When you find your floor vac is unable to handle large spills and debris, you need a more powerful tool. Wet-dry vacs are heavier-duty models of the regular vacuums. They can deal with bigger messes. A flurry of alternatives persists in the market, but it can be a challenge to pick the best shop vac from the crowd.
Even when you take purposes into account, a barrage of model features can overwhelm you. However, it shouldn’t be a hassle to find the right product that gives you the best bargain. In this review, we have tested, researched, and scoured the market for the wet-dry vac that meets your criteria. Continue reading to learn about how you can make the right decision.
Best Shop Vac Guide
You need to purify the air and clean up spills. Indoor air quality requires to remain top-notch all the time, else the risk of respiratory illnesses increases. Liquid spills can also occur frequently in your house, garage, or workshop, and they require cleaning. Else, they leave your place untidy.
But spill cleanup isn’t easy without the right tool. Fortunately, the market offers us plenty of solutions. And any wet-dry vac can handle large messes with ease. The best shop vacis pretty noisier but more effective than their floor vac counterparts, though.
A wet-dry vac is a meaner beast than any regular floor vac you can come across. It’s typically noisier and handles messier jobs.
Most shop vacs can allow you to switch between wet and dry modes even though you can find the ones with blower settings. Their appetite for liquids and debris is enormous.
5 Best Shop Vac Consumer Reports: Editor Pick’s
||Stanley - SL18116P Wet/Dry Vacuum, 6 Gallon, 4...||$64.21||Buy on Amazon|
||DeWALT DXV10P 10 gallon Quiet Poly Wet Dry Vacuum...||$160.02||Buy on Amazon|
||Stanley SL18116 Wet/Dry Vacuum, 6 Gallon, 4...||$68.45||Buy on Amazon|
||STANLEY Wet/Dry Vacuum SL18115, Stainless Steel...||$80.81||Buy on Amazon|
||CRAFTSMAN CMXEVBE17595 16 Gallon 6.5 Peak HP...||$141.49||Buy on Amazon|
Canister capacity determines the size. You are likely to encounter large, medium, small, and portable models.
Large models have a canister capacity of between 16- and 20-gallons. When you come across any model with between 10- and 14-gallon capacity, that’s medium-sized. Anything between the six-and-eight-capacity model is small. Portable models are smaller than that.
Best Shop Vac Consumer Reports Reviews:
1. Professional Wet/Dry Vac, 5 Gallon, Beast Series
- 5 Gallon Polypropylene Tank
- 5. 5 Peak HP High Efficiency Motor
- Integrated Hose Storage
- 18' Cord with Cord Storage
- Easily Converts to Blower
This wet-dry vac has a canister capacity of five gallons and qualifies as the best shop vac for picking up large spills in home garages and basement workshops.
It is easy to maneuver and lift, and hence kinder to your muscles and tendons than its larger-capacity counterparts. It’s no surprise it weighs only 13.5-pounds, which shouldn’t be a problem to lift and carry around.
With an 18-foot-long power cord, reaching an outlet shouldn’t be an issue. Peak horsepower is decent, at 5.5 h, which is assuring given that high numbers associate with high performance.
The VFB511B0201 is the lowest-priced model in its Vacmaster’s product range. And if you are a minimalist who can do without extra features, this product hits all the marks.
The five-gallon-capacity is not just right for household purposes, but also your wallet. Hose diameter is 1-7/8-inches, which exceeds the standard 1.25-inches you will usually encounter with many shop vacs in the market. This width puts less strain on the motor.
Despite its adorable features, Vacmaster Beast Series isn’t without faults. Just as you would expect with any other powerful shop vac in the market, the best shop vac for home use is a poor housemate.
It’s louder than the loudest house-vac, as noise levels more often than not exceed 65-decibels., which can be deafening without ear protection.
Expect it to send small debris flying across the room and hence expose your lungs to allergens and other harmful airborne particles. Fortunately, it comes with filters for fine dust.
2. Professional – Professional Wet/Dry Vac, 16 Gallon, Beast Series
- Best-in-class suction power and air flow easily tackles tough jobs around the jobsite, shop, or in the Garage (400 air watts, 150 CFM, and 64 in. Water Lift)
- Integrated hose, accessory and power cord organization provide space saving, convenient and hassle-free storage
- Includes 7 ft. X 2-1/2 in. Kink resistant hose, utility nozzle, crevice tool, (2) extension wands, floor nozzle with squeegee & brush, fine dust cartridge filter, foam filter, and air & noise diffuser
- Over 27 ft. Of cleaning reach (7 foot hose and 20 foot power cord) allows you to reach farther without unplugging the unit
- Large 16-Gallon collection tank with extra-large quick empty liquid drain; quickly converts to a blower for jobsite, shop or Garage cleanup
This 16-gallon-capacity vac can store large quantities of water and dirt. The best shop vac guarantees performance and convenience if you are looking for these qualities.
