10 Best Shop Vac

product photo of Shop-Vac 5979403

Shop Vacs can make heavy-duty cleaning jobs much easier. There are so many options, it’s hard to know which one to choose. There are ones with different tank capacities, airflow, varying attachments, suction strength, and a variety of power levels. Picking the best shop vac for your specific needs is essential to make your clean up project easier. We hope our top ten list will make your search for the best shop vac for your needs a little easier.

Comparison Table


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Product FAQ


1. What Is a Shop Vac? What Is the Best Shop Vac?

2. What Can a Shop Vac Be Used For?

3. How Is a Shop Vac Different from a Normal Vacuum?

4. Can I Use a Shop Vac to Vacuum Water?

5. What Are the Pros and Cons of a Shop Vac?

How We Reviewed


Our main consideration when looking for the best shop vac options on the market was effectiveness. We wanted to be sure they did the work they are designed to do. Second to that, we considered capacity. Every shop vac does not need to be huge, but we also wanted options that could tackle large jobs. Other factors we considered are storage and the availability of extra tools and accessories.

Overall Price Range


Shop vacs vary widely in price from around 50 dollars to several hundred dollars. Cheaper versions normally are not as strong, have lower storage capacity, and are only suited for dry substances. They may also have less accessory options.

More expensive shop vacs tend to be wet/dry vacs. They will often have more suction power and far larger storage capacity for major cleanups. Extended warranties and a plethora of accessories for versatility are other benefits of more expensive options.

What We Reviewed


  • Ridged WD 1450
  • ArmorAll AA255
  • Shop-Vac 5989400
  • DeWalt DCV581H
  • All Around Plus 5870400
  • Vacmaster VBV1210 12 Gallon Tank
  • Shop-Vac 5895200 2.5-Peak Horsepower
  • Shop-Vac 965-06-00
  • Craftsman 12004
  • Stanley SL18129

Ridgid WD 1450


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Features

The Ridged WD 1450 is an exceptional shop vac that is capable of sucking up everything from mulch to screws in one pass. It is a wet/dry vac with a high capacity, 14-gallon tank, one of the largest on our list. The vacuum also has a variety of reusable filters to suit both wet and dry messes. The dust filter, in particular, is impressive as it has three layers ideal for trapping fine dust particles. This vac can also be used as a blower, but since the motor can’t be removed for blowing, it can be cumbersome. That said, the icing on the cake is a 20-foot power cord, longer than standard, making this shop vac a solid deal.

Pros

  • 14-gallon tank
  • 6-horsepower motor
  • three layer air filter

Cons

  • Average length hose
  • Heavy
  • Cannot be used to clean upholstery

Price $$$

Where to Buy

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ArmorAll AA255


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Features

The ArmorAll AA255 is compact and ideal for smaller workspaces. Since it was specifically designed for cleaning cars, it has no wheels. It also has a very small tank capacity at only 2.5 gallons. A bonus is that it is a wet/dry vac with enough power to pick up even screws. It is not quite powerful enough for one pass cleans, but it is sufficient for its size. Its ten-foot cord is a good length. Also included are a floor nozzle, crevice tool, concentration tool, and car nozzle. As with some of the other shop vacs on our list, it can double as a blower.

Pros

  • Multiple attachments
  • Ideal for cleaning vehicles
  • Portable

Cons

  • Not ideal for dry debris
  • Comparatively low suction
  • Not ideal for larger jobs

Price $

Where to Buy

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​Shop-Vac 5989400


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Features

If you are looking for the ideal shop/vac for home use, the Shop-Vac 5989400 may be the ticket. It has a stainless steel, eight-gallon, mid-sized tank outfitted with a positive lid latch system for security during use. There is also a conveniently placed drain port, so the unit does not have to be tipped for emptying. Our favorite feature is the on-board tool storage for easy access to accessories.

Pros

  • Strong suction
  • Compact
  • Wide hose
  • Several accessories
  • Wall-mountable
  • Ideal for home use

Cons

  • Noisy
  • Wall mount has not been perfected
  • Not best for shop use

Price $$

Where to Buy

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DeWalt DCV581H 


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Features

The DeWalt DCV581H stands out on our list as one of the only cordless options on our list. It is both compact and quiet, rare traits for shop vacs. Unfortunately, it does not have the greatest suction. That said, it is good for helping tidy up small spaces and doubles as a blower.

