Man cleans car

Car Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide

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Dragging the household vacuum out, making sure the power cable reaches the car and all the fuss that comes with trying to clean car seats just seems like it belongs in the ‘too hard basket.’ This is where a dedicated car vacuum might come in handy. With so many models on offer, all containing different features and uses, it can be hard to figure out where to start. To help, we have compiled a list of some of the best car-cleaning vacuums and broken down the features, performance, and prices.

Types of car vacuums

There are three main types of car vacuums: corded, cordless, and wet & dry vacuums, each with its own pros and cons.


  • Corded car vacuums: While cordless car vacuums are usually more convenient, as you don’t have to worry about the cord reaching or getting tangled up while trying to manoeuvre tight spaces, they do need charging and only last for so long. Corded vacuums, on the other hand, last as long as you need them to – as long as they’re attached to a power source.
  • Cordless car vacuums: Cordless vacuums, also known as stick vacuums, run on rechargeable batteries and avoid all that faffing around with tangled cords. Whilst they do require charging and often have shorter run times, a car is small enough that you won’t need hours and hours of charge to get the job done.
  • Wet & dry car vacuums: Unlike regular vacuums which are great for cleaning dirt, dust, crumbs, and other debris, wet/dry car vacuums go one step further with the ability to clean both dry and liquid messes, including spills, water, and damp particles. If sticky messes are common in your car, you might consider getting a wet/dry car vacuum.

How much do car vacuum cleaners cost?

Car vacuum cleaners range in price from around $15 to $300 depending on the brand and the added features. You can expect to spend more on brands like Dyson and a much cheaper price on budget brands such as Kmart. 

Who sells car vacuum cleaners?

A number of brands sell handheld car vacuums including Kmart, Ryobi, Black & Decker and Dyson. You can buy models direct from the brand or from retailers such as The Good Guys and Appliances Online.

Kmart Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner

Kmart car vacuum cleaner

Kmart is known for its budget appliances and its range of budget friendly vacuums is no different. The handheld wet and dry vacuum cleaner retails for around $15 and comes with two additional attachments and plugs into your car’s 12V socket. It also includes a cleanable HEPA filter and is specifically designed to clean the inside of your car.

Ryobi Car Vacuum Cleaner

Ryobi car vacuum cleaner


Ryobi’s range of power tools are known within Australia but its lesser known handheld vacuum is also a powerhouse for cleaning your car. Retailing around $150 it provides up to 28 minutes of run time with an 18V ONE+ battery as well as including a dual-stage HEPA filter to capture fine dust particles. Other features include an included crevice tool, dust brush and a powered brush bar that loosens and lifts heavy debris for a deeper clean. 

Black & Decker Vaccuum

Black & Decker Car Vacuum

Another great option that won’t necessarily break the bank are the Black & Decker handheld vacuum range that vary in price from $50 to $130. Many models include features such as an extra wide mouth design to collect extra debris, triple action filtration for longer lasting performance and removable filters and dirt bowl for easy cleaning and maintenance. 

Dyson Vacuum

Dyson Car Vacuum

The Dyson V7 Handheld Vacuum is suitable for cleaning your home, car, boat, or caravan and retails around $300. It offers up to 30 minutes of runtime for 3.5 hours of charge time. This cordless vac weighs just 1.71kg and comes with two additional attachments: a combination tool and a crevice tool. The combination tool is essentially two tools in one for easily switching between surfaces. The crevice tool is designed for precise cleaning around edges and narrow gaps, perfect for cleaning in between car seats and those hard-to-reach places in the car. In addition, this Dyson vacuum has two power modes: MAX, delivering extra-power cleaning for up to six minutes, and Powerful, for longer, everyday cleaning.

What to consider when buying a car vacuum cleaner

  1. Size/weight: Whilst handheld vacuums are lighter than your regular household vacuum, it’s still important to consider the weight of the vacuum, particularly when it comes to manoeuvring tight spaces in small cars or behind baby seats, for example. 
  2. Wet & dry capabilities: A combination vacuum allows you to clean up all kinds of messes, but most vacuums are not designed to tackle liquid spills. Obviously, this would depend on how frequently liquids get spilled in the car and how many sticky messes need to be cleaned up, there’s only so far disinfectant wipes can go!
  3. Capacity: Make sure to pick a model with a large enough bin capacity for your household’s cleaning needs or you’ll find yourself making more trips to the bin than you want to. Trying to find the best of both worlds is key and it depends on the purpose intended for the vacuum.
  4. Suction power: Strong suction is essential for trying to get crumbs that are deeply embedded in car seats. If you transport furry friends in your car, pet hair is another thing that some vacuums struggle to collect so making sure the vacuum you select is powerful enough to tackle the job will make it feel like less of a chore in the long run.
  5. Attachments & accessories: Common attachments sold with car vacuums include floor nozzles, flexible extension tubes, crevice nozzles, and suction tubes. Each accessory is designed specifically for different cleaning jobs, so the more the better. 
  6. Cost: Are you looking for a dedicated vacuum to live in your car or would something like a 2-in-1 stick vacuum suffice? There are some budget-friendly options out there, and selecting the right one for you just depends on how big your car is, and how often you need to clean it (i.e. households with pets, children, etc.).

Purchasing a car vacuum cleaner

When it comes to purchasing a car vacuum cleaner, there’s plenty of variety when it comes to features and price. Ultimately it will come down to personal preference based on the capabilities of the vacuum and price. If you’re not certain you want a vacuum solely for your car but are after a smaller vacuum, compare brands of stick vacuum below.

Compare Stick Vacuums

Kate King
Casual Content Producer
Kate King produces content for the Home and Lifestyle vertical surrounding appliances and consumer products. She holds a Bachelor of Creative Industries from QUT majoring in Journalism and Media and Communications, and has written for a number of publications over the past five years.

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