Many vacuums struggle when cleaning cars - so you need to be careful which you choose. Below are our top 7 models that make cleaning your vehicle faster and less stressful.
Cleaning a car interior is never going to be fun, but a poor-quality vacuum can make the process unbearable. If you've ever struggled getting a heavy upright to your car, cursed as you ran out of cord or given up getting dirt out of footwells due to poor suction...you know exactly what I mean.
Fortunately, there are some excellent vacuums for cars on the market at the moment. The best car vacuum cleaners provide strong suction, are convenient to use and can get into the tightest cracks in your vehicle. Most importantly, they make it quick and easy to get rid of mud, dirt and hair from your car.
In this article, we'll take you through our list of the best car vacuums of 2017. Each of these models has been highly rated by buyers, provides excellent value for money and is great for cleaning cars. We've included models for a range of budgets, features and strengths, so whether you need a cheap handheld for quick cleans or a powerful cordless for getting rid of pet hair, we've got you covered!
Our Selection Process
As a general guide, we look for strong suction, a manoeuvrable design that's suited for small spaces and value for money. If it's a cordless, it needs to have at least 10 minutes run-time on normal power mode to be eligible for the list (preferably longer though). Other non-essential but desirable features include a range of tools and accessories, extension hose and lightweight design.
Unlike other review sites, we don't equate "handheld" with "good for cars." Not all handheld models are suitable for the tough car environment. A good example is the Black + Decker Dustbuster, which made our list of the best handhelds but doesn't have the suction power to be good for cars.
For this reason, the list contains a mixture of handheld, cordless and cylinder vacuums. We haven't included any uprights, as they are impractical to use in cars.
Which are the Best Car Vacuums of 2017?
|Image||Product Name||Type||Capacity||Read More|
|Black + Decker PD1420LP Flexi Vac||Handheld||0.56 litres||Read More|
|Dyson V8 Absolute||Cordless||0.54 litres||Read More|
|Vax H85-GA-P18 Gator Pet||Handheld||0.3 litres||Read More|
|AEG AG71a RapidClean Stair and Car||Handheld||0.6 litres||Read More|
|Dyson V6 Car and Boat||Handheld||0.4 litres||Read More|
|Miele Complete C3 PowerLine||Cylinder||4.5 litres||Read More|
|Black + Decker PV1820L Lithium Pivot||Handheld||0.44 litres||Read More|
1. Black + Decker PD1420LP Flexi Vac
The Black + Decker Flexi Vac is a cordless handheld vacuum that's built to offer both performance and convenience. Unlike many other handheld models, the Flex Vac comes with a 1.5 metre integrated hose. This makes it perfect for reaching tricky areas in your car and is one of the main reasons it's made this list.
Inside, the vacuum has a 14.4V lithium-ion battery. This charges quickly and is able to provide full performance for the entire run-time of 12.5 minutes. While this run-time is relatively short, it should be enough for cleaning most cars.
Accessories are important for a car vacuum, which is why the model comes with both short and long crevice tools, along with an upholstery brush. A pet hair attachment is also included, which is useful if your dog sheds all over the car! Accessories can be stored on the docking station to make sure they don't get lost.
Other features of the Flexi Vac include a transparent dust container that's easy to empty, triple filtration system, docking station and charging light. The battery can also charge from empty to full in around four hours, which is relatively quick.
The Black + Decker PD1420LP Flexi Vax is an excellent vacuum cleaner for cars. The attachments, hose and design make it easy to get into crevices and glove compartments, and the pet hair tool is a useful addition. It's also great as a backup vacuum in the home.
- Flexible integrated hose
- Pet hair attachment
- Variety of accessories
- Price Range: £
- Weight: 1.42kg
- Run-time: 12.5 minutes
- Capacity: 0.56 litres
2. Dyson V8 Absolute
The first Dyson car vacuum on this list is the excellent V8 Absolute. This is our top-rated cordless vacuum - mainly because it's such a powerful and versatile machine. It's no surprise, therefore, that it's also an excellent car vacuum. The only real downside is the price!
Powered by a Nickel-Cobalt-Aluminium battery, the V8 is capable of up to 40 minutes run-time without losing suction power. This is reduced to 25 minutes when using the powered floor tool, although that's still plenty of time to clean your car.
One of the best features of Dyson cordless vacuums is they can switch between handheld and stick modes. The handheld mode is just as powerful and is fantastic for cleaning down the sides of car seats or in other tricky areas.
