Vacuum cleaners are omnipresent in households nowadays. However, cleaning brings about unique challenges when it comes to cars and other automobiles. Furthermore, cars have a notorious reparation for being hard to clean yet easy to get dirty. Portable and handheld vacuum cleaners fill the void of this very use case that other gadgets cannot fulfill. Here, let’s dive in, discover them, and see some recommendations without breaking the bank. Given their portability, they also account for a very thoughtful gift during the holiday season.Why would you want a handheld vacuum cleaner for the car?
Personally, a handheld car vacuum cleaner is more of a necessity for me than a luxury, as is for most people. The combo can get quite challenging for someone with a pet and a car. A handheld vacuum cleaner comes to the rescue at home and in the car. After owning and using over five in the past decade, I can highly suggest one I am using now. It is the Ofuzzi H9 Pro, which has all the top-of-the-line features without breaking the bank. If your use cases are similar to mine, it is worth checking out.
The car-specific cleaning trials are particularly true for traditional vacs because wired and giant vacuum cleaners have two primary challenges. First, they are not portable. So, you cannot expect anyone to carry something weighing over 20 lbs. to the car daily. Secondly, there’s the “reach factor.” Even with fancy hoses and attachments, spaces at home are simply unreachable. It happens more times than you could imagine. For those situations, a portable vacuum cleaner comes as a boon.
Get one if you have dust, debris, or pet hair flying around in the car. You’ll thank yourself for leaping.
Specifications to watch for (Key features to notice)
Let’s get the numbers and technical specs out of the way first. When buying a portable handheld vacuum cleaner for the car, the following parameters are essential to watch for.
1. Weight and single-handed use: When it comes to the car, the lighter gadget you can get, the better. Since this will be used on the go, try to find one that weighs under 5 lbs. Even that is on the heavier side. The present one I use is a mere 2.24 lbs, perfect for single-handed use.
2. Relevant attachments for proper reach: Regardless of which one you pick up, it will come with an assortment of accessories and attachments. However, this can be deceiving. You should look closely for the attachments that are right for you. In my estimation, the longer the crevice tool is, the better reach I get in hard-to-access parts of the car.
3. Dust bin size: Every handheld vacuum cleaner has a compartment where the trash gets stored. Having a larger dustbin means you need to empty them less frequently and get to spend more time and attention on the real task at hand. It would save time and hassle.
4. Suction Power: This is crucial. It is usually measured in Pascals (Pa or kPa), the standard pressure metric. You will likely find handheld vacs between 5 and 13 kPa. The higher the value, the more suction power you will get. If it’s too low, it can only handle light dust and hairs, whereas one with high power (around 13 kPa, which I use now) can suck out visible solid debris, dirt, and chips alongside micro dust, hairs, and other small particles.
5. Motor: The motor in handheld vacuum cleaners is the machine's engine. What you want is one that works more effortlessly as possible. You will likely see two variants – brushed and brushless motors. Brushed ones use carbon brushes with a lower lifespan, weaker speeds, and a more significant size profile. In contrast, brushless motors do not use carbon brushes, have almost triple the lifespan of brushed ones, are more portable and work more effortlessly.
There are several good ones to choose from at large retailers like Amazon. For example, Ofuzzi, Black and Decker, Eufy, Dyson, etc., have good offerings. However, value for money is very different for different brands. I can tell you this – with the progress of engineering, good gadgets are becoming attainable, and attainable gears are getting good! The Ofuzzi H9 Pro is a prime example of this. The Ofuzzi H9 Pro, which I got on a deal for under $100, replaced my old $500+ Black and Decker without sacrificing any feature. The newer gears have more novel convenience features packed right in.
I have seen many seasonal deals on Amazon and other retailers on Black Friday, Prime Day, Thanksgiving, and even randomly. If you keep your eyes on them, you may score big, and the value proposition will shoot off the charts.
Reasons to buy
The best recommendation I can impart would be to use the “Specifications to watch for” section above as a checklist and find one that fits your budget while checking off the features. If you ask for my recommendation, the Ofuzzi H9 Pro checks all the boxes and some more!
