They say a messy and cluttered car is a reflection of your mind, but with all the will in the world, keeping your car clean and tidy can be challenging when travelling with children in tow. Whether it’s snack remnants and crumbs, dried-on mud from your kids’ wellies or pet hair from furry family members, your car interiors and upholstery can quickly become covered in dirt, dust and debris.
You can of course use a traditional vacuum cleaner in your car but often the size and bulk of these devices can feel restrictive, particularly if its a corded model. The majority of car vacuum cleaners tend to be wireless, compact and portable, usually powered by a rechargeable battery or the car’s interior 12-volt power outlet. The best car vacuums come with plenty of attachments too, with crevice tools and brush attachments that can get into all the nooks and crannies of your car’s interior.
To put together this definitive list of the best car vacuums, we first tapped into the views of trusted Mumsnet users to learn more about the products they rate and would happily recommend to others. We also researched the views of industry experts and consumer champion Which? to ensure the products Mumsnetters recommend are well regarded and trusted.
Whether it’s a lightweight car vacuum, a car vacuum for pet hair or even a car vacuum with wet and dry options, we’ve researched the best car vacuums to help make cleaning your car a doddle.
Best car vacuums at a glance
Best overall: Shark premium handheld vacuum WV270UK | Buy now, £130
Best budget: Vonhaus Car Vacuum Wet and Dry | Buy now, £30
Best cordless: Gtech multi-platinum cordless handheld vacuum cleaner | Buy now, £230
Best corded: Numatic Henry Plus Vacuum Cleaner | Buy now, £140
Best for pet hair: VAX blade 4 Pet and Car | Buy now, £199
Shark premium handheld vacuum WV270UK, £130
Lightweight handheld design
Includes two attachments: a duster crevice tool and a multi-surface pet tool
Boost mode for extra power and suction when needed
Easy-to-empty dust cup
15-minute run time/battery life could be better
Small dust bin needs emptying regularly
Dimensions: H39 x W6.3 x D6.9 cm | Weight: 970g | Bin capacity: 100ml | Bagless: Yes
This small yet perfectly formed Shark handheld vacuum is really lightweight and portable, making it the ideal choice for freshening up your car’s upholstery and interiors.
With a high-efficiency motor that’s surprisingly powerful considering the vacuum’s size, it offers a choice of two suction modes, including an extra boost mode for tackling more ingrained dirt.
Designed to sit on a stand in charging mode, it's stylish enough to leave out on display, making it a great mini vacuum for use in the home. The battery life is relatively short (up to 15 minutes’ run time) but it's super efficient, so you should be able to clean the whole car in one charge using standard mode.
The handy duster crevice tool makes quick and light work of dirt and debris and it can lift crumbs between the seats. We also love the multi-surface pet tool, which helps lift embedded pet hair.
Due to its small size, the dust bin does need emptying regularly, but flipping open at the touch of a button, removing the contents is quick and fuss-free.
Vonhaus car vacuum wet and dry, £30
Suitable for liquid spills as well as dry dirt and debris
Easy to empty dust bin
Includes a crevice tool and rubber nozzle for wet spills
Some reviewers had issues with a faulty battery
Dimensions: 40 x 10 x 12cm | Weight: 1.38kg | Bin capacity: 100ml | Bagless: Yes
If you don't want to spend a fortune on a car vacuum, this wet and dry option from Vonhaus is an affordable buy, and thanks to its cordless design powered by a 14.8V rechargeable battery, you won’t be restricted by the location of your nearest socket.
With a moulded ergonomic handle, it’s easy to hold, even when reaching across the back seats and with a run time of around 25 minutes (based on four to six-hour charge time), you have enough time to clean the car from top to bottom on one charge.
Unlike some car vacuums, the Vonhaus is suitable for both wet and dry spills. We love the crevice tool for cleaning those hard-to-reach areas such as the creases between the seats or around your ISOFIX bases. The rubber nozzle is great for wet spills too, sucking up spilt drinks with ease before they soak into your upholstery.
The downside? Reviewers commented that this vacuum is noisy, so it may not be the best one to use first thing on a Sunday morning.