Other features include a one-button dirt ejector and cyclone technology to for improved filtration. The V8 also comes with a maximum power button, which dramatically reduces run-time but provides extra suction when needed.
There's absolutely (no pun intended) no doubt in our minds that the V8 Absolute is one of the best vacuums for cleaning your car in 2017. It's powerful and the handheld mode allows you to go from a dirty car interior to spotless in quick time. The only problem is the price - but if you can afford it the V8 Absolute is a fantastic option.
- Outstanding suction
- Long run-time
- Handheld mode is perfect for cars
- Price Range: ££££
- Weight: 2.61kg
- Run-time: 40 minutes
- Capacity: 0.54 litres
3. Vax H85-GA-P18 Gator Pet
Vax produce an excellent range of handheld vacuums - and we think the H85-GA-P18 Gator is one of the best for cleaning cars if you have a pet. It's a stylish model that provides great value considering its relatively low price.
The vacuum comes with an 18V battery. This allows for up to 20 minutes of cleaning time, which should be enough for all but the dirtiest vehicles. Like the other handheld and cordless models on this list, it has a relatively small 0.3 litre capacity, so you'll need to empty it after every use to maintain suction power.
Cleaning in cars can be a frustrating job as there are plenty of nooks and crannies, which is why the H85-GA-P18 comes with a crevice tool for reaching into tough areas. It also features an easy-to-empty design (called the "Gator Mouth").
But the stand-out feature of this model is the TurboTool attachment (seen on the picture above). This reduces run-time but provides extra cleaning power for removing dog hair and stubborn dirt from car seats.
In summary, the Vax H85-GA-P18 is a great car vacuum for pet hair. It has a reasonable run-time and powered TurboTool, so you can go from a hairy and dirty car to a clean vehicle in rapid time. It's also very reasonably priced considering the 18V battery and powered attachment.
- Powered TurboTool for pet hair
- Crevice tool
- 18V battery for strong suction
- Price Range: £
- Weight: 1.8kg
- Run-time: 20 minutes
- Capacity: 0.3 litres
4. AEG AG71a RapidClean Stair and Car
The AEG AG71a Rapidclean is another model that made our list of the best handheld vacuum - and it's also perfect for cleaning cars. With its bagless design, strong suction and stretchable hose, this is a convenient model that excels at quickly cleaning tight spaces.
But before you rush out and buy it, make sure you know that this is a corded car vacuum. While this makes it less agile, it also provides greater suction power for a more thorough clean. The cord is 6 metres long, so if your driveway is longer than this (or if your car is kept in a communal parking area) you'll need to use an extension lead.
Inside, the AG71a is powered by a 700W motor. As it's mains powered, you don't need to worry about the vacuum running out of battery or losing suction (unless the dust container is getting full). It can also hold 0.6 litres of dust, which is relatively large compared to many of the other handheld models on this list.
Other features of the AG71a include a crevice nozzle, for getting into tough areas of a car interior, and an extendable hose that's great for cleaning under car seats. The model also comes with a "Stubborn Brush Nozzle" that digs deeper into fabric fibres to remove more dust or mud.
If you don't mind using a corded vacuum for cleaning your car, the AEG AG71a is an excellent option. It's one of the more expensive handheld models on this list, but provides strong suction and unlimited power due to the mains supply.
- Mains-powered handheld
- Extendable hose
- 700W motor
- Price Range: £
- Weight: 2.6kg
- Run-time: Unlimited
- Capacity: 0.6 litres
5. Dyson V6 Car and Boat
The Dyson V6 Car and Boat, as the name suggests, excels at cleaning cars. It's not cheap, but if your car is often filled with dirt it's one of the most powerful handhelds and has a range of attachments.
With a battery life of around 20 minutes, the V6 has a similar run-time to most of the other handhelds on this list. It's powered by a Li-ion battery and has a quick-release button for emptying the bin. The motor also uses Dyson's digital technology to generate more power without making the machine too heavy.
Where this vacuum really stands out is the attachments and tools. The first is a miniature motorised tool that's great for getting rid of hair from upholstery or providing extra power in tight spaces. There is also a "stubborn dirt" brush for removing mud that's become stuck in your car boot or seats. Other tools include a crevice tool, combination tool, extension hose and mini dusting brush.
