You have wood stoves, fire pits, barbecues, or fireplaces in your home. But you find that the clean-up of these is a chore. And it’s true! Ash dust can be really difficult to clear away. And unhealthy ash particles can linger in the air if not cleaned up correctly.
An ash vacuum cleaner is designed specifically to clean up ash dust. It will have a metal construction so that it can withstand hot elements. And the vacuum won’t be damaged – a risk you take if you use a regular vacuum to pick up your ash remains.
Here we’ll tell you everything you need to look out for the best ash vacuum.
Our Top PicksThe HouseWire earns a commission through the following independently chosen links at no additional cost to you.
Ash Vacuum vs. Regular Vacuum
Unlike ash vacuums, regular vacuum cleaners or a shop vac aren’t designed to clean up ash. In fact, they’re not intended to suck up anything that is hot. So for safety reasons, you shouldn’t use them to clean up ash.
Plus, coals can take around 12 to 24 hours to completely cool down. And even after this time, there could be areas of unseen hot embers or ash that would damage the plastic parts of your regular vac or cause a fire. The filters are also made of combustible components so could catch fire.
On the other hand, ash vacuum cleaners are specifically designed to handle warm debris. They have a metal construction, such as fireproof aluminum. They also have a heat resistant metal hose and a collection canister that is flame-retardant and has a special synthetic coating.
Additionally, using a regular vacuum cleaner to clean up can also cause the release of ash particles into the air. So this is not good for your health and it can lead to inflammation and immunological reactions (1)(2).
Finally, ash particles are a lot finer than the normal household dust you clean away. It’s so fine that it can evade a regular vacuum filter. And get to the motor which could cause serious damage to your vacuum cleaner.
This is why ash vacuums have special filters that are designed to trap even the finest ash dust particles. Some have even a double stage filtration system. These filters can handle warm ash and will make sure that no dust is released back into your home.
What To Look For When Investing In An Ash Vacuum Cleaner
Here are the key features you need to consider before buying an ash vacuum cleaner.
If you have a lot of cold ashes to clean up, then you should pick an ash vacuum with a larger capacity. This way you won’t have to empty it so often!
Most ash vacs have a large capacity of around 4 gallons. The Vacmaster one we’ve reviewed below has 6 gallons. But if you have less to clean up, a smaller capacity may be sufficient for your needs.
Also, check if the ash vacuum has wheels or casters. These will help you to maneuver the vac around, even if it is heavier. Some of the models we’ve reviewed below have wheels. As does this WORKSHOP ash vacuum.
So it’s difficult to exactly measure ash vacuums against one another.
Usually, suction power is measured in cubic feet per minute. And the higher CFM, the better. Some manufacturers will also talk about air watts which is also a measure of flow.
Type of Ashes
Most ash vacuums are designed to collect cold ashes only. There are some that can handle warm ashes up to a certain temperature only — usually 60°C or 140°F. But you should never vacuum hot ash.
So, it’s best to always check the details of what temperatures the ash vacuum cleaner can withstand in the user guide.
A lot of ash vacuums have a dual filtration system. For example, this Shop-Vac model has a HEPA filter that sits inside a triple-layer metal filter which is positioned inside the canister.
Other types of ash vacuum have pleated filters so that more fine ash particles are trapped. And this Cougar ash vacuum has a patented filter system. They’ve designed theirs here in the US with 2 fiberglass-coated filters.
Some ash vacuums have a triple filtration system. This includes a pre-filter and a metal mesh filter cage. And then a layered fine dust filter cartridge sits inside this.
Also, consider an ash vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter if you or members of your family suffer from allergies.
Finally, it’s a good idea to look for an ash vacuum cleaner that has a washable and replaceable filter. You can stock up on ash filters like this one so you’ve got spares for when yours wears out: LTWHOME Replacement Ash Vacuum HEPA Filter.