VAX Blade 4 Pet and Car, £199
45-minute run time
Flexible hose and pet tool
Antimicrobial treated brush bar for improved hygiene
It is heavy to hold
Battery runs out quickly when using the booster and speed setting together
Model number: CLSV-B4KC | Weight: 2.8kg | Charge time: Three hours | Battery run time: 45 minutes | Capacity: 0.6L | Guarantee: Three year guarantee
Tested by Mumsnet: Read our full review of the Vax Blade 4 Pet & Car Vacuum Cleaner
With a powerful brushless motor designed for deep and tough cleaning, the Vax Blade 4 Dual Pet & Car vacuum is a cordless vacuum that can keep up with pet hair, dirt and detritus and performed well when we tested it in a busy family home.
It's a little on the heavy side for a cordless model but the flexible extension hose and motorised pet tool can quickly clean and revive your upholstery, rapidly removing shedded dog hair from your boot and back seats. You can also switch between the small and large brush heads to tackle a range of carpeted areas inside your car and home with ease.
It’s perfect for both quick clean ups and full, deep cleaning of your car and home. It’s also very easy to store, takes up little space, and comes with fabulous attachments to tackle every spot.
Gtech Multi-Platinum Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner, £230
n LED headlight helps improve visibility when cleaning seats and footwells
30-minute battery life
Simple to empty
Includes crevice tool, dusting brush and extension tube
The filter needs cleaning regularly to maintain suction levels
Dimensions: 25 x 13.6 x 38.6 cm | Weight: 1.5kg | Bin capacity: 400ml | Bagless: Yes
If your car’s in desperate need of some TLC, the GTech Multi-Platinum Cordless vacuum could be just the ticket with its powerful suction and large brush head that lifts even ingrained dirt and embedded pet hair. We love the extension tube and crevice tool that can help you reach tricky corners and crevices with ease and thanks to the built-in LED headlight, you won't miss a crumb in your footwells even when cleaning in low light.
With a 30-minute battery life per three- to four-hour charge, you’ve got plenty of time to get around your whole car without plugging it back into the mains. Its generously sized drum means it’s not as lightweight as the Shark handheld, but it needs emptying far less regularly as a result, making it a great option for your car, stairs and living room furniture.
It’s worth mentioning that reviewers state it's important to wash the filter regularly, as this can impact the suction levels.
Numatic Henry Plus Vacuum Cleaner, £140
Versatile vacuum suitable for inside the home and car
Efficient turbo airo brush lifts pet hair and ingrained dirt
Comes with a variety of attachments
Large six-litre capacity
Requires bags (sold separately)
Dimensions: 12.4 x 13.39 x 13.58cm | Weight: 7.5kg | Bin capacity: 6 litres | Bagless: No
While Henry may not offer the cordless, lightweight design of the other car vacuum models listed above, its long cable and superior performance can lift ingrained dirt and stubborn hairs from upholstery with ease, making Henry a popular choice for inside your car and home.
With a turbo airo brush, generous six-litre capacity and a range of additional attachments, there’s a good reason why Henry is trusted by commercial and professional cleaners.
Reviewers praise Henry’s crevice and brush tools, helping you clean those hard-to-reach areas such as the centre console and crevices between seats. It does require vacuum bags (sold separately), but with a sealed bag design that locks in dirt, emptying is infrequent, simple and mess-free.
Karcher WD 2 Plus Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner, £60
Wet and dry capabilities
The blowing tool helps lift dirt from tricky-to-reach areas
Additional bags sold separately
Would benefit from more attachments
Dimensions: 13.74 x 12.91 x 14.88 cm | Weight: 4.25kg | Bin capacity:12 litres (dry) | Bagless: No
This Karcher WD 2 Wet and Dry can tackle everything your kids throw at it. With an innovative cartridge filter, it can be used on both dry and wet spills without changing the filter in between, making light work of everything from spilt drinks, mud and sand, with a handy blow function that removes loose dirt and debris from hard-to-reach areas before gathering up every crumb.
While the corded design won't be to everyone’s taste, this sturdy wheeled unit is easy to navigate around your car. It does use a bag but it has a substantial 12-litre capacity, so you won’t need to change it regularly.
Black & Decker PD1200AV-XJ Black+Decker 12 V Flexi Auto Dustbuster, £50
Powered by your car’s 12V socket
1.2m-long suction hose
Crevice tool and fold-out upholstery brush
Less powerful for coarse or engrained dirt
Dimensions: 5.91 x 10.63 x 11.81cm | Weight: 1.49kg | Bin capacity: 560ml | Bagless: Yes
Bearing a striking resemblance to Noo Noo from the Teletubbies, this small portable and lightweight dustbuster vacuum is ideal for small touch-ups and refreshes before your service or road trip with the kids.
