The Best Shop Vac Cleaners in 2021

By Jeneva Aaron Updated November 2, 2021

Don't shop around - buy a shop vac!

The Best Shop Vac Cleaners in 2021

Is your workshop full of dust, crumbs, or sawdust? Do you need to clean out cars or boats? Or maybe you have large spills you need to clean up in your garage?

For large messes and wet/dry spills, a shop vacuum will make your cleaning easy! These wet dry vacuums can pick up large debris such as wood chips or shavings, staples, and even nails. If you’ve got a lot of dirt, this is the vacuum for you.

In this guide, we’ll tell you about the twelves best shop vacuums, so you can find the perfect appliance for your messes.

Our Top Picks

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Best Shop Vacs of 2021 
DeWALT 12 gallon Poly Wet/Dry Vac,Yellow,DXV12PBest Overall

DeWALT Poly Wet/Dry Vac

DeWALT 12 gallon Poly Wet/Dry Vac,Yellow,DXV12P

  • Relatively quiet.

  • Powerful suction.

  • Durable.

Vacmaster VBV1210, 12-Gallon 5 Peak HP Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum with Detachable Blower, BlueBest Budget

Vacmaster VBV1210

Vacmaster VBV1210, 12-Gallon 5 Peak HP Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum with Detachable Blower, Blue

  • Great value.

  • Easy to set up.

  • Quiet.

Milwaukee M18 2 Gal. 18-Volt Lithium-ion Cordless Wet/Dry Vacuum (Tool-Only), 2.8 Amp Motor, Lightweight, Tool-Box Style for Effortless Transport and StorageBest Cordless

Milwaukee M18

Milwaukee M18 2 Gal. 18-Volt Lithium-ion Cordless Wet/Dry Vacuum (Tool-Only), 2.8 Amp Motor, Lightweight, Tool-Box Style for Effortless Transport and Storage

  • Easy to transport.

  • Very compact.

  • 5-year warranty.

RIDGID 50313 4000RV Portable Wet Dry Vacuum, 4-Gallon Small Wet Dry Vac with 5.0 Peak HP Motor, Pro Hose, Ergonomic Handle, Cord Wrap, Blower Port , RedBest Portable

RIDGID 50313

RIDGID 50313 4000RV Portable Wet Dry Vacuum, 4-Gallon Small Wet Dry Vac with 5.0 Peak HP Motor, Pro Hose, Ergonomic Handle, Cord Wrap, Blower Port , Red

  • Lifetime warranty.

  • Great for varied applications.

WORKSHOP Wet/Dry Vacs Vacuum WS0255VA Compact, Portable Wet/Dry Vacuum Cleaner, 2.5-Gallon Small Shop Vacuum Cleaner, 1.75 Peak HP Portable VacuumBest Compact

WORKSHOP Wet/Dry Vac

WORKSHOP Wet/Dry Vacs Vacuum WS0255VA Compact, Portable Wet/Dry Vacuum Cleaner, 2.5-Gallon Small Shop Vacuum Cleaner, 1.75 Peak HP Portable Vacuum

  • Great suction.

  • Excellent for quick clean-ups.

Vacmaster Pro 8 gallon Certified Hepa Filtration Wet/Dry VacBest Medium

Vacmaster Pro Wet/Dry Vac

Vacmaster Pro 8 gallon Certified Hepa Filtration Wet/Dry Vac

  • Extra-long Power cord.

  • Quality attachments.

CRAFTSMAN CMXEVBE17595 16 Gallon 6.5 Peak HP Wet/Dry Vac, Heavy-Duty Shop Vacuum with Attachments , RedBest Heavy-Duty

CRAFTSMAN Wet/Dry Vac

CRAFTSMAN CMXEVBE17595 16 Gallon 6.5 Peak HP Wet/Dry Vac, Heavy-Duty Shop Vacuum with Attachments , Red

  • Great wet suction capabilities.

  • Stable, doesn’t tip over.

Bosch VAC090A 9-Gallon Dust Extractor with Auto Filter CleanBest for Dust

Bosch VAC090A

CRAFTSMAN CMXEVBE17595 16 Gallon 6.5 Peak HP Wet/Dry Vac, Heavy-Duty Shop Vacuum with Attachments , Red

  • Powerful suction.

  • Picks up fine dust.

BISSELL Garage Pro Wall-Mounted Wet Dry Car Vacuum/Blower With Auto Tool Kit, 18P03Best Wall-mount

BISSELL Garage Pro

BISSELL Garage Pro Wall-Mounted Wet Dry Car Vacuum/Blower With Auto Tool Kit, 18P03

  • Easy to empty canister.

