13 Best Shop Vacs of 2019 | Buyer’s Guide and Reviews

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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 site 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

1. Shop-Vac 5979403 8 gallon

This is one of the best budget shop vac’s, and it offers limited benefits in terms of accessories and performance for getting the job done. You can’t beat this product, especially for its affordable price tag. And the best part, it has been constructed with the same materials that you find in the more expensive units.

Shop-Vac 5979403 8 gallon 6.0 Peak Hp Stainless Wet Dry Vacuum
  • WET DRY VAC: This wet/dry vac features a tank...
  • ACCESSORIES INCLUDED: Comes with 7' x 1.25" hose,...

Experience

We purchased the Shop-Vac 5979403 for our workplace. After checking out a host of other products, we finalized this unit mainly for its overall quality and construction. Even though it comes with a five horsepower motor, it’s sufficient to clean the accumulated dust and debris. 

It has an excellent blow-off feature and a large tank that promises accurate performance. The assembly part was relatively simple, and it didn’t take us more than 10-minutes to set up the machine. We had only to attach the caster wheels, accessory storage piece, and handles, all of which were pre-assembled so, we just had to fix them in place.

Moreover, it has a pretty long cord that makes it easier to move this unit around. We did find the instruction manual to be a little challenging to comprehend because it applies to different models. So, we need to guess whether the instruction refers to this unit or not. 

The main tank is made using stainless steel, which is an advantage. Plus, when we are dry vacuuming, we don’t need to use the included disposable bag or purchase additional ones. 

Pros
  • Multiple attachments
  • Can rotate in 360 degrees
  • Stainless steel construction
  • Cheaper than high-end units
Cons
  • The instruction manual is not easy to follow

2. Shop-Vac 9633400 Twelve-Gallon

This Peak HP Ultra Pro Series by Shop-Vac is a multi-purpose vacuum. It can clean up the sawdust waste that comes from woodworking to the water leaks in the basement and wet oil spills. You can also make the best use of this unit by using it blow out the leaves from your yard without having to purchase a separate unit. 

Shop-Vac 9633400 6.5-Peak HP Ultra Pro Series 12-Gallon Wet or Dry...
  • Cord Length: 18 Feet; Hose Size: 2.5" Diameter
  • Warranty: 4 Years; Lock-On Hose ; 12 Gallon 6.5...

Experience

This unit was suggested to us by one of our colleagues. The design is pretty impressive; the tank is made of stainless steel, which is a bonus considering the durability of this unit. It’s bigger than the other units we’ve used before, but it’s not challenging to carry it around.

Plus, it comes with multiple attachments that make it suitable for different projects. The twelve-gallon tank comes of great use, especially when cleaning big rooms or an extra tough mess. It provides ample space to store dirt before having to empty the tank.

The 6.5HP is also powerful enough for cleaning different types of dirt and debris. We also received many other tools with this unit, such as- crevice tool for hard-to-reach spots, an eight-inch utility nozzle along with small filters to keep us from damaging the insides. 

All in all, this is a versatile unit, and it’s convenient to carry it from one location to another.

Pros
  • Convenient accessories included
  • Can be used as a yard blower
  • Cleans oil spills and wet/dry waste
  • Lightweight design
Cons
  • The tool holder is not spacious enough

3. Craftsman 12004 Six-Gallon

If you’re looking for a mid-sized shop vacuum, then you can consider Craftsman 12004 that delivers good performance without making a hole in your pocket. It’s a wet-dry vac that comes with a large hose and a 3-horsepower motor. And it weighs about 12.8 pounds, so it’s not going to be challenging to take the unit around the house or workplace.

Experience

When we were looking for a quality shop vacuum, this unit caught our eye with its brilliant construction and product specifications. This unit comes in at half the cost compared to other higher-end models. 

It has over 17 feet of reach, which makes it a versatile unit for cleaning up the workplace or the car without having to move the tank. We find this unit to be a quality piece, which can handle most messes and also offers a hassle-free experience. 

