Are you looking for the Best Wet Dry Shop Vac in 2020? If you’re like most people – and whether you’re a homeowner, renter, or builder, you occasionally need more vacuuming power than a standard vacuum cleaner can provide. Wet basements, broken pipes, cleaning up the RV or Truck, and dust from home projects are all major cleanup jobs that can be made easier if you have the best wet/dry vac on hand.
“Finding the best shop vacuum can be a tedious process, but the good news – the price of a wet-dry shop vacuum has become much more competitive in recent years”.
Like many other simple appliances, shop vacs are now widely available at price points that can work with any budget.
The range of features available for shop vacs has also expanded considerably. Today, you can find vacuums that run on lithium-ion batteries, mount to walls, and even double as detached leaf and dust blowers!
Shop-Vac ratings can vary greatly. To take some of the guesswork out of buying a wet/dry vac, we’ve put together the list of the top models in several different categories. In each category, we looked at all real user reviews to identify the pros and cons of different models, which one is in fact, the best shop vacuum, or the most powerful wet-dry vac, then we picked the best of the lot and compiled our list below.
Best Wet Dry Shop Vacs – Buyers Guide
First, let’s take a look at the Top 3 rated products in this category, then we’ll describe all products in detail and help you choose the right one for you in the Buyers Guide below.
|Editor’s Choice||Runner Up||Best Portable Vac|
|Vacmaster, VBV1210, 12 Gallon 5 Peak HP Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum with Detachable Blower||Shop-Vac 5989300 5-Gallon 4.5 Peak HP Stainless Steel Wet Dry Vacuum||Vacmaster Professional - Professional Wet/Dry Vac, 5 Gallon, Beast Series, 5.5 HP 1-7/8" Hose Jobsite Vac (VFB511B0201)|
|SEE ON AMAZON||SEE ON AMAZON||SEE ON AMAZON|
The Best Wet Dry Shop Vacuums For 2020:
The overall best wet dry vacuum we recommend is the Vacmaster VBV1210, a vacuum that has been shown to handle heavy use and provide great longevity. In addition to its impressive capabilities as a shop vac, the Vacmaster VBV1210’s motor can be detached from its body and used as a Blower for a wide range of household applications, like cleaning up sawdust from your workbench, or blowing leaves or dust out of your garage.
So while we consider this Vacmaster model a fantastic Shop Vacuum, it also doubles as a great blower, virtually eliminating that extra tool purchase.
The key features of this product include:
5-horsepower electric motor
240 mile per hour maximum airspeed
Durable polypropylene construction
The vast majority of reviewers who have tried the Vacmaster VBV1210 find it to be an excellent vacuum. The unit’s strength and ability to pull debris even out of thick carpets are frequently cited as significant advantages. Despite its suction capabilities, though, many users also say that they have been surprised by how quiet this model is, owing to a built-in muffler. People who have used it to clean up from large home projects seem impressed by its ability to handle large quantities of material.
The most common criticism of this vacuum is that the rolling casters on the bottom don’t stay on well. If they are correctly installed, however, they should be tight and secure. When you get this vacuum, be sure to read the assembly instructions carefully, as there are screws that must be used to attach each caster. If you don’t install the screws or don’t tighten them down well enough, the wheels will likely come loose.
Coming in at second place overall is the Shop-Vac model 5989300. The defining feature of this model is its stainless steel tank construction, which makes it extremely durable.
Other key features of this product include:
5-gallon tank capacity
Full set of accessory tools and nozzles included
7-foot hose length
People who own this vacuum are generally very pleased by its power, design, and ease of use. Whether used for cleanup for home projects or just for every day sweeping, this unit has enough power to get the job done. Likewise, reviewers have commented positively on its capabilities as a blower.
One downside that crops up in some reviews is the fact that this model has a power cord that is only six feet long. If you plan on buying the Shop-Vac 5989300, it’s a good idea to make sure you have an extension cord to use with it, as this will make it much more convenient for moving around the house.
