The Best Car Vacuums

Having a vacuum that can do it all is certainly a nice goal. You may find, however, that dragging your do-it-all vacuum into the garage to vacuum out your car is a giant pain and not worth the hassle. Even if you do have a vacuum that can clean your car effectively, if you don’t have a vacuum especially for your car, you may still find yourself taking the easy route and just using the car vacuums at the car wash. In order to make that less likely, save yourself a few dollars in the long run and pick up a vacuum that is meant for cleaning your car.

We reviewed dozens of car vacuums to identify the best of the best. We looked at handheld vacuums and specialized auto detailing vacuums along with utility wet/dry vacuums to find which have the features best suited for your car. We found each types has its own perks; the convenience of a handheld, the specific mastery found in the auto detailing vacuums, and the functionality of a wet/dry vac.

Top Pick

Check out our top pick for car vacuums, the HOTOR Handheld Auto Vacuum Cleaner.

During our search, the HOTOR Handheld Auto Vacuum Cleaner stood out as a clear winner almost immediately. With its LED light and extended hose and crevice tool, you’ll be able to see and get to all those dark corners with no problems.

The 5 Top-Rated Car Vacuums for 2018

Editor's ChoiceCar VacuumsRating
Top PickHOTOR Handheld Auto Vacuum Cleaner4.5 stars
Runner-UpVacuMaid GV50PRO Wall Mounted Garage and Car Vacuum4.4 stars
Best Budget BuyLOLLDEAL 12V 75W Black Car Vacuum Cleaner 4.2 stars
Best Cordless Car VacuumBLACK+DECKER CHV1410L 16V Cordless Lithium Hand Vacuum4.2 stars
Best Portable Car VacuumArmor All 2.5 Gallon Utility Wet/Dry Vacuum4.3 stars

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

Our Top Pick: HOTOR Handheld Auto Vacuum Cleaner

The HOTOR Handheld Auto Vacuum Cleaner has conveniences around every corner. It is a 12V powered vacuum with 14 feet of cord, so you can definitely stretch the vacuum to the trunk. You can combine the hose, brush, and crevice tool attachments in a number of combinations adding to the versatility and the clean up is a quick and easy with its bagless dust cup.

The vacuum uses a stainless steel washable HEPA filter so as to trap particulates and prevent them from releasing back into the air and the fan is also metal, made of an aluminum alloy. The detachable curved head will allow you to vacuum flat surfaces or remove it for places it is unnecessary and store it all within your car in a convenient carrying bag.

With nearly 1,000 reviews and a rating of 4.5, it’s no surprise this is Amazon’s #1 Best Seller in Vacuums and for just under $35, it’s well worth the money.

HOTOR Handheld Auto Vacuum Cleaner Key Features:

  • Stainless steel HEPA filter
  • 14 ft power cord
  • Includes hose, brush, and wand attachments

Our Runner-Up Pick: VacuMaid GV50PRO Wall Mounted Garage and Car Vacuum

Runner-Up Pick
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VacuMaid GV50PRO Wall Mounted Garage and Car Vacuum

Take a look at the wall mounted garage vacuum and see how easy cleaning your car can be!

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$315.00 USD

We had to include the VacuMaid GV50PRO Wall Mounted Garage and Car Vacuum near the top of our list because it’s just so functional. You can mount it in your garage and use it for practically anything, but it works superbly as a car vacuum. By simply parking your car in your garage, you can easily stretch this vacuum’s 50 foot crush proof hose over to all parts of your car making this a no-brainer for convenience. But with its specialty attachments, it’s a practical choice for your car vacuum, as well.

Note that unlike a utility vacuum, this garage vacuum can not handle your wet messes, but because of that it doesn’t require a hook up to any plumbing and therefore is an easy installation. You just need to hang it, plug it in and use it whenever you need it. You can even turn the exhaust into a (very) light blower for your garage or car.

