From pools of water that have leaked around your water heater to the sawdust that covers your garage after a woodworking project, a wet-dry vacuum is a handy tool to have around the house.
Wet dry vacuums, also known as shop vacs, are generally loud and bulky, so they aren’t meant to replace that upright vacuum in your closet. However, they are worth keeping around for large disasters that your household vacuum and mop can’t handle.
Our Recommended Canister Wet/Dry Vacuums in 2023
6) Shop-Vac 5989300 5-Gallon 4.5 Peak HP Stainless Steel Wet Dry Vacuum
This wet-dry vacuum by Shop-Vac is a solid performer. Its 4.5-horsepower motor draws 9.9 amps, lending the machine the suction strength needed for a whole host of at-home cleaning tasks. The 5-gallon tank is made of stainless steel, and its two side latches keep the barrel securely in place.
The rear of the wet-dry vac features a blower port, and the rim of the tank offers a place to keep all three extension wands and the other attachments that come with this machine. The front of the shop vac showcases a 7-foot-long hose that measures 1.25 inches in diameter, and there is a storage wrap for the 6-foot-long power cord.
Read our full in-depth Shop-Vac 5986000 5-Gallon Stainless Steel Wet Dry Vacuum review
On top of the four casters is a wide dolly that lends support and stability to the vacuum’s barrel, making the risk of tip-overs slim to none. There are also two handles to help you push, pull and carry the wet-dry vac. For dust filtration, this shop vacuum contains a filter bag and a cartridge filter covered by a foam sleeve.
- Powerful & Portable: This Wet/Dry Vacuum Has A 5-Gallon Stainless Steel Tank & A 4.5 Peak...
- Accessories Included: This Wet/Dry Vac Includes 1.25 " Diameter Accessories: 7-Foot Hose,...
5) DEWALT DCV580H 20V MAX Cordless Wet-Dry Vacuum
For those that need a wet/dry vacuum on the go, we recommend giving the DEWALT DCV580H a try. This cordless wet/dry vac draws power from a beefy 20V MAX battery—a part of DEWALT’s shareable battery series—that provides enough power to take in up to 31 CFM of air for up to 30 minutes (battery sold separately).
This 2-gallon cordless wet/dry vac has its own storage compartment for the crevice and wide nozzle attachments. It comes with e HEPA-rated filter that traps 0.3-micron dust up to 99.97% of the time, which should prove effective in capturing sawdust and cement dust. Being a portable unit, customers will appreciate the 5-foot, crush-resistant, nondetachable suction hose.
- Cordless operation powered by 20V MAX battery.Specific uses:Dual action
- Easily accessible, washable/reusable filter; tap or water rinse to clean
4) STANLEY Wet/Dry Vacuum SL18115
If there’s anything you should know about Stanley, it’s that the company makes a mean wet/dry vacuum. The SL18115 is an ultra-beefy wet/dry vac that sports a 4-HP motor that produces a maximum airflow of 85 CFM, which should prove more than effective at sucking in ultra-fine particles to large debris.
This portable wet/dry vac sits atop four 360-degree casters for enhanced maneuverability across uneven floors. It can hold up to a maximum of 5 gallons of wet and dry debris before needing to be emptied out. The SL18115 uses foam and fabric filters that, while simple, keep moisture away from the motor.
- 【LARGER CAPACITY】Stanley SL18115 Wet / Dry Vacuum has a larger capacity over 18. 5 L,...
- 【VERSATILE & POWERFUL】Thanks to the 4 peak HP motor, this vac offers powerful enough...
3) CRAFTSMAN CMXEVBE17590 9 Gallon 4.25 Peak HP Wet/Dry Vac
The Craftsman CMXEVBE is one of the best 9-gallon wet/dry vacs you can get your hands on. Built inside of this massive vacuum cleaner is a 4.25-HP motor that produces up to 165 CFM of suction power—more than twice the amount of many of its comparable competitors. Whether you need a vacuum and blower for construction sites, garage workshops, or at home, the CMXEVBE is most likely the perfect option.
Near the base of the canister is an oversized drain port that allows more liquids to seep out more quickly. While its cord is only 10 feet long, the 7-foot suction hose will give you the reach you need to extract sawdust from in between power tools, beneath cars, and under furniture.
- VERSATILE: Ideal for medium-sized jobs around the garage, home, renovations, and jobsite
- BLOWER PORT: Use the rear exhaust port on this shop vacuum for blowing debris out of your...
