Best Shop Vac

10 Best Shop Vac Reviews 2017 - Ultimate Buyers Guide

Wet and dry vacuums are giving ordinary vacuums quite a run for the money because of their ability to deliver added suction as well as handle wet and dry waste with ease. It has become common to refer to all of them as shop vacs, even though that is actually a brand name for a particular company. If you are looking to purchase one, then this review can give you deep insight into the best shop vac for particular tasks you intend to use it for. This guide is based on information from different blogs, manufacturers as well as customer reviews on wet dry shop vacs.

Why You Should Buy a Shop Vac

Like their name “wet/dry vacuum” suggests, they are designed to suck up both wet and dry waste around the home. They tend to produce much more cleaning power than ordinary vacuums and they can be used in different situations, say after doing wood work, when the basement is flooded or cleaning up after your dog or cat. Mainly if you want a powerful versatile tool, then a shop vac would be a good choice.

10 Best Shop Vac Comparison

Picture

Name

Editor Rating

Price

Shop-Vac 5986100

Shop-Vac 5986100 Stainless Steel Wet Dry Vacuum

Craftsman XSP 16 Gallon 6.5 Peak HP Wet Dry Shop Vac

Craftsman XSP 16 Gallon Wet/Dry Blower

Vacmaster VBV1210

Vacmaster VBV1210 Wet/Dry Vacuum with Detachable Blower

BISSELL 18P03 Garage Pro Wall Mount Vacuum

BISSELL Garage Pro Wall Mountable 18P03

Dustless HEPA Wet Dry VAC D1606

ridgid-wet-dry-vacuums-vac4010

RIDGID VAC4010 2-in-1 Compact and Portable Wet Dry Vacuum with Detachable Blower

DEWALT DCV581H

DEWALT DCV581H Cordless/Corded Wet-Dry Vacuum

Shop-Vac 5951400 Wet/Dry Vacuum

WORKSHOP Wet Dry Vac WS1400CA

WORKSHOP WS1400CA High Power Wet Dry Vacuum

ridgid-wet-dry-vacuums-vac4010

RIDGID VAC1200 Heavy Duty Wet Dry and Blower Vac

Recommended Best Shop Vac Reviews

Shop-Vac 5986100 Stainless Steel Wet Dry Vacuum

Shop-Vac 5986100

Editor Rating:

This is a suitable wet and dry vacuum for garages, workshops, homes as well as construction site. This is because of its 8-gallon capacity coupled with the strong suction motor. Despite being 8 gallons, it is compact and easy to carry around or push when it is heavy. It comes with filters and a collection bag which ensure that it retains fine dust.

It is described by the manufacturer as being quiet but you should remember this is a shop vac so it cannot be totally silent but in comparison to other similar wet and dry vacuums, it is quiet.

PROS

Here are some of the things that make it one of the best shop vacs

  • It has a 12-foot power cord which gives you more coverage over a wider radius. If for example, you are vacuuming the garage, you can connect to a single socket and clean an entire normal sized garage without having to change sockets or add an extension.
  • With a motor that produces 5.5 horsepower of suction, you can vacuum different texture of dirt, debris, and liquid easily and with less need for going over the same part a number of times.
  • Its compact design makes it stable on the ground which reduces the risk of it tipping over
  • The stainless steel body makes it more durable and easy to clean
  • You would find it easy to move around since it is seated on a dolly.

CONS

  • The disappointing bit about this shop vac is that the top is not tight on the body. It wobbles a bit as you carry it using the top handle.

Craftsman XSP 16 Gallon Wet/Dry Blower

Craftsman XSP 16 Gallon 6.5 Peak HP Wet Dry Shop Vac

Editor Rating:

There are 2 situations that you may be very impressed by this shop vac. Like the name suggests, it is suited for a craftsman, so if you have a workshop and would like to clean up after your work, you will find this particularly suited for sucking up almost all types of debris, wood chunks, nails, bolts, wood shavings or sawdust, can all be gobbled up fast and easy.

