Best Car Vacuum – Keeping Your Vehicle’s Interior Clean
A lot of us guys focus on the exterior of the car because let’s admit it, how the car looks is more important than the inside. And we end up not cleaning it at all.
When you look at it, cleaning the interior makes a lot of sense because we spend most of our time inside not outside.
And if you have children, the more important it is to keep the inside clean to prevent triggering factors of asthma like microscopic dust.
So why do we neglect cleaning the interior?
First would be not having the right equipment.
Next reason – it’s a lot of work and without the right tools it is hard to clean every nook and cranny.
These vacuums are some of the best options for cars that are capable of reaching of every nook and cranny. You choice will depend primarily on personal preference and budge.
To help you navigate through this guide, simply click through any of the links below to jump directly to a section that interests you:
Armor All Utility Wet/Dry
|Brush on/off switch|
approx. 4 pounds
25 air watts
How to choose a car vacuum?
Choosing the right vacuum for your vehicle is a little different than picking one for your home.
Let’s quickly look at the different features to look at to help you with your decision.
Whereas a powerful vacuum is a must have in any home to be able to pick up gunk and dirt trapped underneath strands of fiber on carpet and rugs. This isn’t a requirement when cleaning inside vehicles.
In fact a lightweight and portable vacuum with a diverse tool set would be a better option than something that is powerful and bulky.
So you’ll have to pick your poison.
If you want something that would really deep clean all the fabric and carpet inside your vehicle, then you’ll probably better off using an upright vacuum or even a corded stick vacuum that has more power.
But bear in mind that these machines are heavier and do require an outlet. And you’ll almost have to have a garage to use these cleaners or have a very long extension cord.
Some brands like Shark have new technology that coverts it to a canister and make it possible to clean, compact areas.
Their latest product is called the DuoClean Powered Lift Away that has upright power but the versatility of a canister. But these products will cost more than the options listed here because you’ll be paying for a quality product that performs.
Corded or Cordless – the Portability Question
As much as I love the portability that a cordless vacuum brings, corded vacuums have distinct advantages over them that are worth mentioning.
Biggest advantage would be power. Since these machines have a cord, manufacturers can put larger sized motors without worrying about run time.
A larger motor means more power that equates to better cleaning performance.
But you have to ask yourself, how much power is enough?
Do you really need all that power to clean a relatively easy to clean a very small space with only low pile carpet and upholstery?
Are you willing to go through all that trouble unpacking and packing up a 20 foot or so power cord just to clean your vehicle?
Are you an obsessive neat freak that has to clean their vehicle’s interior every single day?
If you have to clean your vehicle more than once per week then something without any cords would be a better choice.
In my opinion the Dyson V6 Car + Boat is one of the best options that does not have a cord. It has good suction and has enough tools that will clean most car interiors. Take note that the V6 has around 10 variants in their product line.
Vehicle interior will vary depending on the type of car you buy.
There will be variances in terms of size, number of seats, etc.
Let’s say you own a mini-van, most likely you’ll have a big family with lots of kids on board. You’d need a more heavy duty vacuum with above average power to clean up a messy aftermath of a long trip out of town.
For younger families with small children, you know how messy these little bundles of joy can get. A portable handheld vacuum preferably with a hose attachment would be a great option.
Car’s Interior Design
Look at your vehicle’s upholstery. Is it fabric, leather, suede?
This should help determine what vacuum to choose. If it is mostly fabric then you’ll be better served to choose something with a motorized brush.
In my experience these are best and most efficient at removing dirt off fabric upholstery and carpet inside vehicles.
This would be another consideration for buying something with wet/dry functionality just in case spills happen.
Leather seats may not necessitate having a motorized brush because since dirt is just on the surface.
Reach and Tools
A must have for any decent car vacuum would be a hose. Not only a hose extends reach, it also allows you to clean in more tight spots like the dashboard, areas in between seats, cushions and spaces underneath chairs.
In addition to a hose, it also has to have a crevice and brush tool for cleaning dust off vents and tight spots in-between the door and seats.
