What is the best vacuum for car detailing? Is it OK to detail your car just with some small handheld vac? NO! We prepared a step-by-step guide (video & text) for vacuuming your car and a comparison table for TOP 8 vacs for detailing your auto.
How to Choose Best Vacuum for Car Detailing
When you are searching for the best vacuum for car detailing, there are several things that you should consider before making your purchase. Reviewing the options of several machines will ensure that you make the right choice in vacuums. before you purchase any car detailing vacuum, you should look at the following information on each of the machines:
|1. Type Of Vacuum
|You will want to look at the type of vacuum. Some are dry debris only, while others are suited for wet or dry vacuuming. If you are going to shampoo any areas of your vehicle, you may want to consider a wet/dry vacuum. You may also want to look at features such as a blower to help you dry areas that you just cleaned.
|2. Purpose of Vacuum
|Are you going to use this vacuum for your car detailing only? If you want to use the vac around your garage or house as well, you may want to consider a larger vacuum with more power.
|3. Motor Size
|The size of the motor will have a lot to do with how strong the suction is on the machine. A larger motor is often used in vacuums that also pick up liquids. You may also want to look at the anticipated hours that the motor is slated to run. Some of the larger motors can have a useful life of over 750 hours. Some of the smaller machines may have a shorter lifespan.
|4. Cord Length
|If you plan to move around while you are vacuuming, from the garage to the driveway, you will want to make sure that there is sufficient length in the plugin cord. Some vacuums may not meet your needs because cord length is too short to reach the areas you need to use the machine.
|5. Mountable or Not
|Some vacuums can be wall mounted in your garage area and come with long hoses for easy use. Other vacuums move around on wheels and need to be stored accordingly.
|Look at what attachments are being offered and if they meet your needs. Each vacuum will offer something different. Some vacuums will also include special tools that are designed for car detailing.
|If you are looking for a small vacuum, look for the weight to make sure that it will be easy for you to carry. All small vacuums weigh a different amount.
|8. Power Requirements
|Some of the stronger machines will require that you have a power socket in your home or garage that is connected to at least a 15 amp breaker. For safety reasons, make sure you understand what type of power the machine will require and that you can meet this demand before making a purchase.
|The overall weight of the machine may be very important to you, even if the machine is on wheels. When the vacuum becomes filled, it may be difficult to empty if it weighs too much for you to handle. Always look at the overall weight of the machine to make sure you can handle lifting it to empty the canister.
|Every machine has a different warranty. Always review the warranty for the best deal.
Taking your time to review all the options being offered in a car detailing vacuum will help ensure that you purchase the right vacuum to meet your needs.
Best Vacuum For Car Detailing: Comparison Table & Main Features
It is not unusual for someone who is cleaning out their car to haul the floor vacuum out to the driveway of drag out the old shop vac. While this does provide a little assistance in cleaning your floorboards, neither option will provide you with the best cleaning for your car carpets. So, to get the ultimate clean, you need a vacuum designed for car detailing.
Maybe you’ll also be interested to read Best Dustbuster review.
1. Amazon’s Choice – VacuMaid GV50 Wall Mounted Garage and Car Vacuum
- Includes 30' hose, hanger, caddy, wands, dusting brush, and floor/upholstery tools
- Galvannealed steel and powder-coated for corrosion-resistant lifetime use. 7 gallon dirt capacity.
- Big 5.7" Ametek Lamb motor, up to 75% more life than comparative brands.
First of all, the VacuMaid GV50 (official website) is a top-quality wall-mounted garage vacuum. The vacuum is easy to mount in any area of your garage and has a 50 ft hose, making it possible to reach anywhere in your garage or driveway for optimal car detailing. The VacuMaid comes with several detailing tools and a HEPA bag system which allows for even the smallest particles to be absorbed.
The VacuMaid GV50 has a very large motor in comparison to similar garage vacuums. The 5.1”, 120 volt Ametek Lamb motor is powerful enough to pick up the heaviest debris, and it is rated for 650 hours’ worth of use. The vacuum comes with several attachments that make the car detailing a breeze, and these attachments can be very useful for keeping your garage in pristine condition.
The VacuMaid is constructed from galvanized steel that has been powder coated. This design feature protects the vacuum from rusting and extends the overall life of the product. The vacuum comes with four different cleaning attachments and a telescopic curved wand for the hard-to-reach places. The HEPA filtration bag keeps all the dirt and debris in one place and is easy to empty.
The VacuMaid GF50 is not a wet/dry vac. These vacuums are only made to remove dirt and debris that are dry. If you have issues in your car or garage that are from the liquid, you will have to use a different vacuum cleaner. Check price at Sears.com, Walmart.com, Homedepot.com.
