10 Best Shop Vacs in 2018

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The DIY enthusiast dream vacuum. Having the best shop vac means a clean workspace. Shop vacs will take care of all of those messes, spills, dust, and other hazards you find in your workspace. A shop vac is designed to take care of any possible disasters. When you are tackling a DIY task. Working on your car in your garage. You need something that is going to keep the area around you clean and organized workspace.

The shop vac is the machine for the job. No DIY enthusiast can afford to be without one. There are many shop vacs on the market. Deciding which one is best suited to your needs we have done some extensive research. We looked at the size, motor, weight, and capacity of each vacuum. All of the top shop vacs on our list will get the job done. Some will be better than others in dealing with your specific requirements.

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  • Storage facility for accessories and tools
  • Easy to empty and clean
  • Durable stainless steel drum
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  • 20-meter power cord
  • Hose locks onto the machine
  • 16-gallon capacity
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  • Durable polypropylene drum
  • 2.5-gallon capacity
  • Includes a number of accessories including detailing brush

Let’s have a look at the top shop vac options on our list of top ten shop vacs to help you decide which one will best suit your needs.

View the Best Shop Vac For the Money, Below.

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1. Shop-Vac 5989400 Stainless

Shop-Vac 5989400 Stainless

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If you have a workshop, a home workshop or a large garage that you need to keep clean and organized then the Shop Vac 5989400 is what you require.

Construction & Design

The stainless steel construction of the tank makes this an extremely durable. The design allows you to drain the tank easily. Offering both top and side carry handles it is highly portable. A full circumference dolly prevents tipping.

Capacity

This shop vacuum has a capacity of 8 gallons.

Features

Features a latch system that ensures your tank and lid remain held together. It has a storage compartment for accessories and cord. The tool storage facility allows you to keep your tools near to hand. This wet dry vacuum can also be used as a blower. It offers a hose, gulper and floor nozzle, filter bag, cartridge filter, foam sleeve and crevice tool for those small areas.

See more information on Shop-Vac 5989400 Stainless.

Why We Like It
  • Storage facility for accessories and tools
  • Easy to empty and clean
  • Durable stainless steel drum
Cord Length
12 ft
Capacity
8 Gallon
Weight
18.85 lbs
Our Verdict

One of the best wet dry vacuum cleaners. Guaranteed to keep your work area clean. Easy to use and easy to clean and empty. Quality construction with a number of accessories included.

Editor Rating
premium choice rating

2. WORKSHOP WS1600SS Wet/Dry

WORKSHOP WS1600SS Wet/Dry

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Large, robust and well-constructed this is the shop vac you need to keep your workshop in good order at all times.

Construction & Design

The drum is constructed from stainless steel. It features Designed for easy portability with large wheels and an ergonomic handle design. Offering a large drain port for ease of use. The hose locks tight and will not detach from the machine.

Capacity

This powerful shop vac offers one of the largest capacities at 16 gallons.

Features

Featuring a storage bag for your accessories. A 20-meter power cord enables you to reach where you need to. Accessories included with the machine are a hose. A fine dust Qwik Lock filter. A utility nozzle, wet nozzle, a crevice tool for those small areas, car nozzle and two extension wands. It also features an integrated blower when needed.

See more information on WORKSHOP WS1600SS Wet/Dry.

Why We Like It
  • 20-meter power cord
  • Hose locks onto the machine
  • 16-gallon capacity
Cord Length
20 ft
Capacity
16 Gallon
Weight
37.7 lbs
Our Verdict

A powerful shop vac with an impressive 16-gallon capacity. Easy to use. Includes a number of accessories. The hose is designed to remain locked in. A highly portable wet/dry vac that features a 20-meter cord and large rear wheel.

Editor Rating
great value rating

3. Armor All 2.5 Gallon Vacuum, AA255

Armor All 2.5 Gallon Vacuum, AA255

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A great wet/dry vac for a very reasonable price. Keep your garage or small workshop clean, or detail your car without any hassle.

