Car detailing has gained a lot of popularity in the past 10 years and has created a whole industry around itself. From the special products you can buy for your car to the shops in which you can take it to get detailed, there are countless ways to keep your car in a pristine condition now. Even so, not everyone has the time to take the car to a shop and wait for it to be fully cleaned. That is why companies have started making products which are affordable and available to the public. These products can help you keep your car clean both on the inside and on the outside.
Car vacuum cleaners are your best friend when it comes to most of the interior detailing process. A good one has a lot of attachments which are non-marring and able to clean every crease and angle of your car’s interior. Knowing how to pick the best vacuum for car detailing isn’t going to be easy due to the abundance of models out there but we will try to help you out. Before we get into the guide section, we will give you a small comparison chart of our favorite models for this year and later show you their strengths and weaknesses in detail. We believe this guide will help you selecting the best vacuum for car detailing.
Table of Contents
Comparison Chart of 5 Best Vacuum for Car Detailing
|VacMaster Beast Series
|BISSELL Car Vacuum
Best All-rounder – Vacmaster VF408 Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum
The Vacmaster VF408 Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum is one of the best affordable options out there if you are looking for a sort of all-in-one vac that will help you detail your car and also clean your garage and other wet or dry areas. One of its main strengths is the dual-stage 5HP motor which is also one of its weakest points since a lot of customers have reported it heating up after continuous wet usage. Still, the vac has a lot to give in other areas such as its overall practicality and portability, as well as the accessories it comes with. You can learn more about it by clicking the button below and going to our full review!
Best Wet/Dry Option – DEWALT DCV581H Wet/Dry Vacuum
Few are the brands out there that truly pioneer the world of cordless tools. DeWalt and Makita are surely the leaders in that category and this is why we included the DCV581H in our top 5 guide. It isn’t the lightest car vacuum out there but it can work without the need of a power outlet which is handy if you don’t have one in your garage. The 5 feet crush-proof hose also helps with cleaning your car without it breaking on your when you try cleaning the area below the seats or around your trunk.
The downside here is obviously the price and the fact that the battery and its charger are sold separately ultimately adding even more to that already heavy price tag. Still, if you want something powerful and portable, add this to your shortlist.
Best Heavy-Duty Vacuum – VacMaster Beast Series – Vacuums For Car Detailing
As expected, we are seing another VacMaster model in this list. The BEAST series vacuums are excellent for almost any purpose since they are highly versatile, powerful, and have a large enough tank that can fit all the dirt from your car’s interior and even your garage.
This particular vacuum also doubles as a blower and is in fact one of the cheapest options out there that does that. Blowers are particularly handy when you have to clean the heavy duty garbage from your car before you get to the finer dust particles. One of the downsides is that the motor isn’t very reliable, no matter how strong it is, and it often overheats.
Best For Your Garage – VacuMaid GV50PRO Wall Mounted Garage and Car Vacuum
The VacuMaid GV50PRO is one of the better models out of the GV line-up from VacuMaid. It is a wall-mounted vacuum meaning that it won’t check the “portable” box in your list, but it compensates in more than just one other area. It features a powerful motor, a rust-proof and scratch-proof construction, along with a crush-proof 50 feet hose. Those features make it a great long-term investment for anyone looking for a 2-in-1 vacuum that can easily clean his garage, the driveway, and the car’s interior. For that last part, you also get a variety of accessories included. For more of my thoughts, visit the full review!
Best Handheld – BISSELL Lightweight Cordless Handheld Car Vacuum
If you are looking for something that you can fit in your car’s trunk, then this BISSELL handheld cordless vacuum cleaner is definitely an option you should consider. It is super light and has a decent canister that will easily fit all of your car’s dust and dirt at one go. Where this vacuum falls behind its bigger canister and wall-mounted competitors is raw power and running times. You can only run this for 15 minutes on its battery and when plugged in, it will heat up after 30 minutes. In terms of cleaning, it does an alright job but if you want something with more power that can also clean wet car seats, opt for a wet/dry canister model.
Best Car Vacuums Buyer’s Guide
Car vacuums have pretty much always been a thing, especially in large car washes where interior cleaning was an option. Still, with time they have naturally evolved into more complex machines that clean better. Nowadays it is rather easy to find a wet and dry car vacuum or a handheld model which is perfect for cloth car upholstery. There are also a ton of more attachments being invented which help you clean even the most difficult surfaces without damaging the interior.
Before we get into the aspects of a car vacuum that you need to check before getting one, let’s see what types are out there.