PRO & CONS
2.Editor’s Choice: Best Wet / Dry Vacuum – Vacmaster 4 Gallon VF408
- 5 HP motor and 4 gallon tank.Voltage:120 volts. Amperage : 7 amps.1488.0 watts.Specific uses:Floor
- On board storage for all accessories. 18-Foot Power Cord with Automatic Cord Rewind
- Secure fit hose. If dust comes out from motor cover then cartridge filter is missing or damaged attach or replace cartridge filter
The Vacmaster is made for heavy-duty cleaning jobs. It has a two-stage motor that allows it to have superior suction whether it is dry or wet spills. The motor runs very quietly in comparison to similar type machines. The two-stage motor also has an extended life compared to similar models.
The Vacmaster is built on top of very sturdy wheels that make moving the machine quite easy. The machine is built with an 18-foot retractable cord and has a 7-foot hose which helps you reach your car in the driveway while it is plugged into the garage. Separate attachments can help you clean hard-to-reach places.
The one main concern with this vacuum is the suction power when cleaning dry debris. If the filer is damaged, blocked or broken, the machine will not work properly. You will not have sufficient suction to pick up dust or dirt. Check price at Lowes.com, Walmart.com, Sears.com.
PRO & CONS
3. Best Heavy Duty Wet/Dry Vac – DeWALT 16 gallon Poly Wet/Dry Vac/Acc
- Leading Manufacturer Of High-Quality Products
- International Renown For Our Diverse Range Of Award-Winning Products
- Fully Equipped With State-Of-The-Art Technology
The DeWALT 16 gallon Poly Wet/Dry Vac/Acc is a heavy-duty wet/dry vac that has the ability to suction one gallon of water per minute. The intense suction power is also good for dry debris, including heavier items like sawdust. The cart design allows you to take additional items with you as you move around to clean your vehicle. The interior of the vacuum is very easy to clean and maintain after each use.
The DeWALT 16 gallon Poly Wet/Dry Vac/Acc has a 6.5 peak horsepower motor. The construction of the machine is very solid and is easy to clean after use. The attachments are perfect for vehicle detailing as well as major cleaning around your home. As an additional benefit, the DeWALT has a very strong motor that runs very quietly making it bearable to use for extended periods of time.
The vacuum is heavier than most detailing vacuums. The heavy-duty casters make moving it around much easier, but some people may find it difficult to lift, especially if it is filled with water. Check price at Homedepot.com, Sears.com, Lowes.com, Walmart.com.
PRO & CONS
4.Best Portable Wet/Dry Vac for Car Detailing – WORKSHOP Wet Dry Vacs WS0501WM
- Backed by a 5-Year Limited Warranty, this is the ideal wall mount wet dry vacuum cleaner for cars with auto vacuum accessories that are specifically designed for automotive cleaning challenges.
- 1-7/8-in. quick-release locking hose keeps hose connected to shop vacuum during use, but detaches easily
- Qwik Lock Filter Fastening System allows quick and easy wet dry vacuum filter changes and contains an auto shut-off float mechanism that helps prevent overflow during wet pickups.
The lightweight vacuum can be held in one hand while using it with the other. It is very quiet to use and can easily pick up wet or dry spills. The hose for the machine is expandable to 21 feet and can easily coil up and be stored in the machine after use.
The machine was specifically designed for car detailing, though it does well on small jobs around the home. The tools that come with the machine make it perfect for deep cleaning your car, including a long crevice tool and a dusting brush. One of the best features of the machine is the electric dustpan feature that allows for easy pick up of piles of dry debris.
The machine is very powerful, but it is not recommended for heavy debris, such as wood shavings or sawdust. The collection container is small in comparison, so the vacuum will require frequent emptying for larger jobs. Check price at Sears.com.
PRO & CONS
5.Lightweight Vacuum For Car Detailing: Crucial Swirl Powerful Handheld Portable Vacuum Cleaner
- The Crucial Swirl by Crucial Vacuum weighs just 4.5 lbs, has 110/120 volts, +700 watt motor and 5.6 amps
- Over 75" inches of Waterlift with 10 feet of Cleaning Reach
- Cleaning Attachments: 5 foot crushproof flex vacuum hose, carpet and bare floor tool
The Crucial Swirl handheld vacuum is designed specifically for car detailing. However, the special attachments also make it perfect for reaching difficult areas in your home such as under appliances or in crevices around the doors or windows. Although it is small and lightweight, the vacuum has very good suction power.
One of the best features of this vacuum is the specialty attachments. Designed for superior car cleaning, the vacuum even has micro tools and a micro-sized hose attachment so that you can reach even the smallest spaces in your car. The vacuum also is attached to a 35-foot cord, making it portable in every sense.
The Crucial Swirl portable vacuum is designed to clean up dry debris only. You cannot clean water spills with this vacuum. Additionally, this vacuum is not meant for heavy-duty cleaning in areas like the garage or home. Check price at Walmart.com.
