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Best Wet/Dry Handheld Vacuums in 2023

When you think of wet/dry vacuums, the first thought that comes to mind is those huge shop vacs people keep in their garages or workshops. However, you can clean debris and liquid with much smaller wet/dry vacuums. Handheld wet/dry vacs may not have the same lifting power and capacity as their heavy-duty and commercial counterparts, but they are useful to have around for detailing your car and quickly cleaning up after meals and accidental spills.

What Is a Wet-Dry Hnadheld Vacuum

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How Do Handheld Wet/Dry Vacuums Work?

Although their shapes and sizes vary, handheld wet/dry vacuums work in a similar fashion to standard handheld vacs. The vacuum contains a motor, which supplies power to the internal fan. This fan moves air through the nozzle, taking liquid and debris along with it.

However, there are some differences. Since liquid is involved, these handheld vacuums must be designed in a way that keeps the liquid away from their internal components. Some handhelds are equipped with a filter cartridge that separates dirt and fluid while others come with a dedicated liquid-collection cup that you must attach to the vacuum’s nozzle.

Wet/Dry Handheld Vacuum

If you’re going to buy a handheld vacuum, better get a product that can clean both liquid and dry mess.

Our Recommended Wet Dry Handheld Vacuums in 2023

10) WORKSHOP Wet/Dry Vacs Vacuum WS0255VA

the WORKSHOP WS0255VA is a small and lightweight wet/dry vacuum cleaner that is easy to carry and transport around the house.

WORKSHOP Wet-Dry Vacs Vacuum WS0255VA

With a stable, flat-bottom design, the small shop vacuum cleaner remains in place, even while gently tugging on the suction hose. The 10-foot power cord, 4-foot hose, and all of the vacuum attachments fit inside of an onboard storage compartment, ensuring that everything is always within reach.

The vacuum has an integrated blowing port, allowing you to swiftly remove dust and debris from your workstation. The portable wet/dry handheld vacuum cleaner with hose and filter bag, as well as nozzle attachments for use at home and in cars.

WORKSHOP Wet/Dry Vacs Vacuum WS0255VA...
  • This Compact And Portable Wet Dry Vacuum Cleaner Has A Large Ergonomic Carry Handle Making...
  • Stable, Flat-Bottom Design Prevents The Small Shop Vacuum Cleaner From Tipping Over

9) BLACK+DECKER dustbuster Handheld Vacuum HLWVA325J21

The BLACK+DECKER HLWVA325J21 is equipped with lithium-ion technology, which provides powerful suction and longer-lasting battery life.


The squeegee has a push-in design for picking up spills off of smooth surfaces, and the canister can hold up to 8 oz of liquid in the clear collection bowl, which makes it simple to see dirt and empty it out. Both the bowl and the filter are washable.

At most, this unit can run for 15 minutes per charge, and it weighs a mere 2.4 lbs on an empty collection tank. When it comes to removing wet pet food and liquid spills, the HLWVA325J21 will prove more than worthy of your attention.

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BLACK+DECKER dustbuster AdvancedClean...
  • MULTI-SURFACE USE – Removes hair, dirt, and debris from carpets, car interiors,...
  • LIGHTWEIGHT AND PORTABLE – Easy to carry and maneuver, even in tight spaces.

8) Armor All AA255 Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum

If you want to skip the all-service car wash, you can clean the interior of your car at home with this handheld wet/dry vacuum by Armor All. As soon as you slide the power switch on the handle, the vacuum produces a lot of suction, as it got a 2.0-peak HP motor.

Armor All 2.5 Gallon, 2 Peak HP, Utility WetDry Vacuum, AA255

At 7 pounds, the wet/dry vacuum is light in your hand, but not too light. The handle offers a secure grip, and the 10-foot-long cord gives you more than enough reach.

You also get multiple attachments. There is a soft brush for dusting the dash, a flexible tube and crevice tool to get into hard-to-reach place. Sadly there is no extension tube, something many other handheld wet/dry vacuums have.

The unit is not much louder than your traditional vacuum. The end of the hose rotates, which makes using the attachments so much easier. The Armor All does well with a mix of wet/dry vacuuming. Sand, standing water and carpet cleaning are no problem for this little powerhouse.

