Top 5 Best Small Shop Vac for Cleaning Cars


Shopping for the best shop vac for your car isn’t always the easiest task. When you start shopping around in stores or online, you can begin to see how complicated the process is. There are literally thousands of different options you can choose from for the type of shop vac that you want to use to clean out your car.

Your vehicle is important to you, and keeping your car clean is important too. Whether you use your car for long commutes to work or relaxing weekend drives, you want to make sure that it is clean and comfortable. To get it that way, you need to make sure that you have a high quality shop vac so that you can take care of your car properly.

Hopefully our little review will make the decision a little bit easier for you. Let’s take a closer look at some of the best shop vac for cars, but before we do that, what are some of the key performance features that we should be looking for when shopping for the perfect shop vac?

5 Of The Most Popular Shop Vac for Car Reviews

1. Shop-Vac 3942000 4.0 Peak HP Wall Mount Vacuum

This handy little shop vac is perfect for cleaning out your car. We really appreciate the design of this shop vac because it doesn’t take up a lot of space, and would store perfectly in your shop or garage. To take up even less space, this shop vac is totally wall mountable, so you can easily mount this to a wall, near where you park your vehicle.

The vacuum is incredibly portable, lightweight and easy to move. You can simply grab it by the top handle and move it around to wherever you need to use it.This shop vac uses a four horsepower motor, which will give you plenty of horsepower for cleaning out your car.

It also comes with an 18 foot hose, so that you have plenty of wiggle room to clean all around the interior of your vehicle, without even having to move the vac container. This vacuum also comes with a lot of great supplementary gear and attachments to make cleaning even easier.


  • This handy car vacuum cleaner is totally wall-mountable to help you conserve space and keep your vac easily accessible
  • This vac uses a space saving design, so even when it is hanging on your wall it doesn’t take up that much space
  • It is easy to attach and store this vacuum just about anywhere, and is perfect for mounting in your garage
  • The design of this vacuum makes it perfect for both wet and dry clean-ups, so it can handle any kinds of spills or messes in your car
  • So you don’t get tangled up while you are using it, this car vac has a cord wrap on board for quick and easy cable storage
  • This little car vac has a nice carrying handle on top of it so that you can easily transport it wherever you need to use it.
  • Four peak horsepower for plenty of power while cleaning
  • Comes with an 18 foot hose so that you have plenty of hose length when vacuuming out your car 


  • It would be nice if this had a slightly longer hose. Then, you could keep it on the wall while you are using it, in most scenarios.

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2. Shop-Vac 5872510 6.5 HP Heavy Duty Portable

This is another awesome wall-mountable model from Shop Vac. This powerful and portable shop vac has a peak horsepower of 6.5, so that you have plenty enough power for cleaning out your car. This vac also has a top carry handle so that you can easily carry your vacuum around your car, taking it where you need it.

Thankfully, this shop vacuum comes with a lengthy, 20 foot long power cable. That length gives you tons of flexibility when cleaning, so that you don’t always have to worry about having a power outlet right next to your car. This also helps eliminate the need for long extension cables.

This model has a five gallon container for storing waste, and can easily be used for cleaning more than one car, before you have to empty it. It has a built in cord wrap so that you don’t have to get tangled in the cable. This shop vac also includes a lot of great materials like a lock-on hose, claw nozzle, crevice adapter and even a web cartridge filter.


  • This powerful and portable shop vac also has a top carry handle, for easy lifting and transportation while you are cleaning
  • To keep the hose securely fastened, it uses Shop Vac’s lock on hose system to make sure that your hose stays attached during heavy cleaning
  • This unit has a built in cord wrap so that you can wrap up or unwrap the cable as you go, eliminating the mess and hazard of having unused cable hanging around while you are cleaning
  • This shop vac has as a five gallon storage container, so that you will have plenty enough space to clean out one or more cars
  • It has a 6.5 peak horsepower engine so that you have plenty of power for tough cleaning jobs
  • This vac has a 20 foot power cable, so that you have plenty of space and wiggle room to clean all in and around your car, without being limited by your power outlet locations
  • This unit is fully wall mountable, so that you don’t have to worry about taking up too much space in your shop or your garage
  • This unit operates quietly, and doesn’t cause too much noise when you are using it 


  • It would be nice if this shop vac had onboard storage for all of the accessories that it comes with

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3. Shop-Vac 3942300 4.0 Peak HP Wall Mount Wet/Dry

Let’s take another look at another reliable vacuum from Shop Vac. One of the parts of this model that we like best is that it comes with an 18 foot hose so that you have plenty of length for cleaning in and around your car.

This is another wall mount model, so that you can easily mount your vacuum in your garage or shop without worrying about it taking up too much space or getting in the way. Another aspect of this shop vac that we really appreciate is that it comes with a lot of handy attachments, including a variety of nozzles and cleaning tools.

It even comes with a tool storage bag that gives you the ability to store all of your vacuum tools in one place. This vacuum gives you plenty of space for cleaning with a five gallon container, and gives you ample amounts of power with a four peak horsepower engine.