Cord and Hose Length
Look at how long the metal hose is. Because this will determine how far you’ll be able to reach the ash vacuum cleaner into your wood stove, fire pit, or barbecue. And some models will have a flexible hose to help you get into those awkward spots.
Then, check out the cord length. Again, this will determine where you can clean because unless your ash vac is cordless, you’ll need to have it plugged in to clean.
Of course, the length of the cord varies from brand to brand. Many have extra-long cords so you don’t necessarily need a power outlet in the same room as you’re vacuuming. And because there’s a good chance you’ll be using your ash vacuum cleaner outside, this means you don’t need to worry about having power out there.
You could also use an extension cable if the cord is too short. This may be fine for you. But if you don’t want this extra cost, or to have to get one out each time you use your ash vacuum, then consider a model with a long cord.
Not all ash vacuums come with accessories. But if you want a particular tool then look for models that do have them. Often, you might get a metal crevice tool or smaller brushes that are good for cleaning out pellet stoves.
And the more tools you have, the more versatile your ash vacuum will be. Some come with brushes that mean you can use them around your home as regular vacuums. Others have tools that make cleaning up your workshop, garage, or garden easier.
A decibel output of around 57 to 62 dBA is considered low. Anything making this amount of noise can be operated at any time and shouldn’t disturb others.
So if noise is an issue for you, look for an ash vacuum cleaner that has an output of about or below 55 dBA. This is the same range as a normal conversation. Or, you could pick a model that has a setting for a quieter operation so you can use this when needed.
Many ash vacuums do have motors that are quieter than regular vacuums. For example, this Cougar ash vacuum is quieter than other vacuums according to the manufacturer.
The Best Ash Vacuum Cleaners Of 2021
We’ve spent lots of time researching the best ash vacuums. We’ve brought together customer reviews, details from the manufacturers, and product specs.
1. PowerSmith PAVC101 Ash Vacuum
It has a heat resistant metal hose and a metal canister. Therefore, this fireplace ash vacuum cleaner can withstand high temperatures. Plus there’s an auto shut-off that’ll turn the machine off if it gets too hot. So you don’t need to worry about any fire hazards.
Finally, this vacuum cleaner has a dual filtration system. And PowerSmith says that this has “sonic welded seams” that capture the finest particles of ash.
What We Like
Keeps Dust in the VacuumMany customers commented on how well this vacuum cleaner kept the ash in the canister once they’d cleaned. They didn’t have to worry about fine dust particles finding their way back into the house.
PriceMany reviewers were happy with the cost of this ash vacuum. They felt it was very affordable and offered good value for money.
Powerful SuctionThis appliance has a 10 amp motor and a 1,200 wattage. Users did find that it had great suction and worked well at cleaning all the dust and debris from their fireplaces and wood stoves.
What We Don’t Like
Small CapacitySome customers liked this ash vacuum but weren’t happy with how small the collection canister was. At 3 gallons it is on the smaller side. So if you don’t like having to empty your vacuum cleaner often, this might not be the best pick for you.
|Tank Size||3 gallons|
|Hose Length||4.17 feet|
|Sound Level||79 dB|
|Additional Features||Warm Ash Capable, 2-stage Filtration System|
|Attachments Included||2 straight extension wands, brush nozzle, Turbo nozzle|
2. Snow Joe ASHJ201 Ash Vacuum
It’s very reasonably priced and comes with a dual filtration system. There’s a coarse-dust pre-filter and a fine-dust pleated filter to ensure all particles are effectively trapped. And they’re reusable and easy to clean.
SnowJoe is part of a brand with SunJoe and AquaJoe that specialize in affordable outdoor tools that help you to complete your chores more easily. Their ad says that if you have any problems, you should text directly the number they’ve provided. This will quickly put you in touch with an expert.
What We Like
QuietLots of customers were impressed at how quiet this vacuum was when working, especially compared to other shop vacs. So you don’t need to worry about disturbing anyone when you’re cleaning.