When it comes to dealing with liquids like a flooded basement or water on the floor of the laundry room, you can use this to quickly suck up the liquid and even though it tends to get heavy, you can push it to the dump site and empty it without carrying it since it has an extra large drain.

PROS

Some of the reasons it is among the best wet dry vac include the following

  • It has suction of 6.5 peak horsepower which makes it strong enough to suck up both liquid and solid waste fast and easy. In a workshop, you may appreciate how easy it is to clear debris like nails and chunks of wood.
  • The large drain makes it easy to empty the tank after sucking up liquid, you are saved the burden of trying to dump liquid out of a 16-gallon tank.
  • Speaking of 16 gallons, it comes in handy to suck up much more especially if you are dealing with floods or cleaning a swimming pool.
  • You can also use this to clean the gutters on the roof by simply attaching the gutter tool.

CONS

  • The gutter tool has to be purchased separately

Vacmaster VBV1210 Wet/Dry Vacuum with Detachable Blower

Vacmaster VBV1210 12 Gallon 5 HP Vacuum Cleaner

Editor Rating:

It makes sense not to have to drag an entire 12-gallon tank to the yard just to blow leaves, that seems to be the philosophy behind this Vacmaster which comes with a detachable blower. As a wet and dry vacuum, it is just as efficient with a reasonably long cord and hose. I find it to be an ordinary shop vac capable of doing anything you would expect of a good wet and dry vacuum and it does not cost more than 100 dollars so makes it appealing for someone looking for an affordable vacuum to use around the house.

PROS

The main perks of the Vacmaster VBV1210 are listed below

  • The biggest perk is the detachable blower, it blows winds of more than 200 miles and hour and you do not have to carry the entire tank when blowing leaves or debris around the home or work area.
  • The Vacmaster has a 12-foot power cord and a 7-foot horse which provide ample reach for a reasonably sized room.
  • There is a drain at the bottom of the tank so after sucking out liquid, you simply push the unit to the dump area, open the drain and the liquid should flow out quickly.
  • Another convenient feature is the onboard storage for the tools, there is no reason to keep walking back and forth to change tools since they are stored on the unit
  • It comes with a noise diffuser that will help muffle the noise.

CONS

  • The hose does not seem to fit firmly into the port

BISSELL Garage Pro Wall Mountable 18P03

BISSELL 18P03 Garage Pro Wall Mount Vacuum

Editor Rating:

There is a lot to smile about when it comes to this shop vac, for starters is the fact that it can be mounted onto the wall and has a long hose so that you can use it from any part of the garage. Bissell seems to have tried their best to ensure that the final user of this product is comfortable and can actually notice the difference not just in performance but the entire experience of using the Garage Pro. For the car owner, owner of a workshop as well as a professional chef in a big restaurant, this is a wet and dry vacuum you may want to give a try.

PROS

Some of the outstanding reasons to choose this vacuum include:

  • It is possible to use it mounted on the wall where it will take up less space in the garage but at the same time, you can carry it off the mount and then use it like a portable shop vac even though it does not have wheels.
  • The hose is one of the longest you can find at 32 feet which gives you enough reach even while the unit is mounted on the wall and when you add accessory tools like the floor tool, it adds to the reach.
  • Unlike other Shop vacs that require you to stop and change filters when switching from dry to wet or the other way round, this one can be used continuously without even pressing a button. This saves time and gives you less work to do.
  • Not only does it have a transparent 6-gallon tank so that you can see the level of the debris, it also has light indicators that will light up if the tank is full. There are 3 indicators, for dry, wet and the power indicator.
  • You can switch to blower easily as well

CONS

  • It does not have wheels for use as a portable vacuum

Dustless HEPA Wet Dry VAC D1606

Dustless HEPA VAC D1606

Editor Rating:

This is a wet and dry vacuum designed to deal with the finest of dust particles without letting them escape. For a contractor who deals with sawdust, drywall dust or fiberglass and the like, you would appreciate how easy this vacuum makes dealing with these particles and yet it does an equally good job with wet waste.

