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9 best car vacuum cleaners to keep your vehicle crumb-free

·11 min read
We tested models to suit a range of budgets for ease of use and suction power (The Independent)
We tested models to suit a range of budgets for ease of use and suction power (The Independent)

If you struggle to get your household vacuum cleaner out to the car, or fancy something that’s a bit easier to move around, we’ve looked at a range of models made with car cleaning in mind.

Even those of us who deep clean our homes on a regular basis forget to bestow the same treatment on our cars, despite the fact that doing so has never been easier, thanks to the innovative, lightweight vacuums being launched by a wide range of tech brands.

So what should you look for when searching for the ideal super sucker for your car? First of all, don’t write off car-friendly vacuum cleaners because of a short battery life. Yes, some of the ones that are most suited to cars will only have a battery life of around 11 minutes, but the upside is that these smaller designs let us reach the dirt and dust that accumulates in hard-to-reach places without sacrificing suction. If you prefer longer cleaning sessions, look for one that plugs into your in-car 12v socket.

Bin design and size are both factors worth considering. Bins that open with a single touch can be a godsend when you’re undertaking short, sharp cleaning sessions, and it’s important to realise that large bins aren’t just a rarity when it comes to vacuums suited to cars – they’re unnecessary. Our favourite cleaner out of the selection below had a 250ml bin, and this was more than up to the job.

Our other tips? Space-saving design features, such as three-in-one nozzles, will come in very useful when vacuuming tight, small spaces, such as footwells and dashboards, while LED lights will supercharge the speed with which you can hunt down dirt in areas such as the gaps between seats and car doors.

Read more:

How we tested

Luckily for this test, the interior of our sporty Toyota GT86 is a heavy-traffic area that’s almost constantly in need of a deep clean. It’s also rather pokey, so has no end of small spaces and cramped corners perfect for testing any car vacuum’s manoeuvrability.

However, we didn’t just consider cleaning capability – we thought about all aspects of car vacuum cleaners – from battery life and design to accessory quality and bin design. In summary? We got our hands dirty so you don’t have to.

The best car vacuums for 2022 are:

  • Best overall – eufy homevac H30 venture cordless car vacuum: £149.99,

  • Best for portability –  Dyson micro 1.5kg lightweight vacuum cleaner: £299.99,

  • Best for value – Black & Decker gen 2 bagless handheld vacuum cleaner: £32.04,

  • Best ergonomic design – Shark handheld vacuum (double battery) WV251UK: 179.99,

  • Best for simplicity – Hoover handheld vacuum cleaner: £50,

  • Best for larger vehicles – Kaercher battery wet and dry vacuum cleaner wd 1 battery set: £99.99,

  • Best for getting into small spaces – Gtech multi MK2 handheld cordless vacuum cleaner ATF036: £169.99,

  • Best for easy charging – Black & Decker lithium-ion bagless handheld vacuum cleaner: £25.44,

  • Best for quick cleans on-the-go – ROIDMI nano P1 pro black: £119,

eufy homevac H30 venture cordless car vacuum

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

  • Weight: ‎812g

  • Runtime: 20 minutes

We’ve yet to find an eufy vacuum we didn’t like, although don’t worry, we still approached our review of the H30 venture with total impartiality.

In short? We loved it, starting with the manual (and yes, we really are professing our love for a manual), a slick black tome splashed with metallic streaks. Not that this particular vacuum needed much explaining – everything is effortless, whether it’s the ease with which the battery slides into the rear, the way the bin slides off in a nano-second or the way the accessories slot into the charging base.

Max and Eco settings kept things simple but efficient, and we appreciated the ultra-bright light, which proved especially useful when cleaning footwells (warning: be prepared to be disgusted by the state of your car). The crevice tool was one of the best we’ve come across – a slimline affair that proved especially useful for centre consoles.

Buy now £149.99,

Dyson micro 1.5kg lightweight vacuum cleaner

Best: For portability

Rating: 9/10

  • Weight: 1.5kg

  • Runtime: 20 minutes

Yes, this costs almost £300, but you know what? It’s worth every penny. This is an all-singing, all-dancing vacuum, perfectly suited to cars of all shapes and sizes.

Its Radial Root Cyclone technology means it’s incredibly powerful, sucking up ground-in dirt form footwells and upholstery with ease. The cleaner head is 45 per cent smaller than the standard Dyson heads, and we appreciated this downsizing in smaller spaces such as seat pockets.

The best bit? The tech might be rather complex (in a good way) but the design keeps things simple. It comes with a mini motorised tool (the one we used most) and a two-in-one combo tool to allow easy transfers between dusting and cleaning duties. Plus, there’s a two-button control – simply press the power button for continuous cleaning or the MAX button for more intensive cleaning blasts.

Buy now £299.99,

Black & Decker gen 2 bagless handheld vacuum cleaner

Best: For value

Rating: 9/10

  • Weight: 800g

  • Runtime: N/a (corded)

First things first. This vacuum isn’t cordless, but that isn’t a problem, because it can be plugged into your vehicle’s 12-volts socket (formerly known as cigarette lighters).

Its suction might not rival the Dyson’s, but it still had more than enough power to suck up the stamped-in dirt on our back seat, and the brilliantly designed two-in-one crevice tool slipped on and off easily. Ditch the accessories and you’ll still be good to go though, thanks to the tapered point of the main shaft.