2) Bissell MultiClean Wet/Dry Garage and Auto Vacuum Cleaner 2035M
The Bissell 2035M wet/dry vacuum is packing a powerful 11-amp motor that delivers enough suction power to lift and remove wet cement, sawdust, and anything in between. This canister vac features a 6-gallon tank that, by wet/dry vacuums, is a bit on the smaller side, so perhaps DIY-ers and hobbyist construction workers would benefit most from this device.
Inside the 2035M are two filters that protect the motor and inner workings from wet debris. A simple flip of a switch can turn this vacuum cleaner into a leaf blower to remove microscopic debris. A wide assort of cleaning tools, including multiple nozzles and a crevice attachment, can ensure no speck of sawdust remains after the 2035M has had its say.
- Powerful 11 amp motor for excellent wet and dry cleaning
- 6 gallon capacity to get the job done whether big or small
1) Vacmaster VBV1210, 12-Gallon 5 Peak HP Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum
The capacity of this Vacmaster VBV1210 shop vacuum is outstanding. It can hold a whopping 12 gallons of debris in its polypropylene tank, so you can get all your cleaning jobs done in one fell swoop.
Thanks to its drain port, there is no heavy lifting involved when you empty the tank. The 7-foot hose boasts a 2.5-inch diameter, so it can handle large debris, and the power cord is lengthy at 12 feet.
Vacmaster included a 5-horsepower motor in this 18-pound shop vac’s design that draws 10.5 amps of power. For times when you need a blower, just push the release button to lift the blower, which pushes out air at a rate of 210 miles per hour.
For your convenience, the sealed power switch is located on the vacuum’s comfortable, curved handle.
Read our full in-depth Vacmaster 12 Gallon, 5 Peak HP, Wet/Dry Vacuum review
With this shop vac, you get eight accessories for all your wet and dry cleanup jobs, including two extension wands. To keep your shop vac neat and tidy, you can store the accessories on top of the wheels. The cartridge filter is protected by a washable foam layer, and the four caster wheels offer incredible maneuverability.
- Easily Convert from Wet/Dry Vacuum to 210 MPH Handheld Blower.Specific uses:Garage
- 19-Foot Cleaning Reach with Hose and Power Cord
Wet/Dry Vacuums Buying Guide
What was once only found in commercial workshops has now become a mainstay in American homes. Now, you can enjoy the cleaning convenience that only a shop vac can provide. If you’ve never owned one of these machines, you’re in for a real treat because wet-dry vacuums drastically reduce the time you’ll spend maintaining your yard, tidying your garage and detailing your car.
Before you run out and buy one for your home, look at this shopping guide. Below, there is information that can help you learn more about the key features of a high-quality wet-dry vac, including size, reach and maneuverability.
Wet/Dry Vacuum Size
Choosing the right size shop vac is a tricky endeavor. Large wet-dry vacuums have exceedingly strong suction and a huge debris capacity. On the other hand, small models are lightweight and take up less space. If you don’t want to find yourself constantly dumping the tank’s contents, a large shop vac is your best bet. However, if you’re short on storage room, you should opt for a small shop vac with a 4 to 6-gallon capacity.
Wet/Dry Vacuum Reach
There are three components that determine a wet-dry vacuum’s overall reach – the power cord, the hose and the extension wand. When it comes to power cords, you can’t go wrong with a long one of at least 10 feet, so you don’t have to play the outlet-switch game.
In terms of the hose, look for one that ranges from 6 to 8 feet, so you can get enough reach without sacrificing suction. Shop vacs that come with an extension wand allow you to clean ceiling, ledges and counters without contorting your body.
Wet/Dry Vacuum Maneuverability
A wet-dry vac’s wheels can mean the difference between easy maneuverability and a huge frustration. Look for a model with three or four rotating casters that are set widely apart for stability. You can even find some shop vacs that sit on a dolly, which lends additional support. A carrying handle also helps you move the vacuum.
Wet/Dry Vacuum Attachment Storage
Even though almost every wet-dry vacuum comes with a few attachments, on-board storage isn’t always a given. In order to prevent misplacing the accessories, get a shop vac with attachment clips on the barrel or inserts on the wheels. Also, look for a wet-dry vac that has a spot for each attachment. However, if the machine comes with a lot of accessories, full on-board storage may not be possible.