The Dyson has a 0.4 litre bin capacity and "Max" mode for when you need extra suction. If you opt for the "Extra" version, it even includes a car charger, making it the only in-vehicle rechargeable car vacuum cleaner on this list (this feature isn't included with the standard model though).
The Dyson V6 Car and Boat is an outstanding car vacuum. It's powerful, has a range of accessories designed specifically for cleaning cars, and excels at stubborn dirt or pet hair. It's a relatively expensive model and certainly one of the priciest handhelds, but we still think it provides great value.
- Range of car-focused accessories
- Extendable hose
- Powerful digital motor
- Price Range: £££
- Weight: 1.57kg
- Run-time: 20 minutes
- Capacity: 0.4 litres
6. Miele Complete C3 PowerLine
The Miele Complete C3 PowerLine is one of the best vacuums we've reviewed. While it's clearly not as manoeuvrable as a cordless model, it's powerful and versatile. This makes it a great option if you want a corded and bagged cleaner for your car.
Inside the Complete C3 is a 1200W motor which makes this a highly powerful car vacuum. A higher wattage doesn't always mean more suction, but in this case the vacuum excels at getting rid of dust and dirt from vehicle interiors.
The Miele has an 11 metre cleaning radius, which should be enough for cleaning most cars (although this depends how close to your house the car is kept). It also has a large 4.5 litre capacity, which is significantly bigger than most of the other models on this list. If you have a large car that's often filled with dirt, hair and mud, then the C3 could be one of the best options.
Other features include an impressive filtration system involving 11 layers, a wide floorhead and an adjustable working height. The machine also comes with several on-board tools - a dusting brush, upholstery nozzle and crevice nozzle. These are great for getting into all the tricky areas of your car, such as down the sides of seats, around the gear stick and in glove compartments. It also has a button for fast cable rewind once you're finished.
The Miele Complete C3 PowerLine is a fantastic vacuum cleaner. It's powerful, packed with useful features and available for a very reasonable price. If you're looking for a corded vacuum for both your home and car, it's an excellent option - although it's probably not as convenient as some of the cordless or handheld models on this list.
- Excellent suction power
- On-board tools
- Large capacity
- Price Range: ££
- Weight: 5kg
- Run-time: Unlimited
- Capacity: 4.5 litres
7. Black + Decker PV1820L Lithium Pivot
One of the most innovative handheld vacuums is the Black + Decker PV1820L Compact Pivot - which is why it's our top recommended handheld model. It doesn't come with an extendable hose, which we like to see on a car vacuum, but its unique pivot design and extendable nose makes it much easier to clean beneath car seats or other tricky locations.
Let's start with the design, as this is what really makes this vacuum stand out. Black + Decker has fitted the PV1820L with a pivoting nozzle. This can move through 200 degrees, making it much easier to get into awkward crevices. The nose is also extendable for when you need extra length. While this isn't quite as useful for cleaning under seats or in glove compartments as an extension hose, it's a big improvement on a fixed handheld design.
There are several versions of the Lithium Pivot, but the most powerful comes with an 18V battery. As the name suggests, the battery is Li-Ion for suction that doesn't decrease as it runs out of power. The "smart charge" system also means that the model charges much faster than similar models.
The biggest downside to this model is the run-time. At just 10 minutes, the vacuum isn't good for much more than a quick clean - although this might be enough for sprucing up your car interior. If you're looking for a more thorough clean from a cordless handheld vacuum, we recommend either the V6 Car and Boat or the Vax H85-GA-P18.
If you're looking for a powerful handheld that's great for cleaning your home yet still good for cars, then the PV1820L could be a good option. For pure car cleaning there are better handheld options on this list, but this is an excellent all-rounder that's available for a much lower price than the V6 Car and Boat.
- Innovative pivot design
- Li-Ion battery
- Extendable nose
- Price Range: £
- Weight: 1.9kg
- Run-time: 10 minutes
- Capacity: 0.44 litres
What to Look for in a Car Vacuum
As you probably know, vacuuming inside a car isn't always an easy job - which is why many vacuums aren't up to the job. The best car vacuums are able to clean in every crack and crevice while providing enough suction power to get rid of dirt, pet hair or spilt food. All the models in the above list excel at cleaning cars, but if you want more information about choosing here's a breakdown of what to look for:
- Battery or Cordless? A cordless isn't essential for cleaning your car, but it makes the process easier. You don't need to worry about getting an extension lead or the cord becoming tangled around the seats. That's why all but two of the vacuums on our "best of" list are cordless. If you want the most powerful suction, however, then a corded car vacuum might be a better option. You also don't need to worry about battery life with a corded model, which is great if you're cleaning a large car or multiple vehicles.
