Can I plug a vacuum cleaner into my car

Can I Plug A Vacuum Cleaner into My Car?

Can you plug a vacuum cleaner into your car? The short answer is..

It depends on the wattage of the vacuum cleaner, generally, a car battery can produce up to 120W using the cigarette plug outlet.

You should not try to plug in any vacuum cleaner that exceeds 120Watts of power into your cigarette plug socket, if you do, this may cause damage to the outlet itself.

Some modern cars will have higher output plug sockets but you would need to read your car user manual to determine if the socket will be able to power the vacuum cleaner you have… Having said this, there are plenty of 12V vacuum cleaners that are built for car use that you can use by plugging into your cigarette lighter socket that will do a very good job.

Can I Plug a Vacuum in My Car?

Generally speaking, yes, you can plug a vacuum cleaner into your car however, all household vacuum cleaners require more wattage of power than a normal car can supply, therefore you will have a hard time trying to get the vacuum cleaner to actually work.

There are many low powered specifically made car vacuum cleaners that you can buy that work on low voltage/wattage and will do a very good job at vacuuming your car.

The main reason why you can’t simply just plug in a vacuum into your car is because your car is run on DC current, and can not produce enough amperage to power appliances over 120Watts. A traditional output in your car would be a maximum of 120watts.

If you were to want to produce more power than this, you would need additional batteries with a inverter to supply the continuous power requirements a household vacuum would need.

Can You Run a Vacuum on a Car Battery?

If you are adamant that you want to run a normal vacuum from your car battery then this could be possible.

Firstly you would need to be sure that the vacuum you want to run on your car battery doesn’t exceed 1,200 watts, this is because you will need to buy a 12V DC to AC inverter and depending on the money you are willing to part with it could become quite costly if you’re wanting to power anything over 1,200watts, typical 12V DC to AC inverters are fairly priced at this range so we would recommend that you stick to the 1000/1200watt inverter.

Once you have a DC to AC 12V inverter that is capable of your required output, it is a simple case of connecting the inverter to your battery using either alligator type connections or sometimes inverters can plug into your cigarette lighter socket, once this is done, the inverter will have a standard plug socket that you would find in your home, plug in your vacuum cleaner into the inverter plug socket and away you go!

Alligator clips
Alligator clips

It is not recommended to use power from your car battery if your car is switched off. Please make sure that you turn your car on and have the engine running while you are using the inverter, this prevents draining your car battery.

How Many Volts is a Car Battery?

All car batteries are or should be 12 volts, they are normally made from 6 cells and each cell has 2.1 volts at full charge, although the actual voltages can tell you a lot about your cars health.

Car battery voltage usually slightly fluctuates from time to time, normally a healthy car battery should be between 12.6 to 12.8 volts at all times, if you find that your car battery voltage is below 12.4 then your car battery might be starting to go bad.

How many volts a car battery has also depends on how often you use your car, if your car is sitting, not being driven, then your battery could become flat as the battery loses charge when it is not switched on for the alternator to keep it topped up with voltage.

This is why we recommend to keep your car engine switched on when you plug your vacuum cleaner into your car, the engine spins the alternator which in turn recharges your car battery.

How Many Amps is a Car Vacuum Cleaner?

A household vacuum cleaner uses between 8  – 12 amps but this very much depends on the motor within the vacuum cleaner and how much power that motor draws from your socket.

Car vacuum cleaners surprisingly also run between 8 – 12 amps, this may sound confusing but amperage doesn’t relate to wattage, it is AMPS X Volts = Wattage used, for example, all car vacuum cleaners run with 12v supplies (because cars have 12 volt batteries) therefore, we know that vacuum cleaners run at 8 amps minimum so lets take these two numbers and multiply them, 8 x 12 = 96 watts, meaning that most car vacuum cleaners run at 96 – 144 watts of continuous power.

This may sound strange but if you think of the voltage within our homes, this is at 120 volts or 240 volts power from the socket, so if you do the math again but instead of using the 12 volt base, we use a 120 volt or 240 volt, we can understand how the math adds up.

Having this formula can be helpful for many things when you’re trying to figure out what you can plug in to your car battery.

Does Car Vacuum Drain Battery?

Any electrical appliance that you plug into your cars battery will ultimately drain its battery if you don’t have the car engine turned on, this is because your car can only recharge the battery if the engine is powering the alternator.

The cars alternator will turn kinetic energy from the cars combustion into electricity, this electricity generated then gets stored back into the battery.

So, does a car vacuum drain battery? Yes but if you know to keep your car turned on or even better, drive your car often, this will keep your battery topped up and fully charged.


Can I Plug A Vacuum Cleaner into My Car? Ultimately, yes, you can indeed plug a vacuum cleaner into your car.

Although you will need to purchase additional devices depending on which vacuum cleaner you would like to plug into your car, if it is a 12 volt car vacuum cleaner then you will not need any additional devices but if you would like to plug a home vacuum cleaner into your car, you will need to purchase a 12 volt dc to ac inverter that would be capable of producing the wattage you need.