Car enthusiasts and parents alike often count on a personal car vacuum to help them keep up with their everyday vehicle maintenance. Some people prefer portable car vacuum cleaners they can keep in their trunks, while others swear by wall-mounted vacuums in their garages. Luckily, there are a wide range of options available to fit almost any budget and space considerations.
With all those options, however, choosing the best car vacuum to fit your specific needs can feel overwhelming. You can consider price, suction, tools, attachment sand more, but the real question is whether the vacuum can get the job done in real life. Let us help. Whether you finally bought your dream car or your children have turned your SUV into a refuge for abandoned cheerios, here are 10 of the best car vacuum cleaner for your needs, vetted by real people like you.
#10. WORKSHOP Wet/Dry Vacs WS0910VA General Purpose Shop Vacuum, 9-Gallon
WORKSHOP’s wet/dry vacuum makes the cut for one reason: capacity. At nine gallons of holding space, this shop vac has the most capacity of any of the top car vacuums. Of course, this is a generic vacuum built for the shop, but that’s ok: Shop vacuums make great car vacuums, because they’re built to pick up everything at once.
This machine is made of lightweight plastic, so pulling it around on its casters is simple. It is gentle enough to pick pine needles out of your carpet and strong enough to handle smaller-sized rocks and gravel. Plus, the wet option allows you to lift mud from your floors before it dries. If your child’s love for nature shows in your car, this wet/dry option may be exactly the car vacuum you need.
#9. Black & Decker PAV1200W 12-Volt Cyclonic-Action Automotive Pivoting-Nose Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
This Black & Decker is the only cordless car vacuum to make the top 10 list. It may not have the inherent suction power of some of the bigger models, but what it lacks in suction it makes up for in convenience. Not only does this machine charge in your 12-volt “cigarette lighter” slot inside your car, it also has a pivoting nozzle that lets you reach the trickiest spots to clean in your car. All its accessories clip to the vacuum for easy storage, and this vacuum is definitely compact enough to stay in your car all the time. If you have frequent, light messes to clean in your car, this handheld vacuum may be the best car vacuum cleaner for you.
#8. Metro Vacuum VM6B500T MetroVac ‘N’ Go 500 Hi-Performance 120-Volt Hand Vacuum with Turbine Brush with Accessories
This lightweight, all-steel car vacuum is handheld and fits into spaces other vacuums can’t. It comes with a full complement of attachments especially for car detailing, and it is so light you can use it one-handed to reach under seats and in crevices to liberate those forgotten French fries. Its suction power rivals more-expensive models on the list, and its cord is long enough to reach most any spill in your car. Try this model if you need something that’s easy to use and has stronger suction than a cordless car vacuum might offer.
#7. Metropolitan Vac ‘N’ Blo Compact Vacuum
If you love attachments, this is the model for you. Plus, as the name says, this machine is a combination vacuum and blower. Who needs a blower to clean a car, you ask? Well,air ducts can get clogged with debris, too, and this two-in-one tool gives you the option to clean those ducts without buying a separate tool. Plus, many car buffs wash their engines as well, and the blower dries the engine quickly so you can get back on the road fast.
Enough about the blower: The vacuum is definitely on par with the best car vacuum cleaners available for home use. The machine has old-school construction, and its suction is extremely strong – so strong that you may want to use those many attachments when cleaning delicate upholstery.
#6. Stanley SL18125P-1 1-Gallon 1.5 Peak Portable Poly Series Horsepower Wet or Dry Vacuum Cleaner
Sometimes, an old standby is exactly what you need to help you keep your car clean. That’s definitely the case with this Stanley Wet of Dry Vacuum. It may not come with the number of custom car attachments other vacuums offer, but it does come with power in a compact, familiar tool that copes with everything from dust to foam, juice to pet hair. It is small and lightweight, so it fits easily in the trunk of almost any vehicle.
Chances are, you’ve seen someone in your family use a cleaner like this around the house, in the garage or in the car. The Stanley cleaner makes this list for exactly that reason: It has stood the test of time (and disasters) in homes and cars everywhere.And at less than $40, the price is hard to beat.
#5. Metro Vacuum VM6BS500T MetroProfessionals 500 Watt 120-Volt Stainless Steel Look Hand Vac with Turbine Brush and Accessories
This Metro Vacuum hand vac not only does great work — it looks pretty cool, too. Its all-steel construction is surprisingly lightweight and compact, which makes this vacuum ideal for the car. The suction on this vacuum is amazing, and the attachments can help you temper the strong suction to protect gentle-care upholstery or plastics. It’s strong enough to pick up sand, pet fur and crumbs. Professional auto detailers swear by this model as a portable car vacuum cleaner. So if portability and suction matter most to you, this is the best car vacuum for your dollar.
#4. ArmorAll AA255 Utility Wet/Dry Vacuum, 2.5 gallon, 2 HP
The AA255 has a smaller, 2.5-gallon storage tank. But don’t let its small size fool you — this machine packs some serious cleaning power. Its small size and light weight also make it a more portable car vacuum option for people who are on the go. It can pick up wet and dry spills, and its motor is relatively quiet. It comes with several attachments and has gas-station quality suction — it is even powerful enough to clean heavy amounts of pet hair in the car.
#3. Vacmaster VQ607SFD Stainless Steel Wet/Dry Vacuum, 6 gallon, 3 Peak HP Motor
This Vacmaster is a traditional shop vacuum that handles dry and wet messes with ease. It has a seven-foot hose and a 12-foot cord, so you can reach most areas of your car, and it is wheel-mounted to follow you around your car. It also comes with several filters and tools and a six-gallon capacity to help you in the car and beyond.
The biggest plus to this model is its price. At more than $100 less than the VacuMaids (see below), this smaller, portable car vacuum gives you great quality at a great price.
#2. VacuMaid GV50 Wall Mounted Garage and Car Vacuum with 50 ft hose and Tools
For regular home detailing, nothing beats a wall-mounted car vacuum. This VacuMaid is built to be outdoors, and its mounting system is easy to use and is specially designed to limit vibration and keep the noise down while you’re cleaning. With a crushproof hose, all-natural bristles on its attachments and an extra-long, 50-foot hose, you can even reach into the driveway to clean your car. And the HEPA-grade filters keep dust out of your garage and in the bag where it belongs. The model is more expensive than some of the ones above, but the long hose and versatile system easily justify the investment.
#1. VacuMaid GV50PRO Professional Wall Mounted Utility Vacuum with 50 ft Hose and Tools
The professional version of the GV50is the ultimate professional car vacuum. Its 50-foot-long hose and wands, brushes and upholstery tools make reaching any messes in your car easy, and the quality of the tools far exceeds that of its competitors. Plus,its seven-gallon dirt capacity means you can clean your whole car without stopping to clean out the container. It uses a sealed, HEPA-style bag system, which means you have no filters to clean or canisters to empty.
The canister is metal, not plastic, which helps with durability. The system is less portable, but it mounts quickly to your wall. Most importantly, though, the suction is incredible. The machine picks up crumbs, sawdust and more. If you want professional-grade cleaning, this is the best car vacuum for you.