Our Top Choices of Vacuums for Cleaning Your Home and Workspace
Having a clean workspace can make your tasks ten times easier. With spills, paint, and countless materials lying around, your workspace can turn into a crime scene. It’s imperative to keep the area free of messes, especially if you spend most of your day in your workspace.
A shop vac also called a wet-dry vacuum, can make your job much easier since it increases an average vacuum’s functionality to 11. Coming from the brand name, Shop-Vac, is now a term used for any vacuum used commercially or in workspaces based in one’s home or garage. Ultimately, a shop vacuum offers much better performance than regular vacuums, due to more powerful suction and additional accessories.
The sizes of shop vacs are determined by the gallon capacity. As a rule of thumb, the higher the gallons capacity, the better the wet-dry vacuum will perform. Plus, the motor power also plays a role in determining how much waste a shop vac can suck up. Depending on the size of the space that needs cleaning, you can choose a larger shop vac. If you’re a DIY-enthusiast, you need one of the heavier-duty picks from our list of the best shop vacs.
Thanks to its 5-gallon tank and 4.5 powerful horsepower motor, one of the highest on a wet-dry vacuum with this tank size, this shop vac is the best overall
If you have two work tables and tons of tools crammed up in your garage workshop, plus a car parked there, cleanup can be a real pain. Well, not with this vacuum. Thanks to the side carry handles, it has enhanced portability so you can clean around tight spaces and hard-to-reach spots.
Plus, it comes with a crevice tool, floor nozzle, gulper nozzle, and three extension wands. That’s everything you need to get rid of spills, snow, debris, and splinters in the workspace.
A capacity of 5 gallons makes sure that the vac keeps going on for long. Additionally, the cartridge filters can hold enough debris to let you clean bigger rooms and tough messes.
But, can you use it outside? Well, it has wheels, so why not? It’s an excellent choice for workspaces as both the motor and the gallons are on the larger side. Also, you get plenty of accessories.
However, many users were disappointed with how awfully short the cord is. Also, others felt that the vac was poorly-designed as there are no proper places to store the accessories. And if you’re counting on the instructions manual to put this shop vac together, I’d suggest looking for video tutorials online instead. The manual is hard to understand, and the illustrations barely help.
Despite these issues, it’s a good shop vac with a powerful motor that will keep your workshop clean for the most part.
It’s best to opt for a 6-gallon shop vac like this Craftsman model if you have a bigger workshop. Also, it’s a fraction of most high-end vacuums’ price, so you’ll be saving a sweet buck while getting almost the same level of performance.
The Craftsman 12004 Six-Gallon shop vac has a 17-foot cleaning reach, owing to its 10 feet cord and double extension wands.
Irked by the cobwebs hanging in the corners that you can’t reach? Now, you can get rid of them easily.
Despite being a smaller vacuum, this budget shop vac packs a 3 peak horsepower motor, reducing the time you spend on cleaning.
Being an affordable option, it’s an ideal pick if you live in a shared room or apartment. Don’t be fooled by the smaller vacuum size, though; it can pick up dirt, wood scraps, and even heavier materials in seconds.
And that’s not even the best part. The shop vacuum can easily convert into a blower for cleaning the patio, yard, or driveway.
You can take on cleaning tasks in the outdoors with ultimate ease and that too, without spending any extra money.
Besides, the top handle makes it easy for you to carry the shop vac anywhere while the dust-sealed switch allows efficient control.
Users were pretty impressed by its reachability. At 17-feet, the vac can clean easily above cabinets and smaller spaces behind the tool shed.
Also, the secure-fit hose system, coupled with the powerful motor, makes it easy to clean bigger areas quickly.
Overall, it’s an affordable option for people who are always doing home improvement projects in their garage workshops.
If you’d rather spend your money on a 5-gallon shop vac, read about it below.
The Stanley SL18115P is the perfect option if you despise having to empty the vacuum during cleaning. Thanks to its large storage tank and 4.0 HP motor, this shop vac is incredibly convenient for quick cleaning.
While the powerful motor offers a matchless performance by sucking in dirty water, debris, wood pieces, and everything that comes its way, the lighter weight makes carrying a breeze.
You can move the vacuum around from one place to another without putting much force as it has wheels. Also, the 15-foot cleaning reach gets rid of the dirt on the wall that you’ve been eyeing for a while now.
As for the accessories, there’s a lot of them, including three extension wands, a floor brush, a cloth bag, a foam filter, a crevice nozzle, and a gulper nozzle. What more could you need?
