Top 9 Best Ash Vacuum Cleaners of 2019: Buying Guide

If you’ve ever tried to sweep piles of ash from your fireplace, you know it’s impossible not to spread the ashes on the floor, your hands and everywhere else. Ash vacuum cleaners make a once-messy chore streamlined and cleaner. Although they look like the typical shop vac, ash vacuums are designed solely to suction warm and cool ashes from fireplaces, wood stoves, fire pits and barbecues.

Best Ash Vacuum Cleaners

What makes these vacuum cleaners able to suction a high volume of ash without destroying their internal components? Find the answer to this question and others in our ash vacuum FAQs section and buyer’s guide.


Why Can’t I Use a Regular Vacuum to Suction Ash?

No matter the brand or model of your household vacuum cleaner, it won’t be able to suction ash without incurring damage. The filters aren’t rated to handle the temperature of warm ash or the size of the particles. A household vacuum’s housing and hose are made of plastic, and plastic can’t withstand high temperatures.

If you do use an upright or canister vac to clean out your fireplace, you risk destroying the motor. However, the metal parts of an ash vacuum are heat-resistant. The same goes for the filters. You may be put off by the thought of buying a separate vacuum cleaner for fireplace maintenance, but ash vacs are much cheaper than household models and shop vacs.

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What Do I Need to Know About the Filters?

While every ash vacuum has a filtration system, the filters vary from model to model. Some vacuums contain a high-efficiency particulate air, or HEPA, filter. HEPA ash vacuums are highly recommended for those who suffer from allergies or asthma.

The care instructions for the filter depend on the filter itself. Some filters can be rinsed and reused. Other filters are disposable and won’t work if drenched in water. However, all ash filters are designed to trap ultra-fine particles, and they maintain their integrity in high temperatures.

Best Ash Vacuum and Buying Guide

Do I Have to Wait for the Ash to Cool Before I Vacuum?

Some ash vacuums can suction warm ashes at temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. With other ash vacuum cleaners, you must wait for the ashes to cool since there are often hot spots lurking within piles of ash, allowing the ashes to completely cool before vacuuming is the best practice.

Can I Use an Ash Vac to Remove Embers?

No. As the name suggests, an ash vacuum can only handle ash cleanup. Using an ash vacuum to suction hot embers is dangerous. For instance, the force behind the suction may set alight stove pellets, scorching the vacuum’s filter. Hot embers in a fireplace can also burn the filter.

There are some filters that are flame-resistant. Even so, you can still destroy these filters by using the vacuum to remove embers if the vacuum’s fan blows air over the hot coal. Plus, large pieces of coal can clog the entire unit, shortening the lifespan of the filter and the vacuum.

How Can I Prevent Clogs?

Often, clogs occur due to user error. Attempting to suction large debris will easily clog an ash vacuum. The technique you use to clean up the ash can also create a blockage. Instead of putting the hose on an ash pile, push through to the bottom of the pile until the hose lightly touches the firebox. Then, move the hose in small circles. Don’t forget the filter. A filter laden with ash will reduce the flow of air.

Best Ash Vacuum Cleaners

How Do I Unclog My Ash Vacuum?

Despite your best effort, your ash vacuum may clog from time to time. Your first instinct may be to stick your finger in the hose or nozzle to pull out the obstruction. However, the temperature inside of the hose may be hot enough to burn your skin.

A better, safer way to unclog your ash vacuum is to repeatedly tap the nozzle or hose tip on a hard surface until the path is clear. Once the obstruction is gone, check the filter to make sure it doesn’t need to be cleaned or replaced.

Why Is the Hose So Difficult to Bend?

Ash vacuum hoses are constructed from different materials than household vacuum hoses in order to make the hoses fire-resistant. The interior of an ash vac hose is lined with some type of metal as opposed to rubber through and through. The metal lining is responsible for the hose’s stiffness. Although the hose isn’t very flexible, it can still kink and reduce the airflow, so handle the hose with care when you’re vacuuming.

