We can all agree on the fact that vacuum cleaners have definitely made our lives a lot easier. Irrespective of how gruesome the mess is, all you have to do nowadays is start up a vacuum cleaner and your place will be neat and tidy within minutes. Apart from the standard household vacuum cleaners, there is another category of vacuum cleaners called shop vac. These might look almost identical to those that are designed for home applications.
But, shop vacs are more powerful units that are specifically designed for outdoor usage. Apart from making these units ready to use right out of the box, these units are designed in such a way that they can clean up glass shards, the aftermath of a party, and even construction mess such as cement, paint, and other similar items. If you are looking for a shop vac, make sure you consider these factors before making a decision.
- Capacity: As you may already know, vacuum cleaners have a dedicated compartment on the inside that stores the dust, dirt, or any other solid object you will pull via the shop vac. So while you are comparing 2 models for a shop vac, you should definitely pay attention to the capacity of each unit. Apart from the capacity, you should also check how efficiently a model can store the waste. Sometimes, a small-capacity unit might be more efficient than it appears.
- Horsepower: All types of vacuum cleaners work on a similar working principle. By lowering the air pressure, a vacuum is generated inside the machine so that it can suck the floor clean. To create this vacuum, there is a motor powering the unit that has a certain power or HP rating. As you can imagine, more powerful motors will be capable of creating a stronger vacuum pressure. Therefore, you should go for a shop vac that offers the highest HP rating to get a satisfying performance.
- CFM: CFM stands for cubic feet per minute and it is a unit to measure air-flow. Shop vac motors are designed to offer a strong suction capacity. Therefore, the CFM rating is certainly higher on a shop vac compared to a standard vacuum cleaner. Still, you should take a look at the CFM rating of a shop vac to understand how much air it can intake in a specific period of time.
Even though these are some of the most important factors of a shop vac, there is a lot more to check before you finalize which shop vac you are going to buy. And since it is quite tiresome to physically check all the options available around you, we have decided to create this list of the best shop vac to help you. On this page, you will find the best shop vacs available in the market and make your decision right here. On top of that, we will also offer you additional information about a shop vac in our “Buying Guide” for the best shop vac.
Best Shop Vacuum cleaners
Best Shop Vacuum cleaners Reviews
A lot of shop vacs that you will find in the market belong to the premium category since these are high-powered options. But, there are a handful of brands like Armor All that are still offering budget options for such powerful units.
In the 1st place, we have decided to enlist the cheapest option we have on this list for a shop vac. The Armor All AA255 is the best option for this price range compared to what we have coming later on. The Armor All AA255 features 2.5 gallons capacity and operates on a motor offering up to 2 HP peak power capacity. So, it is a pretty decent option for basic applications and even domestic cleaning tasks.
On top of that, the Armor All AA255 also comes with a 10 feet long power cord with a cord wrap facility. So, you will be able to cover a lot of area with this machine without worrying about the cable lying around the whole place. The Armor All AA255 also includes blower functionality that you can use to sweep dry waste with ease. It is more of a set instead of just a simple shop vac as you will find a variety of accessories included in the package such as a 6 feet hose, wet filter, detail brush, and car nozzle to name a few.
- It has 2.6 gallons storage capacity
- Powered by a 2 HP peak power motor
- Backed by 2 years of warranty
- Comes with a 10 feet long power cord
- It can cover a large area with ease
- Most affordable option for a shop vac
- Included hose has a 1¼ inch diameter
- Not suitable for picking up larger debris
In the 2nd position, we are putting one more budget option for a shop vac. The Stanley SL18116P is also a wet/dry vacuum cleaner that comes with 6 gallons capacity which is pretty large in our opinion. Plus, it is powered by a 4 HP peak power motor so picking up heavier debris should not be a problem with the Stanley SL18116P. In total, this machine offers a coverage area of about 16 feet thanks to the 6 feet long hose and 10 feet long power cords.