You won’t have to worry about the durability of this vac, it’s made with galvanized steel and powder coated against rust and corrosion for lifetime use. With all its impressive features and a rating of 4.4 on Amazon, of course it’s our runner-up choice.

VacuMaid GV50PRO Wall Mounted Garage and Car Vacuum Key Features: 

  • 7 gallon debris capacity
  • Includes 50 ft hose, hanger, caddy, wands, dusting brush, and upholstery tools
  • Sealed HEPA filter and replaceable bags

Best Budget Pick: LOLLDEAL 12V 75W Black Car Vacuum Cleaner

Budget Pick
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LOLLDEAL 12V 75W Black Car Vacuum Cleaner

For those in the market for a car vacuum on a budget, this is the pick for you!

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$13.99 USD

The LOLLDEAL 12V 75W Black Car Vacuum Cleaner is a handheld vac that will more than get you your money’s worth. It will plug into your car and the nearly 15 feet of power cord will allow you to reach all parts of it without any struggle. The HEPA filter is reusable and washable so you will save a bit of cash there, as well and the aluminum alloy fan adding to its overall durability.

If you plan on using your car vacuum for cleaning the whole car, including the difficult spaces, then this vacuum has the attachments you need. A long crevice tool will reach in between and under car seats and the brush mouth is thorough and delicate enough to clean buttons and air intakes without any problems.

At just $20, this vacuum is a solid budget buy for the financially responsible. It has a very respectable 4.2 star rating on Amazon with nearly 2,00 reviews so you can be confident in this purchase.

LOLLDEAL 12V 75W Black Car Vacuum Cleaner Key Features: 

  • Washable HEPA filter
  • 14.8′ 12V power cord
  • Includes carrying case, crevice tool and brush mouth

Best Portable Car Vacuum Pick: BLACK+DECKER Cordless Lithium Hand Vacuum

Best Portable Car Vacuum
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BLACK+DECKER Cordless Lithium Hand Vacuum

This Black + Decker Cordless Lithium Vacuum is an ideal handheld vacuum you won’t need to trip over to get your car clean.

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$59.99 USD

The BLACK+DECKER CHV1410L 16V Cordless Lithium Hand Vacuum is a cordless vacuum that can hold a charge for up to 18 months, so even if you don’t clean your car often, leaving it away from the charger doesn’t necessarily equal a dead battery. And should you experience a time when the battery has fully died, it will only take 4 hours to regain a full charge.

The tools for this vacuum aren’t your typical attachments. The brush nozzle flips up from the arm of the vacuum and the crevice tool extends out of the nozzle making it easier to keep track of where those tools always are. The filters and dust bowl are washable so you won’t need to purchase those and emptying the bagless dirt bowl is as simple as opening the vac and dumping the dirt.

With nearly 15,000 reviews and a 4.2 star rating on Amazon, you shouldn’t be surprised that it’s Amazon’s #1 Best Seller for Handheld Vacuums; and that translates pretty well for a car vacuum.

BLACK+DECKER Cordless Lithium Hand Vacuum Key Features:

  • Up to 20 minute battery life; 4 hours from dead to full charge
  • Lightweight; >3lbs
  • Crevice tool and scrub brush incorporated into vacuum

Best Best Wet/Dry Car Vacuum Pick: Armor All 2.5 Gallon Utility Wet/Dry Vacuum

Best Wet/Dry Car Vacuum
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Armor All 2.5 Gallon Utility Wet/Dry Vacuum

If you want a functional vacuum that will tackle your messy car that will always be nearby, then look no further than the Armor All 2.5 Gallon Utility Wet/Dry Vacuum.

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$49.99 USD

The Armor All 2.5 Gallon Utility Wet/Dry Vacuum is a handy and compact utility vacuum that will allow you to use it on your car with no problems. In fact, the manufacturer claims that’s just what it was designed to do. It even has a blowing feature that will allow you to lightly blow off the dash of its dust particles.

