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The 5 Best Car Vacuums - Spring 2024 Reviews

Best Car Vacuums

No matter how hard you try to avoid or prevent it, keeping your car completely clean is impossible. 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 140 vacuum cleaners, and below are our recommendations for the best vacuums for cars to buy. These picks were selected based on their performance on different types of surfaces and 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+. While it isn't the smallest handheld vacuum on the market, it's still compact enough to easily stow away on a garage shelf or even in the trunk of your vehicle when you aren't using it. It's also very lightweight yet still feels quite solidly built. It does a fantastic job of handling debris on flat, hard surfaces and is impressively effective in dealing with messes on carpeting and floor mats. Its dirt compartment is also quite large for a handheld model, so you won't need to empty it at the end of every single cleaning session.

    The CH951 variant of this vacuum has a crevice tool for dealing with debris in tight corners and a miniature turbo brush. Unfortunately, the latter attachment isn't all that effective; it's bulky and has a hard time picking up pet hair on fabric surfaces. Unfortunately, its battery life of a little over 10 minutes is pretty poor, even by the standards of other handheld vacuums, so you'll need to work fast when cleaning out your car. Worse, the battery isn't designed to be removed or replaced, so you can't swap in a new pack if the first unit's performance degrades over time. It also does a terrible job of sealing in fine particles, which can easily escape from its exhaust. If that's an issue, consider the Wyze Handheld Vacuum, which does a much better job of trapping allergens. It struggles with bulkier material compared to the Shark, which can clog its suction inlet.

    See our review

  2. Best Mid-Range Car Vacuum

    The Black+Decker dustbuster Hand Vacuum is the best vacuum for cars at a mid-range price we've tested. Unlike the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+, it doesn't come with a turbo brush attachment, making it a little irksome to clean larger carpeted or upholstered areas, like seats or carpet mats. It also takes much longer to recharge than the Shark and has a similarly short battery life of just about 10 minutes. Another common downside it shares with the Shark is that its battery pack isn't replaceable; you can't swap it out without disassembling the vacuum first. That said, it's cheaper than the Shark, uses a less expensive filter, and has an even higher-capacity dustbin that you won't need to empty as often. Despite its bulkier size, it still doesn't weigh much, so you can easily carry it wherever you need it.

    This vacuum's integrated extension wand/crevice tool makes it easier to clean tight spots, like between car seats and your center console or the depths of cup holders. It also has a built-in hard-bristle brush for scrubbing away stuck-on dirt from seats or any plastic surfaces that flips away when not in use, so you don't have to worry about misplacing the attachment when it isn't in use.

    See our review

  3. Best Budget Car Vacuum

    If you prioritize portability, the BISSELL AeroSlim/TurboSlim is the best handheld vacuum for car use that we've tested. It can't hold nearly as much debris as a larger handheld model like the Black+Decker dustbuster Hand Vacuum. Still, its super-small design makes it even easier to use in tight spaces, like the inside of a compact car—it's small enough that you can even stand it upright in an extra-large cupholder. Unfortunately, like the Black+Decker, it doesn't have a miniature turbo brush tool or even a wide-nozzle upholstery tool to clean larger fabric-lined or carpeted areas like the trunk or floor mats.

    However, there is a crevice tool to extend your reach in the crevices between seats and in cupholders, not to mention a slide-on soft-bristle brush for cleaning plastic surfaces that scratch easily, like your car's center console. This vacuum feels well-built, especially for a handheld at this price point, with a body made from high-grade plastic. Its simple design makes emptying its tiny dustbin or accessing its filters easy. Battery life is about 15 minutes, which isn't bad for a handheld.

    Unfortunately, while it's highly effective at clearing away pet hair and lightweight debris, it's worth noting that bulky material, similar in size to cereal pieces, can easily clog its narrow suction inlet, so you'll want to clear away any large debris by hand or with a broom before you start cleaning with it.

    See our review

  4. Best Shop Car Vacuum

    A shop vac can be a great investment if you want a vacuum that can handle dry and wet messes inside your car. The RYOBI 18V One+ 3 Gal. Project Wet/Dry is a great option for this use and is among the best cordless car vacuums we've tested. It's relatively compact for a workshop vacuum, so you can stow it away on a shelf or under a work table when not in use. That said, it's still much bulkier than a conventional handheld like the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+, so you might have trouble fitting it within the confines of your car.

    The trade-off of this larger design is a much greater debris capacity and a far more powerful suction motor, allowing it to clear away heavy debris and liquids ⁠easily—just make sure to remove the filter before cleaning up wet messes. While the included 4.0 Ah battery only supplies enough power for roughly 15 minutes of runtime, you can easily swap out the depleted battery for a fully charged one, which is likely something you already have if you own any other RYOBI One+ products like a cordless drill or reciprocating saw.

    However, it can become somewhat hard to carry around as it fills up with debris, as the motor unit/canister body is meant for you to carry in one hand. While there is a crevice tool to extend your reach, its hose is still very short, which makes it difficult to clean the furthest recesses of your car's interior or tight spots, like underneath seats.

    See our review

  5. Best Corded Car Vacuum

    If you want a corded vacuum to avoid running out of charge while cleaning your car, the Eureka Mighty Mite is the best car vacuum cleaner we've tested. It has a short power cord, so you'll probably need an extension cord to clean hard-to-reach spots in your car, but its lightweight design makes it easy to pick up and carry around compared to most conventional canister vacuums. Despite its affordable price point, it has a reasonably potent 12-amp motor, so it has little trouble lifting heavier debris or material embedded within 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, though it doesn't include a mini turbo brush. The vacuum has a simple design, so you can quickly dispose of its dirtbag once it fills up and replace the filter.

    Unfortunately, the Eureka's build quality isn't especially impressive; most parts are made of cheap-feeling plastic, which isn't surprising given its bargain price. While its long wand, made of two hollow plastic tubes, gives you a bit of added reach for cleaning tight spots, it's worth noting those plastic tubes can easily fall apart if you don't wedge them together very tightly. In addition, unlike an actual shop vacuum like the RYOBI 18V One+ 3 Gal. Project Wet/Dry, you can't use it to clear away liquid spills.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Shark WANDVAC: The Shark WANDVAC is among the best portable car vacuums we've tested, with a very good performance on low-pile carpets and much better air filtration performance than the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+. However, it lacks a miniature turbo brush tool. See our review
  • Hoover ONEPWR Cordless Hand Vacuum: The Hoover ONEPWR Cordless Hand Vacuum is among the best portable car vacuums we've tested and a solid alternative to the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+. It uses a detachable battery pack that offers a longer runtime out of the box. However, compared to the Shark, the best cordless car vacuum we've tested, it doesn't perform as well on carpeted surfaces and doesn't come with a turbo brush. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Mar 18, 2024: Slight in-text adjustments to further clarify product details.

  2. Feb 19, 2024: Ensured all main picks remain the best option for user needs. Added Wyze Handheld Vacuum as an alternative to Shark CH951 as 'Best Car Vacuum' pick.

  3. Jan 19, 2024: Minor in-text adjustments to ensure that all main picks still represent the best option for user needs.

  4. Dec 20, 2023: Removed Wyze Handheld Vacuum from the Notable Mentions due to current availability.

  5. Nov 16, 2023: Verified that all main picks still represent the best choice for user needs.

All Reviews

Our recommendations are based on what we think are currently the best vacuums for cars. 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.