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The 7 Best Car Vacuums - Spring 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 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.

We've tested over 115 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 Handheld Car Vacuum

    The best vacuum for cars with a handheld design that we've tested is the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+. This handheld vacuum's cordless design enables you to clean all parts of your car's interior, without having to worry about parking close to an electrical outlet. It's also lightweight, enabling you to carry around with little effort, and has a compact size that allows you to clean most parts of your car's interior. 

    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 shouldn't need to empty it out too frequently. The vacuum itself also feels reasonably solid and has an easy-to-clean design. Since its dust cup filter is the only part that needs to be replaced periodically, recurring costs are minimal. 

    Unfortunately, while this vacuum does come with a miniature turbo brush, it isn't very effective for cleaning pet hair on upholstered surfaces like car seats, and you're better off using its crevice tool for handling this kind of debris. Its lack of a HEPA filter also contributes to its terrible particle filtration performance. Its short battery life of roughly 10 minutes forces you to work quickly when cleaning most surfaces. Still, its compact size and strong overall performance make it one of the best vacuums for stairs that we've tested.

    See our review

  2. Alternative With Better Battery Life

    If you're looking for a handheld vacuum with better battery performance, consider the Black+Decker dustbuster AdvancedClean+ Pet. This vacuum isn't as well-built as the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ and lacks a dedicated upholstery tool. However, it does have a longer maximum battery life of nearly half an hour when using it in its least powerful suction mode. Its dirt compartment is also larger, so it shouldn't need emptying quite as often. It comes with a turbo brush to tackle messes on fabric surfaces, and its default nozzle effectively works as a crevice tool. Performance on low-pile carpet is satisfactory since it clears pet hair and large debris without too much difficulty, but you may need to make another pass to fully clean fine material. Unfortunately, this vacuum feels cheaply built, and its filter assembly needs regular replacing, meaning recurring costs can add up over time. Still, it's one of the best handheld vacuums for cars that we've tested.

    Get the Shark if you want a better-built handheld vacuum that performs better on low-pile carpet, but consider the Black+Decker if longer battery life and a larger dirt compartment are more important.

    See our review

  3. Best HEPA Vacuum For Cars

    The best cordless car vacuum with a HEPA filter that we've tested is the Dyson Humdinger. This high-end handheld vacuum is advertised as being able to capture 99.9% of particles 0.3 microns in diameter, which includes most common allergens like pollen or dust. Performance on hard surfaces is fantastic, and the vacuum does a decent job of dealing with debris on low-pile carpeting like floormats. It comes equipped with a crevice tool, a 'Worktop' tool for hard surfaces, and a miniature turbo brush for use on upholstery. 

    The vacuum's compact size and lightweight construction make it easy to carry out to your car and clean any hard-to-reach areas. Its bagless design and washable filters also keep recurring costs to a minimum. It also has a relatively long battery life for a handheld model, as you can expect almost half an hour of runtime in its most energy-efficient mode, which should give you enough time to clean quite a bit of the inside of your car.

    However, you should work quickly when cleaning stubborn debris in its high-power 'MAX' mode, which can drain its battery in under 10 minutes. Its dirt compartment is also tiny, requiring you to empty it quite frequently. Some parts of its plastic construction also feel quite fragile, which is disappointing for an option at this price point. Still, if you're looking for a handheld vacuum with good air filtration performance, the Humdinger is worth a look. 

    See our review

  4. Best Shop Vacuum For Cars

    If you want a shop vacuum that can handle all sorts of debris, the RYOBI 18V One+ 3 Gal. Project Wet/Dry is among the best cordless car vacuums we've tested. Since this vacuum is cordless, you don't need to worry about parking your car close to an electrical outlet to clean it. It's also fairly compact, especially compared to most conventional shop vacuums, so it shouldn't take up too much space if you store it in a garage or workshop.

    This vacuum has a powerful suction motor that allows it to easily deal with debris on bare surfaces and low-pile carpet. It also does a fantastic job of clearing away liquid spills, but make sure to remove its filter before doing so. It comes with a crevice tool for tackling debris in hard-to-reach areas and an upholstery tool for taking care of debris on seats and floormats. It feels impressively robust and has a very simple design that's remarkably easy to clean and maintain.

    Unfortunately, the 4.0 Ah battery that this vacuum is bundled with only supplies roughly 15 minutes of runtime. However, since it's part of RYOBI's One+ lineup of tools and appliances that use compatible battery packs, you can easily swap out the depleted battery for another if you have any other RYOBI One+ products in your home. If you're looking for a shop vacuum that can handle everything from bulky debris to liquids in your car but don't need a full-size model, it's a good choice.