Big Ash CapacityDespite its compact size, this ash vacuum has a large capacity for ash collection at just under 5 gallons. Users were happy that they didn’t have to empty it very often. And when they did empty it – they said this was super easy!
Easy StorageMany individuals were impressed with the storage facility for both the cord and the hose on the vacuum itself. And because it’s a small vacuum cleaner, the whole unit doesn’t take up much space when not in use.
What We Don’t Like
Not As Good SuctionSome users said that the suction power wasn’t so great on this vacuum. Bear this in mind before buying – but it might be that it is sufficient if you’ve only got a small area to clean.
|Tank Size||4.8 gallons|
|Hose Length||3.9 feet|
|Additional Features||Dual Filtration System|
3. KIMO Cordless Ash Vacuum
KIMO has invested a lot of time in perfecting its batteries. The 20V battery that comes with this ash vacuum cleaner should last for at least 1,000 cycles. And the charger is fast. It only takes an hour to recharge!
The filter is designed for fine dust and is also washable. Plus it’s pleated which means that it can withstand hot ash up to 104oF.
What We Like
VersatileYou can use this ash vacuum anywhere. For your indoor wood stove or outdoor barbecue. And not just for ash – users cleaned their car, garage, or sofas with it too!
Good WarrantyKIMO offers a 2-year warranty on all their products. So if you have any issues or problems, you can be sure that they’ll offer a refund or replacement within this time.
Easy to ManeuverReviewers said that this lightweight ash vacuum was easy to move around their house and outdoor area. And they liked the wheels on the unit. Even though it’s handheld, you don’t need to worry about the canister which moves itself behind you as you clean your home.
What We Don’t Like
Small HoseSeveral customers said that the diameter of the hose was too small. Larger bits of debris could easily get clogged in it. So this isn’t ideal if you’re using it on a wood stove where bits of wood that aren’t fully burned need to be cleaned up.
|Tank Size||3.5 gallons|
|Additional Features||Rapid Charger|
|Attachments Included||Hard floor nozzle, flat mouth nozzle, upholstery nozzle,Lithium-ion battery and charger|
4. BACOENG Compact Ash Vacuum
The hose and canister are both made of metal providing good heat resistance. The hose is flexible so you can get into any awkward spaces. And the manufacturer has worked on improving the motor. Its power level is 18,000 pa which is higher than the industry average for a vacuum with a 6.6 amp motor.
Plus, the filtration system has a HEPA filter that traps really fine ash particles, dust, and allergens. And it also helps the motor from being damaged by dust.
What We Like
LightweightUsers found this ash vacuum really easy to transport and store due to its size and weight. There’s also a sturdy collapsible handle to make moving it easier.
Blower FunctionThere’s an integrated port on this ash vacuum cleaner which turns it into a small blower. So you can do more than one job with this appliance. You can clean the patio, or even give your dog a dry wash!
Good Suction PowerFor a small and light ash vacuum, customers found that it had surprisingly strong suction. BACOENG promise that it’s “among the most powerful ash vacuums” for its size and it seems like this is true.
What We Don’t Like
Clogs EasilyA few users commented that this ash vacuum got clogged up fairly quickly. They found it tiring having to empty and un-clog it so often.
|Tank Size||4 gallons|
|Hose Length||3.5 feet|
|Additional Features||HEPA Filtration System, Blowing Function|
5. Vacmaster EATC608S Ash Vacuum
But you can also use this ash vacuum cleaner in the home. It’s got casters on the base for easy maneuvering. Its metal construction makes it heat resistant. Plus, it also offers you the function of a blower. So in the fall, you can use it to clear away leaves in your garden.
You’ve also got handy on-board storage on this ash vacuum for the cable and hose and crevice tools. And emptying it is easy. There’s an extra handle and 3 latches that are easy to lift, making this process effortless.