It is ideal for construction sites and workshops but can also do a good job around the home.

PROS

  • It has a HEPA filter which ensures that dust particles do not escape. Unlike some shop vacs that may cough out dust, this one ensures nothing gets out.
  • The filter system also ensures that the filter remains clean and you can even open the lid to remove the collection bag without worry that dust may pour out.
  • It is possible to switch from dry suction to wet suction without having to switch the filter
  • There is a drain port to which you can connect the hose and dump liquid 12 feet away from where the Dustless vacuum is
  • The horse too is remarkably durable, you do not have to worry if for example you are using it in a garage and the car runs over it, it will not get spoilt and even if it gets spoilt, it is easy to fix
  • It is generally a much safer vacuum to use for substances you may not want to breathe in.

CONS

  • Using collection bags means you need to save up for replacements when the time comes.

RIDGID VAC4010 2-in-1 Compact and Portable Wet Dry Vacuum with Detachable Blower

Rigid 2 in 1 VAC4010

Editor Rating:

Just like the Vacmaster, this one comes with a detachable blower but this is more portable since it has a 4-gallon tank and the wheels are a combination of 2 big ones at the back and 2 small ones that swivel on the front, this improves its mobility.

This shop vac is designed to let you carry all the tools on board so if you would like to transport it to a worksite, it is much easier and storage too is simplified. It is also equipped with a reasonably long cord.

PROS

If you are thinking of getting one, here are some features you may enjoy

  • This is both a wet and dry vacuum as well as a blower, the blower is fitted on the top and can be easily detached from the vacuum and used as a portable blower.
  • The length of the power cord also makes it easier to move around as you use the blower in the yard as well as when you are using the vacuum
  • At the back is a storage compartment that can accommodate all the tools and if you have smaller items like gloves that you may wish to keep in there, you will find room for that as well
  • The design of the wheels with the 2 big ones at the back and the small ones in the front make it easier to navigate as you move the unit over different surfaces
  • The filter system has patented design that makes it easy to remove and fit back when changing it

CONS

  • The wheels do not have stoppers so on uneven surfaces, the unit can easily roll down.

DEWALT DCV581H Cordless/Corded Wet-Dry Vacuum

dewalt-dcv581h-wetdry-vacuum

Editor Rating:

Sometimes when vacuuming you may find that you run out of reach because of the length of the cord or hose, with this Dewalt wet/dry vacuum, that is not much of a problem since you can switch from AC power to DC power and continue vacuuming using it as a cordless vac. This is for the home or car owner who would like a handheld vac that has powerful suction and offers cordless operation as one of its power options.

PROS

  • it has the option of cordless operation using an 18 or 20-volt battery but at the same time you can use the cord that it comes with
  • it is designed with a long top carry handle which balances out the weight and makes it easier to carry it as you vacuum
  • The suction is quite powerful and some people say it can suck a golf ball through a water hose without removing its lipstick.
  • It has HEPA approved filtration which makes it able to trap fine dust so it can be used for drywall dust, ash, and fine dust particles without allowing them to escape into the atmosphere.
  • When using it as a cordless vac, it still manages to retain its suction for close to 30 minutes which is probably more than enough time to vacuum a car or clear a mess in the living room and so on.

CONS

  • It seems strange that a cordless shop vac would be sold without the battery, but that is the way it is, you have to buy the battery and charger separately.

Shop-Vac 5951400 Wet/Dry Vacuum

Editor Rating:

There are really no bells and whistles about this shop vac but again why would you need them. When you want a wet and dry vacuum, you are looking for something that will make cleaning easier and better and that is exactly what this does. It has a strong motor that ensures the suction is powerful and steady and a big tank that makes it ideal for big jobs as well as small ones.

