordless vacuum but prefer something with longer battery life, you may want the Black+Decker dustbuster AdvancedClean+ Pet instead. This handheld model doesn't clean debris from low-pile carpets as effectively as the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+, but it has a much longer maximum battery life. If you use its least powerful mode, it provides nearly half an hour of continuous use, and in 'Boost Mode', its most powerful setting, it lasts for roughly 13 minutes. It comes with a motorized turbo brush meant for cleaning upholstered furniture like car seats, as well as a combined extension wand and crevice tool that increases your reach and helps you get into tight corners. Unfortunately, it struggles a bit with fine debris like baking soda on low-pile carpets. It also lacks an allergen-trapping HEPA filter and has a couple of parts that need to be replaced regularly.
If you want the model with the best performance, go for the Shark. On the other hand, if you don't mind sacrificing some performance for longer battery life, the Black+Decker is also one of the best vacuums for cars we've tested.
The best vacuum for cars that we've tested is the Shark Vertex UltraLight Corded. This lightweight stick/handheld vacuum has a good range thanks to its long power cord and has onboard storage for some of its tools, so they're easily accessible. It can also be used as a handheld vacuum if you need to get into hard-to-reach areas.
In addition to coming with a crevice tool and an extension wand, it has a self-cleaning turbo brush, which can help lift pet hair and stuck-on debris from your car's upholstery. Although it struggles to clean small debris like baking soda, it does a good overall job picking up pet hair and large debris like sand. It feels decently well-built, and since its parts have a clip-on design, it's easy to assemble.
Unfortunately, it has a few parts that need regular maintenance. While a couple of parts also need to be replaced over time, recurring costs are still quite low. If you don't want to have to worry about battery life or recharge times, this corded vacuum is one of the best vacuums for cars that we've tested.
The best vacuum for cars in the budget category that we've tested is the Eureka Mighty Mite. This affordable, corded canister model can be used in a semi-handheld configuration, making it easier to clean the inside of your car. It's also very portable, thanks to its slim design and built-in carrying handle.
It easily picks up pet hair and debris like sand and baking soda from low-pile carpets, and its performance remains consistent as the dirt compartment fills up. There are quite a few tools included that can help you clean the inside of your car, like a crevice tool for reaching tight spaces and a hard bristle brush for cleaning tougher messes. Also, it's intuitive to assemble and remarkably easy to maintain, thanks to its simple design.
However, its build doesn't feel very sturdy, and it lacks a HEPA filter for trapping allergens. Its power cord is also fairly short, so you need to have an outlet close by when you're cleaning your car. That said, this vacuum offers solid performance for cleaning cars at a more budget-friendly price point.
If you're shopping for a cordless car vacuum on a budget, consider the HoLife HM036E. While its small, lightweight design doesn't tackle larger areas as well as the Eureka Mighty Mite, the HoLife lacks a power cable, giving you unlimited range so long as there's still room left in its dirt compartment and remaining battery life. It comes with a combination hard bristle brush and upholstery tool for tackling stuck-on messes as well as a dedicated nozzle for picking up liquids, but we don't currently test this. Although it has some trouble clearing small debris like baking soda, it does a good overall job on low-pile carpet and can pick up pet hair as well as large debris like sand without too much of a problem. It has a decent battery performance and can last over 20 minutes before it needs to be recharged. Unfortunately, it has a much smaller dirt compartment than the Eureka and needs to be emptied more frequently.
Check out the Eureka if you're looking for a wallet-friendly corded vacuum with a larger dirt compartment. However, try the HoLife if you prefer a cordless handheld vacuum for spot cleaning your car.
Apr 16, 2021: Confirmed all picks are in stock and still the best recommendations for our users.
Mar 19, 2021: We've verified the accuracy of our text and checked for product availability. There has been no change in our recommendations.
Feb 19, 2021: Added the BISSELL AeroSlim to Notable Mentions. Verified that product picks are still the best recommendations and that they're available.
Jan 22, 2021: Verified that we've still recommending the best products for our users and that they're in stock.
Dec 23, 2020: Article overhaul; changes to structure and picks to help you find better vacuums for your needs.
Our recommendations are based on what we think are currently the best car vacuums. We don't just base our results on overall performance, but also 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.