Guide for choosing the best car vacuum cleaner

Top 10 Best Car Vacuum Cleaner Reviews 2017

Keeping your car clean can be a herculean task, especially once you've got a family to ferry around. Pet hair, grass and twigs from days in the park, dirt and mud from football practice, even just crumbs and juice stains from snacks can take your car from pristine to bomb site in less than an hour.

 
 

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Couple that with the fact that your time is more important than ever, and you need help. That's why we recommend everyone buy a handheld vacuum. It makes cleaning your car as simple as flicking a switch and going over everything the once.

Read on to find out why you need a handheld vacuum cleaner, what you should be looking for when you're buying one, and after all - what is the best car vacuum cleaner in 2017.


ProductPower SourceEditor Rating
Black and Decker Cordless Lithium VacuumCordless (battery)


Eureka Easyclean corded hand held vacuumCorded



Black and Decker Lithium PivotCordless (battery)


Armor All 2.5 gallon wet/dry vacuumCorded


Dirt Devil Scorpion cordedCorded


Black and Decker 12V pivotCorded


Dirt Devil Extreme Power handheldCordless (battery)


Carrand AutospaCorded


Hoover Air 20V cordless vacuumCordless (battery)


Metro Professional high performanceCorded


 

 
 
 

OUR REVIEWS OF THE TOP 10 IN CAR VACUUM CLEANERS

Black and Decker Cordless Lithium Vacuum

                                                Editors rating:

Black and Decker Cordless Lithium Vacuum review

Without a doubt the best hand vacuum we could find, with a huge list of smart features that make it incredibly simple and easy to use, with enough power to deal with almost any situation.

First off, it's surprisingly light and easy to maneuver, with a slimline handle that fits the hand well and a nozzle that fits into even the smallest nooks and crannies. And if there's anything you can't reach, the comprehensive list of attachments will certainly deal with it.

Next, and probably the best thing about this vacuum, is the power system. It's powered by a lithium ion battery, which means there's no power loss as you drain the battery, which you might find with cheaper vacuums. So this little beast delivers smooth, effective power the entire time you're using it.

On top of that, the in-built smart charge technology shuts off the battery when it's charged, preventing battery bleed out and meaning you can literally leave this on the charger for over a year without causing damage.

The battery powers a 16V cyclonic vacuum that easily picks up pretty much everything, whether it's dirt and dust, pet hair, or even more exotic material. You can see exactly how much it's holding using the translucent dust bowl, and when it comes time to empty it, you can wash the bowl out with no fear of damage to the unit.

Last but not least, just in case anything does go wrong, there's an included 2-year warranty. This really does have everything you could need for a car vacuum. It's small and light, yet powerful, easy to store, and does just what you need it to do, every time.

PROS

What we like:

  • Great battery life
  • Smart charge technology for power and convenience
  • Cyclone Hoover gives strong suction
  • Removable, washable dust bowl
  • Light and easy to move
  •  
 
 

CONS

What we didn't like:

 
  • Slightly more expensive than the competitors, but worth it
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Eureka Easyclean corded hand held vacuum

                                                Editors rating:

Eureka Easyclean corded hand held vacuum Review

Our top corded choice, the Eureka Easyclean offsets the inconvenience of a corded power supply by being relatively small and pretty damn powerful.

With a 5.5A motor and a separate motor to drive the front brush, it's powerful enough to almost function as a normal hoover, and the included crevice tool makes it so simple to get into all the tiny nooks and crannies of your foot wells and trunk. The 6 inch wide cleaning path is also ample, hitting entire seats in one or two passes.

The cord is 20 feet long, which is easily long enough for the job, especially if you plug it into an extension cable.

It's simple to use, with the option to turn it off literally at your fingertips when you're holding it in the user position. Once it comes time to clean it out, just pull back on the on switch and remove the washable dust bowl. Plus, the filter can be cleaned simply by removing it and brushing it down, which is a nice touch.

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Are there any downsides? Only one. The warranty is only one year, which is no real issue, considering how robust this is.

If you want a powerful, mobile vacuum that you can use both around the home and in the car, this is a solid choice, and definitely worth considering.

PROS

 

What we like:

 
  • Powerful motor
  • Long cord makes it easy to move
  • Fingertip controls make it wasy to use
  • Crevice tool to get into small areas
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CONS

What we didn't like:

 
  • Only 1 year warranty
  •  

Black and Decker Lithium Pivot

                                                Editors rating:

Black and Decker Lithium Pivot Reivew

The second Black and Decker handheld in our list, the lithium pivot has a lot to love, but in our opinion doesn't differentiate itself from the standard model enough to warrant the top spot.