It’s a powerful possession in your toolkit. Its peak horsepower is massive, at 6.5 hp. There’s little doubt it’s the best shop vac for dust collection. Picking up heavy debris should be a breeze given that airpower is 400 watts.
Even the finest particles have little risk of spewing out of the duct or nozzle. At 150 CFM (cubic feet per minute), the vacuum traps lots of air. Emptying spills that the vac has sucked up shouldn’t be a problem, as a tank drain makes short of the job.
The diameter of the hose is 2-1/2-inches, which sufficient. But a powerful motor may strain when the hose diameter is narrow. VJH1612PF0201 comes with a 20-foot-long power cord, which ensures a smooth workflow, as you don’t need to plug and unplug it every time you want to reach out to various parts of a spacious room.
And it because it’s heavy at 29-pounds, you can’t carry it, but plastic wheels make up for this shortcoming, as they enable you to pull the whole setup along the surface.
Awesomely, the nozzle comes with a rubber squeegee, which you can find invaluable in cleaning up wet messes.
While a range of useful features qualifies it as the best shop vac, it has an SP (static pressure) of 64, which is less than the coveted SP rating of 75.
3. Laguna Tools B|Flux: 1 Dust Collector
- Motor: 1HP
- Phase: 1
- Voltage: 110V
- Amps: 8.4 Amps
- Recommended breaker: 15 amps
At 71-pounds, MDCBF1110C1M is a super-heavy machine. It’s also less wallet-friendly than most wet-dry models you are likely to come across in the market.
With a peak horsepower of 1 hp, you can be quick to write off Laguna Tools as a low-performing commercial wet-dry vac. You are wrong! This beast of a machine picks up the smallest debris with 99.97 % accuracy.
The risks of releasing harmful allergens and other particulates are therefore minimal. It’s the best shop vac for dust collection because it picks up particles with the least size of 0.2-micron while the largest size is 2-micron.
Thus, you won’t find it useful for picking up large messes with the best shop vac. Hence, the small canister capacity checks all the boxes. You won’t feel shortchanged. With the least horsepower, you expect low noise, and you are right! Its power setting ensures the noise level is minimum.
Airflow is maximum, which is essential for picking up fine particles even if they pass through a large nozzle. Maximum airflow counts in favor of a powerful motor, as it undergoes less strain.
While upfront investments for this machine may be a pain, its dividends are more than what you haggled. The four-inch-wide hose is also super-sized, which significantly reduces the risks of straining the motor. It makes a 180-degree swivel as a result of a dust chute.
What’s more, a snap-band makes changing bags less strenuous. It’s a unique machine you should seriously consider if you are looking for something that can serve you for ages.
4. Makita XCV10ZX 18V X2 LXT Lithium-Ion (36V) Brushless Cordless
- Powerful BL Brushless motor generates 64 CFM of suction power and 44" Of water Lift
- Up to 62 minutes of continuous operation on normal setting and 33 minutes on high setting Using two 18V LXT 5.0Ah batteries BL1850B (batteries not included)
- Efficient two stage HEPA filter captures 99.97% of particulates .3 microns and larger extending the life of the main filter
- Auto-start wireless system (AWS) utilizes Bluetooth technology for Wireless Power-on/off communication between tool and dust extractor
- Aws capable with auto-start wireless transmitter (part No. 198901-5) sold separately
This portable model features a half-a-gallon-capacity backpack with a HEPA filter. Without a doubt, it’s the best shop vac for dust collection. While its capacity is small, Makita XCV10ZX traps most dust and allergens that may cause respiratory illnesses.
You may need to empty the canister often, but the HEPA filter reduces exposure to harmful airborne particulates.
Most high-performing wet-dry vacs have a static pressure (SP) rating of at least 75, but this battery-powered tool has just 44. Therefore, you may find the best shop vacunsuitable for picking up water.
The quantity of air that can pass through its largest orifice is 64 cubic feet per minute (CFM), which shows its outstanding capability to pick up the smallest particles. Unsurprisingly, it can pick up particles as small as 0.3-microns.
Awesomely, it weighs 9.93-pounds, and thus you can lift it without much strain on your muscles and tendons. It’s the best shop vac for quick jobs that don’t last more than an hour when you use default settings but less than half-an-hour when you use higher power settings.
