battery operated car vacuum

While you can use just about any vacuum cleaner with a hose to clean out the nooks and crannies of your car, it’s a pain having to drag a big vacuum out to the garage. Plus, when you have to crawl into the third row of your minivan to clear out a Cheerio-pocalypse, the less bulk you have to deal with, the better. On the flip side, you often need a battery operated car vacuum to deal with all the fine dirt, sand and pebbles that can accumulate on your floorboards. So let us examine the best cordless car vacuum and the best portable car vacuum in this category below. Not every vacuum is up to the task, but these four can help give your car that just-came-back-from-the-car wash look.

Why Buy a battery operated car vacuum?

  • Prevent wear and tear. It might not seem like it, but all the crumbs, dirt, and dust that build up over time will eventually start to wear out the upholstery and carpet of your car’s interior if left unchecked. Keeping your car clean means it will last longer and retain more of its value.
  • Stay healthy. Dust and dirt build-up have very few places to go inside the closed environment of your car besides the air you breathe. Also, food particles can grow mold that will release spores into the air. Inhaling any of these can lead to serious health issues.
  • Stay safe on the road. Dust and grime not only stick to horizontal surfaces, but also to vertical ones like the windows. This can lead to reduced visibility, increasing the likelihood of an accident. 
  • Save money in the long run. The cost of having your car professionally cleaned can add up quickly over the course of a year. Even if you go to one of those self-wash car washes with the coin-op vacuum cleaners, the cost will be much more than you would spend buying a battery-powered vacuum cleaner.
  • Vacuum cleaners aren’t just for cars. Another great reason to own a cordless vacuum cleaner is that you can use it to clean more than just your car. Use it to clean all those nooks and crannies in the house or the garage that a larger vacuum cleaner can’t reach.

battery operated car vacuum


Shark Wandvac

While the Shark WANDVAC might look more like a hair-styling tool than a vacuum, don’t let it fool you. Weighing less than 1.5 pounds, it’s ridiculously light and small enough to get into cracks and around seats in your car. It comes with a crevice tool and a multi-duster head, perfect for dashboards and chasing Starbucks crumbs out of the ridges in your center console. The downside of being such a small unit is that you’ll get less battery life out of each charge. Then again, this a tool to use for small jobs, not something that you’re going to deploy when you need to do a deep spring clean. 

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Dyson V11

Dyson V11

The Dyson V11 is the latest in a long line of handheld vacuums that convert to a stick vac with a rotating brushhead (or from a stick vac to a handheld vac, depending on your point of view). As with every new generation of Dyson, it has more suction power than ever before (40% more than that the V8). Best of all, it has a brain. The LCD on the back of the unit tells you what suction mode you’re in and how much time you have left. When you switch from Eco to Boost, the battery image changes from green to red, and you’ll see the time drop. That LCD will also walk you through maintenance tasks when there are airway clogs and remind you when it’s time to clean the permanent filters. 

Depending on which V11 model you get, there will be a variety of attachments, some of which you can store on the stick extension, others that you can keep in the drop-in base. Switching out attachments is painless, making converting between stick vac and handheld modes a breeze. 

As a handheld, the Dyson is just as powerful, making short work of whatever mess you point it at. This is a good thing, since the base motor, battery and canister are fairly bulky. And even if you can’t quite maneuver it into the tightest spaces in your vehicle, switching over to Max suction is more than sufficient to destroy any lingering dirt. It’s the most powerful handheld vacuum you can buy. 

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Bissell Garage Pro

Bissell Garage Pro

Somewhere between a svelte, minimalist all-purpose tool and a floor vac posing as a handheld vacuum, there’s this Bissell Garage Pro Wet/Dry vac that doesn’t pretend to be anything but a solution for all of your garage messes. With a 32-foot wand, you can mount it on the wall and still use the seven detailing tools in every corner and crevice of your car. And even if it’s not, you can take it off the wall and take advantage of the 5 extra feet of power cord (yes, I know it has a cord and this is a cordless list, sometimes you have to make compromises if you want the best). In addition to sucking up wet and dry messes, the Garage Pro can convert to a blower. It has a 4-gallon tank and a 2-stage filtration system so that everything you suck up is well contained. If you’ve got the wall space and want a dedicated cleaning station just for your vehicles, the Garage Pro is a great investment. 

