The best car vacuum cleaners UK

Given how much time you spend in your car, you want to keep it clean and tidy – so invest in a good car vacuum cleaner.

Cleaning the car with a car vacuum cleaner

by Ryan Gilmore |

Keeping your car washed and vacuumed is much easier than it used to be. You could pay the local car valet people to do it for you, but where’s the satisfaction in that? We say keep the tenner in your pocket and do it yourself.

But which car vacuum cleaner should you buy?

The household vacuum cleaner under your stairs would do a good job, but do you really want to lug it outside to your car? Upright vacuum cleaners are designed for household carpets, rugs and stairways, not for squeezing through a car door.

That’s where a cordless and compact vacuum cleaner comes in. Here, we’ve selected some of the best car-friendly vacuums you can buy – and we’ve deliberately omitted traditional household appliances.

If your car interior is suffering from stains, consider dealing to them with an upholstery cleaner, or if they are really stubborn, a carpet cleaning machine - which you can also use in your house.

So why do you need a car vacuum cleaner?

Your car is hiding all manner of detritus. Dust on the dashboard; crud on the carpets; French fries in the footwells; goop in the glovebox; and dregs in the door pockets. We haven’t even mentioned the dog hair in the boot. The fact is, your car needs a vacuum cleaner.

Studies show a typical family car is home to thousands of units of bacteria per square inch, making it dirtier than a toilet seat. Predictably, the boot is the dirtiest part of the car, followed by the driver’s seat, cupholder and steering wheel. Now you really want a car vacuum cleaner, don’t you?

Parkers - The best car vacuum cleaners:

GTech Multi MK2 Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

Best for all-round ability
Gtech Multi MK2 Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
Amazon

View offer

The Gtech Multi Mk2 looks so good (though not quite as good as the Mk2 Cortina), you won't want to leave it in the garage. Light and with good suction power. A handheld, bagless whirlwind that will make quick work of loose muck in your car. It's a mere 1.5kg but the trade-off is that you get about twenty minutes runtime. It's a race against time somewhat but that adds excitement to an arguably mundane task.

Granted, you can find cheap ones from THEMIGHTYSUN brand on Amazon you'll have never heard of that looks pretty similar - but that is where the similarities end. Unlike the Gtech clones, the suction power of the real Gtech is amazing and it'll keep providing that suction time and time again.

The standard attachments included are exactly what you need, and we don't think the optional Car Accessory Kit is worth it. As standard, you get a rectangular power brush that is superb at removing hair and dirt from the carpet, a dusting brush on an extended pole, and a narrow crevice tool for removing grit from beside the seats, which is simultaneously very small but catches 98% of lost car debris.

Pros Cons
• Powerful yet lightweight option • Car cleaning accessories are an expensive option
• Good storage capacity
Specifications
Run-time 20 minutes
Capacity 0.4 litres
Weight 1.5 kg
Attachments Power brush, dusting brush, crevice brush

WORX WX030 18V (20V MAX) CUBEVAC Cordless Compact Vacuum Cleaner

WORX WX030 18V (20V MAX) CUBEVAC Cordless Compact Vacuum Cleaner
Amazon

View offer

We tested the droid-looking Worx Cubevac vacuum and found it to be a really useful cordless cleaner thanks to its inbuilt tool storage, flexible hose and the fact it shares its battery with the rest of the Worx cordless range. Read the full rundown in our review but to cut a long story short - it's great for 'little and often' cleaning.

Proscenic S1 handheld cordless vacuum

Great value for money
Proscenic S1 handheld cordless vacuum
Amazon

View offer

We've tested this vacuum cleaner on our Volvo XC40 long termer and found it offered a good specification for the money - weighing 630g but offering a 30 minute run time and 12,000 Pa of suction power, plus the ability to charge from a USB-C socket.

In terms of cleaning power we found it perfectly adequate for keeping on top of dust and dirt build up - anything more substantial required a more powerful domestic vacuum cleaner. That said, it makes spending five minutes every week super easy and is a much better use of time than having to set aside hours at the end of the month.

Pros Cons
• Long run time, lightweight • Charging dock looks a bit cheap
• Great spec for the money
Specifications
Run-time 30 minutes
Capacity 0.12 litres
Weight 0.63 kg
Attachments Dusting brush, crevice brush

Realted: Best dog car seat protectors

Karcher WD 3 Car Vac

Best corded vac for cars
Karcher WD 3 Car Vac

View offer

We know what we said about cordless but this Karcher WD 3 is an exception that proves the rule. Because it's designed specifically for cars, the design addresses the problems normally associated with corded vacuum cleaners. It's cheaper than many quality cordless options and it is much more powerful with 200 air watts of suction power. The two-metre suction nozzle is longer than what you'd normally get too, so access throughout the car is not a problem.

You get an assortment of relevant accessories. Said accessories are a pair of suction brushes – one with soft bristles, the other with harder ones, a wide suction nozzle for large flat surfaces, and a 350mm-long crevice nozzle. All of these have applicable use in the car. I has a blower function as well to deal with any of those French fries in inaccessible places.

