Maintaining a garage or any workspace is a big responsibility, so you want the best shop vac for the job. If you’ve never considered this option before, think of it as a must-have in those heavy-duty cleaning chores.
A shop vac can deal with all the sawdust, mulch, screws, and even liquid spills that happen in a garage. Their only role is to suck up everything in their path, so they can do stuff that regular vacuums can’t.
Have a flooding issue, a load of sawdust, or even a clogged drain? A shop vac can come in handy for all that and more. Snow, leaves, soot, and ashes -- you name it, and a shop vac is there to clear it up.
Of course, the best shop vac for your own garage needs will depend on your individual requirements. You need something that’s versatile, powerful, and somewhat easy to handle. However, there are still quite a few other considerations for choosing the best shop vac.
Practical Tips For Choosing The Best Shop Vac
A shop vac is actually a power tool, just like your heavy-duty drill. Before you decide on any particular model, you want to consider some important factors. The tips here should get us started on the right track:
Check The Capacity
Do you have large messes to clean up on a regular basis? If so, you need the space to collect all that junk. That way, you wouldn’t have to keep emptying the tank.
On the other hand, you might not have much space to store a huge shop vac. In that case, the best shop vac for you will be one with a smaller tank.
The weight of the mess is also a serious consideration. Water can be quite heavy when you collect it in one place. Again, you’ll need a larger option to hold everything safely.
Inquire About The Suction And Airflow
The performance of the best shop vac depends on the amount of suction and airflow it has. More than a 75 rating for suction places a shop vac in the high-end zone.
You should also look at the CFM measure, which defines the cubic feet per minute. If you have to pick up very fine debris like sawdust or wood chips, high CFM is best.
If you have to vacuum up heavy items like nuts, screws, and bolts, you need a high air power (AP). It’s the power that serves as airflow for sucking in the dirt.
Choose The Right Filter
If you don’t use the right kind of filter, the liquid or debris could keep flying back.
If you’re picking up large forms of debris, a general household filter will do. You’ll need a medium level for medium debris, and so on. If you have to vacuum up liquid spills a lot, you should get a foam sleeve for the filter.
In case of any allergies, a HEPA cartridge filter would be best for all kinds of debris. The most likely option might not have the right kind of filter. But you might be able to add on a filter of your own to make it the best shop vac.
Learn About The Hose Length And Width
The length of your hose should strike a proper balance. It has to be long enough to get everywhere you need, but still short enough to maintain a powerful suction.
For large debris, you want your hose width to be around 2.5 inches. Medium debris requires a width of around 1.5 to 2.5 inches. Fine debris needs about 1.25 to 1.5 inches.
Ask If The Tank Drain Is Available
If you have to vacuum up a large amount of water, a tank drain is a necessity. This helps you easily drain the water from the tank without having to lift it up.
Make Sure The Tank Material Is Durable
The tank of the best shop vac can be either plastic or stainless steel. There might be other options, but these are the most common. Each material has its pros and cons.
While plastic tanks are lightweight and dent-resistant, stainless steel makes for easy cleaning. It’s also a more durable option, so you should see which advantages are priorities for you.
Know If A Shop Vac Comes With A Detachable Blower
If you want a really versatile option, you can also opt to get shop vac with a detachable blower. It will save you from buying a leaf blower.
Incidentally, this could also be the best shop vac for a variety of other tasks. For instance, you can use it to blow up pool toys, an inflatable pool, and so on.
How We Reviewed The Best Shop Vac Models
We’ve reviewed some of the best shop vacs on the market today, taking the above tips into consideration. Since no shop vac can have everything, we’ve tried to review a wide selection.
Plus, each of the options here have excellent customer ratings. That way, we’re sure of having a quality product no matter what item we choose.
Some Great Choices For Extensive Cleaning
Below are some of the best shop vacs available right now. You should also keep in mind that a few of them require a specific number of days as shipping time. But once you have got your shop vac, you’ll feel great after using it.
Hopefully, this list will have the perfect choice for your garage cleaning needs:
- Easily Convert from Wet/Dry Vacuum to 210 MPH Handheld Blower
- 19-Foot Cleaning Reach with Hose and Power Cord
- Integrated Accessory Storage
The Vacmaster Wet/Dry Vac with Detachable Blower is a 12-gallon, wet-dry vacuum with a detachable blower for various tasks. It runs quietly, has a decent size, and is useful for cleaning up just about anything.