I mentioned weight, motor, suction power, dust bin size, and attachments to watch out for. In the Ofuzzi H9 Pro, I got immense suction power of 13 kPa/40 AW while weighing only 2.24 lbs. This is perfect for single-handed use and reaches the depths under the car seats, carpets, and even under the hood.
Next, with its 600 ml large dust bin, I rarely have to empty it and can focus on cleaning. Also, when I open it up to drain the trash weekly, I can empty debris with one click without straining my hands. Its innovative buckle lock prevents spills. That’s a massive win for me.
As for the motor, it uses a brushless motor, does not use carbon brushes, has almost triple the lifespan of brushed ones, is more portable, and works more effortlessly.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
As discussed in the “Specifications to watch for” section above, the following attributes make for a great checklist to watch out for a while shopping for a handheld portable vacuum cleaner. The summary is as follows:
1. Suction Power: Usual Range: (5 to 13 kPa), Recommended Range: (greater than 10 kPa)
2. Weight: Lower, the better (without compromising the functionality)
3. Attachments and accessories: More versatile attachments mean a higher reach factor.
4. Dust bin size: The larger it is, the fewer times you need to empty them.
5. Charging options: Cigarette lighter port or USB-C. Modern ones should support USB-C.
6. Convenience features: Features like a flashlight (present in my Ofuzzi H9 Pro) make a fantastic line of sight even in the dark for precision cleaning.
7. Two-way charging: Few have this innovative option. For example, the H9 Pro can use its USB-C port to get charge and can also charge my phone.
8. Brushless motor for extended lifespan and effortless use: The brushed motor's life (because of the carbon brush) is low, with about 75-125 hours running time, along with low speed, small vacuum, large flow, and large motor system size. However, for brushless motors, with no carbon brush, the lifespan is more than 500 hours, and the speed can be up to 95,000 turns, which leads to a high vacuum, small flow, noise, and size. The motor efficiency can be up to 40%-43% of the whole duct system, compared to the brushed motor of about 26%-30%.
My pick and what is it good for (and why)?
As is obvious by now, my top pick is my present one which is the Ofuzzi H9 Pro. A close second is the one I owned before, which is the Black and Decker Dustbuster, but it has a smaller dust bin than the H9 Pro and is more expensive. The more precise reasons for choosing the Ofuzzi H9 Pro are manifold.
The H9 Pro is the brand’s flagship portable handheld vacuum cleaner with all the bells and whistles (read–feature set) of $500+ vacuum cleaners for 1/5th the price. I will elaborate on the feature set below, but it blew me away (both literally and figuratively). This USB-C charged supremely versatile gadget was a Godsend for my carpets (both in the car and at home), thanks to the dogs and my kids’ crumbs. More technically, it is a handheld vacuum cleaner with 40AW (13 kPa) surging power which implies outstandingly powerful suction that picks up visible crumbs and dirt alongside fine dust and pet hair. Its 80,000RPM motor and 600mL dust tank rival the ones in the Killbuck range.
If I go all technical about it, the reasons for me to pick this one up (besides being the best bang for my buck) are manifold. Still, the feature set is worth discussing should you be interested. The following highlights why I bought (and you probably would want to consider) the Ofuzzi H9 Pro.
a) Extra-long Crevice tool: This is the (not so secret) weapon that makes it stand out to me. I keep it with me even in the car, even while I own a more expensive upright vac. Given the super long attachments and crevice tool, it can reach the depths of the abyss (well, it never hurts to be dramatic) under furniture, carpets, and up on the attic.
b) Lightweight and Compact: The second most appealing point for me is how light and ergonomic it is. At only 2.24lbs, I can put one hand under the sofa with the H9 Pro and drink a soda with my other hand. The slick design of it is easy to grip and comfortable to hold, causing zero fatigue. One extra point for looking like something from a sci-fi movie is always a conversation starter for guests.
