Shop Vacs: Keep Your Workshop or Office Clean

CRAFTSMAN CMXEVBE17596 20 Gallon 6.5 Peak HP Wet, Dry Vac

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From different workshops to construction sites, Shop Vacs are an essential tool. Whether you are at a shop in your business or your home garage, the right shop vac will make easy work of almost any mess.

You can pick almost anything up with a shop vac, from sawdust to nails, wood, screws, and liquids. The key is finding a well-built unit with a strong motor and capacity. You also want a vacuum that is easy to maneuver, with multiple attachments, and good value for the price.

If you are in a specific industry, make sure it can clean up the waste you produce. Take a look at the shop vacs on this list to get an idea of what is available in the marketplace.

What is a Shop Vac?

A shop vac is a type of vacuum cleaner that is commonly used in building and woodworking. These devices are made of a powerful engine and a suction unit that sucks up dirt, trash, and bits of material from construction sites and woodworking shops.

They have a large and robust hose, and a large canister for collecting trash, and they are suitable for cleaning almost any mess.

What Would you Use a Shop Vac for?

Shop vacs tend to be most suited for woodworking shops and construction sites. In a garage or workshop, a Shop Vac would be used to clean up sawdust, chunks of wood, suction screws, metal pieces, and various other bits of debris and messes that may be lying around. Shop Vacs are usually more powerful than their domestic counterparts.

Shop Vac: Keep Your Workshop or Office Clean

Selecting the right shop vac, also known as a wet/dry vacuum, for a business is crucial, especially for environments like workshops, construction sites, or any place that requires heavy-duty cleaning. Here’s a guide to the key criteria for choosing the best shop vac:

  1. Suction Power and Performance:
    • Scale of Importance: 9/10
    • High suction power is essential for effectively picking up both wet and dry debris. Look for a powerful motor that provides strong and consistent suction.
  2. Tank Capacity:
    • Scale of Importance: 8/10
    • The size of the tank determines how much debris the vac can hold. Larger tanks are beneficial for bigger spaces or more extensive clean-up tasks but consider the trade-off in terms of portability.
  3. Filter Quality:
    • Scale of Importance: 9/10
    • A high-quality filter is crucial, especially for fine dust. Some models offer HEPA filters for improved air quality.
  4. Durability and Build Quality:
    • Scale of Importance: 8/10
    • The shop vac should be rugged and durable, capable of withstanding rough handling in a work environment.
  5. Portability and Maneuverability:
    • Scale of Importance: 7/10
    • Features like caster wheels, carrying handles, and a compact design enhance mobility, especially in dynamic workspaces.
  6. Noise Level:
    • Scale of Importance: 6/10
    • Consider the noise level, as loud vacuums can be disruptive in certain environments.
  7. Ease of Use and Maintenance:
    • Scale of Importance: 7/10
    • The shop vac should be user-friendly, with easy-to-use controls and straightforward maintenance procedures.
  8. Wet and Dry Capabilities:
    • Scale of Importance: 9/10
    • Ensure the vacuum can handle both wet and dry pickups, as this versatility is a key advantage of shop vacs.
  9. Hose Length and Attachments:
    • Scale of Importance: 7/10
    • A longer hose and a variety of attachments can enhance the vac’s versatility, allowing it to reach tight spaces and clean various surfaces.
  10. Cost and Budget:
    • Scale of Importance: 7/10
    • Balance the cost with the features and quality of the shop vac. More expensive models might offer better performance and durability.

Now that you know how we chose them, check out our picks for the best wet/dry vacs on Amazon:

CRAFTSMAN 20 Gallon Shop Vac

With 20 gallons of capacity and 6.5 horsepower, this craftsman is a workhorse. The wet/dry feature can clean almost any size mess with its Qwik Lock Filter Fastening System.

This shop vac comes with a 20 ft. power cord, a blowing port to blow dirt, and six different attachments.

CRAFTSMAN CMXEVBE17596 20 Gallon 6.5 Peak HP Wet/Dry Vac

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DeWALT 6 Gallon Wet/Dry Vac

DeWALT DXV06P 6 gallon Poly Wet, Dry Vac, yellow

This DeWALT comes with a six-gallon capacity and four peak horsepower for wet or dry cleanup jobs. You also get a 10′ power cord, rubberized swiveling casters, a built-in blower port, and three different types of nozzles.

At 14.7 pounds, you can easily carry this vac wherever you need it.

DeWALT DXV06P 6 gallon Poly Wet/Dry Vac, Yellow

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Shop-Vac 5 Gallon Vacuum

Shop-Vac 5989300 5-Gallon 4.5 Peak HP Stainless Steel Wet Dry Vacuum

The name Shop-Vac has been around since 1965, and the overall quality is what makes it such a good brand. Stainless steel construction, a five-gallon stainless steel tank, 4.5 peak horsepower motor, and the Shop-Vac brand make this a great tool.

