No matter if you are a homeowner or a contractor, you might depend on the heavy-duty suction power to clean up the mess around. From an overflowing bathtub to the sawdust inhibiting the working, the best shop vacs can make the cleaning job much easier. They are powerful enough to make clean-up a breeze.
Finding the best shop vac in 2021 can be tedious and daunting for most people as there are so many models to choose from. We are here to help you out in this regard. By the time you finish reading this detailed buying guide, you will have decided on the right product for your quest. We have listed some best shop vacs that you can find out there.
Whether you own a DIY workshop in your backyard or are employed in a professional big-sized workshop, you will realize that shop vacs are a must-have. With so many models available in the market having different features, you might get confused about which product will work the best for you. Major brands are manufacturing cordless and stackable wet-dry vacuums in different designs to get them out of the basement into the living room and kitchen. This detailed buyer’s guide will help you choose the best shop vacs.
What are some key considerations for buying the best shop vac?
You should know that the largest models delivered the most thorough and quickest cleaning functionalities. Moreover, they also have more capacity to hold the dust, debris, or fluid. Consider that space available and choose the size accordingly.
Don’t Believe Capacity-Claims
It is a common practice that manufacturers overstate the capacity of the shop vacuum. While the claims might correlate with the size of the vacuum collection area, you should not solely rely on these claims.
Commonly, wet/dry shop vacs are loud and can affect your hearing (some are as loud as 85 decibels). Thus, we recommend wearing ear protection to prevent hearing damage.
If you are looking for a shop vacuum for professional as well as personal use, you should look for the models that come with accessories to suit your needs. You will find some models with a crevice tool to reach out to tight spots, while others come with different attachments to clean up liquid messes without much hassle.
What kind of features should you look for in a shop vac model?
Here are some of the basic specs to give you an idea of what you should look for in a wet-dry shop vac.
In a typical shop vac, the power draw is always in terms of amperes. In this case, the more, the better. Thus, you should look for a shop vac that has a minimum of 12 amperes of power usage. Moreover, it should be combined with a higher storage capacity tank to ensure that it won’t get emptied after every hour or so.
It is another important feature of shop vacs. The suction capability of a shop vac is measured in terms of the amount of liquid that a wet/dry vac can pull in against certain water pressure. The hose drastically takes a toll on the motor performance of the vacuum when it is submerged in water. Thus, the wet/dry shop vac should have a sealed suction power of at least 50 inches.
The horsepower of a shop vac translates into performance regardless of its size. If you are looking for a shop vac for personal use, it should be at least 1.5 to 2 HP. And for professional use, the power should be a minimum of 3.
Though it is quite common for the workshops to be noisy. Shop vacs are loud too. There is a misconception that loud or noisy shop vacs are more efficient and powerful. However, this is not always the case. You can find a lot of shop vacs that are powerful yet quieter. So, you should always go for one with low noise levels.
As shop vacs are meant to clean the mess around your house or shop, you will need to plug them into a power outlet in the shop and move around. Thus, it is necessary to have a long cord to have a hassle-free cleaning experience. It is recommended to acquire shop vacs with a cord length of around 12 to 20 feet as it will be enough to cover the entire workshop.
Shop-vac motors are built to demonstrate the performance in terms of CFM. It is actually a measure of how much air the vacuum cleaner can suck in a certain time. The mini shop vac should have a 90 CFM rating to outlast resistance during cleaning sessions.
How have we chosen the shop vacs on this list?
When it comes to shop vacs, you want to be sure of investing in the right product. While the best way to choose the right shop vac is to do in-depth research, read reviews from customers, and go through comprehensive guides that we have created, we consider some other important factors. We strive to provide you with recent and updated information on the products. Here is what we consider while choosing the top shop vacs.
Renowned brands are more concerned about their image in the market and thus don’t compromise on the quality of products. A brand is known for high-quality products, that’s why we have shortlisted shop vacs from top manufacturers.
No one can tell about a product in a better way than a customer who has tried and tested it. We rely on the recommendations from genuine users to be sure that we are suggesting the best of the best.
The price serves as the major deciding factor when you are looking to acquire something. If you are looking for the most powerful shop vacs, then you will need to spend more money. We have chosen the products to fit into every budget. No matter how much you want to spend on a shop vac, you will find something on our list that will fit your budget.