You won’t delight in this shop vacuum if you want to enjoy long periods of an uninterrupted workflow. While it may generate high suction or air power at higher power settings, the manufacturer didn’t intend to make this tool to pick up larger particles.
The 39-inch-long hose has an extension wand, which is almost equally as long to enable you to penetrate difficult-to-reach areas. It’s the best portable shop vac because it is light and specializes in what it does, although its price is somewhat budget-unfriendly.
5. Bosch VAC090A 9-Gallon Dust Extractor with Auto Filter Clean
- Automatic Filter Cleaning: Cleans filter every 15 seconds to maintain maximum suction power
- L-BOXX Integration: Instantly creates a mobile workstation
- Power Tool Activation: Allows power tool's switch to turn vacuum on and off
- Power Broker Dial: Optimizes usage of the available power and helps avoid blown circuits
- Wet vacuuming water level sensor: Automatically shuts down vacuum when water reaches a maximum height to protect motor
The medium-sized model has a 9-gallon-capacity canister. Emptying the canister often exposes one’s lung to harmful airborne particulates and allergens, but large capacity ensures you empty occasionally.
And exposure during emptying should be the least of your concerns because the best portable shop vac also comes with a HEPA filter that cleans itself automatically every 15 seconds.
When you use this tool, indoor air quality is a guarantee all the time! You can also confidently rely on the best shop vac for woodworking if you work with minerals like silica and asbestos, which spew harmful carcinogenic particles.
Model VAC090A is superlight, at just 0.32-pounds! You will delight in it as a grab-and-go tool for quick dust extraction jobs.
It’s no surprise the best shop vac comes with a HEPA filter, which rids the air of dust and debris. You benefit from the best HEPA shop vac, whose manufacturer is famous for quality products.
Bosch is a big brand in the United States. And as you might expect with a reputable brand, the VAC090A doesn’t come cheap. It’s full of idiosyncratic features, which contribute to its steep cost, but it’s a worthwhile investment nonetheless.
You can connect it to another power tool. Its heavy-duty rubber wheels don’t destroy surfaces when you move the setup. A foot hose, a plastic bag, a hose adapter, and nozzle are extras that come with the corded machine.
While its suction can be impressive at higher power settings, noise is almost inevitable. Overall, it remains a super-useful machine for sucking up dust and debris on job sites, but not so with liquid messes.
6. Vacmaster Pro 8 gallon Certified Hepa Filtration Wet/Dry Vac
- 8 Gallon* Crush Proof Polypropylene Tank
- Certified HEPA System (99. 97% efficient on . 3 microns)
- 2-Stage Industrial Motor. Hose Size-10 Feet x 1-1/2 inch
- Waterlift: 78 Inch
- CFM 125 @ 2-1/2 In. Orifice.
This small-sized model comes with an 8-gallon-capacity canister. It’s the best shop vac if you intend to suck up small liquid messes.
It’s a powerful shop vac because its SP rating is 78, which is higher than 75. And so, you can rely on it to vacuum up large quantities of liquids.
The 2-1/2-inch-wide hose has just the right diameter for as a powerful a motor with 125 CFM; hence, no need to worry about the hose choking it off.
The hose is 10-foot-long, and so accessing nooks and crannies won’t be a problem. With such a high CFM, you can use this multipurpose tool to pick up fine dust as well!
Most dust and allergens won’t escape given the CFM and the highly effective HEPA filter. It won’t leave behind dust particles that are as small as 0.3 microns.
Awesomely, it’s corded, meaning that you can vacuum for as long as you want without the need to worry about batteries running out. The only shortcoming with the best HEPA shop vac is its weight.
At 19.4-pounds, VK811PH is heavy and can strain your muscles if you lift it. But this beast of a machine is an outstanding product nonetheless. It draws power through a 30-foot power cord, which can extend to 40-feet.
However, long power cords can tangle and choke the vacuum. Its price range is also decent, and anyone with a garage or a basement workshop can find great joy in using this tool to pick up the messiest of the messes.
7. DeWALT DXV09P 9 gallon Poly Wet/Dry Vac
- Sturdy 9 gallon wet/dry Vac ideal for large pick-up applications 9 gallon Poly container
- Powerful 5 peak horsepower motor provides just the amount of suction needed to most any cleanup job
- Ultra durable rubberized casters allow smooth swiveling for ease of movement
- 10' Power cord with cord wrap helps reach almost any cleanup need
- Built-in blower port powerful enough to blow Sawdust and debris from most any workshop
DeWalt has a reputation for high-quality products in the United States. You can bet on this brand, and rarely will they disappoint you. The canister’s capacity is 9-gallon, qualifying the wet-dry vac as a medium-sized model.