Top Ash Vacuums

Can I Use an Ash Vac To Clean Other Messes?

While it’s tempting to use your ash vac for other chores, doing so isn’t a great idea. Solid pieces of debris like cat litter and dry cereal will clog an ash vacuum, and liquid will ruin the vacuum’s internal components. Some debris can start a fire within the vacuum cleaner, so stick to ash cleanup only.

Our Recommended Top 9 Best Ash Vacuum Cleaners

CRAFTSMAN 17585 5 gallon 3 Peak Hp Ash Vacuum

The CRAFTSMAN 5 gallon ash vac helps you quickly remove cold ashes and eliminate dusty messes safely. Its heavy duty aluminum build guarantees safe removal of Items like cool ash… More

BACOENG 5.3-Gallon Ash Vacuum

The BACOENG ASH200L ash vacuum cleaner is designed specifically for cold-ash pickup out of fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves and BBQ grills. With its powerful 1200W motor, assorted… More

Porter-Cable Wet/Dry Ash Vacuum

The Porter-Cable 4-gallon, 4 peak horsepower ash vac is the ideal tool for cleaning up cold ash. Ideal for use year round for fire places, bonfire pits, wood-burning… More

Tacklife Ash Vacuum, TACKLIFE 800W Ash Vacuum Cleaner

Specifically designed to clean warm and cool wood ash out of wood burner, fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves, and barbecue grills. Washable fire-resistant filter… More

Cougar+ Ash Vacuum

The Cougar is designed to suck up cold to warm fine ash. Ash takes seven days to reach a true ‘cold’ state – we don’t want you to wait that long. While this vacuum should not… More

Shop-Vac 4041200 Ash Vacuum Cleaner

Lets you clean your fireplace, barbecue or wood stove without making a dusty mess. Designed to remove cold ashed. Thermal protective device for user safety. Durable vinyl… More

Snow Joe ASHJ201 Ash Vacuum

Equipped with a dual filtration system that employs both a coarse-dust pre-filter and a fine-dust pleated filter, the Ash Vac effectively traps dust particles during the ash… More

PowerSmith PAVC101 10 Amp Ash Vacuum

The PowerSmith PAVC101 Ash Vacuum is specifically designed to clean warm and cool ash out of fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves, and barbecue grills. The washable… More

Snow Joe ASHJ202E Ash Vacuum

Equipped with a dual filtration system that employs both a coarse-dust pre-filter and a fine-dust pleated filter, the Ash Vac effectively traps dust particles during the ash… More

Ash Vacuum Buyer’s Guide

If you’re tired of inhaling ash particles when you clean your fireplace, an inexpensive ash vacuum can save your lungs and your sanity. What features make an ash vacuum worth buying? From the filters to the capacity, here are the shopping points you should compare when browsing for an ash vacuum.

Filtration

The filtration system in an ash vacuum may consist of anywhere from one to three filter media. If you find yourself drawn to a single-filter model, make sure the filter is a true-HEPA filter. Dual-filter and triple-filter systems will have one or two top layers that help contain fine particles. Some filters are even protected by a metal or mesh cage. The filtration system is the one place to not make concessions when it comes to features.

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Suction Strength

The motor’s amps and horsepower determine the vacuum’s suction strength; you may see one or both measurements in the specs. Although ash is a lightweight debris, it’s often found in concentrated piles. While a low-horsepower motor can clean ash effectively, a high-horsepower motor is efficient and fast. The higher the amperage or the horsepower, the stronger the suction.

The Hose

For the house, your main concern should be the length. Fireplace boxes can be deep, so you’ll need at least 4 feet’ worth of reach to work comfortably. Some ash vac hoses extend up to 6 feet. Make sure the specs state that the hose has a metal lining or describe the hose as “flame-resistant” or “fire-retardant.” Vacuums with a hose wrap will prevent the hose from becoming kinked.

Power Cord

Unlike an upright or a canister vacuum, the cord length isn’t a major consideration because you won’t be using the ash vac for whole-house vacuuming. Still, you want the cord to be able to reach from the nearest outlet to your fireplace. An ash vac’s cord may range from 8 to 16 feet.