This vacuum will work on the dust and dirt as well as any wet spills and messes you may have had in your car. It features a reusable and washable cloth filter so you shouldn’t need to purchase those often and the auto shut off feature is designed to prevent any overflow. It has on board storage for its accessories: a utility nozzle, blower nozzle, crevice tool, detail brush, and a deluxe car nozzle.

With an Amazon rating of 4.3 stars, over 3,300 reviews and just under $40, there’s no wonder this is Amazon’s Choice and its #1 Best Seller for Shop Wet Dry Vacuums.

Armor All 2.5 Gallon Utility Wet/Dry Vacuum Key Features: 

  • Lightweight; 7 lbs
  • 2.5 gallon capacity
  • 10′ power cord, 6′ hose

Who Should Buy a Car Vacuum

Most anyone who owns a car will want to own a vacuum for it. The convenience of having a vacuum that is designed to take care of the unique needs of cleaning a car is irrefutable and simply too tempting to ignore. Whether it’s a vacuum that is reserved only for vacuuming your car is entirely up to you, but you should make the purchase with your car in mind. That way you can avoid the regret of struggling with forcing another type of vacuum to fit your need. If you don’t already have one, keep in mind you can easily use your garage vacuum as your car vacuum. It makes perfect sense, but you will want to make sure you’re picking a model that has the features best suited for your car.

Top Pick

Check out our top pick for car vacuums, the HOTOR Handheld Auto Vacuum Cleaner.

Important Features to Consider

A car vacuum should have a few important features. Here’s what to consider when selecting a vacuum for your car:

  • 12-volt plug. This is a particularly handy feature for a car vacuum. Not only will it power your vacuum as long as your car’s battery is on, and it’s plugged into the 12V charger (or cigarette lighter, as you may know it), but this makes it especially tempting to leave in your car. Since most of the 12V plug vacuums are handheld, they would store relatively easily in the backseat or under the seat, depending on your car. If you do chose to do so, then you’ll have it immediately if you’re on the road and a mess happens.
  • Battery powered. You may want to forgo the struggle of a cord altogether and get a quality cordless vacuum. This won’t work if you plan on keeping the vacuum in your car, but you can keep it in your car for short periods. And you can set it up in your garage and vacuum pretty easily as well.
  • Utility vacuum. We would be remiss to not mention the beauty of using a utility or garage vacuum as your car vacuum. First, they’re already in your garage, so you know where they are and you don’t have to lug anything anywhere. You also already know where you’re going to plug it in; you probably keep it right by its own plug. They’re wet/dry vacuums, too, which means you can use it to really and thoroughly clean your car. You can pour on some soapy water and use a scrub brush or a stiff bristle attachments for your vac and scrub as you’re vacuuming.
  • Extended crevice tool. If you’ve ever cleaned the inside of a car, or dropped your credit card in a drive through, you know know just why you need an extended crevice tool. But in case you need further explanation, your hands can’t fit in between the seats and the center console, nor can most vacuum nozzles. In fact, there are several places that are terribly impractical to clean and a long, skinny nozzle will be just what you need to get your car truly clean.
  • Dust brush. This is ideal for the more delicate parts of your car. Once you begin vacuuming everything in the car, you’ll likely find a lot more places that require the soft touch of a dusting brush. The center console, and any buttons, will certainly need a dusting brush. And if you have leather seats you may want to use this brush to avoid damage before you wipe the seats down with some sort of leather treatment.
  • Auto detailing vacuum. If you want to make sure you have all the attachments and bonuses you’ll need to give your car a thorough cleaning, a vacuum set that is meant to do that and only that is a pretty good way to do it. Keep in mind you probably won’t be using this vacuum for anything else, but that is the point of this type. Should you take great pride in your car and enjoy spending time making your baby look beautiful, then an auto detailing vacuum is worth a look.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a car vacuum and how does it work?