  • This is another handy shop vac with a wall mount to help you save space in your garage or shop
  • This shop vac comes with an impressive 18 foot hose, which gives you ample amounts of length for cleaning out those tough to reach areas of your car
  • This shop vac comes with a lot of great features including the lock-on 18 foot hose, multiple extension wands, a 12 inch nozzle with a brush, a round brush, a squeegee insert, a gulper nozzle, a tool bag and a crevice tool for helping you clean in those tough to get places
  • Filters are included with this vac, so that you can use it right out of the box.
  • It also comes with a foam sleeve and a cartridge filter
  • This shop vac also comes with a tool storage bag, so that you can keep all of your accessories at hand, at all times while you are cleaning
  • The five gallon vacuum container gives you plenty of room for cleaning
  • The vacuum has 4.0 peak horsepower which gives you plenty of cleaning power for clearing out your car 


  • This vacuum is loud
  • The connection points on the vacuum that clicks into the wall mount is a little bit clunky

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4. Shop-Vac 5986000 4.5 Peak HP Steel Wet Dry Vacuum

This shop vac has a slightly different design than some of the other vacuum designs in this review. You may have noticed that many of the prior shop vacuums are made with a hard plastic shell. This is the first shop vac that we are looking at in this review that is actually made with a stainless steel body.

This is a tank dolly design with easy roll caster wheels. That makes this vacuum easy to move anywhere that you need to clean. One of the drawbacks to this small vacuum is that it only has a six foot power cord, so it doesn’t give you a ton of length for rolling around your vehicle, while cleaning it.

This stainless steel vacuum has a rear port blower that you can connect your hose to, giving you the ability to quickly and easily clean the floormats of your vehicle. Two of the biggest highlight aspects of this vacuum are the storage. This shop vac has onboard storage for the power cable, and it has onboard storage for your tools so that you can always access them.


  • This durable shop vac is made with a unique stainless steel design, making it one of the most durable shop vacs in this review
  • Tank dolly design with multi-direction wheels make this shop vac really easy to transport and move around as you clean
  • This mobile vacuum has a five gallon tank so that you have plenty of room for cleaning
  • This model also has a 4.5 horsepower engine, which should give you plenty enough power for cleaning out your cars
  • This vac comes with onboard storage for all your tools and attachments so that they are always easily accessible
  • This vac has onboard storage for the power cord to prevent it from getting in the way while cleaning 


  • The onboard storage is nice, but it could be larger and have better ways to store the tools that come with your vacuum

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5. Shop-Vac 5890200 2.5-Peak HP HangOn Wet/Dry

This is the most compact shop vac that we are going to be taking a look at in this review. If you are looking for the maximum amount of portability and convenient cleaning in a compact package, this may be the vacuum that you are looking for.

Another nice facet of this vac is that it is that you can mount it on your wall to save even more space. It even comes with the bracketing so that you can set that up for yourself. This small vacuum comes with a four foot hose, a gulper tool, a crevice nozzle to clean tight spaces, a wall bracket, a foam sleeve and a reusable disc filter.

It comes with a three year warranty and it is equipped with a top handle so that it easy to carry around.


  • This vac comes with a top handle that makes it easy to carry while you are cleaning
  • It has a compact design at only 2.5 gallons, which gives you the ability to take this vacuum with you, wherever you need to clean.
  • This vac is ideal for cleaning your car because it is easy to move around and in your car
  • This vac comes with a lot of useful accessories that will make cleaning out your car easier, so that you can get into all of those hard to get spaces
  • This vacuum has a wall mount design that makes it easy to hang up and store when you aren’t using it 


  • This is the smallest and least powerful vacuum in this review

Note: You may like the article Best corded handheld vacuum and best compact vacuum for your car – buying guide.

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Guying Guide: What to Check Before Buying The Best Shop Vac For Car?


The first thing that most every person will instinctively look at first when shopping for a vacuum is the maximum capacity. Capacity is important because that is going to dictate the amount of space that you have in your vac that you can fill, before you need to empty it out.

If you tend to live out of your car a little bit, you may need a larger vacuum capacity if you want to pick up all of your debris in one go. If you are prone to being mess averse, you may not need as large of a shop vacuum for your car.


Power is another one of the most important features that you can look at when you are shopping for the best shop vac for your car. Power is going to dictate your vacuum’s ability to pull large or stubborn debris out of your car. Make sure that you get a vacuum that is powerful enough to suck-up any of the messes that you have made.

Cable Length

One of the most critical aspects of shop vacs that we recommend looking at right of the bat is the cable length. The length of the power cable of your shop vacuum cleaner is going to tell you how far away you can get from a power outlet before you need to find a different outlet, or pony up for an extension cord. We prefer looking for shop vacs that have longer power cords, just for the convenience and mobility of being able to move around your vac, while cleaning your car.