If you plan on clearing up a lot of dust with this vac, it will be wise to invest in another filter.
If you require a large tank for huge messes on a daily basis, it’s one of the best shop vacs to get. You should be prepared for the weight to match the tank, though! Fortunately, the 360-degree casters make it easily portable.
According to customer reviews, the Vacmaster has a quiet operation, is easy to empty, and simple to operate. If only the wheels snapped into place, it’s pretty much a perfect choice.
- HEAVY-DUTY: Powerful 6.5 peak HP provides extra power for large projects in the garage, shop and on the jobsite
- BUILT-IN BLOWER PORT: Rear blowing port on this wet dry vac allows for quick cleaning of leaves and grass clippings in...
- OVERSIZED DRAIN: Built-in oversized drain on the wet/dry vac allows for convenient emptying of liquids
The Craftsman Wet/Dry Vac has a 16-gallon capacity with several attachments to boot. It has an innovative technology that enhances its cleaning power to the max. Even the hardest cleanup problems are solved with it in your garage.
It’s one of the best shop vacs around due to its top-tray storage option, power cord organizers, and onboard hose. All of this saves you a load of hassle whenever you use the vac.
There’s also an extra-large drain here, which should quickly empty out any liquids. You can be completely in control with the swiveling wheels, the long hose, and the large sealed switch.
The size alone will be enough to manage most tasks, but it’s recommended to tape a filter over the output hole. That’s because there’s a lot of airflow blowing out from here, which could undo your hard work.
- Sturdy 9 gallon wet/dry Vac ideal for large pick-up applications 9 gallon Poly container
- Powerful 5 peak horsepower motor provides just the amount of suction needed to most any cleanup job
- Ultra durable rubberized casters allow smooth swiveling for ease of movement
The DeWALT 9 Gallon Poly Wet/Dry Vacuum is another one of the best shop vacs on the market. It has these neat rubberized casters, which allow for smooth movement in every area. With a 10-feet power cord and a storage bag, it will provide a convenient cleaning experience.
The tank drain here is inbuilt, which makes it very easy to empty out the liquids you’ve sucked up. We also like the convenient handle as well as the large rear wheels. All this makes for easy portability, which is a must-have in the best shop vac options.
There are some very minor drawbacks, such as the difficult size of the long hose. However, the easy swiveling and movement more than make up for everything.
- Includes 50' hose, hanger, caddy, wands, dusting brush, and floor/upholstery tools
- Galvannealed steel and powder-coated for corrosion-resistant lifetime use. 7 gallon dirt capacity.
- Big 5.7" Ametek Lamb motor, up to 75% more life than comparative brands.
The VacuMaid Garage Vac PRO is a wall-mounted option equipped with a 50-foot hose and various tools. These include a hanger, a dusting brush, wands, caddy, and upholstery tools as well. All in all, the VacuMaid Garage Vac PRO is one of the best shop vacs for sheer versatility.
Most importantly, the 7-gallon capacity is sure to serve you well.
We also like the material here, which is galvanized steel with a powder coating. That makes for a durable product, plus resistance to corrosion. The motor is also long-lasting, boasting about 75 percent more running time than similar options from competitive brand names.
The sealed HEPA bag will ensure that you won’t have to spend much time cleaning. The only issue might be the overly long hose, which could compromise the suction power.
- The stainless steel drum and 6.5 Peak Horsepower motor deliver the top-line power and performance you expect in a...
- Scroll Noise Reduction ensures quiet operation, while the push-handle cart and large rear wheels improve mobility over...
- The ultra-flexible, 1-7/8-inch x 8-foot hose locks in place, is four times more durable than our standard hose, and fits...
The RIDGID Stainless Steel Wet/Dry Vac is a 16-gallon option, complete with cart and large wheels. It also has a pro hose, a blower port, and a drain for those liquid messes.
With stellar buyer reviews, we can be sure of excellent performance. In fact, it’s a professional-grade vac and will probably work accordingly.
Even though the performance is heavy-duty, the operation is fortunately quiet. That’s because of the Scroll Noise Reduction. This technology, along with the large rear wheels and push-handle, make the vac convenient to operate.