Add the 3-year warranty and the readily available attachments, filters, and kits, making it even better.

Shop-Vac 5989300 5-Gallon 4.5 Peak HP Stainless Steel Wet Dry Vacuum

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Stanley 5 Gallon Shop Vac

Stanley 5 Gallon Wet Dry Vacuum, 4 Peak HP Stainless Steel 3 in 1 Shop Vac Blower with Powerful Suction

The Stanley name is synonymous with construction, and this shop vac is built to withstand different working environments.

Four-horsepower motor power this multifunctional stainless steel vacuum/blower. You get a 5′ hose, a 10′ power cord, a five-gallon capacity tank, and multiple attachments.

Stanley 5 Gallon Wet Dry Vacuum, 4 Peak HP Stainless Steel 3 in 1 Shop Vac Blower

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Armor All 2.5 Gallon Wet/Dry Vac

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

Not all businesses need a large shop vac. This Armor All vacuum is a light but powerful tool if this is your case. You get a two-peak horsepower motor and a gallon tank alonand0′ power cord.

Onboard accessories and storage with a handle on the top make it easy to carry this 7-pound vacuum. A six-foot hose, a reusable cloth filter, a wet foam filter, a 2-in-1 utility nozzle with brush, a crevice tool, and a detail brush with a two-year warranty are all part of the deal.

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

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Vacmaster Professional Beast Series – 16 Gallon

Vacmaster Professional - Professional Wet, Dry Vac, 16 Gallon

This vacuum’s suction power and airflow can easily tackle any tough job around the job site, shop, or in the Garage.

The 6.5 horsepower motor sits on top of a 16-gallon tank for tackling big cleaning jobs. The 7′ hose comes with a 20′ power cord, giving you 27′ of total reach.

Two extension wands, floor nozzle with squeegee and brush, fine dust cartridge filter, foam filter, and air and noise diffuser come with the Vacmaster.

Vacmaster Professional – Professional Wet/Dry Vac, 16 Gallon, Beast Series

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Porter-Cable PCX18301-4B – 4 Gallon

Porter-Cable PCX18301-4B 4 gallon 4Hp Wet, Dry Vacuum

With a 4-peak horsepower motor, this is a wet/dry vacuum with a lot of suction power. A compact design makes it light at 11.58 pounds, even though it has a 4-gallon stainless steel tank.

A 10′ power cord, floor nozzle, three extension wands, hose, and gulper nozzle give you plenty of reach. Porter-Cable also includes a three-year limited warranty for this vac.

Porter-Cable PCX18301-4B 4 gallon 4Hp Wet/Dry Vacuum

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Vacmaster VJC507P Vacuum – 5 Gallon

Vacmaster VJC507P 5-Gallon

Don’t be fooled by its small size, the Vacmaster VJC507P is a powerful portable shop vac that easily handles a variety of messes. It features a powerful 3-peak HP motor that easily picks up liquid messes and dry debris with ease.  The powerful motor is also complemented by a 5-gallon tough polypropylene tank. The 360 degrees casters and a well-thought-out top handle allow for easy transportation. This is certainly a great wet dry shop vac at its price range.

Vacmaster VJC507P – 5 Gallon

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Vacmaster Wall Mounted Shop Vacuum – 5 Gallon

Vacmaster Wet Dry Vacuum 5 Gallon

This 5-gallon Vacmaster is the perfect combination of convenience and performance. It comes with a 2-stage motor that’s powerful enough to handle a variety of cleaning tasks. You also don’t have to worry about reach as this vac is fitted with a 21-foot hose system and 20-foot power cord for an extra-long cleaning reach. Conveniently turn the vacuum on and off with the remote-control handle that’s at the end of the hose. Done cleaning? Neatly store the VWMB508 on the wall.

Vacmaster Wall Mounted Shop Vacuum – 5 Gallon

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DEWALT Portable Shop Vacuum – 4 Gallon

DEWALT DXV04T Portable 4 gallon Wet, Dry Vaccum

Looking for a small but powerful vacuum that you can take to any cleaning job? Look no further than the DEWALT DXV04T. This highly portable 4-gallon features a powerful 5-peak horsepower motor that provides just the amount of suction needed for the best cleanup of wet and dry messes. It also comes with a strong handle for easy carrying, a dust cartridge filter, a built-in 20-feet power cord, and an easy to access on and off switch.

DEWALT DXV04T Portable Shop Vacuum – 4 Gallon

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Vacmaster Professional Vacuum – 5 Gallon

Vacmaster Professional - Professional Wet, Dry Vac

Vacmaster produces some great vacuums, and the Vacmaster Professional does not disappoint. This vacuum is designed to tackle the toughest cleanup jobs. It comes with a total 25 feet cleaning reach and includes 8 accessories for nearly any task. The rugged polypropylene tank is impact and corrosion-resistant. Integrated onboard storage provides hassle-free storage when the vac is not in use.

