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Understanding The Differences Between Auto Vacuums - Purchasing The Right One For You

Vacuum Cleaner

It's car cleaning day, and everything seemed well and good until you decided to vacuum out your car. While it's possible to vacuum out your car with your household vacuum, the adventure and obstacles you'll encounter will ensure nightmares to come for weeks.

There is, however, a better option; purchasing a specialized car vacuum cleaner or even a cordless vacuum cleaner. Both have benefits as well as drawbacks. Your budget and particular needs will inspire your purchase decision.

Car Vacuum Considerations


No, we're not referring to how your vacuum cleaner looks. Come to think of it, I don't think any vacuum cleaner will win a beauty contest anytime soon, but when we talk about style, we're referring to the two broad categories of vacuum cleaners. They are:

Cordless Vacuum Cleaners and Specialized Auto Vacuums

Let's discuss some of the benefits and drawbacks of each, beginning with cordless vacuums.

Cordless Vacuum Cleaners


- Cordless, so you can take this vacuum just about anywhere without fighting with lengths of cords.

- Usually, pack a powerful punch without needing to be plugged into an electrical source while operating.

- Are easy to hold and operate.

Some come with filters like HEPA that can help asthma or allergen sufferers breathe a little easier.


Cordless, so if you're vehicle looks like it was used to chauffeur feisty toddlers with food to and from an event, you may want to reconsider.

Charging before use could take some time.

Remembering to plug the vacuum in after use may be challenging to some.

The debris bin where all the grime and dirt collects needs to be emptied fairly often to maintain the performance of the vacuum. May be heavy or difficult to operate with people who have arthritic hands or a similar condition.

Cordless vacuums enable you to disconnect the vacuum from the charging station and vacuum your car without worrying about a mess of cords. Some of these vacuums may even come with special attachments that make getting into tiny crevices or detailing air vents easier compared to your standard vacuum.

Specialized Auto Vacuums


- No toting around bulky and awkward vacuums.

- No worries about whether or not you charged vacuum sufficiently before beginning the cleaning project.

- Clean up is easy, once you finish, just wrap the cord up and call the project quits.

- Usually contains a larger debris tank so that you can empty in between uses.

- May come with additional attachments for pet hair removal, a crevice tool for tight and tricky spaces, etc.

- Usually comes with advanced filters such as HEPA. Great for people particularly sensitive to poor air quality.


- You're limited by hose length. Whatever the hose reaches, is what you can clean. So make sure the hose length is sufficient for the project.

- Some people may want to move their vacuums around with them.

- These vacuum cleaners are usually attached permanently to a wall in your garage or another convenient location for you to access. Yes, you do have to worry about cords, but the suction power of these vacuums makes up for that particular annoyance. Additionally, you don't have to worry about toting around a heavy, bulky and awkward machine.


The size of the vacuum will determine the suction power. While holding a tiny cordless vacuum may feel good in your hands, will it be sufficient enough to pull the stubborn pet hair from your car mats and seats? A larger vacuum can handle heavy duty jobs, and some may even be able to clean up wet messes before the stain sets in.

Power and Collection Tank Capacity

You want the sucking power to be sufficient for your cleaning project, but not so much where cleaning becomes more of a challenge when your vacuum hose decides to suction onto your seats or mats, and you have to pry it off with a crowbar. Also, the tank capacity should be sufficient. Smaller vehicles may be able to get by with the smaller collection tanks that are featured on cordless models, but if your vehicle seems to collect lots of grime, you may be better suited towards a specialized vacuum.

For smaller cleaning projects, a 2-6 gallon capacity should be sufficient. Larger projects or vehicles may want to lean towards the 8-14 gallon ranges.

Bagless vs Bagged

These two factors are worth mentioning for a couple of reasons:

If you're an allergy sufferer, you're probably going to want purchase a vacuum cleaner with disposable bags. So you can avoid the contaminants recirculating back into the air.

If air quality doesn't matter to you, and you want to save on costs, bagless may be beneficial to you since you don't the added expense of purchasing new bags (and believe us, they add up quickly!).


Filters help prevent the allergens and small air irritants from recirculating back into the air. Ideally, your vacuum will include high-level filters or even HEPA filters.


Some vacuums come with additional attachments that will help make the chore of cleaning your vehicle easier. You might find the crevice tool especially useful for getting into tight spaces (like in between the seats), or even vacuuming out the center console box. Pet owners will be overjoyed with specialized tools that seem to pluck stubborn pet hair from the fabric surfaces of their vehicle.

Purchasing an auto vacuum doesn't have to be complicated or involve doing hours of mind numbing research, it's just a matter of determining your needs and isolating your choices to the vacuums that meet your expectations and have the features you need.

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