What Are The Best Car Vacuum Cleaners? (2020 Edition)
Cleaning your car is a lot easier when you use the best car vacuum cleaner. Reaching all of those nooks and crannies in your vehicle doesn’t have to be a hassle.
If you only need to clean your car once in a while, however, you’ll probably think that most of the car vacuum cleaners on the market are indistinguishable from each other.
In this article, we’ll help you to sort through the pile of car vacuum cleaners on the market so that you’ll know how to make an intelligent purchasing decision.
Quick Picks: Compare Our Top 3 Favorite Car Vacuum Cleaners
- Car Vacuum Cleaner Reviews
- Best Overall – HOTOR Corded Car Vacuum
- Best Cheap Option – ThisWorx TWC-01 Car Vacuum
- Best Value for the Money – Armor All, AA255, 2.5 Gallon 2 Peak HP Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum
- Honorable Mention – LOZAYI High Power DC 12V 5000PA Stronger Suction Car Vacuum
- Second Honorable Mention – XDesign Car Vacuum Cleaner with High Power Suction for Quick Car Cleaning Care
- Factors to Consider When Choosing a Car Vacuum Cleaner
- Ergonomics / Comfort
- Filter Quality
- Is there a specific brand of car vacuum cleaners that is better than others?
- How durable are car vacuum cleaners?
- Which messes are the most difficult for car vacuum cleaners to handle?
- Cleaning Up
Car Vacuum Cleaner Reviews
In this section, we’ll review several car vacuum cleaners so that you will get an overview of the products on the scene. To start, let’s investigate our best overall pick for car vacuum cleaners.
Best Overall – HOTOR Corded Car Vacuum
The HOTOR Corded Car Vacuum is our selection for the best overall car vacuum as a result of its vast collection of ergonomic and functional features.
- Includes several useful nozzle attachments
- Reusable stainless steel filter
- Rapid dust cup emptying
- 16.4-foot cable for superior range
- Includes automatic LED light
- Not compatible with Subaru vehicles
- The LED light isn’t very bright
- Cumbersome shape for people with small hands
The HOTOR vacuum has a great set of nozzle attachments which you can use to reach the furthest crannies in your vehicle. You’ll get a standard cylinder hose, a snub-nosed brush and hose combination, and a wide-mouth hose.
You’ll also get a neat carrying case and car AC adapter cable. The cable on this car vacuum is exceptionally long so that you won’t need to worry about running out of range.
Furthermore, this vacuum has a rapid dust cup emptying button which helps you to prepare the vacuum for the next cleaning run. You will also find that the HEPA filter in the vacuum is of high quality.
The HEPA filter is made from stainless steel, so it is very durable. Likewise, it is straightforward to clean because there are not any surfaces for dust particles to catch on.
You may find that high levels of static electricity cause a residual amount of dust to stick on the blades of the filter, however. With a tissue, you can clean these traces of dirt off of the filter without any trouble.
Best Cheap Option – ThisWorx TWC-01 Car Vacuum
The ThisWorx TWC-01 car vacuum is our pick for the best cheap option because it has a great set of features and a powerful engine.
- Includes U-neck nozzle
- High-power metal turbine
- The useful protective lid on the snub nose
- Includes a spare HEPA filter
- The accessory brush isn’t useful
With the TWC-01, you’ll get a standard set of attachments as well as a highly valuable U-neck nozzle attachment. The U-neck nozzle means that you can reach areas of your vehicle that you can’t see, like underneath the seats and in the wheel wells.
Similarly, the power of this vacuum is significantly higher than in most other car vacuums. Because the turbine which creates suction is more powerful, it can catch traces of dirt that other vacuums would struggle to aspirate.
The TWC-01 also includes a replacement HEPA filter made from metal. While metal HEPA filters don’t get diminished by regular use like fabric filters, they are still vulnerable to mechanical damage which might be caused by aspirating small pebbles or hard objects.
