Best Car Vacuum Cleaner

best car vacuum

With my amazing power of deduction, I can conclude that the fact you’re looking for the best car vacuum cleaner probably means you have a car. It probably also means you have kids, and/or the furry kids known as “dogs”, and that you need the best car vacuum cleaner you can get your mitts on so you can find the pedals again. OK, I may be overexaggerating, but only slightly.

Our kids have grown up now, so gone are the days of the only clean area in the back seats being the lovely square space left amongst the carnage when the booster seats are removed, but even now when it’s mainly just me in the car & sometimes also my wife, I still don’t know where all the bits come from.

I know where some of them come from, we have a gravel car park at the office, and my favourite shoes have just the perfect-sized gap in the tread to pick up stones. I think if the landlord ever looked in my footwell he might think I’m slowly stealing the car park one stone at a time, to cover our driveway. I’m not, honest guv ;-).

Anyway, the point is that cars do accumulate muck, on the inside as well as the outside, especially if you have dogs and/or kids.

When it comes to keeping the outside of cars clean, hands up if you prefer to delegate that task by driving to a hand car wash. My hand is up, I’m typing with one hand, it’s really hard.

Personally, I just don’t get any enjoyment from washing cars, I know some people do and each to their own, but for me it’s a task I would much rather delegate for the sake of a tenner. My local car wash charges £7 but I always let them keep the change, it’s not as if we need the pound coins for parking these days is it?

When it comes to the inside though, it’s not that I’m tight, but I just don’t really see it as delegation when I’ve got to do what is possibly the most pointless exercise ever invented, known as “waiting”.

Passing a hoover across the seats, footwell & boot may not be the most exciting way to spend five or ten minutes, but it’s way more interesting than sitting and waiting, often in a cold, damp waiting room on an uncomfortable chair!

Given you’re here, reading an article about the best car vacuum, you’re probably nodding in agreement. So, how do you get the same kind of results as the pros do, when it comes to doing your own internal car valeting? Simple, you invest in the best possible car vacuum cleaner you can, and we’re going to help you to do just that :-).

Best Car Vaccum Cleaners – The Two Most Important Considerations

I’ll go into more detail a bit later on in this post, on all of the features to take into consideration when shopping for a car vacuum cleaner, but I thought it would be helpful to just highlight what are the two key qualities that we need to be aware of when looking for a hoover specifically for the car, to allow you to read between the lines of marketing drivel and get to the true potential the hoover you’re looking at has, to answer your car vacuuming prayers.

Cordless Suction Power

If you’re wondering why, generally speaking, the more expensive cordless car vacuums tend to be the most popular, it’s because the fundamental requirement of any hoover is suction power, and given that most people want cordless hoovers for cars, this means sufficient suction power via batteries.  

When you plug a vacuum cleaner into a 13A wall socket, you’re plugging into a continual source (as long as you keep throwing 50p pieces into the meter) of 3,120 watts of power. When you use even the best cordless car vacuums with high-performance lithium-ion batteries, you’re working with a fraction of the total available power.

This doesn’t mean cordless vacuum cleaners can’t be powerful enough, but enabling cordless vacuum cleaners to deliver similar suction power to corded hoovers, for long enough to finish the job, does represent a challenge, which some of the leading vacuum cleaner manufacturers have the resources & ingenuity to step up to.

Some of the best cordless vacuum cleaners these days are just as powerful in terms of AirWatts (the way suction power is measured), if in some cases for relatively short periods (more on this shortly), but there are also much cheaper options on the market, some of which appear to be too good to be true where value for money is concerned. So just beware that many of the much cheaper cordless options may not quite be all they appear, if you’re looking for ultimate value for money, you’ll probably need to be OK with a power cable. 

So the first, and most important consideration when buying a cordless vacuum cleaner for cars is sufficient suction power for a long enough period.

This is one of the biggest challenges for vacuum cleaner brands, not only endowing their vacuums with decent suction power but being able to keep that going for a sufficient length of time. 

The good news when it comes to cordless car vacuum cleaners vs normal cordless vacuum cleaners is that the vacuuming time requirement isn’t as long. Most people take no more than 10-15 minutes hoovering their car, so this means the manufacturer can prioritise suction power over battery life.

Size & Manoeuvrability 

After suction power, the next priority is the size of the main unit and the ability to get it to where you’re going to have to get it to in order to do a good job of vacuuming all parts of your car. This is another challenge, putting sufficient power into such a petit and lightweight unit to pair these two equally important features when it comes to hoovering in tight spaces.

The best handheld car hoovers are those that do this job well, delivering decent suction power in a small, portable, lightweight unit. If you’re not too fussed about the handheld, cordless side of things, then being able to access the tight spots in the car is the job of the accessories, see the two corded options towards the bottom of this article.

