Vacuuming the inside of your car isn’t just for avid detailers, it’s just generally good practice to give your car seats and other inside parts a good clean every so often. Besides the fact that people don’t want to be sitting in all your crumbs, pet hair and other dirt, it just simply makes the car look cheap and neglected. Vacuum cleaners are the best, most efficient way of picking up all those unwanted nasty little things that cling to the inside of your car.
Vacuums are a standard household item, but you can’t use a general hoover for car cleaning. You need something that’s designed to get into all those little nooks and crannies of your seats and is portable enough.
Best Vacuums for Car Detailing in the UK Reviewed
Corded or Cordless
#1. Black & Decker PD1200AV-XJ
Black and Decker are a well known and trusted brand in the UK when it comes to electrical tools and appliances, making it onto the number 1 spot for car vacuum cleaners with the PD1200AV-XJ.
This vacuum cleaner plugs into your cigarette lighter with its 5M cable, so there’s no need to run any power cables to a power outlet and has everything needed to tackle every area of your car needing vacuumed.
It has a neat little compact design that's handheld and can be used with one hand as a traditional hand vac, or the handle can be removed and used with two to get stuck into harder to reach areas.
The suction it provides is fantastic and is hard to match in terms of performance thanks to it’s design, especially considering it’s such a small-sized cleaner.
The flexible hose that can be detached along with the flip-out brush makes it the absolute best model for getting into any area of your car, including sensitive areas of the dashboard that you have to be careful with.
Overall the best performance from any model on the list with a great portable, quality design and a price tag that is very competitive.
- Suction performance is great
- Can get into any inside part of the car needing cleaned
- Portable, lightweight design
- Durable model backed by a great brand
- 5M cable
- Requires two hands for hose use, though a great addition
#2. HOTOR Corded Car Vacuum Cleaner
HOTOR might not be a big recognisable brand like Black and Decker, but that shouldn’t put you off considering this neat handheld hoover for your car detailing as it comes in a very close 2nd place.
It’s pretty similar in terms of performance and ability to the Black and Decker model above. It has great suction and can be used on either dry or wet areas of your car.
There’s 3 different attachments that come with the purchase for different cleaning situations - hard brush for stubborn dirt, crevice tube for deeper cleaning and an extended tube for more mobility.
The design itself is practical and light to use. It’s about the standard size of a handheld hoover measuring in at 13.78 x 4.33 x 4.33in and weighs just 653g (Approx). It also plugs into the cigarette lighter with a 5M cable which allows you to easily use it on any part of the car.
With all the attachments and extensions you can get into any part of the car for hoovering, even the smallest little pockets where dust is collecting. The provided brush attachment also helps loosen and dirt to ensure it comes off with the vacuum.
Although it’s easy to be sceptical of the quality of a brand that isn’t very well known, the HOTOR car vacuum cleaner is a very popular option, with lots of satisfied users signing praise for the model, just have a look at user reviews to see.
HOTOR are so confident in their model that they offer to refund your money or replace the vacuum without having to return the item if you have any issues.
Overall a nearly 1st place finish for a popular detailing and travel vacuum for your car, with everything that you should look for in a model at a reasonable price. The only thing that keeps it from the 1st spot is that it’s maybe a little more tricky to empty than other cleaners.
- Great suction
- Lightweight, portable design
- A range of different attachments provided so you can get into any area
- LED light on front
- Reasonably priced
- Good guarantee offered by HOTOR
- Can be a little tricky to empty
#3. WORX WX030
WORX is another trusted brand name in the power tool and appliance space, creating this little compact powerhouse of a cleaner for cars.
This pick makes it onto the list because it combines such a small, lightweight design with a powerful hoovering performance.
It is noticeably smaller than the other picks on the list, though does require two hands to use unlike some of the other vacuums.
The WX030 does not plug into anything and is cordless, avoiding running cables around your car thanks to the 2.0Ah 20V battery it runs off and charger. The runtime of the fully charged battery is approximately 25 minutes.
The vacuum itself has two different built-in speed settings that are easy to switch between along with several attachments that are also built into the vac. The attachments include a crevice nozzle for getting into trick areas as well as a brush for loosening any dirt.
One of the standout features is the one-touch emptying feature. A common occurrence with a lot of detailing vacuums is the fact that some models are actually quite tricky or confusing to empty, with the WORX unit you simply press the button and it empties from the bottom of the unit.
Overall this is the most expensive pick on our list, but does have the best design out of all the models we reviewed, being very compact with no cables trailing and having everything you need built-in to it. The simple to use buttons such as the 1 touch empty are also very handy.
- High-performance suction
- One the of smallest, best compact designs
- Easy to empty with simply one touch
- Really simple to use
- No trailing cables
- One of the more expensive cleaners
- Have to use 2 hands to use - if that’s a concern to you
#4. Audew Handheld
The Audew handheld is very similar to the HOTOR pick on this list in that it’s a smaller brand name and also the models are very similar.
The big difference between this model and the HOTOR is the fact that it is a cordless cleaner that needs charged rather than plugged into the car cigarette lighter. You get approximately 25-30 minutes with a 3-5 hour charge of the unit, which is a pretty good run time versus how long it takes to charge.
