The Best Small Vacuum Cleaners (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Consider these small vacuum cleaners to help keep your car, truck, SUV, RV, and other vehicles clean and smelling fresh
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
BY Zach Faulds / LAST UPDATED ON November 2, 2020
For many motorists, sustaining vehicle cleanliness is a matter of pride. However, this task means so much more to ride share drivers. Their vehicle is their instrument of income, and their first impression to clients paying them for a service. Maintaining a vehicle free from dirt, hair, and other debris can make the difference between the passenger having a pleasant or unpleasant experience.
Simply put, many motorists keep their vehicles as clean as they keep their houses. This cleanliness maintains a sense of pride while practicing efficient sanitation. Small vacuum cleaners can help maintain vehicle cleanliness. They provide a viable option to using a gas station or car wash vacuum cleaner. Car wash and gas station vacuum cleaners can be inconveniently located and expensive over time. With that in mind, here are some recommended small vacuum cleaner options.
Contains a powerful 150-watt motor, strong enough to eliminate dust, hair, or other debris from your vehicle. Features a variety of extension pipes to reach every spot of your car.
- Can be used to clean wet surfaces
- Compact structure and sealing
- Not ideal for removing pet hair or fur
- Not enough suction power for tiny particles and debris
At 1.7 pounds, provides a lightweight and easily storable small car vacuum option. Its 4200 to 5800pa aluminum fan provides you the strong suction you expect from any small car vacuum.
- Contains a cigarette lighter port
- Adapter charging cable allows for a 20- to 24-minute use after a 2.5-hour charge
- Carry bag has been known to get stuck at times and be difficult to open
- Small waste bag needs to be emptied often
While it weighs only 2.4 pounds, it has a 106-watt motor, a vacuum hose, and brush that allows you to reach every nook and cranny of your vehicle.
- Features a 16-foot power cord that connects to the car’s 12V lighter port
- Eliminates wet or dry messes
- Contains a carrying bag for convenient storage
- Difficult to pick up hair particles such as dog or cat hair
- Debris bag is relatively small
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Small Vacuum Cleaner
- Lightweight, small size: Small vacuum cleaners are lightweight and more flexible than regular vacuums. They are easy to carry on long on trips and your vehicle, and can be conveniently stored away in closets, under beds, or in tight spaces when not in use.
- Quieter while in use: The motors of most small vacuums are smaller, therefore they create far less noise than regular vacuums. You can usually still hear the radio or people talking while small vacuum cleaners are in use.
- Available for cheaper price: In terms of price, smaller vacuum cleaners are significantly more affordable than regular vacuums. This is what makes them ideal options for smaller homes, vehicles, and RVs.
Types of Small Vacuum Cleaners
This is the most common type of small vacuum cleaner. Handheld vacuums can be held in one hand and are ideal for cleaning tight spaces as well as vehicles and RVs. They are often cordless and can be recharged via a battery charger. Some models come with a cord that can be plugged into your vehicle's cigarette lighter socket.
Small vacuum cleaners with a bag option are best for people that are sensitive to allergens or have asthma. Most bags can easily be detached and emptied, but they will collect most dirt, debris, pollen, and other small particles. It should be noted that you will have to replace your bags quite often, so make sure you have a large supply of replacements on hand.
Bagless vacuum cleaners are for those people that are environmentally conscious or do not want to have to deal with bag replacements. This type of small vacuum cleaner typically comes with a see-through canister that allows you to see when it needs to be emptied. Even though you do not have to replace the bag, bagless vacuums sometimes come with a filter that needs to be cleaned or replaced every so often.
Thisworx is a company that was created with the specific intention of creating high-quality portable vacuum cleaners for cars. This company sells small vacuum cleaners and all the accessories to make your vehicle spotless.
Founded in 1989, MEG has become a proven leader of green innovation in the industrial washing sector. This company has been maintaining and delivering high-quality customer service for years. It specializes in vacuum cleaners, both industrial and for the home or vehicle.
