Best Small Shop Vac

5 Best Small Shop Vac Reviews and Buyers Guide

There are some cleaning tasks that require a quick fix and you may not want to go through the trouble of pulling out a big vacuum, also handymen and contractors may want a vacuum that is easy to carry around to clean up after they have done their work, in such cases, you will need to find the best small shop vac since they are not bulky but they still have sufficient suction to get the job done this is a guide to help you make a choice and save you the burden of having to look through hundreds of small vacuums before you get what you want.

How To Choose The Best Small Shop Vac


One of the reasons people opt for small shop vacs is because they are looking for something they can easily carry around as they do their cleaning. It is important that you choose the best small shop vac that does not weigh too much and can be carried around easily. Some other factors that contribute towards the portability of a shop vac include:

  • The positioning of the handle and its design
  • The length of the cord to allow a wider radius for you to move around while cleaning
  • Added features like wheels for easy movement
  • Shape/Design of the tank

Suction Power

It is very important that you get a small shop vac that has enough suction to clean whatever it is you will be using it for. For example, if you will be using it to clean up after doing wood work, it needs to be able to suck up small pieces of wood, nails as well as saw dust. If you will use it to clean the house, it needs to be able to do deep cleaning of the carpets and that comes down to its suction power. It is a good idea to check the horsepower of the motor. Something with 2 HP or more will work just fine for various cleaning jobs.


Suction power alone is not going to deliver a perfect job even for the best small shop vac. It is important that you choose a small vac that has the different accessories that are designed specially to fit onto the tank to enable it to clean different surfaces, for example, tight spaces, in between car seats, wet floors, curtains and so on. These accessories should also fit perfectly and securely onto the unit. They should also be easy to fix as well as remove for a faster cleaning job. Some of the accessories you should look out for include:

  • Hose
  • Cleaning brush
  • Blower
  • Wet and dry filters
  • Replacement filters
  • Storage holders for the accessories
  • Dustpan


It is important that the best small shop vac is not one that will break down soon and need replacement. You need to check how durable the shop vac is. This will involve finding out what material the different parts are made from, how easy is it for the unit to end up cracked if it tips over, as well as how easily it is affected by wear and tear. Reading a lot of reader reviews will help you with that and the warranty offered by the manufacturer is an insight into how much they trust their product. It is also reassurance in a way that if something happened within that period, you can get a replacement or have it repaired. A warranty of 2 years and above should be fine


Even the best small shop vac needs to be cleaned as part of the maintenance. It is best to find one that is easy to clean or does not require a lot of effort to have it cleaned. The filters are the part of a vacuum that need the most attention when cleaning. Some of the best small vacs will have filters that simply need to be replaced, while others are easily removed and washed and then put back. Considering you are using the vac for cleaning, its body too is likely to get dirty so ensure that it is made from a material that will not get stained easily and that can be cleaned easily as well.

Other Considerations

  • Do you want to have a corded or cordless vac
  • How much are you ready to spend on the small vac and is there a cheaper option with the same capabilities you want?
  • Is it easy to use or do you need to read the instructions over and over again?
  • Is it easy to store away in a small space or hang on the wall?
  • Are you able to stand the amount of noise it will make as you use it?

Recommended 5 Best Small Shop Vac Reviews

RIDGID VAC4010 2-in-1 with Detachable Blower


Editor Rating:

This is a 2 in one small shop vac. The top can be detached from the main vac and used as a leaf blower. It is compact and able to carry all the tools in the pocket at the back. It does not come cheap but it seems like it is worth the expenditure with its useful features like the strong suction and many accessories.

Highlighted features

  • Detachable head to work as handheld blower
  • 6.0 horse power suction
  • 6 accessories which include car nozzle, 2 extension wands, and leaf blowing wand
  • Qwik lock filter to easily switch from dry to wet vacuuming
  • 8-foot flexible hose
  • 4-gallon tank


  • The 2 in one feature saves you money since you do not have to buy a blower
  • With powerful suction, you are able to vacuum fast and efficiently
  • It has wheels that make it easy to move around
  • The small shop vac can accommodate all the accessories for faster switching between tools as well as better storage without clatter


  • It seems a bit loud

Vacmaster VF408 with 2-Stage Industrial Motor Wet/Dry Floor Vacuum

Vacmaster VF408 Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum

Editor Rating:

If you wish to be able to carry around your vacuum as well as roll It sometimes, then this is a vacuum you may want to look at, but that is not all, it has a 2 stage motor which means you have the choice of 2 speeds which can also control the amount of noise it will make. I am particularly impressed by its extension wands which add reach especially if you have to vacuum under chairs or high places like along the wall.

