The majority of us felt a tinge of emotion when we had the keys to our very first car. The interior looked cool and clean and we wished it would stay that way forever. Today, that moment may only be a distant memory. Regardless, one fact remains, we all appreciate a car with a pristine looking interior.

Unfortunately, that can often be a tall order to maintain. And while some of us have enforced very strict routines, like a do-not-eat-in-the-car policy: the possibility of occupants tagging along materials that eventually make your car untidy, like dirt attached to shoes still exists.

The answer for some may be professional car detailing on a scheduled run. For the majority of car owners, a car vacuum will do. Furthermore, even for the purists using professional auto cleaning services, a car vacuum can also come in handy to get a mess out before a scheduled cleanup is due.

“I Am Not Sure Having Another Piece of Electronic In My Car Is Good Investment”

It is understandable to follow this line of thought. You probably already have a standard household vac you could use or you could always ask for one at the car wash. Nonetheless, like a car charger for your smartphone and a toolbox, there are times when you would need to clean up some mess while you are on the road, say on a road trip.

Furthermore, the inside of cars are tricky to clean. Car interiors have a range of surface types (matts, seat material, air vents, speakers, etc.) and a dozen tight spaces that would be difficult to reach. So, the standard vac at home you are be counting on may not be an effective tool after all.

And while you are on that, waiting till you are able to go to a car wash before you tidy up a quick mess is not convenient. Nor is asking for and using a car vacuum every time you drive to the car wash.

Best Car Vacuum Complete Guide

PictureNamePriceRating
PictureNamePriceRating
#1
Metro Vacuum VM6BS500 Professional 120V, 500-Watt High Performance Hand Vacuum
$$9.7
#2
Black & Decker PAV1200W 12-Volt Cyclonic-Action Automotive Pivoting-Nose Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
$9.5
#3
Dirt Devil Extreme Power Bagless Handheld Vacuum, M0914
$9.4
#4
Hoover Air 20 Volt Lithium Cordless Bagless Handheld Vacuum, BH52160PC
$$$9.4
#5
Black & Decker PAD1200 Flex Auto Vacuum
$$9.2

Are Special Vacuum Cleaners For Cars  Worth The Money?

The short answer is YES. The interior of a car is nothing like a new empty apartment. On the inside, spaces are tighter than can be found in an average home. Even worse, particles you intend to vacuum may seep into the dispersed remote nooks of the automobile.

With a standard vacuum cleaner not specially adapted for cars, vacuum cleaning cars can quickly make your hair stand in frustration. It would be difficult to extract most of the debris efficiently leading you to expend considerably more energy and time.

Car vacuum cleaners build on the apothegm that whatever is worth doing is worth doing effectively. In this article, we explicitly and exclusively discuss specially designed vacuum cleaners for cars rather than generic vacuums.

Important Car Vac Buying Considerations

Power versus Portability

Power and Portability are the two primal factors to consider in automobile vacuum cleaners. Typically, both words do not go along in the same sentence. However, it is a tug of war that the best models find a middle ground (i.e. have a good balance of power and portability), while the duds are skewed to one property by failing on the opposite property. For example, an inefficient car vacuum cleaner may be portable but do not have the power to guarantee effective and thorough cleaning). Wouldn’t it be great if you could just buy a robot vacuum and toss it in your car? Unfortunately, today’s technology does not allow for this.

In general, there are three main classes of car vacuums based on power. As you would soon find out, power and portability do share an inverse relationship. In the end, you would have to make a choice based on your preferences.

Corded Car Vacuums

Characteristics

Power: High

Portability: Low

These bear many similarities to the regular corded home vacuums. They require a wall socket to function. Nonetheless, they offer the necessary suction power to deal with most hard-to-clean messes (think crumbs and spills by kids in the car) and are the most effective types of car vacuums.

The only drawback is that you would have to find a power source, which can be grossly inconvenient. If, however, you only cleanup your car when you are in the garage, then corded car vacuums are your best choice.

Battery-Powered Car Vacuums

Characteristics

Power: Medium to High

Portability: Medium to High

The top draws for this class of vacuums is that you do not have to tether to civilization to use the vacuum. In addition, they are ultra-portable on average. Thanks to recent advances in vacuum technology, the best battery-powered vacs boast of similar suction power as their corded cousins.