  • Excellent for car detailing.

Armor All, AA255 , 2.5 Gallon 2 Peak HP Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum , OrangeBest for Cars

Armor Utility Shop Vacuum

Armor All, AA255 , 2.5 Gallon 2 Peak HP Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum , Orange

  • Hose end rotates.

  • Great for Pet Hair.

RIDGID Wet Dry Vacuums VAC4000 Powerful and Portable Wet Dry Vacuum Cleaner, Includes 4-Gallon, 5.0 Peak Horsepower Wet Dry Auto Vacuum Cleaner for Car, Dusting Brush, Car Nozzle, and Claw NozzleBest for Home Use

RIDGID 4 Wet/Dry

RIDGID Wet Dry Vacuums VAC4000 Powerful and Portable Wet Dry Vacuum Cleaner, Includes 4-Gallon, 5.0 Peak Horsepower Wet Dry Auto Vacuum Cleaner for Car, Dusting Brush, Car Nozzle, and Claw Nozzle

  • Hose end rotates.

  • Great for Pet Hair.

FEIN Turbo II Vacuum Cleaner, 8.4 Gallon, 1100W | Includes: 13 ft Suction Hose, Tool Coupling with Suction Power Control, Cellulose Filter, 1 Fleece Filter BagQuietest

FEIN Turbo II

FEIN Turbo II Vacuum Cleaner, 8.4 Gallon, 1100W | Includes: 13 ft Suction Hose, Tool Coupling with Suction Power Control, Cellulose Filter, 1 Fleece Filter Bag

  • Extremely quiet.

  • Flat-top design.

What Is a Shop Vacuum?

A shop vacuum works like a regular vacuum, but it can suck up both wet and dry messes.

Rather than using a dust bag like an upright or canister vacuum, a shop vac has a system made of two buckets. When you vacuum up a mess, the machine separates the liquid mess from the solid. These two compartments also protect the wet dry vac from damage and protect you from electric shocks.

Because there are two compartments, there are also two filters. Shop vacuums generally use a foam filter for the liquids and a paper cartridge for the solids. You’ll need to maintain both filters by washing or replacing them regularly, depending on the filter type.

Since you can use shop vacs for so many different types of messes, they are great tools for outdoor jobs and workshops.

Most medium and large shop vacuums will also have a blower function. This means you can clean out hard-to-reach corners or do yard work.

Is a Shop Vac Worth It?

Yes! Here are some reasons why shop vacs make great tools.

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Clean Wet and Dry Messes

Shop vacuums are also called wet dry vacuums because they can clean both types of messes. This means you only need one appliance instead of two!

A wet dry vacuum is great for particles like dust, dirt, or wood shavings. But it’s also great for liquids. So if your basement floods and your carpeting gets wet, you can suck most of the water out of it with the shop vac so the carpet will dry faster.

You might think a wet dry shop vacuum would be messy to empty, but they are well-designed. The drain hose lets you easily empty the liquid mess, so you’re not removing a sloppy mix of wet and dry debris from the canister.

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Remove Large Debris

A regular vacuum for your home only picks up small debris like dust and crumbs. Large items can clog the hose or the inside of the vacuum, and this can reduce the suction power.

A wet dry shop vacuum, however, can pick up larger and heavier debris. It’s a great tool for a workshop or garage where you need to vacuum up items like staples, nails, or wood chips.

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Clean Various Surfaces

Because shop vacs are so versatile, they are great tools for both professional and domestic situations. There are larger, professional-quality shop vacuums that are perfect for offices or other businesses. And there are smaller, compact models for homeowners.

In addition to vacuuming floors, you can also use a shop vac in these situations:

  • Clear a blocked sink or bathtub by using the blower feature
  • Clean the dust off upholstery or curtains
  • Remove water if a pipe bursts or your house floods

You can also use a wet dry vac outside. For example:

  • To remove snow from your porch or patio by using the blower feature
  • To remove leaves from your backyard by using the blower feature

Some other applications include:

  • Emptying a waterbed
  • Drying out a spill in your car
  • Removing the depressions in a carpet left by furniture.

Always check the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure you’re using the shop vac correctly.