Construction & Design

Designed for the DIY enthusiast who has a small workshop or garage and needs to be able to clean up dry debris and spills. The tank is constructed from Polypropylene which is very durable. It offers excellent suction power and will convert to a blower with ease. Features an auto shut-off when full. The hose itself is housed inside the canister section of the vacuum.

Capacity

This great shop vac offers a capacity of 2.5 gallons.

Features

Featuring a six-foot hose and 10-foot power cord this vac will reach anywhere you need it too. The vacuum comes with a cloth filter and a foam sleeve, both reusable. It also has a utility nozzle, crevice tool, and a blower nozzle. You also get a detailing brush in the package.

See more information on Armor All 2.5 Gallon Vacuum, AA255.

Why We Like It
  • Durable polypropylene drum
  • 2.5-gallon capacity
  • Includes a number of accessories including detailing brush
Cord Length
10 ft
Capacity
2.5 Gallon
Weight
7 lbs
Our Verdict

A great shop vac that is perfect for detailing cars, or cleaning up small spaces. A 2.5-gallon drum capacity and 2 peak horsepower motor gives you more than enough suction power. Converts to a blower when needed.

Editor Rating

4. Vacmaster VQ607SFD Wet/Dry

Vacmaster VQ607SFD Wet/Dry

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An extremely lightweight, durable and powerful wet dry vac that is highly portable. Perfect for cleaning up your garage, office or home workshop.

Construction & Design

Designed to be portable with a balanced top handle. The on/off switch is dust sealed. This shop vac features a weather resistant design. The onboard storage is perfect for keeping all accessories to hand. Offers a powerful 3 horsepower motor for great suction.

Capacity

The capacity of the drum is 5 gallons.

Features

Featuring an excellent design with a seven-foot hose and 12-foot cord. Included is a cord wrap to prevent tangling and making it easy to pack away. It also has an air control nozzle, two extension wands, a multi-surface floor nozzle as well as a utility nozzle. It offers a crevice tool and around dust brush for detailing. The dust bag and foam sleeve are reusable and it comes with a standard cartridge filter.

See more information on Vacmaster VQ607SFD Wet/Dry.

Why We Like It
  • 5-gallon capacity
  • Dust sealed switch
  • 12-foot cord and cord wrap
Cord Length
12 ft
Capacity
6 Gallon
Weight
16.2 lbs
Our Verdict

One of the best shop vacs for the money. It offers a 5-gallon capacity and is able to pick up any debris wet or dry. Easy to carry around with a top handle design. A powerful wet dry vac, perfect for detailing your car or keeping your house, office or workshop clean.

Editor Rating

5. Craftsman 12004 3 Peak HP

Craftsman 12004 3 Peak HP

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With a long reach, powerful engine and excellent tank capacity this is the perfect tool for your home or office cleaning needs.

Construction & Design

Designed to be portable with a balanced top handle. Versatile with both wet dry vacuum function and a blower for your yard or patio. The on/off switch is dust sealed. Offers an amazing 17 foot reach with a 7-foot hose, 10-foot power cord, and 2 extension wands. Designed to work both indoors and outdoors.

Capacity

Offers a 6-gallon polypropylene tank.

Features

This top-rated shop vac comes with 8 accessories making it extremely versatile. In addition to being able to clean up spills and solid debris, it also converts to a blower to get rid of those leave from your driveway or patio. It offers a powerful 3 horsepower motor to take care of even difficult clean-ups.

See more information on Craftsman 12004 3 Peak HP.

Why We Like It
  • 17-foot cleaning reach
  • Durable and lightweight
  • 6-gallon capacity
Cord Length
10 ft
Capacity
6 Gallon
Weight
15 lbs
Our Verdict

One of the best, most versatile and long-reaching wet dry vacs. The 17-foot reach enables you to get to the areas you need to with ease. Extremely versatile it is easy to use and is perfect for both home and office. Durable and lightweight it is easily transported to where you need it.

Editor Rating

6. Ridgid 50348RID 1400RV

Ridgid 50348RID 1400RV

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A high-performance shop vacuum cleaner that is versatile, lightweight and portable. Perfect for home, office or workshop clean-ups.

