Finding a powerful tool that can help you clean up any mess, be it in the workplace or at home, can be a little tricky, because a unit that can clean up water, oil, and dry waste is pretty rare.
One such versatile and unique product is the Shop-Vac.
Starting from a construction sites to woodworking workshops, they all require a quality vacuum, and the standard household units are not efficient enough for heavy-duty tasks.
Why, do you ask?
Well! Normal vacuums have been designed only for clearing dirt, dust, and other small particles, but the Shop Vacs is a multi-purpose tool that can pick up screws, nails, and wood chunks without resulting in any damage.
Each vac and its accessories are engineered with a specific purpose in mind. So, it’s important to know what you’re looking for.
Now, we understand that it can get challenging to find the right model, especially in a market that is flooded with many options. To make it easier for you, we’ve reviewed some of the best Shop Vacs out there, cast a glance!
Best Shop Vacs
Table of Contents
- Best Shop Vacs
- 1. Stanley Pro Stainless Steel – Best for Home Use & Portability
- 2. Emerson WS1600VA – Best for Large Cleaning Areas
- 3. Armor All AA255 – Best for Versatile Cleaning
- 4. Vacmaster VFB511B0201 Five-Gallon
- 5. Shop-Vac 5895200 2.5-Gallon
- 6. Shop-Vac 2022000 One-Gallon
- 7. Dewalt DCV581H Two-Gallon Shop Vac
- 8. Craftsman XSP 16-Gallon Shop Vac
- Best Shop Vacs Comparison Table
- Buying Guide For The Best Shop Vacs
- Frequently Asked Questions
To help you find the best option for your needs, we’ve compiled a list of the top-performing shop-vacs on the market. From compact models to heavy-duty options, here’s the list of the 8 best shop-vacs.
1. Stanley Pro Stainless Steel – Best for Home Use & Portability
The six-gallon Stanley Pro shop vac is compact enough to be considered a portable unit. Although the motor is rated as having three horsepower, it’s pretty powerful for cleaning most kinds of dirt in the basement, workshop, garage, laundry room, or any other area in the house. If you’re looking for a unit that will be easier to store, then this unit makes for an ideal choice.
- 6 Gallon Stainless Steel Tank
- 3 Peak HP Motor
We purchased this unit after striking down a host of other models that we had selected earlier. This shop vac has the perfect size for storing it in our small garage without occupying much space. Especially when we considered its price and size, it was pretty clear that Stanley Pro was a better option than the others.
Moreover, we also received a range of accessories that is similar to the other Vacmaster wet/dry vacuums. It also comes with one dust bag, but for replacing the included cover, we need to purchase them separately. And apart from the approximately 6-Gallon tank capacity, this shop vac has many other benefits.
First, the top handle design is well-balanced, making it easier to carry the vacuum around. Also, it comes with caster wheels that make it easy to move it from one location to the next. Secondly, the stainless steel construction offers excellent durability. This pretty much sums up the reasons behind ordering this unit and its overall usage.
- Stylish design
- Suction is relatively strong
- Provides many attachments
- Relatively quiet
- Doesn’t topple over
2. Emerson WS1600VA – Best for Large Cleaning Areas
If cleaning large areas is the main concern, then you won’t go wrong with the Emerson WA1600VA. The design and efficiency of this unit are on point, and the 16-gallon tank is the absolute best when it comes to maximizing the amount of work done. Most professionals will appreciate the massive storage capacity that makes it a versatile unit.
- Backed by a 5-Year Limited Warranty, this shop...
- Qwik Lock Filter Fastening System allows quick and...
When it comes to finding the right unit, it gets tricky because of the range of available options. But, after reading a few reviews, we were able to finalize this unit. The large storage capacity comes real handy without having to empty the tank, in in-between the cleaning sessions.
Moreover, the drum is constructed with durable co-polymer, which is a viable option considering the onslaughts of regular usage. Especially when we are using a shop vac in a professional setting, it was essential for us to purchase a unit that can resist dents as well as cracking.
Plus, we received a standard set of accessories with this unit. These include utilities for the car, extension nozzles, and wet vacuuming essentials.
It’s also relatively simple to switch between different filters because it has a built-in system that offers an Emerson Quick-Lock design. The self-closing float mechanism prevents the tank from overflowing when cleaning wet floors. Overall, we can say that this unit is suitable for extensive and challenging tasks in a professional area or a large-sized home.
- Integrated blowing port
- Features accessory storage area on the top and feet
- Tough co-polymer drum
- Auto shutoff float mechanism
- Low suction power
3. Armor All AA255 – Best for Versatile Cleaning
If you’re looking for a shop vac that will be suitable for cleaning homes and offices, then the Armor All AA255 will be a great option. The quality of this product makes it one of the most sought-after units. It’s a portable 2.5-Gallon unit that is suitable for cleaning both wet and dry areas. To find out more about this unit, let’s move to the following sections.