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Easy to Maneuver

A shop vac is designed differently than a traditional upright vacuum. A shop vac is usually a bucket on wheels that’s connected to a hose. The bucket has wheels so that it can follow you as you move around to clean. The wheels are generally on casters, so they can spin 360 degrees. This design makes it easy to maneuver.
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Inexpensive

When looking at the price of a shop vac, remember that you’re getting two tools in one because it can clean up wet or dry messes.

Additionally, shop vacuums are generally more powerful than a regular vacuum. Therefore you’ll get a better clean with a wet dry vac than you will with a traditional domestic appliance.

If you want the cheapest type of wet dry vacuum, look for a mini shop vac. But even larger models with bigger tanks and more powerful motors are not too expensive.

How To Choose the Best Shop Vacuums

When choosing the best wet dry shop vacuum, here are some features to look for.

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Types

Shop vacuums come in different sizes, so you can choose the one that’s right for your situation.

Small

A small wet dry shop vac is meant to be handheld or easy to maneuver. This is great if you want a portable shop vac. Because they’re mini, these models usually only hold 2 to 6 gallons.

Since the wet dry vacuum itself is small, the motor is also small. A motor for this size of shop vac will usually be 1 to 4.5 horsepower.

This type of vacuum cleaner is ideal for tight spaces such as cars or boats. It also works well for houses.

In addition, this type of shop vac comes in both corded and cordless styles. This RYOBI, for example, is a cordless shop vac.

Medium

A medium shop vac will obviously be larger than a small model. Medium shop vacuums can usually hold 6 to 14 gallons. And the motor will be larger as well: usually around 5 to 6 horsepower.

It’s a very versatile tool because you can use it indoors or outdoors. You can generally convert this type of shop vacuum into a blower, as well.

This type of shop vac is great for projects around the house or in your garage. With it, you can pick up dust, wood shavings, and even water from a flooded basement.

There is only one downside to this type of vacuum cleaner — because it’s larger, it’s less portable than the small version. However, most medium shop vacs have wheels on castors, so they are easy to move.

For example, this Shop-Vac model has a 10-gallon capacity and 4 castor wheels.

Large

Large shop vacs work the same way as smaller models, but they can hold a lot more. They generally hold 14 to 18 gallons. In addition, the motors are larger and stronger, and they work at 6 or more horsepower.

This type of wet dry shop vac is great for many situations because you can use it for small dust piles or heavy duty cleaning tasks. They are ideal for daily use and commercial applications.

However, if you are looking for a wet dry vacuum for your house or car, this type may be too large and noisy.

This WORKSHOP vacuum cleaner is a large wet dry shop vacuum that holds 16 gallons.

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Capacity

The capacity of a wet dry shop vacuum tells you how much dirt, debris, and liquid it can hold. This, in turn, lets you know how often you need to empty the wet dry vac.

In general, if you use a shop vac with a large capacity, you won’t need to empty it as frequently while you’re cleaning. This can save you time while you work. However, the wet dry vac will be bigger and therefore might be more difficult to store.

When choosing a shop vac, think about the area you’ll be cleaning and how much debris you’ll need to remove.

Shop vacs can hold anywhere between 2 and 18 gallons, so you can choose the size that’s right for you.

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Tank Material

Most shop vacs are made of heavy-duty plastic, although some are made of metal.

  • Plastic is the most common choice because it’s both durable and lightweight. This makes the wet dry vac easier to carry around.
  • Metal shop vacs, however, are even more durable. Therefore, they’re great options for settings such as construction sites and body shops.
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Corded or Cordless

Shop vacs come in both corded and cordless styles.

  • A corded shop vac is a great option for large homes or workshops. Because they are plugged into the wall, they never run out of power. However, you need to be careful not to trip over the cord. In addition, you may need to change outlets as you clean.
  • If you want a very portable shop vac, choose a cordless model. These shop vacs are generally lightweight, and you can move them around easily because they are not tied to an outlet. But keep in mind that while a cordless shop vac is perfect for small jobs, large ones can quickly drain the battery.
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Suction Power

Unfortunately, there are many different ways to measure suction power, and there is no industry standard. However, there are several different measurements you can look at.

Many manufacturers will talk about “peak horsepower.” This is a measure of the strength of the motor. It tells you how much power the motor puts out, which was measured in a laboratory.

Another measurement you’ll see is CFM, which stands for “cubic feet per minute.” CFM is a measurement of the maximum airflow of the vacuum cleaner. The higher the number, the stronger the suction.

Some manufacturers talk about amp, RPM, or Pa, but these are not measures of suction. Amps measure the amount of energy the motor uses, RPM measures the speed of the motor, and Pa measures the pressure the vacuum exerts.