To summarize here’s the list of must haves:
- Flexible hose
- Crevice and brush tools for cleaning dirt and dust on vents, under seats and tight crevices
- Specialty tools for cleaning hair (if you own pets)
- Washable filter
- Decent sized bin (especially if you own a large vehicle)
- Power cord of at least 20 feet (if you’re buying something corded)
- Easy to empty bin
Remember there is a big difference between a high quality vacuum and a cheap one would be how these attachments stick.
Cheap Chinese made cleaners will use cheap plastic with nary a locking mechanism to keep these tools in place, instead it will only rely on friction.
The combination of bad quality material and non-existent locking mechanism will result of eventual cracking in the connecting points if you are not careful.
Our Pick: Metropolitan Vac ‘N’ Blo
Out of the 5 vacuums featured here this vacuum is the most purpose built for cleaning cars, from the compact cylindrical body to the bevy of attachments to the powerful 4 horsepower motor.
This vacuum is no doubt a car vacuum cleaner at its core which makes it one of the go-to brands that professional detailers use to clean up their client’s vehicles.
The combination of the compact size, powerful motor, and a bevy of attachments for every part of the vehicle make this a great option for the serious detailer.
What makes this unique to the other vacuums is the ability to blow air and not just suck in.
This function allows car owners to blow off water from crevices that a towel cannot reach and where dirt can accumulate.
There are close to 10 different options in Amazon depending on your need. Some variants like the PRO-83BA have a wider range of tools that’s great if you want to start your own detailing business.
- Strong 4-hp motor
- Attachments allow you to clean every nook and cranny inside the car
- Blow function helps blow off excess water in tight crevices like door jambs or emblems
- Very expensive
- Short warranty
- Short hose (unless you buy another hose)
Wet/Dry Option: Armor All Utility Wet/Dry Vacuum
I’m sure that you will agree that there are instances where you need a wet/dry vacuum to clean up those occasional spills or if you have kids, those recent spills.
It will cost a few hundred dollars if you’d have it detailed by a pro so why not do it yourself?
In fact it’s the bestselling wet/dry vacuum in Amazon because it’s cheap and it works.
Let’s look at the features.
First this vacuum packs some punch with its 2HP motor. Remember that you don’t need a full sized vacuum to effectively clean the interior so this vacuum has more than enough power to do the job.
Second and the most important feature is the wet/dry cleaning feature.
What this means is that this vacuum is capable of picking up dry dirt as well as wet. This is important when cleaning spills because if you left it to dry, it can leave a stench that could linger if you don’t address it.
This also allows you not only to vacuum the interior. But also deep clean any fabric upholstery inside your vehicle. Just spray on the cleaning solution on the seats, leave it for around 5 minutes then use the wet function of the vacuum to pick up excess liquid, it’s that easy.
Like the Metro Vac this vacuum also comes with a blow function that allows you to blow off excess water off crevices and inside the engine. Great if you’re into detailing your own vehicle. And it comes with a crevice tool, car nozzle, blower nozzle and detail brush. Basically everything you need to clean any vehicle.
- Very cheap
- Strong motor
- Has wet/dry functionality and a blower function
- Comes with accessories that can clean most parts of the car interior
- Very short power cord (only 10 feet) – you may need an extension cord
- Short hose (6 feet)
Cordless Option: Black & Decker BDH2020FLFH
This isn’t as flexible or as powerful as the Metro Vac ‘N’ Blo. But it is cheaper and this will double as your quick pick up tool for your home.
One of my favorite features of the BDH2020FLFH is the flexible 4 foot hose that extends the reach of this cordless. Unlike other cordless without a hose this has better reach and is fully capable of cleaning the whole interior of your vehicle.
It has a brush tool for dusting, a crevice tool to clean up tight areas as well as your seats and a pet hair tool that is fully capable of cleaning pet hair on fabric upholstery and carpet – just in case you love to travel with your pets.
Being a cordless, you don’t have to worry about wires and such so you can bring this with you on road trips – just keep it fully charged.