You will also get 3 units of extension wands with the Stanley SL18116P that lets you adjust the hose length as per your requirement. There are many accessories included with the Stanley SL18116P such as a cleaning hose, gulper nozzle, floor nozzle, crevice nozzle, foam filter, dry filter, and even a dust bag. This unit is backed by a year of warranty from Stanley. You will also notice wheels at the bottom of the machine that makes the Stanley SL18116P very easy to maneuver on all kinds of surfaces.
- It has 6 gallons storage capacity
- Powered by a 4 HP peak power motor
- Backed by 1 year of warranty
- Offers 3-in-1 functionality
- Motor power is pretty good
- Offers up to 16 feet coverage area
- Comes with 3 extension wands
- Warranty period should have been longer
Now that you are familiar with the budget options for a shop vac, let us move on to the heavy-duty options that are more suited for outdoor applications. One such option is brought to you by Craftsman, a highly recognized brand for its power tools, hand tools, and power equipment.
Coming in 3rd place, we have the Craftsman CMXEVBE17595. This is rather a larger unit compared to other shop vacs since it offers a 13 gallons storage capacity paired with a highly powerful motor offering peak power up to 6.5 HP. Therefore, the vacuum generated with the Craftsman CMXEVBE17595 is more than enough to pick up large debris and clean wet floors. You can also use the rear blower port with the same power capacity to forcefully clean your backyard or garage with the Craftsman CMXEVBE17595.
If you are using the Craftsman CMXEVBE17595 to clean up wet floors, you don’t have to worry about emptying the storage unit. It has a built-in oversized drain that allows optimized emptying of liquids from the unit. To offer a great coverage area, the hose on the Craftsman CMXEVBE17595 features dual-flex technology so that it can be rotated at 180 degrees to get the best cleaning angle. This way, the 2½ inch diameter hose can easily reach corners and awkward areas to perform thorough cleaning.
- It has 16 gallons storage capacity
- Powered by a 6.5 HP peak power motor
- Backed by 3 years of warranty
- Comes with a 2½ inch diameter hose
- Great option for outdoor applications
- Motor is very powerful
- Storage capacity is best in this class
- The unit is not easy to store due to its large size
The Vacmaster VBV1210 is yet another high-capacity shop vac that we are listing on our picks today. This unit has 12 gallons capacity and is powered by a 5 HP peak power motor to generate enough vacuum to clean all types of debris without any problem. Once started, the Vacmaster VBV1210 can generate up to 210 MPH air flow, even while you are using the rear blower port. The cleaning reach of the Vacmaster VBV1210 ranges up to 19 feet with the included power cord and hose.
There are a total of 11 accessories included with the Vacmaster VBV1210 to make the unit versatile in nature and compatible with all sorts of cleaning applications. But, you don’t have to worry about storing the accessories separately as the unit itself features integrated accessory storage. The power cord of the Vacmaster VBV1210 itself is 12 feet long. So, you can move the machine at quite a distance from the main power source without needing to unplug it at all.
- It has 12 gallons storage capacity
- Powered by a 5 HP peak power motor
- Backed by 2 years of warranty
- Comes with 11 additional accessories
- It features 12 feet power cord and 7 feet cleaning hose
- Cleaning hose has 2½ diameter
- Comparatively cheaper than similar options
- High storage capacity makes the unit bulkier in comparison
We all know Dewalt as one of the leading brands in the market for professional-grade power tools, accessories, and outdoor equipment. While a lot of Dewalt products belong to a premium category, all of them are definitely reliable choices for the long term.
The DEWALT DXV06P is one of the premium choices that we have selected for this list of the best shop vacs. With the signature yellow and black design, the DEWALT DXV06P features a 6 gallons storage capacity paired with a motor offering up to 4 HP peak power capacity. So, the DEWALT DXV06P is basically a compact, portable, and powerful machine that is ideal for small cleaning jobs. The motor can offer enough suction capacity to suffice for routine cleaning jobs.
