If you have a workshop, then you know that keeping it clean can be a hassle. Whether you work with wood, plastic, or other materials, they can get all over the place, which means that you have to do more to keep your surfaces and floors clean.
Thankfully, shop vacuums are here to help. These versatile machines make it easy to clean spills of any kind, whether it’s some wood dust or a puddle of water. Unlike traditional vacuums, they offer a unique cleaning solution for any garage or workshop, which is why so many professionals choose them.
So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best shop vacuums on the market.
VacuMaid GV50PRO Professional Wall Mounted Utility Vacuum
Vacmaster 4 Gallon, 5 Peak HP with 2-Stage Industrial Motor Wet/Dry Floor Vacuum
Shop-Vac 5986000 5-Gallon 4.5 Peak HP Stainless Steel Wet Dry Vacuum
Vacmaster 12 Gallon, 5 Peak HP, Wet/Dry Vacuum
Craftsman 12004 6 Gallon 3 Peak HP Wet/Dry Vac
WORKSHOP Wet Dry Vac WS1600VA High Capacity Wet Dry Vacuum from Emerson
DEWALT DCV581H 18/20-Volt MAX Cordless/Corded Wet-Dry Vacuum
Armor All 2.5 Gallon, 2 Peak HP, Utility Wet/Dry Vacuum
Shop-Vac 3942300 5 gallon 4.0 Peak HP Wall Mount Wet/Dry Vacuum
BISSELL Garage Pro Wet/Dry Vacuum
Kicking off our list is this robust wall-mounted vacuum from VacuMaid. This particular unit is designed to be a convenient way to clean your garage and your car. With its centralized position and extra long hose, you can reach practically any corner of your workspace with ease.
As far as performance goes, this vacuum comes with a powerful 120-volt motor. This helps ensure that you get proper suction from the 50-foot hose, although it won’t be as powerful as a shorter model, so be aware of that. This is also a dry vacuum only, so don’t use it for liquid spills.
The construction of this vacuum is incredible, with galvanized steel and durable plastic components. The steel is corrosion-resistant and powder-coated to last for years to come. There is a wall-mounted caddy that comes with this unit so that you can keep all of your attachments (five in total) together when they’re not in use. Also, there is a hanger for the hose so that it won’t be splayed all over the floor.
If you’re looking for a compact and portable vacuum that can make cleaning your garage and car a breeze, then you will appreciate this model from Vacmaster. With a powerful five-horsepower motor and four gallons of holding power, you can pick up a lot of messes before you have to change the bag.
What we like about this vacuum is that it can work on wet and dry spills. Even though it uses an air filter and a bag system, liquids are no problem for this machine. It comes with a robust two-stage motor that makes cleaning a snap, and the amount of accessories allow you to work on almost any surface.
There are three attachment wands, a detail brush, and a floor brush included with this vacuum. Best of all, there is onboard storage for all of them so that you can keep everything together at all times. Also, the power cord retracts into the body and the seven-foot hose wraps around the center, so this vacuum is built for storage as well as cleaning action.
When looking at different shop vacuums, it’s imperative that you don’t refer to them all as “shop vacs.” As you can see, that is a brand name, so you have to be able to differentiate between it and other models. That being said, Shop Vac is synonymous with high-quality performance anyway, so even if you use it as a catch-all term, you are going to find some incredible vacuums regardless.
In this case, we have a robust wet/dry capable model that works well on almost any surface. It uses a bag for dust particles while the canister holds any liquid that may be sucked up as well. There is an air filter included, although this vacuum won’t remove some of the finer dust particles as some of the other units on this list.
Overall, we like this vacuum because it has a powerful motor and it comes with a slew of attachments. It works well for both professionals and regular consumers, and it is super easy to maneuver throughout your garage. Finally, it comes with a three-year warranty, so you know that it’s built to last.
For the most part, you will need a vacuum to clean up messes in your garage or workspace. However, what happens if you need a blower as well? Thankfully, this model from Vacmaster has you covered by providing a mini blower unit on top of the main canister. This powerful device can help you keep leaves and other debris out of your way, and it will work just as well as any leaf blower you can find.
What we like about this vacuum is that it’s built for performance. A five-horsepower motor ensures that all messes are cleaned the first time, and it can pick up both dry and wet spills with ease. In fact, to make it easier to empty the canister, there is a large drainage port on the bottom so that you don’t have to tip the whole thing over to clean it out.
Other features that we like about this vacuum is the massive 12-gallon capacity, the six attachments that come with it, and the fact that it’s quieter than most other models in its class. No matter what kind of mess you have, you can clean it with this vacuum.
So far, we’ve been looking at massive and robust vacuums that are built to handle both small and large messes. However, if you aren’t in the market for something so meaty, then you may prefer a more compact model like this unit from Craftsman. Unlike the monsters we’ve listed above, this vacuum is perfect for small jobs around the house or the yard.
Performance-wise, this model just has a three-horsepower motor, so it’s not as strong as some of the other ones we’ve seen. However, it does collect both wet and dry messes, and it converts to a blower in seconds for your convenience.
Overall, this is a remarkable vacuum that will make cleaning your outdoor areas and your garage much easier.
