Best Cheap Shop Vac

5 Best Cheap Shop Vac Reviews and Buyers Guide

Not everyone can afford to pay over 100 dollars for a vacuum but that should be no problem because it is still possible to find cheap vacuums that are still able to do a great job. In this guide, I have compiled the best cheap shop vac that may even be better than some of the overpriced vacuums. Do not expect bells and whistles, but you can expect efficiency and durability which are probably the most important aspects. Depending on your need, you should be able to identify which would suit you best.

In case you do not much about what to look for or just not sure what is out there in the market, this guide will introduce you to features that you should always consider before you make a choice. This is a collection of different brands that have received a number of positive reviews.

Why You Should Buy a Cheap Shop Vac

  • Cheap vacs are just as capable as the expensive ones when it comes to cleaning up
  • If you are trying out a shop vac for the first time, its best to go cheap so that if you decide it's not for you, it won’t be a big waste
  • For people who already have a main vac, a cheap one can serve as a complimentary one
  • It is good to save money and this will provide that opportunity

How To Choose The Best Cheap Shop Vac

What You are going to use it for

Every decision you will make comes down to the use of the shop vac. If for example, your main reason for buying a cheap shop vac is to be able to clean your car, then you need to find a shop vac that is portable and has tools like a crevice tool to get into those tight spaces between chairs. While if you want to suck up water in the laundry room, then a bigger tank will be needed. The features of different best cheap shop vacs need to match what you intend to use it for.

Your Budget

As long as you have a reasonable budget, you should be able to find a good shop vac that meets that budget. Cheap vacuums generally range between 30 dollars and 70 dollars so consider what you are ready to spend and if that budget will get you one that will do the job you intend to use it for. You might find that you need to readjust your budget after you see the specifications of the different shop vacs available. The good news is even if you have to spend more than you expected, it will not be that much of a difference in price.


It is important that you find a Shop Vac that can deliver the kind of suction you require. In most cases, you would look at the horsepower of the vacuum and believe that it has powerful suction but many times you need to go beyond that since there are other things that contribute to the suction of a vacuum, these include

  • Diameter of the hose, if it is too wide, it will lose suction
  • Airflow, there needs to be a corresponding airflow out of the vacuum to ensure the suction is constant
  • Power, this is not a big determining factor but the wattage and voltage of a vac can affect the strength of the motor.


It is rare that you will stand in just one place and vacuum so you need to take into consideration how mobile is the shop vac. If it is a big capacity tank, is it possible to carry it? Such questions will help you see how easy it will be to use the shop vac. Some of the things to be considered here are:

  • How heavy is the unit and will you be able to carry it
  • It is a big tank, it should have wheels and 4 wheels with at least 2 swivel wheel are the best
  • If it is stationary, the hose and the cord should be long enough to allow you to move around


The accessories play a big part in determining how well the shop vac will do its work. The more the accessory tools, the more you can do with the vac. This does not mean you just go in for any accessories. The accessories need to be relevant to the tasks you will be performing. For example, you will need

  • Floor tools
  • Extension wand
  • Crevice tool
  • Squeegee wand
  • Replacement filters

Other things to consider

  • You will also want to know if it comes with replacement filters as filters tend to need replacement after a while.
  • You should consider whether you need a wet/dry vacuum or just a dry one
  • Take into consideration the size of the hose as this can determine what kind of debris you are able to suck up especially in a workshop
  • The length of the cord is important since this will affect how far you can go without having to use an extension or switch plugs
  • Storage is important as well. Think of how much storage space you have and if the vacuum you want to get will fit or do you need to get one that is mounted on the wall.

Recommended 5 Best Cheap Shop Vac Reviews

Armor All AA255 Utility Wet/Dry Vacuum

ArmorAll AA255

Editor Rating:

This is a vacuum designed particularly for the car but it can also be used for other wet and dry vacuuming tasks as well as blowing leaves, sand, and stones from the driveway. The blower feature tends to work best on hard surfaces. It comes with tools that will help you rid your car of dirt and debris. 

It does not take up much space and the tools can be stored on board. You may not be able to have it as your main vacuum but I believe it would get more use than the main vacuum since it is quite portable and easily deals with small messes like popcorn on the car seat or water spilled in the kitchen and so on.

Highlighted Features

  • it has a 6-foot hose
  • The tank capacity is 2.5 gallons which is sufficient for cleaning a car
  • 2 peak horsepower motor
  • 10-foot power cord
  • it Weighs 7 pounds
  • Onboard tool storage
  • Converts into a blower
  • Automatic off switch when full


  • It is designed with car detailing in mind so it has all the necessary tools
  • It is easy to carry around since it is light and compact
  • it does not overflow when full
  • It has a 2-year warranty
  • It is not so noisy


  • The cord should have been a bit longer to reach all round the car

Shop-Vac 5986000 Stainless Steel Wet Dry Vacuum

Shop-Vac 5986000

Editor Rating:

I found the price of this shop vac quite a bargain considering the suction and capacity of this Shop Vac. It can be used anywhere, either in the house, garage, workshop or even the office. It sucks in a good way and the 5-gallon capacity allows you to suck up reasonably big liquid messes like flooded basements with fewer stops to empty it. It is a good all round cheap vacuum.

