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Best car vacuum cleaner 2024: Keep your motor clean

The best vacuums to choose for cleaning car carpets and seats, from £80

Cars can get filthy on the inside as quickly as they catch mud and dust on the outside. To tackle the problem you need the best car vacuum cleaner you can afford, something that’s just as capable of cleaning up crumbs as it is sand and general grime.

You don’t, however, necessarily need a dedicated car vacuum. Although most vacuums are primarily designed to be used on interior flooring, many also come with a selection of accessories you can apply to other surfaces. These are the tools you’ll need to get the most from a vacuum cleaner in your car.

Best car vacuum cleaner: At a glance

Best for car storageRoidmi Nano P1 Pro (~£119)Check price at Amazon
Best value cordless car vacuumVax Blade 4 Pet & Car (~£299)Check price at Amazon
Best cordless upright vacuum for cleaning carsShark ICZ300UKT (~£430)Check price at Amazon

How to choose the best vacuum cleaner for you and your car

What type of vacuum should you choose?

There are all sorts of vacuum cleaner available, from corded uprights to cordless sticks. If you’re planning to bring your vacuum out to your car regularly, it makes a lot of sense to buy a cordless, battery-powered model.

Mains-powered corded vacuums tend to be more powerful, but having to trail a cable out to your car and then manoeuvre an unwieldy hose around your car’s interior is generally more hassle than it’s worth.

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What accessories do I need?

When cleaning out your car, you won’t be using the standard floor head. Instead, the vacuum needs to have the right selection of accessories, which can be clipped onto the nozzle of a handheld or stick-style vacuum cleaner, or connected to the hose of an upright.

Most vacuums come with a crevice tool. This is a narrow tube that fits to your vacuum at one end and is flattened off at the other end so it’s easily inserted into difficult-to-reach places. These are often the places that collect the most dust, dirt and crumbs.

The tool that’s worth looking out for – and that many aren’t supplied with – is a mini motorised head. This is a smaller version of the motorised floor head you find on many cordless vacuums, with a rotating brush bar that can lift dirt out of fabric and carpets. It’s often billed as a pet tool, but is great on car upholstery whether you have a pet or not and has the bonus of being easier to move around in the tight confines of your car’s interior.

Do you need an additional car kit?

Some vacuum cleaners come with optional “car-specific” extras, which might include a flexible hose, a narrower crevice tool and a soft dusting brush for cleaning the dashboard. Check which tools the basic version of your chosen vacuum cleaner comes with before splashing out, however, as you might be doubling up on slightly different versions of tools that are already present in the box.

How we test car vacuum cleaners

Because the best vacuums for cars are often regular vacuums with the right kind of attachments, we put our car vacuum cleaners through the same tests as regular cordless and corded vacuums.

First the suction (in kPa, or kilopascals) and battery rundown times are measured and noted. Then we put each vacuum through a series of tests that show how good they are at cleaning up measured spills of flour and Cheerios in a single pass. These tests are performed on both hardfloor and carpet.

Lastly, we use the vacuum intensively across a broad selection of household chores to get a feel for how it operates in general use. In the case of car vacuums, we’ll also test the device and its accessories in a vehicle clean-up.

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The best car vacuums to buy in 2024

1. Roidmi Nano P1 Pro: Best handheld vacuum cleaner to keep in the car

Price when reviewed: £119 | Check price at AmazonThis Roidmi Nano P1 Pro handheld vacuum is compact, easy to hold and small enough to be stored in the glove compartment of your car. It charges via a USB-C port, so you can charge it in the car using a standard USB-C phone cable.

When you want to use it, flip the lid and the top transforms into a small crevice tool, so you can poke it into places that might otherwise be hard to clean. It also contains a retractable brush, which is engaged by pushing a button on the nozzle, to dislodge loose dust and dirt.

Because of its size and its small 100ml collection bin, the Nano P1 Pro is at its best when targeting light mess, such as crumbs after a light snack; it’s a little too small for clearing up larger messes, such as muddy footwells or a holiday’s worth of beach sand. For those jobs you’re better off with a more powerful vacuum such as those below.

Read our full Roidmi Nano P1 Pro review for more details

Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 60 x 60 x 275mm; Weight: 0.5kg; Bin capacity: 100ml; Vacuum type: Handheld; Bagless: Yes; Stated suction power: N/A

2. Vax Blade 4 Pet & Car: Best-value cordless vacuum cleaner for your car

Price when reviewed: £299 | Check price at AmazonWith the Vax Blade 4 Pet & Car you don’t have to worry about buying additional tools to get the best options for cleaning inside your car, as they come supplied in the box. The unit itself is the same model that you’ll find in any Blade 4 package, but the additional tools included in the price of this version are perfect for deep-cleaning car upholstery and reaching into problematic corners and crevices.