This DeWALT wet dry vac has a 5.5 peak horsepower motor.

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Filters

Any wet dry vac you buy will have some kind of filter. While a regular vacuum generally has one filter, a shop vac will have two: a dry filter or cartridge for solids and a foam filter for liquids.

Keep in mind that some filters are better than others. The best kind of dry filter is a HEPA filter. These certified filters remove more dirt and debris than any other kind. They trap 99.97% of all particles of 0.3 microns (1).

A HEPA filtration system reduces health risks from inhaling particles such as dust, mold, or pet dander. This Milwaukee, for example, uses a certified HEPA filter.

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Attachments

Every wet dry shop vac comes with a variety of attachments. These make your cleaning job easier in different situations.

Extra tools can include an extension wand, car nozzle, crevice tool, blower adapter, or diffuser.

It’s great to have lots of attachments, but make sure you consider what tools you need. You don’t want to pay for accessories you won’t use.

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Extra Features

There are a few extra features to keep an eye out for.

For example, you can convert some models into a blower. This is great for cleaning hard-to-reach areas or removing leaves from your lawn. You’re basically getting two tools for the price of one! This Vacmaster, for example, includes a detachable blower adapter.

Another feature to look for is an extra drain port. If you suck up a lot of liquids, this can be very handy because it will be easier to empty the vacuum canister. This DeWALT, for example, has an extra drain port.

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Brands

Certain manufacturers have great reputations for making quality products. Look out for these brands:

  • WorkShop
  • DeWALT
  • Vacmaster
  • Bosch

The Best Shop Vacs of 2021

Now that you’re familiar with how shop vacs work and some of their special features, it’s time for our list of the 12 top shop vacs. To find you the best shop vac models, we’ve spent hours comparing different brands and models, as well as reading expert advice. With this list, you’ll find the right shop vac for your home or workshop!

1. DeWALT Poly Wet/Dry Vac

When you have a big mess, you need a quality machine to clean it up. A good wet dry vac will give you great suction, hold a large quantity of debris, and be easy to use.

This medium DeWALT shop vac holds 12 gallons, so you can pick up a lot of large debris without needing to constantly empty the tank. It also converts into a blower, so you get two tools in one.

The rubberized castors are extremely sturdy and smoothly swivel 360 degrees, so you can maneuver the shop vac wherever it needs to go. Other features also make this unit durable, such as the water-resistant on/off button design.

The powerful motor has a peak output of 5.5 horsepower, so you can pick up virtually any mess. And the built-in tank drain allows for easy removal of liquids once you’ve sucked them up.

The detachable accessories bag lets you take your attachments with you. But you can also remove it if it gets in your way. In addition, the cord wrap and hose strap features allow for easy storage.

PROS:
  • Relatively quiet
  • Powerful suction, especially with the angled attachment
  • Durable
  • Good maneuverability due to castor swivel
  • Long, 20-foot power cord
CONS:
  • Large container is a bit bulky

Additional Specs

Hose Length 7 feet, 2.5 inches wide
Cord Length 20 feet
Capacity 12 gallons
Air Volume 105 CFM
Usage Home, car, garage, workshop, yard cleanup
Included Accessories two extension wands, floor nozzle, utility nozzle, crevice tool

2. Vacmaster VBV1210 Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum

When buying a wet dry vacuum on a budget, you don’t have to sacrifice power or quality. This medium Vacmaster, for example, will get the job done without breaking the bank. It’s also our pick for the best shop vac for water cleanup!

This model holds 12 gallons, just like the best overall model above. It has almost the same peak horsepower, too, with a 5 horsepower motor.

You can also convert this wet dry shop vacuum into a handheld blower for added versatility. The top of the vacuum pops off so you can use the blower one-handed. It has a 210 MPH blowing speed.

The extra-large drain port on the bottom of the canister lets you drain liquid quickly. And the built-in storage ports on the castors and power head let you bring your attachments with you.

This shop vac is made of durable polypropylene, so it’s great for workshops and other tough settings.

PROS:
  • Great value
  • Locking mechanism on the hose keeps the unit together, even if you drag it around by the hose
  • Easy to set up
  • Muffler attachment makes the shop vac very quiet
CONS:
  • Power cord is a little short, and cord storage is a little awkward
  • Suction doesn’t feel as powerful as other models

Additional Specs

Hose Length 7 feet, 2.5 inches wide
Cord Length 19 feet
Capacity 12 gallons
Air Volume 106 CFM
Usage Home, car, garage, workshop, yard cleanup
Included Accessories Crevice tool, two extension wands, air/noise diffuser, utility nozzle, concentrator nozzle, car nozzle, blower adapter.