For cleaning up around the job site with ease, we recommend the highly portable Vacmaster VFB511B 0201. This 5.5 HP Wet/Dry Vacuum from the “Beast” lineup is a very powerful high-performance vac designed to tackle the toughest cleanup projects—at the job site, around the shop, or in the garage. With onboard hose, accessories, and power cord storage, this model virtually eliminates the hassle of transporting to and from job sites and minimizes total storage space. With over 25 ft. of cleaning reach (7’ hose and 18’ power cord) the Vacmaster allows you to reach farther without unplugging the unit. You can quickly control the power with the large dust sealed on/off switch and It also includes 8 accessories for nearly any task. As one reviewer noted; this Vacmaster sucks – but in a good way
Other key features of this model include:
5 Gallon* Polypropylene Tank
5.5 Peak HP† High-Efficiency Motor
Integrated Hose Storage
18′ Cord with Cord Storage
Easily Converts to Blower
Large On/Off Dust Sealed Switch
Balanced Top Handle Design
5 Year Limited Warranty
The only complaint we found from users of this model was the fact that it doesn’t come standard with wheels. However, if you find it ok to sacrifice storage space for mobility, you can contact Vacmaster direct for wheels which snap into the bottom easily.
Check out this video for the Vacmaster “Beast” – Our vote for “Best Portable Vac for Job sites”
Although they can be very convenient, the top-rated shop vacs with 5-gallon tanks can be cumbersome to use. For maximum portability, we recommend the Armor All AA255. The key features of this product include:
2.5-gallon tank capacity
Comes with multiple nozzles
7-pound weight for easy portability
Buyers find that this portable wet/dry vac offers plenty of power, despite its smaller size. Many people use the ArmorAll AA255 specifically to vacuum out their cars, an application in which it appears to perform very well. Others use the AA255 to clean up small workshops, garages or outdoor sheds. One of the most frequent positive comments about this model is its reasonable price point relative to its capabilities.
If you plan to buy this vacuum, one potential downside to keep in mind is the fact that it can be very loud. While this isn’t unusual in smaller shop vacs, people who are very sensitive to loud noises may be better off getting a quieter model.
If you’re looking for a great little ultra-compact vacuum at a very reasonable price, we recommend the Shop-Vac Micro 2030100. You can take this vac practically anywhere without taking up unnecessary space or weighing you down. The only advantage over the Armor-All model above – this one is 3” x 3” smaller – and a little more compact.
The key features of this product include:
1.5-gallon tank capacity
6-foot power cord
Folding handle for easy carry
Almost all of the reviews of this model highlight the fact that it offers excellent power for its size. This vacuum is an excellent option for vacuuming cars and trucks, as it can be moved around quickly. It can also be used to get suction in small spaces that a more traditional vacuum might not be able to reach.
Although it is an excellent option for its size range, it’s important to understand the limitations of a 1.5-gallon tank before you buy this model to avoid disappointment. With this vacuum, you’ll be able to clean your car and reach into small spaces, but it probably isn’t the best option for cleaning your entire home.
One of the biggest problems that people can have with wet/dry vacs is managing the power cords. Models that have short cords can be challenging to use effectively, while overly long extension cords can be cumbersome and get in the way. The DCV581H from DeWalt solves the cord problem altogether with the option of using either an 18-volt or 20-volt battery as a power source. This vac can, however, also run off of a cord if you want it to. The key features of this product include:
2-gallon tank capacity
Batteries interchangeable with other DeWalt tools
Although it is small and can run on a battery, the DeWalt DCV581H’s power is a pleasant surprise to many people who buy it. Thanks to its lightweight and small size, this model is also very convenient for use in places that may be difficult to run an extension cord to. Some reviewers have even used it to clean up light debris from home projects, such as sawdust and drywall dust.
As with other small, lightweight vacuums, it’s important not to overestimate this model’s capabilities. If you have an entire house to clean from top to bottom, this unit may not be the best for you. When it comes to tackling small jobs or moving easily from place to place, though, the DCV581H is an extremely convenient tool to have on hand. It should also be noted that the vacuum does not come with a battery, but will accept DeWalt’s standard tool batteries from both their 18-volt and 20-volt series.
Although it can be convenient to have a small, light vacuum on hand from time to time, some jobs require a higher level of power and super Heavy-Duty construction. If you typically have a lot of heavy vacuuming to do or need a commercial-grade unit, we highly recommend the Shop-Vac 5951400. In fact, it is one of the very best Wet Dry Vacs you can buy. Period.