There are two elements to the car version that really help with this. The first is the powered flexible hose. Most flexible hoses can be used to get attachments such as a crevice tool into hard-to-reach places. However, a powered flexible hose takes things a stage further because it can also supply power to an attachment, such as the included mini motorised “pet tool”.

The motorised pet tool is the second part of the car kit’s magic. While it will certainly do a great job of lifting pet hair from your car seats, don’t let the name put you off if you don’t own a pet. It’s just as effective at lifting other types of dust and dirt from your car’s interior upholstery and carpets.

Read our full Vax Blade 4 Pet & Car review for more details

Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 185 x 240 x 1,140mm; Weight: 3.1kg; Bin capacity: 600ml; Vacuum type: Cordless stick; Bagless: Yes; Stated suction power: N/A

3. Shark Classic Handheld Pet Vacuum: Best-value handheld cleaner for your car

Price when reviewed: £80 | Check price at ArgosYou don’t have to spend a fortune to keep your car clean. The Shark Classic Handheld Pet Vacuum (CH950UKT) is distinctly affordable at £80 and it doesn’t skimp on the tools you’ll need to keep your car’s interior tidy.

Crucially, this Pet Vacuum comes with a motorised attachment with a rotating brush. While this is aimed at animal owners with pet hair problems, it’s also very effective in lifting dirt out of your car’s carpets and upholstery, whether it was made by an animal or not. It also comes with a crevice tool for hard-to-reach gaps and a dusting brush to smarten up your dashboard.

Although it doesn’t have all the features of more expensive models, such as a charging dock or super-powerful suction, Shark’s Handheld has a clever design that makes it easy to use and performs a great standard of cleaning for the price.

Read our full Shark Classic Handheld Pet Vacuum review for more details

Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 520 x 95 x 109mm; Weight: 1.39kg; Bin capacity: 450ml; Vacuum type: Handheld; Bagless: Yes; Stated suction power: N/A

Check price at Argos

4. Shark ICZ300UKT: Best cordless upright vacuum for cleaning cars

Price when reviewed: £430 | Check price at AmazonShark’s ICZ300UKT is a decent enough vacuum for your car as it is. The collection bin and hose can be lifted clean away from the floor head and carried to the car, where the pet tool and the crevice tool can be used to scour the upholstery and get into all the nooks and crannies.

However, for a truly professional job, consider investing in Shark’s optional car kit (£20 from Amazon), which fits a variety of Shark’s vacuums, including this one.

This comes with a long narrow extension hose, two thinner dusting tools and two narrow crevice tools, one of which can be used at an angle. Between them they can get into all the difficult-to-reach areas, even those that regular vacuum tools can’t access.

Read our full Shark ICZ300UKT review for more details

Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 260 x 250 x 1080mm (WDH); Weight: 6.2kg; Bin capacity: 600ml; Vacuum type: Cordless upright; Bagless: Yes; Stated suction power: N/A

5. Shark WandVac 2.0 (WV270UK): Best handheld vacuum for car and house

Price when reviewed: £179 | Check price at AmazonShark WandVac on a grey table

The Shark WandVac 2.0 is a capable handheld vacuum that’s particularly handy for use in the car, when you can’t be bothered lugging out the big vacuum. It isn’t the most powerful of things and doesn’t hold an awful lot of dirt, but for short jobs it’s perfect.

It lasts 15 minutes per charge, which is plenty of time for quickly vacuuming the boot, chairs or footwells. For stubborn dirt there’s a boost button to provide extra suction.

There’s also space on the charging stand to house its two accessories. One is a combi dusting and crevice tool, ideal for cleaning the dashboard and picking up crumbs from crevices on your car seat. The other is an upholstery tool, which is good for getting dust, dirt and pet hair off car seats.

All in all, the WandVac 2.0 is a hand tool, though it is a little on the expensive side.

Read our full Shark WandVac 2.0 (WV270UK) review

Key specs – Dimensions (WDH): 63 x 70 x 390mm (WDH); Weight: 650g; Bin capacity: 100ml; Vacuum type: Handheld; Bagless: Yes; Stated suction power: Not stated