3. Milwaukee M18 Cordless Wet/Dry Vacuum

For the most portable shop vac, choose a cordless model. With a wet dry vacuum like this, you can easily take it with you from room to room without worrying about finding an outlet. Just remember to keep the battery charged!

This Milwaukee cordless shop vac is extremely portable. It comes in the form of a toolbox, so you can easily carry it around wherever you need it. And it only weighs 10 pounds!

Because of its shape, you can keep all of your accessories inside the shop vac. It’s also stackable, so it’s easy to store.

This shop vacuum comes with a HEPA filter, so your air will stay sparkling clean as you work.

The lithium ion battery (sold separately) gives you 30 minutes of run-time before it needs to be recharged.

PROS:
  • Easy to transport, so it’s great for cleaning out your car or motorhome
  • Very compact, because you can store attachments, battery, and hose inside the box
  • 5-year warranty
  • Lightweight
CONS:
  • Battery can run down quickly, so you may want to buy an extra one
  • Hose may wear out and crack

Additional Specs

Hose Length 6 feet, 1.25 inches wide
Cord Length N/A feet
Capacity 2 gallons
Air Volume 45 CFM
Usage Home, car, garage, spot cleaning
Included Accessories Crevice tool, utility nozzle

4. RIDGID 50313 Portable Wet Dry Vacuum

Big shop vacuums are powerful tools, but they can be bulky and awkward, too. If you need a shop vac for your car or motorhome, a portable one is a great investment!

Although this is a relatively small shop vac, it’s still very powerful. It has a 5 peak horsepower motor that allows it to clean up most messes.

You can also convert this wet dry shop vac into a blower for more versatility. You simply lock the hose into the blower port, and you can remove leaves, dust, and other debris.

This is a commercial-quality machine, and it’s very durable. This includes the hose, which is ultra-flexible and 4 times more durable than the standard hose made by Ridgid. When in use, the hose clips onto the body of the vacuum, so it won’t fall off while you’re working.

You can easily store the 20-foot power cord by wrapping it around the handle of this wet dry vacuum.

It’s also quick and simple to replace the filter because this portable shop vac uses a patented Qwik-Lock Filter Fastening system.

PROS:
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Compact and easy to transport
  • Long hose and power cord
  • Great for varied applications, including car, household, and workshop cleaning
CONS:
  • Not great for large jobs, because the small tank will fill up quickly
  • Some users have had trouble with the hose breaking

Additional Specs

Hose Length 8 feet, 1⅞ inches wide
Cord Length 20 feet
Capacity 4 gallons
Air Volume 92 CFM
Usage Home, car, garage, spot cleaning, commercial applications
Included Accessories Car nozzle, noise muffler/diffuser

5. WORKSHOP Wet/Dry Vacs Small Shop Vacuum Cleaner

Sometimes you need a powerful cleaning tool, but you don’t have a lot of storage space. A compact shop vac, like this WORKSHOP model, can pick up dry and wet and messes, and it will easily fit in a closet.

This small wet dry vacuum weighs only 7.24 pounds and measures 15 x 12 x 15.15 inches. It’s very useful for picking up small messes in apartments, dorm rooms, and condos, where you might not have a lot of storage space.

It holds 2.5 gallons and has a 1.75 peak horsepower motor. This means it can handle more difficult cleaning jobs than an upright vacuum, including picking up liquids, and it’s more portable.

For added versatility, you can use the blower port on the back of the wet dry vac for outdoor cleanups.

The cord wraps around the handle when you’re finished. And the onboard tool storage makes it easy to take the accessories with you and keep everything together when you put the wet dry vac away.

PROS:
  • Great suction, particularly for such a small wet dry vac
  • Sits on the floor, so it won’t tip over
  • Excellent for quick clean-ups, both wet and dry
  • 5-year warranty
CONS:
  • Relatively short cord
  • Fine dust may escape out of the exhaust tube

Additional Specs

Hose Length 4 feet, 1.24 inches wide
Cord Length 10 feet
Capacity 2.5 gallons
Air Volume 49 CFM
Usage Home, car, garage, spot cleaning, yard work
Included Accessories Utility nozzle, car nozzle

6. Vacmaster Pro Wet/Dry Vac with HEPA Filtration

Finding the right balance of power, capacity, and physical size is really important when looking for a shop vac. A medium-sized wet dry vac, such as this Vacmaster Pro, gives you an efficient tool that can handle wet or dry messes, and you won’t have to empty it too frequently.