The tank comes with four different attachments that can be organized in the storage rack. It has a crevice tool for vacuuming tight spaces and floor nozzle for wide spills. Even though the Craftsman 12004 can be converted into a blower, it doesn’t use that feature well. 

So, we avoid doubling its usage as a yard blower. It comes with a cartridge filter for dry vacuuming, and it uses a wet foam filter for a wet vacuum. Furthermore, the motor is capable of handling heavier waste and wood scraps.

Pros
  • Has more than 17ft of reach
  • Strong suction pump
  • Easy to move around
  • Fantastic price
Cons
  • Emits a lot of noise of about 96 dB

4. Stanley Pro Stainless Steel

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.

Experience

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 which 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 for this unit and its overall usage.

Pros
  • Stylish design
  • Suction is relatively strong
  • Provides many attachments
  • Relatively quiet
Cons
  • Doesn’t topple over

5. Emerson WS1600VA

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. 

WORKSHOP Wet Dry Vac WS1600VA High Capacity Wet Dry Vacuum Cleaner,...
  • 2-1/2-inch x 7-foot dual-flex locking Hose offers...
  • Qwik Lock filter fastening system allows quick and...

Experience

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 on this unit. The large storage capacity comes real handy without having to empty the tank, 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.

Pros
  • Integrated blowing port
  • Features accessory storage area on the top and feet
  • Tough co-polymer drum
  • Auto shutoff float mechanism
Cons
  • Low suction power

6. Armor All AA255

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.

Experience

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 the extra abuse when cleaning large messes. 

The 10-foot power cord and 6-foot hose makes 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.

Pros
  • Efficient 2-peak HP motor
  • Portable design
  • Automatic shut-off feature
  • Reusable cloth filter and foam sleeve
Cons
  • Compact onboard tank

7. Ridgid 50348 1400RV Wet/Dry Vacuum with Cart

When you’re looking for a large shop vac, this 14-gallon unit is generally recommended for its powerful construction and large-capacity tank. It features a drain port for quick disposal of collected waste and a unique dust filter for ensuring that the fine powders are stored in one place. In the following section, we’ve explained the benefits of using this unit.

Sale
RIDGID 50348 1400RV Wet Dry Vacuum with Cart, 14-Gallon Shop Vacuum...
  • The large-capacity drum and powerful 6.0 peak...
  • Scroll noise reduction ensures quiet operation,...

Experience

There were not many options that matched our search criteria while scrolling down the pages for a quality shop vac. This unit had several reviews that praised the efficiency of its motor and its overall quality. So, we decided to give it a try, and we must say that this shop vac did live up to our expectations. 

The 6.0-Peak HP motor in this unit is one of the largest that we have used to date. And the efficiency of this shop vac is impressive as it helps in cleaning even the worst of messes. 

After seeing the unit, we thought it would be difficult to maneuver it around because of its size. But the additional features like the caster wheel, seven feet hose, and top handle make it pretty easy to move it from one area to another.  

Plus, it’s thoughtfully designed to ensure that the unit can withstand excessive use. The exterior is made with high impact plastic that provides extra protection. On the inside, the three-layer filter makes it easy to remove the dangerous dust particles after completing large projects. After using this unit for a few months now, we can say that durability and performance-wise, it’s a great unit.

Pros
  • Relatively quiet
  • Delivers power-packed performance
  • Cart handle makes maneuvering easy
  • Durable professional hose
Cons
  • Does not come with a brush accessory

8. Shop-Vac 5989300 Five-Gallon

This is another highly efficient shop vac that is worth the investment. It comes with a powerful 4-peak HP motor that makes it easier to clean up the mess irrespective of how dirty it is. The effective and efficient performance of this unit makes it a value-added product. And the main advantage of purchasing this unit is its wall mount feature.

Shop-Vac 3942300 5 gallon 4.0 Peak HP Wall Mount Wet/Dry Vacuum...
  • WALL MOUNT VACUUM: This wall mountable wet/dry...
  • ACCESSORIES INCLUDED: 18-foot Lock-On hose, 1.25"...

Experience

We were recommended the Shop-Vac 5989300 by one of our friends. After getting to know the benefits of this unit and the product specification, we finally ordered for it.