- 2.5 Gallon Polypropylene Tank
- 2 Peak HP Motor
This is a brilliant portable shop vac; we wanted a unit that could be carried around without too much strain. On top of that, we can clean the hard-to-reach areas easily because of its long hose and lightweight design. Since it features a motor with 2-peak horsepower (HP), we didn’t expect it to be powerful like the other machines.
But after reading a lot of feedback from customers, we could rest easy while selecting this unit because of its efficiency. On the other hand, it has a relatively quiet performance that makes it suitable to use this shop vac around the house. We were a little hesitant to purchase this unit because of the small onboard tank, but the functions make up for it.
It’s a convenient vacuum considering its auto shut-off feature that helps prevent overflowing. Plus, the unit has a sturdy construction that ensures the unit can withstand extra abuse when cleaning large messes.
The 10-foot power cord and 6-foot hose make it easy to clean the house without having to unplug every now and then while cleaning. Nevertheless, it’s a valuable household accessory that comes within a reasonable price range.
- Efficient 2-peak HP motor
- Portable design
- Automatic shut-off feature
- Reusable cloth filter and foam sleeve
- Compact onboard tank
4. Vacmaster VFB511B0201 Five-Gallon
The Vacmaster five-gallon unit is a big win in terms of performance, especially if you’re looking for a shop vac that has a small capacity. According to most users, this model is ideal to be stored in the garage for cleaning vehicles. Because it’s compact, and it eliminates the hassle when it comes to dragging the vac to the car for the dreaded cleaning session.
- 5 Gallon Polypropylene Tank
- 5. 5 Peak HP High Efficiency Motor
When it comes to cleaning the truck, we are always trying to escape from the task because it requires a lot of patience and effort. And we realized that our normal household vacuum was not efficient enough to pick up all the waste, so we started looking for a new model. We finalized this shop vac after reading up about the efficiency of this unit.
It has a 5-gallon tank with a 5.5-peak HP motor. The Vacmaster is designed to enhance portability, and its core features are able to meet the demands effectively.
Plus, it includes the blower function, which is an added advantage for cleaning a vehicle. We also received accessories to complete the cleaning mission with ease.
It also features a unique solid cord wrap system that uses pivoting cord wrap tabs to keep away the wires while using the vacuum. But the downside is that storing the accessories can be a challenge, which is not a deal-breaker considering the power-packed performance it delivers.
- Integrated hose storage
- Portable design
- Easily converts to a blower
- Range of included accessories
- Hard to place all the accessories in the storage area
5. Shop-Vac 5895200 2.5-Gallon
This unit looks like the next ‘cute thing’ in your pile of household accessories. It’s an all-rounder that can be used for indoor and outdoor clean-up. Plus, this 2.5-gallon vacuum cleaner is from Shop-Vac’s EZ series. The peak power of 2.5 HP is efficient enough for cleaning up the day-to-day mess. After all, it can suck up anything that we want to remove from the floor.
- COMPACT POWER: This wet/dry vacuum offers the...
- ACCESSORIES INCLUDED: This wet/dry vac includes...
We were looking not only for a compact shop vac but also for a unit that is versatile enough to handle any cleaning situation. Shop-Vac 5895200 was earlier recommended to us by one of the customers in the woodworking workshop. After being convinced about its efficiency as well as the wet/dry functions, we placed an order for this model.
There were a lot of accessories that we received, making it easy to clean up any platform. For instance, the other day, we spilled a drink in the car, but we could effortlessly clean the mess with this unit.
Plus, it weighs about 12 pounds, which is slightly towards the heavier side, but the top handle makes it easy to transport this shop-vac. On the other hand, storing this unit is relatively simple because of its wall-mountable design. Furthermore, we enjoy cleaning our workshop because of its hassle-free and silent operation.
- On-board storage
- Multiple accessories
- Rear blower port
- Sturdy construction
- Weighs about 12 pounds
6. Shop-Vac 2022000 One-Gallon
You’ll generally find people steering away from a shop vac because they don’t have sufficient room for storage. But this is one of those incredible units that will fit snugly into the tiniest of tool sheds, which is mainly because of its portable size. You get to keep the floor free from clutter because this unit can be mounted on the wall. Let’s find out about the functions of this unit.
- Micro, 1 gallon, 1 hp peak, portable wet/dry vac,...
- Adds Extra shine to your product
The simple design of this bucket-style shop vac offers almost everything that we were looking for in a cleaning device. Since we already have the 14-gallon tank, a smaller model was required because it would make it easier to clean different areas by moving around.