PRO & CONS
6. Best Car Dryer – Air Force Master Blaster Revolution
- This model comes with a 30 foot commercial quality hose! Easily navigate around your car!
- The Revolution includes a wall mount bracket for your Revolution and a hose hangar for the hose. Conveniently mount on the wall for easy use!
- The Revolution uses warm, dry filtered air to safely blast water off expensive finishes and out of hard to reach places where no towel or chamois could ever reach.
The unit is not very heavy and can be mounted to a garage wall with ease. The 30-foot hose can easily reach every area of your car’s interior or exterior. The special attachments ensure that you can completely dry hard-to-reach places. The unit runs very quietly in comparison to similar forced-air dryers.
Unlike many air dryers for car detailing, the Air Force Master Blaster uses filtered warm air. This feature alone makes it a very desirable machine for detailing cars. The warm air is gentle enough to use on expensive finishes, but warm enough to give a quality dry that is free from streaks or stains.
This machine is made for drying only. This is not a vacuum or a wet/dry vac. This lightweight machine is designed for finishing car detailing projects only. Check price at Walmart.com.
PRO & CONS
7. Best Mobile (Handheld) Detailing Vacuum – Carrand 94005AS AutoSpa Bagless Auto-Vac
- Vacuum with heavy-duty 560 watt, 120V motor; ETL approved
- Professional in-line air flow design
- 12 foot power cord with top mounted on/off switch
The Carrand Auto Spa vacuum is a handheld device that has a 12-foot cord and a 40-inch hose with attachments. This lightweight vacuum is easy to carry into your vehicle and will move around effortlessly while you clean. The motor is powerful for its size and is very quiet.
In addition to its lightweight design, the Carrand Car Spa detail vacuum cleaner has the right attachments to use for a superior clean in your car. The crevice tool is designed with extra length to reach small places, and the bristle attachment will remove dirt from any type of carpeting or upholstery.
This is a lightweight vacuum that is meant only to remove dry debris from your vehicle. This should not be used with wet areas or for major cleaning projects around your home. Check price at Sears.com.
PRO & CONS
8. Professional Cleaning at Home: RIDGID 14-Gal. 6.0 Peak HP Wet/Dry Vac with Auto Detailing Kit
- Brand New in box. The product ships with all relevant accessories
The RIDGID 14 Gallon High-Performance Wet Dry Vac is built to be easy to use and provide superior suction. The powerful motor will help ensure the most water is extracted during any cleaning process. The motor also runs very quietly when compared to other motors of this size. The suction for dry debris is perfect as well, and the vacuum is equipped with disposable bags to ensure that dirt stays trapped once removed.
The RIDGID 14 Gallon High-Performance Wet Dry Vac has an extra-long cord so that you can move around your garage or driveway without having to stop and re-plug in the machine. The machine is equipped with a 7-foot hose and comes with several attachments to make car detailing easy. The suction is very high on this machine, and you will be able to pick up very small dust particles or excess water without issue.
The only real drawback to this machine is its overall weight. Coming in at 29 pounds, this machine is much heavier than your average machine of this size. This is mainly due to the construction. However, if weight is an issue, you may struggle a bit picking up this machine. Check price at Homedepot.com, Walmart.com.
PRO & CONS
How To Detail Your Car With Vacuum – Video Guide
How to detail a car – step by step
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Declutter & Floor Mats
Alright, so step number one is to declutter, so remove any unwanted items, any garbage, and remove the floor mats as well. Step number two, we’re going to clean the floor mats, so if they’re rubber mats, we’re going to start by rinsing them. Then we’re going to spray a degreaser or all purpose cleaner as you wish, so you spray that liberally on the rubber mats and then you brush them with a carpet brush.
If the mats are standard fabric mats first start by vacuuming the mats, then spray a carpet and upholstery cleaner directly on the mats. Then scrubbed the mats using a carpet and upholstery brush blud and then wipe away the excess using a clean microfiber towel.
Vacuuming & Air Vents
Step number three: vacuum the interior thoroughly. Make sure you move the seats back and forth to gain access to all the hidden nooks and crannies and also get into the folds of the seats (whether they’d be upholstery or leather seats).
So step number four is to go ahead and dust your interior, including the air vents. Now to do so, you can use a soft bristle detailing brush in combination with your best vacuum for car detailing.
As you’re dusting away, make sure that you keep your vacuum close to pick all that dust-up. Make sure you always work from top to bottom because of course gravity acts on dust and it falls to the floor.
Also for the air vents, another cool trick that I have is the Cyber Clean, that cleaning compound, so it’s basically kind of a gel that also acts as an antiseptic. It molds to any surface, and it will help you remove any dust before you go ahead and wipe with a clean microfiber towel.