One possible downside is that the stainless steel construction is a bit prone to denting. However, it still has a lightweight construction, so that’s something to appreciate.
- 【LARGER CAPACITY】Stanley SL18116 Wet / Dry Vacuum has a larger capacity over 22 L, makes small clean-up jobs a...
- 【VERSATILE & POWERFUL】Thanks to the 4 peak HP motor, this vac offers powerful enough suction needed to almost any...
- 【3 in 1 FUNCTION】With this versatile vac you can vacuum both wet liquid spills and dry debris, dust, saw, dirt or...
The Stanley Wet/Dry Vacuum has a capacity of 6 gallons, a stainless steel tank, and a middling horsepower. Overall, it should be a decent enough option for a small garage or workshop. There are also even smaller options in case you need a powerful machine for a tiny space.
The rear blower port and 10-foot power cord are among the most attractive features. We think it might be the built-in cord wrap that really takes the cake though.
The usual swiveling casters provide easy movement here. Plus, the unique design of a tall cylinder instead of a squat tank makes it stand out. Its construction also makes it easier to pull the tank along, as the traditional style might be cumbersome.
Unfortunately, the hose doesn’t pack away as neatly as the cord. You might have to compromise on a bit of storage space, but the sheer power is worth it.
- Accessory and hose storage keeps vacuum attachments within easy reach
- This top of the line shop vacuum cleaner is so durable it's covered by the WORKSHOP Wet/Dry Vac 5-Year Limited
- Ergonomic handle and large rear wheels allow for easy transport over rough terrain and stairs. Take this shop vacuum...
The WORKSHOP 16-Gallon 6.5 Peak HP Stainless Steel Wet/Dry Cart Vac boasts a stainless steel body, a 16-gallon capacity, and several attractive features. You also get storage for your accessories and the hose, so everything's always within reach.
We also love the ergonomic handle here, along with the large wheels at the rear. Put together, these features should help us easily drag this shop vac over all kinds of terrains and even stairs.
With the five-year limited warranty, you can probably deal with any issues that arise with this particular vac. However, you might find the attachments a bit low in quality, which isn’t covered by the warranty. Fortunately, they do seem to be quite durable. So, there's probably nothing to worry about.
- 2-stage filtration with a washable cloth filter bag and a super performance pleated, washable synthetic cartridge filter...
- Waste disposal and cleanup is easy with a tip-and-pour on
- Sound insulated vacuum head lowers decibel level for safety (77 db at 8 ft.)
The Powr-Flite Wet Dry Vacuum has a stainless steel tank and a capacity of 15 gallons. That makes it a suitably large choice for cleaning up tons of debris and liquid.
Buyers are quite impressive with this heavy-duty tool. And since this claims to clean up a deep level of water, we’re taken aback that it actually delivers.
You get a two-stage filtration system with this model, which is reassuring for those who have dust problems. There’s even a washable cloth filter bag for keeping the dust out as much as possible. If anyone has dust issues in their garage or any other area, this is by far one of the best choices.
We also love the washable synthetic cartridge that comes with this package. It will make sure that you filter out even the very finest of dust particles.
Other excellent features include an amazing suction, a 1.5-inch hose, and several tools. There’s even a squeegee tool that can help in cleaning floors and windows.
With the dual motor and the swiveling hose, you can be sure of having a very easy cleaning experience. However, there is some risk of rusting with the metal body, so you should be careful.
The Shop-Vac 5-Gallon 4.5 Peak HP Stainless Steel Wet / Dry Vacuum contains a compact 5 gallons within its stainless steel body. It’s a wet-dry vacuum that isn’t quite as powerful as the other options here. However, it’s very useful for smaller workplaces.
We have three attachments here, including wet-pickup nozzles, a crevice tool, and extension wands for everything.
The main downside here is that some of the attachments might seem flimsy. Still, the customer feedback does seem to indicate that they hold up quite well.
Cleaning To The Next Level
With the best shop vac in your garage, you can take your cleaning to the next level. Your workshop and garage floors need cleaning on a regular basis, and household vacuums simply don’t cut it. Choose from one of the excellent options above, and you’ll be delighted by the change!
Have you ever tried out a shop vac, or are you planning to do so in the future? Let us know what you think is the best shop vac for you and your garage in the comments below