It has a 6-foot power cord, so unlike other vacuum cleaners, we don’t need to stand close to the wall socket to get the work done. Besides that, it also comes with a 4-feet hose and a collapsible handle, all of which make it easier to clean nooks and crannies.
Moreover, we have tried using this 1HP unit for cleaning up the ash from our pellet smoker, and it’s purchased for daily clean-ups and other tiny tasks.
We can customize the design of this unit because it has several nozzle types that allow us to be more specific, depending on the mess that we’re trying to clear up. Plus, when we compare the features and amenities of this unit with its affordable price tag, it seems to be a great bargain.
- Durable product
- Easy to carry around
- Suitable for cleaning tight spaces
- Reasonable price range
- Cannot be used for heavy-duty tasks
7. Dewalt DCV581H Two-Gallon Shop Vac
The Dewalt DCV581H features both corded and cordless operation. It’s the only shop vac in this list that comes with a rechargeable battery. The motor is not very powerful, it stands at 2HP, but it’s relatively quiet. You can use it to clean the smallest of spaces, because of its compact design. It can also be converted to a blower pretty effortlessly without using an extension cord.
- DEWALT shop vac features cordless or corded...
- HEPA rated wet/dry filter of DEWALT 20V vacuum...
We were looking for a shop vac that would be suitable for our office space. After receiving feedback from our colleagues, we finalized this unit. This wet-dry vacuum is portable and can be easily converted to a blower, which is an added advantage.
The size of the unit is such that we can fit it comfortably in the toolbox or the trunk. It can be a little slow when we use this unit for cleaning a wet floor, but it does get the work done pretty well. The power cord is 5 feet long, and the host is also 5 feet.
Plus, the standout feature, of this unit, is its rechargeable battery. This is why we don’t have to stand near a power source while we are using this vacuum.
It’s a pretty unique shop vacuum considering the rechargeable battery system. And it’s best suited for carrying it to places where there is no power source.
- Rechargeable battery
- 5-foot crush-resistant hose
- Washable filter
- Portable design
- It does not have the capacity and power for completing big projects
8. Craftsman XSP 16-Gallon Shop Vac
The Craftsman XSP comes with one of the most innovative cleaning power technology that has been designed to tackle some of the toughest cleanup projects at home, job site, garage, or shop. You can use it for picking up liquid waste in the basement, screws, and broken glass, or even use it for blowing out leaves. It’s equipped with all the features that will help you tackle big projects.
- HEAVY-DUTY: Powerful 6.5 Peak HP provides extra...
- BUILT-IN BLOWER PORT: Rear blowing port on this...
The workplace for which we purchased this shop vac is pretty large, with only a few wall sockets. So, it was important for us to find a unit that has a long power cord and a vast tank capacity. This model was one of our top preferences as it matched our search criteria perfectly.
It comes with over 27-foot cleaning reach, which includes a 20-foot power cord and a 7-foot hose along with extension wands. The onboard hose, power cord, and accessory organizers help eliminate the unneeded hassle and also reduce overall storage space. Plus, it’s equipped with an extra-large drain that makes it easier to drain the collected waste.
The ergonomic hand support provides improved comfort for shifting the shop vac from one work location to another. All in all, the powerful 6.5 HP motor and the 16-gallon tank help simplify the toughest of cleaning jobs.
- Integrated ergonomic top handle
- Dust sealed power switch
- Over 27-foot cleaning reach
- Extra-large drainage area
- Innovative top-tray storage
- More expensive compared to the other models
Best Shop Vacs Comparison Table
|Product||Tank Size||Power (HP)||Cord Length (ft)||Hose Length (ft)||Hose Diameter (in)||Warranty (years)|
|Stanley Pro Stainless Steel||6 gallons||6.5||10||5||1.25||2|
|Emerson WS1600VA||16 gallons||6.5||20||7||2.5||1|
|Armor All AA255||2.5 gallons||2||10||6||1.25||2|
|Vacmaster VFB511B0201 Five-Gallon||5 gallons||3||18||7||1.25||5|
|Shop-Vac 5895200 2.5-Gallon||2.5 gallons||2.5||6||4||1.25||3|
|Shop-Vac 2022000 One-Gallon||1 gallon||1.5||6||4||1.25||3|
|Dewalt DCV581H Two-Gallon Shop Vac||2 gallons||1.2||8||5||1.25||3|
|Craftsman XSP 16-Gallon Shop Vac||16 gallons||6.5||20||7||2.5||3|
Buying Guide For The Best Shop Vacs
Before purchasing a shop vac, you need to consider different factors that will help you find the right unit for your cleaning task.
Here’s a list of the features that you should think about:
The tank capacity and size is one of the essential factors that you need to consider while looking for a shop vac. If you want a vac for your backyard or home in general, then getting an industrial-sized model might not be sensible.