It will prevent the dust from making micro scratches on the infotainment screen or any interior trim that you have.
Steam Cleaning & Headliner
Step number five: using a steam cleaner.
We’re going to steam clean the door jams and door sills, and we’re going to wipe clean with a microfiber towel.
Now if you don’t have a steam cleaner, no worries, you can use a microfiber towel and an all-purpose cleaner or a degreaser.
It works fine as well!
Step number six: we’re going to go ahead and clean the headliner.
If you see any staining – basically apply it to an all-purpose cleaner or a fabric and upholstery cleaner. Spray it very lightly directly on the tip of a soft bristle brush.
You never want to spray those chemicals directly on the headliner because you wouldn’t want to affect the glue that’s holding the headliner to the roof! That’s why you should spray it on the tip of your brush.
Go ahead and brush the affected area and you blud and wipe away using a clean and dry microfiber towel.
Car Seats Cleaning
Step number seven: we’re going to clean the seats (whether they be upholstery or leather seats).
Now if you have upholstery – use a carpet and upholstery cleaner, and if you have leather seats you can use any high quality leather cleaner.
You basically spray with a leather brush with bristles that are made specifically for use with leather (very, very gentle).
And then you go ahead and brush the seats.
Always work from top to bottom and for the steering wheel, the same method.
Step number eight: now that the leather seats are clean, we’re going to go ahead and protect them against the sun’s damaging UV rays.
Now you can use many forms of leather protectants. There are leather serums out there, there are leather conditioners, there is ceramic infused, leather coatings. And you also have coatings for leather.
So essentially you go ahead, spray the product on your microfiber applicator pad, and gently apply the product on the leather surfaces.
This is going to help to protect them and make them feel silky smooth as well, and also protect them against staining and make them easier to clean.
Cleaning the Interior Trim
Okay, step number nine! We’re going to clean the interior trim plastics and vinyl using an all-purpose cleaner or an interior cleaner.
So spray using a microfiber applicator pad or a microfiber towel. And you scrubbed to make sure you clean the surfaces before we apply it at the trim in another step.
Another quick tip: if you have some scuff marks on the bottom of the sales on those plastic door trims, you can go ahead and use an Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.
Just spray a bit of all-purpose cleaner directly on the magic eraser, and you gently scrub and wipe away with a microfiber towel. And that’s it. The scuffs are gone!
This is also a great trick if you have some fingernail marks on the exterior door handles.
Okay, step number 10: now that we’ve cleaned the interior trim, we want to go ahead and protect it against the sun’s UV rays against fading, cracking, and aging as well.
We want to restore that factory look without a greasy residue.
Just apply a water-based trim dressing.
This is a water-based silicon oxide coating, so essentially you can use a straight out of the bottle to address your tires or diluted one to one for tire dressing, but you can also dilute it, a one in five for use as an interior trim dressing. So I made a quick dilution in a spray bottle, a little goes a long way, you spray it directly on a microfiber applicator pad and you apply the dressing to your interior trim. This is good for plastics, vinyl, and rubber.
Alright, so step number 11 is to apply a fabric protectant.
Now you can apply for a fabric protection directly on your upholstery fabric seats, or of course on your carpets and floor mats.
These are usually water and stain resistant, so they’re going to help to eliminate some spills or some water that might beat on your seats or on your carpets.
And they’re also often UV protectant.
Step number 12: we want to help deodorize the interior by using an air freshener.
The sense of smell is one of human’s most powerful senses and it’s very important to give that final lasting detail touch.
We’re going to go ahead and spray air freshener, but a quick tip to make this last longer is to make sure you turn your AC onto full blast.
Put in an air recirculation mode, and you’re going to spray this in the footwells near the air induction or the air intakes.
This way it is going to get into your AC system and it’s going to lightly coat the ducks. So every time you turn on your car and you turn on the AC, you’re going to get a blast of fresh smell. That’s pretty cool!
Step number 13 and the final step, but probably one of the most important, is the clean glass.
Once you’re finished detailing the interior, you want to make sure that your glasses super sparkling clean and to do so I’m going to give you pro tips.
First of all, you’re going to use a Mr. Clean magic eraser, and an all-purpose cleaner. Spray the all-purpose cleaner directly on your Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, and then go ahead and wipe the interior part of your glass. This way you’re going to remove any contaminants or any grease or oily residues that have been there over time.
Next up, we’re going to use a premium glass cleaner that’s ammonia-free, so safe for tend to gloss something like stoners invisible glass. Spray this on a waffle weave microfiber towel. And then go ahead and wipe the glass to remove any streaks and leave a streak-free finish that way your car or your windows are now fully prepped and as a last final touch that makes all the difference.
You can go ahead and spray a quick wax like Meguiar’s Ultimate Quik Wax.
That’s it, your car completely detailed!