- Suction Power. Cars quickly become FULL of dirt, grime, mud, hair and who-knows-what-else - so strong suction power is essential.
- Battery Life. If you've decided to buy a cordless vacuum, it's vital that it has enough battery life to clean your car without needing to be recharged. While 10 minutes is the bare minimum, for larger cars you'll probably want a run-time of 15 minutes or more. Lithium-ion batteries are also great, as they allow full suction for the duration of the run-time (read more about them here).
- Tools and Attachments. Attachments are an important part of buying any vacuum, but they are especially important when buying a vacuum for a car. The best car cleaners have a range of accessories for getting around the gear stick, in footwells, under car seats, round the edge of your boot and in glove compartments. You should at least have a crevice tool and dusting brush, but extension hoses and powered attachments are even better.
- Handheld or Full Size. This mainly comes down to budget and personal preference. Handhelds are usually cheaper (although not always - the V6 Car and Boat is expensive) and easier to get into tight spots, while full-size vacuums are more expensive and less manoeuvrable. The main downsides to handhelds are that they can have a short battery life and may not be as powerful.
- Price. Car vacuums can range in price from £50 right up to £400+ for the most expensive consumer models. Spending more doesn't always equal better performance, but in general you'll get more features and stronger suction with models that cost more. You'll also pay more for cordless vacuums than simple handhelds.
These are the most important factors when choosing a vacuum for your vehicle. Some non-car specific factors include the brand, warranty and how easy the machine is to empty. You should also take into the account the capacity of the vacuum, as a small capacity may mean you'll need to empty the model several times during a single cleaning session.
Our Picks for Specific Tasks
Best Car Cleaner for Pet Hair: Black + Decker PD1420LP Flexi Vac
Pet hair can be particularly difficult to get out of car seats and footwells. If your dog loves to spread himself across your seats, or just sheds a lot in his car crate, it's important to choose a vacuum with the suction power and tools to handle this.
While most of the models on our list cope well with hair, if you're looking for the lowest-priced vacuum that excels at pet hair then we recommend the Black + Decker PD1420LP Flexi Vac. This model has strong suction for a handheld and also comes with a pet hair attachment.
Best Cordless Car Vacuum: Dyson V8 Absolute
If budget isn't an issue and you're looking for the BEST cordless vacuum for cleaning cars, then the V8 Absolute is easily our top recommendation. It's powerful, lightweight and has a long 40-minute run-time. As we mentioned earlier in this article, the only downside is the price.
This model isn't just for cars though. It's one of the few cordless models that can reasonably claim to replace a full corded vacuum for home use. The direct drive cleaner head is also excellent for digging deep into carpets and removing as much dirt as possible.
Best Corded Car Vacuum: Miele Complete C3 PowerLine
If you're happy to have a corded car vacuum, then the Miele Complete C3 PowerLine is probably the best choice. It's one of our highest rated models so far, due to its excellent suction power and strong all-round performance. It also has an 11-metre cleaning radius.
When it comes to a corded handheld vacuum for cars, the obvious choice is the AEG AG71a. It's a lightweight handheld model that provides unlimited run-time and strong suction. It's also great for stairs.
Best Vacuum for Large Cars: AEG AG71a
If you have a large car, or need to clean multiple cars at the same time, a cordless model might not be the best option. A large or bulky vacuum also probably isn't the best choice. For these reasons, we recommend the AEG AG71a for this situation.
This is a corded bagless vacuum with handheld design, meaning you can use it for as long as you need without worrying about battery life. It's also comfortable to hold and has a relatively large 0.6 litre capacity - at least compared to other handheld models.
We hope this article has helped you choose a new car vacuum. While a great vacuum won't make cleaning your car interior enjoyable, it will at least make it a bit more bearable!
To summarise, the most important factors when choosing a vacuum for your car are suction power, ease of use (including size, manoeuvrability and battery life) and value for money. We believe each of the models featured on this list provide ample amounts of each of these factors - often along with plenty of tools, accessories and other features.
If you have any questions about this article, or would like to provide feedback on one of the vacuums we've mentioned, please use the comment form below. Thanks!