Powered via the car's 12V socket (or cigarette lighter), it has a 5-metre-long cable that allows you to reach every nook and cranny of your car, including your footwells, door pockets and boot.
It’s not as efficient as some other cordless vacuums, however, the fold-out upholstery brush is ideal for cleaning your dashboard and air vents, while the extra-long crevice tool can easily lift away loose debris, dust and dirt that can build up over time.
We love the generous capacity and clear dust bin so you can easily see when it's time to empty. It even comes with a handy mesh storage bag, making it a convenient option to keep in the car for everyday cleaning.
Dyson V8 Cordless Vacuum Cleaner, £330
Long battery life (40 minutes)
Detangling brush head to tackle pet hair
Choice of two power modes
Crevice tool for hard-to-reach spaces
Dimensions: 125.6 x 25 x 22.1cm | Weight: 2.56kg | Bin capacity: 540ml | Bagless: Yes
It may have a fairly eye-watering price tag, but if you’re looking for a cordless vacuum that’s as efficient around the home as it is in your car, the Dyson V8 with its range of attachments is certainly worth considering.
Transforming from a cordless to a handheld vacuum in seconds, the full-sized motorbar cleaner head automatically detangles as you clean, coping well with even long pet hair without clogging or blocking the brush bar.
This versatile vac can handle everything from your car’s interior to your home’s hard floors, carpets, sofas and stairs, with the option to switch between two power modes as you clean. In the car, we love the brush tool which helps tackle small cleaning and dusting tasks, while the long crevice tool helps reach those narrow, hard-to-clean areas such as around the edge of your car seats. Once the dust bin is full, the one-touch ejection makes removing the contents quick and mess-free.
Despite its powerful suction levels, the Dyson V8 has a low operating volume and offers up to 40 minutes of run time per charge. With a wall-mounted charging station, you can conveniently dock after use - so it's always ready and accessible when you need it.
BISSELL SpotClean Pro, £130
Removes stains and embedded dirt marks on upholstery
Long power cord and hose
Includes tough stain tool
Large-capacity water tanks
Very loud operation
Need to vacuum and remove loose dirt and debris first
If spilt drinks, accidents or car sickness has left your car's upholstery looking stained and unsightly, you’re going to need something a little more powerful than a traditional vacuum to restore it to its former forecourt glory.
While you may want to skirt around with a traditional vacuum first to pick up loose crumbs and debris, the Bissell SpotClean Pro uses a combination of water, formula and powerful suction to clean and remove old and new spills and stains from your car seats and upholstery.
With a lightweight, portable design and extra-long hose, you can navigate around the whole car with ease, while specialist cleaning attachments lift and refresh even old, ingrained marks from your seats and floor mats. The best part? It comes complete with a bottle of Wash and Protect Professional carpet cleaner - just wait till you see the colour of the dirty water that comes out when you’re done!
Rodimi Nano P1 Pro, £119
Small compact design
Convenient hanging lanyard
Costly for the size
Emptying is a bit fiddly
Better suited to smaller cleaning tasks
Dimensions: 28.4 x 8.6 x 8.6cm | Weight: 610 grams | Bin capacity: 100ml | Bagless: Yes
If portability and convenience are high up on your wishlist, the Roidmi Nano P1 Pro is small enough (and stylish enough) to leave in your car all year round - ready for a quick refresh and clean up of dust and debris between deeper cleans.
The sleek modern cordless design offers up to 24 minutes of run time, with decent suction power and wide angle LED light that helps you easily see in low light areas such as footwells and door pockets.
The small dust bin means the Nano P1 does get full quite quickly, and it is a bit of a faff to empty. It’s also less suitable for deeper cleans and substantial snack spills due to its small brush head - so if you’re kids tend to get more crisps on the floor than in their mouth, you’d be better paying the extra for the Shark Premium Handheld.
What are the main types of car vacuum cleaner?
There are a variety of vacuum cleaners that are suitable for cleaning your car. The main types include:
Corded vacuum cleaners: Not necessarily the obvious choice, some corded vacuum cleaners offer a range of attachments and long cord lengths that make them just as efficient at cleaning the car as they are for the home. If you’re happy to use a corded design, look out for options with portable wheels or carry handles to help navigate around your car during use.
Cordless vacuum cleaners: Cordless vacuums allow efficient cleaning without requiring mains power. Battery life can vary between 15 and 90 minutes depending on the design, but the lack of a cord means you have far more freedom to move around, with large brush heads for carpets and attachments for crevices and corners.