Related Reading: The 6 Best Commercial Vacuums in 2021
What We Like
LED lightUsers appreciated the LED light which gave them increased visibility whilst they were cleaning. And it’s a clip-on one so you can attach it to the end of the hose or further up the wand, depending on where it suits you best.
Great for Pellet StovesMany reviewers commented on how well they could clean their pellet stoves with this ash vacuum cleaner. And this was especially true if they purchased the pellet stove kit for this vacuum. It has small attachments that can get into all the tiny spaces of the stove to give it a good clean.
QuietDespite its industrial-like look, this ash vacuum cleaner is relatively quiet. It operates at a noise output of 66 dBA. This is good for such a heavy-duty vacuum. And customers agreed that it was quiet when working.
What We Don’t Like
Costly FiltersSome users weren’t happy with how much they had to spend on replacement filters. Compared to the price of the ash vacuum – which they found affordable – the filters they bought were nearly half the cost of the vacuum again.
|Tank Size||6 gallons|
|Hose Length||4 feet|
|Sound Level||66 dBA|
|Additional Features||LED Light, Blowing Function|
|Attachments Included||Aluminum crevice nozzle tool|
Ash Vacuum Comparison Chart
|Product||Weight||Voltage||Tank Capacity||Carpet Types||Usage|
|Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Max||17.5 lbs||N/A||1 gallon||Carpet, Upholstery||Pet hair, Stain
|Hoover PowerDash Pet Compact||12.5 lbs||N/A||0.5 gallon||Carpet, Area Rugs||Pet stains, Stain
|Bissell 3624 Spot Clean||13 lbs||5.7 amps||96 oz||Carpet, Upholstery, Area Rugs||Car interiors, Pet stains, Stain|
|BISSELL TurboClean PowerBrush Pet||12 lbs||3.4 amps||0.5 gallon||Carpet, Area Rugs||Stain, Pet messes|
|Bissell Multi-Purpose Portable||12 lbs||3 amps||48 ounce||Carpet, Upholstery, Area Rugs||Car interiors, Stain|
|Bissell Big Green Professional||41 lbs||12 amps||1.75 gallons||Carpet, Upholstery||Pet messes, Stain
|McCulloch Steam Carpet Cleaner||12 lbs||120V||48 oz||Carpet, Upholstery, Area Rugs||Car interiors, Pet hair, Stain
|Folex Instant Carpet Spot Remover||2 lbs||N/A||N/A||Carpet||Pet accidents, coffee, blood,food, red wine|
FAQs Ash Vacuums
Here we answer some of your most common questions about ash vacuum cleaners.
Can I Vacuum Ash With A Dyson?
And if you use their appliances to clean up ashes, the warranty on the vacuum cleaner will be voided. Therefore, we wouldn’t recommend that you use a Dyson for ash.
Can I Use A Shop Vac For A Pellet Stove?
See, for example, this Shop-Vac model. It can pick up cold ash from pellet stoves, as well as from a fireplace or wood stove. There’s even a pellet stove cleaning kit included with this ash vacuum cleaner.
What Do I Do With My Collected Ash?
Don’t Let Cleaning Your Wood Stoves Be A Chore
Lots of households today rely on wood or pellet stoves or fireplaces for heat — and so you do. You also enjoy cooking on a barbecue or sitting by a fire pit outside. But you don’t like having to clean up all the ash afterward. We get that, it can be a real pain!
With a fireplace ash vacuum cleaner, you’ll have an appliance that makes this chore a lot easier. They’re designed for this sort of clean-up. They can withstand heat and will effectively capture the fine ash particles in their filters. And you won’t risk damaging your regular vacuum cleaner.
You need to think about capacity, weight, filter type and any additional features before choosing the best ash vacuum for you. And use our ash vacuum reviews to see what’s out there on the market and might suit your needs.
We love to hear from you, so please leave your feedback below. And if you liked our article, we’d appreciate you sharing it with your loved ones!