A vac with an 8 to 14-gallon capacity is sufficient for cleaning up the areas around your home, be it the front porch or garage. But tanks that are larger than 14 gallons are used for heavy-duty tasks like cleaning large commercial warehouses.
2. Tank material
Most of the shop vacs are made using durable plastic, and that is a popular choice. Because it’s lightweight and easier to carry it around from one room to another. You can also find stainless steel tanks that are known to withstand heavy usage. For instance, stainless steel construction is suitable for heavy-duty work areas such as construction sites and workshops.
3. Integrated blower port
Do you need this feature? Could you opt for a cheaper option without a blower port? If you’re going to use the shop vac to remove debris from your workspace or blow out leaves from the garden, then an integrated blower port will come of great use.
The storage aspect will not be an issue if you’ve sufficient space in your tool shed or garage. However, if you’re going to tuck away the unit in the corner, or some basement closet, it’s essential to consider how much space you’ve got. You can also find a few wall-mountable shop-vacs that come with wall brackets, which makes for a great space-saving option.
5. Ease of use
You need to check the size and weight of the unit. This will help you determine whether you can carry the shop vac by using the handles or not. It also enables you to find a unit that is easier to empty without having to struggle while cleaning the storage tank.
Shop vacs come with a range of accessories, but you should ensure that it applies to the work that you’ll be using them for. For instance, if you’ll be using it for the garden and garage, then a unit that comes with an integrated blower port is a bare essential. And if the main purpose is for cleaning the car, then look for a shop vac that comes with car accessories.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can shop-vacs be used for wet and dry cleaning?
Yes, most shop-vacs are designed to handle both wet and dry cleaning tasks. They can be used to clean up spills, as well as to remove sawdust and other dry debris.
What kind of filter should I use with my shop-vac?
The type of filter you use will depend on the type of debris you’re handling. For example, if you’re cleaning up fine dust particles, you may want to use a HEPA filter. If you’re cleaning up liquids, you may want to use a foam filter.
How do I maintain my shop-vac?
To maintain your shop-vac, you should regularly clean the filters and canister, as well as check the hoses and attachments for clogs or damage. You should also follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper use and maintenance.
Can shop-vacs be used to clean carpets and upholstery?
Yes, shop-vacs can be used to clean carpets and upholstery, but you will need to use the appropriate attachments and accessories.
What is the difference between a shop-vac and a regular vacuum cleaner?
The main difference between a shop-vac and a regular vacuum cleaner is that shop-vacs are designed to handle heavy-duty cleaning tasks and can handle larger volumes of debris. They are also typically more durable and have stronger suction power than regular vacuum cleaners.
How loud are shop-vacs?
Shop-vacs can be quite loud, particularly when used at full power. Some models may produce noise levels of 85 decibels or higher. It is recommended to use hearing protection when using a shop-vac for extended periods of time.
Are shop-vacs portable?
Most shop-vacs are designed to be portable, with wheels and a handle for easy transportation. However, some larger models may be more difficult to move around.
Thank you for taking the time to read our comprehensive guide on the best shop-vacs in the market. We appreciate your interest in keeping your homes, garages, and workshops clean and tidy. Now that you’ve had a chance to look at various options, remember that selecting the right shop-vac is all about considering your specific needs and preferences.
Out of these 8 best shop-vacs, here are the top three expert recommendations:
- For those who value portability, the Stanley Pro Stainless Steel is an ideal option. This six-gallon shop vac is perfect for home use and effortless storage, while featuring a well-balanced top handle design and efficient stainless steel construction. With its strong suction power and quiet operation, it’s an excellent addition to any home cleaning toolkit.
- For professionals and users who often deal with large cleaning areas, the Emerson WS1600VA is a good option. This shop-vac sports a massive 16-gallon tank capacity and a co-polymer drum construction that resists dents and cracks, making it suitable for heavy-duty use. On top of this, it boasts a convenient set of accessories and an easy-to-switch Emerson Quick-Lock design.
- Lastly, if you’re searching for a versatile shop-vac perfect for home and office use, the Armor All AA255 is the right choice. With its 2.5-gallon tank capacity and portable design, this shop-vac can efficiently clean wet and dry areas. Additional features like the automatic shut-off, reusable cloth filter, and foam sleeve make it an outstanding utility device for your everyday needs.
As you reflect on your preferences and requirements, we hope that these expert recommendations will guide you in choosing the perfect shop-vac for your space. Whatever option you finally decide on, we’re confident that you will enjoy a cleaner and more organized environment. Don’t hesitate to come back to our guide anytime you want to explore even more options or share it with someone in need of a shop-vac. Happy cleaning!
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