The best corded vacuums for car cleaning

Corded vacuum cleaners are still the best type of vacuum. We recommend those best suited for car cleaning.

Corded vacuums for car cleaning

by Chris Williams |
Updated on

In a recent corded versus cordless car vac experiment, we found that corded vacuums were superior in terms of price, robustness, power, and performance. It was a one-sided affair, like the Lancia Delta Group A rally car in WRC during the late eighties and early nineties.

In pursuing this line of champions, we've focused solely on corded vacuums and recommended our top five for car cleaning. This isn't to say that these are vacuum cleaners that are only any good for car cleaning. Most of our favourites are wet and dry units that can be used in the garage, garden shed, and patio too.

Related: How to properly vacuum your car

The best corded vacuum cleaners for car cleaning

Best overall

The Karcher WD2 Plus was our corded-against-cordless test winner. While the power cord was a bit short, it made car vacuuming a cinch irrespective of how neglected that interior might be, thanks to 1000 Watts and a long 1.8-metre suction hose.

What we really liked about the WD 2 Plus is the single-piece cartridge filter. You don't have to change it for wet or dry vacuuming. It's worth getting over the standard WD 2 because the Plus has a blower function, that one-piece cartridge filter, a rotary knob rather than a switch, a carry handle, and accessory storage. The regular WD 2 does not have these features.

Despite being quite small, the WD 2 Plus still has 12 litres of capacity, so it stores away without taking up much room, yet can tackle all domestic tasks.


  • Uses single filter
  • Powerful and robust
  • Long suction hose
  • Compact yet decent capacity
  • Has blower function


  • Short power cord
  • Hook for power cord isn't great

Best value

Draper offers lots of power and capacity with its wet and dry vacuum. When we tested it against the Karcher WD 2 Plus, it performed just as well but had a couple of niggles that let the Karcher edge ahead. It does require a cartridge filter change for wet vacuuming, and the suction hose is a bit short (1.5 metres). Also, the build quality, though sound, isn't quite on par with the Karcher.

But these are niggles and overall the Draper is an excellent vacuum, capable of dealing with car cleaning and other demanding domestic tasks.


  • Great value
  • Powerful motor
  • Compact
  • Large capacity
  • Has blower function


  • Filter change needed for wet
  • Karcher and Charles more robust

Best Henry for car cleaning

Henry CVC370-2 Charles
Price: $540.99

Charles is larger and heavier than the Karcher and Draper. It's also got much more reach, thanks to a 10-metre power cord and longer suction hose. We know Henry and family are very durable and robust machines, and this domestic wet and dry Charles is in for the long haul.

Charles offers 15 litres of dry capacity but only nine of wet. It will be enough for most tasks, but it's something to bear in mind. In terms of power, you won't be wanting. Charles has 1060W.

The push into triple figures for the asking price is noticeable and naturally begs the question of what you get for it. In addition to great performance and reliability, you also get a comprehensive accessory kit with a brace of floor tools for any flooring, crevice tool for tricky car interiors, and aluminium tubes rather than the plastic ones supplied with the Karcher and Draper models.


  • Long reach
  • Powerful
  • Full accessory kit
  • Seriously robust


  • Large and relatively heavy
  • 9-litre wet capacity
  • No blower function

Best for large jobs

Einhell TC-VC 1820 S
Price: $179.75

If you are likely to need a vacuum for larger, more demanding tasks in addition to car cleaning, then the wet and dry Einhell TH-VC 1820 S is your best bet. It's a similar size to Charles, but it's even more powerful and with a 20-litre stainless steel container.

While its included accessories aren't as comprehensive as those you get with Charles, you do get the basics. However, the suction hose is only 1.5 metres. This is somewhat offset by the 2.5-metre power cord, but a longer suction hose would make car cleaning easier.

Like the Karcher and Draper, the Einhell has a blower function, so you can remove debris from weird places that way.


  • Stainless steel container
  • Powerful motor
  • Blower function
  • Large capacity


  • Filter change needed for wet
  • Suction hose only 1.5m

Best for home and car

A chunky wet and dry vacuum may not be necessary for you, and you desire a vacuum cleaner that is primarily for around the house and can tackle the car on demand. Miele's Complete C3 PowerLine is an impressive classic vacuum cleaner that is suited to this type of scenario perfectly.

The C3 is, of course, for dry vacuuming only, and while it's certainly powerful enough, it's not as tough as the vacuums above. Thus, you'll want to remove any larger pebbles and debris before diving in with the C3.

We like how quiet and effortless the C3 is compared to the rough and ready nature of the others. It includes a crevice tool, dust brush, and upholstery brush too, so you really can give your car a deep clean if you want to.


  • Quiet and powerful
  • Long power cord
  • Energy efficient
  • Miele build quality
  • Variable power control


  • Dry vacuuming only
  • Smaller bag capacity

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