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We found the best vacuums for cleaning your car

A good car vacuum needs specific attachments and levels of suction.
Look out for car vacuum attachments like the crevice tool, which can reach narrow spaces.
Look out for car vacuum attachments like the crevice tool, which can reach narrow spaces.Amazon; Dyson

Keeping your car clean is made easy with the right vacuum. There are many models on the market, but specific attachments make them ideal for cleaning dust, crumbs and other messes embedded in floor mats or seats.

To help you pick the best choice that fits your needs, we spoke to cleaning and vacuum experts to figure out what key features should be in a car vacuum. We also got recommendations on the best types to buy.

SKIP AHEAD How we picked the best car vacuums | The best vacuums for cars in 2024 | How to shop for a car vacuum

Selected.Our top picks

How we picked the best vacuums for cars

Cleaning your car isn’t difficult with the right technology. A vacuum that is portable, easily storable, has good suction and the right attachment tools to get all the nooks and crannies of a car checks all of our boxes. There are many models available, but our experts gave us some pointers on what to look out for when shopping. Here’s a summary of what influenced our recommendations:

  • Attachments: When scouting out a car vacuum, a crevice tool attachment is essential for cleaning narrow and extremely tight spaces in a car. Some can be lengthened with an extender, while some have a specific length.
  • Cyclonic suction: This kind of suction spins air like a vortex to separate dust and debris from the air while cleaning. Many brands have adopted this technology in their vacuums. Although these types of vacuums often have a HEPA filter, many have a dustbin, which isn’t the best for allergy sufferers.

The best vacuums for cars 2024

Each vacuum recommended below has key details our experts highlighted that efficiently clean cars.

Best overall: Dyson Humdinger

What we like
  • Good runtime
  • Cordless
  • Lightweight
Something to note
  • Pricey

Paulina Terlecka, a sales associate and vacuum specialist at Abt, recommends this compact handheld vacuum by Dyson, which uses its famed cyclone dust-sucking technology like Dyson’s other cordless stick models. Three attachment heads — a hair screw tool, a combination crevice tool and a worktop tool — are included for cleaning different car surfaces. “I would say you probably want one that has a crevice tool attachment for sure,” says Terlecka. “Just so that you can get into all the small gaps in your car.” The worktop tool is designed to clean hard surfaces, while the hair screw tool untangles hair caught in fabric car seats with its fast motor. The filter is washable and you can eject the dustbin by using the handle. There are two button controls—the power and max button. “Intensive spot cleaning” results from using the max button, while the regular power button is ideal for “comfortable, continuous cleaning,” according to Dyson

Type: Handheld | Run time: 25 minutes | Dustbin capacity: 0.2 L | Weight: 2.2 lbs

Best budget pick: Brigii Handheld Vacuum

What we like
  • Budget friendly
  • Cordless
  • Four attachments
Something to note
  • Small dustbin capacity

This affordable handheld vacuum from Brigii is super tiny without sacrificing cleaning power. “They tend to have pretty good suction for the price of them,” says Jill Koch, a home organizing, cleaning and lifestyle expert. It has an 80-watt cyclone motor, which is impressive for only weighing one pound. For under $50, you get four crevice tools — a mini brush, flat nozzle, hose and blow nozzle — in addition to the vacuum being able to convert into a hand pump and air duster. The HEPA filter is reusable and washable.

Type: Handheld | Run time: 15 minutes | Dustbin capacity: 0.1 gal | Weight: 1 lbs

Best for pet hair: Bissell Pet Hair Eraser

What we like
  • Budget friendly
  • Great for pets
  • Large dustbin capacity
Something to note
  • A little heavy

Terlecka also recommends this model from Bissell. While it’s marketed toward pet hair, it still makes a great vacuum for your car, especially if your dog often goes in the back seat. The motorized brush tool attachment is designed to tackle pet hair and dirt stuck in car carpets, while the upholstery tool is ideal for fabric car seats. The dustbin can easily be emptied, but its large capacity will lessen the frequency.

Type: Handheld | Run time: 17 minutes | Dustbin capacity: 0.7 L | Weight: 3 lbs

Best multi-use: Varsk 4-in-1 Car Vacuum

What we like
  • Great for cars
  • Large dustbin capacity
  • Multiple attachments
Something to note
  • Corded connection

This vacuum is exclusively for cars, given it charges through a V12 car outlet. It’s a multi-use gadget that can also inflate tires, making it ideal to have on hand for highway emergencies. The inflation function works fast and is compatible with most tires except on RVs and trucks. As for vacuuming, key highlights include cyclone suction, a washable HEPA filter for allergens, three vacuum nozzles, and a 15-foot power cord to reach all around the car. “That’s nice because you can go from the front to the back of your car and you never have to worry about it being charged — it’s always there as long as your car battery works,” says Koch. An LED light is also built-in for vacuuming and inflating tires in the dark.

Type: Handheld | Run time: Corded | Dustbin capacity: 0.6 L | Weight: 4.02 lbs

Best top-rated: Black+Decker Pivot Vacuum

What we like
  • Pivot nozzle
  • Cyclonic suction
  • Extendable crevice tool
Something to note
  • Weak battery life

This handheld vacuum has a near-perfect rating on Amazon from thousands of reviews. A key highlight of this vacuum is its 200-degree pivoting nozzle to accommodate cleaning difficult spots. Similar to Dyson, it has “cyclonic action” for an intense clean, according to Black+Decker. Its crevice tool is extendible, which helps get to hard to reach areas like in between and under car seats.

Type: Handheld | Run time: 10 minutes | Dustbin capacity: 15 oz | Weight: 3 lbs

How to shop for a car vacuum

Depending on the fabric in your car and how much surface area needs to be covered, selecting a vacuum can be tough. The cleaning and vacuum experts we spoke to gave us some tips on things to look out for.

  • Attachments: Both of our experts agree the crevice tool is the best attachment head for a car since it fits in spots incredibly hard to clean. “Anything that’s gonna have an attachment that allows you to get into the narrow spots or one of those holds attachments is a good thing to keep an eye out for,” says Koch.
  • Dustbin capacity: You should also pay attention to the size of your dustbin. If you find that you have a large vehicle that isn’t able to hold all of the dust and debris you collect, make sure to take that into consideration. If you have to frequently empty out your dustbin you may want a larger option for your vehicle.
  • Cyclonic suction: A big difference between vacuums that do and don’t have cyclonic suction is the bag. Vacuums with cyclonic suction are bagless and suck debris into a dust bin. Volume in the bin is often much less compared to a bag, but it’s easier to empty a bin. As for suction power, air spins like a vortex, separating particles from the air while cleaning.

Meet our experts

At NBC Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure that all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and with no undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

  • Jill Koch is a home organizing, cleaning, and lifestyle expert who published DIY Cleaning Recipes for the Non-Toxic Home.
  • Paulina Terlecka is a sales associate and vacuum specialist at Abt, a national retailer of electronics and appliances based in Glenview, Illinois.

Why trust NBC Select?

Nicolette Accardi is a freelance writer whose beats include tech, home appliances and smart home devices. For this article, Accardi spoke to two experts in the home cleaning and vacuum technology space about how to shop for the best car vacuums. She compiled their top choices, along with top-rated vacuums that include the recommended specifications.

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