Construction & Design

Designed for easy transportation with large wheels, sturdy car and push handle. It offers a 6 horsepower motor making it one of the most powerful wet-dry vacs. Designed with sound reducing technology.

Capacity

Featuring an amazing 14-gallon capacity, one of the largest on the market.

Features

This wet dry vac comes with a number of accessories to make your life easier. It also includes a filter, various nozzles, and a cleaning brush. It includes an 8-foot hose and 20-foot extension cord for a long cleaning reach. It also features an accessory bag to enable you to organize your attachments.

See more information on Ridgid 50348RID 1400RV.

Why We Like It
  • Sound reduction technology
  • 20-foot extension cord
  • Durable and portable
Cord Length
20 ft
Capacity
14 Gallon
Weight
28.5 lbs
Our Verdict

A powerful, large capacity wet-dry shop vac that offers high-performance cleaning power. Perfect for workshops or office as it is a quite shop vac with noise reduction technology. Offering a large 14-gallon capacity.

Editor Rating

7. Craftsman XSP 12 Gallon 5.5 Peak HP

Craftsman XSP 12 Gallon 5.5 Peak HP

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When you are limited with power points you need a machine that has a long reach. The Craftsman is just the one you are looking for.

Construction & Design

A wet and dry vacuum that offers a sturdy construction and a powerful 5.5 peak horsepower motor. It has an exceptionally long cleaning reach of 27 foot. So you can reach far without unplugging the machine. The hose has a 2 1/2-inch. The fit is secure so the hose will not pull out when in use.

Capacity

This wet dry vac has a 12-gallon capacity.

Features

This great wet dry vac features a 7-foot hose and extension wand. The power cord is 20 foot long giving the machine a long cleaning reach. The shop vac features a sturdy and durable build and is easy to move around.

See more information on Craftsman XSP 12 Gallon 5.5 Peak HP.

Why We Like It
  • 5.5 horsepower motor
  • 12-gallon capacity
  • 27-meter cleaning reach
Cord Length
20 ft
Capacity
12 Gallon
Weight
24.6 lbs
Our Verdict

One of the best wet dry vac with an exceptionally long cleaning reach. The powerful 5.5 horsepower motor and a 12-gallon capacity make this one of the best shop vacuum cleaners on the market.

Editor Rating

8. DEWALT DCV581H Cordless/Corded Vac

DEWALT DCV581H Cordless/Corded Vac

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DEWALT is a company with an exceptional reputation when it comes to tools and machinery. They have designed and constructed one of the top-rated shop vacs on the market.

Construction & Design

Designed to operate both with an 18v or 20v battery or an AC outlet. It features a HEPA rated filter which is guaranteed to trap nearly 100% of the dirt. The hose is constructed from heavy duty and crush-resistant materials and is integrated who it is flexible and will not pull loose while in use. Designed with an on-board accessory storage unit to make it easy to organize your accessories.

Capacity

The DEWALT offers a tank capacity of 2 gallons.

Features

Featuring a HEPA washable and reusable filter. It comes with a number of accessories including a crevice tool for reaching smaller inlets and a wide nozzle for when cleaning a wider area.

See more information on DEWALT DCV581H Cordless/Corded Vac.

Why We Like It
  • Heavy-duty crush-resistant hose
  • Reusable filter
  • Uses battery or AC power
Cord Length
5 ft
Capacity
2 Gallon
Weight
11.06 lbs
Our Verdict

A wet dry vac that operates with a battery or using AC power. An integrated hose which is crush-resistant, flexible and durable. It is easy to clean and maintain and simple to use.

Editor Rating

9. Stanley SL18116P Wet/Dry Vacuum

Stanley SL18116P Wet/Dry Vacuum

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A powerful wet dry vac that will get your workshop in tip-top shape in no time at all. One of the best shop vacs for the money on the market.

Construction & Design

It is constructed with a rear blower port that converts the shop vac into a powerful blower. The on/off switch is large and waterproof which allows for quick and easy access. It has a 10-foot built-in power cord and a cord wrap. Easy to move around with caster wheels.