Vacmaster Professional Vacuum – 5 Gallon

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WORKSHOP WS1600SS Heavy Duty Vacuum – 16 Gallon

WORKSHOP Wet, Dry Vacs

Backed with a 5-year warranty, this professional-grade vacuum comes with heavy-duty suction power that easily outperforms the toughest cleanup jobs. While it is larger in size than some of the other vacuums, it is still easy to move around thanks to the swivel casters, an ergonomic handle, and oversized rear wheels.  A Qwik lock filter fastening system allows for quick and easy filter changes. An auto shut-off float mechanism prevents overflow during wet messes cleanup.

WORKSHOP WS1600SS Heavy Duty Vacuum – 16 Gallon

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VacuMaid GV30PRO Wall Mounted Shop Vacuum – 7 Gallon

VacuMaid GV30PRO Wall Mounted Garage and Car Vacuum

Manufactured in the USA, the VacuMaid GV30PRO is a powerful wall-mounted vacuum cleaner. This versatile cleaner comes with a variety of accessories and tools for your cleaning needs, including car care attachments, extension wands, floor, and above floor tools, a long 30-foot hose, and storage accessories. This vac is also super easy to maintain. It also mounts quickly and easily on the wall – no plumbing is necessary.

VacuMaid GV30PRO Wall Mounted Shop Vacuum

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How to Choose the Best Shop Vac for Your Business

When choosing the best shop vac for your business, it’s essential to consider various elements beyond basic cleaning needs. A high-quality shop vac is not only capable of handling both wet and dry messes but also adds versatility and convenience to your cleaning routine, thus saving you precious time.

Firstly, you need to ascertain the functionality of your prospective shop vac. Ensure that it has both suction and blowing capabilities for diverse cleaning situations – such as clearing waterlogged areas, unclogging drains, or removing debris from hard-to-reach corners. This versatility is a key distinguisher between typical home vacuums and shop vacs.

The power of your shop vac, measured in horsepower, directly impacts its suction strength. Aim for a vacuum with 5 to 6.5 peak horsepower for optimal performance.

Another aspect to consider is capacity. If you’re dealing with larger amounts of dirt, a larger drum size will prevent frequent cleaning. Smaller shop vacs are perfect for light dust collection or cleaning compact spaces.

Don’t overlook durability – shop vacs with metal bodies are more robust, but keep in mind they’ll be heavier. Features like kink-free, crush-resistant hoses and dust-proof switches add to the vacuum’s longevity.

Take into account the following points:

  • Mobility and Reach: Choose a shop vac with sturdy wheels and a lengthy power cord for greater mobility. Additional attachments can facilitate cleaning hard-to-reach areas.
  • Noise Level: Since manufacturers often omit noise level information, check product reviews for user experiences. Aim for a shop vac with noise levels below 70 decibels.
  • Accessories: Various accessories can simplify your cleaning tasks. Look for options that include cleaning heads, pipes, and other attachment ports. (See our list below)


Best Shop Vac Accessories

Vacuum accessories are supposed to make your life a little easier, not to complicate it. With busy schedules, it is easy to default to using the same accessories all the time. Here are some accessories that will help you make the most of your next cleaning session.

Master Accessory Kit

Easily convert your vacuum to fit a variety of cleaning tasks. This master accessory kit comes with a selection of wand extensions, and nozzles that easily fit standard friction and locking inlets. The accessories are constructed of tough, durable polypropylene and plastic materials and are ideal for both wet and dry clean-up tasks.

WORKSHOP Wet/Dry Vac Contractor-Grade Hose

This wet dry vacuum hose is more flexible than most standard hoses. The common hoses tend to be rigid and crimp easily, but not the WORKSHOP wet/dry vac Contractor Grade hose. The locking tab allows this hose to easily attach and detach for storage. It also easily rotates at the collar which makes it super easy to use.

WORKSHOP Wet/Dry Vacuum Adapter

This adapter kit contains three universal wet dry vacuum adapters. The adapters come in a variety of sizes for optimal airflow and for complete maneuverability in tight spaces. They easily fit a variety of vacuums and are certainly designed to offer diverse applications for your changing needs.

Extolife Replacement Filter

The Extolife replacement filter is compatible with most 5-gallon and above wet-dry vacuums. The filter is made of high-density durable material for great suction. It is also super easy to install.

ANBOO Floor Brush Head

This floor brush head is suitable for vacuum cleaners with a 32mm inner diameter of the brush head interface and it is super easy to operate. Use the left switch to clean the floor and the right switch for the carpet.

Investing in the right shop vac can make maintaining your workspace safer and more enjoyable. Take time to assess your specific needs and research your options thoroughly to find the ideal fit for your business.

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Antony Maina Antony Maina is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 8 years. Antony covers business and technology and is also a successful freelance writer.