Unlike the Craftsman Vacuum above, this next model is built to handle professional-sized messes. This means that if you’re a woodworker or a craftsperson, you will love the Workshop High-Capacity Vacuum from Emerson.
Compared to everything we’ve seen so far, this is the most robust and reliable unit on the list. It has a massive 6.5-horsepower motor, and it can collect up to 16 gallons of wet or dry material. Although it won’t work as well on fine dust particles, it is an absolute beast.
One cool feature of this vacuum is that it has an overflow sensor built-in. This means that if there’s too much dirt or liquid inside it will shut off so that you don’t risk blowing it out of the hose or out of the back. Also, there is a drainage port on the bottom so that you can dump all of your liquid without any hassle.
Finally, this vacuum comes with a remarkable five-year warranty.
Sometimes, portability is going to be the most vital feature that you want in a shop vacuum. The ability to take it with you wherever you go can be quite liberating, which is why you may want something like this battery-operated model from DeWalt.
Although it won’t be as powerful as other units that plug in, this is still pretty remarkable overall. It uses a 20-volt motor to pick up both wet and dry messes, and it uses a HEPA filter to ensure that all dust particles are trapped inside. Best of all, the filter is washable and reusable so that you can save money on replacements.
Overall, this vacuum is perfect for jobs out in the field or if you want to clean your car without a cord getting in the way. Also, it comes with a three-year warranty.
Just like the DeWalt model above, this vacuum from Armor All is designed to be more portable than anything else. It’s mostly built for car detailing and cleaning, and it comes with a host of attachments that make your job even easier.
What we like about this vacuum is that it’s super lightweight and easy to carry. Although you will most likely need an extension cord to bring it into your car, it can fit on the seat with ease, and you can reach every nook and cranny without having to readjust it too much. Also, it’s quieter than most other models, and it comes with a two-year limited warranty.
Technically speaking, this next model from Shop-Vac is designed to mount to the wall, but that doesn’t mean that you have to. Unlike other wall-mount vacuums, this one comes with a carrying handle, so feel free to use it as a standard portable unit instead.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that this vacuum comes with an 18-foot hose, so you don’t have to drag it along with you too far.
It also comes with a bunch of attachments, including extension wands, so you can reach every corner of your garage or workshop with ease.
We like the fact that this vacuum has wet/dry capabilities, that it uses an air filtration system, and that it comes with a three-year limited warranty. Overall, this is a great workshop model.
We started this list with a wall-mounted unit, so it’s fitting that we end with one as well. However, when comparing the two of them, we have to say that this one is far more versatile, although it’s not quite as powerful.
We like this vacuum because it comes with seven different attachments that work for both vacuuming and blowing. You can clean virtually every surface in your garage or car, and the 32-foot hose makes it easy to reach every corner. There is even a hanging tool caddy for all of your accessories.
We also like that this vacuum can suck up liquid and dirt, which is an improvement over the Vacumaid model. The tank is semi-translucent so that you can tell how much stuff is inside, so you know when to empty it. Overall, this unit is perfect for most small jobs.
If you are just trying to keep your garage and car clean from time to time, then you probably don’t need a massive shop vacuum for that. However, if you run a professional workshop and generate a lot of debris every day, then you have to buy a model that can handle it all in stride.
Because of the way they’re set up, shop vacuums are measured in gallon capacities. For smaller areas, we recommend about 4-6 gallons. However, for industrial or commercial setups, you will need at least 25-30 gallons or more.
When comparing different shop vacuums, you’ll notice that they are rated in horsepower. Generally speaking, more horsepower suggests that the machine is better at cleaning. While there are other factors to consider as well (hose length, filtration system), bigger motors are usually built to last longer overall.
Although shop vacuums are well known for the fact that they can suck up almost anything, that doesn’t mean that you don’t need some accessories to help you get the job done. Depending on how you plan on using the vacuum, you will want to watch out for these common attachments to ensure that you don’t run into any issues when using it.
With most vacuums, dirt and dust are the only things that can be picked up. However, many shop vacuums can also work with liquid messes as well. We highly recommend that you pick a model that does both since you never know what you may encounter in the future.
That being said, there is a difference between units that only do dry materials and those that do both. When water and other liquids are vacuumed, they tend to affect the filtration system. So, if you’re sensitive to dust and other allergens, you may want to avoid a wet/dry model because it won’t be able to remove the finer particles from the air.
Also, wet/dry shop vacuums don’t have bags (for obvious reasons). So, if you don’t like the idea of having to dump the waste from the canister itself, you might want to get a bagged model. That also means that you should try to minimize any liquid messes if possible.
For the most part, shop vacuums are made to be portable. However, not all shop vacuums are the same, which means that they could be easier or harder to maneuver, depending on the model.
Two things that you should consider the most are whether it comes with a handle and whether it has wheels. Both of these things are going to make it much easier to bring the vacuum over to the mess, so we highly recommend finding a unit that has both.
However, with that in mind, you can’t set wheeled models on countertops or other surfaces, so that may be a downside. When picking out your shop vacuum, it’s imperative that you understand how it will be used the most so that you can determine which option is best for your needs.