    See our review

  5. Best Stick/Handheld Car Vacuum

    If you want to use a stick vacuum for cleaning the inside of your car, the Dyson V8 Animal is a good option. Thanks to its cordless design, you can clean almost any part of your car's interior without worrying about staying close to an electrical outlet. You can also remove its wand and floorhead to use it as a compact handheld vacuum and tackle messes in hard-to-reach areas. It delivers excellent performance on low-pile carpets, meaning it's good for cleaning floor mats.

    This vacuum comes with a wide assortment of tools and accessories, like a miniature turbo brush for cleaning carpets and seats, a crevice tool for clearing debris in tight corners, and a two-in-one upholstery tool/soft bristle dusting brush. Battery performance is okay overall, as you can expect about 40 minutes of runtime on a single charge in its default power mode. However, running it in its most powerful 'MAX' mode drops its runtime to just under 10 minutes, so you need to work quickly when dealing with stubborn debris.

    All of that said, this vacuum does feel somewhat cheaply built, especially its clear plastic dustbin. Quite a few components need regular cleaning, though it's easy to take the vacuum apart to access them. Overall, its cordless design, strong performance, and a reasonably wide assortment of attachments make it a solid option for vacuuming your car.

    See our review

  6. Cheaper Alternative

    If you're looking to spend less on a cordless handheld/stick vacuum that you can use to vacuum the inside of your car, consider the Wyze Cordless Vacuum. It doesn't come with nearly as many attachments as the Dyson V8 Animal and has a harder time clearing very bulky debris, but it is less expensive. It also has a very lightweight construction that makes it easy to pick up and carry, and you can quickly reconfigure it into a handheld vacuum to better clean tight spots. Its allergen-trapping HEPA filter is also washable, meaning you shouldn't need to worry about recurring costs either. It has a fairly long battery life, as you can expect roughly anywhere between 10 minutes to one hour of runtime on a single charge depending on your choice of attachments and suction power settings. There's a touchscreen display at the back of the vacuum that you can use to change its suction power mode or monitor its battery life in real-time. Unfortunately, some parts of this vacuum's construction feel somewhat fragile, like its dustbin and floorhead.

    Get the Dyson if you want a cordless vacuum with more tools and accessories, but consider the Wyze if you're looking to save some money without sacrificing much overall performance.

    See our review

  7. Best Budget Car Vacuum

    The best vacuum for cars in the budget category that we've tested is the Eureka Mighty Mite. This compact canister vacuum delivers fantastic performance on hard surfaces and is very effective in clearing material on low-pile carpets, which could include surfaces like 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 allows you to quickly dispose of its dirtbag once it fills up and swap in a new one. Since it uses fairly large dirtbags, this shouldn't need to happen too frequently, resulting in low recurring costs. It has a lightweight body that enables you to carry it out to your car without too much effort.

    However, its short power cord requires you to park pretty close to an electrical outlet in order to clean all parts of 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. Overall, this is a great option if you're looking for a basic corded vacuum for cleaning your car. 

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Dyson V7 Animal: The Dyson V7 Animal is a cordless vacuum with excellent cleaning performance and a lightweight design that you can easily reconfigure into a handheld. It's bulkier than most dedicated handhelds and can drain its battery in less than eight minutes on its highest power setting. See our review
  • Dyson V15 Detect: The Dyson V15 Detect is a cordless stick/handheld vacuum with an amazing performance on low-pile carpets. It performs slightly better than the Dyson V8 Animal on carpeted surfaces and has a longer battery life, but it's far more expensive and weighs a little bit more. See our review
  • Shark ION W1 WANDVAC: The Shark ION W1 WANDVAC is a cordless handheld vacuum with a very good performance on low-pile carpets, but its battery performance is sub-par. See our review
  • BISSELL AeroSlim: The BISSELL AeroSlim is a cheap and extremely portable handheld vacuum. It has decent performance on low-pile carpet, but it has a tiny dirt compartment and fails to suck up bulky debris like cereal since its entry is too small. See our review
  • iRobot H1: The iRobot H1 is a cordless handheld vacuum with a larger dirt compartment than the Shark UltraCyclone Pet Pro+ and a longer battery life. It doesn't perform as well on any surface type, has higher recurring costs, and is more demanding in maintenance. See our review
  • Wyze Handheld Vacuum: The Wyze Handheld Vacuum is a compact cordless vacuum that delivers good performance on low-pile carpet, has a relatively long battery life, and features an allergen-trapping HEPA filter. Unfortunately, it doesn't come with a motorized turbo brush. See our review

Recent Updates

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

  2. Apr 14, 2022: Added RYOBI 18V One+ 3 Gal. Project Wet/Dry as new 'Best Shop Vacuum For Cars' pick.

  3. Mar 18, 2022: Ensured all main picks are still available and represent the best option for user needs and expectations.

  4. Feb 16, 2022: Ensured all main picks are still available and represent the best fit for user needs and expectations.

  5. Jan 20, 2022: Moved Wyze Cordless Vacuum from Notable Mentions to new 'Cheaper Alternative' pick.

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.