Oh yes, and it's a wet and dry vacuum that comes with a wet and dry floor tool you can use in your garage. Thumbs up Karcher, well done.

Pros Cons
• Very powerful • Corded (we don't mind however)
• Wet and dry running function
Specifications
Run-time Unlimited (if plugged in)
Capacity 17 litres
Weight 5.8 kg
Attachments Dusting brush, crevice brush

EUFY T2520G31 HomeVac H11 Pure Handheld Vacuum Cleaner & Air Purifier

Best vacuum cleaner and air purifier
EUFY T2520G31 HomeVac H11 Pure Handheld Vacuum Cleaner & Air Purifier

View offer

If you're after the best handheld vacuum cleaner then there are more powerful examples on the market. However, in terms of design and features, not much gets close to this vacuum cleaner from EUFY.

The vacuuming parts are perfectly acceptable, if not exceptional. With a 13 minute run time and 0.09-litre dust bin, it's fine for cleaning up small bits of dust in your car but would struggle with larger tasks. It does at least come with a delicate head attachment and an extension nozzle.

What makes this vacuum so exceptional is that it also works as an air purifier. the Ozone air purifier can be left in your car (with the doors closed) and it'll freshen everything up. The EUFY can work for 15 minutes as an air purifier before needing charging via a USB port.

Pros Cons
• Includes an air purifier • Dust bin is tiny
• Very light
Specifications
Run-time 13 minutes
Capacity 0.09 litres
Weight 0.6 kg
Attachments Dusting brush, crevice brush

Related: The best headlight restoration kits to make your headlights gleam again | The best car polishing kits

Black+Decker PV1820L

Best budget option
Black+Decker PV1820L
Amazon

View offer

The Gtech Multi is our pick for this sort of machine but we appreciate it is expensive. The Black+Decker PV1820L offers a reasonable, budget alternative. In terms of specs it is more in line with the H-Handy 700 - runtime 10 minutes; suction power 35 air watts.

While it doesn't come with attachments, the nozzle is actually very good at reaching most areas. It rotates up to 200 degrees and its flat shape means you can certainly reach a good distance under and beside seats, for example. When charging or storing this vacuum, it folds neatly in half, which makes it more compact. Also, once charged (which takes about four hours), the smart charger will stop and the batteries will not self-discharge.

Pros Cons
• Good value • Needs a longer running time
• Nice features for a budget option
Specifications
Run-time 10 minutes
Capacity 0.44 litres
Weight 1.38 kg
Attachments None (head is adjustable)

Hoover H-FREE 500 Energy

Best for house and car
Hoover H-FREE 500 Energy
Amazon

View offer

We know what we said before about upright vacuums, but if you do want one for use in the house and car, this is your best bet. You can detach the floor tool and pole and simply use the standard short nozzle, the crevice tool, or dusting attachment supplied. Then it really is good for cars.

Hoover’s H-Free 500 comes with two 22V batteries, each giving you at least 20 minutes of runtime unless you engage the turbo. Granted, having a turbo function is infantile but everyone appreciates it, especially when it dishes up some proper Hoover boost.

At 1.7kg excluding the floor tool, it's useably light. One of our main criticisms is the six-hour charge time for each battery. That would be fine if it were just for the car, but if you want to do bigger jobs as well, you’re in for a long wait if you burn through both batteries.

Pros Cons
• Long running time • Small 0.45-litre bin capacity
• Multi-purpose • Struggles in tight spaces
Specifications
Run-time 80 minutes
Capacity 0.45 litres
Weight 2.2 kg
Attachments Crevice Tool, upholstery tool

Related: The best car cooler boxes | Upholstery cleaners that really work

Buying the right car vacuum cleaner and how to use it

There are a number of things to consider when buying a car vacuum cleaner. First, consider the suction power. If a vacuum cleaner is no good at sucking, it kind of, er… sucks. Then there’s the runtime. If you’re buying a cordless cleaner, ensure a full charge delivers enough time for you to cover the entire car. Either that or don’t leave it too long next time.

We’d also consider the weight. One of the main advantages of buying a handheld car vacuum cleaner is that you’re not lugging an upright cleaner around with you. Check the weight when comparing products.

As for how to use a car vacuum cleaner, make sure you use a brush when cleaning the dashboard and plastic trim to avoid leaving marks and scratches. Don’t forget to clean the air vents, cupholders and door pockets.

What to consider when choosing a car vacuum cleaner:

What is the runtime?

A good car vacuum cleaner should be able to complete a car clean on a single charge.

How heavy is the vacuum cleaner?

There are plenty of ways to keep fit. Working out with a car vacuum cleaner isn’t one of them.

How much do you want to spend?

There are car vacuum cleaners to suit all pockets. Avoid the cheapest units because they are so rubbish. But some of the more affordable cleaners offer reasonable suction power and reliability for a keen price. Stick with known and proven brands.

Is your household vacuum cleaner up to the challenge?

Take a look at your existing vacuum cleaner. Does it pack some of the attachments that would be ideal for use in the car?

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us