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Best Car Vacuum for 2018 & Beyond

Updated November 1, 2018 by Derek Hales

Best car vacuum cleaners

There are several key features to look for when hunting the best car vacuum: lightweight, versatile, but plenty of power. The following are the best vacuums for car detailing.

BEST CAR VACUUM

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Dyson V7 Trigger

What's the best car vacuum? Overall, we've got to go with the Dyson V7 Trigger. It's cordless, offers Dyson level suction power, sizable ~30 minute run times, and extra cleaning attachments, including a powerful motorized brushroll. For raw performance, the Dyson is simply the best vacuum for cars.CHECK PRICE

If the V7 Trigger is too expensive, or you just want something a little different, there are plenty of other options. Below we’ve listed what we think are the best 7 car vacuums on the market. 

Let’s go!

7 Best Car Vacuum Cleaners

PRODUCT DETAILS

BEST OVERALL

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Dyson V7 Trigger
  • Type: Cordless
  • Weight: 3.77 lbs.
  • Best For: Everything
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BEST FOR PETS

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Shark Pet Perfect 2
  • Type: Cordless
  • Weight: 4.2 lbs.
  • Best For: Pets
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moderncastle-table-__imageBissell Pet Hair Eraser (cordless)
  • Type: Cordless
  • Weight: 5 lbs.
  • Best For: Pets
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BEST 2-IN-1

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Dyson V10
  • Type: Cordless (2-in-1)
  • Weight: 5.9 lbs
  • Best For: Everything
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BEST BUDGET

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Bissell Pet Hair Eraser (corded)
  • Type: Corded (16')
  • Weight: 5 lbs.
  • Best For: Pets, Upholstery
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moderncastle-table-__imageBlack & Decker 16V
  • Type: Cordless
  • Weight: 2.6 lbs.
  • Best For: Tight spaces
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moderncastle-table-__imageEureka EasyClean
  • Type: Cordless
  • Weight: 4.8 lbs.
  • Best For: Upholstery
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Dyson V7 Trigger (cordless)

The Dyson V7 Trigger has a similar body style compared to the V10, but this model is not a 2-in-1. The Trigger is designed to just be a handheld vacuum and is able to hit a lower price point because of its limited use.

Dyson V6 Trigger cleaning car

Cleaning the car with a Dyson V6 Trigger (sister to the Dyson V7 Trigger)

V7 Trigger Specs:

The V7 Trigger has about a 30-minute run time and the same size dust bin as the full-size Dyson V7. Accessories typically include a crevice tool, dusting brush, and motorized brushroll.

Let’s talk car cleaning performance:

Regarding cleaning performance, the V7 was equally as impressive as the mode expensive V10. When tested on low carpet (the closest comparable to automotive upholstery), it scored 99% in terms of overall cleaning performance.

The Trigger is available as a V7 or V6. Both offer similar performance, but the V6 will be less expensive. 

Dyson V6 Trigger best small handheld vacuum review

Dyson V6 Trigger (slightly less expensive sister of the V7 Trigger)

Specifications

  • Model: Dyson V7 Trigger
  • Size: 8.11 x 12.45 x 5.17″
  • Weight: 3.77 lbs.
  • Run Time: up to 30 minutes
  • Dust Bin Capacity: 0.4 liters
  • Cleaning Performance: 99%

Read our Dyson V6 Trigger review here.

What’s To Like

  • Less expensive compared to full-size Dysons: If you like the power and design of a Dyson, but don’t want the higher price tag and don’t need a 2-in-1 stickk vacuum, the Dyson Trigger is an excellent option.
  • Long run time: At 30 minutes, the Dyson Trigger still has a sufficient run time for most automotive cleaning jobs.

What’s Not So Good

  • More expensive that others: Again, compared the traditional handheld models, the Dyson V7 Trigger is still going to be more expensive than other traditional handheld models.
  • Struggles with large debris: The V7 Trigger struggles with large debris types, like cereal in the backseat or large dirt and debris on the floorboard.

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser (cordless)

The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser is a cordless handheld vacuum with a long body and a motorized brushroll cleaning head. There are two simple controls on this vacuum; one to turn the vacuum on or off and one to release the dust bin and clean the filter.

