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Keeping your vehicle clean is a necessity as a driver, but without the right tools, it isn’t so convenient. Having the best car vacuum on hand will spare you a visit to the car wash vacuum station every time an inevitable mess occurs.
With passengers coming in and out of your vehicle for hours every day, your car’s interior will constantly be greeted with dirty shoes, loose hairs, and crumbs from their snacks. To keep up your five-star presentation — and to prevent scratches on leather seats when driving luxury services — you need to prevent the buildup of debris by vacuuming each week, and even between trips when needed.
In this article, we’ll explain features that drivers should seek in car vacuum cleaners, and provide our leading picks.
Best Car Vacuum Features
Convenience and portability are two features we recommend focusing on when shopping for your vacuum. A product that meets both of these desired features will be easier to store and use while on the go.
Specifically, we recommend seeking:
- Cordless car vacuums: Cordless options are far more convenient to use, as they don’t require you to carry around an external power source or seek the rare nearby, outdoor outlet. Alternatively, a vacuum with a power cord that plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter outlet can also work, though any corded option may be more difficult to move around your vehicle.
- Handheld vacuums: While bulkier options exist and function well, we highly recommend sticking to hand vacuums. These will not only fit in your trunk easily, but they’ll also be easier to maneuver while in use.
In addition to ensuring your vacuum is cordless and handheld, we highly recommend picking up a vacuum with strong suction power and a nozzle or attachments that can clean up hard-to-reach places.
Four Best Car Vacuums for Rideshare Drivers
With our desired car vacuum features narrowed down, you can begin shopping for car vacuums that fit the bill. Here, we’ve narrowed down our selections for the best car vacuum cleaners for Uber and Lyft drivers. As you browse this list to speed up your search, make sure to consider which features you’d find most useful, and if any features are absolute no-gos.
1. BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster Cordless Vacuum
A long-time favorite among many consumers and drivers, this popular cordless vacuum provides pretty much everything you need in a car vacuum cleaner. It has impressively strong suction power, which can pick up anything from crumbs on your seats to dirt on your floor mats, while weighing only 2.6 pounds. Plus, it also has a washable filter and dirt bowl, so you won’t have to worry about replacing a bag every time it’s full.
Another wonderful feature of the BLACK+DECKER CHV1410L model is its rechargeable lithium ion battery. This powerful battery allows you to vacuum for up to 20 uninterrupted minutes, which is more than enough to vacuum your entire vehicle in one go. You can use it for small spills and immediately return it to your trunk, while trusting that it’ll be ready to go whenever it’s needed. When it does need to be charged, all you need to do is place it atop its plugged-in charging base for four hours (or just leave it overnight).
Combined with the fact that it can reach all corners of your vehicle with its extendable crevice tool, rotatable nozzle, and brush attachment, the Dustbuster will certainly prepare you for any dry messes. This well-priced product comes with a two-year limited warranty.
2. Homasy Portable Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
Sometimes, an unfortunate liquid spill will occur in your vehicle and cause a literal sticky situation. This Homasy wet and dry vacuum will suck up to 100 milliliters of liquid, so you can take immediate action on puddles, before they dry and become stains. This will ensure minimal cleanup on your part, so you can return to earning faster.
Of course, this handheld vacuum is also an extremely effective solution for dry messes, as well. Its motor provides powerful suction, allowing for noticeably deep cleaning. Even the stubborn debris you’re unable to see will be picked up.
Like the BLACK+DECKER vacuum, this Homasy vacuum uses a lithium ion battery that can be recharged in three to four hours. The average run time for a fully charged vacuum is 30 minutes, which is the best vacuum run time on this list.
The product comes with a few helpful attachments, including a crevice tool for all the hard-to-reach areas, though its sloped design already provides great maneuverability on its own. You’ll also receive a three-year warranty for your purchase.
3. Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Lithium Ion Cordless Hand Vacuum
If you’re the owner of a furry friend who rides in your car, this is a fantastic solution for cleaning your vehicle before your next rideshare shift. Whether you’re vacuuming your dog’s hairs off the backseat or cleaning up after a service animal before heading toward your next pick-up location, this handheld vacuum is well-known as the perfect pet hair solution.
The Bissell vacuum’s motorized brush tool will also ensure no dirt is left behind by loosening up any embedded debris. Plus, it comes with an upholstery tool for softer surfaces and a crevice tool for the creases in your car seats.
Much like our previous two tools, this hand vacuum comes with a rechargeable lithium ion battery. The battery life on the Bissell product is slightly lower, running up to 17 minutes total. However, Bissell makes up for this with an impressive triple filtration system (washable and reusable) that will keep your vacuum constantly running in top shape.
Another plus: $5 of your purchase can be donated to Bissell Pet Foundation to help animal welfare programs upon activation.
4. Dirt Devil Bagless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
This is one of the best handheld vacuums for drivers on a budget, and is also the lightest option for your car cleaning at only 2.2 pounds. Dirt Devil is a popular and trusted vacuum company that provides great products for homes and for your vehicle’s interior.
Again, this product removes the need for long cords by using a lithium ion battery. While the total run-time on this product isn’t as long as its competitors, making it imperfect for usage in larger homes, it will run long enough to provide at least one full vacuuming session on a standard sedan.
The Dirt Devil vacuum comes with an upholstery and crevice tool tool to help you pick up debris from all the nooks and crannies of your car interior. It also includes a washable filter and a power indicator, so drivers only need to pull out the charger when needed.
This Dirt Devil model definitely isn’t a heavy duty product, but when you’re primarily using it for your vehicle — a relatively small space without stubborn debris in fluffy carpets — it will do the job, even in tight spaces.
Frequently Asked Questions
Great vacuums for your vehicle are available throughout the web. With our top picks and these frequently asked questions, you can narrow down your selection and purchase the perfect product for your needs:
1. How often do I need to vacuum my vehicle?
As a rule of thumb, you should at least be vacuuming once per week. This will help you avoid build-up, which can damage sensitive car upholstery and be unpleasant for riders to see, before it occurs. However, remember that this frequency can change day by day. If you have a passenger who’s eating in the backseat or bringing in an animal, you may want to do some minor vacuuming in their spot after the drop-off. Plus, be aware of how much debris passengers track in during or after storms.
2. Can my rating go down if I don’t vacuum my vehicle?
Potentially, it can. Having a messy vehicle is grounds for a lower star rating, as it is directly reflective of your service quality. This doesn’t mean you need to be vacuuming between every trip to ensure your vehicle is spotless — most passengers will understand or not even notice a tiny bit of dirt on the floor.
On the other hand, having a spot-free vehicle will improve your rating immensely. In fact, “Nice and Tidy” is an automated Uber Driver Compliment that riders can select when tipping their driver.
3. Can I use the vacuum I already have at home to vacuum my car?
You certainly can, but we highly recommend purchasing a vacuum dedicated to your vehicle. Not only can this be a tax deductible expense for rideshare drivers, but it can also help you recover from spills and messes faster than if you were to drive to the car wash or back home. In the end, owning a separate car vacuum will be a worthy investment, as it will keep you earning even after the worst messes.
Remove Noticeable Messes From Your Car
Having a high-performance vacuum doesn’t require you to break the budget. Shopping for the best car vacuum as a rideshare driver is all about seeking features that provide ease of use for your lifestyle — which often means avoiding extension cords and power outlets as often possible. With our list, you can confidently ditch the corded vacuums and invest in a tool that easily allows you to prevent a messy, damaged interior.
Now that you have your vehicle’s everyday look perfected with a car vacuum, learn how to select the best car air fresheners to continue the positive rideshare experience.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.