In other words, you shouldn’t need the spare HEPA filter, but it is a nice touch. Similarly, you probably will not need to use the spare accessory brush included with this vacuum.
It isn’t clear what the manufacturers intended the accessory brush to be used for, but you may find a use for it anyway.
The main issue with this car vacuum cleaner is that it isn’t very ergonomic. You will have trouble balancing the vacuum as a result of its heavy backend.
Best Value for the Money – Armor All, AA255, 2.5 Gallon 2 Peak HP Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum
Armor All’s Utility Shop Vacuum is a great value for your money because it includes the features that you absolutely need from your car vacuum without including any of the frills which you wouldn’t use.
- Includes wide-mouth nozzle
- Flexible hose
- Durable form factor
- High capacity for dust
- Not aesthetically pleasing
- A little loud
The Armor All vacuum isn’t aesthetically appealing, but it has more than enough power, range, and attachments to make your car vacuuming experience easy and affordable.
With this vacuum, you’ll get a long hose replacement, a cone nozzle, a flat nozzle, a broad brush nozzle, a micro-brush nozzle, and a wide-angled nozzle. You’ll also get a replacement filter, which is a nice bonus.
If you have sensitive ears, the Armor All vacuum will probably not be the right choice for you. The vacuum is extremely loud and has a characteristically high-pitched whine which might drive you crazy.
Similarly, if you struggle with moving heavy vacuums around, you may have trouble moving this vacuum around your vehicle.
On the other hand, the extra-long hose and nozzle attachments might mean that you can move the vacuum itself less and spend more time only holding the hose.
Honorable Mention – LOZAYI High Power DC 12V 5000PA Stronger Suction Car Vacuum
Our honorable mention for the best car vacuum cleaner is the LOZAYI super suction vacuum as a result of its quiet and effective operation.
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- Wet-vacuuming capability
- Easily washable filter
- Comfortable handle
- Easy-swap attachments and nozzles
- Few attachments included
- Better at dry vacuuming than wet vacuuming
You’ll immediately notice that this car vacuum is significantly quieter than others. Furthermore, you’ll see that the HEPA filter is easy to swap in and out on this unit. You won’t have any trouble vacuuming messes up from your car even when they are wet or chunky.
While the vacuum is better at picking up dry messes than wet messes, you will find that it performs admirably.
Be sure to swap out the HEPA filter for cleaning after you clean up wet messes to make sure that there isn’t any residual material which might rot on the inside of the dust tank.
The only problem you will have with this car vacuum is that there are not many attachments included out of the box. You’ll still get a standard wedge nozzle and a small brush nozzle, but not much else.
This means that you might need to purchase additional nozzles to make for more efficient cleaning.
Second Honorable Mention – XDesign Car Vacuum Cleaner with High Power Suction for Quick Car Cleaning Care
Our runner-up honorable mention for the best car vacuum cleaner is the XDesign car vacuum cleaner as a result of its excellent collection of all-around features.
- Includes nozzle extension kit
- Touch-free dust disposal
- Few attachments for bulk dirt grabbing
- Weak liquid vacuuming capability
- Weak LED light
The XDesign vacuum cleaner has a good mixture of attachments, suction power, ergonomics, and durability. When you purchase this car vacuum cleaner, you won’t need to worry about regularly replacing the HEPA filter or damaging it during cleaning or aspiration.
The cleaner includes a few attachments like a circle-nose brush, a cylindrical hose, and a wedge nozzle. Each of these attachments is ideal for detail work where you need to suction dirt in tight spots or near sensitive items in your vehicle.
This car vacuum cleaner isn’t perfect, however. While the car vacuum cleaner will perform admirably with dry messes, wet messes tend to get caught in the narrower-than-normal hose.
Similarly, the maximum capacity of this vacuum is not very large, so you will need to throw out the excess dust regularly. This problem is a minor annoyance for most users, so you shouldn’t worry about it too much.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Car Vacuum Cleaner
Now that you’re up to speed about several of the strongest contenders for the best car vacuum, we’ll walk you through our purchasing guide which contains all of the factors to consider when you’re shopping for a car vacuum cleaner.