However, battery technology has not kept up with the major advancements. High-end batteries last for 10 to 20 minutes. While that may be sufficient for routine cleanup most times, having a spare is desirable. Mainly because batteries lose vitality with age, charging sessions usually take hours, and a backup strikes out the unreliability factor.

Automobile-Powered Vacuums

Characteristics

Power: Low

Portability: High

The major selling points of this class of vacuums are portability and reliability. If you value either over power, then you cannot go wrong with these vacuums. When there is a mess, you can always plug them into the 12V outlet in your car, and the car-powered vac will buzz to action.

You should temper your expectations though, as they do not boast of the same suction power as corded wall vacuums. Consequently, vacuuming messes that are really ground in is not something these vacs would handle. Nonetheless, they are perfect for cleaning surface messes, which largely are the most common kinds of muddle.

Car Vacuums for Wet Cleaning

At some point, you will come across models advertised to clean wet muss. While, the capabilities of newer models are bound to get better over time, there is still a long way to go before it becomes necessary to enlist it as a major consideration.

Especially, when using an absorbent cloth and hot water will do just as much to clean up many spills. After the spot is completely dry, normal vacuuming of car upholstery is then possible. Be it as it may, as an additional feature, it is okay; but it should not be the major reason to buy a car vacuum.

Editor’s Note – How We Tested

In this section, we provide an overview of the rigorous test we subjected a wide selection of vacuums to, in order to find the best car vacuums reviewed in the “Best Car Vacuum Reviews” section.

 Substances Surfaces Test Factors
Substances Surfaces Test Factors
1.CrumbsCar seatsAbility to vacuum coarse and fine particles
2.DirtCar mats
Percentage of particles extracted
3.Garlic skinsCar crevicesNumber of passes to clean a surface effectively (as a measure of efficiency)
4.Breakfast cerealDashboard
Maneuverability
5.Pet hair, fur, danderDoor jamsAbility to pick particles in narrow spots and crevices that were hard to access
6.Human hairAir ventsPower rating of vacuum’s motor
7.Beach sandChild seat
Cord length
8.GrassTrunkPortability
9.Hole-punch chadsArm restDurability (indicators were a mix of build, sturdiness, and warranty)
10.Lint Speaker framesAffordability

What is the Best Car Vacuum?

1. Metropolitan VM6BS500 Review

Portability

The Metropolitan VM6BS500 comes with a cord that would plug into a wall socket during use. Traditionally, these forms of vacuums are the bulkiest. However, the VM6BS500 gravitates towards being lightweight while packing a weighty punch.Metro Vacuum VM6BS500 Professional 120V, 500-Watt High Performance Hand Vacuum, Stainless Steel | Best Car Vacuum | PricenFees

Overall, it has a premium build and is equipped with a sturdy handle that is vital for effective maneuvering around the tiny encloses of a car’s interior. Owing to its excellent power efficiency, it has a number of attachments that affords it increased versatility and reach.

Performance

Quite a few corded car vacuums can measure up to the Metropolitan VM6BS500 on power rating values. However, it shoots through the competition with its unrivaled power efficiency.

What this translates to is that for the same task, the VM6BS500 will take up more dirt or require the least number of passes to make a complete clean. You would not need to expend much energy and the time savings is substantial.

In addition to boasting better suction efficiency, the Metropolitan VM6BS500 is able to clean mess on a variety of surfaces. It does well with car mats and car seats. It is also ideal for blinds, cleaning stairs, computer keyboards, and other numerous surfaces that pose wanton difficulty for standard household vacs.

In our stress test to see how well it performed when muss made their way into tiny crevices underneath and between car seats, and elsewhere in the car, we found the crevice tool adapted to the vac’s hose to be very effective.

The VM6BS500 also doubles as the best pet hair car vacuum in the market as it performed brilliantly in picking pet hair in our tests.

Ease of Use

The design and adaptation of this vacuum makes it a pleasure to use in cars. It is evident that it was built from the ground up to function as a car vacuum. It also adopts the now popular philosophy of having specific tools for specific tasks. A thought-process that is now applied in virtually all high-end models across several manufacturers.

The fact that it is a corded vac offers it enough leeway to adopt this convention fully without having to worry about battery life or power restrictions.