But what parts come with it?

Bissell Pet Hair eraser cordless handheld vacuum accessories

1) crevice tool, 2) upholstery tool, 3) charger, and 4) motorized brushroll

This small vacuum is nice for cleaning cars because it is lightweight and cordless. The longer body is a little awkward for getting into tight areas, but it does have some nice accessories, including a crevice tool, upholstery tool, and motorized brush.

How is the cleaning performance in cars?

Regarding cleaning performance, this model did pretty good. When tested on low carpet (the closest comparable to automotive upholstery), it scored 96% in terms of overall cleaning performance. It’s a definite contender for the best car vacuum for pet hair (specifically). 

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser cordless

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser cordless handheld vacuum

Specifications

  • Model: Pet Hair Eraser 33A1B
  • Size: 10x5″
  • Weight: 5 lbs.
  • Run Time: up to 15 minutes
  • Dust Bin Capacity: 0.78 liters
  • Cleaning Performance: 97%

Read our full Bissell Pet Hair Eraser review here.

What’s To Like

  • Cordless Power: The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser is cordless and has a 15-minute run time.
  • Great for Pet Hair: This handheld comes with a motorized brushroll that helps with pet hair. In addition, it also comes with a crevice tool and upholstery tool for variable use.

What’s Not So Good

  • Long Charge Time: This vacuum takes a while to charge, especially considering the shorter run time.
  • Fading Suction: The suction tends to fade after continual use. Combined with the short run time, it really limits the amount of time that this vacuum is performing at its best.

Shark Pet Perfect 2 (cordless)

Similar to the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser (cordless), the Shark Pet Perfect also has a long and narrow body style. There are two buttons on this vacuum, one to turn it on / off and one to release the dust bin and filter for cleaning.

Parts and accessories included with the Shark Pet Perfect 2 handheld vacuum

1) pet hair tool, 2) dusting brush, 3) crevice tool, and 4) charging base

What tools does Shark Pet Perfect 2 come with?

The Shark Pet Perfect comes with a motorized brush for tackling pet hair, a soft dusting brush, and a short crevice tool. This model is lightweight and easy to carry, but may feel a little awkward to use in certain parts of your car.

What about cleaning performance?

Regarding cleaning performance, this model did well. When tested on low carpet (the closest comparable to automotive upholstery), it scored 97% in terms of overall cleaning performance.

Shark Pet Perfect 2 cordless handheld vacuum

Shark Pet Perfect 2 cordless handheld vacuum

Specifications

  • Model: Shark Pet Perfect II
  • Size: 15.7x4.6″
  • Weight: 4.2 lbs.
  • Run Time: up to 30 minutes
  • Dust Bin Capacity: 0.3 liters
  • Cleaning Performance: 97%

Read our full Shark Pet Perfect 2 review here.

What’s To Like

  • A Pro At Pet Hair: The motorized brushroll was excellent at cleaning up pet hair from upholstery.
  • Multiple Accessories: It comes with three different accessories and cleaning heads, making it a bit more versatile than some other more basic models.

What’s Not So Good

  • High Replacement Costs: Concerning maintenance, the costs of replace the battery is high. A new battery costs as much as entire new unit.
  • Awkward Body Size: Not unlike the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser cordless, the Shark Pet Perfect 2 is a little awkward when trying to access hard-to-reach places inside an automobile.

Dyson V10 (cordless)

The Dyson V10 cordless is a 2-in-1 vacuum that doubles as a stick vacuum as well as a portable handheld, which works great for cleaning your car. The V10 is a part of the Dyson V-series and is currently the most advanced model. It has a 60-minute run time, numerous cleaning tools and two different cleaning heads when using the V10 as an upright stick vacuum.

Labeled image of the Dyson V10 components

Dyson V10 in handheld mode (with notes): 1) HEPA filter, 2) power switch, 3) trigger and bin release, 4) dust bin, and 5) tool connection point

If you’re looking for something to keep in your car, the V10 may be a bit of overkill, but if you’re looking for a car vacuum that doubles as a nice vacuum for cleaning the inside of your home as well, the Dyson V10 is an excellent option.

RELATED: Like the V10, but want something a little less expensive?