Ergonomics / Comfort
The ergonomics of a car vacuum cleaner can make the difference between suffering during a routine cleaning and having an easy time grabbing all the dirt from your vehicle.
There are several elements which in concert make up the ergonomics of a car vacuum cleaner. These elements include:
- The handle comfort
- The length of the cord
- The weight of the vacuum cleaner
- The dust cup capacity
- The noise of the vacuum turbine
Handle comfort varies significantly from vacuum to vacuum. Finding the right handle for your hand will depend on the size of your hands, the size of the handle, and any contouring which the handle has. There isn’t any single secret to finding the most comfortable grip.
The length of the car vacuum’s cord is an easier nut to crack. There is no disadvantage to having a longer cord on your car vacuum cleaner. Most car vacuum cleaners have cables of at least nine feet.
You should aim for a car vacuum cleaner with a cord length of more than 14 feet, however. Having a long cord makes it easier for you to reach the back parts of your vehicle, especially if your vehicle is longer than average.
The weight of the car vacuum cleaner is a major feature which can make it more or less comfortable to use. Heavier cleaners will tire you out more rapidly.
The capacity of the dust cup is an underrated comfort feature. When the dust cup is full, you’ll need to empty it before you can do any more vacuuming. Larger dust cups also add to the weight of the cleaner, however.
This means that if you don’t have much upper body strength, you may want to opt for a smaller dust cup because it will make the car vacuum cleaner significantly lighter.
Noise is also a critical comfort feature. Most car vacuum cleaners are extremely loud because adding noise insulation makes the cleaner heavier. On the other hand, if you have very sensitive ears, you will need to invest in a car vacuum cleaner that won’t cause you pain.
In general, more powerful vacuum cleaners will make louder noises.
The attachments included with a car vacuum cleaner makes a big difference with regard to how easily you can clean your vehicle. Accessories come in all shapes and sizes, including:
- Wedge nozzles
- Flat nozzles
- Brush nozzles
- Cone nozzles
- Detail nozzles
Most people will be served most effectively by a car vacuum cleaner which has a large flat nozzle and a second nozzle with a brush for detail work.
The point of having these two attachments is that you can catch the largest swaths of dirt with the wider nozzle and then clean up the sensitive areas with the detail brush. You could also use a rag on areas that are too small for the broad nozzle brush.
The quality of the HEPA filter installed in a car vacuum cleaner is a significant factor that you should be on the lookout for when you are shopping for a car vacuum cleaner.
The HEPA filter is responsible for preventing the dust particles suctioned by the vacuum from flying into the turbine, which generates aspiration force. This means that the HEPA filter is necessary to extend the lifetime of your car vacuum.
HEPA filters can be constructed with several different materials. Cloth HEPA filters are the most common because they are the least expensive to produce. Cloth HEPA filters require replacement very frequently because they get clogged, however.
In contrast, metal HEPA filters do not get clogged, but they still perform the same role as cloth HEPA filters. Rather than replacing the filter, when a metal HEPA filter becomes clogged, it needs to be emptied.
Emptying a HEPA filter is as easy as washing it with running water in most circumstances. Sometimes, using soap may be appropriate. On the whole, metal HEPA filters are superior for car vacuum cleaners than cloth filters.
You also will not need to pay significantly more for a car vacuum cleaner with a metal HEPA filter. While the upfront cost of a metal HEPA filter may be slightly more than a cloth HEPA filter, replacement cloth filters are more expensive.
In the long run, you will save money by using a car vacuum cleaner with a metal HEPA filter, and the additional burden of cleaning it will not be a substantial time cost.
In this section, we’ll discuss a few of the most frequently asked questions that prospective purchasers of car vacuum cleaners want to know before getting started with cleaning their cars.
Is there a specific brand of car vacuum cleaners that is better than others?
No, there is no specific brand of car vacuum cleaner that is better than others. Each brand has a set of tradeoffs which you can choose between. Legacy brands like Armor All are great for features like durability but may be less ergonomic than newer brands.