VacLife is a proven company, focused on the research and development of small household appliances. The company pays great attention to details and user experience, with a goal of improving a customer's life. In addition to vacuums and handheld vacuums, VacLife also produces tire inflators and other car accessories.
Small Vacuum Cleaner Pricing
- Under $30: Small vacuum cleaners in this price range are an excellent value purchase. These vacuum cleaners are great from cleaning dirt and debris from inside your vehicle.
- $30 to $40: The majority of small vacuum cleaners fall into this price range. Products in this range are very efficient and come with a variety of extension pipes and brushes.
- Over $40: Small vacuum cleaners in this price range are typically the best quality. Vacuum cleaners in this price range are handheld and feature long battery life.
While it is important to consider the amperage and wattage of your vacuum cleaner, the suction strength of your vacuum may be the key factor. Finding an efficient small vacuum cleaner with exceptional suction power allows you to pick up dirt and dust from hard floors, carpets, and more with ease.
The filtration system of your vacuum is an important factor to consider. Small vacuum cleaners with the best filters trap all microscopic particles, dust particles, and allergens. True HEPA filters can trap 99.97 percent of all airborne particles measuring 0.3 microns or more. Don't be fooled when shopping by manufacturers promoting HEPA-Like and HEPA-Type filters.
Weight is an important feature to consider, particularly when shopping for a portable vacuum cleaner. If you are looking to travel with your vacuum, owning a lightweight, compact model can be extremely important. If you are looking to purchase a handheld vacuum cleaner, then owning a lightweight model that is comfortable and easy to use should be a top priority.
- Accessories: Accessories like extension hoses, brushes, and crevice tools should be considered, especially if you are using your small vacuum cleaner in tight spaces like a vehicle or RV. There are also attachments, like pet hair tools, cleaning tools, filters, and more, that can be purchased separately from your vacuum for added convenience.
- Tank Size: If you are going to be using your vacuum cleaner often, then tank size is an important feature to consider. Some of the best small vacuum cleaners come with detachable bins with a capacity as high as 20 ounces. Another main reason to consider tank size is if you own pets, like cats or dogs. Larger tanks are ideal for picking up all of the pet hair.
- Warranty: The type of warranty is an important consideration when purchasing a small vacuum cleaner. A longer warranty shows that the manufacturer has faith in its product and stands behind their services. Most vacuums come with a minimum of a limited one-year warranty, but make sure to double-check the warranty information before making your purchase.
Best Small Vacuum Cleaners Review & Recommendations 2021
- If you are considering a bagged vacuum option, make sure that the product either comes with replacement bags or that you purchase them separately.
- Many online products are available to try out in stores. If that's not an option, make sure that your purchase comes with a warranty that covers a refund or exchange if you are not satisfied.
- If you are going to be using your small vacuum cleaner primarily for travel purposes, consider a handheld option or one with a vehicle charging option.
- Make sure to double-check the accessories/attachments that are included with your purchase. If you are looking to clean up pet hair or small particles, you may need to purchase them separately.
- It is important that your vacuum comes with a "true" or "real" HEPA filter in order to trap airborne particles. Don't be fooled by purchasing a model that features HEPA-Like and HEPA-Type filters.
What is the best lightweight vacuum cleaner to buy?
A: The best lightweight vacuum cleaner to buy depends on your needs. The most compact, lightweight models are often of the handheld variety. Just make sure to confirm the weight of the product while shopping before making your purchase.
What is the best cheap vacuum cleaner?
A: There are a number of small vacuum cleaners available to purchase for under $30. These models offer great value for their price and are often very efficient products. If you are looking to clean tight spaces or upholstery, you may need to purchase accessories like tools or brushes with these cleaners.
Which is the best vacuum cleaner for home use?
A: A wide variety of vacuum cleaners are excellent for home use. If you are looking to clean upholstery or furniture, consider a handheld option or a vacuum with attachments like crevice tools and brushes.
Which vacuum has the strongest suction?
A: Several vacuum cleaners have strong suction power. While amperage and wattage are important considerations, read the reviews online regarding suction power and features before making your purchase. Vacuums with excellent suction strength can clean up hair, dirt, debris, and more with ease.