Good vs. Great Cordless Car Vacuum: What’s The Difference?

What is it that makes the difference between a good vacuum and a great one when it comes to buying a car vacuum? Handheld, cordless vacuums can be tricky to compare since they are all trying to cater to similar needs, but there are a few things about each model that make it stand out over the rest. Good or bad is more of a relative term, since it depends on what you intend to do with it, but those looking for a great cordless car vacuum should pay attention to these elements in particular:

Battery Power

How large is the car you plan to clean? If you only have a small car, you might not need to worry about the life of the battery so much. Those with larger cars should look for longer life batteries or else you will run the risk of having to recharge halfway through the cleaning, a frustrating distraction that you would probably rather avoid.

Keep in mind that larger batteries will have a direct impact on how heavy the vacuum cleaner is. Also, make sure to check the energy rating of the machine as some of the higher efficiency models will perform for longer than others with the same battery. Higher efficiency may mean sacrificing a little bit of suction power, so you’ll have to decide which one is more important to you. If you don’t want to carry a large battery, you also have the option of buying a spare and switching out when you need to.


Considering that you will be bending and twisting yourself around a car to clean all of the little nooks and crannies, you should be looking for a highly portable vacuum. Unless you plan to contort yourself into odd angles to get under seats and into corners, an ideal model should be around 4-6 inches in width and no more than 15 inches long. The other factor to consider is the weight of the unit as a whole.

Weight will depend largely on a few things:

  • Motor size – Larger motors may or may not be more powerful, but they will certainly be heavier. The location of the motor can change how easy it is to carry, so make sure to pick it up and move it around a little if you can to see how the weight is centered.
  • Battery size – As previously mentioned, battery size has a pretty direct effect on the lifetime of the vacuum, but it will also make it harder to carry around. Unfortunately, even if a large battery can last for over half an hour your arms may not be able to. Batteries are made of very dense materials, so if you are unsure of how well you’ll be able to operate a heavy cordless vacuum you should look for a smaller battery and possibly consider buying a spare if you need it.
  • Build material – Most vacuums are made from plastic, but some are thicker plastic than others. Thicker plastic is sturdier if you’re a bit clumsy with your cleaning, although it’s larger unnecessary for the average person and it will weight you down a bit more than you may like.
  • Dirt collection – The size of the dirt cup may have some small effect on the overall weight if you let the cup fill up too much. Bags will also have an effect and are not as simple to change on the spur of the moment.

Suction Power

Unless you have animals or kids, suction power might not be a huge concern for you. An average vacuum with a 4 amp motor should be more than enough to clean out your car. Those with animals or kids on the other hand may look for a little stronger suction to pick up all the stray hair and crumbs that are likely to be around the vehicle.


Getting the right cordless vacuum for cleaning your car can make a world of difference. Now that you know what to look for, you can avoid the frustration of getting a vacuum that doesn’t suit your needs.

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