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9 best car vacuum cleaners to keep your car clean and crumb-free

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

How to choose a car vacuum cleaner

Think about storage. If you don’t have a garage, you may prefer a model that could be left on charge and also used around the home.

Kids? It may be wise to consider something that can tackle wet spills as well as work for sucking up debris or shampooing surfaces.

If you have pets that are transported in the car, look for a model with a rotating brush head option, as this will help to dislodge fur and dander from the pile of carpets before removing. A crevice tool is always essential for the narrow spaces between seats and in the seatbelt holders.

To test a wide range of models, we gave car vacuums to car owners with various attitudes towards maintenance. Some loved to clean their cars thoroughly every week, and others waited for a blue moon. All took to carpet mats and leather or fabric upholstery with the handheld models, looking for suction and staying power.

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You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

The best car vacuums for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Beldray revo cordless handheld vacuum cleaner: £99.99, Amazon.co.uk

  • Best for pet owners – H-Handy 700 pets handheld: £119.99, Hooverdirect.co.uk

  • Best for small cars – Proscenic S1 cordless vacuum cleaner: £79, Amazon.co.uk

  • Best for cleaning nooks and crannies – Gtech multi mk2: £149.99, Gtech.co.uk

  • Best for short, deep cleaning – Shark cordless handvac pet model: £59.99, Sharkclean.co.uk

  • Best for versatile cleaning – Kärcher multi-purpose vacuum cleaner wd1: £159.99, Kaercher.com

  • Best for upholstery – Bissell spotclean pro: £129.99, Bisselldirect.co.uk

  • Best for home and car cleaning – Vax onepwr blade 4 pet cordless vacuum and toolkit: £199.99, Vax.co.uk

  • Best for power – Dyson V7 trigger vacuum cleaner: £199.99, Dyson.co.uk

Beldray revo cordless handheld vacuum cleaner

Best: Overall

  • Dimensions: 7cm x 7cm x 43cm

  • Charge time: 5 hours

  • Run time: 30 minutes on low power, 15 minutes on high

We liked the choice of two speeds on this mini vac, as it gave us a longer window of vacuuming when there wasn’t anything too heavy-duty to deal with. It came with its own little charging station, this looked good enough to be left on display and came in useful all over the house. It was effective on upholstery too, really bringing up the pile of a velour car interior and ensuring all the fiddly corners were dust free. Our favourite of this round up for price, power and run time.

Buy now £99.99, Amazon.co.uk

H-Handy 700 pets handheld

Best: For pet owners

  • Dimensions: 7cm x 7cm x 69cm

  • Charge time: 3 hours

  • Run time: 12 minutes

This dinky Hoover model was a great choice for clearing pet hair and tackling the crumb-strewn cabin of our tester’s school-runner. Versatile attachments such as the mini turbo brush really helped get into all the little corners and dislodge the dirt. He found that it was used all over the home for clearing up, sitting ready to go on its charging and storage station. It may have a relatively short 12-minute run time, but it was so effective that was more than enough to get the car sorted and spruced.

Buy now £119.99, Hooverdirect.co.uk

Proscenic S1 cordless vacuum cleaner

Best: For small cars

  • Dimensions: 7cm x 7cm x 42cm

  • Charge time: 2.5-3 hours

  • Run time: 15-30 minutes

This powerful little vac is great for grabbing from its charger station and heading to the car for a quick, easy clean up. We found it more than adequate for a once-over of all the carpet panels and seats after a week or so of daily car use. We found the run time just right at around 20 minutes for tackling a small-to-medium-sized car.

Buy now £79.00, Amazon.co.uk

Gtech multi mk2 and car accessory kit

Best: For cleaning nooks and crannies

  • Dimensions: 25cm x 14cm x 39cm

  • Charge time: 4 hours

  • Run time: 20 minutes

There’s not a space in the car you won’t be able to clean with the Gtech multi mk2 vacuum and Gtech accessory kit (£50, Gtech.co.uk). The soft dusting brush is brilliant for running over tricky dashboard areas, and won’t scratch highly reflective surfaces. We used the crevice tool with satisfying results between seats and then the small upholstery tool was fitted to the extendable hose and made light work of fabric seats. Brilliant.

Buy now £149.99, Gtech.co.uk

Shark cordless handvac pet model

Best: For short, deep cleaning

  • Dimensions: 52cm x 10cm x 11cm

  • Charge time: 4 hours

  • Run time: 10 minutes

This chunky little vac may not have the longest run time in our selection, but if your car is used to transport hairy dogs like our tester’s, you’ll appreciate a short, daily run over with it. The pet tool attachment is motorised and the spinning brush will help to dislodge Fido’s fur from seats, carpet or the boot. There’s a handy crevice tool, too, which is useful for crumbs and cabin dust.

Buy now £59.99, Sharkclean.co.uk

Kärcher multi-purpose vacuum cleaner wd1

Best: For versatile cleaning

  • Dimensions: 39cm x 28cm x 31cm

  • Charge time: 5 hours

  • Run time: 10-20 minutes

This brilliant little machine can tackle so much more than a sweep of the car mats. Its battery detaches, too, so there’s no need to keep the whole thing out when charging. We loved the digital run-down of time left so there was no cut-out surprise. Not only does it vacuum powerfully, it will also suck up spills and even blow outwards to dislodge dust from tricky areas. Our tester said it was in constant use around her workshop and garage for all sorts of cleaning.

Buy now £159.99, Kaercher.com

Bissell spotclean pro

Best: For upholstery

  • Dimensions: 25cm x 37cm x36cm

  • Charge time: Corded, n/a

  • Run time: n/a

This great little machine is for upholstery that needs more than just a quick vacuum. It uses clean and dirty water tanks to treat surfaces with Bissell chemical solutions and water, and your car upholstery will really thank you for it. If you have children, you’ll know that there can be all sort of spills and … erm… accidents that can make a car honk to high heaven. This made our tester’s light grey car upholstery look like new again, and, since it’s corded, she could take her time.

Buy now £129.99, Bissell direct.co.uk

Vax ONEPWR blade 4 pet cordless vacuum and toolkit

Best: For home and car cleaning

  • Dimensions: 114cm x 24cm x 18.5cm with long pole attachment

  • Charge time: 3 hours

  • Run time: Up to 45 minutes

Yes there are other “stick” vacuums on the market, but this one comes with a free toolkit that is absolutely brilliant for car clean-ups. With its crevice tool, mini motorised pet tool and soft dusting brush, you can whizz through the car interior. Pop it back on the included wall mount to charge or run round the lounge if you have spare juice – this model also comes with a floor head and up to 45 minutes’ run time.

Buy now £199.99, Vax.co.uk

Dyson V7 trigger vacuum cleaner

Best: For power

  • Dimensions: 21cm x 13cm x 31cm

  • Charge time: 3.5 hours

  • Run time: 30 minutes

The Dyson V7 trigger is a classic design that we’ve always rated on IndyBest. Although it’s not the lightest to handle, you do get the option of a “max power” switch that can give you up to six minutes of extra-strong suction:great for tough areas in a grimy car interior. Otherwise, stick to normal power and you should be able to run round seats and carpets for up to half an hour. Great for pet hair and deep-down dirt, we love the combination crevice tool and brush on this model.

Buy now £199.99, Dyson.co.uk

The verdict: Car vacuum cleaners

If we had to think which of these vacs we’d like to have around, the Kärcher multi-purpose is a useful bit of kit, purely because of the different things it can do to make your car valeting look professional. But it was the small and mighty Beldray revo that really stood out, so we would recommend that if you like a “little and often” approach to car cleaning.

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