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5 Best Shop Vac For Cars Reviews [Complete Guide]

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Vacuuming your car is a periodic chore that requires the right tools to get it done fast and efficiently. Some cars need more vacuum than others to accomplish this particularly if your car tends to get dirty quickly due to consent use. Maybe you are a general contractor and frequently need to vacuum the accumulated dirt and debris that comes with the work you do.

So on the other hand, you might be a busy mom with many children who are forever spilling, dropping, and treading food, drink, and dirt all over the interior of your vehicle. Regardless of your reason, heavy duty car cleanup's demands a high quality shop vac that can handle the demands of your car cleaning chores.

Getting the most for your money can take some research and time, so we’ve compiled a list of what features to look for and some product reviews to help you choose the best shop vac for cars. So today, lets take a look at what we have for you.

Top 5 Best Shop Vac For Cars Reviews 

Now that you know what to look for in your shop vac for the car, here are some product reviews for ideal models to use when cleaning out your car. Check these out:

Shop-Vac 2021000 Micro Wet/Dry

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The first name in vacuums for heavy duty cleaning since 1951, Shop-Vac makes some of the best designed and powerful workshop vacuums on the market.

There 2021000 Micro is a miniature marvel, providing plenty of power in a compact package. 

What you get with a 1 gallon capacity and a 6.0 amp 1 horsepower motor, is there isn’t too much in the way of car cleaning that this small footprint shop-vac can’t handle.

Two of the specific advantages of the 2021000 Micro are its included wall mountable bracket for easy storage, and the plenty of standard cleaning attachments that make car cleanup a breeze. Wall mounting makes it simple to store your car vacuum in a convenient location up and away from the floor.

So this means no digging around in the garage or shop to find you small shop vac, when it’s time to clean the car.  As for included accessories, this model includes a 4 foot hose, gulper nozzle for larger debris, a crevice tool for hard to reach areas, and a convenient storage bag that can be attached to the vacuum itself.

PROS

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    1 HP 6.0 amp motor
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    Compact 1 gallon size
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    Wall mountable for convenience

CONS

  • Small capacity means emptying more often
  • Hoze is only 4-feet long
  • 6-foot power cord means that you will need an extension cord for cleaning most cars.
Armor All 2.5 Gallon, 2 Peak HP, Utility Wet/Dry Vacuum, AA255

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A household name among car care enthusiast, Armor All designed this shop vac specifically for car owners who like to keep a tidy interior. 

The AA255 is designed for both wet and dry cleanup, and its 2 HP motor provides plenty of sealed pressure and CFM airflow to handle both fine debris and large wet messes.

Additionally, the AA255 has a 2.5 gallon capacity, making ideal for cleaning up larger messes and spills quickly and easily without needing to stop to empty the canister frequently.

Also comes with a 10 foot power cord, 6 foot hose, and multiple cleaning attachments specifically designed for car care and cleaning, the AA255 provides everything you need to keep every area of your interior looking brand new.

PROS

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    6 foot hose for better reach
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    multiple car cleaning attachments
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    2.5 gallon capacity

CONS

  • 10-foot power cord may require an extension for operation outside the garage
  • Factory filter for medium and fine debris only, may need alternative filter and foam sleeve for larger cleanups
  • Accessories do not have an onboard storage solution.
VacuMaid GV50 Wall Mounted Garage and Car Vacuum

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Looking to use what the pros use? Check out VacuMaid’s GV50 Wall Mounted Garage and Car Vacuum.

 This is for the serious home mechanic and hardcore garage tinkerers out there, as it provides literally everything you could ever want in terms of an automotive shop vacuum. 

It has a 7 Gallon capacity with drain plug, 5 layer HEPA filter, powder coated stainless steel canister, and enough CFM and sealed pressure power to get any mess cleaned up in the blink of an eye.

This is a dream accessory for any home mechanic that likes to keep everything in the shop meticulously clean and well organized, and wall mounting takes virtually seconds to setup with a few basic tools. In terms of cleaning accessories, there isn’t an attachment missing in the wide assortment of cleaning tools included with this powerful shop vacuum.

The GV50 not a portable vacuum by any stretch of the imagination, but with 50 feet of hose to work with it doesn’t really need to be. Best of all, it easily doubles as a standard wet/dry shop vac for your other garage based projects, so you can easily kill two birds with one stone in terms of your shop cleanup needs.

PROS

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    Massive 7-gallon, 95” stainless steel canister
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    50 foot hose means you can access any part of your garage or workshop quickly and easily
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    Uses disposable paper collection bags for fast emptying.

CONS

  • Not a wet/dry vacuum
  • Fixed installation
  • Large footprint even when wall mounted
RIDGID VAC4000 Powerful and Portable Wet Dry Vacuum Cleaner

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A compact powerhouse, Rigid’s VAC4000 offers large capacity, wet/dry capability, and a powerful 5 peak HP motor.

 In terms of portability and power, the VAC4000 is definitely the lightweight champ of car cleaning portable shop vacuums.

Included as standard features are a 20 foot power cord (no need for extension cords), a 7-foot 2.5 inch hose (making even large debris cleanup easy), and a foam sleeve for your filter when cleaning up a big wet mess.

Additionally, all of that horsepower translates to exceptional debris pickup regardless of whether you are cleaning out mud and chunks of clay from your work vehicle or spilled cold cereal and crackers from the back of the minivan.

Having the long 2.5 inch diameter hose and two of the most useful cleaning accessories (spot cleaning brush and gulper nozzle) also makes it even easier to get your mess cleaned up fast.

