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6 Best Car Vacuums For Cleaning Inside Your Vehicle

Our short list of the best car vacuum cleaners will keep your ride cleaner than ever.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.

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Armor All Aa255 2.5 Gallon 2 Peak Hp Wet:dry Utility Shop Vacuum Ecomm Amazon.comVia Merchant

Choosing the best vacuum for car detailing can mean the difference between a tidy ride and a messy interior. Regularly vacuuming your seats and floor mats is one of the best car cleaning tips and tricks for keeping your vehicle’s value high. Besides, who enjoys driving around in a messy car?

What to Look for When Buying a Car Vacuum

Vacuuming your car with a traditional corded vac simply isn’t going to end well. To do the job properly, invest in a product made specifically for cleaning out compact vehicle interiors.

When shopping for the best car vacuum cleaner, the most important features to look are suction power, measured in air watts (AW), and the included tools and attachments.

Some must-have attachments include floor or upholstery cleaning tools, an extension hose for hard-to-reach places, and crevice tools for tight spaces and edges. Some models also offer wet/dry functionality that can remove stains from upholstery, too.

Evaluation Criteria

We narrowed the best vacuums for car detailing by overall value, ease of use, and power calculated in air watts. We also looked closely at customer reviews to see what they had to say about maneuverability, charging and design. Ultimately, we chose models with exceptional value, high function and strong ratings.

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Black Decker Dustbuster Advanced clean Cordless Handheld VacuumVia Merchant

Best Overall Vacuum for Car Detailing

This Black+Decker Dusbuster AdvancedClean cordless model tops this list because it’s so versatile and easy to maneuver. It removes debris, dirt and even pet hair from interiors and tight spaces.

The rotating slim nozzle fits in narrow crevices, and the pull-out crevice tool slips into hard-to-reach areas like between seats and the depths of your trunk. And since it retails at just $60, it’s one of the best budget choices as well.

After vacuuming, remember to use the best car wipes on hard surfaces like your steering wheel and dash to finish the project.

Pros

  • A 4.5 star Amazon rating with nearly 70,000 reviews;
  • Rotating slim nozzle can maneuver 180 degrees to fit in tight spaces;
  • Affordable price;
  • Pull-out crevice tool;
  • Lightweight.

Cons

  • Medium-capacity bin for a handheld vacuum means you may have to empty it a few times if you’re cleaning a really dirty car.

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Shark Ch951 Cordless Handheld VacuumVia Merchant

Best Cordless Vacuum for Car Detailing

While not the most powerful vacuum on this list, the Shark CH951 UltraCyclone Pet Pro Plus comes packed with features and innovations. Its distinctive design employs two air streams, giving it more consistent suction, and a self-cleaning brush roll attachment keeps long hairs (from pets or otherwise) from wrapping around the roll.

“I am in my car for fifteen hours a week, so things get kind of messy in there,” writes verified Amazon purchaser W.S.G. “This picks up the dog hair, the random dropped french fry and all the sand and dirt that gets tracked in. It’s perfect at home for the window and sliding door tracks and those small spaces that the regular vacuum can’t quite handle.

“I love this handheld vacuum and would recommend it. This isn’t going to replace your regular vacuum, but it will make those tedious small spaces so much easier to clean up.”

Pros

  • Two air streams;
  • Strong suction;
  • Self-cleaning brush roll attachment that won’t get stuck on long hairs;
  • Thousands of five-star Amazon ratings;
  • Reviewers report robust, easy battery charging.

Cons

  • More expensive than other models on the market;
  • Maneuvering in tight corners can be tricky because the head doesn’t move or rotate.

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Thisworx Car Vacuum Cleaner Portable High Power Mini Handheld VacuumVia Merchant

Best Portable Vacuum for Car Detailing

Unlike many bulky alternatives, the ThisWorx Car Vacuum is lightweight enough to hold in one hand and easily maneuver around the nooks and crannies of your vehicle.

It might not be big enough to clean heavier messes, but its compact nature and kit of versatile attachments make it ideally suited for regular vacuuming. The carrying case is a nice touch, letting you discretely stow the whole kit in your trunk.

Reviewers note it’s exceptional at “removing ash and dust” and offers powerful suction. It even has a washable filter.

Pros

  • Powerful motor;
  • More than 120,000 five-star Amazon reviews;
  • Carrying case;
  • Washable filter;
  • Especially good for dust, ash and powdery debris;
  • Affordable price;
  • The 16-foot cord can be plugged into your cigarette lighter.