Check out our reviews of the Dyson V8 (40-minute run time), Dyson V7 (30-minute run time) or Dyson V6 (20-minute run time). They have many of the same features and body style as the V10, but with less suction, a shorter run time, and a lower price tag.

Dyson V10 stick vacuum as handheld

Dyson V10 configured into handheld mode

Next, let’s talk cleaning performance:

Regarding cleaning performance, the V10 was excellent. When tested on low carpet (the closest comparable to automotive upholstery), it scored 99% in terms of overall cleaning performance.

Both Dyson V8 and V10 can reach into high corners and difficult to reach places.

Dyson V10 in extended handheld mode

Specifications

  • Model: Dyson V10
  • Size: 49.2x9.8″
  • Weight: 5.9 lbs.
  • Run Time: up to 60 minutes
  • Dust Bin Capacity: 0.76 liters
  • Cleaning Performance: 99%

Read our full Dyson V10 review here.

What’s To Like

  • Long time time: The Dyson V10 can run for up to 60 minutes before needing to juice up.
  • 2-in-1: Not only is the V10 a powerful car vacuum, but the fact that you can use it as a stick vacuum as well makes it more versatile and increase the overall value.

What’s Not So Good

  • Pretty expensive: If you’re just looking for a traditional handheld and don’t need all the bells and whistles or 2-in-1 body style, you may find the V10 to be a little pricey.

Black & Decker 16V (cordless)

The Black & Decker 16V cordless handheld has a bit of a different shape from other models above. It has rounder edges and a few more buttons. It only comes with one cleaning head and that is a nozzle tool that helps to reach tight crevices.

Black & Decker 16V Lithium handheld vacuum accessories

1) Nozzle, 2) base of vacuum, and 3) charging base

There is an additional notch that allows the cleaning head to rotate to fit into different areas. In addition to the single cleaning head, this vacuum also comes with a charging base.

How’s cleaning performance for cars?

Regarding cleaning performance, this model did great. When tested on low carpet (the closest comparable to automotive upholstery), it scored 98% in terms of overall cleaning performance.

Black and Decker 16V cordless vacuum

Black and Decker 16V cordless handheld vacuum

Specifications

  • Model: Black and Decker 16V
  • Size: 17.2x5.5″
  • Weight: 2.6 lbs.
  • Run Time: up to 15 minutes
  • Dust Bin Capacity: 0.6 liters
  • Cleaning Performance: 98%

Read our Black & Decker 16V review here.

What’s To Like

  • Strong suction: For a handheld, we were surprised at the sheer amount of suction this little vacuum had.
  • Lightweight design: At only 3 pounds, this is one of the lightest handheld vacuums we’ve tested to date.

What’s Not So Good

  • Few Accessories: Doesn’t come with much in the way of accessories and attachments.
  • Awkward charging base: The charging base was a little awkward, in my opinion. We found the base to be a bit unstable.

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser (corded)

The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser is a corded model, but this compact handheld is truly impressive at tackling small messes, especially cleaning pet hair from upholstery. It has a smaller dust bin, but the small dust bin also allows for an extremely compact size.

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser handheld vacuum features annotated

1) duct cup release, 2) power switch, 3) HEPA filter, 4) dust cup, 5) rubber brush

Despite the size, this vacuum is arguably the best car vacuum for pet hair. The corded power and rubberized brushroll work together to great effect.

It comes with two cleaning heads, one rubberized head for cleaning pet hair and one hard nozzle for cleaning surfaces.

Can it clean cars well?

Regarding cleaning performance, this model was great. When tested on low carpet (the closest comparable to automotive upholstery), it scored 97% in terms of overall cleaning performance.

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser small handheld vacuum review

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser corded handheld vacuum

Specifications

  • Model: Pet Hair Eraser 33A1B
  • Size: 10x5″
  • Weight: 5 lbs.
  • Run Time: NA, 16′ cord
  • Dust Bin Capacity: 0.78 liters
  • Cleaning Performance: 97%

Read our Bissell Pet Hair Eraser review here.

What’s To Like

  • Great for pet hair: The rubberized nozzle was exceptional at cleaning pet hair from upholstery, like car seats.
  • Lightweight and easy to store: Its compact design was lightweight and easy to store. Depending on the model of your car, this may be able to fit in the center console or tucked away elsewhere.