This vacuum has a standard size, and we don’t have to give up valuable floor space. Since it can be mounted on the wall, it gets even easier for us to complete the work without having to carry the vacuum around. Plus, we can clean all kinds of smaller dirt and debris to the heavy-duty ones with ease due to the accessories that come with this unit. 

The set of utilities includes- a 12-inch nozzle with squeegee and brush, 1.25-inch diameter extension wands, crevice tool, gulper nozzle, and a round brush. It also comes with a host of other accessories that make it simple and straightforward to complete the cleaning task.

Moreover, the tool storage bag makes it convenient to have the essential items in place. All in all, the five-gallon capacity and four peak HP motor with all the other additional features help make this unit an ideal accessory for the office.

Pros
  • Compact design
  • Great suction ability
  • Wall-mountable for better convenience
  • Features an 18-feet lock-on hose
Cons
  • Loud operation

9. 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. 

Sale
Vacmaster Professional - Professional Wet/Dry Vac, 5 Gallon, Beast...
  • 5 Gallon Polypropylene Tank
  • 5. 5 Peak HP High Efficiency Motor

Experience

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 on 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.

Pros
  • Integrated hose storage
  • Portable design
  • Easily converts to a blower
  • Range of included accessories
Cons
  • Hard to place all the accessories in the storage area

10. 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 indoors and outdoors clean up. Plus, this 2.5-gallon vacuum cleaner is from the 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.

Sale
Shop-Vac 5895200 2.5-Peak Horsepower All-around EZ Series Wet/Dry...
  • COMPACT POWER: This wet/dry vacuum offers the...
  • ACCESSORIES INCLUDED: This wet/dry vac includes...

Experience

We were looking not only for a compact shop vac but also 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 had 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. 

Pros
  • On-board storage
  • Multiple accessories
  • Rear blower port
  • Sturdy construction
Cons
  • Weighs about 12 pounds

11. Shop-Vac 2021000 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.

Shop-Vac 2021000 Micro Wet/Dry Vac
  • Micro, 1 gallon, 1 hp peak, portable wet/dry vac,...
  • Adds Extra shine to your product

Experience

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.

Pros
  • Durable product
  • Easy to carry around
  • Suitable for cleaning tight spaces
  • Reasonable price range
Cons
  • Cannot be used for heavy-duty tasks

12. 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 18/20V MAX Vacuum, Wet/Dry (DCV581H)
  • Can operate corded with an AC outlet, or cordless...
  • HEPA Rated filter traps up to 99.97% efficiency

Experience

We were looking for a shop vac that would be suitable for our office space. After receiving feedback from our colleagues, we finalized on 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, in this unit, is it’s a 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.  

Pros
  • Rechargeable battery
  • 5-foot crush-resistant hose
  • Washable filter
  • Portable design
Cons
  • It does not have the capacity and power for completing big projects

13. 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. 

Experience

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 on-board hose, power cord, and accessory organizers help eliminate the unneeded hassle and also reduces 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 helps simplify the toughest of cleaning jobs. 

Pros
  • Integrated ergonomic top handle
  • Dust sealed power switch
  • Over 27-foot cleaning reach
  • Extra-large drainage area
  • Innovative top-tray storage
Cons
  • More expensive compared to the other models

Shop Vacs Buyer’s Guide

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:

1. Size

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 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-gallon is 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.

4. Storage

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.

6. Accessories 

Shop vacs come with a range of accessories, but you should ensure that it applies to the work that you’ll be using it 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.

Final words

To sum it up, shop vacs are one of the most useful tools for anybody who is part of a heavy-duty cleanup job. After all, it can handle a large variety of materials that make them ideal for a woodworking shop, construction site, garage, and driveway cleaning. 

Since each vac comes with a set of distinct features, it gets easier to narrow down the options to find the right model. However, we advise you to look through the features carefully and weigh out the pros and cons when shopping for a shop vac. 

So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and take your cleaning task to the next level with a shop vac that suits your needs.

Till next time!  

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