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Black + Decker Flex Vacuum

Black + Decker Flex Vacuum

If you’re looking for something a little less permanent, the Flex Vacuum from Black + Decker does a bit of everything. Not only does it comes with a wand and pet brush attachment, allowing you to do deep cleaning of your home, it also has a crevice tool. Attach that tool to the 4-foot hose and you can deep clean everything—ceiling fans, couches, high chairs, the corners of your son’s room that he swears he cleaned the last time he vacuumed (and never did). It’s portable enough that you can pull it out to the garage for detailing duty. With such a long hose, you don’t have to keep walking around the car. Just climb in and start vacuuming. 

Things to Consider When Buying a Vacuum Cleaner

Things to Consider When Buying a Vacuum Cleaner

The old vacuum cleaner has “bitten the dust” and you need a replacement.  One quick look online is all it takes to realize that choosing a new machine might be more challenging than you thought. It’s easy to get caught up in the “latest and greatest” when perusing vacuums online or in magazines and end up with a machine that is either too much or not enough, or just doesn’t fit your needs.

We’ve put together a few questions for consideration to help focus your search efforts before purchasing that new vacuum cleaner. Maybe you’ve already thought about some of these, so please use the following list to quickly navigate to the concerns most important to you.

What Flooring Types Do I Have?

Upright and Canister Vacuums on Multi-floorsProbably the most obvious consideration is whether you have mainly carpeting, hard floors, or a fairly even combination of both. Generally speaking, for homes with a lot of carpeting, especially in large areas, an upright vacuum cleaner is a good choice. However, if your personal preference tends toward canister style vacuums, there are quite a few excellent choices available. You will want to be sure that it has a floor nozzle with a motorized brushroll and height adjustment options for various pile carpets.

If you love hardwood or tile flooring with a few rugs here and there, or enjoy low-pile carpeting, a canister style vacuum is a great option. Using a specialized floor brush, these are usually very maneuverable for working quickly around and underneath furniture. Some are equipped with combination floor tools that easily switch to effectively clean scatter rugs. For true canister vacuum lovers, there are machines that feature high quality motorized floor nozzles that can effectively handle deep-pile carpets.

Most people have a combination of both carpeting and hard floors. At this point, style preference will be your guide. However, be sure to check for convenience features such as on/off brushroll control, height adjustment, and suction control. Be sure to note whether the brushroll is air-powered or electrically powered as this affects the effectiveness of deep-pile carpet cleaning.

Do I Need to Control Allergens?

This is a key question to consider since we spend, on average, about 90% of our time indoors where pollutants can be 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations. This is especially important to ponder if you or someone in your family has asthma or allergies. A vacuum cleaner that provides HEPA filtration can be an important contributor to improving your indoor air quality. HEPA filters capture particulate matter down to 0.3 microns so that the exhausted air is actually cleaner than what was sucked into the vacuum. There are also machines that include some level of charcoal filtration to help control odors—great for pet owners.

An additional consideration is a vacuum that not only uses HEPA filters but does so in a completely sealed system. This means that there is virtually no leakage of air through the housing or fittings of the machine and all air (along with pollutants) is forced through the filtration system, leaving your indoor air allergen free. See this article for more information about allergies and vacuums.

How Often Do I Vacuum?

