Three Things to Know Before Buying a Car Vacuum Cleaner

Because there’s nothing worse than a footwell full of dirt.

Cleaning a car is annoying. Like a small apartment, a car accumulates dirt, dust, debris and garbage faster than it has any right to. Cleaning the interior can be a pain even if you have a cordless vacuum. But there are vacuums made solely for cars, and they’re worth a look.


With a small, flat nozzle, this unit can get to hard-to-reach areas. ThisWorx for

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For decades, cars have been equipped with a 12-volt DC outlet, previously known as a cigarette lighter. Newer cars often have a USB plug, to power phones, but USB can’t deliver enough power for a vacuum cleaner. That DC outlet, though, can—as long as your vacuum is compatible. A DC vacuum is perfect to leave in the car at all times, because you know it’ll never run out of juice when there’s an outlet in the car.

Smart Design

You can squeeze 17 to 20 minutes of power out of this product in a single charge. GNG

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Some DC-powered vacuums are corded, so look for a product with a very long cord, to avoid not being able to reach some parts of your car. Or you can opt for a wireless version that charges via the DC outlet, enabling you to clean any part of the car you want—even the trunk of a sedan.

Upholstery Scrubber

This item comes with four attachments, so you can get into every dirty crevice. CHERYLON

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There are several different, and confusing, ways to measure the power of a vacuum cleaner. You’ll commonly see figures for watts, air watts (which is quite different), cubic feet per minute of suction and amps. Watt measurement refers to the overall power of the motor; amps tells you about the overall power of the entire machine (which might include other components like lights or spinning brushes). Air watts is the best way to really measure the sucking power of a vacuum—it incorporates cubic feet per minute—but not all vacuums display it. The highest-end handheld vacuums generally have around 30 to 40 air watts; a good car vacuum should have at least 20.