Cleaning your car is one of those chores that everyone has to do, but no one wants to do. If you dread picking up after your children, your pets or yourself, the right tools can make the job much easier. Handheld vacuums, whether they’re cordless or corded, are ideal for keeping your car neat and tidy. They’re portable, lightweight and easy to maneuver even when you have to vacuum under the seats and in those hard-to-reach crevices. They’re also small enough to stash inside your trunk for routine cleaning or emergencies. To help you select the best handheld vacuum for your needs, we’ve compared five handy products that are ideal for cleaning the interior of your car, truck or minivan.
1. Black & Decker 20V Lithium Pivot Vacuum BDH2000PL
The Black & Decker Pivot Vacuum blows away the competition thanks to its low-profile, wide-mouth nozzle and 35AW of power. Its most distinctive feature is the circular housing, which lets you select the best angle for cleaning the awkward nooks and crannies found in most cars. The nozzle even folds against the body to save space when storing or charging.
Like other Black & Decker products, this handheld vacuum features a built-in flip-up brush and pull-out crevice tool. We also appreciate the unit’s three-stage filtration system that uses a washable filter and prefilter to reduce exhaust dust. If you’re interested in purchasing a vacuum specifically for cleaning your vehicle, you can buy an optional car accessory kit, which includes an upholstery brush, 4-foot hose, angled crevice tool, attachment adapter and carrying bag.
- This product features an extra-large 15-ounce collection container.
- At 3 pounds, it weighs more than most light- and medium-duty handheld vacuums.
- The heavy-duty lithium-ion battery provides 20 to 30 minutes of continuous power and charges in just four hours.
- This model is pricier than its competitors before the added cost of optional accessories.
2. Black & Decker 16V Max Lithium Dustbuster Hand Vac CHV1410L
Black & Decker was the first company to offer a cordless vacuum back in 1979. It continues to be a pioneer in this category, as evidenced by this updated version of the ever-popular Dustbuster; which was a standout pick for our reviewers. Thanks to its innovative long-nose design and 180-degree rotating nozzle, this Dustbuster ventures into places where other vacuums never dared.
Our testers raved about the integrated attachments, including the slide-out crevice tool that goes deep between seat cushions, and the flip-up brush that easily removes caked on dirt and mud. Because the attachments are connected to the unit, you never have to worry about losing a critical piece or purchasing replacement parts. The CHV1410L Dustbuster also has a remarkably long battery life that lasts up to 18 months between charges, so you can keep this vacuum in the car rather than on the charging base. Additionally, it recharges fully in a lightning-fast four hours compared to 10 hours for similar products.
- The 16V Max Dustbuster features a cyclonic suction system that generates 15.2AW of cleaning power.
- The unit includes a generous two-year warranty that covers manufacturing defects.
- Black & Decker’s Smart Charge Technology reduces energy use by 50 percent.
- For ease of use, this product has an ergonomic handle and lightweight design that clocks in at just 2.6 pounds.
3. Welikera 12V Cordless Vacuum B078342YRQ
Welikera’s 12V handheld vacuum bears a striking resemblance to the ubiquitous Dustbuster popularized by Black & Decker. However, this particular model has several unique features. It’s designed for both wet and dry cleaning, so you can vacuum messy spills caused by soft drinks and liquids before they have a chance to stain the upholstery. It also has a washable stainless steel filter that prevents dust from escaping and circulating through your vehicle.
Our reviewers liked the variety of attachments. The unit includes a soft upholstery brush that’s ideal for grabbing pet hair, a rubber-tipped crevice tool that helps you clean under the seats and a flexible 10-inch hose that extends your reach. The lithium-ion battery charges in four hours or less and provides 25 minutes of continuous power, which is fine for routine tidying but might not be enough for deep cleaning.
- At 2.8 pounds, this model weighs slightly more than similar products.
- Welikera’s handy carrying case makes it easy to stow the vacuum and attachments in your car or trunk.
- Cyclonic suction and thoughtfully designed attachments are ideal for cleaning hard and soft surfaces.
- The vacuum’s LED headlight increases visibility under car seats and in dark foot wells.
- Welikera’s stainless steel filter performs well but costs slightly more to replace.
4. Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Corded Handheld Vacuum 33A1
It’s not your imagination. Pet hair sticks to everything due to static cling and the microscopic barbed structure of the cuticles. If your dogs enjoy traveling in the car to the store, the park or the groomer, this handheld vacuum from Bissell’s popular Pet Hair Eraser product line deserves a place in your car. We like the rubberized nozzle and powerful cyclonic suction system, which captures pet hair that’s stuck to upholstered seats or lodged in the floor mats.
We also appreciate the multi-stage filtration system that prevents pet hair from flying around the cabin. Although the Bissell 33A1 handheld vacuum doesn’t offer the same convenience and portability of a cordless model, you don’t have to worry about the battery dying when the backseat is only half clean. It’s also worth noting that Bissell is a pet-friendly brand that donates money to animal welfare organizations through the Bissell Pet Foundation.
- At 5 pounds, this is the heftiest unit that we tried.
- The bagless canister holds up to .78 liters of dirt by volume for uninterrupted cleaning.
- This model includes two interchangeable nozzles for flat surfaces and crevices.
- Although this unit has a corded design, it’s much more convenient and nimble than a full-sized upright vacuum.
5. Black & Decker Dustbuster Hand Vacuum HNV215B10
The HNV215B10 hand vacuum is the latest member of Black & Decker’s Dustbuster product family. This unit grabbed our attention with its featherweight 1.4-pound body, which makes it one of the lightest products in its class. Despite the lack of heft, the lithium-ion power supply generates 12AW of suction and powers the vacuum for a full 30 minutes.
The 12.5-ounce dust collection container is large enough to hold all of the pebbles and leaves that have snuck into your car, and it pops off for easy cleaning and hand washing. We’re also partial to the model’s budget-friendly price tag. There’s only one drawback: This model doesn’t include any attachments or crevice tools, so it’s best for vacuuming seats, floors and flat surfaces.
- The unit’s lightweight design prevents muscle fatigue and is ideal for anyone who suffers from arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Although this model has a competitive price, it doesn’t include any attachments.
- This version of the Dustbuster requires an extended charge time of up to 10 hours.
The Winner: The Overall Best Handheld Vacuum for Your Car
All in all, this was a tough contest, but we can confidently declare the Black & Decker CHV1410L 16V Dustbuster the winner based on its overall performance.
- Price: The CHV1410L Dustbuster isn’t the cheapest product on our list, but it isn’t the most expensive either. Its moderate price point strikes a comfortable balance between quality and value.
- Battery Life: Like the competition, the Black & Decker 16V Dustbuster features a lithium-ion battery. It lasts up to 18 months between charges and doesn’t suffer from the capacity-decreasing memory effect. The vacuum runs for approximately 25 minutes per charge, which is more than enough for quick cleanups.
- Suction: This Dustbuster generates 15.2AW of cyclonic suction, which is typical of a unit with this voltage. The CHV1410L is ideal for cleaning surface dirt that accumulates on the seats and floors.
- Product Design: Our favorite feature is the vacuum’s extended nozzle, which rotates 90 degrees for cleaning areas with tight vertical or horizontal clearance. We also like the integrated attachments that make it easy to switch between the brush and crevice tool.
Whether you’re looking for a handheld vacuum to use at home or in the car, add the Dustbuster CHV1410L hand vac to the top of your list. It’s a fantastic all-around pick for cleaning auto upholstery and hard surfaces.
Want to explore your options? Be sure to check our reviews of the best handheld vacuums from top brands.