It means you can vacuum up large quantities of liquids and dust with some modicum of comfort. While not as powerful as larger-sized models, DXV09P’s power suffices for big jobs, although you may want to change the canister more often once it fills up with dirt or mess.
The peak horsepower rating is 5hp. DeWalt is a high performer without a doubt. The seven-inch-long hose has a duct diameter of 1-7/8-inches, which is a bit small and strenuous for a powerful motor.
Awesomely, its rubberized casters are long-lasting and are gentle on your floors. While its weight of 22.5-pounds can be a turnoff, the casters make up for this weakness. Movement should be a breeze.
Its airpower is massive, at 251.7-watts, which means this vac should pick up large debris with lots of ease. Airflow capacity is just the right for picking up small particles as well, at 90 CFM.
And while the corded shop vac for home use relies on an alternating current (AC) power source, its 10-inch cord is short. The danger of entanglement is minimal, but it also means you won’t cover many areas without having to plug and unplug.
Repeated unplugging interferes with workflow. However, the built-in tank drain is a huge plus because it allows you to dispose of the liquid as often as you want once the canister fills up.
And that can play in your favor if you intend to have an uninterrupted vacuuming session. And if dust or leaves pile up on corners, the shop vacuum with blower has you covered.
8. Vacmaster, VQ607SFD, 6 Gallon 3 Peak HP Stainless Steel Wet
- 6 Gallon Stainless Steel Tank
- 3 Peak HP Motor
- On-Board Accessory Storage
- Dust Sealed Switch
- Locking Hose. 12-Foot Power Cord with Cord Wrap. 19-Foot Cleaning Reach with Hose and Power Cord
When you want a shop vac for home use, VQ607SFD meets your criteria. While any wet-dry vac is overkill for households, this Vacmaster model offers you a powerful alternative to floor vacs.
It can come in handy when you want to deal with large spills in your house, and its assets speak volumes about its adaptation to that purpose. The six-gallon-capacity canister is adequate for your job, and you don’t have to spend extra nickels and dimes on a commercial wet-dry vac.
The peak horsepower rating isn’t that big, at three hp. But at just under $100, this model is what you need if you want to maximize the bang on your money.
It’s enormously useful at home, yet more powerful, but noisier than any floor vac you can ever come across. Weight, at 15.92-pounds, is a bit of a letdown for the best shop vac for home use, given its potential.
A sufficiently long cord relays energy from an AC source to power up the vac. But cords can tangle. And you can see Cleva North America’s cleverness in its design it for carpet and bare floors. The nozzle is adaptable to various floor types.
Also, its price range is very affordable. It’s also worth checking it out because it’s received lots of positive reviews. It’s easy to see why given its minimalist nature.
If you are the type who doesn’t like extra features, the best small shop vac will surely captivate you. Buying it will give you what you haggled.
9. STANLEY Wet/Dry Vacuum SL18115, Stainless Steel Tank
- Wattage: 1200 W
- Voltage: 120 V
- Power Source Type: Corded Electric
If floor vacs don’t pack up as much power as you would like, then you need the strongest shop vac, and SL18115 ticks all the checkboxes. Its five-gallon-capacity suffices for household needs.
Amazingly, it comes with a four-hp-rated motor, which has more than enough suction power for household applications. If you have large messes around your home, you can bet the best shop vac for home use will suck up each of them without leaving traces behind.
It’s a versatile shop vac for home use because you can suck up liquids and debris and blow leaves and dust. Stanley is the best portable shop vac because it has a five-gallon-capacity canister, although it weighs 14.02-pounds.
You may need some dense muscles to lift it. And if you worry about the heavyweight, don’t worry. You can drag the best shop vac, as it comes with casters. The 5-inch-long hose’s duct diameter is 1-1/4-inch, but the powerful motor may strain with the small diameter.
The extension wands enable you to reach tight corners and are a big plus, given how short the hose is. The crevice nozzle makes it all too easy to reach out to some tight corners like upholstery and crannies. These features make it the best shop vac for a car.
Surprisingly, this shop vacuum with blower is highly affordable. It’s a worthy consideration because it’s wallet-friendly and durable.
No matter how tight a job you throw at the powerful shop vac, you can be confident it can handle it without breaking because the manufacturer designed it with a body of steel.