Reviewers loved that despite being lightweight, the shop vac does not topple over.
Along with maintaining balance, it has an awesome suction, and most people fancy using it for their patio to clean messes left behind by strong winds.
More importantly, this incredible 5-gallon shop vac is relatively quieter, so you won’t be a nuisance for your neighbor during outdoor cleaning.
Once again, the major issue that most people faced was the smaller cord size. But it’s nothing that can’t be fixed.
Overall, it’s a clear winner among the small shop vac options, considering its longer reach, bigger five-gallon tank, and large drain port. And did I mention a large number of accessories it comes with?
To say it precisely, you won’t be disappointed with this shop vac, no matter where in the house you use it.
For some people, five gallons might be a tad bit small, so we have a six-gallon option.
I chose this Vacmaster stainless steel vacuum as the best six-gallon shop vac because it has everything you’d need in a portable vac. Let’s start with the stainless steel tank.
Due to its stainless steel construction, the heavy-duty tank is weather-resistant and can withstand harsh conditions. Thus, you don’t have to worry about it rusting away or the hose leaking due to physical damage even if you put it in the garage.
Secondly, the multi-floor nozzle and all-direction casters make the shop vac suitable for cleaning carpets in offices or wood floors in small apartments.
Besides, it can easily pick up medium messes, while the larger tank means you only have to empty the dirtbag once the whole house is squeaky clean.
Users claim that this shop vac cleans the air while picking up literally anything, including dust balls, wood shavings, dog hair, bits of dog food, and even twigs.
Meanwhile, its small size allows you to carry it outside for cleaning the driveway or taking it upstairs to clean the study
It also has attachments for vacuuming the sofas and wood floors.
Also, the smaller size makes it easy to store the vacuum anywhere. Don’t have a lot of space in your workshop? No worries; the vacuum can fit under one of the shelves.
Here’s the best part: while it’s not as quiet as a whisper, the shop vac definitely is quiet enough not to wake up the dead, contrary to most other models.
Although some people might agree that the hose could be longer, most are satisfied with the current size.
Therefore, it’s a great option for anyone looking for a shop vac with premium features and a large tank.
Investing in an eight-gallon shop vac is possibly the biggest favor you can do to yourself if you spend half your day in the garage workshop. Boasting an eight-gallon tank with a capacity of 18.5 liters, this vacuum makes cleaning almost enjoyable.
One of my biggest pet peeves is, the dust bag needs emptying while I’m in the middle of cleaning a room. Speaking of it, a one-gallon vacuum would take up half your day for cleaning the house.
Luckily, having the capacity of eight gallons, the Stanley shop vac will ensure that this never happens to you.
I picked this Stanley wet-dry vacuum among other medium shop vac options because of its 3-in-1 functionality.
It can suck liquid spills, harmful molds, leaves, debris, dirt, dust, and other messes while removing mildew and bacteria that are often found in laundry rooms. I remember using Stanley shop vacs for cleaning molds in laundry rooms, back in my days of working in a hotel.
Moreover, the vac’s air filters allow you to clean dry and wet waste, making it easy to manage a large spill or a pile of leaves. If you want to clean smaller messes outside the home, the vacuum turns into a blower port for efficient cleaning.
Apart from this, it has a 15-foot cleaning reach, which means you can clean hard-to-reach areas comfortably while the 10-feet power cost makes the shop vac portable.
It comes with the same tools as other shop vacuums from the company: a gulper nozzle, floor nozzle, and a crevice nozzle.
This medium shop vac was a pretty great pick for most users, while others raised questions on Stanley’s quality control.
Even with the concern about durability, the Stanley vacuum has an incredible motor that can put many shop vacs to shame.
As a brand, Stanley is focused on combining functionality with ease of use, and this ten-gallon shop vac is a clear example. If you have a large house or need a vacuum for commercial applications or a small industrial unit, I’d recommend the Stanley SL18191P shop vac.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t use it at home. With a capacity of ten gallons, you can use the vacuum without emptying the dust bag for even two or three days at home.
Plus, it has a powerful 4 HP motor, which can suck even the toughest messes, including liquid waste. What makes it stand out from other models is the long 16-foot cleaning range that lets you clean everywhere without taking the plug out.
Although the vacuum is great for professional applications and home cleaning, it’s quite loud. That’s expected of a large size shop-vac, but your neighbors won’t be very happy with the noise.