The container supports quite a bit of dust, dirt and water, while still being easy to take care of. You can transport the wet/dry vacuum around while cleaning, but we are sure most people will put it down before using.

Armor All, AA255 , 2.5 Gallon 2 Peak HP...
  • 2.5 Gallon Polypropylene Tank.Specific uses:Car,Garage,Shop
  • 2 Peak HP Motor

7) Shop-Vac 2021000 Micro Wet/Dry Vac

Shop-Vac’s Micro Wet/Dry Vac is great for the garage, car, and home. Its 1-horsepower motor is strong, producing 44 air watts of suction. There is a simple on-off rocker switch that controls the power to the handheld vacuum, and the 6-foot-long cord offers a large working radius.

Shop-Vac 2021000 Micro Wet/Dry Vac Review

To make carrying the vacuum effortless, there is a hinged handle on the top of its body. Since it weighs just 5 pounds, you won’t have any trouble toting it. This wet/dry vacuum comes with two wall mounts – one for the crevice tool and wide gulper nozzle and one for the vacuum itself.

With its 1-gallon capacity, you can get a lot done before you have to empty the filter bag and clean the tank. For wet messes, all you have to do is insert the included foam sleeve, and the 4-foot, the 1.25-inch hose can be used with either two attachments.

Shop-Vac 2021000 Micro Wet/Dry Vac Portable...
  • Micro, 1 gallon, 1 hp peak, portable wet/dry vac, with wall bracket, wall mounted tool...
  • Adds Extra shine to your product

6) Vacmaster VP205 Portable Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum

The Vacmaster VP205 is a powerful, super-compact wet/dry vacuum for shops and outdoors. It features a massive 1.75-HP motor that produces enough power to suction up all kinds of debris, from wet cement to dry wood chips. It’s built with a convenient cord hook to wrap the power cable when not in use and an upward-facing handle for easy lifting and transporting.

Vacmaster, VP205
Vacmaster, VP205

On an empty canister, the VP205 weighs a mere 5.2 pounds. Its 8-foot cord is quite restricting, but you can solve the problem with an extension cord. This heavy-duty machine can store up to 2.5 gallons of wet and dry debris at any time, reducing how often you need to empty the shop vacuum out.

Vacmaster, VP205, 2.5 Gallon 2 Peak HP...
  • 2.5 Gallon Polypropylene Tank
  • 2 Peak HP Motor

5) DEWALT DCV517B Cordless Wet/Dry Vacuum

The DCV517B by DEWALT is a handheld wet/dry vacuum that has a half-gallon storage tank. It comes with an integrated suction nozzle, as well as a flexible plastic hose for getting into hard-to-reach areas. This is a tool-only kit, so you’ll have to purchase the 20V MAX DEWALT battery separately.


Each charge provides between 15 and 20 minutes of continuous cleaning. The most common complaint is a loss of suction power, which is usually solved by attaching the suction hose securely onto the inlet. What’s astounding about this handheld wet/dry vac is that it comes with a washable HEPA filter that lasts up to six months.

DEWALT 20V MAX Hand Vacuum, Cordless, for Wet...
  • Gore HEPA wet/dry filter of DEWALT cordless vaccum traps 99.97% of dust at 0.3 microns
  • Dual clean-up modes of DEWALT 20V vacuum allow for debris removal with either the front...

4) Stanley SL18910P-3 Portable Car Vacuum

The Stanley SL18910P-3 is a super-durable, heavy-duty 3-HP wet/dry shop vacuum that has a 2.9-gallon storage tank for all kinds of debris. Its main weapon is a standard “gulper” nozzle that removes floor debris quickly and effortlessly. Stanley also includes three different crevice tools for spot cleaning.

Stanley SL18910P-3
Stanley SL18910P-3

This tool has a maximum reach of 10 feet (6-foot power cord and 4-foot hose), though you can maximize reach and enhance convenience by getting an extension cord. Thanks to a built-in buoy system, you can vacuum water more than two gallons of water straight-up without worrying about destroying the electrical components. Make sure you attach one of the two included filters before turning the device on.

Stanley SL18910P-3 Wet/Dry, 3 Gallon, 3...
  • ❤【LARGER CAPACITY Stanley SL18910P-3 Wet / Dry Vacuum has a larger capacity over 11 L,...
  • ❤【VERSATILE & POWERFUL Thanks to the 3 peak HP motor, this vac offers powerful enough...

