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7 Best Shop Vacuum Cleaners Reviews in 2023

We can all agree on the fact that vacuum cleaners have definitely made our lives a lot easier. Irrespective of how gruesome the mess is, all you have to do nowadays is start up a vacuum cleaner and your place will be neat and tidy within minutes. Apart from the standard household vacuum cleaners, there is another category of vacuum cleaners called shop vac. These might look almost identical to those that are designed for home applications.

But, shop vacs are more powerful units that are specifically designed for outdoor usage. Apart from making these units ready to use right out of the box, these units are designed in such a way that they can clean up glass shards, the aftermath of a party, and even construction mess such as cement, paint, and other similar items. If you are looking for a shop vac, make sure you consider these factors before making a decision.

  • Capacity: As you may already know, vacuum cleaners have a dedicated compartment on the inside that stores the dust, dirt, or any other solid object you will pull via the shop vac. So while you are comparing 2 models for a shop vac, you should definitely pay attention to the capacity of each unit. Apart from the capacity, you should also check how efficiently a model can store the waste. Sometimes, a small-capacity unit might be more efficient than it appears.
  • Horsepower: All types of vacuum cleaners work on a similar working principle. By lowering the air pressure, a vacuum is generated inside the machine so that it can suck the floor clean. To create this vacuum, there is a motor powering the unit that has a certain power or HP rating. As you can imagine, more powerful motors will be capable of creating a stronger vacuum pressure. Therefore, you should go for a shop vac that offers the highest HP rating to get a satisfying performance.
  • CFM: CFM stands for cubic feet per minute and it is a unit to measure air-flow. Shop vac motors are designed to offer a strong suction capacity. Therefore, the CFM rating is certainly higher on a shop vac compared to a standard vacuum cleaner. Still, you should take a look at the CFM rating of a shop vac to understand how much air it can intake in a specific period of time.

Even though these are some of the most important factors of a shop vac, there is a lot more to check before you finalize which shop vac you are going to buy. And since it is quite tiresome to physically check all the options available around you, we have decided to create this list of the best shop vac to help you. On this page, you will find the best shop vacs available in the market and make your decision right here. On top of that, we will also offer you additional information about a shop vac in our “Buying Guide” for the best shop vac.

Best Shop Vacuum cleaners

Best Shop Vacuum cleanersSizePowerWarrantyBuy Now
Armor All vacuum cleaner2.5 Gallons2 Peak HP2 YearsCheck On Amazon
Stanley vacuum cleaner6 Gallons4 Peak HP1 YearCheck On Amazon
Craftsman vacuum cleaner16 Gallons6.5 Peak HP3 YearsCheck On Amazon
Vacmaster vacuum cleaner12 Gallons5 Peak HP2 YearsCheck On Amazon
Dewalt vacuum cleaner6 Gallons4 Peak HP3 YearsCheck On Amazon
WORKSHOP Vacuum Cleaner2.5 Gallons2 Peak HP5 YearsCheck On Amazon
Masterbuilt Vacuum Cleaner3.7 Gallons------Check On Amazon

Best Shop Vacuum cleaners Reviews

1. Armor All Vacuum Cleaner

Armor vacuum cleaner

Armor All Utility Vac is a versatile wet/dry vacuum cleaner that’s easy to handle and boasts impressive suction power. It effectively tackles a variety of messes, whether they’re wet spills or dry debris. This has a special spot on the vacuum where you can neatly store all the extra parts, like nozzles and brushes.

It’s like having a tidy toolbox right on the vacuum, making it easy to find what you need when you need it. Neat and convenient. It’s user-friendly and lightweight, making it effortless to move around during cleaning sessions.

With this vacuum, you should use the right “tool” (filter) based on what you’re cleaning up—like dust or spilled juice. And just like cleaning your tools after using them, remember to clean the filter to keep your vacuum working its best. Emptying the tank at regular intervals and avoiding overfilling are practical tips to ensure smooth operation.

Best Features

  • It has 2.6 gallons storage capacity
  • Powered by a 2 HP peak power motor
  • Backed by 2 years of warranty
  • Comes with a 10 feet long power cord

Pros

  • It can cover a large area with ease
  • Most affordable option for a shop vac
  • Included hose has a 1¼ inch diameter

Cons

  • Not suitable for picking up larger debris

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2. Stanley Vacuum Cleaner

Stanley vacuum cleaners

Stanley SL18116P Wet/Dry Vacuum Cleaner is a powerhouse in the of cleaning. Its forte lies in its versatility, efficiently handling both wet spills and dry debris with ease. The big tank means you can clean more before needing to empty, and the long cord lets you move around easily. The suction power is robust, making quick work of even tough messes.