What’s Not So Good

  • Corded: This model is corded and the cord is not exceptionally long, at that. This may make it difficult to clean certain areas of your vehicle without a close power outlet or an extension cord.
  • Fan blower: The fan located at the back of the unit has a tendency to blow debris around, especially off of slick surface like leather seats, or hard plastic trim of an automobile.

Eureka EasyClean (corded)

The Eureka EasyClean handheld vacuum is a corded vacuum, but with a different look and feel compared to the smaller models.

Is it good for car detailing? 

Instead of having a long slender neck with a narrow cleaning head at the end, the Eureka EasyClean has a wide cleaning path and a rotating brushroll, more like a traditional vacuum. This is a great option for vacuuming cloth seats, as well as general car detailing.

Eureka EasyClean

There is also an extension hose that comes with a crevice tool which helps to access nooks and crannies in a vehicle. This is a corded model, which is not as convenient as cordless, but the cord is long and the suction power does not noticeably fade with continued use.

How is cleaning performance for cars?

Regarding cleaning performance, this model was okay. When tested on low carpet (the closest comparable to automotive upholstery), it scored 84% in terms of overall cleaning performance.

It seems appropriate to note that the majority of the problem was cleaning up cereal using the brushroll. When cleaning up large debris (like cereal) with the extension hose and using the brushroll for the other debris (rice, kitty litter, and sugar), it had an improved overall cleaning performance of 96%.

Eureka EasyClean handheld vacuum

Specifications

  • Model: Eureka EasyClean 71B
  • Size: 16x7.5″
  • Weight: 4.8 lbs.
  • Run Time: N/A – Corded; 20′ cord
  • Dust Bin Capacity: Not Listed
  • Cleaning Performance: 96% (adjusted to exclude cereal problems)

Read our Eureka EasyClean review here.

What’s To Like

  • Wider cleaning path: The wider cleaning path and spiral brushroll makes this vacuum feel more like a traditional vacuum, but with the benefits of a compact size. Makes it a good option for cars that have more wide space to clean.
  • Extension hose: The extension hose is something a little less common compared to most handheld vacuums. But this extension makes it easier to clean tight areas with ease. It also comes with a crevice tool that easily attaches.

What’s Not So Good

  • Difficulty cleaning large debris: If you have large debris messes like cereal, beads, etc, you won’t be able to use to central brushroll. Only the extension hose tool can capture these larger debris types, which could be an issue for some users.
  • The filter: The filter itself is a little awkward and it can be difficult to easily clean it. In most cases, you’ll need to pull the debris off of the filter using your hand which can be messy, not to mention unhygienic.

What to Look For In the Best Car Vacuum

When you’re in the market for a high-performing car vacuum, there are a few key factors that you may want to be on the lookout for.

While the best car vacuum can vary from user to user, depending on your lifestyle and the mess you’re tacking, many factors remain consistent of these most popular factors include:

Lightweight Design

If you’re going to be dragging it around your car and on-the-go, having a lightweight vacuum is a big factor. There is a wide range of portable handhelds that easily fall under 10 lbs.

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser

The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser is only 5 pounds

What about even lighter vacuums?

Some of the most compact units come in closer to 5 lbs. For a more powerful and robust unit, you may want to look into stick or canister vacuums which typically range from 10-15 pounds. While these vacuum types are more expensive, they also generally come with larger dust bins and stronger suction.

Cordless Power

A cordless vacuum certainly isn’t a requirement to vacuum out a car in your own garage, it generally is a requirement for vacuuming on-the-go. Cordless vacuums have the benefit of being portable and easy to maneuver, but sometimes can lack power and run time.

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser cordless

For most, the convenience of cordless is worth giving up a little performance

Cigarette Lighter Power

Some car vacuums can be powered by your cigarette lighter. For many users, this is the ultimate convenience, however, the relative power vs. lithium ion batteries or corded power, usually isn’t there.

Nevertheless, for the right user it’s a good option.

So what’s the best car vacuum cigarette lighter?

One of the most popular choices on the web is the ThisWorx TWC-01. Comes with a tote bag and useful accessories.

