In researching for the best shop vac for car, I found there’s a lot that goes into the engineering of a vehicle vacuum. Vehicle vacuums are not made equally, which means that you have a little bit of looking around to do before you buy one.
Depending on the particulars of your unique situation, you may need one designed to get pet hair out of your vehicle, pick up the latest spill that might have occurred, or maybe just a simple maintenance and clean up job. Whatever your particular circumstances may be, you need to choose a vacuum that’s right for you.
I’ve done a lot of the research for you – just to make your job easier. How do I do it? I began my work by looking into the criteria with which to judge the vacuums.
In fact, let’s start there. This is your guide to choosing the best car vacuum for your needs.
Even though car vacuums are not made equally, they all share common traits. You need to be able to take the vacuum, plug it in and use it to clean your vehicle with.
Do you know what to look for? To best find a vacuum that works for you, we need to take a look at the cord and hose lengths, the included accessories, the capabilities of the vacuum, airflow capacity and replacement filters.
The good news is I’ve done the work for you. When I was done, I put it all here in one place – keep reading to find out what I learned.
When it comes to being able to vacuum your vehicle, the suction end needs to be able to reach your entire vehicle. This can be done through either a really long electric cord, a really long hose, or combination of both. If you don’t want to move the vacuum very often, a longer hose is essential for reach inside the car. Hose extensions can be helpful here, but aren’t flexible. And if you are some distance from an electrical outlet, you will want a long cord, or at least an extension cord. I did not cover cordless vacuums here simply because the corded vacuums have a much stronger airflow.
Common accessories that are included with the vacuums include a pet hair tool, a crevice tool, a dust brush and more. These are little attachments that you attach to the end of the hose to give it a unique shape. This shape has the ability to pick up different types of debris. For instance, a dust brush has several soft bristles around the hose. As you rub the brush across a dusty area, the soft bristles agitate the dust, making them airborne. With the vacuum on, these airborne dust particulates get sucked up into the vacuum – much more efficient than using a feather duster.
Just as not all vacuums were designed equally, not all of them have the same capabilities. Some of them are able to pick up both wet and dry debris while others are designated for dry debris only. At the same time, many vacuums that have the ability to pick up liquid require an extra purchase beyond what comes in the box – such as a wet filter.
Airflow capacity denotes the power of the vacuum to pick up debris. This is usually measured in CFMs – cubic ft. per minute. In other words, how many cubic ft. of air can a fan move per minute? The higher the rating of the CFM, the more powerful the vacuum.
No filter lasts forever – including the nondisposable, washable filters. These washable filters will certainly last longer than their disposable counterparts, but they will eventually need to be replaced. In order to use the vacuum the way it was intended, you will need to be looking at the cost of these replacement filters. You will be replacing them or cleaning them on a regular basis.
This is the fun part. This is where I have personally looked at all the vacuums and have picked out the ones that are the best. A number of vacuums didn’t make this list. The ones below are the five best shop vac for car that I found.
Here are my reviews of the best car vacuums.
This is the standard, stainless steel portable vacuum with the ability to pick up liquid straight out of the box.
It includes a rear blower report or you can attach a hose and turn it into a blower.
The hose length on this model is 7 feet.
The cord length of this model is 6 feet.
Accessories include three extension wands, a 10-inch wet/dry nozzle, one gulper, crevice tools, a tool holder, a cartridge filter and a collection bag.
This model has both wet and dry capabilities straight from the box.
The reported airflow capacity is 175 ft.³ per minute.
The foam filter for wet vacuuming can be found here.
A three pack of disposable filter bags can be found here. .
This vacuum has a plastic body with a 12-gallon tank.
The on/off switch is sealed so it cannot get damaged by water.
This includes a drain port at the bottom so you don’t need a lift it up to dump it out.
This model has a 12-foot cord with a 7-foot hose.
It includes two extension wands, a cartridge filter and foam sleeve, a crevice tool, a car nozzle and 8-inch utility nozzle, a blower nozzle, a noise diffuser, and an adapter for the blowertool.
This has the ability to pick up liquids right out-of-the-box.
The reported air capacity is 95 ft.³ per minute.
Compatible replacement filters include:
This is a unit that is designed to be mounted on the wall of your garage. As such, it does not have casters and is not mobile.
It comes with a powder-coated steel drum body for longevity.
It comes with a 7-layer HEPA filter bag.
This is a wall-mounted vacuum with a standard 6-foot power cord with a 50-foot hose.
The unit includes a hanger to mount the unit on the wall, a caddy bag for portability, a telescopic wind, dusting brush, floor and crevice tools.
This vacuum is not intended to pick up liquid of any kind. It does not come with this capability, nor is there an accessory you can purchase to be granted this ability.
The airflow capacity for this vacuum is unlisted. However, it is listed as having 507 Air Watts.
This is another wall-mounted vacuum with a 21-foot maximum hose length.
There is an attached 7-foot hose with the ability to connect the included 14-foot hose for a maximum of 21 ft.
This wall-mounted unit detaches from the wall quickly and easily without tools for portability.
The maximum hose length for this vacuum is 21 ft. The power cord length is 20 feet
This model includes the wall bracket for mounting, a filter, two extension wands, two hoses, a crevice tool, a car nozzle, dusting brush and utility nozzle.
This has the ability to pick up liquids straight out of the box.
The reported airflow capacity is 97 ft.³ per minute.
Compatible replacement filters include:
This is a powerful, no-frills, high-capacity wet/dry shop vacuum design for commercial use.
This also includes an integrated blower for to turn this into a blower.
There are several options for filter replacement.
The length of the included power cable is 20 feet The length of the hose is 7 feet
Accessories include cartridge filter, a hose coupler, two extension wands, a 7-foot hose, a car nozzle, a wet nozzle and a utility nozzle.
This is the ability to pick up water. However, you are required to purchase the wet foam filter. It does not come with the ability to pick up water straight out-of-the-box.
The reported airflow capacity is 169 ft.³ per minute.
Compatible replacement filters include:
The best vacuum for your needs will depend on your situation. If you have a garage, the wall-mounted VacuMaid GV50 with a 50-foot hose can make things really convenient. You can reach your car and every corner and crevice of the garage or even the driveway.
If portability is an issue, then the RIDGID 5 gal. Stor-N-Go is perfect because you can mount the unit on the wall, saving precious floor space, and take it with you when you need it.
If you have the extra floor space, then the stainless steel Shop-Vac 5986000 or the Vacmaster VBV1210 may be everything you need. Both of these models have blower ports, made so you can blow off your driveway or blow dust out of your garage if necessary.
If you need a basic, no-frills vacuum that has power, then I would definitely go with the WORKSHOP Wet/Dry WS1600VA, as it is portable, powerful, and can get the job done.