The 8-gallon tank on this Vacmaster is made of durable polypropylene, and it’s crush-proof. That makes this model very useful for construction sites and other commercial applications.

The 2-stage motor is industrial-strength, so it will have a longer life and give you greater suction.

You can clean up to a 40-foot area with the extra-long power cord and 10-foot hose. The durable hose is crush-proof, so it won’t fall apart on you. And when you’re done working, the power cord conveniently attaches to a hook on the side of the shop vacuum.

This shop vac features 4-stage filtration, which includes a HEPA filter to keep small particles out of the air. There’s even an exhaust filter made of HEPA-like material.

The storage caddy on the back of the shop vac lets you bring your accessories with you.

Read Next The 8 Best HEPA Vacuums in 2021

PROS:
  • Extra-long, 30-foot power cord
  • Great value, especially considering it has a certified HEPA filter
  • Wheels roll well, and they can lock
  • Durable, quality attachments
CONS:
  • Relatively loud
  • May need to take out the HEPA filter when cleaning wet messes so you don’t damage it

Additional Specs

Hose Length 10 feet, 1.5 inches wide
Cord Length 30 feet
Capacity 8 gallons
Air Volume 125 CFM
Usage Home, car, garage, commercial applications
Included Accessories 2 locking steel wands, power tool adapter, steel elbow with airflow adjuster, round brush with horsehair, crevice tool, floor nozzle (with 2 brushes)

7. CRAFTSMAN Heavy-Duty Shop Vacuum

When you make big messes, you need a heavy-duty wet dry vac to clean up after you. This is particularly true if you have mountains of big debris, piles of dirt, or inches of water to pick up. A large, heavy-duty shop vac like this Craftsman will take care of the hard work for you.

This wet dry vac has a powerful 6.5 peak horsepower motor, so it works well for large projects in a workshop, garage, or job site. It also holds 16 gallons, so you don’t have to stop and empty it frequently while you’re working.

You can convert this shop vac into a blower for grass clippings or leaves by using the port on the back.

If you suck up wet messes, draining is quick and easy with the built-in oversized drain.

The hose is designed with dual-flex technology so that it will bend 180 degrees at each end but won’t kink. When you’re done working, you can wrap the hose around the top to securely store it.

The castor feet allow you to easily roll this shop vac wherever you need it to go. There is also accessory storage built into the castors so you can take your tools with you.

PROS:
  • Stable, doesn’t tip over
  • Hose has a convenient one-hand clip to attach to the vacuum
  • Powerful suction
  • Relatively quiet
  • Great wet suction capabilities
CONS:
  • Quite large, so storage may be awkward

Additional Specs

Hose Length 7 feet, 2.5 inches wide
Cord Length 20 feet
Capacity 16 gallons
Air Volume 185 CFM
Usage Home, car, garage, yard work, large messes, job sites, renovations
Included Accessories Utility nozzle, car nozzle, wet nozzle, 2 extension wands.

8. Bosch VAC090A Dust Extractor with Auto Filter Clean

Many vacuums, including traditional uprights, have trouble picking up dust. Some scatter it across the floor, and others blow it around with the air from the exhaust. And if you’re working in construction or doing renovations, it’s imperative to keep dust levels down.

This Bosch is specifically designed to keep dust and small particles out of the air. You can activate the automatic filter cleaning system, which cleans the filter every 15 seconds. This means your suction power is never compromised. You can also attach a HEPA filter (sold separately), if you’d like even more dust protection.

This shop vacuum has a power tool activation feature, which lets you plug other power tools into the wet dry vac. The shop vac then acts as the on/off switch for that tool. In addition, the Power Broker system regulates the amount of power used so you won’t blow a circuit.

If you’re cleaning up liquids, the shop vac motor will automatically shut off when the water in the canister reaches the maximum level. That way, you won’t damage your motor.

The shop vac is also designed for durability and ease of storage. The wheels are made of heavy-duty rubber, and they have locking capability. When you’ve finished working, the cord and hose wrap securely around the shop vacuum.