3) Makita XCV11Z Portable Wet/Dry Dust Extractor/Vacuum

The Makita XCV11Z is a cordless dust extractor that produces up to 57 CFM of suction (27 inches of water lift). This device is powered by Makita’s 18V, 5-Ah LXT Li-Ion battery pack (sold separately) that’s compatible with other products in the LXT cordless power tool platform. The battery supplies as much as 60 minutes of continuous cleaning per charge.

Makita XCV11Z
Makita XCV11Z

Inside of this wet/dry dust extractor is a brushless motor that produces less heat than brushed motors while also generating lower noises. This device weighs 10.1 pounds with the battery pack, so it’s not the most lightweight wet/dry vac out there, but it picks up all kinds of debris easily and efficiently.

Makita XCV11Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless...
  • Powerful BL Brushless motor delivers 57 CFM and 27 inches water lift of suction using an...
  • Filter cleaning system is designed to maintain optimum suction efficiency and longer...

2) DEWALT DCV581H Wet/Dry Vacuum

The DEWALT DCV581H functions as either a corded and cordless model. The 20V MAX battery pack is sold separately, but you can run it straight out of the box by plugging it into a 110/120V wall outlet. It features a 5-foot suction hose for more convenient cleaning under and in between workbenches.


Installed inside of the DCV581 is a super-handy HEPA filter that traps particles as small as 0.3 microns up to 99.97% of the time. This means cement dust, sawdust, and nearly every kind of workshop debris has no hope of escaping the filter and clogging the suction hose or motor.

DEWALT 20V MAX Wet/Dry Vacuum, Cordless and...
  • DEWALT shop vac features cordless or corded operation powered by either an 18V or 20V MAX*...
  • HEPA rated wet/dry filter of DEWALT 20V vacuum traps dust with 99.97% efficiency at 0.3...


CRAFTSMAN’s CMXEVBE 17520 is a compact wet/dry vacuum that comes with a 2.5-gallon storage tank. It’s powered by a 1.75-HP motor that produces enough inward airflow to pick up super-fine particles like sawdust, and large bits of debris like sawdust and wet concrete. This device functions as a 2-in-1 tool that both suctions and blows air to shoot dust out of hard-to-reach areas.


You’ll get a utility nozzle and a crevice tool with your purchase, which make spot-cleaning a breeze. This wet/dry shop vac comes with a standard filter bag that needs to be replaced every three to six months. The 17520 is an all-around shop vac that works well in both dirty garage workshops and inside homes.

CRAFTSMAN CMXEVBE17250 2.5 Gallon 2.5 Peak HP...
  • PORTABLE: Lightweight, 2.5-gallon wet dry vac offers unparalleled mobility
  • IDEAL FOR SMALL MESSES: Perfect for the home, garage, cars, trucks and vans

Wet/Dry Handheld Vacuum Buyer’s Guide

Having one vacuum that cleans up dry and wet messes is a convenient time-saver. However, not every hand vac is the same in terms of quality and performance.

To help you get the most out of your hard-earned dollar, we created this short guide to the ins and outs of wet/dry hand vac features.

Wet/Dry Handheld Power Source

You have two choices in terms of a wet/dry hand vac’s power source – a cord or a battery. If you go the cord route, the vacuum may be made to plug into a wall outlet or a car socket. Alternatively, the battery may be nickel-cadmium, nickel-metal hydride or lithium-ion.

While lithium-ion is the gold-standard of rechargeable batteries, either two of the other battery types will suffice for cleaning small messes, which is what a handheld vacuum is designed to do.

Best Wet Dry Handheld Vacuum Cleaners

Run and Charge Time

Although it doesn’t take long to clean up messes like spilled cereal or a small pile of dirt, the run and charge time of a wet-dry hand vac are still important. If the vacuum’s corded, you obviously get an unlimited amount of working time without the need to pause for a recharge.

On the other hand, a cordless wet/dry vacuum should give you at least 20 minutes of run time, and it should take no more than about half the day to recharge. While not necessary, a charging indicator is helpful.