Hose Length

Hose length may very well be one of the most overlooked aspects of shopping for the right shop vac. Make sure that you get something that is long enough to reach around your car, but not something that is too long. The longer your hose is, the more suction can be diminished through the body of your hose. That’s why we recommend going with a longer power cable, and a short to medium sized hose.


What about the attachments and tools that come with your vacuum? Make sure that you have the right hose, nozzles, attachments, filters and anything else that you might need so that you can completely and effectively clean your vehicle.


A couple common hassle with shop vacs is storage. The first is considering where you are going to store your vacuum, and the second is where you are going to store the attachments and tools that come with your vacuum. Many shop vacs come with wall mount brackets so that you can store them off the floor and out of the way. Some shop vacs will have built-in onboard storage for all of your tools.

Final Word

So at the end of this review, which vacuum is the all-around best? For us, we prefer the Shop Vac 3942000. The reasons that we like this vacuum so much is because it gives you all of the power and the space that you need for cleaning out your car, plus you can mount it on your wall to save space. It has plenty of cable and hose length for cleaning out your car, and comes with all the attachments that you need to make the cleaning job even easier.

How to Use a Shop Vacuum Cleaner for Car – Step by Step

Keeping your car clean can be a full-time job, especially if you spend a lot of time in it. No matter how careful you are, dirt and dust can collect in a short span, meaning that you have to stay on top of it lest it starts to consume your vehicle’s interior like some kind of dusty blob. While the outside of your car can be as easy as driving through a car wash, the inside is a whole other problem in itself. Thus, today we are going to discuss the best ways to use a car vacuum cleaner to maintain a prim and proper interior. Don’t let dirt and garbage get the best of you by following these steps.

What You’ll Need for This Tutorial

When talking about vacuuming your car, there are several ways that you can do it. First, you can go to a car wash and use a vacuum system they provide (usually these are coin-operated). Second, you can use your own machine and clean out the inside at your convenience in the comfort of your garage or driveway. In the end, the methods will still be the same, but just know that when we say “vacuum” on this list, it could either be something you have already or something that you rent for cleaning.

  • Garbage bag
  • Vacuum with crevice attachment
  • Car Wipes

Overall, you won’t need too much to clean out your car, so you shouldn’t have to buy much, if anything, for this tutorial. As long as you have access to a vacuum, you will be A-OK. The wipes are handy for keeping your dashboard clean, but they are not always necessary, so only use them as needed.

Step by Step Guide – Keep Reading…..

While vacuuming can be a relatively straightforward process, that is not to say that there are some tricks you can utilize to get a better clean for your car. While it may take a little longer to complete, the fact is that you want to get your vehicle in tip-top shape every time you vacuum; otherwise, what’s the point? So, with that in mind, here is the best way to get the results you want.

Step One: Clean Out Trash and Bulk Items

These are things that are too big for your vacuum or that will clog it if you try to suck them up. Wrappers, to-go bags, and drink cups are all examples of garbage that collects quickly in your car, so take it all out before you try to vacuum. This is where the bag will come in handy.

Step Two: Pull Out Your Car Mats

If you don’t have mats on your floor, then you won’t have to worry about this step. However, you may want to consider getting mats so that you can extend the life of your car’s floor overall.

Step Three: Start in the Front

The reason that we suggest that you start on the passenger and driver’s seats is that they are already in good position to give you access to the floor. Technically speaking, you could decide that it’s better to begin in the back since you’ll have to return the seats to their original position anyway, but we’re going for efficiency here so this is how we operate. If you want to start in the back, however, feel free.

It’s always best to start from the top to the bottom of your car so that any debris that may fly out while you vacuum will land on the floor and you can pick it up as you go. Vacuum the seats, the dashboard, and anywhere else with loose dirt and dust that can be sucked up. Make several passes if need be to collect everything. This is where nozzles and attachments will be helpful.

Step Four: Clean the Back

Pull the front seats forward and position them so that you can vacuum the backs of the seats more easily. You want to make sure that they are as far forward as possible so that you can get all the way underneath with the hose. If there are tight areas that you can’t reach then try a different attachment or try to knock the bigger dirt out with something so that you can vacuum it up.

Again, it’s best to start from the top down, and make sure to get behind the rear seats and into the cushions as well. Dirt collects all the time in those cracks so don’t forget about them. Then move to the floor.

Step Five: Vacuum the Mats

Beat them vigorously to get rid of the dust and then vacuum them as thoroughly as possible. Be sure to return the rear mats first before you return the front seats to their original position.

Step Six: Return the Mats

Put them back how you found them and make sure that they are in the right position.

Step Seven: Wipe Down Surfaces

Again, this could be an optional step depending on your needs, but if you’re going to clean you might as well go all the way. Wipe down your dashboard and any other surface that needs cleaning.


Once you’ve finished wiping, you’re all done! It’s a pretty simple process and one that should be repeated at least once or twice a month, depending on how often you drive and how clean you want to keep your car. Thanks for tuning into this tutorial and we hope that your car looks better than ever!


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