The key features of this product include:
14-gallon tank capacity
Comes with a complete set of hose and nozzle accessories
People who own this Shop-Vac model are overwhelmingly impressed with its power and its ability to stand up to hard use. One of the most significant advantages of this vacuum over other wet/dry vacs on the market is its larger hose diameter. With a larger hose, this vacuum avoids clogging when forced to deal with large amounts of material. For a commercial-grade unit, the Shop-Vac 5951400 is also reasonably quiet.
One disadvantage of this vacuum that has appeared in a few user reviews is the fact that the instruction manual can be a bit unclear. While it isn’t too difficult to figure out, you may have some trouble assembling the vacuum and using it for the first time. Once you learn your way around it, though, you should be able to use it without any real difficulty.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Shop Vacuums:
1) How much does a shop vacuum cost?
The average cost for our Best rated wet-dry shop vacuum will range between $40 – $100. While the compact models do serve their own purpose, the very best quality and performance definitely finds its way to the higher-priced models we reviewed. Ie; get what you pay for.
2) What type of Shop-Vac model do I need?
If you’re looking for maximum liquid capacity from your Wet Vac, Or if you do a lot of woodworking and need larger-scale cleanup in your workshop or garage space, you should probably focus on the heavy-duty commercial-size models like the Shop-Vac model 5951400, which features a 14-Gallon tank.
However, If you’re the main plan is to use your vac as an auto or truck vacuum, then the portability and convenience of the Armor-All model or the Dewalt – Cordless vac will better suit your needs.
Ever owned a Multi-Tool? Check out the 10 best Multi-Tools you can buy Here.
What type of Filters does a Shop-Vac have?
Most of our models include a small replaceable paper filter, however, the larger shop vacs like the Vacmaster and larger Shop-Vac brands include reusable cloth and foam wet filters. Either way, be sure to pick your next shop vac with whatever jobs you plan on using it for.
What type of attachments Do I Need For a Shop-Vac?
Most Shop Vacs come with multiple attachments but can vary widely per model. These attachments include wands, crevice tools, extensions, and even squeegee adapters for cleaning wet surfaces.
Once again, determine the purposes you intend to use your shop vacuum for and will help you narrow down the best Wet Dry Vacuum for your needs.
If You’re Looking to Upgrade Your Power Tools – Check out the 5 Best Cordless Combo Tool Kits.
As you can see, the selection of shop vacuums goes from small, portable units all the way up to commercial level models capable of handling even the toughest jobs. Of course, the right model for you is going to depend heavily on the applications you plan to use it in.
If you’re bringing it to a job site or using it to clean out a frequently used home shop, the larger shop vacuum’s such as the Vacmaster VFB511B 0201 or the Shop-Vac 5951400 may be the right model for you.
If you only plan to use it to clean out your car, on the other hand, you’ll probably find a small model like the Armor All AA255 a better fit. If you’re a “cordless” equipment lover you may consider the DeWalt DCV581H the right tool.
One particularly important feature to keep in mind when you’re choosing your wet/dry vac is the capacity of its tank. While not quite as crucial for dry material, the tank capacity is quite important if you end up having to remove large amounts of water from your basement at some point.
The more capacity you have, the easier it will ultimately be to deal with sizeable liquid vacuuming jobs. At the same time, the best-wet vacuum is also one that you can carry once it is full, meaning that you don’t want the absolute largest tank size if you aren’t especially strong.
In terms of overall features, quality and functionality for everyday use, we recommend the Vacmaster VBV1210 as the best wet/dry vac. Between its large capacity, high power, quality construction and the ability to act as a detached blower, the Vacmaster outperformed the rest of the field when evaluated for general use.
Be sure to check out the features, pros, and cons of each of our top-rated shop vacs, though, to find the one that will best meet your personal needs.
Thanks again for visiting BestHomeGear.Com and good luck choosing your own Wet Dry Vac!
References & Additional Resources
- Shop-Vac FAQ’s – Learn The “In’s & Out’s” of Wet-Dry Vacuums
- How to Clean Carpet with a Wet-Dry Vac
- Top 5 Best Leaf Blowers – Cordless & Battery Powered
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