Handheld vacuums: These are well suited to cleaning your car, with small and portable designs that allow you to get right inside the car, using the included attachments to get into every corner and crevice.
Wet/dry vacuum cleaners: These are suitable for both wet and dry debris, helping you to vacuum away spills and liquids as well as dry dirt, crumbs and mud.
Stain/upholstery cleaners: If your car seats are stained and unsightly, these cleaners use a combination of detergent, water and suction to refresh and revive your upholstery.
Which car vacuum attachments are most useful?
Cars have lots of small spaces for dust, dirt and debris to build up - so vacuums with various attachments can help you find the most efficient tools for the job. Here are the most useful car vacuum attachments to look for when making your choice.
Crevice tool: These long and narrow attachments can help get suction between seat crevices, around the car doors and inside the centre console - areas which may be tricky to reach with a traditional vacuum brush head.
Brush tool: A small head with brushes around the edge, these tools are ideal for removing loose dirt and debris such as crumbs on upholstery and dry mud from footwells. They can also allow gentle dusting across your dashboard and air vents.
Extension tools: Extend the length of the hose, helping you clean hard-to-reach areas such as under the seats and footwells.
Pet tool: If you have a dog and your car seats are regularly covered in embedded pet hair, these powerful suction tools can help lift hairs away, even well-embedded pet hair from the surface of your seats and floor mats
Is a car vacuum cleaner worth buying?
If you’ve already invested in a traditional vacuum cleaner, you may be wondering whether it’s worth splashing out on a second vacuum for your car. If you have pets and children, spend a lot of time outdoors and let your children eat in the car, a car vacuum could certainly be a worthwhile investment.
In some cases, your original vacuum will be suitable for your needs, however, if you only have a large corded upright vacuum, reaching your car and cleaning all the nooks and crannies can be tricky. Consider factors such as capacity, battery life and portability as well as additional features such as crevice attachments and LED lights and weigh up these benefits against the cost.
What’s the best car vacuum cleaner to buy in the UK?
The Shark Premium Handheld Vacuum gets our vote as the best car vacuum you can buy today thanks to its super lightweight and portable cordless design. While its battery life could be longer, this convenient design allows quick and easy coverage with excellent suction power across your upholstery and car interior.
If you’re after something with a longer battery life, the GTech Multi Platinum makes a great alternative but comes with a higher price tag as a result.
How we chose our recommendations
Recommendations from real Mumsnet users
Mumsnet users love a good cleaning debate, often sharing their feedback on hints and tips to keep their homes (and cars) clean.
First, we sought out the trusted opinions of Mumsnet users, to get their feedback and tried and tested recommendations on cordless, handheld and car vacuums that they rate, recommend and have used in their own cars.
We also looked out for any negative reviews, where Mumsetters highlighted products that they felt were poor quality, overpriced or didn’t come with the right tools for the job.
Next up, we considered reviews and feedback from trusted industry experts. We want to be confident that the products we recommend are fit for purpose, so we looked out for award-winning products or those that were well regarded in the marketplace, including those recommended by consumer champions Which?.
Authentic consumer reviews
Finally, to bring you our definitive list of the best car vacuums on the market, we thoroughly investigated genuine, in-depth customer reviews on retailer sites such as Amazon, Argos and John Lewis to get wider consumer experiences regarding the products on our shortlist.
About the author
Lucy Cotterill is a mum of two and Content Writer at Mumsnet, specialising in family and lifestyle product reviews and round-ups. Having written product reviews on her own blog Real Mum Reviews since 2012, Lucy loves to research and explore the pros and cons of products, scrutinising reviews and consumer feedback to help parents make confident purchases that benefit their families.
Lucy has personal experience of testing vacuums through her own blog, including portable, handheld and cordless models, considering product features and benefits including attachments, battery life and ease of emptying.
Originally from a HR background with a degree in Business Studies, Lucy developed a real passion for blogging and writing when her children were young, going on to write for several online publications including US parenting site Pregistry and the Evening Standard.
When she’s not manically tapping the keys of her laptop, Lucy loves nothing more than to cosy up with her Kindle and enjoy the latest thriller, or compete in Nintendo Switch rallies with her daughters aged six and 10.
Why you should trust us
We work hard to provide honest and independent advice you can trust and we spend hours scouring the Mumsnet forums and online bestseller lists to find products that real parents rate.
Transparency is really important to us and that's why we're always upfront about where we find our recommendations. We write about products that we feel offer the best value to most parents – the ones that our users would recommend to their own friends and family.