Attachments

Depending on the particular model, the ash vacuum may either come with zero or multiple attachments. These attachments are not much different from those found on a household vacuum, but they are heat-resistant.

Some attachments like extension wands are meant to offer extra reach. Other attachments like crevice tools and brushes are designed to help you remove ash from cracks and corners. A few ash vacs even come with a bare-floor nozzle to suction ashes from your wood or tile floor.

Ash vacuum

Storage

Ideally, the ash vac you buy should have hooks or recessed wraps for the power cord and the hose. After all, you don’t want a tangled mess in your storage closet.

If the vacuum comes with accessories, it’s always a plus if onboard storage is available; however, onboard tool storage isn’t a common feature. Usually, ash vacuums that come with tools also have a bag you can use to put them in when not in use.

Size

Ash vacuums are not heavy appliances. The weight of the average ash vacuum ranges from 10 to 12 pounds. Depending on your personal strength, you may need a model that weighs less than 10 pounds.

These appliances also tend to be compact in size. Larger, heavier models often sit on a set of casters that help you transport them without putting forth much effort. Smaller, lighter vacuums won’t have wheels, but they will have a carrying handle.

Capacity

When it comes to capacity, the range is rather wide. Small ash vacuums may only be able to hold 3 gallons while large models can contain 6 gallons. If your home has multiple fireplaces, you may end up needing to dump the canister midway through vacuuming if the canister’s capacity is small. A high-capacity ash vac is a better choice here.

You never want to run an ash vac with a full tank. Turning off the vacuum to open the canister and check its ash level is cumbersome. Some manufacturers solve this problem by integrating a viewing window into the side of the canister. Premium models may have a light indicator that illuminates when the tank is full.

Best Ash Vacuum Cleaners Guide

Our Recommended Top 9 Best Ash Vacuum Cleaners

CRAFTSMAN 17585 5 gallon 3 Peak Hp Ash Vacuum

The CRAFTSMAN 5 gallon ash vac helps you quickly remove cold ashes and eliminate dusty messes safely. Its heavy duty aluminum build guarantees safe removal of Items like cool ash… More

BACOENG 5.3-Gallon Ash Vacuum

The BACOENG ASH200L ash vacuum cleaner is designed specifically for cold-ash pickup out of fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves and BBQ grills. With its powerful 1200W motor, assorted… More

Porter-Cable Wet/Dry Ash Vacuum

The Porter-Cable 4-gallon, 4 peak horsepower ash vac is the ideal tool for cleaning up cold ash. Ideal for use year round for fire places, bonfire pits, wood-burning… More

Tacklife Ash Vacuum, TACKLIFE 800W Ash Vacuum Cleaner

Specifically designed to clean warm and cool wood ash out of wood burner, fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves, and barbecue grills. Washable fire-resistant filter… More

Cougar+ Ash Vacuum

The Cougar is designed to suck up cold to warm fine ash. Ash takes seven days to reach a true ‘cold’ state – we don’t want you to wait that long. While this vacuum should not… More

Shop-Vac 4041200 Ash Vacuum Cleaner

Lets you clean your fireplace, barbecue or wood stove without making a dusty mess. Designed to remove cold ashed. Thermal protective device for user safety. Durable vinyl… More

Snow Joe ASHJ201 Ash Vacuum

Equipped with a dual filtration system that employs both a coarse-dust pre-filter and a fine-dust pleated filter, the Ash Vac effectively traps dust particles during the ash… More

PowerSmith PAVC101 10 Amp Ash Vacuum

The PowerSmith PAVC101 Ash Vacuum is specifically designed to clean warm and cool ash out of fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves, and barbecue grills. The washable… More

Snow Joe ASHJ202E Ash Vacuum

Equipped with a dual filtration system that employs both a coarse-dust pre-filter and a fine-dust pleated filter, the Ash Vac effectively traps dust particles during the ash… More