The 5951400 is your utility vacuum that will clean your garage, basement or workshop and keep on doing it for many years.

PROS

If you need an extra push to help you decide, check out its pros

  • It has a 6.5 horsepower motor which delivers strong suction. The motor is also designed to last longer without losing suction so durability and power are combined here.
  • Its 14-gallon tank capacity makes it a vacuum you can call upon in case of a flooded basement or if you are cleaning up a worksite with a lot of debris
  • The tires too make it easy to move it around when it is heavy and because one pair is big and moves in one direction while the other pair is small and can spin all round, it is a lot easier to move the unit around
  • It has a storage bucket at the back so that you can carry around the tools as you vacuum or when you are storing the vacuum. This keeps things tidy

CONS

  • The hose is only 8 feet, for a 14-gallon shop vac, you would expect it to be longer.

WORKSHOP WS1400CA High Power Wet Dry Vacuum

WORKSHOP Wet Dry Vac WS1400CA

Editor Rating:

This is a powerful wet and dry vacuum that is intended for heavy duty work. If you have a workshop or you have not cleaned the basement in a while or you run a cleaning business, then this is something you may want to give a try. The 14-gallon tank is an indication that it is meant to take up a lot of waste and the powerful suction makes handling big messes a task that will end quickly.

It also has a tool bag hanging on the pull handle which keeps them within hands length as you vacuum.

PROS

  • In comparison to most shop vacs, this one tends to be quieter it can still be heard as you vacuum but it should not be able to threaten your hearing.
  • It is easy to move this vacuum over rough terrain, thanks to the big rear wheels. You can pull it upstairs with ease.
  • The positioning on the tool bag makes it much easier to reach for a tool you may want to use and you do not have to bend down to get it
  • With a 6 peak horsepower motor, suction is quite strong hence it is recommended for workshops
  • It is made from polymer which makes it hard and durable. It comes with a 5-year warranty from the manufacturer.

CONS

  • Some customers complain that it does not come ready to use and they had to do the assembling first.

RIDGID VAC1200 Heavy Duty Wet Dry and Blower Vac

RIGID VAC1200

Editor Rating:

Versatility and power are what seem to draw people to this rigid shop vac. It has a blower integrated into it but the great part is it is able to detach from the unit so that you can use it independently as a portable blower. 

When it comes to power, the motor is 5 peak horsepower which provides sufficient power for any cleanup job and the 12-gallon tank ensures you can collect quite a bit of waste before you need to empty it. It is a reliable vacuum to use around the house and the blower comes in handy when clearing the driveway or the yard of leaves.

PROS

  • The blower is detachable which makes it easier to use as a hand held blower. It is simpler to direct the wind when the blower is detached and there is less weight to move around
  • The electric cord length is reasonably long at 20 feet giving you the ability to move within a radius of 28 feet when you include the 8-foot hose.
  • Despite being a 12-gallon vacuum, it is light so even people who have trouble lifting heavy things can use it and when it is full, the wheels come in handy.
  • It has a wide drain that makes dumping liquid waste much faster and easier
  • There is less risk of tipping over since it has a low centre of gravity

CONS

  • The drain is too wide to fit a water hose

Making a choice for purchase comes down mainly to what you intend to use it for, however, based on performance and other wet dry vac reviews, here are the 4 shop vacs that stand out. The Shop Vac 5986100 is a preferred choice because of its ability to perform well both domestically as well as in a workshop and at a worksite, it has strong suction and capacity. The Bissell impresses with its extra long hose, unique features, and design as well as ease of use. Meanwhile, for those who like cordless vacuums, DEWALT DCV581H is pretty much the only choice. The Shop Vac 5951400 is a best seller in its category since it is fairly priced and gets the job done. This is not to discredit any of the other wet and dry vacuums in this list, they are also among the best but these ones stand out.