A car vacuum is just like any other vacuum but it will come with a few features that make it especially effective for cleaning your car. Probably the most common feature is the 12V plug allowing you to plug the vacuum directly into your car 12V charger (also referred to as the cigarette lighter plug). You could also opt for a vacuum that is battery powered so as to avoid the hassle of a plug altogether. The other option being a “garage” vacuum that will be kept in the garage and used for cleaning the extra dirty outdoors and the filthiness of your car.

These car vacuums operate just like any other vacuum; they suck up the dirt and grime from your car. You’ll likely utilize more attachments to clean all the usual obstacles in your car, but beyond that, if you can operate your home vacuum then you already know how to use a car vacuum.

Can I use my house vacuum to vacuum my car?

You absolutely can use your house vacuum on your car. However, there are two pretty big reasons you wouldn’t: Convenience and lack of mastery.  Lugging your multipurpose house vac that takes on your whole house out into your garage or yard can often mean extension cords and you’ll need some pretty solid coordination to do that without tripping.

Your house vac may have everything you need to vacuum your car, but the chances are there are a few attachments that it doesn’t have that come in pretty handy. The bottom line is that you can use your house vac on your car. But you would probably be much happier having a car vacuum.

How do I vacuum a car seat?

If you have upholstered car seats, then you will likely want to use a brushed vacuum to brush them while you’re vacuuming. You can use a wet/dry vacuum and use a wet brush to scrub stains, then suck the material dry. If your seats are leather, you’ll want to be much gentler. They make specific leather cleaner you may want to pick up and only use your vacuum on the seats with a soft brush or for the spaces in between. Don’t forget to recline the seat so you can reach the crevice tool further into the seam. If your handheld vacuum doesn’t have a crevice tool, be sure to be careful and, depending on the suction power, consider holding the nozzle an inch or so away from the seat.

If you are wondering how to clean a child’s car seat, the answer is to remove what can be tossed in the washer and vacuum the rest of those deep down in the grooves cheerios with either a crevice or brush attachment.

How do I vacuum tight spots in my car?

You’ll very likely need a specialized tool for those tight spots. A narrow nozzle may also go a long way, but if you need to scrub in those hard to reach places an extended crevice tool with a brush end is really irreplaceable. If you need to vacuum more delicate areas, like buttons, the radio or the center console, then you may want to utilize a soft bristled dust brush. If you have a spill or stain in a tight spot, then you will benefit from a wet/dry vacuum that will allow you to cover with soapy water and then suck the mess up (scrubbing with the crevice brush as you go if at all possible).

Other Car Vacuums We Reviewed

We looked at 20 other car vacuums. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best car vacuums list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your car. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing. We grouped them into the following categories for your convenience:

Handheld Car Vacuums

BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster Cordless Lithium Hand Vacuum

BLACK-DECKER HHVI315JO42 Dustbuster Cordless Lithium Hand Vacuum Flexi Blue

This portable vacuum truly is with its light weight, small size and battery power.

Key Features:

  • Lightweight; > 3lbs
  • up to 20 minute battery life
  • Includes brush and crevice tool attachments

Cost: $30

BISSELL Lightweight Cordless Hand Vacuum and Car Vacuum

BISSELL Lightweight Cordless Hand Vacuum and Car Vacuum

This vac is compact enough that you can move around your car easily and the cordless feature will allow you to do it without tripping over anything.

Key Features:

  • 15 minute battery life
  • 0.4L dust cup capacity
  • Includes motorized brush, built-in expansion hose, dust brush, and stick wand

Cost: $120

Car Vacuum Handheld Portable Auto Detailer

Car Vacuum Cleaner - Car Vacuum High Suction Power 43 KPa Handheld Portable Auto Detailer Wet Dry - Pet Hair - Upholstery - Power Cord 167 ft 5m - InclExtra Filter and Replaceable Fuse

With all the attachments and storage bag, this portable vacuum is perfect for nearly any kind of interior car cleaning you could want to do.