  1. Brush tool
  2. Crevice tool
  3. Hose
  4. Wide nozzle attachment

With specially adapted tools for specific tasks and impressive suction efficiency, using the Metropolitan VM6BS500 during a cleanup would make you realize that with the right means cleanup can be more than an unpleasant chore.

Final Verdict

The Metropolitan VM6BS500 is not without its shortcomings. It is a bag vac (so you would have to stock up on bags). The cord and hose could be longer and you would need a wall socket whenever you have to clean.

Nonetheless, the vacuum makes up for these with the most efficient suction system in a car vacuum, and has a compact package with a premium build that has a long life span in store. It is also versatile in operation and altogether an excellent car vacuum. This is the best corded car vacuum you can find for your money.

2. Black & Decker Auto Pivot Vac PAV1200W Review

First Impression

Power versus portability may be the predominant argument in the microcosm of car vacuums. However, convenience versus power is becoming just as important in the background.Black & Decker PAV1200W 12-Volt Cyclonic-Action Automotive Pivoting-Nose Handheld Vacuum Cleaner for Cars | PricenFees

For some of us, having a car vacuum would mean having a device that you can count on at any time to do a quick cleanup, even if there is no power outlet around. These car vacuums are perfect for use when you are on the go and are reassuring to have around.

Portability

In general, car vacuums that use the car’s electrical system as their power source are the most compact vacs. This portability is very important when you have to vacuum for quite some time, as the weight would not substantially impede progress. It is also easier to stow, since it does not need a lot of storage space.

With that said, the Black & Decker Auto Pivot Vac PAV1200W is a remarkable device with a cord length of over 16 feet. Therefore, the vacuum can totally cover even the largest of SUVs.

Make no mistake though, the PAV1200W does not sacrifice usability and performance for portability. It is intriguing to discover that it features a collapsible crevice tool and nozzle. It also comes with a storage case for quick, seamless packing when not in use.

Performance

Before testing the Black & Decker Auto Pivot Vac PAV1200W, we ingrained the common and often correct assumption that car-powered automobile vacuums were the least efficient car vacuums.

While other car-powered automobile vacs did very little to upturn that assumption, the Auto Pivot Vac blew our mind away in its performance by matching the efforts of most other corded vacs.

Staying dogged through the multi-stage test, the Auto Pivot Vac PAV1200W performed well with surface debris sprinkled on car mats as well as it did with crumbs ground in an automobile seat. It was able to perform efficiently too, needing only a few passes to leave the surface sparkling regardless of the surface type.

Thanks to a lengthy cord and built-in special nozzle and crevice tool, the Black & Decker Auto Pivot Vac had the impressive capacity to get to areas that were typically difficult to reach by competing models. In our tests, it had the highest maneuverability rating.

We also appreciated the fact that it is a bagless model. This is very convenient as you do not have to monitor the rate at which the container is filling up to avoid clogging, nor do you have to spend extra on buying replacement bags.

Ease of Use

Owing to its very high maneuverability rating, the usability of the Black & Decker Auto Pivot Vac is almost what we think should be the standard for other car-powered automobile vacuums.

The default configuration offers all of the tools you would need for regular cleanups. However, you may occasionally need more range to maneuver, and that is where the Auto Pivot Vac dwarves the competition.

It features an adjustable nozzle to which you can attach a lightweight hose for increased reach. That way, you do not have to assume awkward posture to get to crannies that are typically difficult to reach.

While this extra leash will be more than enough to clean most crevices, the vacuum also packs a meaner tool in its arsenal—a crevice tool. This tool is narrower and it will invade the tighter spots in your car for maximum reach.

Being a bagless vacuum, emptying it is a very convenient endeavor. It also one-ups the competition as it employs a one-step process to empty the dirt container. It features a filter which can be also be quickly cleaned in your dishwasher, although you would not have to do that often.

Final Verdict

The Black & Decker Auto Pivot Vac PAV1200W offers the best of the different classes of car vacuum cleaners. It is efficient, versatile, ultra-portable, easy to maneuver, and strikingly convenient to use. It is the best automobile-powered car vacuum around.

Its widespread support with different car models, affordability, and cost-effectiveness are the icing on the cake to make us recommend this device.