Robotic Vacuum Being ProgrammedSomething you may not have thought about, the frequency of your cleaning schedule can be impacted by the ease or difficulty of storing and accessing your vacuum. For those folks who shed their shoes the minute they hit the door, walking on floors that quickly accumulate pet fur, crumbs, and tracked-in dirt or sand, daily vacuuming is standard operating procedure. In that case, a vacuum that is difficult to access and use quickly can make this routine a real chore. Consider a robotic vacuum that can be scheduled to clean while you’re at work or running errands so you return to grit-free floors, really nice if you frequently bring home company.

If your debris tends to concentrate in specific areas, a stick vacuum is a champ at quickly taking care of daily messes whether on hard floors or carpets, as well as effectively handling more extensive weekly cleaning. There are also light-weight uprights and compact canisters with parking features that make them easy to store and use at a moment’s notice.

How Many Levels are in My Home?

Stick Vacuum Being Carried UpstairsIn other words, how many stairs do you have to carry your vacuum up and down? There are many maneuverable, light-weight cordless vacuums that have great suction power and long run times that can handle multiple floor types. There are also lightweight vacuums in both upright and canister styles that make transporting them between floors easy.

An additional thought is the type of flooring on each level. While it sounds crazy, sometimes more than one vacuum is a very good idea. If you have a main floor that really benefits from a machine that can handle a variety of floor types, your upper floor may only require a vacuum best for carpets or hard floors. Or, the reverse may be true. In either case, consider purchasing a smaller stick vacuum for the space best suited for it, and save yourself grueling trips up and down stairs with your larger machine.

What Additional Surfaces will I be Cleaning?

Vacuum Cleaner Tool AssortmentIf you like vacuuming away all the accumulated dust from furniture, curtains, moldings, and baseboards instead of dusting, you’ll want a vacuum that includes a variety of accessory tools. Most include at least a combination brush and crevice tool, while others have additional floor nozzles, an upholstery tool, and specialized accessories for specific types of cleaning. If you own pets, or have a lot of stairs, consider a vacuum that includes a mini-motorized tool for easy cleaning. Some offer an even wider variety of specialized tools and extension wands which you can purchase separately as you need them.

How Much Noise Can I Stand?

Given the technology, if you will, of vacuums, there is a certain amount of expected sound generated during use. Typically, the larger and more heavy-duty the machine for the job, the louder it is. For homes, and for office spaces where a quieter sound level is desired, there are vacuums that have been designed with insulated motor housings as well as newer low-noise motors for quieter operation. Some can run as lows as 47 dB at maximum power while still delivering 120 CFM. Vacuum manufacturers such as NaceCareMiele, and Sebo have recently redesigned some of their machines for quieter operation. Check specifications for your selection before buying.

How Much Maintenance is Required?

This is a question that really depends on your definition of “a lot” and how tedious different kinds of maintenance are for you. Bagless vacuums don’t have bags that need to be changed, but dust bins still need to be emptied and washed periodically, especially if your home includes allergy-sufferers. Any vacuum with a HEPA filter will need that filter to be replaced when necessary, depending on individual home environments. The same is true for any other type of filter unless it is specified as a washable filter.

Vacuum Cleaner Maintenance

Brushrolls will collect pet fur, hair, threads and other debris and will need to be cleaned to maintain top operating capabilities. Ease of access to it should be a consideration. For quality vacuums that last for years, sometimes accessory tools like dusting brushes may need to be replaced. Check to see if these are available for purchase either at retail or from the manufacturer.

The Main Vacuum Types

There are five primary shapes of vacuum cleaners, each performing a slightly different function, although some combine those forms in order to provide more bang for your buck. Being aware of the expectations you have of your vacuum cleaner can help you more intelligently and decisively pick one of the following.

1. Handheld

Handheld vacuums are perfect for getting those painfully hard-to-reach areas that desperately need a cleaning. The most common example for use is in vacuuming cars, since, as the name suggests, this model can be held in only one hand. Its versatility makes it a dream for suctioning up dirt and debris in a variety of tight places, but it would not serve well for general flooring cleaning, which would take a long time to clean with a handheld. This type of vacuum cleaner comes in all sorts of different forms with equally different price tags.