Key Features:

  • Wet/dry capability
  • 16.4′ 12V power cord
  • Includes brush attachment, extension hose, carrying case, and extra filter

Cost: $30

Carrand 94005AS AutoSpa Bagless Auto-Vac Hand-Held Vaccum

Carrand 94005AS AutoSpa Bagless Auto-Vac Hand-Held Vaccum

This handheld vacuum will let you scrub into the deep crevices within your car for a deep clean.

Key Features:

  • On board tool storage
  • 12′ power cord, 40″ hose
  • Includes dust brush, crevice tool and upholstery tool

Cost: $45

Eureka EasyClean Lightweight Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

Eureka EasyClean Lightweight Handheld Vacuum Cleaner Hand Vac Corded 71B

This is a durable and heavy duty vacuum that you can carry with you and use the hose or the vacuum head.

Key Features:

  • 2 color choices
  • lightweight; >5lbs
  • 1-year warranty

Cost: $45

FamilyTool SwiftJet Car Vacuum Cleaner

FamilyTool SwiftJet Car Vacuum Cleaner - High Powered 4 KPA Suction Handheld Automotive Vacuum

Keep this vac and all its attachments together and stored neatly with its storage case.

Key Features:

  • 4 color choices
  • 14.5′ power cord
  • Includes brush tool, crevice tool, and extension tool

Cost: $25

Hikeren Handheld Wet&Dry Multifunctional Auto Vacuum Cleaner

Hikeren Car Vacuum Cleaner DC 12-Volt 106W 4300-4500PA Handheld

This portable car vacuum has an attachment for all you’ll need and a convenient carrying bag, as well.

Key Features:

  • 16.4′ 12V power cord
  • Stainless steel HEPAfilter
  • Includes extension hose, extension tube, brush mouth, and storage bag

Cost: $30

NOOX Portable Wet Dry Hand Held Car Vacuum

NOOX Car Vacuum Cleaner Portable Wet Dry Hand Held Vacuum in Car Cleaner for Dog Hair Bread Crumbs Food Melon Shells Small Sands Cigarette Butts 120W 4000PA 45 Meter Cord 12V

This portable vacuum goes into the 12V plug in your car and could store under the seat easily.

Key Features:

  • 14.8′ 12V power cord
  • Reusable HEPA filter
  • 1-year, 100% satisfaction

Cost: $30

Vacplus Portable Handheld Vacuum Cleaner for Car

Vacplus DC 12 Volt Portable Handheld Vacuum Cleaner for Car of 50 Kpa Suction with LED Light Stainless Steel Hepa Filter 164ft Cable for Wet and Dry Use – White

Plug this handheld into the 12V car plug and vacuum the whole car with ease.

Key Features:

  • 16.4′ 12V power cord
  • Detachable curved nozzle
  • Includes extension tube, hose, dust brush, and storage bag

Cost: $30

Wilikera Dust Buster Cordless Handheld Vacuum

Wilikera Dust Buster Cordless WELIKERA 12V 100W Cordless Handheld Vacuum Powerful Portable Vacuum Cleaner Rechargeable Vacuum with Stainless Steel Filter and A Carrying Bag Black

This handheld vacuum has a attachment for nearly everything and more than enough to keep your car clean.

Key Features:

  • 20-25 minute battery life
  • Stainless steel HEPA filter
  • Includes hose, brush tool, and crevice nozzle

Cost: $60

Auto Detailing Car Vacuums

AutoRight SteamMachine Multi-Purpose Steam Cleaner for Cleaning Vehicle

AutoRight SteamMachine C900054M Red Multi-Purpose Steam Cleaner for Cleaning Vehicle’s Upholstery Windows Leather Chemical Free Car Care 55 psi

This auto-detailing vacuum is designed to make sure your car is cleaned in every little crevice and corner.

Key Features:

  • Steam cleans dirt and grime away
  • 35-40 minutes of continuous use
  • 40 oz water tank

Cost: $100

Bissell 3624 SpotClean Professional Portable Carpet Cleaner

Bissell 3624 SpotClean Professional Portable Carpet Cleaner - Corded

This auto-detailing machine is portable enough that you can carry it around easily enough to reach into all spaces in your car.