3. Dirt Devil Extreme Power M0914 Review

Portability

The Dirt Devil Extreme Power M0914 will appeal to the crowd that is largely undecided on which side to tilt towards between power and portability. While cordless car vacuums may have their constraints, they certainly do find a middle ground between power and portability.Dirt Devil Extreme Power Bagless Handheld Vacuum, M0914 | Best Automobile Vacuum Cleaner | PricenFees

With that said, the Dirt Devil Extreme Power has a decent compact build that is both designed to last and does not lead to disappointing sacrifices in cleaning efficiency. You can always keep it safely tucked away in most car trunks, or under a seat.

Performance

The Dirt Devil Extreme Power is widely adapted for power cleaning. This it does exceptionally well for a battery-powered car vacuum. First off, it is able to suck in a wide variety of materials including pet hair, garlic skins, cereal, and usual dirt in about half as much time as comparable competitors.

It is also able to let you vacuum longer by holding a lot of dirt, its dirt container is 6 ounces. Thus, it saves your time and the helps you avoid the undesirable routine of emptying ever so often, unlike is the case with competitors having much smaller dirt containers.

Nonetheless, the Extreme Power has its snags. It does not have a hose to access areas that are typically hard to reach, although it does make up for this with an in-built crevice tool. It is also bulky: as such, it struggled during maneuverability tests.

Ease of Use

While the sturdy build of the Dirt Devil Extreme Power ensures that you can get many years of use out of the vacuum, the vac does not adopt the approach of offering multiple tools to take on specific tasks.

Instead, the Extreme Power has its tools baked in—the brush tool and the crevice tool. With these, the vac can boast of a bit of versatility in cleaning different substances. Nonetheless, it has a limited reach.

Final Verdict

The performance of the Dirt Devil Extreme Power M0914 in our tests was remarkable. It may have its drawbacks but it functions just as effectively inside the house as it does in the car.

It also has a lengthy warranty that pretty much guarantees that you would not have to replace it anytime soon. Coupled with its amazing low cost, the Dirt Devil Extreme Power M0914 is a quality car vacuum you would not want to pass up. It is the best battery-powered car vacuum around.

4. Hoover Air BH52160PC Review

Portability

The Hoover Air BH52160PC is a very lightweight vac. It weighs only 2 pounds, and so is one of the easiest car vacs to use. To enhance its portability further, it is bagless, takes on a handheld vac design, and runs on battery power.Hoover Air Cordless Bagless Handheld Vacuum, BH52160PC | Best Car Vacuum Cleaner | PricenFees

Performance

First off, the Hoover Air cleans efficiently with a low number of passes for a variety of substances on different surfaces. Nonetheless, it did experience a little difficulty cleaning cereal and pet hair during tests.

These were not fully inhibitive though. The difficulty experience with cleaning cereal was primarily because of the thin nozzle on the vac. In any case, a little nudging was enough to get the cereals into the dirt container.

The Hoover Air excels with its suction, which is astoundingly powerful for a 2-pound battery-powered vacuum cleaner. Even then, it still managed to clock in a respectable noise rating of 82 decibels, which is an impressive feat.

Ease of Use and Support

Being a battery-powered car vacuum, at the very least you do not have to worry about tangled cords or finding a wall outlet. Additionally, its handheld build does help it score high in our maneuverability tests.

Its accessories include:

  1. Crevice tool
  2. Turbo tool

Its crevice tool enables it to catch mess in narrow areas, while its turbo tool enhances its ability to pick hair on a number of surfaces including car seats, furniture, and stairs.

The Hoover Air being a bagless vac has a clear dirt chamber. It is remarkably easy to detach the dirt chamber from the vacuum—you only have to push a release button. In addition, it has a replaceable, washable filter with a long life span that helps a great deal during cleaning.

The vac has a 2-year warranty and you can always consult the online manual on the Hoover website for reference or if you lose your hard copy. Although, the website has a dedicated page for frequently asked questions, you may also direct your questions to the Hoover support team via any of the following channels—live chat, email, and phone.

Jeremy Roland

Jeremy Roland

Jeremy is an automotive technician at Pete’s Complete Auto Services. He is a Mobile Electronics Certified Professional, and installs speakers, in-dash navigation and multimedia systems in cars and trucks at Best Buy. Jeremy can deliver a pretty killer solo on the guitar. He is one of our main contributors of, and enjoys researching and reviewing for, our electronics and automotive products buying guides. Jeremy is the sole writer in the Musical Instruments section.
Jeremy Roland

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