An added convenience is the on-board storage for accessories, keeping everything neatly organized and at your fingertips. For optimal performance, selecting the right filter based on the type of debris is crucial, akin to choosing the right tool for a specific task. Regularly emptying the tank to avoid overflow is akin to managing your resources smartly.

Just like not overloading your plate at a buffet, avoiding overfilling the tank ensures smooth operation. And just as you tidy up your living space, cleaning the filters is a must for maintaining peak performance. It’s like having a reliable assistant always ready to tackle the messes in your home or workspace.

Best Features

  • It has 6 gallons storage capacity
  • Powered by a 4 HP peak power motor
  • Backed by 1 year of warranty
  • Offers 3-in-1 functionality

Pros

  • Motor power is pretty good
  • Offers up to 16 feet coverage area
  • Comes with 3 extension wands

Cons

  • Warranty period should have been longer

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3. CRAFTSMAN Vacuum Cleaner

Craftsman vacuum cleaner

Craftsman 6.5 Peak HP Heavy-Duty Wet/Dry Vac with Attachments is a companion for handling substantial cleaning projects. This vacuum works well for cleaning in garages, shops, and work areas. It sucks up different kinds of dirt and debris very quickly.

The built-in blower port comes in handy for a quick clean-up of leaves and grass clippings, enhancing its usability. Additionally, the oversized drain makes the emptying of liquids a convenient task.

One of its standout features is the 2-1/2 inch diameter shop vacuum hose equipped with Dual-Flex technology, allowing a wide range of motion without any kinking, providing ease during cleaning. To optimize its performance, ensuring the right filter for the specific debris, frequent tank emptying to prevent overflow, and regular cleaning of filters to maintain suction power is essential

Best Features

  • It has 16 gallons storage capacity
  • Powered by a 6.5 HP peak power motor
  • Backed by 3 years of warranty
  • Comes with a 2½ inch diameter hose

Pros

  • Great option for outdoor applications
  • Motor is very powerful
  • Storage capacity is best in this class

Cons

  • The unit is not easy to store due to its large size

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4. Vacmaster Vacuum Cleaner

Vacmaster vacuum cleaner

Vacmaster VBV1210 Wet/Dry Vacuum Cleaner is a workhorse for various cleaning needs. It even goes the extra mile with a built-in blower function, allowing you to swiftly clear leaves and debris from your yard or driveway.

With a 12-gallon tank capacity, a 7-foot hose for convenience, and a robust 5 peak horsepower motor, it’s well-equipped for demanding cleaning tasks. The blower’s speed of 210 MPH is a testament to its power. To top it off, you get peace of mind with a 2-year warranty, ensuring its durability and reliability.

Simple tips like using the right filter for the debris, emptying the tank on time to prevent overflow, and regular filter cleaning to maintain suction power can keep this vacuum cleaner performing optimally. It’s a cleaning companion that’s ready to tackle the messes in your home or workspace effectively and efficiently.

Best Features

  • It has 12 gallons storage capacity
  • Powered by a 5 HP peak power motor
  • Backed by 2 years of warranty
  • Comes with 11 additional accessories

Pros

  • It features 12 feet power cord and 7 feet cleaning hose
  • Cleaning hose has 2½ diameter
  • Comparatively cheaper than similar options

Cons

  • High storage capacity makes the unit bulkier in comparison

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5. DEWALT Vacuum Cleaner

Dewalt vacuum cleaners

DEWALT 6 Gallon Poly Wet/Dry Vac is a reliable and potent cleaning companion, especially suited for minor cleaning tasks. Its robust motor provides substantial suction power, ensuring efficient cleaning.

The convenience of a large tank capacity means less frequent emptying during your cleaning sessions. Moreover, its durability ensures longevity, making it a wise investment. Having different attachments is like having a set of tools. Each tool is good for a different job It has different attachments, like brushes or nozzles, that you can use for different types of messes.

From carpets to hard floors to car interiors, this vacuum handles it all. Choose the right filter, empty the tank often, and clean the filters for maximum suction power.

Best Features

  • It has 6 gallons storage capacity
  • Powered by a 4 HP peak power motor
  • Backed by 3 years of warranty
  • Comes with 10 feet long power cord

Pros

  • Motor capacity is great for this size
  • Durable casters for easy movement
  • Offers 80 CFM air-flow

Cons

  • Hose diameter should have been larger

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6. WORKSHOP Vacuum Cleaner

workshopWORKSHOP Wet/Dry Vacs WS0255VA is a compact and portable wet/dry vacuum cleaner that packs a motor capable of handling both wet and dry debris. Its convenience is amplified by the ease of transportation, making it a reliable cleaning companion. It has different helpful parts that make it good at cleaning various things. This vacuum cleaner is a prime choice for those seeking a blend of power and portability for their cleaning needs.

Choose the right filter based on what you’re cleaning for the best results. Moreover, regular emptying of the tank is emphasized to prevent overflow, ensuring uninterrupted cleaning sessions.