The suction performance is really good again for such a lesser-known brand and lower price tag.
It comes with a good range of attachments such as a crevice nozzle, brush nozzle and a soft long tube for harder to reach areas and stubborn dirt.
It has a pretty standard size for a handheld cleaner of 35.1 x 14.6 x 10.3 cm and weighs a light 650g (approx), making it perfect for holding for long periods of time.
Cleaning and emptying the vacuum is very simple with the 1 button release. Simply press the button when it looks like it needs emptied, empty the dust and clean the HEPA filter with some water.
Overall an inexpensive model that has great performance, everything provided in the purchase is easy to use and should be your choice if you’re looking for a battery charged option rather than a corded unit that plugs into your cigarette lighter.
- Good battery life compared with charge time
- Great suction
- Lightweight design
- Everything needed provided in the purchase
- 1 year warranty
- Needs to be charged - if you see that as a concern
- Quality control issues
#5. Vax Gator Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
The final pick comes from the popular manufacturer Vax who are fully invested in the cleaning war. The Gator unit is their most popular handheld cleaner for car detailing, but is also very popular for regular vacuuming jobs in the home.
Another cordless design that has a battery built into it rather than needing to trail cables to your car cigarette lighter. The runtime of a fully charged battery is roughly 15 minutes, but it does take a while to fully charge, so it’s not the best battery life.
The design and durability of the model is great. The handle is shaped with ergonomics in mind and makes holding the hoover comfortable and easy to point at your area of cleaning.
The size of the unit is pretty standard, but it is slightly heavier when compared with other similar handheld vacuums at 1.3kg.
It does have a built-in crevice tool that easily pulls out rather than having to attach anything to help get into those harder to reach areas. Some more attachments would be nice with the purchase.
The suction performance, in general, is average and won’t be strong enough to suck up tougher, more stubborn dirt.
The design is fantastic and durable, with a great capacity of 0.3L for picking up stuff and an easy to empty mouth with a press of a button.
Overall it's a reliable unit backed by a great brand, but it may not be the most lightweight, portable design and doesn't have a great runtime. This would probably be an ideal option if you’re looking for something for some quick, easy cleaning in the house and the car.
- Reasonably priced
- Backed by a reliable brand
- Easy to empty
- Good capacity
- 1 year guarantee provided
- Suction isn't strong enough for picking up tougher stuff
- Not great run time
- A little heavier than the other handheld units
- More attachments would be nice
Vacuum Cleaner for Car Detailers Buying Considerations
Corded or Cordless
If you’re using a portable handheld vacuum for your car detailing you’ll either use a corded or cordless unit.
Corded is better in the sense that there’s no charging involved, you’ll typically plug the cleaner into the car 12V cigarette lighter and it’ll run off that. The downside to this is that it leaves a trailing cable around the car when vacuuming different parts.
Cordless usually has a built-in rechargeable battery and requires several hours to charge to run efficiently. The upside of this is that there’s no cables involved and you can use it freely anywhere, anytime.
The main thing to consider is how well the unit is at actually picking up dust, tough dirt, hair, crumbs etc. on the car seats, floor and even dashboard.
The strength of the suction is very important if you’re a car detailer as you don’t treat the job casually, you want the inside looking spotless and perfectly clean with no mess anywhere.
If you have some extra tough stains or marks to get out of the upholstery, then you might be better using a steam cleaner first to loosen it up and make it easier for a vacuum to hoover up.
Weight and Portability
All the options we have listed in our reviews above are portable and light in weight. Because of the nature of the job, any cleaner has to be easy to hold for long periods so that you can get right into all the crevices, nooks and crannies of the car.
If you do opt for a corded model, then make sure your purchase has a reasonable length of cable, as you’ll need to make sure that you can get round every part of your car with the vacuum including the boot area, without cables being pulled.
The typical length of any cable that runs into the car 12V cigarette lighter is usually 5M long, this is more than long enough to reach any area of the car.
Accessories for Different Areas
Most of the units you can buy have different nozzles, tubes and accessories that can be attached for different styles of cleaning as part of the purchase. Some models have built-in nozzles and tubes, whereas others need to be attached manually.
Check out the full list of attachments and accessories provided by each manufacturer and the jobs they are designed for in the car.
Ease of Emptying and Cleaning
If you’re a regular car detailer that uses the vacuum a lot, then you’ll find yourself emptying and cleaning the unit pretty often. This is why it’s important that any model you do buy is easy to empty and clean.
Most cleaners have a simple 1-button system that allows you to simply press a button and empty the collections into the bin.
There are a few different models out there that can be tricky to work out how to empty and do not provide any clear instructions on how to do so, so be wary of that.
The Final Word
Instead of having to take your car for a professional clean or valet every so often, invest in a portable vacuum cleaner that you can get out and clean the inside of your car with conveniently. If you’re a regular car detailer, then using a home cleaner is not really an ideal option, especially if you’re trying to get it done as quickly as possible and reach all the little nooks and crannies. We’ve tried to select the 5 best vacuums for car valeting that have good suction, are portable, easy to empty and won’t fail after a few uses.
Last Updated On: May 20, 2022.