The two most important features to compare when shopping for the best vacuum for car interior are suction power, measured in air watts (AW), and tools. Must-haves include a floor/upholstery tool, extension hose for hard-to-reach places and crevice tool for tight spaces and edges. Nice-to-have features include a washable filter and dust bin that empties from the bottom. The following best vacuum cleaner for car models contain plenty of both.
best vacuum for car interior
1. Editor’s Pick: Black+Decker Dustbuster Hand Vacuum (CHV1410L)
One of the most popular handheld vacuums currently available is the Black+Decker Dustbuster Hand Vacuum. This hand vacuum isn’t just an ideal choice for cleaning cars, but it can also be used to tidy up your household. Weighing just 2.6 pounds, the cordless vacuum can only be used on dry materials, so keep that in mind if you’re shopping for a wet/dry vacuum. It is rated at 15.2 watts with max voltage of 16v and has a suction power of 15.2 air watts (AW).
The washable dustbowl has a capacity of 20.6 ounces and it’s one of the easiest hand vacuums to empty out and clean. Powering the Dustbuster is a lithium-ion battery that takes about four hours to fully charge. Best of all, charging is easy since it uses a charging base. The company says the battery is capable of holding a charge for up to 18 months, allowing you to conveniently keep it in your car.
While there are cheaper options available, the Dustbuster also comes with a flip-up brush and a crevice tool, two attachments that will come in handy on floormats and hard to reach places inside your cabin.
Overall, the Black+Decker Dustbuster is a medium-duty hand vacuum that will help keep your car clean with minimal effort. It is also backed by a two-year limited warranty.Pros/Lightweight, powerful, battery life, included attachments, two-year warrantyCons/Not a wet vacuum, average dustbowl capacitySHOP NOW
2. Best Wet/Dry Vacuum: Armor All 2.5 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum
Don’t care for a cordless, handheld vacuum? If you have easy access to a power outlet and need a wet/dry vacuum, the Armor All 2.5 Gallon shop vac is a great choice. It’s not overly powerful with a two-horsepower motor, and its 2.5-gallon storage tank isn’t the largest available, but this vacuum is a great choice for cleaning your car.
It comes with a 10-foot power cord and since it’s just a 2.5-gallon tank, this vacuum is easy to move around while you vacuum your car. Also included is a six-foot hose, which should help minimize the need for an extension cord. Like other shop vacuums, Armor All’s has a built-in blower function that can quickly convert the vacuum to a blower.
The vacuum includes several other helpful accessories, including a 2-in-1 utility nozzle, crevice tool, deluxe car nozzle, blower nozzle, detail brush, reusable cloth filter, and reusable foam sleeve. A two-year warranty is standard on this product.
The Armor All 2.5 Gallon Wet/Dry vacuum is ideal for car owners who often wash their cars at home and have access to a convenient power outlet. The tank, while smaller than other shop vacuums, should be adequate for your cleaning session. It’s one of the most portable shop vacs you can purchase, so taking it over to the trash to empty and clean isn’t as cumbersome as larger units.Pros/Wet/Dry shop vacuum, portable, includes several useful accessories, two-year warrantyCons/Corded, 5-gallon tank is on the smaller sideSHOP NOW
3. Best if Price Doesn’t Matter: Dyson V6 Cordless Trigger
It’s rather difficult to do a list of vacuums without including a product from Dyson. The company specializes in making high-quality vacuums, and you can actually use one of its products to efficiently clean your car. The Dyson V6 Trigger is the most expensive option on our list, but it’s recommended for those who want the absolute best.
The V6 is powered by a Dyson digital motor with a max suction power of 100AW, which Dyson claims is three times the suction power of any other handheld in use. It is designed to fit comfortably in your hand with the center of gravity located towards the grip for easy handling. Still, it weighs 3.4 pounds, which puts it in the middle of the pack compared to other handheld vacuums.
Helping increase airflow to capture even the finest dust particles are 15 cyclones arranged across two tiers working in parallel. The vacuum also has a max power mode, which provides six minutes of higher suction power for more difficult tasks. If you’re not using the max power mode, expect to get about 20 minutes of vacuum time before the rechargeable battery runs out.
Our favorite feature of the Dyson V6 however is its one-touch method of emptying out the bin. You simply push the button to open the canister, dumping all the vacuumed dirt and debris into the garbage.
The standard V6 Trigger does come with a crevice tool, but other attachments are sold separately or included in other V6 models.Pros/It’s a Dyson!, powerful suction, max power mode for heavy cleaning, hygienic bin emptyingCons/Expensive, lack of included attachmentsSHOP NOW
4. Eureka EasyClean 71B
The Eureka EasyClean is a corded, handheld vacuum option that features two motors, one for the brush and one for suction. While it is designed to be a household vacuum, it’s also great for cars thanks to its attached hose with a crevice tool. The vacuum does weigh a little less than 5 pounds, so it’s not as lightweight as other options on this list.