With the same general specifications as our top pick, you know that you're getting a decent product. It's powered by a lithium battery, which gives consistent, quick charging power that doesn't fade as it runs out of charge.

The 20V power gives great suction, with slightly more power than the standard Black and Decker, and the three stage filtration system means that the exhaust air is as clean as can be, with no contaminants or allergens.

The main thing that makes this vacuum different? The pivot technology built into the nozzle. It literally pivots from a normal vacuuming position, all the way back down to the handle, working all the way, with no loss in power or suction. It's a very specific thing, and one I can never see myself needing to use, but if you need to get behind things, or don't want to move anything about as you vacuum, I can see it being useful.

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It's still an impressive piece of kit, with a great range of features and a lot of power. But given the choice between a pivot or a standard Black and Decker, I'd probably just choose the standard.

PROS

 

What we like:

 
  • Lithium battery gives consistent power
  • Cyclone technology for great suction
  • Folds down for effortless storage
  • Simple, washable cleaning
  •  

CONS

What we didn't like:

 
  • Heavier than our top pick
  • Occasional battery issues
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Armor All 2.5 gallon wet/dry vacuum

                                                Editors rating:

Armor All 2.5 gallon wet/dry vacuum review

In terms of utility and power, it's hard to beat this vacuum. With a 9 amp, legitimately 2 horsepower engine, it's suction power is unrivalled. There's also a blow function, which is amazing when, for example, you've taken the dogs for a walk and the back seats are covered in hair.

On top of that, it's got a full wet pick up, with no problems. So you don't need to worry about letting wet leaves and grass dry before you pick it up. This will eat it all, including actual liquid spills.

The internal capacity is a generous 2.5 gallon, and though you can't see inside it, there's an auto shut off when it gets too full, to prevent you causing any damage.

Even though it's almost a full size vacuum, it's easy to move, with the built in, top mounted handle, and it's amazingly quiet too, which is a nice touch.

There's a couple of minor downsides, including the relatively short power cable and the fact that it's not the most portable of vacuums. But that shouldn't be enough to put you off from buying this.

If you need uncompromising power and the ability to handle pretty much any situation you might throw it at, you need this vacuum. It's perfect for outdoorsy types, active families, or simply those who want a deep, thorough clean.

PROS

What we like:

  • Really powerful
  • Can vacuum wet
  • Handle makes it easy to carry
  • Lots of attachments
  •  

CONS

What we didn't like:

  • Relatively short cord
  • Bulky and heavy
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Dirt Devil Scorpion corded

                                                Editors rating:

Dirt Devil Scorpion corded vacuum cleaner review

A famous brand in handheld, easy to carry vacuums, this is Dirt Devil's corded variety, which gives it a more powerful motor, at the expense of having to operate within the 16ft cord range.

It's not the lightest handheld vacuum we're looking at it here today, but neither is it the heaviest. Overall, it's actually pretty easy to hold, with an ergonomic handle and an easy to reach power switch.

The motor is surprisingly strong, pushing out a maximum of 7 amps, which allows this to pick up even heavy dirt and ground in carpet hair. This does lead to one of the issues with this vacuum, though. The motor is so powerful it can actually punch dirt all the way through the system and out of the exhaust. It doesn't happen often, but enough that you might notice.

Apart from that, though, there's really no problems with this vacuum. It's light and easy to move, with a powerful motor and easy to empty bowl that makes cleaning this as simple as emptying it in the trash.

As a budget option, this is a great choice. Hell, you could even pick one of these alongside another choice and keep it in the car just in case!

PROS

What we like:

 
 
  • Light and easy to carry
  • Powerful motor
  • Long cord
  • Nice attachments and brushes
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CONS

What we didn't like:

 
  • Sometimes ejects debris from exhaust
  • Loud
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Black and Decker 12V pivot

                                                Editors rating:

Black and Decker 12V pivot vacuum cleaner review

Tiny and powerful, this vacuum is different from the ones that we've already looked at by one huge aspect. The power system. It plugs straight into the cigarette lighter socket of your car and draws power from there. So no batteries.

The downside. You're working with a cable, which means it can be a little harder to move about in the car. The upside though, is the powerful 11 amp, 12 volt motor.