Wet/Dry Handheld Suction

Several factors come into play in relation to a vacuum’s suction power. The motor’s watts or amps tell you how powerful it is, and the air watts it produces lets you know how fast the air moves. Some manufacturers also list their products’ pascals, which is an indicator of their suction strength.

If the wet/dry hand vacuum has cyclonic suction, clogs and premature motor failure are less likely to occur.

Best Wet Dry Handheld

Related Post: Best Water Filter Vacuums


If you’re an allergy or asthma sufferer, it’s best to stick with a handheld vacuum that contains a HEPA filter. Otherwise, a standard filter is acceptable. Some filters are also protected by a cover that keeps large particles at bay.

A lot of wet/dry hand vacs have filters that you can reuse if you wash them, and some manufacturers give you an extra filter, which is a nice bonus.


In terms of how much liquid or dry debris a hand vac can hold, bigger is better. Some wet/dry handheld vacuums have cups that can hold wet and dry messes while others come with a special jar or insert that for liquid containment. There are also some models that collect dry debris in a bag instead of a plastic cup.

Wet/Dry Handheld Reach

Not every mess will be easily accessible, such as those in your car. For hard-to-reach jobs, you need a hand vac with attachments like a crevice tool and a dusting brush. Some wet/dry handheld vacuums come with a hose and length-extending connectors. If the vacuum is a corded model, you’ll want one with a long power cord.

Best Wet Dry Handheld Vacuum


Whether you use your hand vacuum for 1 minute or 10, the vacuum should be comfortable to hold. This means it needs to have an ergonomic handle, and it shouldn’t be heavier than 5 pounds. The placement of the power control and dust-cup release needs to be on or near the handle, so you can reach them without hindrance.

Wet/Dry Handheld Storage

If you’re someone who wants every appliance and tool to have a dedicated storage spot, you have a few options. Many wet/dry hand vacs come with a wall mount, some of which do double duty as a charger.

Others have a tabletop charging base, and a few models also come with an accessories caddy that attaches to the wall or a storage bag.

Related Post: Best Black+Decker Handheld Vacuums

BLACK+DECKER Wet Dry Handheld Vacuum
BLACK+DECKER Wet Dry Handheld Vacuum

Small And Lightweight

These types of cleaners have a good reason for being manufactured – it is for a person to literally just get, take it where it is needed and use it. In contrast to upright vacuums, these vacuums are way smaller and lighter.

You will not need to stress about storage space as well. It can easily be carried to any place where you need something cleaned.

This is particularly convenient for the older individuals who are experiencing problems with their backs, or otherwise just do not like hauling heavy appliances around when they tend to their cleaning chores.

These vacuums are just so easy to use when cleaning the steps, upholstery, cleaning small spots, or cleaning up floors above ground level.

Wet Dry Handheld Vacuum
BLACK+DECKER Wet Dry Handheld Vacuum

Simple To Use

These cleaners are normally very easy to operate. Just about all of these types are uncomplicated and as easy to use as just pressing a button. These units are ideal for individuals who do not like appliances that are very technical and difficult to use.

It is meant for individuals who just want switch it on and get going. Indeed, even children can utilize it in the event that you as parents would like the kids to deal with their own cleaning chores.

Most of these handheld vacuums have settings to increase or decrease the power needed for sucking up dirt. Most of the brands would also provide you with extra attachments which are detachable and would assist you in just about any cleaning process.

Besides that these vacuums are really not difficult to operate. All you need to consider when utilizing these vacuums is how strong you would like it to suck and what attachments you will require.

Wet Dry Handheld Vacuum
Wet Dry Handheld Vacuums

Simple To Clean

These vacuums are not difficult to clean at all and the majority of them have dirt canisters that you could take off, and simply just empty it – no hassles with all kinds of bags or filters that have to be cleaned.

These canisters just have to be washed regularly to stop the dirt from clogging or solidifying in them, and that would also ensure that your vacuum will last for a very long time.

Wet Dry Handheld
Wet Dry Handheld Vacuums


The biggest benefit of using a wet/dry vacuum is being able to clean dry and wet messes with one appliance instead of relying on paper towels or sponges to sop up pools of liquid. However, there are more not-so-obvious advantages to owning one of these vacuum cleaners.