PROS:
  • Powerful suction
  • Picks up fine dust without clogging
  • Can use with non-Bosch tools as well
  • High-quality design and parts
CONS:
  • Loud sound when auto-cleaning the filter
  • Not easy to service if something breaks
  • Wheels can scuff floors

Additional Specs

Hose Length 10 feet, 1.37 inches wide
Cord Length 16.4 feet
Capacity 9 gallons
Air Volume 150 CFM
Usage Home, car interiors, garage, job sites, dust extraction
Included Accessories Power tool hose adapter, anti-static bend nozzle

9. BISSELL Garage Wall-Mounted Pro Wet/Dry Vacuum

Sometimes you don’t want to drag a vacuum behind you as you work. Also, you may not have the floor space to store a standard wet dry vacuum.

A wall-mount shop vac gives you the power and versatility of a regular model to pick up different types of messes. However, it hangs on your wall, so you can use it as a centralized vacuum system, and you don’t have to worry about storing it.

This Bissell shop vac comes with a wall-mounting kit, and it has an extra-long hose that will reach 32 feet. That means you can clean your workshop without moving the unit.

This wet dry vac comes with 7 car detailing attachments, which you can use for your vehicle or to clean areas in your house, such as upholstery and stairs. For added versatility, you can also convert it into a blower.

You always know when to empty the canister, because the dust tank is semi-translucent. There is also an LED light to tell you if the water tank is full.

As an added bonus, Bissell donates money to support homeless pets with every purchase.

Read Next 8 Best Wall Mounted Garage Vacuums in 2021

PROS:
  • Convenient to hang or remove from the wall for more flexibility
  • Long hose means you don’t need to worry about extension cords
  • Easy to empty canister when full
  • Excellent for car detailing
CONS:
  • Long hose can be awkward to store
  • Hose is a little narrow
  • Suction is adequate, not amazing

Additional Specs

Hose Length 32 feet
Cord Length 5 feet
Capacity 4 gallons
Air Volume N/A
Usage Home, car, garage, workshop
Included Accessories 7 car detailing attachments

10. Armor All Utility Shop Vacuum

Professional car detailing can be expensive. And driving to a car wash to vacuum out the interior is a pain. Having a shop vac means you can do detailing from the comfort of your own home whenever you want.

This Armor All model is the best shop vac for cleaning out your car. Because it’s only 7.4 pounds, it’s extremely lightweight and portable. It also includes a deluxe car nozzle and a detail brush to clean every inch of your vehicle.

For added versatility, you can also use this shop vac as a blower for your workshop or yard. You can use it to dry off your car wheels and grills, or for your motorcycle.

The body of this shop vac is built for functionality and durability. It has a dust-sealed switch, as well as a built-in air and noise diffuser.

To make storage easy, you can keep the tools on board, and the hose will wrap around the unit.

PROS:
  • Hose end rotates, so it doesn’t kink when you use attachments
  • Good suction, even for pet hair
  • Performs as well as larger shop vacs
CONS:
  • Cord is relatively short at 10 feet

Additional Specs

Hose Length 6 feet, 1.25 inches wide
Cord Length 10 feet
Capacity 2.5 gallons
Air Volume 53 CFM
Usage Home, car, garage, workshop
Included Accessories 2-in-1 utility nozzle, detail brush, crevice tool, blower nozzle, deluxe car nozzle

11. RIDGID 4 Gallon Wet Dry Vacuum (VAC4000)

Shop vacs aren’t just for workshops and job sites — they’re great household tools too! Because you can clean up dry and wet messes, they’re useful for cleaning up DIY project debris or a flooded basement.

With a 4-gallon capacity and weighing only 12 pounds, this Ridgid shop vac is both convenient and portable. However, it’s still a powerful tool with a 5 peak horsepower motor.

Because it’s so easy to transport, it’s a great tool for vehicle detailing. The claw nozzle and dusting brush will get the dust and debris out of your car interior efficiently.

The cord is 20 feet long, and the hose adds an extra 7 feet of distance. This means you can clean large areas without needing to find an extension cord or a new outlet.

Storage is simple because of the stable, flat bottom. It will conveniently fit on a shelf in your pantry or garage.

The patented Qwik-Lock filter makes maintenance easy, and you don’t need any extra tools to service your shop vac.

PROS:
  • Convenient size for keeping in your car, pickup, or RV
  • Powerful suction combined with a wide hose let you pick up lots of debris, even though the shop vac is small
  • Simple set-up
  • Easy to empty
CONS:
  • Hose kinks frequently and feels flimsy
  • Accessories may not attach securely

Additional Specs

Hose Length 7 feet, 1⅞ inches wide
Cord Length 20 feet
Capacity 4 gallons
Air Volume 167 Airwatts
Usage Home, car, garage, workshop
Included Accessories Claw nozzle, dusting brush

12. FEIN Turbo II Wet/Dry Vacuum Cleaner

While shop vacs are powerful tools, they’re also notoriously noisy. This can both hurt your ears and be a nuisance to those around you.

