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Are you looking for a portable car vacuum cleaner to keep your vehicle clean and tidy? In this article, I have reviewed the seven best vacuum cleaners for your car. I have also put together a complete buying guide that includes everything you need to know, and more, about choosing the best car vacuums.
This is an essential piece of equipment for any driver who wants to avoid dirty dashboards, sticky surfaces, and sneeze-enduring upholstery. These cleaners are designed to be powerful and portable, so you get into every nook and cranny of your vehicle.
But there are so many options on the market, it can be challenging to know which is best, especially when they range in price from the surprsingly affordable to something that will make your wallet cry. So it is a matter of balancing the features you need with how much you are willing to pay.
It may not seem like a car vacuum is a necessity unless you’re an absolute clean freak, but they’re an important investment in keeping your car in tiptop shape. You likely spend at least an hour in your car each day, so you might be surprised at how much dust and dirt can gather up inside your cabin. There’s also the chance something may spill in your car and having to find a public car wash with an accessible vacuum isn’t always convenient.
Car vacuums are even more important if you’re often traveling with kids. In 2013, Honda started what has become a trend, outfitting its Odyssey minivan with a built-in car vacuum. Since then, other makes and models including the Toyota Sienna and Chrysler Pacifica have been equipped with integrated car vacuums. In a way, a car vacuum is like a luxury item that you find you can’t live without once you own one.
Having your own car vacuum has plenty of benefits and many car vacuums are portable enough to fit in your car’s trunk so it’s easily accessible when you need it. But shopping for the right car vacuum can be overwhelming, with a plethora of options available across various price ranges. There are a few things to consider before you click the add to cart button, don’t simply just pick the highest rated or most affordable option available within your budget.
Your first instinct might be to just use your household vacuum to clean up your car, and it may do an adequate job depending on the vacuum. Some household vacuums are now wireless and come with a variety of attachments, but they will never be as convenient as a car vacuum. Wired household vacuums will, at the very least, need a hose attachment to help clean your car. But even then, most are cumbersome and can tip over, making the task of cleaning your car’s interior more difficult than it should be.
As you can imagine, household vacuums are designed to clean large surface areas efficiently and quickly. They may work well enough on your car’s floorboards and floor mats, but some home vacuums will have a difficult time getting into hard-to-reach places. Like most things automotive, you need the right tool for the job, which is why a car vacuum is recommended to keep your cabin nice and clean.
One of the most important factors in picking the right vacuum for your car is determining how your car is used every day. Maybe your vehicle is often used for work and gets wet and muddy, or you have a pet that loves taking rides with you. If you have kids, there’s a real good chance they’ll accidentally spill food inside the car. If your car sees heavy duty use, you’ll likely want to pay close attention to the car vacuum you’re planning to purchase. Some vacuums specialize in picking up pet hair, while others will operate wet or dry.
Now if none of the above applies to you, then a lightweight, handheld cordless vacuum might suffice. Determining how often you need to clean your car’s interior plays an important role in choosing the right car vacuum.
Aside from budget, you’ll want to decide whether you want a corded or cordless car vacuum. Cordless vacuums are generally more expensive but has the added convenience of not being tethered or having to look for a power outlet. The downside, of course, is that they need to be charged after use. If you are unable to vacuum your car within a garage, there are also corded car vacuums that use the 12-volt cigarette lighter in your car. While they may seem to be the best option, they’re not as convenient as cordless vacuums and are often not as powerful as corded vacuums.
Recently, some automakers have been outfitting their vehicles with AC power outlets, which is something to consider when shopping for a car vacuum. If your vehicle has a power outlet built-in, you could use a corded option without having to fuss with the power outlet in your garage.
Regardless of whether you’re shopping for a corded or cordless car vacuum, you will want to pay attention to a vacuum’s power rating. But don’t be fooled into thinking the bigger the number, the better. Along with wattage, you will want to research its suction pressure, which is often measured in pascals.
You will also want to check whether the car vacuum you’re looking at comes with a variety of accessories. You may not need any of those accessories if you’re using the vacuum for general cleaning but having additional nozzles and brushes could prove handy if your car sees heavy use.
If you’re shopping for a cordless vacuum, pay close attention to its advertised battery life and weight. You might be surprised how uncomfortable it is to use a heavy handheld vacuum for an extended period of time. If you have a larger vehicle, smaller batteries may not allow you to completely clean your car on a single charge.
One aspect that’s often overlooked when shopping for a car vacuum is its tank capacity. For smaller, compact cars, you may not need a large canister. But if you own an SUV or a minivan, you’ll want to make sure you don’t have to constantly empty out the canister while vacuuming your car. Along the same lines, you may want to do some research to see how easy or difficult it is to clean a particular vacuum. You likely don’t want to purchase a vacuum that’s complicated to disassemble and maintain.
Prepare to be overwhelmed by the number of manufacturers who offer car vacuums. You’ll likely recognize familiar brands such as Black+Decker, Bissell, and Dyson, but they may not necessarily be the best for your needs. If you’re shopping for a shop vac, Armor All is a brand you likely recognize since the company specializes in car detailing products.
Once you’ve decided whether you want a corded, cordless, or shop vac, narrow down your product choices by budget and power. You will also want to pay close attention to the warranty that is offered when comparing vacuums. Sometimes it’s worth it to pay a bit more for a product, knowing the company will support you if something breaks.
The last thing you should consider is how easy it is to find replacement parts for the vacuum you’re interested in. Can you purchase replacement filters easily? If you’re looking at a cordless vacuum, are replacement batteries expensive? Lithium-ion batteries tend to degrade over time, so eventually, you’ll have to purchase a replacement. You may also want to check if accessories can be purchased separately, in case you only need one specific item.
Making an investment into a car vacuum may not be cheap, so you’ll want to take a few steps to maintain and keep your vacuum clean. If your car vacuum has a filter, change it on a regular basis and more often if you’re using the vacuum frequently. Some filters can also be washed, so you’ll want to check your specific product to see if that’s an option.
Make sure to empty out your vacuum canister every time you’re done cleaning, even if it’s just a little amount of debris or dirt. This is especially important if you’re using a wet-dry vacuum, since leaving anything wet for a long period of time is generally a bad idea.
If you’re using an attachment that has a brush or roll, make sure you clean it on a regular basis. Over time, certain objects can get caught in the brush or roll, preventing it from spinning and performing as effectively as it should. If you’re using a vacuum with a hose attachment, make sure nothing is stuck inside the hose after each cleaning, so you don’t potentially cause a clog next time you use the vacuum.
Once you’ve chosen a car vacuum that suits your needs, it’s time to get cleaning. Vacuuming a car may sound like a straightforward task, but here are some tips to make sure you properly do the job.
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