Wet/Dry Handheld

Handheld wet/dry vacs are portable. You can use them anywhere, especially those that run on rechargeable batteries. They also tend to have stronger suction than standard handheld vacuums, which is particularly important when you need to clean large debris like pieces of cereal or cat litter.

Do Wet/Dry Handheld Vacs Come With Any Accessories?

Every portable wet/dry vacuum is different, but many of them do come with one or more accessories.

For detailed cleaning, there are dusting brushes and crevice tools. Some even come with a hose and tubing joints to extend the hose’s length, helping you reach in awkward spaces.

Manufacturers may address liquid cleanup by including a special collection nozzle or a squeegee insert for quick absorption. Some rechargeable handheld vacs have a charging stand instead of a plug adapter, and many corded and cordless models come with a wall-mounting bracket.

What Types of Batteries Are Used for Cordless Wet/Dry Handheld Vacs?

Manufacturers of handheld vacuums use one of three types of batteries in their products – nickel-cadmium, nickel-metal hydride, and lithium-ion.

Nickel-cadmium batteries have a decent run time and are less expensive than the other kinds. However, they are harmful to the environment and take a long time to recharge.

Nickel-metal hydride batteries last longer than nickel-cadmium ones, and you don’t have to wait for them to completely discharge before recharging them. Then, there are lithium-ion batteries. These batteries usually last the longest and recharge the fastest. Plus, they don’t reduce a vacuum’s suction strength when their charge is low.

Best Wet Dry Handheld Vacuums

Should I Buy a Corded or Cordless Model?

Choosing between a corded or cordless wet/dry handheld vacuum depends on your personal preference. Vacuums with a power cord let you clean for as long as you need without having to stop and recharge the unit.

Some corded handheld vacs are equipped with a pronged cord to use in an electrical outlet while others are made to use with a DC outlet. If you decide to buy a handheld vacuum that plugs into a DC outlet, you’ll need to purchase a separate wall adapter for use outside of your automobile. However, these adapters are cheap.

On the other hand, a cordless wet/dry model allows you to vacuum without limiting where you can reach. The downside to these vacuums is that you must recharge the battery, which may mean pausing a cleaning session from time to time. It’s possible to experience a reduction of suction power when the battery gets low depending on the type of battery in the vacuum.

Wet Dry Handheld Vacuums
Wet Dry Handheld Shop Vac

Do These Vacuums Contain a Filter?

Virtually all wet/dry handheld vacuums have a filter. However, the filtration system varies from model to model. Some of these vacuums contain filter bags while others have a filter made of foam, paper or fabric.

You’ll generally see three types of filters. There are HEPA filters, which are able to trap 99.97 percent of fine dust as small as 0.3 microns. There are also standard filters that are only able to capture coarser particles.

In between the true-HEPA and standard filters, there are HEPA-type or HEPA-style filters. These filters typically trap 85 percent of particles that are 1 micron in size.

Wet Dry Handheld Vacuum Cleaners Guide

A few wet/dry handheld vacuums also have a pre-filter that extends the life of the main filter. However, it’s more common to see filters covered by a mesh cup. Many of these filters are washable, allowing you to reuse them for months before they need to be replaced.

Final Words

If you are considering getting one of these, consider one that can clean wet spills and also normal dry dirt. You will get much more advantages from your vacuum if you buy a wet and dry.

Typically these vacuums are quite strong and good enough to address liquid spills. You ought to just also take note of the disadvantages regarding some of these units. The chances of you finding the perfect unit with no disadvantages are quite scarce, and there will always be something that could make you decide not to buy a specific one.

Handheld Shop Vac
Wet/Dry Handheld Vacuum

You need to carefully consider all the aspects which you find important. Decide on one that would satisfy your particular requirements. Read some reviews and comments just to have more information on the unit that you are considering, for you to know what to expect once you have bought one.

If you have any questions or comments, please add them below in the comment section. Similarly, please let us know if you spot any mistakes or omissions. Thanks!

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Last Update: 2024-06-23 | Affiliate links/Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the author

Hi I’m Alex, founder of HouseholdMe.com and I’d like to say thank you for dropping by. Like most of you, the first thing I look at before buying something online is reviews or buying guides. By reading what other people say will help me gauge whether or not a product is good or not.  I am trying to help people find answers, solve problems, and get inspired.

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