Best vacuum cleaner that works with a cigarette lighter

THISWORX car vacuum, plugs into a 12V cigarette lighter

Additionally, the LIBERRWAY 12 volt car vacuum and BLACK+DECKER BDH12000FVAV 12V are both solid choices. All 3 of the above are 12 volt powered through the cigarette lighter.

However:

For most I generally think that a more traditional cordless handheld vacuums offers better performance. Even so, if convenience and portability is key, any of these cigarette lighter car vacuums can be a good fit.

Relevant Accessories

Again, accessories are not necessarily required, but can make your cleaning task significantly easier, depending on the mess that you’re cleaning.

For instance:

The Shark Pet Perfect 2 is a cordless handheld vacuum that comes with a motorized brushroll specifically designed for pet hair. This is a low-cost, high-quality option of pet hair is your main concern.

Shark Pet Perfect 2

Shark Pet Perfect 2 cleaning the floor mats

But if you don’t have pets, this accessory may be less useful to you.

Other models, like the Dyson V10 comes with a wider selection of tools. In the case of the V10, it comes with a combination tool, crevice tool, soft dusting brush, and mini-motorized tool.

Which Model is the Best Value?

For a great value, it’s hard to beat the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser models. Bissell offers two different versions of handheld Pet hair Erasers, one model is corded and one model is cordless.

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser handheld vacuumThe benefits of the corded Pet Hair Eraser is the impressively low price tag. This model is extremely compact and surprisingly effective at cleaning up pet hair.

As a trade-off to its impressive cleaning performance and compact size, you’ll need to make sure you’re close to a power outlet and even then you might need an extension cord to get everywhere you need to in an automobile. (The cord it comes with is only 16′ long)

If you don’t love the idea of have a corded handheld vacuum for a car, Bissell also offers the cordless Pet Hair Eraser. This model has a 15-minute run time and comes with three accessories:

  1. crevice tool
  2. upholstery tool
  3. motorized brush tool for pet hair

Although the cordless model is larger in body size, it’s interesting to see that it actually has a smaller dust bin capacity. (0.78 for the corded model and 0.7 for the cordless model)

Bissell Pet Hair Eraser cordless handheld vacuum features

1) handle, 2) on / off switch, 3) dust cup release, and 4) filter

Both of these models come in at a very low price point and make them a smart choice for a great value when looking for the best car vacuum.

RELATED: Want more options? Click here to check out our recommendations for the best handheld vacuums.

What’s the Best Car Vacuum for You?

In closing, there are many different kinds of car vacuums on the market. Depending on what exactly you’re looking for, I would make the following recommendations:

If you’re looking for a car vacuum with a long run time, I would recommend the Dyson V10 for the best performance (up to 60 minutes of run time) or the Shark Pet Perfect II for a great value (up to 30 minutes of run time.)

Dyson V10 in handheld mode

Dyson V10 cleaning floor mats in handheld mode

If you’re looking for a car vacuum to tackle large debris (like cereal), I would recommend the Shark Pet Perfect II or the Black & Decker 16V. Both of these models scored 100% on cleaning up large debris during our cleaning tests.

Shark Pet perfect 2 handheld vacuum components

1) handle, 2) power, and 3) dust bin

If you’re looking for a car vacuum that is lightweight and portable, I would recommend the Dyson V7 Trigger or the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser (corded or cordless models).

Dyson V6 Trigger

Dyson V6 / V7 Trigger cleaning deep into the cracks

All of these models weigh less than 5 pounds and have their own advantages and disadvantages. The corded Bissell Pet hair Eraser is certainly the most compact, but is also restricted by the cord. The Dyson V7 Trigger is cordless, but it’s also significantly more expensive than the other models.

As you can see, depending on exactly what you’re looking for, there are many different car vacuum models that may be right for you.

Need help deciding? Click to shoot us a message and we’d love to help you make a selection that is right for you.

Derek Hales

Derek Hales

Editor-in-Chief

Derek Hales is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of ModernCastle.com. He is a passionate perfectionist when it comes to testing and reviewing products for the home. When he is not testing new products, Derek enjoys golf, tennis, and PC gaming. Derek lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife, Samantha, son, and poodle, Tibbers.