I’ll say try vacuuming during the ‘awake hours’ so that you don’t bother anyone inside or outside the house.
Also, go through the user’s manual to learn the dos and do-not because all vacuums are different, and this one may not be like your previous model.
Other than that, reviewers who have tried this vacuum were pretty impressed with the ‘heavy-duty’ motor and well-maintained balance of this shop vac.
You can use it for cleaning your home, workshop, apartments, laundry, hotel, or upholstery. On weekends, give your car a cleanup with this shop vac, and you’ll notice a huge difference in the air quality.
Overall, it’s a wonderful vacuum with a ten-gallon tank, suitable for cleaning any space, big or small.
And now it’s time to bring out the big guns. Read about the biggest shop vac on our list below.
I saved the biggest shop vac for last because it’s not for everyone. However, with large storage capacity and a plethora of attachments, it’s the best shop vac for someone who works on large projects.
The Craftsman CMXEVBE17595 is a 16-gallon shop vac, made for professionals, who need something for quick cleanups of bigger messes.
It has a 6.5 peak HP motor, which is the most powerful motor on this list. Whether you’re using it in your garage or on the job site, it will suck up everything from wood shavings to leaves, without a hiccup.
Despite being designed for heavier tasks, the shop vac is small, fitting in your workshop’s compact storage space. That’s convenience at its finest if you ask me.
Apart from the heavy-duty motor, the shop vac also has a rear blowing port. You can use it to clean the patio, lawn, driveway, and the backyard. Plus, the oversized drain makes it convenient to empty the liquids as required.
Meanwhile, the Dual-Flex technology offers amazing mobility to the shop vac. Bid farewell to kinking or applying extra force because the vacuum has 180-degree mobility.
Most users are pretty satisfied with the vacuum as it has a 20-foot power cord. It’s something you’ll hardly find in a low-end shop vacuum. It also has wet/dry vac capability, which is a must-have for home hobbyists and DIY-enthusiasts.
If you want to save some money, I’d say get rid of the dust bag. The vacuum already has a canister that pretty much does the same thing. Why would someone want to spend extra money on disposable bags then?
Otherwise, this is a perfect option for hardcore hobbyists who’re looking for a powerful motor. Coupled with reliable suction and a premium build, the vac is an excellent choice.
Now that you know about the best shop vacs, let’s move on to the buyer’s guide. Before you buy a shop vac, you should ask yourself a few questions:
Once you have the answers to these questions, you’ll have a clearer head to decide. Let’s talk about a few things that can form the criteria for choosing a shop vac.
For most users, medium-capacity shop vacs are sufficient to clean their home, workshop, garage, and outdoor spaces.
However, if you work professionally, such as wood or metalworking, you should opt for a high capacity shop vac. Such vacuums have higher airpower; thus, they can suck up tougher messes.
If you’ve worked with different vac models, you’ll know that not all of them can suck up bigger items. Thus, airpower definitely comes into play during cleaning.
If you do metalwork, you may have to vacuum bolts, screws, and nuts to keep the garage floor clean. A shop vac with high airpower can prove to be handy in this case.
Also, plastic builds don’t retain dents as much as stainless tanks do. So, it all comes down to your personal preference.
Out of all, the strongest tank material, with chemical-resistance, is polypropylene.
While most homeowners focus on motor horsepower in a vac, it’s the suction power that makes all the difference. If you’re buying a vac for industrial units or small workshops, make sure it has a high suction power.
Now, if a shop vac comes with around six or seven accessories, you’ll need space to keep them. While most vacs are designed to accommodate the accessories, others don’t do such a great job at storage.
So, look out for this little quirk, especially if your workshop is already small space with little storage area.
A dust extractor is suitable for indoor use, especially if you’re cleaning carpets or cabinets. On the other hand, a shop vac is your best bet for outdoor use. It can effectively suck messes of larger size, including rocks, bolts, and laves.
In some cases, it might even blow dust back into your room. The worst-case scenario would be some other part of the vacuum getting damaged due to the filter’s absence.
Thus, you should use a filter with your shop vac. If you’re planning to use a HEPA filter, make sure to check your vac’s compatibility.
Wrapping it up, you must have learned a lot about shop vacs, their distinctive features, and benefits. Hopefully, I’d say, you now have enough knowledge to make an informed decision about buying the right shop vac for your workspace.
Now, I want you to tell me:
Leave your comments and feedback below.