What are the best car vacuum cleaners?

  • What are the best in-car vacuum cleaners to buy?
  • Help keep your interior clean and tidy
  • Read our handy guide to what's the best out there

Best car vacuum cleaners

Given how much time you spend in your car, you want to keep it clean and tidy – so invest in a good car vacuum cleaner.

Keeping your car washed and vacuumed is much easier than it used to be. Why spend your precious Sunday mornings working hard when you could take your car along to the former petrol station on the edge of town, where a crack team of cleaners does the job for you?

But where’s the satisfaction in that? We say keep the tenner in your pocket and do it yourself.

But which car vacuum cleaner should you buy?

The household vacuum cleaner under your stairs would do a good job, but do you really want to lug it outside to your car? Upright vacuum cleaners are designed for household carpets, rugs and stairways, not for squeezing through a car door.

That’s where a cordless vacuum cleaner comes in. Here, we’ve selected some of the best car-friendly vacuums you can buy – and we’ve deliberately omitted traditional household appliances.

So why do you need a car vacuum cleaner?

Your car is hiding all manner of detritus. Dust on the dashboard, crud on the carpets, French fries in the footwells, gook in the glovebox and dregs in the door pockets. We haven’t even mentioned the dog hair in the boot. The fact is, your car needs a vacuum cleaner.

Studies show a typical family car is home to thousands of units of bacteria per square inch, making it dirtier than a toilet seat. Predictably, the boot is the dirtiest part of the car, followed by the driver’s seat, cupholder and steering wheel. Now you really want a car vacuum cleaner, don’t you?

How to buy the right car vacuum cleaner, and how to use it

There are a number of things to consider when buying a car vacuum cleaner. First, consider the suction power. If a vacuum cleaner is no good at sucking, it kind of, er… sucks. Then there’s the runtime. If you’re buying a cordless cleaner, ensure a full charge delivers enough time for you to cover the entire car. Either that or don’t leave it too long next time.

We’d also consider the weight. One of the main advantages of buying a handheld car vacuum cleaner is that you’re not lugging an upright cleaner around with you. Check the weight when comparing products.

As for how to use a car vacuum cleaner, if you can use a household vacuum, you should be fine. Make sure you use a brush when cleaning the dashboard and plastic trim to avoid leaving marks and scratches. Don’t forget to clean the air vents, cupholders and door pockets.

What to consider when choosing a car vacuum cleaner

What is the runtime?

A good car vacuum cleaner should be able to complete a car clean on a single charge.

How heavy is the vacuum cleaner?

There are plenty of ways to keep fit. Working out with a car vacuum cleaner isn’t one of them.

How much do you want to spend?

There are car vacuum cleaners to suit all pockets. Avoid the cheapest units, but some of the more affordable cleaners offer the suction power of the bigger brands for a keen price.

Is your household vacuum cleaner up to the challenge?

Take a look at your existing vacuum cleaner. Does it pack some of the attachments that would be ideal for use in the car?


Best for all-round ability

Gtech

Gtech Multi MK2 Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

£149.99

Lightweight vacuum with heavyweight suction

The Gtech Multi Mk2 looks so good, you won't want to leave it in the garage. It packs everything you need for giving your car a deep clean, including a crevice tool for the cracks in the seat, a dusting brush for the dashboard and a power brush for the carpets and mats. A four-hour charge provides 20 minutes of runtime, and because it weighs just 1.5kg, you won't feel like you've done a workout after every use.

Best for long runtime

Dyson

Dyson V8 Animal Flex Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

Long runtime and easy-to-use cleaner

The Dyson V8 certainly isn't the cheapest handheld vacuum cleaner you can buy, but it's hard to beat for portability and suction power. The pistol-like handle makes it incredibly easy to use. It is a great choice if you have a dog that regularly travels in the car. You also get 40 minutes of suction power and a bin that can be emptied at the touch of a button.

Best for light work

Black and Decker

Black & Decker PD1200AV-XJ 

£39.00

Affordable vacuum that’s great for easier jobs

If the previous products could be classed as the 'Premier League' of car vacuums, the Black & Decker 12v Dustbuster Flexi Auto Hand Vac is a 'Championship' level cleaner. It plugs into your car's 12v socket, so there's no need to worry about it running out of power, while a 5m cable ensures you can reach all areas of the vehicle. The attachments are designed with the car in mind, while a side door makes it easy to empty the dust bowl.

Best for car and garage

Karcher

Kärcher WD5 Wet & Dry Vacuum

£156.34

Wet and dry cleaning from the pressure washer guys

Although we've avoided traditional vacuums, we'll make an exception for the Karcher WD5 Wet and Dry vacuum cleaner. Why? Because it's designed for use in the car and the garage, with a filter system designed for wet and dry pick-up. It also contains a 25-litre container, along with a blower function to dislodge dust from hard-to-reach places. Great for big tasks – not so great for the intimate areas of your car.

Best for killing bacteria

VonHaus

VonHaus Handheld Corded Vacuum Cleaner with UV Light

£69.99

Bugs be gone with this mattress vacuum cleaner

We've selected this VonHaus corded vacuum cleaner with one eye on our earlier point about bacteria in cars. It features an 8w UV lamp and vibration feature to kill up 99.9 percent of bacteria and allergens such as pet hair, pollen, bed bugs and dust mites. If it's good enough for your mattress, it's good enough for your car seats and boot. It also boasts a combined upholstery/crevice tool for those hard-to-reach places.

Best buying on a budget

Reserwa

Reserwa 5th Gen Car Vacuum Cleaner

£20.39

Good performance for such a low price

The Reserwa is one of the cheapest handheld car vacuum cleaners you can buy. However, a 106w output means it doesn't lack suction. This vacuum cleaner plugs into your car's cigarette lighter, making it more portable than one that relies on the mains. On the downside, the manufacturer only recommends only using it for 15 minutes at a time – possibly not enough for a thorough car clean. It comes with brush, soft rubber tube and long rigid tube attachments, plus a smart zip-up carrying bag.