The compact vacuum is powered by a 5.5-amp motor and comes equipped with a 20-foot power cord. It has a six-inch cleaning path width, good for vacuuming your seats, floormats, and floorboards. It also comes with a one-year limited warranty.
Priced as a mid-range option, the Eureka EasyClean is recommended for car owners who can conveniently use a corded vacuum. Like most handheld car vacuums, Eureka’s popular offering is bagless with a transparent tank, so you can easily gauge when it’s time to empty and clean the canister.
While not necessarily needed when vacuuming a car’s interior, the Eureka EasyClean has a versatile “Riser Visor” that allows it to be used in both vertical and horizontal orientations. This does make vacuuming seats and door panels easier.Pros/Two-motor system, “Riser Visor” for vertical and horizontal use, easy-to-empty dust canisterCons/Bit on the heavier side, cordedSHOP NOW
5. Shark Cordless Pet Perfect II
If your pet often travels with you in your car, it would be helpful to have a vacuum that specializes in cleaning up pet hair. The Shark Cordless Pet Perfect II comes with a motorized pet brush, designed to pick up embedded pet hair from all surfaces. It’s an 18-volt cordless vacuum that weighs 4.3 pounds, so it’s a bit on the heavier side. The vacuum does however, have a rubberized hand grip that makes it more comfortable to handle.
It uses “Twister Cyclonic Technology” to provide a strong, consistent suction while cleaning. There’s an easy-to-empty dust cap and the vacuum uses a washable filter, so it’s bagless. Unfortunately, the vacuum uses a Nickel Cadmium battery, attributing to its weight and long charge time. It is estimated to run for up to 15 minutes on a single charge.
Included in each package is an XL motorized brush, crevice tool, dusting brush, and charging stand. The product comes with a two-year warranty.
As its name suggests, this car vacuum is recommended for pet owners that deal with heavy of pet hair inside the cabin of their car. If your pet doesn’t shed too much or it only takes an occasional trip with you, you may not necessarily need a pet-specific vacuum.Pros/Made for pet hair, rubber hand gripCons/Slightly heavy, brush roll doesn’t swivel or rotate, long charge timeSHOP NOW
6. Dirt Devil Scorpion Quick Flip Corded Handheld Vacuum (SD20005RED)
Dirt Devil is likely a brand you have heard of when it comes to vacuums, and its Scorpion Quick Flip bagless handheld vacuum is a great choice for cleaning a car. Finished in Dirt Devil’s signature red, it features an integrated Quick Flip crevice tool that makes cleaning tight spaces a breeze. Attached to the vacuum is a 16-foot power cord, which is shorter than the Eureka vacuum. Included with the vacuum is a 2.5-foot hose, a dusting brush, sliding brush, and upholstery tool.
Weighing 3.75 pounds, the Dirt Devil Scorpion is slightly heavier than the Dyson V6 trigger, but it is significantly cheaper. In fact, it’s one of the most affordable car vacuums on our list. It’s powered by a seven-amp motor and comes with a three-year limited warranty, which is the best of the bunch and impressive considering the price of the vacuum.
The Dirt Devil Scorpion Quick Flip vacuum is recommended for car owners who aren’t looking to make their car absolutely spotless and looking for a vacuum that just “does its job” without anything fancy. Its price makes it a compelling option for everybody looking for a simple, affordable solution.Pros/Seven-amp motor, quick flip crevice tool, very affordable, variety of attachments, three-year warrantyCons/Not extremely lightweight, average length power cableSHOP NOW
7. Vacmaster 12 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum (VBV1210)
Most car owners won’t have a need for a 12-gallon, five-horsepower wet/dry shop vac, but for those with large vehicles that see heavy use, this vacuum could turn out to be a great investment. The Vacmaster wet/dry shop vac is powered by a five-horsepower motor for powerful suction, while the 12-gallon tank basically guarantees you can clean even the filthiest of large SUVs before having to empty out the tank. Speaking of cleaning out the tank, there’s an additional large drain port to make the task easier.
What makes this shop vac nice is its detachable blower design, which has a maximum 210-mph blowing speed. The blower could actually come in handy to blow off the exterior of your car after a wash, so there’s less water to dry off afterwards.
The vacuum comes with a seven-foot long hose, two extension wands, a cartridge filter and foammm sleeve, eight-inch utility nozzle, car nozzle, crevice tool, blower nozzle, air/noise diffuser, and an adapter for the blower wand.
