I think we can all agree on how important it is to keep your Porsche’s exterior looking shiny and clean. But while we’re driving, we spend all our time inside the vehicle — so it’s equally as important to keep the cabin nice and spotless. That starts with owning a quality car vacuum cleaner that helps you effortlessly clean up messes instead of making it a chore.
But why do you specifically need a car vacuum when you likely have a household vacuum? For starters, most car vacuums are designed to use your vehicle’s 12-volt, cigarette lighter outlet for power, which makes it convenient for vacuuming your car. That means not having to drag out an extension cord and using a 120-volt household outlet. In addition, car vacuum cleaners often come with attachments and other accessories that help get to those hard-to-reach areas like underneath your seats or between your center console. Also, if you decide to purchase a shop vacuum, they typically offer better suction than your standard household vacuum.
With that out of the way, we chose the best car vacuum cleaners based on a mix of price, performance, and convenience. While there are some vacuums that aren’t on our list that offer better performance, like a Dyson handheld for example, we don’t believe they’re worth the premium if you’re simply looking for a vacuum to clean your car. If you are willing to spend more on a vacuum that will work for both your home and car, a cordless handheld option is what you want.
Below, you’ll find our recommendations for the best car vacuums, along with more information about them to help you choose the one you need.
1. Top pick: ThisWorx car vacuum cleaner
Admittedly, this isn’t the best-performing car vacuum cleaner out there. But we believe the average Porsche owner takes care of their car and don’t necessarily need a top-of-the-line vacuum for routine cleaning. That’s one of the main reasons why I have ThisWorx’s car vacuum cleaner as my top pick. It’s lightweight, affordable, and works well enough so long as you don’t have to deal with real big messes. If you do, I’d recommend a shop vacuum anyways.
Weighing about 2.4 pounds, this vacuum features a washable HEPA filter and a 106-watt motor for decent suction and performance. The version we recommend has a 16-foot power cord attached to it, which plugs into your vehicle’s 12-volt cigarette lighter receptacle for power. I found the 16-foot cord to be adequate for most vehicles, but you may need to use a different outlet if you own a larger Porsche, like the Cayenne or Taycan Cross Turismo.
Overall for the price, this vacuum performs surprisingly well. ThisWorx also offers a cordless option, but it’s not as powerful with its 60-watt motor. But that’s the sacrifice you need to make for a battery-operated vacuum that isn’t attached to a cord. No matter which vacuum you choose, you’ll also get three different attachments — flathead, extendable, and brush nozzle — along with a carrying bag, filter brush, and an extra HEPA filter.
Again, this vacuum cleaner won’t offer the best performance, but it’s affordable and reliable. It’s ideal for car owners who routinely detail their interior and don’t typically have large messes to deal with. If this doesn’t sound like you, then skip past our next recommendation and take a look at our options for shop vacuums.
2. Runner-up: HOTOR car vacuum cleaner
This product from HOTOR is similar to our top pick, except it has a shorter power cord measuring about 11.5 feet. So if you own a 911 and want to save a few bucks, this is a pretty good choice. Like the vacuum from ThisWorx, HOTOR’s option comes with a HEPA filter and provides decent suction for small messes. There’s also a built-in LED light that helps you see when you’re trying to vacuum underneath your seats. It’s not extremely helpful, but a nice-to-have feature.
Based on my previous experiences testing this vacuum and the recommendation from ThisWorx, I didn’t find any noticeable performance differences between the two. They’re both comfortable and easy to use, but I prefer ThisWorx’s vacuum just because of its longer power cord.
Accessories that come with this vacuum include a crevice nozzle for hard-to-reach areas, and a dusting brush that’s helpful with your A/C vents and seats.
3. Best compact wet/dry vacuum: Armor All shop vacuum
I personally prefer shop vacuums like this one when it comes to vacuuming my interior. But I understand they’re generally not as convenient to use, which is why they aren’t at the top of my list. Shop vacuums will require a standard household 120-volt outlet for power, which likely means needing an extension cord to vacuum your entire car’s interior. If that doesn’t bother you, then grab yourself a shop vacuum and even better, pair it with one of our handheld options so you always have the right tool for the job.