Highlighted Features

  • Wet and dry filter with a disposable bag
  • 5-gallon stainless steel tank
  • Top carry handle and wheels on the bottom for easy movement
  • 4.5 peak horsepower motor giving strong suction
  • Onboard tool storage
  • Accessory tools including 3 extension wands, crevice tool, squeegee and wet and dry floor nozzle
  • 6-foot power cord


  • The filter is easy to fit and clean
  • The 4.5 HP motor delivers strong suction
  • It can be used for blowing as well as suction
  • The tank is easy to clean
  • It comes with a HEPA filter bag that keeps fine particles inside
  • Automatic shut off when the tank is full


  • The power cord is too short
  • The hose diameter does not work well with chunks of debris.

Shop-Vac 2030100 Wet Dry Vacuum

Shop-Vac 2030100

Editor Rating:

If storage space is an issue for you then this is a shop vac that may address that problem since it can be mounted on the wall and it does not take up a lot of space if you choose to store it off the wall anyway. It is good for cleaning the car or handling messes that need quick attention like spilled drinks, pet hair on the chair or cleaning a worktop after you are done with your work.

Highlighted Features

  • 2 peak horsepower motor for ample suction
  • 1.5-gallon capacity tank to handle quick jobs in the workshop, garage and around the house
  • Foldable handle for portability and easy storage
  • Wall bracket for neat and space-efficient storage
  • Built-in hose and tool holder
  • Dry and wet filter
  • Can be used as a blower
  • Reusable disc filter and foam sleeve
  • 4 feet lock on hose


  • It is light weight and portable
  • Easy to store away whether on the wall or on a shelf in a workshop
  • Powerful suction
  • It does not make a lot of noise
  • Reasonably priced
  • It has onboard storage for the hose and other tools


  • The 6-foot cord should have been a bit longer

Craftsman 12004 Wet/Dry Vac

Craftsman 12400 6 Gallon 3 Peak HP Wet/Dry Vac

Editor Rating:

If you are looking for a cheap shop vac with a big capacity then the Craftsman is a good choice. It has a 6-gallon tank which will take in quite a lot of debris before it needs emptying. I would recommend it for draining a dishwasher or washing machine. You can use it both indoor and outdoor since it also converts into a blower. Its suction is adequate for domestic use and it is easy to move around.

Highlighted Features

  • 3 peak horsepower
  • 6-gallon tank
  • Onboard storage
  • Swivel enabled wheels
  • 10-foot hose
  • Can convert into a blower


  • You can vacuum for long without having to empty the tank
  • Tasks can be completed quickly thanks to the strong suction
  • You can put some of the tools onboard as you vacuum so that you don’t have to walk far to switch or add accessories
  • it saves money since you do not need a collection bag
  • Mobility is easy with the wheels and carry handle


  • You need to add an extension cord when working outdoors

Vacmaster VQ607SFD Stainless Steel Wet/Dry Vacuum

Vacmaster VQ607SFD Stainless Steel Wet/Dry Vacuum

Editor Rating:

This is ideal for home use as well as office. It is made with stainless steel and yet it is not heavy and it has the capacity to be used for sucking up water for example from melted ice from the fridge and it is easy to move around when it is full since it has wheels and a carry handle in case there are obstacles that the wheels cannot go over. Its elegant makes it look like an expensive vac yet you do not have to spend much to own it.

Highlighted Features

  • It has a 7-foot hose and 12-foot cord which combine to give 19 feet reach.
  • 3 peak horsepower motor which provides sufficient suction for domestic use
  • Dust sealed switch to prevent dust from escaping
  • Can convert into a blower
  • Top carry handle and wheels at the bottom for portability
  • 6-gallon capacity tank


  • It is lightweight and easy to move around because of its mobility features
  • It has an elegant stainless steel design
  • The stainless steel body makes it more durable
  • It comes with many useful tools like the 2 in 1 surface floor nozzle
  • Less clutter since it has onboard accessory storage


  • It is hard to use the blower outside since the cord is only 12 feet


You probably have enough information to make a choice of cheap shop vac and just as a reminder; the Armor All AA255 is designed specifically for vacuuming cars even if it can also do other tasks in the home or workshop. The Shop Vac 5986000 is a versatile vacuum and comes at a great price considering what it is able to do, the 2030100 can be hung on the wall and is small enough to use as a handheld vacuum while the Craftsman 12004 has the biggest tank and for durability and elegance, you may be interested in the Vacmaster which is another versatile vacuum.

About the Author Rafael Porter

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