c) Easy to Clean: One of the most irritating parts is cleaning the cleaner itself. The engineers who designed the HH9 Pro made some incredibly thoughtful decisions to make this part a breeze. You can empty debris with one click without straining your hands, and its innovative buckle lock prevents spills. That’s a massive win for me. The filters are washable and recyclable. It sports a sizeable 600ml dustbin – which means more uninterrupted cleaning and fewer trips to empty the trash.
d) LED display and USB-C: A great signal that this is a 2022 gadget is its versatility in charging (via any cellphone charger) and the presence of a precision LED display. It is essential for me to monitor the status of any machine (like modes and battery life) to feel secure. The H9 Pro has that covered in spades.
e) Quiet and Durable: Though I do not worry too much now, when I gave one of these to my nephew (who lives in a dorm), he needed to be as quiet as possible. Powered by an 80,000RPM brushless motor, it is safer, more durable, and energy-efficient, which equals lower electric bills. It is quite a marvel that its stellar performance makes no compromise while keeping it extremely quiet. So, it’s a welcome attribute to neighbors, roommates, and pets.
f) 40AW Powerful Suction: This metric refers to the suction power or pressure. At 40AW/13kPa surging power, it can cover detectable debris to finer dust (like hair and fur. Adding to its versatility, it has two power levels (standard and eco) for different cleaning needs – one for intense cleaning and the other for extended efficiency.
g) Cyclonic-Innovative Design: This is an entirely novel idea I had never seen before. Also, since you can see through the tank, it is easy to see its inner workings. The innovative cyclonic system swirls debris and dust away from the filter for consistent and powerful suction. It is fantastic to see it in action as well. I must say that according to technical literature, this concept is intended to extend the filter and motor lifespans.
As is natural, there are hundreds of verified customer reviews on Amazon. I recommend you check them out though I am sharing a few excerpts here. Still, reading the complete ones make sense to be sure I am not cherry-picking here.
Harry S. wrote in their review, “First, as I mentioned in the previous review, this Ofuzzi vacuum is excellent and very high quality. Excellent suction for debris on floors, etc., between my housekeeper's visits as I can no longer use my corded upright. I am disabled from a stroke, and the ease of use with this Ofuzzi and normal maintenance such as emptying and cleaning with limited right-hand movement is ideal and the only one after exhaustive research I could use.” It is a testament to the product to have received this praise from someone with accessibility issues.
AG, on the other hand, wrote how they use it in their review titled “I love this thing!”. They wrote, “This thing works great. I mean, you’re not gonna want to vacuum your whole house with one, but it’s great for spot cleaning and touch-ups and vacuuming crumbs out of drawers and stuff.”
“This vacuum is perfect for me! My kitty tracks litter which this vac picks up very well. Now I don’t have to drag my larger vac out just for light cleaning. It’s great for cat hair, even on furniture. This has made my life so much easier. I can’t believe how light it is and nice its power is. I’m thrilled! Highly recommend”, wrote Amazon user sauci1, who seems to be a pet lover like myself.
Olean wrote in detail, “This little vacuum is strong enough to get the "stuff" that collects on my pickup's floorboard, and that's what counts for me. The cannister is big enough to get the job done. The suction is pretty strong....just shy of holding itself up by its vacuum. There is a decent work light on the front. Charges via USB C. It has two speeds, High/Low (I will probably only ever use the high setting.). The canister comes off via a rear-mounted, single break-over latch. Two attachments are included....a straight, oval tube and a brush-ended tube. The clean exhaust is side ejected around the circumference of the cannister. All in all, a pretty nice portable vacuum!”
With the ubiquitous development in thoughtful engineering, value for money has skyrocketed. Now, you can get a handheld portable vacuum cleaner for your car for around $100, which would have cost you tenfold even several years ago. The Ofuzzi H9 Pro is a prime example of this. It is an excellent testament to the thoughtful engineers who made all the right decisions in making such a fantastic product while keeping the price within reach of the American middle class. If you don’t like it (which is unlikely), you’re covered by Amazon’s 30-day return policy, so it’s a win-win situation. Thus, to conclude, the H9 Pro gets my highest recommendation as the best handheld vacuum cleaner for the car that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg – yet delivers without compromise.