But when it comes to build quality, there is barely any competition to Dewalt products. Even on the DEWALT DXV06P, you will find ultra-durable casters on the bottom of the machine that allows convenient movement of the machine on all types of floor. You will also notice a 10 feet long power cord attached to the DEWALT DXV06P which further increases the coverage area of this shop vac. Plus, the DEWALT DXV06P doubles the functionality as a blower if you simply attach the hose to the rear port of the machine. Unlike most other options, the DEWALT DXV06P is warranted for 3 years from the date of purchase.
- It has 6 gallons storage capacity
- Powered by a 4 HP peak power motor
- Backed by 3 years of warranty
- Comes with 10 feet long power cord
- Motor capacity is great for this size
- Durable casters for easy movement
- Offers 80 CFM air-flow
- Hose diameter should have been larger
The Shop-Vac 5989300 wet/dry cleaner is yet another budget option that we are including on our list of the best shop vacs. This option is also a portable unit offering 5 gallons storage capacity. But, it is still one of the powerful options as the motor powering this unit is rated for up to 4.5 HP peak power capacity. So, you will get the benefit of portability along with powerful cleaning performance. The accessories included with the Shop-Vac 5989300 wet/dry cleaner are one 7 foot 1.25 inch diameter hose, a crevice tool, a gulper nozzle, a floor nozzle, and a foam sleeve, and a filter bag.
Once turned on, the Shop-Vac 5989300 wet/dry cleaner offers a maximum airflow up to 175 CFM which is to be expected from such a powerful motor. Plus, the storage unit is made up of stainless steel so that it cannot get rusted even if you use it for wet cleaning. Despite being one of the budget options on this list, the Shop-Vac 5989300 wet/dry cleaner is backed by a 3-year long warranty period which is admirable at this price point.
- It has 5 gallons storage capacity
- Powered by a 4.5 HP peak power motor
- Backed by 3 years of warranty
- One of the budget options for a shop vac
- Features a stainless steel tank
- Onboard accessory storage for easy access
- Paired with a 6 feet long cord
- Hose diameter is only 1.25 inches
While we are on the subject of affordable shop vacs, let us talk about PORTER-CABLE, yet another brand known for its budget accessories and power tools. Apart from the shop vac mentioned here, there is a lot more to see on the product lineup of PORTER-CABLE.
PORTER-CABLE is also offering one of the best options on this list of the best shop vacs in terms of reliability as well as portability. The PORTER-CABLE PCX18301-4B is a 4 gallons wet/dry vacuum cleaner that is powered by a 4 HP peak power capacity motor. This is also one of the mid-range options compared to many other shop vacs on the market that costs almost double this unit for similar specifications. The motor on the PORTER-CABLE PCX18301-4B offers the same power output for suction as well as blowing applications. Still, this unit is comparatively quieter than other shop vacs.
The storage unit of the PORTER-CABLE PCX18301-4B also has a sturdy handle on top to make it easier for carrying it around. And, the lightweight design of the unit certainly makes it more portable than its competitors. The hose attached to the PORTER-CABLE PCX18301-4B has 1¼ inch diameter, making it compatible with basic cleaning tasks. You will also notice a 10 feet long power cord with this shop vac for extended cleaning coverage.
- It has 4 gallons storage capacity
- Powered by a 4 HP peak power motor
- Backed by 3 years of warranty
- Offer a quieter operation
- Comparatively cheaper option for these specifications
- It has a long warranty period
- Comes with many accessories
- Hose diameter is not subtle for larger debris
If you are still looking for a reliable option for a shop vac, you are in luck. The last option on our list of the best shop vac is coming from RIDGID, a premium yet highly reliable brand for a variety of professional tools.
The RIDGID 62718 is one more powerful option that we are including on our list today which is perfect for professional outdoor applications. This unit is comparatively larger than most other options since it features a 14 gallons storage tank. It also houses a 6 HP peak power capacity motor to offer thorough cleaning results by developing a powerful vacuum pressure. This is a 2-stage motor that can create high-lift suction while maintaining an efficient air-flow throughout the hose.