BUYING GUIDE

How to Choose a Shop Vac

It all begins with identifying the need. You need to figure out what you are going to use this shop vac for then you can go ahead to look at the features and other things that will help you choose. For example, if you want it for your car, then you can narrow down the choice to shop vacs for cars, if you work at a woodwork site, then you will need to choose something that can handle sawdust as well as debris like wood chunks or nails and the like.

The next thing is to consider your convenience, are you the kind that finds trouble carrying heavy things? In that case, you need a light shop vac or one that has wheels. This also requires that you find out what accessories a particular shop vac has which will make it convenient for you, for example, a short person may appreciate extra extension wands so that they can reach spider webs on the walls.

Reputation is another thing to help you choose. It is good to go for reputable brands because the chances that you will get high-quality products are greater. Reading reviews and guides like this and asking people will help point you in the right direction. This does not mean new brands cannot be trusted, but it is much better to go for tried and tested products.

Key Features to Pay Attention to When Choosing a Shop Vac

Power

This is the most important feature of a wet and dry vacuum. The power of a vacuum will determine how well it will suck up debris and liquid waste. Power also makes the job of vacuuming much faster. The most common indicator of power is the peak horsepower. Most shop vacs will indicate on the unit how much horsepower it has. Between 5 and 6.5 peak HP is usually quite strong. You can watch this video to see how fast a powerful shop vac can suck water.

Filter

The filter system is the second most important aspect of a wet dry vac. When dealing with small particles like sawdust or drywall dust, you may notice that some vacuums will blow out some of the dust, with the right filter, this should not happen. HEPA filters, in particular, are designed to trap as much as 99.9 percent of dust to ensure clean air. It would be useless to vacuum a room if the vacuum is letting dust escape since it will end up settling in the same room and can also pose a health risk to you. Always read up and research on the type of filters a shop vac comes with.

Capacity

Capacity here refers to the tank size, usually this is indicated in gallons. The size of the tank will determine how much you can vacuum before you need to empty it. If you are going to be dealing with a lot of waste, it is best to get a big capacity vacuum while vacuuming pet hair may not need that much capacity so there would be no need to burden yourself with a big tank. The capacity will also affect how and where you will store the unit so take that into consideration.

Accessories

The tools you get will affect how you clean, the more the tools, the better. For example, a crevice tool is important for getting dirt in tight spaces like the space between cushions or cracks while the brush tool can dislodge stubborn dirt that may be stuck and needs to be agitated. When you consider what you will be using the shop vac for, you will be able to decide what tools you will need.

Cord and Hose length

The length of these 2 is very important because it will determine how far you can go without being restricted. They are like a leash on a dog, the longer they are, the farther you can go without restriction. You need to look at the spaces you will be vacuuming and determine what length is sufficient or if you will be fine using an extension cable to provide more reach.

Wheels

This should be obvious that the wheels will help you move the vacuum around. If you have a big and heavy vacuum, then it is wise to have wheels to move it around. At the same time, the area you will be vacuuming may determine the kind of wheel you will get or if you need wheels at all. For example, if there are stairs involved, it is wise to have big rear wheels so that you can pull the vacuum up but at times if there are so many stairs, wheels will just be a burden.

Care for the shop Vac

There are 2 very important parts of the shop vac that you need to care for, these are the Motor and the filters. Without these, the vac will be of very little use to you.

Motor

The motor needs to be kept free of dust. Dust in a motor will kill it so when dealing with dust, always have the filter on to protect the motor. Naturally, water in the motor will also kill it. Read the instruction manual to know more about the particular motor you are dealing with and how to maintain it.

Filter

First of all always ensure you use the right filter for the right task. A wet filter cannot be used for dry pick-up and a dry filter cannot be used for wet suction.

That said, ensure that the filter is clean to avoid clogging. Cleaning the filter every after use is a good idea.

This video can show you how to maintain a shop vac.

About the Author Rafael Porter

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