PROS

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    Big 4-gallon capacity in a portable package
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    Long cleaning hose and power cord means nothing is out of reach
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    Wet/dry cleanup means no job is too dirty

CONS

  • Few included accessories
  • May want to swap out the medium/fine debris filter for a large debris filter when doing heavy cleanup
  • No dry cleanup collection bag option
Shop-Vac 5872510 Heavy Duty Portable Vacuum

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In terms of professional use construction, durability and power, you won’t find a better portable shop vac better than the Shop-Vac 5872510.

 With a whopping 6 HP motor, 5 gallon storage canister, and 1.5-inch diameter 7-foot hose, there isn’t much that is out of reach or that can’t be cleaned up quickly with this miniature vacuuming dynamo.

The fundamental design concept for this Shop-Vac is that it is meant to provide almost the same performance and power as a standard shop vac model without the additional bulk and weight.

It’s build to be powerful, tough, and clean up more dirt than the competition, and it does all three exceptionally well thanks to its powerful motor and high air-watts, sealed pressure, and CFM ratings.

Regarding included accessories, this model comes with a wall mount for convenient storage, a claw utility nozzle that provides multi-role cleaning capabilities, and an exchangeable cartridge filter to keep particulates from spreading out the exhaust vent.

This is definitely a car shop vac that is difficult to beat in terms of value versus cost, and it will provide years of exceptional service with minimal maintenance.

PROS

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    Small and powerful
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    Long power cord and hose
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    4-gallon capacity

CONS

  • Bulkier size means it is more difficult to maneuver in tight spaces
  • Few included attachments
  • No drain plug for easier emptying of the canister after wet mess cleanup

For my money, the absolute best value on the list is the RIGID VAC 4000. It includes the most accessories, the best cleaning power, and the highest capacity for the price point. It also has a longer power cord than comparably models, and combined with the large diameter 7-foot hose, the extended reach of this model are a major selling point in terms of using it as a shop vac for cars. When you go to shop around for your shop vac to clean out your car, definitely give the RIGID VAC 4000 a first look

How to Choose the Best Shop Vac For Cars

If you need to give your car a thorough cleaning and vacuuming regularly, not just any car vacuum will do. More than likely you need a well-built shop vacuum with specific features and accessories to make your car cleaning chores fast and easy. Here are the key components of a good shop vacuum for cleaning up even the toughest car messes.

Capacity

This can be a tricky balance to maintain, because you want enough of a collection space to hold a decent sized mess (wet or dry), but at the same time you don’t want your cars shop vac to be so big that it is cumbersome to move around or fit in the car while you are cleaning.

Generally it is best to stick to a 2.5-4 gallon sized shop vac for cars to help with cleaning, as this provides the best compromise between how much it can hold and how much space it takes up. You will also need to empty the container less frequently if you stick to the high side of the 2.5-4 gallon range.

Power

Your car shop vac needs enough “oomph” to get dirt and debris out of your upholstery and carpeting. The tough part is figuring out how much is enough without buying too much shop vac for your cars. The three factors that affect overall power performance in a vacuum are sealed pressure (SP), cubic feet per minute (CFM) and Air-watts/Air-power (AP).

A high SP is best for vacuums that will be cleaning up wet mess on a regular basis, so this may not factor into your buying decision quite as much unless you frequently have to cleanup spills. Any shop-vac that is rated over 75 for SP is considered to be a high-end performer for wet cleanup.

CFM is the ability of your vacuum to clean fine debris such as dirt, sand, dust, and other fine particulates. The higher the CFM the better when it comes to car shop vacs, and look to get the highest CFM rating you can without buying a gigantic shop vac.

If you are looking to clean heavy debris like rocks or small metal nuts and bolts, you will need higher AP in your cars shop vac. An increased AP is not necessarily something that every user is going to need though, so most likely you can let this one slide a little if the other ratings are more to your liking on a particular car-sized shop vac.

Choosing a Filter

There will be a factory medium or fine debris filter preinstalled with most shop vacs, but if you need to clean larger debris or wet debris, you need either a large debris filter or a foam sleeve for water cleanup. It is possible to damage your vacuum by using it extensively over time with the wrong type of filter, so know what you’ve got and get what you need if it isn’t included.

Hose

There are various diameter hoses you can use with your shop vac, and each type affects performance dependent upon the size or type of debris you are cleaning. 2.5-inch hoses are standard for full size shop vacs, and medium to small hoses are 1.25 up to 2.5 inches.

Adapters for vacuum hoses are easy to come by though, so if you don’t have the ideal hose for your cleanup, you can generally swap it out for the right size as needed. All you need to consider when it comes to hose size is the size of the debris you will be vacuuming up on a regular basis.

Tank Drain/Blower Port

Users who need to cleanup a lot of wet messes will want a small shop vac with a tank drain for easier emptying, though generally shop vac for cars, have small enough capture chambers for dirt and water that they can easily be emptied out without the need for a tank drain.

Blower ports matter if you need to turn your vacuum into an air pump to blast dust, debris, and dirt out of areas of your car that you can’t reach with most of your attachments. These aren’t essential features, but they may be worth considering depending on what size shop vac you decide is best.

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About the Author David Perez

I have a passion for clean floors and living areas, so it is no surprise that I know a lot about vacuum cleaners and how to clean different surfaces. Sharing this knowledge gives me a lot of pleasure which is why I started this blog and I hope everyone who needs help will find the help they are looking for here.

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