It doesn’t take much to make a car dirty, even when you have the best of intentions. All it takes are a few spilled crumbs from that Starbucks pastry you ate, some muddy shoes or a coffee spill on your way to work, and before you know it, you need to vacuum cleaner. And that’s before you factor in kids who love spilling their snacks or dogs that shed all over the backseat.
But the truth is, it’s not that easy to get your car clean. Dust gets into the air vents, dirt gets on the floor and crumbs find their way into … well, everything. That’s why, unless you want to pump quarters into a gas station vacuum only to leave with a half-clean car, you’re going to need a good car vacuum with powerful suction. Which is why we went searching for the best.
When looking for a car vacuum — or a car vac, as some like to call them — here’s what to consider:
Suction power: Hands down, the most essential thing to look for in a vacuum. The better the suction, the easier it can pick up all that dirt and debris, the more you’ll use it (and love it).
How it is powered: Is it cordless or do you have to plug it in? Can it be charged in your car or does it need a wall outlet?
Capacity: For those with pets and kids, look for something that can hold a lot of debris.
Weight and size: Can you easily lift and move the vacuum while cleaning your car? Operate it with one hand? Or is it clunky? In most cases, a portable vacuum is ideal.
How versatile its attachments are: Does it have a crevice tool? What about a motorized brush?
No one car vacuum is going to be great at everything. For example, a corded vacuum will almost always have more suction power but maneuvering around the car with a cord can quickly get tricky and frustrating. If you opt for a cordless option, you’ll have an easier time moving around, but it can also run out of power before you finish cleaning out your car — especially if you have a large vehicle like a minivan. If you plan to keep the vacuum in the car, you might also want to consider one that you can charge inside the car, instead of plugging it in to charge in your garage or home.
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You’ll also want to think about what you’re using it for: Are you getting something small to just tidy up regularly, or are you getting something to do a deep clean? Not only will its suction power and battery matter if you want a deep clean, but its accessories will too. Some car vacuums come with special attachments, like a motorized brush to help get pet hair up or a crevice tool to clean in seat cracks and air vents. Some even come with LED lights to help you see under seats.
There are a lot of options out there and that’s why we’ve scoured the internet and gathered up seven of our favorites to come up with this list of the best car vacuums.