A Quick Note About 12v Car Vacuum Cleaners

Before we get to the suggestions, I want to quickly mention 12v car vacuum cleaners or more specifically, to explain why there is no mention of 12v car vacuum cleaners in this post, other than this note. Some people when thinking about a car vac will be picturing the 12v vacuum cleaners that you plug into the cigarette lighter, the sort you sometimes see advertised with the other tat when you’re filling your car up.

The problem with these is that they’re just not powerful enough, if you’ve ever used one of these you’ll probably know what I mean, they tend to be like toys that make the appropriate sound but don’t really do anything. The other bad thing about these kinds of vacuum cleaners vs what I’d class as the best car vacuum cleaners is that they’re not multi-use, given that you can only use them while plugged into the car socket.

Although this is an article about vacuum cleaners for the car, the hoovers we’re featuring here are multi-purpose, mainly portable, handheld vacuum cleaners that can be used in various scenarios including but not exclusive to, vacuuming cars. They can be used for quickly grabbing to hoover up “oops” moments in the kitchen & for reaching surfaces that are a bit of a faff to get to with the main hoover, so we’re not talking about investing money on a vacuum cleaner that can exclusively be used for keeping the inside of your car clean.

With all of that said, let’s get onto our suggestions for the best car vacuum cleaners in the UK:

Black and Decker PD1820L Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

Most handheld vacuum cleaners are made specifically for dealing with accidental spills in your home and you can also use them in the car but this one has been designed the other way round. You can certainly use it for many things in your home but it’s most effective in the car.

There are so many places in the car that are extremely hard to reach like down the side of seats, under the seats, the storage areas inside the doors and more.

This hoover will deal with them all effortlessly making hoovering the inside of your car a pleasure. It’s basically a mini version of the ones they use in the car wash with a long hose.

This one comes with a 1.5 metre hose making it super easy to get into all the nooks and crannies with ease. Suction is strong and you also get a 15 minute runtime ensuring you can do the whole car in one go without having to recharge the battery.


See the full review of the black and decker pd1820l handheld vacuum cleaner


Shark CH950UKT Handheld Vacuum Cleaner  

They say that the devil is in the detail and Shark has that covered with this superbly priced handheld vacuum cleaner that represents great value for money for the cleaning power that it harnesses.

Not made specifically for hoovering out cars, it can live in the house to deal with all the regular spills that crop up on a daily basis but it will work brilliantly in the car specifically because of the motorised brush tool that it comes with as standard. The brush spins independently and will easily pick up all the dirt and hair that accumulates on your car seats .

It also comes with a crevice tool for getting down the side of seats and in hard to get to areas inside your vehicle. 10 minutes of runtime on full power before you’ll need to charge will be plenty to zip round the car.



See the full review of the Shark CH950UKT handheld vacuum cleaner


Gtech Mk2 Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

Not as expensive as the Dyson but arguably as effective this is another premium handheld vacuum cleaner that is perfect for car use.

It weighs just 1.5kg which is really light and a big help when you are twisting and turning with your wrist into all the corners of the car. It doesn’t feel heavy to hold even after 10 minutes of continuous use.

As you would expect for a premium product the suction is excellent and suitable for the most demanding of homes. If you have pets and children going in and out of the car all the time the Gtech will deal with it with no problem.

There is one power mode – very strong – and you get 20 minutes of continuous use from one charge. There are also lights on the front which is handy to see the dirt lurking under the seats and in less well-lit areas.

One thing that is unique to the Gtech from a handheld perspective is the extended wand that comes with it as standard and helps to eliminate kneeling across the car seats to get to tucked away areas giving a long enough reach to stretch across the width of most cars.

There is a motorised brush tool for use on the seats and car carpets. This is a great all-rounder with really strong suction.

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See Gtech Price

See the full review of the Gtech Mk2 handheld vacuum cleaner


Shark WV200UK Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

This is a superlight handheld with an extremely thin design making it ideal for car use. It only weighs 1.3kg making it the lightest handheld we have tested and it’s just 9.5cm wide making it the narrowest as well.

Small in size certainly does not translate into small in power though as Shark has managed to fit a powerful battery into this cordless handheld hoover ensuring it delivers powerful suction that is easily capable of dealing with the challenges that car dirt throws at it.

I use this handheld on my own car and I have yet to come across any debris that it is not able to pick up. The crevice accessory tool slots into the larger opening of the main vacuum and that allows you to get more powerful focussed suction on the floor of the car and the upholstery tool works great on the seats.

It only comes with one power mode which is basically turbo and you can expect about 8 minutes on one charge. I wouldn’t normally keep a vacuum cleaner out on display but this one looks so good that it sits out in the corner of my kitchen worksurface ready to be grabbed at a seconds notice for any unexpected spillages. Another winner from Shark.