Cons

  • Limited capacity means frequent emptying;
  • Not cordless.

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Black Decker 20v Max Flex Handheld VacuumVia Merchant

Best Flexible Hose Vacuum For Car Detailing

Conquer debris in and out of your car with this brilliant Black+Decker 20V Max Flex vacuum, featuring an impressive washable bowl and filter. Reviewers rave about the four-foot flexible hose that cleans floor to ceiling in a breeze and mimics the industrial style you see at professional car washes.

The charging station and base keep the 20-volt lithium-ion battery juiced and ready to go. This vac can also be used indoors to remove pet hair from furniture and pick up cat litter like a boss.

“Works so good for SO MANY different things you never could get, it’s hard to put down!,” writes Amazon verified purchaser K. Reese. “In one moment … the first moment I used this vacuum … every other cordless, dustbuster type, portable vacuum I’ve ever used or owned … became a totally outdated and completely obsolete relic.”

Pros

  • Lithium-ion battery that lasts;
  • Four-foot flexible hose attachment;
  • More than 3,000 five-star Amazon ratings;
  • Mimics professional-grade vacuums;
  • Users say it’s great for removing sand, dirt and leaves stuck in crevices.

Cons

  • Slightly bulkier than other models on the market;
  • Better suited to store in your garage or home.

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Bissell Little Green Multi Purpose Portable Carpet And Upholstery CleanerVia Merchant

Best Extractor Vacuum for Car Detailing

You’ll genuinely wonder how you lived without a Bissell Little Green vacuum. It’s excellent on fabric interiors with stains from food, spills, pets or even smoke. It’s incredibly easy to use and fine for rugs and upholstery because it’s one of the best carpet cleaners for your home, too.

More than 34,000 Amazon reviewers give it 4.6 stars. Customers say the strong spray and suction functions beat other comparable models. Plus, the large tank capacity means you can clean more (like a whole car) between refills. It comes with just about everything you need, including a trial size spot and stain removing fluid.

Pros

  • Uses water and suction to lift stains and stink from upholstery and fabric;
  • Easy-to-use hand nozzles;
  • Comes with a scrub brush attachment;
  • Highly-rated on Amazon;
  • Large reservoir holds up to 48 oz. of water.

Cons

  • Not ideal for dry debris, so you’ll need another type of hand vacuum for dust, sand, leaves and crumbs.

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Armor All Aa255 2.5 Gallon 2 Peak Hp Wet and dry Utility Shop VacuumVia Merchant

Best Shop Vacuum for Car Detailing

If you need heavy-duty cleaning for minivan and truck messes, this top-rated Armor All Wet/Dry Utility Shop vacuum is just the ticket.

It includes a standard large-capacity polypropylene tank, a two-horsepower motor, 10-foot cord with wrap and an easily converted blower function that reviewers say is “the best.” It’s a must-have vacuum for busy garages, easily sucking up all sorts of debris. And if it misses anything tiny, you can always get the smallest particles with car-cleaning putty.

“The suction surprised me,” writes Amazon verified purchaser Yazmeen. “I thought it was going to be much weaker, but it cleaned up pretty good! And it had so many different tools so I was able to work with what I wanted and to on different parts of my car, especially the tighter places. It’s also super easy to use and clean.”

Pros

  • A 2.5-gallon polypropylene tank;
  • Two-hp motor;
  • A 10-foot cord with wrap;
  • Easy conversion blower function;
  • On-board accessory and hose storage.

Cons

  • The 1-1/4-in. diameter hose may be too narrow for leaves and larger debris.

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Car VacuumNicole Lienemann/Getty Images

Conclusion

The best car detailing vaccuum for you depends on the types of messes you usually encounter, and the space you have to work with.

Messy utility vans may need a shop vac-style device, whereas apartment dwellers and those with compact cars might make the most use of the cordless Black+Decker dustbuster style models. Make sure you check out these cleaning tips for the inside of your car to get every square inch looking (and smelling!) like new.

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Bryce Gruber
As Home Editor, Bryce Gruber is an expert in gift ideas, shopping, and e-commerce at Family Handyman. You've likely seen her work across a variety of women's lifestyle and parenting outlets and on TV shows. She lives and works in New York's Hudson Valley with her five small children.