With the same cyclone system for powerful lifting and cleaning, a pivoting nozzle that works at any angle and a smart brushed cord system for the areas that the nozzle won't reach, you can be sure this will leave your car clean, every time.

Powerful and effective, the single biggest advantage of this vacuum is the fact that it plugs into your car for its power. No matter where you're going, you can be sure that this vacuum will give you what you need.

PROS

 

What we like:

 
  • Small and easy to handle
  • Plugs into car light
  • Built in brush is smartly made
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CONS

What we didn't like:

 
  • Make sure your car has a highter jack
  • Only 12V motor
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Dirt Devil Extreme Power handheld

                                                Editors rating:

Dirt Devil Extreme Power handheld vacuum cleaner

Incredibly powerful for its size and the fact that it's a handheld, there's a lot to love about this vacuum, and almost as much to be wary about. But whilst it lasts it certainly does the job, and does it well.

First off, the motor on this is a beast. Almost 16V of power, from a handheld, non lithium battery is almost unheard of. But this comes at a major downside. It eats power, meaning the battery doesn't last long both in the short term and the long term. And the battery is irreplaceable, meaning if it goes, you've basically got a dead system on your hands.

However, whilst it's working, this really is a fantastic little vacuum. Great suction, easy to use with light weight and a pivoting head unit that means it can get everywhere you want it to.

If you see yourself using your vacuum often, then perhaps this isn't the best choice. But if you need something powerful and reasonably priced for occasional use, then this could be just what you're looking for. It's just a shame it's not more reliable.

PROS

 

What we like:

 
  • Power suction
  • Rotating crevice tool
  • Large dust capacity
  •  

CONS

What we didn't like:

 
  • Runs out of power fast
  • Burns through its battery quickly
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Carrand Autospa

                                                Editors rating:

Carrand Autospa vacuum cleaner review

Incredibly powerful, this little beast delivers a huge amount of cleaning power in a relatively compact package.

The 120V, 550 watt motor means this cleans like an industrial vacuum, with all the suction and power that entails.

It's simple and easy to use, even though you have to plug it in, though the short power cable and hose can make getting into small areas irritating. Luckily, there's a bunch of brushes that comes with this to make the job easier.

It's a little old fashioned, with a removable dust basket rather than something solid like you'd see on a new style model, and some of the design choices are suspect, but overall it's a great, well performing vacuum. When it works.

And that's the elephant in the room. Whether it's general build quality, or just the sheer amount of power rolling through this machine, it seems to fail reasonably often. And that's clearly not good. It does have a one year warranty, but that's not something anyone ever wants to rely on.

PROS

 

What we like:

 
  • 120V motor delivers incredible power
  • Nice selection of attachments
  • Easy to move and use
  •  

CONS

What we didn't like:

 
  • Short power cord and cleaning hose
  • Unreliable
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Hoover Air 20V cordless vacuum

                                                Editors rating:

Hoover Air 20V cordless vacuum cleaner review

A solidly made and smart handheld vacuum, the Hoover Air is decently powerful and offers a lot of good things, but it's held back by some other features.

To start with, it's got a solid motor that gives good performance, with a turbo boost function for stubborn hair and dirt. The built in crevice tool makes getting into all those tiny areas like underneath seats simple and easy, and it's a pleasure to use.

When it comes time to empty and clean, it's as simple as any we've seen, and the nice touch of a washable filter means you're never going to lose performance.

So where does it fall short? Simple. Battery life. Unfortunately, you only get around 15 minutes of working time with this, and the recharge time is a staggering 9 hours! A really nice touch is the ability to switch out for another Hoover Lithiumlife battery, but if you don't have any of those kicking about, you might not have enough time to finish the job in one sitting. And that sucks.

Apart from that, this really is a great product. If they could fix the battery life, it might even be at the top.

PROS

 

What we like:

 
  • Easy to use
  • Lithium ion battery delivers consistent power
  • Really simple to clean out
  • Good warranty
  •  
     

CONS

What we didn't like:

 
  • Long charge time and short running time
  • Heavy
  •  
     

Metro Professional high powerformance

                                                Editors rating:

Metro Professional high powerformance vacuum cleaner review

Pound for pound, the most powerful hand vacuum on the market. That's what the manufacturers say, and I have to say I believe them.

At only 2.7 pounds in weight, the fact that this puts out 500 watts and 110 volts of sucking power is ridiculous. That's industrial levels of power, and you can guarantee whatever you point this at will be clean by the time you're done.

