Which car vacuum is best?
If you’re tired of hauling your home vacuum cleaner outside to clean your car’s interior and disappointed with the ones at the self-serve car wash because they’re big, bulky and unwieldy, it may be time to find the car vacuum that is just right for you. You’ll want to take size, power and design into account while you look for one that cleans dirt, debris and crumbs from all the crevices around and under your seats.
If you want a portable car vacuum that plugs into your console, take a look at the Zamufo 4-in-1 Portable Car Vacuum Cleaner.
What to know before you buy a car vacuum
Car vacuums are almost always smaller than home or shop vacuums. They need to be lightweight because most are made to be used with one hand. The result is that not all are able to pack the power you need into such a small package.
Anatomy of a car vacuum
- Body: These are the housings that contain the motor and fan. Most are made of plastic and get narrower toward the nose.
- Handle: Most car vacs have handles sculpted into the body. Some have external handles toward the rear and a few very slender ones have no handles at all.
- Motor: The two key measurements with electric motors are volts and amps. When you compare models, the one with the bigger numbers is more powerful.
- Nozzle: This is the opening at the bottom where the vacuum sucks up the dirt and debris. The smaller the nozzle, the tighter the spots you can get into.
- Dust cup: This is the chamber where the debris is contained.
- Filter: Filters remove particles from the air so we can breathe easier.
Corded or cordless?
- Corded vacuums must be plugged into a power source. If you buy one powered by a regular AC wall current, you’ll need your car to be within reach of a power outlet. If you buy one that draws its power from the round DC port on your car’s console, you can vacuum your car anywhere.
- Cordless vacuums are powered by rechargeable batteries. With no cord to tangle or get in the way, cordless vacuums are easier to use. The trade-offs: they weigh a bit more than corded versions and are rarely as powerful.
The more powerful the motor, the more suction your vacuum generates. Generally speaking, most people want car vacuums with lots of suction so debris is picked up easily and thoroughly.
What to look for in a quality car vacuum
Do you want a hose?
- Hose: Some car vacuums have flexible hoses that connect the device to the attachments. The longer and narrower the hose, the tighter spots you can reach.
- Nose: Car vacuums with no hose are one-piece units with a snout. They are lightweight and easy to use, but you’ll struggle to get into crevices without an attachment.
Accessories and attachments
Car interiors have carpets, seats and lots of places that are hard to get into, particularly under and around the seats. Look for a car vacuum with a long, thin nozzle for crevices, a brush for your carpet and an upholstery attachment for your seats.
Every vacuum uses some type of filter to remove dust, dirt and debris. Better car vacuums are made with filters that trap pollen, mites and mold.
If you have a pet that rides in your car, look for a vacuum that picks up the loose hair and fur your animal sheds.
How much you can expect to spend on a car vacuum
Corded and cordless car vacs cost $20-$80, but most good ones cost $30-$50.
Car vacuum FAQ
Do cordless car vacuums have as much suction power as corded ones?
A. They come close when batteries are fully charged, but as the charge drops, a battery-powered motor has less power.
What is a HEPA filter?
A. It’s a hypoallergenic paper filter with pleats to maximize the surface area. In addition to trapping dirt and debris, these high-efficiency filters are made to remove dust, pollen, mold and bacteria.
What’s the best car vacuum to buy?
Top car vacuum
What you need to know: With the flip of a switch, you can turn this vacuum into a tire inflator.
What you’ll love: The 13-foot-long power cord plugs into your dash so you can reach not only every place in the interior but also all four of your tires when they need to be aired up. It has three stages of HEPA filtering, a detachable dust cup, a built-in LED flashlight and a digital tire pressure gauge.
What you should consider: The air pump is not suitable for big vehicles with high-pressure tires.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top car vacuum for the money
What you need to know: The lithium-ion battery delivers up to 30 minutes of run time, enough to vacuum two cars.
What you’ll love: The USB cable lets you charge it in your car. It has a brush tool, LED light and a long, flat nozzle for getting into those narrow spots around the seats. It folds neatly for easy storage in your glove box or center console.
What you should consider: It’s not made to remove dog hair.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This cordless vacuum works great in your home as well as your car.
What you’ll love: The motor-driven brush pulls the hair away from carpet and seat fabrics so it sucks up easily. The crevice brush gets you into tight spots illuminated by the built-in LED light and the dual-filtration system includes a washable HEPA filter. The dust cup releases with one click for easy emptying.
What you should consider: The battery gives you about 20 minutes of run time before needing to be recharged.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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