Key Features:

  • 22′ power cord; 4′ flex hose
  • Includes stair tool, tough stain tool, and cleaning formula
  • 2-year warranty

Cost: $125

BISSELL Garage Pro Wall-Mounted Wet Dry Car Vacuum

BISSELL Garage Pro Wall-Mounted Wet Dry Car Vacuum

This wall mounted car vacuum comes equipped with a super long hose and 6 separate attachments allowing you to do it all.

Key Features:

  • Converts to blower
  • 4 gallon dirt tank
  • 32′ stretch hose

Cost: $165

BLACK+DECKER Flexi Automotive Vacuum

BLACK-DECKER BDH1200FVAV 12V Flexi Automotive Vacuum - Corded

This handy little auto detailing vacuum will go along with you as you take it from car door to car door.

Key Features:

  • 16′ 12V power cord
  • Bagless 19 oz dust cup capacity
  • Lightweight; 4.2 lbs

Cost: $40

HOOVER Vacuum Cleaner GUV ProGrade Garage Wall Mounted Utility Vacuum

HOOVER Vacuum Cleaner GUV ProGrade Garage Wall Mounted Utility Vacuum L2310

This vacuum mounts to your wall and comes with a storage bag for its several attachments and hose.

Key Features:

  • Lifetime self-cleaning filter
  • 30′ hose
  • Includes 2 extension wands, 2 crevice tools, floor nozzle, upholstery nozzle, and dusting brush

Cost: $150

Metro Vacuum Professional 120V, High Performance Vacuum

Metro Vacuum VM6BS500 Professional 120V 500-Watt High Performance Hand Vacuum Stainless Steel

Plug and go with this vacuum that is so powerful, it more than fits the ‘Professional’ grade label.

Key Features:

  • Includes upholstery tool, crevice tool, dust brush, upholstery nozzle, flexible hose, and shoulder strap
  • 2 color choices
  • 5-year motor warranty

Cost: $105

Metrovac Vac N’ Blo 4.0 Peak HP Automotive Car Detailing Vacuum

Metrovac Vac N Blo 40 Peak HP Automotive Car Detailing Vacuum

This super powered vacuum has an attachment for everything you could need to keep your car looking as clean as the day you got her.

Key Features:

  • 17lbs, 6′ hose
  • Includes shoulder strap, upholstery tool, 2 crevice tools, dust brush, upholstery nozzle, fine detail tools, flexible hose, and 2 want extenders
  • Uses disposable bags

Cost: $280

Utility Wet/Dry Vacuums

Shop-Vac 5-Gallon 4.5 Peak HP Stainless Steel Wet Dry Vacuum

Shop-Vac 5989300 5-Gallon 45 Peak HP Stainless Steel Wet Dry Vacuum

This wet/dry shop vac will allow you to do so much more than just vacuum your car; but wow! It sure can do that well!

Key Features:

  • 5 gallon capacity
  • 3-year warranty
  • Includes hose, wands, nozzles, and filters

Cost: $75

Shop-Vac 2.5-Peak Horsepower AllAround EZ Series Wet/Dry Vacuum

Shop-Vac 5895200 25-Peak Horsepower AllAround EZ Series Wet Dry Vacuum 25-Gallon

The wet/dry power of this vacuum will let you clean up any mess in your car; wet, dry, sticky – it will take care of it all!

Key Features:

  • 2.5 gallon capacity
  • Wall mountable, attached dolly with casters
  • Includes crevice tool, round brush, gulper nozzle and floor nozzle

Cost: $55

Vacmaster 2 Peak HP, Portable Wet/Dry Vacuum

Vacmaster 25 Gallon 2 Peak HP Portable Wet Dry Vacuum VP205

This shop vac is a handy little utility tool that you can pick up and take along with you as you clean.

Key Features:

  • 2.5 gallon capacity
  • 4′ hose; 8′ power cord
  • 2-year warranty

Cost: $30

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