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See Shark Price

See the full review of the Shark WV200UK handheld vacuum cleaner


Dyson V10 Vacuum Cleaner

The Dyson V10 wouldn’t really be classed as a car vacuum in its standard full-sized configuration, but the Dyson cordless sticks including the V10 are renowned for their ability to very quickly and easily convert into ultra-powerful hand held vacuum cleaners. All you need to do is to unlip the wand and replace it the necessary attachment, and the Dyson V10 morphs into one of the best car vacuum cleaners you could imagine!

The standalone handheld vacuum cleaners above will do a great job on the car, but if your current main vacuum cleaner has seen better days and you think you may end up replacing that in the not-too-distant future, why not kill two birds with one stone (I hate that saying as I love birds, but I can’t think of a better phrase!) by replacing your burnt out vacuum cleaner with a multi purpose cordless stick?

This isn’t the latest cordless stick vacuum from Dyson, but what’s great about that is it doesn’t require a remortgage or a second job, and in most areas, it competes very well against the newer and much pricier Dyson models, it certainly wipes the floor (pun intended, I’m not sorry) with most purpose-built handheld vacuums where suction power is concerned.

Some Dyson devotees follow the brand like sheep, similarly to some iPhone owners some of whom spend hours queuing, some even camping overnight to be one of the first people to own the latest model (what’s that all about?) and will buy the latest version simply because it’s the latest version. When you really study the latest models, and this is true of smart phones and vacuum cleaners, there’s often a lot of hype being made of very small developments.

In some ways the first owners of new models are the guinea pigs, oh well done you, you paid hundreds of pounds extra to own the latest smartphone models so you can be plagued with bugs and other issues until they iron them out, rather than waiting until it’s last year’s model and all the bugs are ironed out, when you’d get it for a hundred quid less…

Personally, I think the savvy thing to do with any brand like Dyson who continually release new models, is to look at the last few models and go for the one that has the features you need and costs you the least, and for most people – the V10 is probably going to be the winner.

This is probably the best Dyson cordless vacuum cleaner, all things considered including price tag. It’s the vacuum cleaner that I use on a daily basis and it takes no prisoners when it comes to dirt in the house or in the car. It simply annihilates everything in its path.

It is expensive but it’s worth it.

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See the full review of the Dyson V10 vacuum cleaner


Vytronix Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner

Vytronix might not be as well-known a brand as the likes of Dyson, Shark, or Miele, as it’s a new brand relatively speaking, but it’s a UK-based brand owned by a well-established British firm who have been operating in the vacuum cleaner market for quite some time, and their cordless stick is a very interesting offering, especially where car vacuums are concerned.

Similar to the Dyson V10 this is a cordless stick vacuum cleaner made as a full-sized hoover for cleaning the home, but which very quickly converts into a powerful handheld, and this has a very similar look to some of the early Dyson handhelds, most notably the Dyson V7 & V8.

It doesn’t have the suction power of the Dysons that it’s clearly emulating, but it has to be said that it’s not actually a million miles off, which is quite impressive given the fact that it costs literally a fraction of the price of a Dyson cordless vacuum cleaner!

In the various tests that reviewers have done on the Vytronix cordless stick, it’s been shown to be less powerful than much more expensive Dysons, and usually found to be slightly heavier and often not quite as loud or at least having a slightly less obtrusive noise profile. For me, this leads to the conclusion that given the very low price, this would be a great cordless vacuum cleaner to have for the car, and as a backup or secondary hoover for the home. 

Let’s say your main vacuum cleaner is a cylinder vacuum for example, this could be used as a lightweight hoover for doing the stairs and harder to reach areas, by simply attaching the main wand and in doing so transforming it from being a handheld cordless car vacuum cleaner into being a fairly capable little cordless vacuum cleaner for normal hoovering tasks. It would also serve as a backup if your main vacuum cleaner needed to be repaired or replaced.

It might not quite have the grunt of the Dyson V10, but it has a similar battery life and a similar-sized waste container, and for most people it probably has more than enough cleaning power for hoovering the car.


See the full review of the Vytronix stick vacuum cleaner


Miele C3 Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner

Cylinder vacuum cleaners may appear to be unlikely candidates for the best car vacuum cleaners, but if you don’t actually need a cordless car vacuum cleaner (obviously you will if the closest place you can hoover your car is way too far away from the nearest socket) then these can actually be among the best option as long as they come with the necessary accessories for getting into all the hard to reach spaces in the car.

The Miele C3 comes with an 8.5 metre power cable, so depending on how far away from your home the car is parked when you hoover it out, this may work for you with or without the help of an extension lead. 