It's solidly built, too, with an all steel frame that should take a battering and a 5-year motor warranty.

The issues, though, are a problem. First, the build can be a bit iffy, with several minor issues like the dust bag cap falling off mid use. The biggest problem, though, is the fact that it tends to break after a few uses. You could be lucky, and get a great one that lasts forever, and you're still covered by the warranty if something does go wrong, but why would you risk that when you could get one of our top picks for the same price?

PROS

 

What we like:

 
  • Solid construction
  • Five year working part warranty
  • Lots of tools
  •  

CONS

What we didn't like:

 
  • Unreliable
  • Bag lock is awful
  •  

In car vacuum cleaner buyers guide

Hopefully, you've finished our reviews and so have a greater understanding of what you're looking for and why. But there's a lot of intricacies when it comes to vacuum cleaners. There's a hell of a lot of variation in the products, in how much power you get out of it, in what you get alongside the vacuum itself, even just in how it actually works.

Why you should buy cordless or handheld vacuum cleaner?

There are several good reasons to buy a portable vacuum cleaner to use in your car, which we'll go into now:

First off, it makes life so much easier to have a specific tool for the job. Would you try and bang a nail in with a screwdriver? Or cut a steak with a butter knife? No? Then why are you cleaning out your car with a tool that's not designed for any of the specifics of the job.

Second, it makes the job a whole lot faster and simpler, saving you so much time and effort. When you're using a tool that you can move about with literally one arm, and get into all the nooks and crevices of your vehicle without constricting yourself into the sort of shapes a circus acrobat would be proud of, it's almost fun to clean out the car.

Third, a lot of models can actually be brought to you, so if you get into a bind, you can pull it out of the trunk and fix the problem.

So when you should consider buying a vacuum cleaner for your car?

Simple - when you need one.

It sounds silly, but honestly, considering how cheap and effective they are, the only time I wouldn't recommend picking up a portable vacuum is if you get your car professionally valeted every week.

It's just too easy to have one on point for situations that call for it. Another bonus is that all the models we're looking at today don't just have to be used in the car. They can easily serve double duty around the house, getting into all those difficult areas like under the couch.

 

There's one last reason why you might consider picking up an in car vacuum, and it's one that you might not have otherwise considered.

Allergies.

Most allergies are caused by dust, pet dander or plant pollen, all things that can get into your car and sit on the seats and surfaces, waiting. Then, when people get into the car and disturb them, they're back into the air, circulating.

And even more insidiously, a good number of these types of particles won't be filtered out of your air system by air conditioning, because they're simply too small.

More about allergies:

 

But vacuuming your car down will get rid of these allergy causing particles. So if you or anyone in your family suffers from allergies, (I'm thinking about kids, here. They seem to suffer from anything going, right?) then this can be another tool in your arsenal.

 

Things to look for when buying a portable vacuum cleaner

So now we understand why we need an in car vacuum, but what should we look for when buying one?

Corded or cordless, the big question

One of the biggest decisions, and the one that's going to have a huge impact on how you use your vacuum, and how effective it is when you're using it, is whether you decide to buy a cordless or corded vacuum cleaner. Both do very different jobs, and it's important to understand exactly how this is going to affect your experience, and the job you need it to do.

Corded car vacuums

The single biggest difference between corded and cordless car vacuums is the amount of power you're getting to the motor. Because it's running from the mains, you can get a whole lot more power delivered to the internals, which means stronger suction, more effective cleaning and a much quicker work time.

But unfortunately, you lose out on mobility and convenience. Mobility, because you're tied both to places where you can plug it into a power outlet directly, and mobility when you're using it, because you're constrained by another cable holding you in place.

Corded vacuums are ideal if you're looking at a strong, powerful unit that you can use at home to make sure your car is as clean as possible. People who use their cars for business, taxi drivers and anyone looking for the cleanest car possible will benefit from a corded vacuum.

 

Cordless car vacuums

best cordless car vacuums

The polar opposite of corded vacuum cleaners. Cordless vacuums aren't constrained by a cable, and don't need to be plugged in, so they're ideal if you're looking for a product that's as easy to use as possible, as well as being portable.

But what you gain in mobility, you lose out in power. The batteries used in portable vacuums are weaker than mains power, which translates to less power in the motor, less suction, and less cleaning power.

Not only that, but there's the consideration of running out of power. Nothing worse than cracking the vacuum out of the trunk because of an emergency, only to have it sputter and die seconds in as it runs out of juice.