2. Canister

Canister vacuum cleaners are a happy medium between the upright model and the stick model. They are powerful like the upright cleaners, but feature a slender frame, like the stick cleaners. In this case, a separate canister is attached to a long wand which can be used to maintain not only carpeted areas but also bare flooring as well. This style of vacuum cleaner tends to be one of the most expensive options, given its technologically-forward and multi-functional design.

3. Upright

These cleaners are perhaps the most popular and sought-after forms of vacuum cleaners. When you imagine a vacuum cleaner or see one advertised in media, the image you picture is probably that of an upright machine. These models provide the most powerful clean-up for your house, and offer the comforting benefit of usually easy-to-understand functions and accessories, since most people have used an upright vacuum cleaner at least once in their lifetime. Most models provide settings that allow these vacuum cleaners to be used not only on carpeted surfaces but also bare floors.

4. Stick

While perhaps the least powerful of the vacuum models, stick vacuums have a knack for getting into narrow places and doing a tremendous job on hardwood floors, area rugs and light carpeting. This type of vacuum features a long stick-like handle and a slender construction. The slimness of this model makes it a perfect addition to any closet space, as it tucks neatly into most corners after its purpose has been served.

5. Autonomous / Robot

Robot vacuum cleaners have gained a lot of popularity in recent years, mainly due to the fact that they require little effort on your end. These vacuums are able to roam freely around your home, sucking up any small mess in its way. They not only save you time, but they are also able to reach places that larger vacuums wouldn’t be able to, such as under the couch. One main drawback of robot vacuums is that they typically come at a steep price.

Vacuum Cleaners

Location, Location, Location

Do you have primarily hardwood floors throughout your house? Are these floors covered with area rugs, or are they bare? Is your home filled with wall-to-wall carpeting? These are considerations you must make before taking the leap and purchasing your very own vacuum cleaner.

Bare Floors:

If you have bare floors, you’re better off with models that provide a number of attachments and which don’t have quite as much heft as some of the others. Using a regular upright vacuum on flooring like hardwood poses a number of problems, which includes scratching your smooth and coveted floors and being counterproductive by scattering debris across their surfaces. Some upright vacuums do provide settings that function better on non-carpeted areas, but for the most part your best bet would be with a model like the canister vacuum, which can also take care of your area rugs if you have any. These vacuums usually come with a bare-floor brush, which makes keeping your floors squeaky clean and scratch-free a piece of cake.


On the other hand, if you have wall-to-wall carpeting, it’s definitely worth considering a model with different advantages than a vacuum cleaner suited for hardwood flooring and tiling. You won’t need to worry about scratching the surface of your carpet, and in fact, you’ll want something powerful that pulls up all the lingering debris from the carpet strands. In this instance, an upright cleaner is a great way to go. There are all sorts of extra conveniences that upright vacuums have recently come out with, including a dirt sensor which makes sure you get that last speck of grime.

Know the layout of your flooring and what sorts of surfaces you’ll be dealing with to ensure your needs will be met with your new vacuum cleaner.

To Bag or Not To Bag

The general consensus is that, whether you have a bagged vacuum or a bagless vacuum, your house will be clean either way (as long as you keep using it). However, there are a few small differences that may make or break your decision to buy one or the other.


If you or any of your family members are sensitive to allergens or have asthma, the bagged vacuum is probably more for you. Dust exposure is minimized when the bag is emptied and most bags are guaranteed to trap all but .03% of the dust and pollen in your carpeting. You do have to replace the bags on a regular basis, although these are typically available at most supermarkets.


If you are environmentally-minded and prefer to not have to deal with replacing bags, the bagless vacuum is more for you. These vacuums usually have a see-through canister which gives you perfect access to seeing how full the vacuum is, which can help you determine when you need to empty it out.

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