Not specifically a car vacuum cleaner, this is one of our highest-rated vacuum cleaners overall and will easily double up as an excellent car vacuum, and because it’s corded the suction power is magnificent and you’ll never need to worry about the battery running out.

It comes with the aforementioned accessories to enable you to reach the tight spots when cleaning your car, and it’s made by Miele, one the most highly respected top-end brands you can buy but surprisingly, the C3 can be bought at a very reasonable almost budget price point and that makes it outstanding value for money.



See the full review of the Miele C3 Cylinder vacuum cleaner


Henry The Hoover cylinder vacuum cleaner

Another cylinder vacuum cleaner, and of course the cheery-faced iconic red & black (although available in a range of names and colours these days) Henry, often referred to as “Henry Hoover”, this is one of the best vacuum cleaners out there, full stop. If you doubt that, then if you have a spare day, go out and find as many professional commercial or domestic cleaners, and ask them what hoover they use, if it’s not a Henry that’s often because it’s a Hetty, Henry’s sister!

The cleaning power Henry brings to the table (well, to the floor, or the car, but you know what I mean) is seldom beaten, even by vacuum cleaners costing several times the price. The waste bin is huge, and yes there’s a bag, but at 6 litres in capacity, you’re not going to have to replace it often, plus they’re ultra sturdy and reliable, which is one of the reasons they’re so well loved by pro cleaners & they’re ridiculously simple to use.

The only catch is that they’re cylinder vacuums, and cylinders aren’t as fashionable these days.

If you’re shopping for a cleaning tool, though, and not a fashion accessory, and if you don’t absolutely need a cordless hoover, then Henry really should be on your shortlist. There’s a very good reason this little cheeky-faced chap has sold well over 10 million units since he was released, and it’s not only his pretty face!

Henry does come with accessories, but one that you might want to buy separately which I think is a great investment for pet owners, is the AiroBrush 140 Accessory. It’s less than £20, and it’s a powered pet brush head which is great for digging dog hair out of car seats and boots, it’s also a great accessory for sofas and stairs.



See the full Henry Hoover Review

See our article on the various versions of Henry

See our Henry Vs Dyson article 


Buying a Car Vaccum Cleaner, Other Considerations

At the beginning of this article, we discussed the two most important considerations for choosing a hoover for the car, the most important one being suction power, and the second size and maneuverability, as you need the ability to move the vacuum cleaner in some relatively tight spaces when hoovering cars, of course.

In addition to these, some of the other things you may need to keep in mind, which are more specific to your individual lifestyle and preferences:

Battery Life

I touched on this earlier, giving a battery-powered vacuum cleaner great suction power is one thing, but the other important thing is being able to utilise that power for a long enough period of time. 

One of the issues with battery-powered electrical items including but not limited to vacuum cleaners, is simply the relatively slow progress in battery technology. Battery tech has certainly developed, but not quite to the same degree as other technology. As a result, brands like Dyson and Shark have developed amazing cordless vacuum cleaners which equal corded vacuums in literally all areas, except for battery life.

For most people this won’t be an issue, as most people will be hoovering their car for 5-10 mins max, and most cordless vacuum cleaners will be up to the task. If you have a particularly large car, or if you have a few cars and you like to do the hoovering all at one time, then you may want to pay particular attention to the cleaning time, and not just the max cleaning time in the marketing blurb, as that’ll be on “eco mode”.


Cars have loads of nooks and crannies many of which appear to be a magnet for crud, including underneath and down the side of the seats, gaps around gear sticks & hand breaks, cup holders & storage trays, door pockets, and so on. Some car vacuums come with useful attachments for reaching hard-to-access areas like this, so it’s always worthwhile looking at the attachments that come with the vacuum you’re considering, to ensure you’ll be able to reach even the most tucked-away places in your car.


If you’re anything like me, when deciding to purchase something, you start out with a budget in your head, and as the search goes on you seem to find yourself sliding down a very slippery slope towards heftier price tags, and before you know it you’re spending two or three times what you intended to spend.

A good tip when this is happening, is to reset yourself by looking at the model you’re thinking of buying, and asking yourself what features it gives you vs more affordable options, and then deciding whether you actually need that feature. The biggest one here would be the cordless feature. Do you really need cordless, given that this will usually result in a much more expensive purchase?

Some people do need lightweight cordless vacuum cleaners for cars, for example, if you live in an apartment and the car is 20 metres or more away from the apartment then carting a corded vacuum down to your car and hunting for a plug socket probably isn’t practical.

If you have a driveway, with a plug point 10m or so from the car, then it’s a different matter, you may be able to save yourself a small fortune by deciding that you’re OK with only hoovering your car when it’s not lashing it down, and with plugging a cable in and carrying the hoover a few steps to your car.

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