Stanley is a compact vacuum that works great for indoor purposes. This portable vacuum has 3 peak HorsePower motors to fulfill your hardcore cleaning needs like cleaning cars and sofas etc. The availability of 3-in-1 crevice nozzles and a double filtration system makes it a versatile option.
Moreover, it comes with a 10 ft. cleaning reach and a 4 ft. long hose that allows you to clean dust or liquid from unreachable places. It has 3-gallon storage.
It’s the most affordable vac on the list. This excellent portable wet/dry vac weighs just 7.48 Ibs. It has 2.5 gallons of capacity with a horsepower of 1.75. This raw power has the potential of even picking pet hairs.
Surprisingly it also has the capability of blowing air. It also has onboard storage for nozzles and hoses. The hose is four feet long and the power cord is 10 feet, making it easy to reach every nook.
This robust 4-gallon portable vacuum has amazing features. It has a 5 peak HP motor for extreme suction with a 7 feet long ultra-flexible hose. It comes with a washable cartridge filter for both wet and dry cleaning.
The box-like shape and foldable handle at the top make it more convenient to store. It has proper space to keep the hose and 20 ft. long power cord. You will also find a waterproof power switch at the top.
The economically designed 12-gallon shop vac from RIDGID is a powerful option to help you wipe away piles of dust in a matter of seconds. This wet/dry vac offers 5 peak HP to clean up tough messes. Its smarter design allows you to have a stronger grip.
Furthermore, its Qwik lock filter makes the installation and removal easier. Besides that, this vacuum has a 15 ft. long power cord and a 7 ft. long hose. Its hose has enough diameter to suck even bits of glasses easily.
Lightweight than its competitors
Advance locking system works well
Qwik lock filters
Could be more powerful
Can tackle semi-liquid messes and don’t work for water leaks
Under 80 bucks, it’s packed with a lot of good features that will make your life easy. Dewalt dxvo5p is ideal for small cleaning jobs. Powering this beast is a 4 peak HP motor that provides a good suction and blowing pressure. Its compact body can suck up to 5 gallons.
It has a 360-degree rotation rubberized caster to move easily. This versatile vac has a 7 ft. hose and 10 ft. long power cord. It comes with washable and reusable cartridge filters.
The Vacmaster VBV1210 is an excellent 2-in-1 dry and wet vacuum. This 12-gallon vacuum, having 5 peak HP motors paired with 210MPH of blowing speed is perfect for heavy-duty cleaning jobs.
With great sucking power, it picks everything including pet hairs. Furthermore, it comes with two extension wands, a utility nozzle, a blower adapter, and many more. It has a 19 feet hose and power cord, which means no need for an extension board.
If you are looking for a Heavy-duty vacuum, Craftsman is the way to go. It has a 6.5 peak HP to perform indoor and outdoor tasks flawlessly. It offers more than enough sucking and blowing pressure and has an oversized drain port for a speedy drain.
It comes with several nozzles such as car, wet, and utility nozzles for easy and deep cleaning. It has dual flex technology for 180-degree mobility to keep kinking away. The length of the power cord is 20 ft and the hose is 7 feet.
Produces very little noise
Cleaning reach is impressive
Large body size
Weak manufacturing material
Shop Vac FAQs
Q: Can a shop vac clean up water?
A: Yes, a wet/dry shop vac will clean almost any type of liquid, be it water, soda, feces, urine, or anything. However, you must ensure that you have switched it to dry vacuuming. Also, your vacuum should have the necessary filters and other accessories to do the job. HEPA filters are the best ones for this purpose as they have a special design to filter out harmful allergens.
Q: Are shop vacs and regular vacuums the same?
A: No, shop vacs are designed for heavy-duty suctioning containing larger pieces of debris, while normal vacs are primarily designed to clean carpets or floors. The regular vacuum will collapse if you try to suction up wooden or metal objects with it, but a shop vac is designed for this type of job.
Q: What horsepower is good horsepower for a shop vac?
A: It is wiser to look for higher horsepower as it translates to the shop vacs’ overall performance. Cheaper models can also boast a higher horsepower, but they will come with low-quality bearings and windings. A horsepower of 2 is the minimum requirement for a shop vac.
The Woodsmith Review Team’s product reviews and in-depth guides are here to help you choose the best tools and gear to build great-looking projects confidently. The content is created by The Woodsmith Review Team. Woodsmith’s editorial staff is not involved. Woodsmith is reader-supported: When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
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