Talking about the hose, the RIDGID 62718 comes with an 8 feet long hose having 1⅞ inches diameter which is nearly 4 times stronger than standard shop vac hoses. It also has a smooth interior surface design that manages to carry the debris swiftly without the possibility of clogging. The best part about the RIDGID 62718 is its lifetime warranty period which is to be expected from such a premium option.
- It has 14 gallons storage capacity
- Powered by a 6 HP peak power motor
- Backed by a lifetime warranty
- Hose has 1⅞ inches diameter
- Most reliable option for long term
- 2-stage motor for best results
- Storage capacity is pretty good
- Quite an expensive choice for a shop vac
Buying Guide For The Best Shop Vac
You might be wondering how shop vac is a better option compared to a standard vacuum cleaner. Well, while a vacuum cleaner is designed for basic cleaning purposes, shop vacs are basically vacuum cleaners, but for heavier applications. These options are also commonly known as wet-dry vacuum cleaners as they can pick up any matter irrespective of its form or type.
Another important thing to know about shop vacs is that they are comparatively simpler devices since they do not require extra internal components or external accessories to work. Today, we have brought you a list of the best shop vac you can probably find in the market right now. We have also specified the specifications and details of each unit so that making a choice will be much easier now. But if you are not sure which property you should check for before buying a shop vac, kindly take a look at our buying guide given right here.
1. Power Usage
Power draw is always an important factor for electronic accessories designed for heavy operation. As for a shop vac, it is even more important since even standard vacuum cleaners use a lot of energy, and these are more powerful units. The power draw of a shop vac is usually mentioned in the amp unit where a unit with a higher amp rating will consume more power to operate.
But, it will also offer better results since it can create a more powerful suction. While you are looking for a shop vac, you should make sure that the unit you are buying offers at least a 12 amp rating since it is the bare minimum requirement for outdoor usage. But with more power, there comes a need for better storage capacity. Otherwise, you will have to empty out your shop vac every other hour while using it.
2. Sealed Suction
The sealed suction capacity of a shop vac is probably the most important feature since it deals with the suction capacity of the unit. If you are buying a shop vac that cannot suck in heavier material, then it is probably not the best option for outdoor usage. The sealed suction capacity of a shop vac is usually measured as the amount of liquid it can suck in against a specific water pressure level.
If the sealed suction capacity of your shop vac is high, then you won’t have to worry about its performance irrespective of the type of debris you are picking up with the unit. If you don’t already know, the suction capacity of a shop vac significantly declines when the hose is submerged in water. Therefore, the shop you are going to buy should offer sealed suction power of at least 50 inches, if not above, to make a versatile option that is suitable for all types of applications.
3. Noise Level
If you are buying a shop vac for outdoor usage, then you do not need to worry about this factor a lot. In a workshop or construction site where shop vacs are usually used, there is already a lot of noise. So the noise of a shop vac won’t make much of a difference in such a scenario.
But if you are buying a versatile option that you are going to use in your home or garage, then you should definitely factor in the noise level of the unit if you want to buy the best option. Even though shop vacs are powerful, there are a lot of options that can work at a minimal noise level, offering a quiet and powerful performance. Such options will be perfect for household applications.
4. Cord Length
You might be surprised if we tell you the number of problems a short cord can cause for an appliance like a shop vac. Powerful electrical appliances like a shop vac usually need to be connected to a standard AC wall at all times while you are using them.
Therefore, the cleaning range of a particular unit is limited to the length of its hose plus the power cord. While the hose can always be extended in the future by adding an extra-long hose, it won’t offer you an equally efficient performance since the added distance from the source of the vacuum causes a loss of power. Instead, you should prefer a unit that comes with a long power cord, to begin with.
This way, you can move the main unit farther away from the power source and use the machine efficiently to cover a large area. Usually, a 15 to 20 feet long power cord is a decent choice. If you can’t find that, you will have to make do with a decent power extension cord, compatible with the power capacity of the shop vac.
A lot of users seem to miss out on the fact that the debris collected by a vacuum cleaner or a shop vac, has to be kept in the storage unit of the shop vac. Each shop vac comes with a certain storage capacity which varies from product to product. The storage capacity that you need is completely dependent upon your application.