Capacity

This wet dry vac has a capacity of 6 gallons.

Features

This wet dry vac comes with a number of accessories. It includes a 1 ¼” wide hose. It also comes with two extension wands to stretch its cleaning reach. The crevice nozzle helps reach into small areas. The floor nozzle allows you to clean larger areas quickly.

See more information on Stanley SL18116P Wet/Dry Vacuum.

Why We Like It
  • Powerful rear blower
  • Powerful suction power
  • Swivel caster wheels for easy movement
Cord Length
10 ft
Capacity
6 Gallon
Weight
13.4 lbs
Our Verdict

A powerful wet-dry vacuum that also turns into a powerful rear blower. Offering a number of accessories to ensure you have a vac for every occasion. Strong, flexible and durable hose and 6-gallon capacity.

Editor Rating

10. Makita VC4710 12-Gallon Wet/Dry

Makita VC4710 12-Gallon Wet/Dry

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One of the most power non-corded wet dry vacuums. This vacuum can go anywhere even to places where there are no power outlets and get the job done.

Construction & Design

There are a lot of design features that make this one of the top wet dry vacs around. Sturdy, durable construction. Low noise production at a mere 59 dB’s. The 12 AMP motor will generate 135 CFM suction power. The filter cleans automatically. A tool-activated outlet starts and stops the vac. Soft start function. Integrated cord reel and hose brackets. Steel caster wheels and extra-long cleaning reach.

Capacity

The capacity of the wet dry vac is 12 gallons.

Features

Featuring a 24.6-inch power cord and 16-inch hose giving it a long reach. A removable storage tray and quick-release latches for easy removal of a canister. HEPA filter and main flat Nano filter as well as fleece Nano filter bag.

See more information on Makita VC4710 12-Gallon Wet/Dry.

Why We Like It
  • 12 AMP motor
  • 12 Gallon capacity
  • Battery operated
Cord Length
24.6 ft
Capacity
12 Gallon
Weight
27 lbs
Our Verdict

With variable speed, long cleaning reach and 12 AMP motor it not only provides strong suction power but also powerful battery operation. With many accessories and soft start function, it is one of the best shop vac wet dry vacuums

Editor Rating

Buyer’s Guide

Why buy a shop vac over a standard vacuum cleaner. A shop vac wet/dry vacuum cleaner will do so much more than clean your home. Designed to keep businesses, workshops, cars, and office clean. It can not only suck up debris but also clean up liquid. Each one comes with a number of accessories that fulfill specific purposes.

So what do you look for when you are considering buying one of the best shop vacs on the market? There are a number of different things to take into consideration. The size of the area you wish to clean. The type of debris you will be cleaning up and more. Here we take a closer look at the different things you need to consider.

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Capacity, Size, and Weight

The capacity of the vacuum you require and the size of the vacuum will all play a role in your decision. You will want to buy a shop vac with the largest capacity you can find without being too big for you to easily store. Larger tanks will mean you don’t have to empty the tank as often. However, if you live in a small apartment you may consider a smaller portable vac.

shop-vac-image-1

If you want your wet dry vac for offices or workshops that require a lot of clean-up then a larger vac is easier to use. The larger the capacity of the vac the heavier it is. Getting one that is easy to empty is a great idea.

Performance

When you talk about the performance of a vacuum, you are talking about both the suction and the airflow it puts out. This is part where you need to consider the motor that the vac has. The amount of peak horsepower it puts out. The movement of air is essential for all vacuums to work efficiently. This is really important if you are picking up liquids. You measure the suction power on a vacuum with CFM’s.

This rating measures the amount of airflow the vacuum can achieve. When you are picking up heavy objects such as nuts and other workshop debris, you need a lot of air power. Corded wet dry vacs are stronger than your battery operated ones, however, battery operated vacs are easy to move around.

Filters

When you select the vacuum you want, you need to consider the type of filter. The wrong filter may cause water or dust to blow back into the air. Finding the right filter will depend on the type of debris you are looking to clean up. If you are needing to clean large pieces of debris, you will need something with at least a general household filtration level or even better.