If you’re looking for an excellent all-around choice, most manufacturers will do the trick. The only rule of thumb that you should use is to purchase a car vacuum cleaner which is made by a company that primarily produces accessories and peripheral devices for cars.
Many consumer device manufacturers produce car vacuum cleaners which are of lower quality than others. If you see the same brand of a car vacuum cleaner as your toaster oven, TV, or washing machine, you should try to find a different brand.
There’s no guarantee that these manufacturers will produce a low-quality car vacuum cleaner, but there isn’t any reason to take a risk on them when there are many other car vacuum cleaner manufacturers which have a history of producing high-quality devices at affordable prices.
Finally, be aware that off-brand car vacuum cleaners will probably be more expensive than the mainstream models.
How durable are car vacuum cleaners?
Car vacuum cleaners tend to be very durable unless they have a hose. For most car vacuum cleaners, the hose is the weakest point of the entire device. While the tubes of car vacuum cleaners are not exceptionally fragile, they need to bend and face friction forces very frequently.
This means that the hose frequently snags on sharp objects or hinge points within your vehicle. If you are careful, you can minimize the damage caused by this snagging and friction activity, however.
Problems with the hose of your car vacuum cleaner are inexpensive to fix with a piece of duct tape. If the hose is completely torn, you can always purchase a new tube in most cases. New hoses are very inexpensive, so you shouldn’t worry too much about their durability.
The other weak point of car vacuum cleaners is their AC power adapter and their cord. The AC power adapter which plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter port is vulnerable at the point where the cord attaches to the adapter.
Because the cord constantly twists and flexes against the adapter, it is likely to fray over an extended period. There isn’t much that you can do to mitigate this issue.
Keeping the cord itself in good condition is significantly easier. When the cord of your car vacuum cleaner is twisted around, much like the hose, it can catch on things and fray.
To avoid undue stress on the cord of your car vacuum cleaner, you should coil the cable carefully around the vacuum when it is not in use.
Which messes are the most difficult for car vacuum cleaners to handle?
Most car vacuum cleaners are more effective at cleaning dry messes than wet messes because it is easier for wet messes to create blockages which will stop the inflow of air.
Messes that are mixtures of wet and dry detritus are the most pernicious. This means that messes which are already difficult to clean up, like pet vomit, are still going to be a struggle for a car vacuum cleaner.
There are a handful of easy tricks that you can use to make the most difficult messes easier to handle, however. First, don’t rely on your car vacuum cleaner to aspirate liquids directly. Instead, apply paper towels or other adsorbents to grab the bulk of the liquid’s volume.
Second, clean your car vacuum cleaner’s dust cup between cleaning runs where you have aspirated mixtures of wet and dry dirt. HEPA filters are clogged far more rapidly by wetness than they are by dry particles.
Next, be wary of the size of the particles and trash which you are aspirating. Pet hair or human hair will wrap around a cloth HEPA filter and clog it very quickly, whereas dust or sand will typically fill the dust cup many times before clogging the filter.
When the dust is damp, the picture changes entirely, however. Once again, cloth HEPA filters will clog very quickly in the face of damp dirt. Metal HEPA filters fare better with all kinds of dirt, whether or not it is wet.
Large particles like pebbles can be surprisingly hard on your car vacuum cleaner’s metal HEPA filter, however. You’ll need to be careful not to aspirate too many of these types of trash at the same time because if they clog the metal HEPA filter, the filter can become distorted.
This concludes our roundup of car vacuum cleaners. We hope that you feel more prepared to make a car vacuum cleaner purchase.
When you ultimately purchase a car vacuum cleaner to clean your car, you should remember to maximize your comfort. Don’t bother with car vacuum cleaners which will make you contort yourself even more while cleaning.
At the end of the day, most car vacuum cleaners will be sufficient for your needs. Pick the vacuum cleaner which will work with you to clean your car rather than against you.