Not surprisingly it’s a bit costly, but you’ll likely be able to use it for much more than just vacuuming your car. It does weigh about 26 pounds, so it’s not something you’ll want to carry around with you. But it does comes equipped with wheels so it’s easy to roll around.
The Vacmaster 12-gallon wet/dry shop vac comes with a two-year warranty.Pros/Powerful, versatile 210-mph blowing speed, plenty of attachments, additional large drain portCons/Price, heavy, not everyone needs thisSHOP NOW
8. HOTOR 4S Car Vacuum
A popular choice for a corded, 12-volt car vacuum is the HOTOR 4S, which offers about 4500PA of suction power. It’s lightweight, tipping the scales at 2.44 pounds and comes equipped with a stainless steel HEPA filter, three attachments, and a 16.4-foot power cable that helps you easily maneuver inside your vehicle while cleaning.
The three included attachments are a slim nozzle, extended tube, and brush. The slim nozzle is recommended for cleaning up spilled liquids and getting into tight spaces, while the extended tube lets you vacuum hard-to-reach areas such as between the front seats and center console. The brush is ideal for cleaning up pet hair, the floormats, and floorboards. Emptying and cleaning out the dust container is convenient, thanks to the detachable curved head on the front of the bin.
Unfortunately, since it is as 12-volt vacuum, it can only be powered through the cigarette lighter plug in your car. Make sure your vehicle is equipped with one before you purchase the HOTOR 4S, and you’ll likely want to leave your car running while you vacuum to not drain your car’s battery. HOTOR does separately sell an AC to DC converter for home use.SEE BEST PRICEPros/Affordable, lightweight, et/dry performance, doesn’t need a power outlet, included attachmentsCons/Can only be powered from a 12-volt cigarette lighter unless you purchase a converterSHOP NOW
9. Shop-Vac 5-Gallon Stainless Steel Wet/Dry Vacuum (5989300)
We have already looked at a smaller wet/dry shop vac with the Armor All 2.5-gallon unit. But if you’re looking for something with more capacity because you own a larger vehicle, the Shop-Vac 5-Gallon stainless steel wet/dry vacuum is a popular choice. Naturally it’s not as small and lightweight as the Armor All vacuum, but it does come with a full circumference dolly with wheels, so you can easily roll it around while vacuuming your car.
The vacuum is powered by a 4.5 peak horsepower motor, so it offers maximum airflow of 175 CMF. It comes with a variety of attachments, including three extension wands, crevice tool, gulper nozzle, and floor nozzle. And like the Armor All shop vac, it has a rear blower port to convert your vacuum into a powerful blower.
The included power cable is six-feet long, which should be enough for most users since the hose is seven-feet long. But if you don’t have easy access to a power outlet, you may need to run an extension cable.
It does weigh 15 pounds, so that’s something to keep in mind when having to empty out the bucket.Pros/Powerful 4.5-hp motor, 5-gallon bucket, stainless steel tank, variety of attachments Dolly with wheels Wet/dry vacuumCons/Corded, may be too large and cumbersome for some usersSHOP NOW
10. HOLIFE Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
An affordable hand vacuum option comes from HOLIFE, and there’s two options to choose from. The first is a more compact version with 4000PA suction power and a HEPA filter, while the other is a slightly larger model with 6000PA suction power, an ordinary filter, and is capable of dry/wet use.
Top 5 Best Bissell Car Vacuums
Looking at the cheaper, compact model, the HOLIFE handheld vacuum comes with a crevice nozzle, brush nozzle, 26-inch hose, wall-mountable charger, storage bag, brush, and HEPA filter. The attachments are great for car use, with the crevice tool allowing you to vacuum debris in tight corners and spaces. It is rated at 70 watts of power and comes with a 2200mAh lithium battery that allows you to vacuum for up to 25 to 30 minutes on a full charge. Tipping the scales at 2.2 pounds, it’s one of the lightest handheld vacuums on our list.
The larger, more powerful vacuum costs a bit more, but you get more suction power and it’s a wet/dry vacuum. It is rated at 90 watts max power and comes with a rubber jar tool, brush nozzle, crevice nozzle, charging base, brush, and a pair of washable filters. It weighs a bit more than the compact version at 3.27 pounds. Like the compact version, it has a 2200mAh battery.
If you run into any issues with the HOLIFE vacuum however, just be aware that the company only offers a “12-month worry-free guarantee.”Pros/Affordable, lightweight, good battery life, powerful, included attachmentsCons/Wet/dry version is heavier and more expensive, only a “12-month worry-free guarantee”SHOP NOW
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?
Probably 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?
Something 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?
In 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?
If 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 NaceCare, Miele, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.