Types Of Car Detailing Vacuum Cleaners
Despite there being a lot of kinds, generally speaking car vacuum cleaners are most often the handheld smaller models which have are running on 12 Volts and can be plugged into your car’s 12V socket. Still, there are quite a few other kinds.
Depending on the overall design of the vacuum, there are:
- Handheld vacuum cleaners
- Stick/Electric broom
Depending on its functionality, there are:
- Wet/dry models
- Steam-cleaners (not technically vacuums)
- Handheld (portable)
Each type has its own pros and cons and is going to be a suitable option for different people. Usually the basic vacuums don’t have wet cleaning capabilities, while the most expensive ones are either really powerful or have a steam-cleaning option.
Some people use the stick and upright vacuum cleaners mainly because they can be a good 2-in-1 alternative, but working with them inside your car is going to be hard due to the tight spaces. One advantage they have is that they are often cordless meaning you won’t have to worry about their cable getting caught on anything in your car’s interior.
The most popular models are definitely the handheld ones but if you are really serious about cleaning your car well, then we’d suggest getting a canister wet/dry model. If budget isn’t an issue, steam cleaners are excellent although you will have to be more careful with them and they aren’t precisely vacuums.
Now, let’s see which are the most important features in a car vacuum which you need to take into account when buying your first model…
Car Vacuum Features To Look For
A car vacuum cleaner usually has a few more features than normal ones. Still, we can generalize what you need to check out by following this list:
- Power & Suction
- Build Quality
- Hose length
- Blowing capabilities
- Portability & Storage
- Which type fits your needs best
- Customer Support & Warranty
Let’s take a look at all of those features in a more in-depth way now.
Power & Suction
Power is one of the main features of any vacuum cleaner. A model with good suction power (usually determined by its Wattage) is going to come in handy when cleaning other areas besides your car.
Good suction power also ensures that you get even the deepest dust particles into your seats if they aren’t made out of leather. Tight spaces also are easier to get if your vacuum is powerful, meaning it will gather more dust than some low-powered models that will just suck out the superficial layers and leave the tiny more stubborn particles behind.
Contrary to what many people think, car vacuums should be a long-term investment. Due to their price and nature they aren’t something you want to change very often so finding one that is actually good for your needs is crucial.
One good indicator of the vacuum’s longevity is going to be the materials it is made of. Look for steel, aluminum, and plastic polymers that won’t deform or break easily.
The hose length and durability is also another key part of the build quality. The best way to tell (apart from taking our word for it) is by checking out the customer reviews. In most cases, where the longevity of a hose is bad you will definitely see someone complaining about it online. Just a few complains are enough to warrant a major red flag.
The last part of the build which is often ignored is the power cord. Look for thicker cords that won’t break or fold easily. Thin cables have a range of issues from breakage to power shortages when the thin rubber protective layer goes bad. As for length, you need to know where you are cleaning your car most of the time and check the distance to the nearest power outlet. That should be the minimum distance for your power cord, not taking into account the length of the hose.
In general, avoid models which have their attachments sold separately. A wide range of attachments is pretty much standard nowadays and is crucial for car detailing since different parts of your car’s interior require different cleaning tools. Some of the most common ones, which you will often need are:
- A crevice tool
- Brushed crevice tool
- An extra connector piece
- Upholstery brush
- Pet hair remover brush
- Dusting brush
- Extension hose (if the one you have isn’t long enough)
Depending on whether or not you have a pet and carry it along with you in the car, the pet brush might be a mandatory thing, since pet hair get stuck pretty easily on cloth interiors.
This is something you take into consideration when checking out the power cord distance. If your socket is really far away, a 15 feet vacuum hose might be quite useful. Look for hose extensions if the distance of your factory one doesn’t cut it. Wall-mounted vacuum cleaners tend to have longer hoses since they are designed to clean your whole garage without moving.
The VacuMaid GV50PRO has a 50-feet hose which will basically cut it unless you need to clean out your neighbours car without moving the vacuum cleaner.
Being able to also blow air out of your vacuum cleaner is a handy advantage that some more expensive models have. It is useful for when you need to remove some larger debris from the car before you start going after the finer dust.
It is really useful for drying up wet patches after you’ve gotten a stain out of your car’s seat. It can also dry up the floor matts in the winter when they keep getting wet from the melting snow on your shoes.