Caution regarding overfilling the tank is advised, as it can potentially harm the vacuum cleaner. Keep the filters clean for strong suction every time—simple maintenance for powerful cleaning.

Best Features

  • Capable of handling wet and dry debris effectively.
  • Compact and easy to carry, making it versatile for various cleaning needs.
  • It Comes with a variety of attachments for efficient cleaning on different surfaces.

Pros

  • Can handle both wet and dry debris.
  • Easy to carry and transport.
  • Powerful motor ensures effective suction.

Cons

  • May require frequent emptying for larger cleaning tasks.
  • Cord could be longer for better maneuverability.

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7. Masterbuilt Vacuum Cleaner

master builtKenmore KW3030 Wet/Dry Vacuum Cleaner is a versatile and powerful cleaning tool designed to tackle a range of cleaning tasks. With strong suction capabilities, it effortlessly handles both wet and dry debris, ensuring efficient and thorough cleaning.

 One of its standout features is easy to handle—it’s light and easy to move around, making cleaning a breeze. The added convenience of on-board storage and wall mount options enhances its usability and ensures everything stays organized.

User preceptive tips emphasize the importance of choosing the right filter based on the debris being cleaned, regular emptying of the tank to prevent overflow, and proper maintenance through regular filter cleaning to maintain suction power. These tips not only optimize the performance of the vacuum but also prolong its lifespan.

Best Features

  • Powerful suction.
  • Lightweight and portable.
  • On-board storage and wall mount.
  • Handles wet and dry debris.

Pros

  • Easy to use and maneuver.
  • Strong suction for effective cleaning.
  • Convenient accessory storage.
  • Versatile for various cleaning tasks.

Cons

  • Cord length may limit reach.
  • Tank capacity might need frequent emptying.
  • Hose could be longer for better versatility.

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Buying Guide For The Best Shop Vac

You might be wondering how shop vac is a better option compared to a standard vacuum cleaner. Well, while a vacuum cleaner is designed for basic cleaning purposes, shop vacs are basically vacuum cleaners, but for heavier applications. These options are also commonly known as wet-dry vacuum cleaners as they can pick up any matter irrespective of its form or type.

Another important thing to know about shop vacs is that they are comparatively simpler devices since they do not require extra internal components or external accessories to work. Today, we have brought you a list of the best shop vac you can probably find in the market right now. We have also specified the specifications and details of each unit so that making a choice will be much easier now. But if you are not sure which property you should check for before buying a shop vac, kindly take a look at our buying guide given right here.

1. Power Usage

Power draw is always an important factor for electronic accessories designed for heavy operation. As for a shop vac, it is even more important since even standard vacuum cleaners use a lot of energy, and these are more powerful units. The power draw of a shop vac is usually mentioned in the amp unit where a unit with a higher amp rating will consume more power to operate.

But, it will also offer better results since it can create a more powerful suction. While you are looking for a shop vac, you should make sure that the unit you are buying offers at least a 12 amp rating since it is the bare minimum requirement for outdoor usage. But with more power, there comes a need for better storage capacity. Otherwise, you will have to empty out your shop vac every other hour while using it.

2. Sealed Suction

The sealed suction capacity of a shop vac is probably the most important feature since it deals with the suction capacity of the unit. If you are buying a shop vac that cannot suck in heavier material, then it is probably not the best option for outdoor usage. The sealed suction capacity of a shop vac is usually measured as the amount of liquid it can suck in against a specific water pressure level.

If the sealed suction capacity of your shop vac is high, then you won’t have to worry about its performance irrespective of the type of debris you are picking up with the unit. If you don’t already know, the suction capacity of a shop vac significantly declines when the hose is submerged in water. Therefore, the shop you are going to buy should offer sealed suction power of at least 50 inches, if not above, to make a versatile option that is suitable for all types of applications.

3. Noise Level

If you are buying a shop vac for outdoor usage, then you do not need to worry about this factor a lot. In a workshop or construction site where shop vacs are usually used, there is already a lot of noise. So the noise of a shop vac won’t make much of a difference in such a scenario.

But if you are buying a versatile option that you are going to use in your home or garage, then you should definitely factor in the noise level of the unit if you want to buy the best option. Even though shop vacs are powerful, there are a lot of options that can work at a minimal noise level, offering a quiet and powerful performance. Such options will be perfect for household applications.

4. Cord Length

You might be surprised if we tell you the number of problems a short cord can cause for an appliance like a shop vac. Powerful electrical appliances like a shop vac usually need to be connected to a standard AC wall at all times while you are using them.

Therefore, the cleaning range of a particular unit is limited to the length of its hose plus the power cord. While the hose can always be extended in the future by adding an extra-long hose, it won’t offer you an equally efficient performance since the added distance from the source of the vacuum causes a loss of power. Instead, you should prefer a unit that comes with a long power cord, to begin with.