It's nowhere near as bad as it used to be, though. New advances in lithium ion batteries lead to quicker charge times, more powerful motors and longer lasting power with every year that passes. You might also have noticed that some of our favorite vacuums can hold a charge for months at a time without being used, so you don't have to worry about not using it.

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At the end of the day, unless you're looking for the absolute best clean, in our opinion cordless vacuums are the way forward. The technology is such that you don't really have to compromise on anything except running time, and as long as you're smart with your use, that should never be a problem.

Other considerations when you're buying an in-car vacuum

Power

Higher power obviously means higher performance. You're looking for several things here. The most important one is the wattage, which is literally the amount of power the vacuum can put out. Higher is obviously better and will lead to a much stronger suction and deeper clean.

You might also see system power expressed in amps (A) and volts (V.) Needless to say, higher is still better. Some manufacturers won't tell you the wattage of their motors. A quick and dirty way of working out the wattage is to multiply the amps by the volts. There's your answer. Simple as.

Watch this video to see how to properly vacuum your car and why higher power is important:

 

Battery considerations

a lithium ion battery for cordless vacuum cleaners

If you're going portable, then pay close attention to what the battery is made from. Cheaper, old style vacuums won't specify, and it's safe to assume that if it's not stated, you're not getting anything special.

However, if possible, you should look for a Lithium Ion battery. A lithium ion battery, (also called lithium, or Li-ion batteries) is so much further ahead than conventional batteries it's like comparing night and day. Lithium ion batteries tend to charge faster and hold a charge far longer than standard batteries, as well as break down a lot less through multiple charges, so it will last far longer.

But the main advantage of lithium ion batteries? They don't lose effectiveness as they lose power. Conventional batteries actually get weaker as they run down, so you start to lose performance. Lithium ion batteries don't, giving you consistent performance until it runs completely dry.

 

So why don't all manufacturers use this type of battery? Simple. Cost. They're more expensive. So they're only ever put into quality products.

How big is the dirt tank?

dirt tank

There's nothing worse than getting halfway through a job, only to have to stop and clean up after yourself. It wastes time, breaks your flow, and you might even forget where you were and miss something.

That's why it's worth looking at the tank capacity of your vacuum. You want a good balance between capacity, or how much it's going to hold, and size. Because bear in mind that you're going to be holding this thing, and a bigger tank takes up more space and obviously weighs more. You're only cleaning a car, after all.

How easy is it to clean?

Related to the previous point is this one, which is how easy is it to clean after it's done. You'll find with newer models, cleaning is a prime concern and the manufacturers put in features specifically to make this simpler. Things like removable dirt containers that you can dump straight into the dustbin, then wash out with water afterwards to make absolutely sure it's clean.

Some models also have removable filters, which is a great touch. As a filter gets clogged up with dust, it starts to impair air flow, which affects the performance of your vacuum. Replaceable or easily cleaned filters will prevent this from happening. Watch this video for ideas:

Size and weight

Portability, people! You're going to be holding this thing with one hand. And I don't care how tough you think you are, you hold a four pound weight at the end of your outstretched arm for more than five minutes and tell me it doesn't hurt.

It's not just comfort, either. When you're working around the tight confines of your car, you'll appreciate having something small and manageable that's easy to move around. Especially when you're underneath seats.

What does it come with?

vacuuming the car

Some systems are a complete unit, that has everything you need built in. With others, you're going to be getting a whole suite of attachments like brushes, extra long hoses, and other miscellany. It's important to make sure that you're getting the tools you need to clean your car effectively.

One thing you might not consider, though, is where you're going to put all of this stuff. If you are getting half a dozen brushes, it's worth seeing if you also get a bag or other place to store them. Otherwise you inevitably will lose something.

Any special features?

This is obviously specific to each model of vacuum, and it's not something you probably need, but for example having a vacuum nozzle that can tilt 180 degrees can actually be useful in some situations.

Warranty

warranity

Lastly, we come to the warranty. Whilst no one expects or hopes that their stuff is going to go wrong, it happens. Machines are fallible, after all, and nothing is perfect. So double check the warranty. Both how long it lasts, and what it covers.

Conclusion

You've reached the end of our article. Hopefully, it's been helpful and you've found the perfect product for your needs. Remember. If in doubt, buy a quality cordless vacuum that you can use in multiple situations, and if you're really stuck, go with one of our top picks, because then you really can't go wrong.

 
 
 
 
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