Highlighted features

  • Automatic cord rewind
  • 18-foot electric cord
  • 4-gallon collection tank
  • 5 peak horsepower motor
  • 7-foot hose with 3 extension wands
  • HEPA filter and collection bag
  • 2 big wheels on the back and 2 small ones in the front
  • Onboard tool storage pouch


  • Retracting the hose is easy since you just have to press a button and it will retract
  • Storage is simple since it is compact, it can fit under the sink or any other similar space
  • It can be carried around using the top handle or rolled on the floor with the wheels
  • The suction is great for carpets as well as hard floors
  • The filters can be changed fast and easy when changing from dry to wet vacuuming
  • All the accessories can be stored together onboard


  • Sometimes the cord gets stuck as you retract it

Shop-Vac 5873410 Right Stuff Wet/Dry Vacuum

Shop-Vac 5873410

Editor Rating:

This is a powerful shop vac that you can easily carry around as you vacuum or you can push it on the dolly that is actually detachable. The power from the motor makes it ideal for tiny particles and the filter system can ensure that they do not escape. The manufacturer actually intended this shop vac to be used for drywall dust which is very fine. 

It comes with a number of accessories that help in cleaning different surfaces and the workshop or site would be left free of dust in no time. It is small enough to carry to a worksite instead of a large one that takes up a lot of space

Highlighted features

  • Powerful 6.5 peak horsepower motor
  • 10-gallon capacity tank
  • Compact design for portability
  • Detachable dolly
  • Long, 20-foot power cord
  • Variety of accessory tools
  • Can be used as a blower


  • The strong suction gets the job done quickly and properly
  • Filter system does not allow fine dust to escape into the air
  • It can be used on wheels or detached and carried around
  • The long power cable gives you more radius to move around
  • It works well on both wet and dry surfaces
  • Quiet operation


  • Some of the accessories need an adapter which is sold separately

WORKSHOP WS0400VA Portable Wet Dry Vacuum


Editor Rating:

This is a small shop vac intended to be used in different places without having to remove the plug from the socket. With a 20 foot cord, you can move around a much wider radius. And the thick handle makes it easy to carry around without it slipping out of your hand.

Customer reviews indicate that many people appreciate the positioning of the switch just in front of the handle so that you can operate it with your thumb on the same hand that is carrying the shop vac.

Highlighted Features

  • Strong suction provided by the 5HP driven motor
  • It can contain as much as 5 gallons of debris
  • The hose has a large diameter which reduces clogging
  • Easy to fit filter and cartridge with special technology to ensure it fits securely


  • It is very stable on the ground so no risk of tipping over
  • Powerful suction has surfaces cleaned up in a short time
  • Less clogging problems thanks to the wider hose diameter
  • Lightweight which makes it easy to carry around


  • The Wet/Dry is just the name but it does not handle wet surfaces
  • It would be good if it had wheels

Craftsman Wall Mount Wet/Dry Vac

Craftsman Wall Mount

Editor Rating:

The Craftsman is a vacuum that solves a dilemma some homeowners have of where to keep their vacuum. It can be hung on the wall which makes it easy to reach when you need it. It is also affordable, you can get one for under 50 dollars. It is a vacuum you can use for quick clean up jobs like spills and crumbs dropped on the floor or in the car. It is an ordinary vacuum but works efficiently.

Highlighted Features

  • It has a wall mount for easy and tidy storage
  • There is storage for the accessories on the top
  • It can contain up to 2.5 gallons of waste
  • Converts to blower
  • The power cord is 10 feet long
  • The horse measures 4 feet
  • Has a centered top carry handle with the switch conveniently placed near the handle
  • The motor has peak power of 2 HP
  • Uses a cloth filter and a wet foam filter


  • You do not need to worry about storage space since it can be hanged on the wall
  • It is lightweight weighing just 3.4 pounds which makes it easy to carry around
  • Since the hose is not so long, you can suck up debris and waste much faster
  • It is good with spills and other messes caused by accident like broken glass
  • It is affordable


  • It has only 2 accessories which limits the kind of cleaning you can perform

Final Verdict

If you are looking for a shop vac with strong suction then the Ridgid and Shop-Vac 5873410 would have the strongest suction of all the small shop vacs in the list. The Ridgid, however, has the special feature of a detachable blower that saves you from dragging around a tank as you blow leaves in the yard. If you have a problem with storage space, then you may be interested in the Craftsman which can be mounted on the wall. The Vacmaster gives you smooth mobility with its wheels that make navigating the unit easier. You just need to compare your needs with the features of these different shop vacs in order to get the best one.

About the Author Rafael Porter

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