No matter how much of a clean freak you may be (or not), a messy car interior is inevitable—whether it’s dirt in your trunk after a nature walk, pet hair on your car seats, or sand on floorboards after a family beach trip. But you don’t have to go to a car wash to get the nooks and crannies of your vehicle clean. Deep cleaning power can come in small packages.
While they may not have as much suction power as a shop vac or stick vacuum, portable car vacuum cleaners have advantages over their cleaning cousins—you can take them on the go and they can tackle dirty messes in tight spaces.
To help you find the best car vacuum for you, we dug through thousands of reviews for a variety of options available online. Based on our research, these are some of the top car vacuum cleaners you can get right now.
What You Should Know Before Buying A Portable Car Vacuum
There are a number of factors you may want to consider when shopping for a portable car vacuum.
Size and Weight
A car vacuum shouldn’t be so heavy that it becomes difficult to use. The vacuums in our roundup ranged in weight from about 1.4 pounds to 4 pounds. Also, if a car vacuum is too big, cleaning can become cumbersome. Most of the models in our roundup are similar in size. When shopping for one, you should look for a car vacuum that is comfortable to clean with.
Cordless vs. Corded Vacuums
Cordless car vacuum cleaners give you the freedom to clean wherever you need. However, they are constrained by their battery life. During testing of handheld vacuum, battery life ranged from just under 10 minutes to nearly 20 minutes for our favorite hand vac, the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser 2390. While 10 minutes can be long enough to vacuum your vehicle, if it needs a major cleaning that takes a long time, the battery may not last. While cordless vacs offer up freedom, corded car vacuums give you a consistent power source, but you’re limited by the length of the vacuum’s power cord. Which is best for you depends on your needs.
Most of the vacuums in our roundup include a crevice tool, which can be helpful when you’re trying to clean the nooks and crannies of your vehicle. Others include brush attachments that can be a great way to clean seats and floorboards. The more attachments that are included, the more versatile your vacuum cleaner becomes.