On an average day, your car might just be the hardest-working member of your family. Between commuting to work, shuttling kids to activities and playdates, hauling pets to vet appointments and loading up the whole family for road trips, we require a lot out of our vehicles. And these modern-day workhorses deserve a little TLC in return. Plus, it is just a little gross to have car seats covered in dog hair from Fifi’s last grooming session, or to move the booster seat and discover what amounts to an entire container of puffs. (Totally forgivable and utterly understandable? Of course — but still a little gross.)
Avoid the expense of taking your vehicle to the full-service car wash and the hassle of paying for the self-service car cleaning stations by investing in your own car vacuum. These portable, handheld mini vacuums let you keep up with the small spills and daily grime collecting in your car so it never gets you to the point of shame spiraling yourself into making excuses for why you can’t drive carpool.
Car vacuums come in both corded and cordless versions. The corded options usually plug into your car’s cigarette lighter and offer 16 feet of cord so you can navigate around your entire vehicle, even into the trunk. Cordless versions provide enough battery life to give you ample time to get the car spic and span. Many car vacuums will work on both dry and wet messes, and they are capable of sucking up everything from clumps of dirt that fell off soccer cleats to those crumbs that collect whenever you let the kids chow down in the car.
Convinced you need one? (Yeah, us too.) Check out our recommendations for the best car vacuums below, click “buy” on your favorite, and put a car cleaning session on your calendar. Your vehicle will be back to its new-car-clean state in no time!
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1. ThisWorx Corded Car Vacuum
The ThisWorx portable vacuum cleaner for the car offers strong, non-bulky suction with easy maneuverability thanks to the 106W motor, strong metal turbine and a 16-foot power cable, which should be long enough to reach every crumb-filled nook and cranny in your car. Equipped with three different nozzles to meet a gamut of cleaning needs from dry dirt to wet spills, the elastic hose extends the reach even further. This in-car vacuum cleaner also features a large transparent trash container and lid that shuts off to prevent your trash from falling out. The washable HEPA filter design makes vacuum maintenance easy and convenient. And as a bonus, each vacuum comes with a carry bag to conveniently store and take along everything you need, as well as an additional HEPA filter.
2. HOTOR Corded Car Vacuum
This corded handheld vacuum from HOTOR is a high-powered tool that lets you easily clean your car without worrying about your vacuum’s battery life. The 12V vacuum has a bright LED light for illuminating car interiors so you can identify and focus on the dirtiest spots (yep, we’re talking about floor mats and that space behind the booster seat!). The filter is covered with a filter wrap and is designed to keep stable suction, extend the life of the filter and avoid clogging. The detachable dustcup head is good for quick and easy trash dumping. In addition to being equipped with three different nozzles to meet all your car-cleaning needs, each vacuum also also comes with a convenient carry bag.
3. Holife Handheld Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
Cordless doesn’t mean less powerful — at least, not when it comes to the Holife cordless handheld vacuum, which boasts a high-performance motor that provides strong cyclonic suction. It’s powerful enough to pick up coins! The handheld vacuum has both wet and dry versatility with three serviceable attachments: a crevice tool for reaching debris in tight corners and spaces; a dusting brush for picking up hair or dirt on upholstery; and a liquid nozzle for sucking up liquid spills. Lightweight and cord-free, it’s easy to maneuever and access every mess; and the lithium battery can run constantly for 30 minutes with a charge of about 3 to 4 hours. The Holife vacuum also has a quiet motor, a removable translucent bag-less dirt bowl and two removable and washable filters.
4. Reserwa Car Vacuum Cleaner
This fifth generation Reserwa car vacuum features upgraded power for 4500PA of suction — which means it can effectively pick up things that weigh about 16 ounces, so it’s definitely strong enough to suck up all the dust, pet hair, crumbs and other small debris that has accumulated in your car. Capable of both dry and wet applications, the Reserwa comes with three accessories: a brush for cleaning up hair and dirt; a soft long tube to clean the surface of leather without damage, and a long mouth to clean the trunk or under the seat. A detachable HEPA filter is washable to allow maximum and continuous cleaning efficiency. The 16-foot power cord plugs into the cigarette lighter and can reach all the way to the trunk (because you know there’s a mess in there, too). And when you’re done, tuck away all the parts in the included storage bag.