This way, you can move the main unit farther away from the power source and use the machine efficiently to cover a large area. Usually, a 15 to 20 feet long power cord is a decent choice. If you can’t find that, you will have to make do with a decent power extension cord, compatible with the power capacity of the shop vac.

5. Storage

A lot of users seem to miss out on the fact that the debris collected by a vacuum cleaner or a shop vac, has to be kept in the storage unit of the shop vac. Each shop vac comes with a certain storage capacity which varies from product to product. The storage capacity that you need is completely dependent upon your application.

To get an idea, you should first consider the type of material you are going to collect by the shop vac as well as their quantity. Because once the storage capacity is full, you won’t be able to use the vacuum cleaner until you empty the unit. Another important factor to consider here is the efficiency of the unit while storing the debris.

Some low-capacity options might offer a decent performance based on the efficiency of the storage compartment. In such units, you will find a well-designed filter that increases its efficiency when it comes to storage. Also, make sure you consider the thickness of the filter as well because the overall size of the canister is inclusive of the filter placed on the inside. So the total storage capacity for dry material will be slightly lower than the rated storage capacity.

Shop Vacuum Cleaner – FAQs

1. What type of filter is better for dry applications?

Ans: The filter that you should use with your shop vac depends upon what type of waste you are collecting with the unit. For larger debris such as wood chips or gravel, a standard household vacuum cleaner level filter will suffice. For medium-sized debris like sand or sawdust, you will need a medium-level filter so that only the said content will be collected in the storage unit. Lastly, we will suggest a fine filter for smaller applications such as dust, ashes, and other similar dry waste. If a wrong filter is used for the job, there are chances of the collected material getting thrown out from the exhaust section of the vacuum cleaner.

2. What accessories do I need with the shop vac?

Ans: When it comes to accessories, you should make sure that you are prepared with the right kind of accessories for your job. Even with a powerful shop vac, you will not get a desirable performance until you attach the right accessories to the machine. For floor or wall cleaning, you will need an extension wand as well as a floor nozzle to get better coverage. On the other hand, cleaning a car requires a utility nozzle or a crevice tool to get the dust out from corners. You should get a universal tool adapter for your shop vac if you are going to use it with other machines such as a power saw.

3. Can I use the shop vac to clean hazardous material?

Ans: We will strongly recommend not to use your shop vac to clean hazardous material that cannot be cleaned with bare hands. Materials like toxic waste or carcinogenic materials can certainly cause you harm, either while you are cleaning them, or while you are emptying the storage unit. You should also steer clear of combustible materials as the friction caused while sucking the units can cause a fire. There are specially designed machines to clean such wastes and those should be used for such applications.

Conclusion

To put it in a few words, shop vacs are great tools for anyone who is seeking a thorough and powerful cleaning tool. Even if not the best, shop vacs will offer at least better cleaning performance compared to low-power household vacuum cleaners. Plus, you will be able to use shop vacs on almost any surface without giving it a second thought. Another great fact about shop vacs is that you won’t need to clean the unit frequently as they offer a large storage capacity. On top of that, the suction capacity of a shop vac is definitely powerful enough to make it usable for outdoor applications. Today, you will find a wide range of options on our list of the best shop vacs. If you need any additional help to pick up the right option, make sure you refer to our buying guide for the best shop vacs. We will also drop some handy recommendations right here to make your choice clearer.

  • If you are fed up with cleaning your vacuum cleaner or shop vac frequently, it is time to upgrade to the CRAFTSMAN Vacuum Cleaner. Even after frequent usage, you probably won’t have to clear this unit for weeks since it comes with 16 gallons storage capacity. Plus, it also features a 6.5 HP peak power motor that can create a powerful vacuum pressure to clear large debris. The built-in blower port on the other hand will let you clean leaves or grass residue with ease.
  • If you are planning to spend a large sum on a shop vac, it would be wise to spend it on a machine that will last you years to come. So, our next recommendation is the Stanley Vacuum Cleaner which also happens to be the most reliable shop vac on this list. It is also powered by a 4 HP high-performance motor so the cleaning capacity of this unit should not be questioned. The Stanley comes with an 6 feet long hose with a 1⅞ inch diameter so that it does not get clogged while picking up large-sized trash.
  • While a lot of shop vacs are pretty expensive, we have also included a couple of budget options. Out of which, the Armor All Vacuum Cleaner is the cheapest option we could find for a shop vac. This unit offers 2.5 gallons capacity and is powered by a 2 HP peak power motor to offer a decent cleaning performance. Plus, you will also get a 10 feet long cord with the Armor All AA255 so that you can use it to cover a large area at once. Along with that, you will get many additional accessories with the Armor All AA255 that are designed to serve various cleaning applications.

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