Car Vacuum Cleaners Suck, They’re Not Worth It!

Speaking from personal experience, those 12-volt car vacuums? Well, they often fall short of expectations.

First off, they seem to have a bit of an identity crisis when it comes to suction power. And, let’s face it, they wear out faster than your patience in traffic.

Blame it on the 12-volt car outlet – it’s like trying to power a spaceship with a potato battery.

The dust bins? Pint-sized. They’ll scoff at anything more than a few crumbs. And as for wet messes – oh boy, you’re in for a wild ride.

When it comes to saving your car’s cleanliness, these vacuums are often, well, helpless. In my book, it’s wiser to put your money into something more reliable and effective. Your car (and sanity) will thank you!

What’s A “Car Vacuum”?

For those that don’t know, a car vacuum cleaner is a small vacuum cleaner made to run off your car’s 12-volt plug.

You’ll see them all over the place, and it may seem like something you want, but I suggest you stay away from them. The idea is good, but I’ve yet to find one that is worth it.

A Shop Vac Is Better Than A Car Vacuum

Using a shop vacuum is better than any car vacuum and will always be.

A shop vacuum has:

  1. More power, can suck up a lot with little issues.
  2. Clean both dry and wet spills, ideal for wet spills!
  3. Holds more dirt in its dustbin.
  4. More durability as they’re made to operate in rough environments.

Overall, a shop vacuum is just the better vacuum compared to those dinky 12-volt car vacuums.

They do have one downside, most shop vacuums need to be plugged into a wall. Not a huge deal for some, as most cleaning is done in or near the garage anyway.

But the biggest selling feature of a car vacuum is that it gets its power from your car, and that makes it more convenient.

The good news is that there is a shop vacuum that suits this need too.

I Suggest Getting A Portable Shop Vacuum

If you like the idea of a car vacuum because you can vacuum your car anywhere because it gets its power from your car’s 12-volt outlet, then a battery-powered shop vacuum is what you want.

A battery-powered shop vacuum is not only more powerful, but it doesn’t have a cord that gets in the way! You get all the benefits of a shop vacuum like suction and cleaning wet spills, but you can take it anywhere.

You can even take it out of your car and clean other spills, which a car vacuum can’t do.

With the release of battery-powered shop vacuums, it makes owning a car vacuum seem silly and pointless. This is especially true when you can get inverters (Amazon Link Ad) to charge your battery-powered shop vacuum while it’s in your car.

What Is A Shop Vacuum And Why Do You Need It?

A shop vacuum is a heavy-duty vacuum that is designed to suck up both dry and wet messes.

They have much more suction power than your standard household vacuum and can even pick up nails, screws, and other small pieces of metal without damaging the vacuum.

Shop vacuums also have larger dust bins, so you can vacuum for longer before needing to empty it out.

You can use a shop vacuum on your carpets, hardwood floors, tile, vehicles, and more! They are very versatile and come in many shapes and sizes to suit your needs.

While most shop vacuums have to be plugged into an outlet to work, there are battery-powered options that give you the freedom to take your shop vacuum anywhere.

These battery-powered shop vacuums are ideal for cleaning up wet and dry messes in your car, as well as any other spills that might happen.

Shop Vac Cost Vs. Car Vacuum Cost

A shop vacuum will cost a little more than a car vacuum, but it also does more and will last longer, too.

Not only that, but you can use a shop vacuum for more than your car.

You can use it in your home, in your yard, garage, or as I do to clean your gutters.

A shop vacuum is a must for any home.

The Best Options For Shop Vacuums

A shop vacuum is clearly better than a car vacuum, but what are the best ones to get?

Here is a list of shop vacuums we recommend, which each having different options that may fit your needs.

1. Vacmaster Professional Beast Series

A personal favorite of mine, and what I use for my home, is the Vacmaster Professional Beast Series of Shop Vacuums.

The dustbin tank is large, has more than enough power for sucking up just about anything, long hose and long 20 foot cord, it’s just the best all around shop vacuum at this price point.

The only downside is that this shop vacuum is not battery-powered.

Get the Vacmaster Professional Beast Series Here (Amazon Link Ad)

2. Milwaukee Cordless Lithium-Ion 2 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum

In second place is the Milwaukee Cordless 2 Gallon Shop Vacuum.

This is a battery-powered shop vacuum and a lot more compact than the first pick. So if you need something to keep your car or truck all the time, then this is the one.

You can clean wet and dry spills, and it has more than enough power for whatever you throw at it.

Note: A lot of these battery-powered shop vacuums often don't come with batteries or a charger, so you may need to get them separate. 

Get The Milwaukee Cordless Lithium-Ion 2 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum Here (Amazon Link Ad)

3. Ezetek Wet Dry Vacuum Cleaner

The Ezetek Wet Dry Vacuum Cleaner is another battery-powered shop vacuum that we love because of what they give you.

It’s quite affordable, cleans dry and wet messes, 2 gallon tank, with a blower option, it’s just a good all around shop vacuum!

If you don’t want to spend a lot and just want to see what battery-powered shop vacuums are all about, then this is a good one to start on.

Get The Ezetek Wet Dry Vacuum Cleaner Here (Amazon Link Ad)



Hello, I'm Lee from ""! Launched in 2016, my site addresses the online information gap about "robot vacuums" and "vacuum cleaners," areas where I have hands-on experience. Got questions about a post or topic? Feel free to comment or contact me (contact)!

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