Top 8 Best Car Vacuums
By | Last updated: May 4, 2021
best car vacuums

If we’re all being honest with ourselves, gearheads generally like to keep a clean car. Sure, there are always a few that let their ride resemble a landfill but – for the most part – it’s a universal agreement that a car seems to run better when it’s clean.

Plenty of wet/dry vacs are on the market, ready to whisk away all the detritus residing in your car’s footwells and cargo area. We’ll do a post on those at some point down the road. Today, we’re exploring handheld vacuums, ones that can be easily slung around with wild abandon.

Now, get cleaning.

1. Editor's Choice: HOTOR Corded Car Vacuum Cleaner

There are occasions when all one wants is a solid tool with which to carry out a specific task. Real-world customer reviews should not be ignored when buying a special-use item, making this vacuum from the curiously-named HOTOR company one of our top picks. Nearly 10,000 people have given this thing an aggregate rating of nearly 4.5 stars.

This 12-volt vac does have a cord, it must be noted, but at least that means it won’t run out of juice midway through a detailing job. The filter is washable and, in the event you need a new one, the seller advertises a free replacement ‘for life’. The dirt and crud are contained in a traditional-style nose cup that’s easy to dump.

Pros/Reasonable price, acres of positive reviews
Cons/That cord
Bottom Line/A solid pick in a commoditized arena

2. Shark WV201 WANDVAC Handheld Vacuum

Products from the Shark brand aren’t cheap but they are stylish and seem to be assembled with a modicum of care. This highly-rated bullet is one of the lightest car vacs on Amazon, weighing in at a feather-like 1.4 lbs. Your author has eaten steaks bigger than that. Its tapered nozzle (the vac, not the steak) allows one to get into their car’s nooks and crannies.

A charging dock is included for quick charging and fast access, in case you need to speedily spruce up your car before that hot Tinder date. Bonus feature: a one-touch emptying system means you needn’t soil your hands emptying the crap sucked up out of your filthy car.

Pros/Well-known brand, powerful motor, super light
Bottom Line/A good-looking and nimble choice

3. Dyson V7 Handheld-Vacuum

In the world of vacuums (how exciting!) about the only thing more expensive than a Shark is a Dyson. Invented by a Brit entrepreneur who lent his surname to the brand, these things are amongst some of the most powerful vacuums on the market. Their funky looks win a few fans as well.

As always, it’s worth a caveat to make sure one is buying their products from a legitimate source. While we are confident in this recommendation, Dyson does tend to keep a tight leash on their supply chain, not unlike some other high-end car products like Piloti. Emailing a couple of pointed questions will provide extra confidence.

Pros/It’s a Dyson
Cons/Like a good reporter - confirm your source
Bottom Line/An expensive but top-tier option

4. Homasy Portable Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

Wading into the strange brand name arena we find this well-reviewed unit from, erm, Homasy. This not-quite-a-household-name has about 2,700 ratings pushing it over four stars yet doesn’t cost an arm and two legs. A quartet of lithium-ion batteries purports to keep the cleaning time north of 30 minutes while the big dust collection cup shouldn’t need to be emptied before the batteries die.

With a trio of attachments, this portable cordless vacuum can help thoroughly clean the interior of your car including some hard-to-reach areas. A rubber jar attachment sounds like a kitchen appliance but actually allows the vac to suck up to 100 ml of liquid.

Pros/Operates as a wet and dry vac, lots of attachments
Cons/An off-brand doesn’t always the most confidence
Bottom Line/Most customers seem happy

5. Ideas In Life 12V Car Wet-Dry Vacuum

We wanted to include one option on this list with a price tag under $10. What we didn’t want to do was profile one that had no reviews or a bunch of angry paying customers. This vac seems to fit that particular bill.

A nine-foot cord (read: not very long) tethers the user to a 12-volt port while taking care of minor dirt and debris. Some reviewers claim the one they were sent didn’t have much suction but others, likely those keeping in mind the $10 price tag, had few complaints.

Pros/The price
Cons/Corded unit, suspect suction
Bottom Line/How bad can it be for $10?

6. BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster Handheld Vacuum

Black and Decker virtually invented the handheld vacuum, or at least popularized it to the point where the model name became synonymous with the item itself. Heck, the word even migrated to the car sphere when GM got into the minivan game and everyone started calling them the ‘Dustbuster vans’.

The grille on its left side looks like the heat sink from a retro-future weapon, if that type of stuff matters to you. A one-touch easy empty allows users to vacate the dirt into a bin without touching it, while the rechargeable battery is said to last much longer than previous models.

Pros/Extra-long tools, great name, improved battery life
Cons/Very spendy
Bottom Line/An original tries to reinvent itself

7. ThisWorx Car Vacuum Cleaner

Also occupying the ‘I want to buy Dad a gift but I don’t want to spend a fortune’ end of the rink is this off-brand vacuum costing less than thirty bucks. Reviews are generally positive, though a few rail against its power (or lack thereof) and corded power supply.

The seller makes a big deal about the vac’s shape, one which apparently ‘glides’ over flat surfaces thanks to its own flat underbelly. This thing also purports to suck up materials ranging from dirt and sand to mud, indicating that while it may not be able to ingest a bucket full of water, it can likely handle the scattered bit of wet stuff.

Pros/Affordable, good for wet and dry
Cons/Corded power supply, unheard of name
Bottom Line/It’s stocking stuffer time!

8. Bagotte High Power Car Vacuum Cleaner

Promoted as being able to consume copious amounts of pet hair, this handheld vac has a unique handle that looks easy to grip. Its filter is of the washable stainless steel sort and apparently equates to 50 paper filters when all’s said and done.

While this is a corded unit, its 12-volt tail is nearly seventeen feet long, meaning you should be able to get all the corners of your 1990 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham. A three-year warranty and plenty of good (and recent) reviews make this a good choice.

Pros/Decent price, long cord, positive reviews
Cons/A cord is still a tether
Bottom Line/It’s illuminated nose helps with pesky nighttime cleaning

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.

(Editor’s note: This post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Piston Slaps, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

[Main photo credit: Nomad_Soul / Product images provided by the manufacturer.]

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