Portability & Storage
Good vacuum cleaners for cars should be able to move around easily. Of course, the type of vacuums that excels here is the handheld cleaner but others shouldn’t be too bulky and sluggish as well. Look for lighter models that you can carry around your garage, if they are a canister or upright vacuum.
When it comes to storage it all depends on how much space you have. Handheld models can be stored practically anywhere, and most people keep them in their cars’ trunk just in case.
If you have a decent amount of storage in your garage, we recommend opting for a canister wet/dry car vacuum cleaner.
If you have allergies or other breathing issues, investing in a vacuum with HEPA filtration is definitely a good choice. That will eliminated fine dust particles and pollen from your car, especially if you’ve been driving through a dusty part of town.
HEPA filters for your car’s AC system are also a good addition/extension to this feature.
Customer Support & Warranty
A good customer support can solve you a lot of issues and can cure a lot of headaches. That, combined with a long and fully covering warranty is something you should definitely go after. Look for warranties that cover the additional attachments, the hose, the power cord, and the motor, as those are the weaker points of any car vacuum cleaner.
Last but not least you shouldn’t forget to not go overboard with the price. Most models are in the 100$ range but you can easily go into a couple of hundred dollars if you decide that you want a premium wet and dry vacuum or a professional wall-mounted one. The best way to get exactly what you need is to lay out your needs and find the model that suits them best. For example, don’t get a vacuum with a 20ft hose if you are only going to use it in a couple of feet distance to your car.
If your car has a leather interior it is better to invest in leather cleaning & protecting items. Then, you can get a regular handheld car vacuum that will do a fine job with cleaning the dust and dirt in your car, while you can take care of the rest of the interior with a handful of wiping cloths and leather lotions.
If you’re wondering what would be the benefits of owning a car vacuum cleaner and also cleaning your car on your own, then this next section has got your answer…
Benefits Of Owning A Car Vacuum Cleaner
Some of the most important advantages of having your own vacuum cleaner for your car are:
- Easy Of Use
- Quick Clean Up
- Portability & Lightweight design
- Reliable filtration
- Adequate amounts of power
Ease Of Use: These vacuum cleaners are often smaller and more portable than the rest on the market. Even the bigger ones come with portability options that make them easy to work with in your garage.
Quick Clean Up: Most car vacuum cleaners are handheld, especially the not-so-professional ones. That allows for the option to quickly remove the dust canister and put it back in. Those quick clean up times shorten the overall time you take to clean your car which is also one of the major benefits of cleaning your car on your own.
Portability: Despite the fact that most of the vacuums we use are canister (or wall-mounted) ones, most car vacuums have a smaller design and are compact enough to fit in your car’s trunk organizer.
Reliable Filtration: You’d think that companies cannot fit a proper filtration system in the smaller footprint but surprisingly most handheld models are HEPA-rated and are as good (if not better) than some canister vacuums for your house.
Adequate Amounts Of Power: Some of the wall-mounted or canister options on our top 5 list are packing a lot of power in them and will be strong enough to easily clean a cloth car seat in depth. That is important if your car hasn’t been cleaned for a while or you work in a dusty environment.
Keep Your Garage As Clean As Your Car
Many car vacuums are also ideal for cleaning rooms in your house or even your garage. The VacuMaid GV50PRO on our list is a wall-mounted option that can be used to clean both your garage and your car (or anything in the reach of the 15ft hose).
What people often forget is that your car is only as clean as your garage is. If you keep your car clean but constantly park it in a dusty or dirty garage, dust will naturally attract itself to the electrically charged body of the car and will create a thin film of dirt that will be hard to remove if left unwashed. That is why it is a good idea to also clean your garage’s floor and walls at least once per week. You can do it before you part your car in after your day is over. That is why wall-mounted vacuums are gaining more and more popularity within owners of garages.
A proper garage ventilation is also needed if you want the air inside to be of good quality. A passive or electric fan in the top corner of any of the walls will do a good job of evacuating the fumes of your car every day when you start it in there.
If you are interested in how to clean your car’s interior head over to our detailed article on the topic!
When choosing the best vacuum for car detailing you will have to take a number of things into account. One of the main ones is the actual type of the vacuum. It can be a canister one, a wall-mounted one, a steam-cleaner, or a handheld option which many consider to be the most ideal tool for cleaning your car’s interior. Handheld models are easily the most popular today since they are light, portable, have decent power and filtration, and can get to most places inside the car, usually with the help of various attachments. If you are having a hard time choosing the right model for you, make sure sure you email us with your requirements and we can find the most fitting model for you!