10. CRAFTSMAN CMXEVBE17607 16 gallon 6.5 Peak Hp Wet
- 6.5 PEAK HP: Max power provides heavy-duty cleanup for tasks in the shop, garage, or on the jobsite
- 2-IN-1 VAC: Powerful shop vacuum that features a detachable blower for clearing leaves and debris from your garage and outdoors
- DUAL-FLEX HOSE WITH POS-I-LOCK: Provides 180-degree flexibility at both hose ends for maneuverability and secure attachment of hose to vac drum that won't pull loose during use
- OVERSIZED DRAIN: Built-in at the lowest point of the drum assures convenient emptying of liquids
- ACCESSORIES INCLUDED: 2-1/2 in. x 7 ft. POS-I-LOCK Dual-Flex Hose, 2 Extension Wands, Utility Nozzle, Car Nozzle, Crevice Tool, Wet Nozzle, Locking Blower Wand, Muffler/Diffuser, Qwik Lock Filter and Dust Collection Bag
When large spills confront you, you need a multi-gallon-capacity vac. CMXEVBE17607 has a 16-gallon-capacity canister that can hold so much liquid that the best shop vac has sucked up.
You don’t have to worry about emptying often, and if you use it for garage or workshop basements at home, the commercial wet-dry vac can be a bit of overkill. It’s such a massive model, yet it doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg to acquire.
The peak horsepower rating is 6.5 hp, which bodes well for performance. Craftsman is a real deal. You will delight in a multipurpose wet-dry vac that allows you to switch between blowing and sucking up wet and dry messes.
The airflow rating is 165 CFM, which is very decent, meaning the vac can trap so much air passing through the largest orifices without a problem. In short, when you suck up fine dust particles, the model will suck them up without any trace.
And if you want to vacuum up large debris, no worries. The power is more than adequate, at 1440 air watts.
Weight is 28.7-pounds. You can risk breaking your back lifting this heavy-duty shop vac.
It’s highly flexible; you can turn the hose ends up to 180 degrees. Maneuvering the best shop vac around tight corners shouldn’t be a big problem.
The seven-foot-long hose’s duct diameter is the usual 2-1/2-inch, which is a bit narrow for such a powerful motor. The 20-foot-long power cord supplies AC energy, but it can tangle and choke the vac.
Buying Guide: What to Consider When Select Shop Vac
Choices abound in the market, but getting the best fit from a flurry of options isn’t always easy. In this brief guide, you will get firsthand insights into what you need to look for in the best shop vac for your purposes.
Most of the best shop vacs you will come across have a hp rating of between one and six. The ratings that exceed six are an exception rather than the rule. A higher rating is an indication of a more powerful motor and hence higher performance.
They are peak numbers, meaning that a motor usually operates below its potential, even though a higher number is preferable.
Wet-dry vacuums come in different sizes, which range from portable to large. They indicate the ability to store messes. Larger-capacity canisters are more powerful.
Sealed (Static) Pressure
Shop vacs differ in their capacities to suck up water quantities. A higher SP is desirable if you intend to work with large spills. Choose a wet-dry vac with an SP rating of at least 75 if your main goal is to vacuum up liquid messes.
Particles differ in sizes. Denser particles require higher airpower. Air watts are an indication of airpower, and they should be sufficiently large.
Vacs have hoses with ducts and orifices where trapped air escapes. The air carries particles, including allergens and fine dust. A shop vac with adequately large cubic feet per minute (CFM) will trap most of the particulates; hence, decrease your risk of contracting respiratory diseases. And a filter with HEPA approval is a big plus.
If you couple a narrow hose with a powerful motor, performance will reduce. A wider hose is less strenuous. Most wet-dry vacs you’ll meet have a 1.25- or 2.5-inch-wide hose, but bigger diameters are rare, maybe perhaps because the measurements are standard or optimal.
Be sure to choose a vac with a hose with an extension wand and rubber squeegee.
Canisters fill up, and when they do, they need emptying. While a large capacity is desirable when you do a big cleanup job, tank drains are useful to reduce the frequency of emptying; hence, help preserve the workflow long enough to achieve desirable outcomes.
Bigger models tend to be costlier, but that’s not always the case. Important, consider your purpose versus what the product has. If you intend to maximize the bang on your bucks, avoid models with extra features. However, some models are durable and long-lasting. Therefore, they are a worthwhile investment, although they are usually costly.
It’s not easy to pick the best shop vac from a barrage of models that flood all the time. The sheer number of features is mind-boggling. You may find a product you want, but it has extra features that you don’t want. But these extras drive the overall cost. In this review, we have compiled the wet-dry vacs after testing them and narrowed them down to the few we think meet different criteria of buyers. The list of needs isn’t exhaustive.
In this review, you will gain useful insights into making the right buying decision when choosing the best shop vac from a barrage of options that continue to hit the market every moment.