- Cordless freedom
- Comes with a flexible hose that extends the reach and allows it to clean tight spots like the dashboard
- Has a pet hair tool just in case you have pets with you
- Pretty decent run time (around 15 to 20 mins)
- Not as powerful as the other options here
- Relatively short hose
- Small dirt canister – you’d have to empty this often if your car is really dirt
- No blower function or a wet function
Lightweight and Powerful: Sanitaire SC3683
The Sanitaire SC3683 has perhaps the longest plastic hose out of the box at 7 feet – one foot more than the Metro Vac ‘N’ Blo and Armor All.
This commercial grade vacuum has a pretty decent 10 amp motor capable of picking up just about anything that you can clean up inside your vehicle – dust, pet hair, soil, sand, anything.
The long hose allows this canister to reach pretty much any nook and cranny – unless you have a mini-van.
What I like about this product is that it can also double as your main vacuum for your home if it has primarily hardwood flooring so it also saves you money.
It also comes with the tools you need for 99% of cleaning needs – a crevice tool, brush tool and upholstery tool.
- Commercial quality
- Very good suction
- Long hose
- 2 year warranty
- Good tool set that is capable of cleaning
- Has the option for HEPA filtration
- Plastic hose and tools may crack over time due to wear and tear
Corded Handheld: Eureka EasyClean 71B
Earlier I presented to you the Black & Decker BDH2020FLFH as a cordless handheld option. Now here’s a corded handheld that is provides another option with different set of tools.
Like the Black & Decker it has a flexible hose and a crevice tool capable of cleaning tight crevices however it lacks a brush tool that will efficiently pick up dust.
What it has over the Black & Decker is the motorized brush that has better agitation and would be a better option in terms of deep cleaning carpet inside your vehicle.
If your vehicle has lots of flat surfaces (like a Mini-Van), this would be a better option than the Black & Decker.
This tool also works great deep cleaning dirt trapped on fabric upholstery.
- Has a motorized brush – great for flat surfaces and upholstery
- Flexible hose plus crevice tool allows this to clean tight spaces
- Risor visor feature is a useful feature for cleaning vertical areas of seats
- Does not have a dusting brush included in the package
- Short hose
- Lacks reach even with the crevice tool
To Wrap It Up
Gents cleaning the interior is as important as the exterior. Ladies I’m sure you’re aware of this because we spend most of our time inside not outside.
To do the job, you will need the right tools.
The Metro Vac ‘N’ Blo was made by petrol heads for petrol heads who want something compact, versatile and yet powerful. What I like about their products is the long hose that is a must have for cleaning car interiors.
It also has the most complete tools set not just for cleaning the seats and floor. But also other areas like air conditioning vents, glove boxes, etc. The folks at Dyson may argue that their product is as versatile.
Currently there are close to 10 different variants, each with a different tool set.
If you have toddlers then your best option would be the Wet/Dry vacuum from Armor All that is rugged and versatile. This machine will be able to clean up liquid spills inside the vehicle so it does not stink up.
The Black & Decker BDH2020FLFH is a great option if you’re looking for a versatile cordless with decent power. What I like about this product is the flexible hose that extends reach. This allows you to clean areas between the seat and center console and under it.
I picked this over the Dyson Car + Boat because it’s much cheaper and the power difference is negligible.
For folks who have asthma, the Sanitaire SC3683 is a great option. This is the only bagged vacuum in this list but it does not have HEPA filtration. But the bag does limit exposure to fine dust when you empty it.
It is perhaps the most powerful option among the 5 here with a 1,200 watt motor. And aside from using it inside the vehicle, you can also use it inside your home. There are two options – the SC3683B is the one you want because it comes with add-on tools aside from the floor tool.
For larger vehicles with a lot of flat surfaces Eureka EasyClean 71B is a good choice. It comes with a motorized brush that works best on fabric upholstery and large flat surfaces. It also comes with a detachable hose that will allow it access to nooks and crannies.
Pet owners who have trouble cleaning pet hair off their car’s upholstery will benefit from this product. You can also use it on stairs and even the mattress. So it does provide a lot of versatility as well.
The 5.5 amp motor will provide ample power, though the 20 foot cord is a bit short. But that can be remedied with an extension cord.