We were also huge fans of the transparent body, which meant we could keep an eye on the capacity of the bin, which brings us to our one small gripe – we had to remove the filter to empty the bin. That said, the bin was ridiculously easy to remove, and twisted off in a single movement.

Buy now £32.04,

Shark handheld vacuum (double battery) WV251UK

Best: Ergonomic design

Rating: 9/10

  • Weight: 600g

  • Runtime: 16 minutes

Don’t write this one off because of the slightly lower run time. Yes, it’s 16 minutes, but that’s per battery, and this is one of the few handheld vacuums that comes with two batteries.

This cleaner is surprisingly lightweight, with an innovative, ergonomic design perfect for cars. There’s no torch, but when a vacuum’s design is this car friendly we’re not particularly bothered. It slides effortlessly into the most awkward of spaces, thanks to its compact body. A key element of its design is the way the brush accessory doesn’t come separately but is permanently attached, and simply folds out of the way beneath the main shaft when not in use.

We were also smitten with the one-touch bin opening (simply press the button on the lid and bin pops open), which kept our hands dirt-free.

Buy now £179.99,

Hoover handheld vacuum cleaner

Best: For simplicity

Rating: 8/10

  • Weight: 64g

  • Runtime: 12 minutes

This is a brilliantly wallet-friendly vacuum – one we’ve taken to keeping in our car, stashed in the rear seat pocket, so it’s ready to go for last-minute clean-ups.

Despite the low price tag, it’s packed with fantastic features, including one of the brightest lights we’ve seen on a handheld vacuum and an ingeniously designed three-in-one crevice tool – slide the top down to reveal a built-in brush head.

The battery was easy to take out and insert (it simply slips in and locks into place), and we loved the old-school simplicity of the on/off switch.

Buy now £50.00,

Kaercher battery wet and dry vacuum cleaner wd 1 battery set

Best: For larger vehicles

Rating: 8/10

  • Weight: 3.1kg

  • Runtime: 10 minutes

Karcher vacuums are famously powerful and rugged, but it’s also not a brand to rest on its laurels, as this cordless model proves. Yes, it’s got an industrial look, which suggests it could deep clean a dump truck, but at 3.1kg, it’s much lighter than we were expecting.

The 1.2m suction hose meant we could easily access every corner of our car, while the crevice and upholstery nozzles were ridiculously easy to attach and use.

We loved that this model could also be used to shampoo upholstery, and appreciated the large capacity bin. Yes, we’d liked to have seen a slightly longer run time, but the superior suction meant we vacuumed up a lot of dirt in a short time – we were able to give the interior of our Toyota a thorough deep clean in just seven minutes. A digital display makes it easy to monitor battery life, too.

Buy now £99.99,

Gtech multi MK2 handheld cordless vacuum cleaner ATF036

Best: For getting into small spaces

Rating: 8/10

  • Weight: 1.6kg

  • Runtime: 20 minutes

Got a car full of dogs, cats or other furry friends? Then this is the vacuum cleaner you want – a compact, lightweight model that balances serious suction with an ergonomic design and a fantastic 20-minute run time, courtesy of the 22v lithium battery.

It also gets a gold star in the accessories stakes – alongside the spare filter, dusting brush and crevice tool are five scented cartridges to help banish nasty niffs.

The controls are simple to use, and we appreciated the ultra-bright low-battery indicator, which gave us plenty of warning when the power started to run low.

Buy now £44.99,

Black & Decker lithium-ion bagless handheld vacuum cleaner

Best: For easy charging

Rating: 8/10

  • Weight: 530g

  • Runtime: 11 minutes

This is one of the lightest car-friendly vacuums we’ve come across – it weighs just 530g and provides some seriously strong suction, despite its small size and low price point.

It doesn’t come with any tools, but we didn’t find we missed them – this is another vacuum designed with ease in mind, to be kept in cars for quick cleans on the go.

The controls definitely err on the simple side, with just an on/off switch and a trigger-style control, which means you have to hold down the button to keep the suction going. The upside? This forced us to take a more economic approach to our cleaning sessions – we only engaged the suction when we needed it, which mean the 11-minute run time was more than enough.

Buy now £25.44,

ROIDMI nano P1 pro black

Best: For quick cleans on the go

Rating: 8/10

  • Weight: 500g

  • Runtime: 24 minutes

This vacuum has a shorter design than the other models we’ve featured here, but we saw this as a major advantage. Yes, we’ve got a relatively pokey car but even in larger vehicles we appreciated its compact design, which made it easy to get to the parts other vacuums couldn’t reach.

The nano is another vacuum with a fantastically ergonomic design – it’s wonderfully light and we’re big fans of the hinged, magnetic nozzle, which flips up and is held in place with magnets. To utilise the bristles, simply press the button on the size and they’ll pop up.

High and low settings were more than enough, and the bright LED torch did a great job of lighting up the darkest corners of our footwells and rear-seat pockets.

Buy now £119.00,

The verdict: Car vacuum cleaners

The eufy Homevac H30 venture cordless car vacuum is the clear winner on this occasion, simply because of its lightweight design, extremely powerful suction and the ease of use. We loved the Dyson micro 1.5kg lightweight vacuum cleaner for the way it combines usability, a compact design and brilliant power, while the Black & Decker gen 2 bagless handheld vacuum cleaner is a fantastic option for anyone looking for a wallet-friendly car vacuum that won’t break the bank.

Voucher codes

For offers on car vacuum cleaners and other household appliances, try these discounts:

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