To get an idea, you should first consider the type of material you are going to collect by the shop vac as well as their quantity. Because once the storage capacity is full, you won’t be able to use the vacuum cleaner until you empty the unit. Another important factor to consider here is the efficiency of the unit while storing the debris.
Some low-capacity options might offer a decent performance based on the efficiency of the storage compartment. In such units, you will find a well-designed filter that increases its efficiency when it comes to storage. Also, make sure you consider the thickness of the filter as well because the overall size of the canister is inclusive of the filter placed on the inside. So the total storage capacity for dry material will be slightly lower than the rated storage capacity.
Frequently Asked Questions
Ans: The filter that you should use with your shop vac depends upon what type of waste you are collecting with the unit. For larger debris such as wood chips or gravel, a standard household vacuum cleaner level filter will suffice. For medium-sized debris like sand or sawdust, you will need a medium-level filter so that only the said content will be collected in the storage unit. Lastly, we will suggest a fine filter for smaller applications such as dust, ashes, and other similar dry waste. If a wrong filter is used for the job, there are chances of the collected material getting thrown out from the exhaust section of the vacuum cleaner.
Ans: When it comes to accessories, you should make sure that you are prepared with the right kind of accessories for your job. Even with a powerful shop vac, you will not get a desirable performance until you attach the right accessories to the machine. For floor or wall cleaning, you will need an extension wand as well as a floor nozzle to get better coverage. On the other hand, cleaning a car requires a utility nozzle or a crevice tool to get the dust out from corners. You should get a universal tool adapter for your shop vac if you are going to use it with other machines such as a power saw.
Ans: We will strongly recommend not to use your shop vac to clean hazardous material that cannot be cleaned with bare hands. Materials like toxic waste or carcinogenic materials can certainly cause you harm, either while you are cleaning them, or while you are emptying the storage unit. You should also steer clear of combustible materials as the friction caused while sucking the units can cause a fire. There are specially designed machines to clean such wastes and those should be used for such applications.
To put it in a few words, shop vacs are great tools for anyone who is seeking a thorough and powerful cleaning tool. Even if not the best, shop vacs will offer at least better cleaning performance compared to low-power household vacuum cleaners. Plus, you will be able to use shop vacs on almost any surface without giving it a second thought. Another great fact about shop vacs is that you won’t need to clean the unit frequently as they offer a large storage capacity. On top of that, the suction capacity of a shop vac is definitely powerful enough to make it usable for outdoor applications. Today, you will find a wide range of options on our list of the best shop vacs. If you need any additional help to pick up the right option, make sure you refer to our buying guide for the best shop vacs. We will also drop some handy recommendations right here to make your choice clearer.
- If you are fed up with cleaning your vacuum cleaner or shop vac frequently, it is time to upgrade to the CRAFTSMAN CMXEVBE17595. Even after frequent usage, you probably won’t have to clear this unit for weeks since it comes with 16 gallons storage capacity. Plus, it also features a 6.5 HP peak power motor that can create a powerful vacuum pressure to clear large debris. The built-in blower port on the other hand will let you clean leaves or grass residue with ease.
- If you are planning to spend a large sum on a shop vac, it would be wise to spend it on a machine that will last you years to come. So, our next recommendation is the RIDGID 62718 which also happens to be the most reliable shop vac on this list. It is also powered by a 6 HP high-performance motor so the cleaning capacity of this unit should not be questioned. The RIDGID 62718 comes with an 8 feet long hose with 1⅞ inch diameter so that it does not get clogged while picking up large-sized trash.
- While a lot of shop vacs are pretty expensive, we have also included a couple of budget options. Out of which, the Armor All AA255 is the cheapest option we could find for a shop vac. This unit offers 2.5 gallons capacity and is powered by a 2 HP peak power motor to offer a decent cleaning performance. Plus, you will also get a 10 feet long cord with the Armor All AA255 so that you can use it to cover a large area at once. Along with that, you will get many additional accessories with the Armor All AA255 that are designed to serve various cleaning applications.