Pros

  • Quiet
  • Cordless
  • Compact
  • Portable
  • Has an integrated blower

Cons

  • Poor suction
  • Lower storage
  • Only good for small projects

Price $$

Where to Buy

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​All Around Plus 5870400


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Features

The All Around Plus is a good mergence of size and convenience. It is ideal for home use. The nine amp motor and dry/wet vac option make it versatile for a number of cleaning situations. There is also a generous, 18-foot, power cord and industry standard eight-foot lock on the hose. It also comes with a round brush and a crevice tool.

Pros

  • Ideal for home use
  • Relatively light
  • Portable
  • Dry/wet vac

Cons

  • Poor suction
  • Lower storage
  • Only good for small projects

Price $

Where to Buy

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​Vacmaster VBV1210 12-Gallon Tank


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Features

The Vacmaster is a beast and ideal for heavy-duty jobs. This shop vac has a generous, 12-gallon tank for tons of debris storage. That said, it is also heavy the tank alone is 17 pounds empty. Nevertheless, it is portable as it sits on four 360-degree casters. It also can be converted into a handheld blower. It is one of the few shop vacs on our list that has a filter to clean dry debris. As is standard, it also has a foam filter for cleaning up wet messes. Additional types of filters can be purchased separately.

Pros

  • The motor is removable for blowing
  • Quiet
  • Generously sized tank

Cons

  • An additional filter is needed for cleaning dust
  • Wheels do not lock
  • Maneuvering can be difficult

Price $$

Where to Buy

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​Shop-Vac 5895200 2.5-Peak Horsepower


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Features

The 5895200 is a tiny shop vac that packs a powerful punch. For its size, it is highly efficient. It is lightweight at only 12 pounds and easy to handle. This vacuum is ideal for use in both homes and small shops. A bonus is the ability to wall mount the unit, keeping it up and out of the way. This unit comes with several accessories including two extension wands, nozzles for bare and carpeted floors, a crevice tool, gulper nozzle, and several others.

Pros

  • Compact
  • Lightweight
  • Several attachments

Cons

  • Not suited for large jobs
  • Suction is the least of all on this list
  • There is a risk of clogging

Price $$

Where to Buy

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​Shop-Vac 965-06-00


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Features

The Shop-Vac 965-06-00 is a wet-dry vacuum with a three horsepower motor. It is one of the least powerful shop vacs on our list. That said, it does have one feature we love, a generous 10-foot hose, the longest of any shop vac on our list. It is more adequate at picking up wet debris than dry so we would not recommend it for any heavy duty cleaning. However, it does have a blower function perfect for spraying away loose leaves or sawdust.


This shop vacuum lacks a few things. The tank doesn’t have a drain port for removing vacuumed water. The tank fills up quickly. So, you will find yourself lifting it up and tipping it often during cleanings. Although it has wet and dry filters, it lacks a retainer for the one not in use which is rather inconvenient.

Pros

  • Longer than standard hose
  • Blower function
  • Good for home use

Cons

  • Not suited for suctioning large objects
  • Lower in power
  • No drain port

Price $$

Where to Buy

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​Craftsman 12004


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Features

This is the Craftsman 12004 medium-sized shop vac with mid grade horsepower. Nevertheless, it performs adequately when it comes to picking up both wet and dry messes. Although it only has a three horsepower motor, we found it performed better than the 965. Its tank size is 6 gallons and sufficient for smaller spaces. One of the features we really love is that the seven-foot hose can be extended to a full 17 feet. It also has a cartridge filter ideal for filtering dusty debris.

Pros

  • Extendable hose
  • Easy to move
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • Smaller tank.
  • Three horsepower motor
  • No drain port

Price $$

Where to Buy

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​Stanley SL18129


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Features

The Stanley SL18129 is relatively strong and portable. It has a smaller tank at 4 gallons, making it lightweight and ideal for vehicle cleanups. A floor nozzle, crevice tool, and car nozzle come standard.

Pros

  • Strong suction
  • Portable
  • Quiet

Cons

  • Shorter hose
  • Short power cord
  • Not suited for big jobs

Price $

Where to Buy

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The Verdict


We feel the Ridged WD 1450 is the best shop vac on our list. While each one has its own benefits, the Ridged is powerful and diverse overall. We found it suitable for the most situations and seems the most user-friendly. Since it can go from shop use to home use with ease, without sacrificing efficiency, we crown it number one.

Featured Image Source: Amazon.com

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