This recommendation is a compact shop vacuum powered by a 2-peak-horsepower motor. The 2.5-gallon tank should be more than enough for one cleaning session, unless your car is really messy. Emptying out the container is fairly straightforward — just pop off the top and dump out your trash.
The attached power cord measures 10 feet, which is why I say you likely need an extension cord. The hose is 6 feet with a 1.25-inch diameter, so it won’t pick up particularly large debris. Armor All does include a bunch of attachments, including a two-in-one utility nozzle, detail brush, crevice tool, blower nozzle, and a deluxe car nozzle.
Almost all shop vacuums are wet/dry vacuums, so you can use this to clean up spilled liquids or deal with your floor mats after a rainy day. Everything can be conveniently stored on the vacuum itself and if you need it to, it can convert to a blower by swapping the hose location. This is the shop vacuum I keep in my own garage, I find it to be the perfect size.
4. Best heavy-duty car vacuum: DEWALT shop vacuum
Looking for a heavy-duty shop vacuum to make quick work of the messes in your car? If you own a larger SUV like a Cayenne and often commute with kids or pets, you’re going to want something like DEWALT’s shop vacuum. With a large 12-gallon tank and a powerful 5.5-peak-horsepower motor, this vacuum is also useful around the garage or even inside your home.
Since it is a larger vacuum, the rubberized casters that can rotate 360 degrees come in handy so you can easily move it around. The casters are plenty sturdy too, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally knocking the vacuum over unless you’re using a lot of force. I particularly like the 20-foot power cord and 7-foot hose with a 2.5-inch diameter. Like the Armor All shop vacuum, DEWALT’s vacuum has onboard storage for everything, including a detachable accessories bag.
The typical accessories to help make it easier to vacuum your car are included, and if you’re dealing with a giant wet mess, you’ll be thankful for the built-in tank drain. Obviously given its size, this vacuum isn’t as easy to empty out, so that’s something to keep in mind.
5. Best for pets: BLACK+DECKER Furbuster
Our final recommendation is ideal for pet owners, but it’s also what I found to be the best cordless, handheld vacuum you can get without paying hundreds of dollars. It comes from BLACK+DECKER and it’s called the Furbuster, and while it is a household vacuum, it works well for your car. It provides great suctioning power, especially when you use the Powerboost function.
This is also the ideal vacuum for those who hate the idea of dumping out the trash after cleaning. It features a one-touch, easy-empty design so you can dump the dustbin without coming in contact with any of that dirt and trash. It does come with an extra-long crevice tool that is useful for vacuuming underneath your seats and between your center armrest.
Now, since this is a cordless vacuum that uses battery power, it’s not the best option for larger vehicles. Typically you’ll average about 10 to 20 minutes of use, depending on whether you’re taking advantage of Powerboost.
Why can’t I use a household vacuum for my car?
Well, you can, but it’s not as convenient. Unless you own a cordless, handheld vacuum for your home, you’ll likely need a 120-volt outlet. Some household vacuums are designed to be stood upright and lack the attachments to make it easy to vacuum your car. There are, of course, some household vacuums that work just fine for vacuuming your car and those are typically the handheld, cordless stick vacuums. If you care about keeping the interior of your car clean however, we highly recommend just getting a vacuum that’s designed for the task.
How do I choose the best car vacuum?
Personally, I feel there are a few considerations when it comes to choosing the best car vacuum. Are you looking for a vacuum to deal with spilled food, drink, and large amounts of pet hair? If so, I recommend taking a look at our shop vacuum recommendations. If you just need something compact and lightweight for minor messes or routine maintenance, grab one of our top two picks. Car vacuums that use your car’s 12-volt cigarette lighter receptacle for power are more convenient, since you can just keep it in your car at all times. I like owning both types of vacuums, so I always have the right tool for the mess.
How often should I vacuum my car?
The answer to this question largely depends on how often you’re driving your car and the manner of your commute. If you’re picking up your kids from school and they’re enjoying snacks on the way home, or you’re often carpooling to a sporting event, you more than likely want to vacuum your car every week so the mess doesn’t build up. Same goes for traveling with a pet. If you don’t drive too often however, vacuum your car after every wash.
Most importantly, make sure you vacuum your car as quickly as possible if there are any liquid spills. You don’t want that staining your carpet or floor mats.