Wet/Dry Vacuum Safety
As you would with any appliance, strive to get a wet-dry vac that has a couple of safety features. One common one safety component shuts off the shop vac when its tank is full of water. Many of the power switches on these vacuums are built to repel dust.
You can also find a multitude of models with bright-colored power cords that are highly visible to prevent accidental trips and falls.
Wet/Dry Vacuum Blower
While you won’t find this function on every shop vac, there are plenty of models that turn into a blower. Some simply have a port that comes with an adapter attachment while others are detachable for handheld portability. Either way, a blower function is crucial if you have a huge yard to maintain or want a leaf blower wrapped up in a wet-dry vacuum.
Related Post: Best Wet-Dry Handheld Vacuums
How Can I Compare the Performance of One Shop Vac to Another?
Air watts, peak horsepower, sealed pressure – Some manufacturers give you a laundry list of performance specs. Although the peak horsepower of a wet-dry vacuum is an indicator of its motor’s strength, there are other important measurements to consider.
The machine’s amperage tells you how much power the machine draws. While a lot of amps are great, you could risk tripping a circuit if the shop vac draws more than 12. There is also the vacuum’s sealed pressure, which is measured by how many inches of water it can lift.
You should also look at the wet-dry vacuum’s airflow and air watts to get an idea of how well it can suction fine and coarse debris.
What Size Wet-Dry Vacuum Do I Need?
Mini, small, medium and large are the four sizes of wet-dry vacuums you can buy. In general, smaller ones take up less storage space and are easier to maneuver while larger ones have a big capacity and offer more robust performance.
If you need a shop vac that’s a breeze to tote and suitable for minor cleanups, a mini one is a great choice. Plenty of people also find small wet-dry vacuums easy to move; however, these vacuums are better for light-duty work.
Then, there are large wet-dry vacuums, which are powerful and boast a huge capacity, making them perfect for huge cleanup tasks. If you’re looking for a compromise between performance and size, a medium shop vac is your best bet.
Does a Shop Vac’s Hose Size Matter?
Absolutely! The hose’s length and diameter play a huge role in a shop vacuum’s overall performance. The wider the hose’s diameter, the less likely it will clog. For most jobs, a 2.5-inch diameter is sufficient; however, you’ll want a wider hose if you need to use the vacuum for heavy-duty cleanup tasks.
Don’t forget about the hose’s length. A long hose helps you get into awkward spaces and makes tasks easier, but be careful. If the hose is too long, the shop vac’s suction may suffer, especially when cleaning up a lot of large debris.
What Attachments Come With a Wet-Dry Vac?
Some attachments are more common than others, such as wands that extend your reach. Shop vacs may also come with a brush nozzle and a crevice tool for dry debris as well as a tapered nozzle and a squeegee for liquid. If the shop vac also acts as a blower, it may come with specialized tools for that purpose.
Do Wet-Dry Vacuums Have a Filter?
A filter typically comes standard in a wet-dry vac. Some filters are disposable while others are reusable if you clean them on a regular basis. If you work around sawdust or drywall or suffer from allergies or asthma, you need a shop vac with a high-efficiency particulate air, or HEPA, filter, which can trap a lot of ultra-fine particles.
Should I Buy a Wet-Dry Vac With a Plastic or Metal Tank?
The right answer to this question comes down to whether you prioritize weight over durability or vice versa. A plastic tank weighs less than a metal tank. On the other hand, a metal tank can withstand more abuse than a plastic one.
Are These Machines Difficult to Keep Clean?
Besides changing or washing the filter, the only other routine upkeep these vacuums require is emptying the tank. Whenever the tank is full of liquid, the machine will be super heavy. If you foresee a lot of liquid cleanup in your future, get a shop vac with a drain valve or spout, so you won’t have to lift the tank or worse, the entire vacuum.
What Type of Maintenance and Care Do Shop Vacs Require?
Although dumping the tank after every use is the best way to make sure your shop vac stays in working order, there are other basic care instructions you should follow. To protect your wet-dry vacuum, don’t allow children or pets to play around it, and keep it sheltered from the outdoor elements.
In addition, take time to regularly check the shop vac’s power cord and hose. If either of these components exhibit frays or cracks, do not use the machine. Doing so may lead to an electrical shock or fire. As long as the cord stays retracted or wrapped when not in use, you can prevent it from becoming damaged.
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Last Update: 2024-02-24 | Affiliate links/Images from Amazon Product Advertising API