This Fein shop vac is a very quiet tool, and it works at 66 decibels. In general, an average regular vacuum works at around 75 decibels.

This is a versatile shop vac because you can plug power tools into the outlet on the canister. The Auto-Start feature means that when you turn on your tool, the wet dry vacuum will turn on as well. This can be especially useful for dust extraction.

It’s easy to maneuver this wet dry vac because the wheels rotate 360 degrees. You can also store your tools on the shop vac and hang the cord there as well.

The by-pass cooling system ensures that the dirty air you suck into the vacuum won’t come in contact with the motor. This means your shop vac will last longer because you won’t clog the motor.

PROS:
  • Extremely quiet
  • Castors spin smoothly for great maneuverability
  • Flat-top design is great for storage
CONS:
  • Power cord is relatively stiff but will soften over time

Additional Specs

Hose Length 13 feet
Cord Length 18 feet
Capacity 8.4 gallons
Air Volume 151 CFM
Usage Home, car, garage, workshop
Included Accessories N/A

Shop Vac Comparison Chart

ProductHose LengthCord LengthCapacity Air Volume Usage
DeWALT Poly Wet/Dry Vac7 feet, 2.5 inches wide20 feet12 gallons105 CFMHome, car, garage, workshop, yard cleanup
Vacmaster Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum7 feet, 2.5 inches wide19 feet12 gallons106 CFMHome, car, garage, workshop, yard cleanup
Milwaukee M18 Cordless Wet/Dry Vacuum6 feet, 1.25 inches wideN/A2 gallons45 CFMHome, car, garage, spot cleaning
RIDGID 50313 Portable Wet Dry Vacuum8 feet, 1⅞ inches wide20 feet4 gallons92 CFMHome, car, garage, spot cleaning, commercial applications
WORKSHOP Wet/Dry Vacs4 feet, 1.24 inches wide10 feet2.5 gallons49 CFMHome, car, garage, spot cleaning, commercial applications
Vacmaster Pro Wet/Dry Vac10 feet, 1.5 inches wide30 feet8 gallons125 CFMHome, car, garage, commercial applications
CRAFTSMAN Heavy-Duty Shop Vacuum10 feet, 1.5 inches wide30 feet8 gallons125 CFMHome, car, garage, commercial applications
Bosch VAC090A Dust Extractor10 feet, 1.5 inches wide30 feet8 gallons125 CFMHome, car interiors, garage, job sites, dust extraction
BISSELL Garage Wall-Mounted Pro32 feet5 feet4 gallonsN/AHome, car, garage, workshop
Armor All Utility Shop Vacuum6 feet, 1.25 inches wide10 feet2.5 gallons53 CFMHome, car, garage, workshop
RIDGID 4 Gallon Wet Dry Vacuum7 feet, 1⅞ inches wide20 feet4 gallonsN/AHome, car, garage, workshop
FEIN Turbo II Wet/Dry Vacuum13 feet18 feet8.4 gallons151 CFMHome, car, garage, workshop
Jump to the Full Shop Vacs Reviews

How to Use a Shop Vacuum

It’s not hard to use a shop vacuum. It works just like a regular vacuum! There are a couple of differences, though, so make sure you keep these in mind.

  • First, check that you’re using the right filter. If you’re vacuuming a dry mess, use the cartridge. And if you’re sucking up liquids, remove the cartridge and put the foam filter in place. In addition, when you’re vacuuming liquids, make sure you’ve removed the filter bag.
  • Second, the way you empty the wet dry vacuum will depend on whether it is a bagged or bagless model. If it has a bag, you’ll remove the dust collection bag and either empty it or replace it with a new one. Some bags are reusable, while others need to be replaced.
  • On the other hand, if you have a bagless model, you’ll open the canister of the vacuum and empty out the compartment. How you do this depends on the design of your shop vacuum.
  • Finally, when you want to empty the liquid compartment, you either pour the liquid directly out of the canister, or you use the drain spout (if there is one).
Jeneva Aaron

About the Author

Jeneva Aaron

Jeneva has over years of passion for home decorating and cleaning. She is the founder and CEO of thehousewire.com where she provides honest and objective reviews on home and cleaning products.

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