For the fine debris, you will need a fine filtration level. If you are looking for liquid clean-up you need a foam sleeve in your filter. When dealing with allergies then a HEPA cartridge filter or bag is best.

Hose

The length and flexibility of the hose are important. Selecting the right hose is vitally important. Longer hoses reduce the sucking ability of the vacuum. For the larger debris you need a wide hose and as the debris gets smaller the smaller the hose should be.

Buyers Guide Questions

What is a Shop Vac?

A shop vac is a vacuum that is used mostly in workshops and not in homes. They are designed to clean up construction and woodworking sites. They have high-powered motors and superb suction units. They are designed to suck up large debris as well as fine dirt and water. They often feature some type of wheels, mostly caster wheels for easy maneuverability.

shop-vac-image-2

They have a bucket like construction with their hoses attached to them. They are designed to clean dirty spaces and are not generally used in the home environment.

How to use a Shop Vac?

Shop vacs are often used on construction sites and in woodworking shops. However, they are also perfect for the DIY enthusiast with a home workshop. They are designed to be able to suck up nails and screws. They are also meant to suck up large chunks of wood and metal pieces. But at the same time, they will also suck up sawdust and liquids spilled on the floor.

Most shop vacs are not used in homes. The more expensive shop vacs are extremely versatile and can be a blower, wet/dry vac or just a plain vacuum cleaner.

How to Clean Shop Vac Filter?

If you do not clean your filter properly your vacuum will not work properly. When your shop vac is pushing out dust from its exhaust or losing its suction power you need to clean or replace the filter. How you clean your filter will vary and there is no hard and fast rule as to when and how many times you need to clean it. First, after you have removed your filter also check if there are any holes in your filter. Small holes can damage your shop vac.

Remember that the smaller the debris is the faster your filter will clog up. Dust, sawdust and other small debris will clog the filter and limit your suction power. Different filters require different means of cleaning. Reusable dry filters are cleaned by rinsing them off and reused many times over.  Ensure that they are dry before you put them back into the vacuum. Do not machine wash your filters, simply rinse them under water.

Foam sleeve filters which are used when you are picking up liquids and spills are also easy to clean. Shake off the excess debris from the sleeve. It if is very dirty, then you may need to hold the filter under running water. Rinse the foam from the inside out. Ensure you dry it out before replacing it in the shop vac prevent any mildew or to stop mold from accumulating.

Cartridge filters are a little more complicated and it will depend on the filter you have in your shop vac. Never brush them or scrub them as this will damage your filter. There are two kinds of cartridge filters and the way that you clean them will differ.

Standard Cartridge

To clean the standard cartridge you will remove it from the vacuum and shake it or tap it lightly on something. If that does not clean the filter of any debris you can rinse it under some running water. Always rinse them from the inside outward. Always allow the filter to dry out before replacing it. Use a tool to get the stubborn debris out of the filter.

shop-vac-image-3

HEPA

If you have a HEPA filter, you clean it in much the same way you would a standard filter. However, you must ensure that the inside of the filter does not get wet. Give a HEPA filter a lot of time to dry out completely before replacing it in your vacuum. Always follow the instructions on the manual of your shop vac when cleaning your filter. Some filters may have specific ways they need cleaning.

Conclusion

Shop vacs are just the thing for the DIY enthusiast, construction sites, woodworking shops, homes, garages and even to clean driveways and porches. They are extremely versatile machines. Shop vacs are often wet and dry vacuums. They can clean up both solid debris as well as liquids. Many shop vacs have a blower option.

You can clear away leaves, or blow fine debris into a corner for easy cleaning. They are high powered machines and can handle heavy clean-up jobs. They are incredibly versatile and easy to use.

Expert Tip

Selecting the correct filter will ensure that your shop vac works at its best. Cleaning your filter properly will also ensure your vacuum works optimally.

Did you know

Spangler actually invented the portable electric vacuum cleaner. He received his patent in 1908 and then sold his rights to William Hoover who is credited with the invention.