10 Best Shop Vacuums in 2020 [Updated]

Our winners of the Best Shop Vacuums in 2020 are:

BEST OVERALL

DEWALT 18/20V MAX Vacuum, Wet/Dry (DCV581H)

DEWALT 18/20V MAX Vacuum, Wet/Dry (DCV581H)
  • It can be operated from an AC outlet or cordless with its battery
  • 31CFM suction power
  • Crush resistant 5ft long heavy duty hose

PREMIUM CHOICE

BISSELL Garage Pro Wall-Mounted Wet-Dry Vacuum Cleaner

BISSELL Garage Pro Wall-Mounted Wet-Dry Vacuum Cleaner
  • Dual function; can convert to a blower
  • Wet/dry capabilities
  • Includes wall mounting kit and a 32 ft long hose attachment

GREAT VALUE

Vacmaster VP205 Portable Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum

Vacmaster VP205 Portable Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum
  • 2.5 HP peak power motor
  • 8ft cord
  • It can easily convert to a blower

Introduction

When you have to deal with heavy debris and soils like oil spills, wooden chips, or metal filings, you call in the big guns. Those are the shop vacuums. Also known as bucket vacuums or wet/dry vacs, they are used to deal with the heavy-duty work that conventional household vacuums cannot manage.

Shop vacs were made famous by the original manufacturer Shop-Vac. However, the name has since become generic, and you can have shop vacuums from other brands. To know what the best shop vacuums are, read this review to help you choose.

Best Shop Vacuums

Top 10 Best Shop Vacuum Reviews & Comparisons

1. DEWALT 18/20V MAX Vacuum, Wet/Dry (DCV581H)

The DeWalt DCV581H is our top pick due to its exceptionally versatile action and high powered functionality. The option to operate it either as corded vacuum or cordless vacuum means that you can use it anywhere without limitations.

DEWALT 18/20V MAX Vacuum, Wet/Dry (DCV581H)

Read Customer Reviews Here »

Why we like it

The cordless option allows you to work with it outdoors, where power connections may be hard to find. It also does not compromise on power or quality and sucks up liquid spills effortlessly with a simple change of components.

Features

  • 2-Gallon tank capacity for both liquids and solids
  • Heavy-duty and crush-resistant 5 ft long and 1 ¼ inch wide hose pipe attachment
  • Operates either from a standard 120V AC outlet or its 18V/20V MAX lithium-ion battery
  • Reusable and washable filters with up to 99.97% efficiency
  • Onboard storage for easy portability
  • It comes with a crevice tool and wide nozzle attachment
  • The battery and charger are sold separately
  • Weight: 11 pounds (4.9 kg)
  • Exhaust port available

Pros

  • Corded and uncorded operation
  • It can also operate as a blower
  • Clears up liquid spills easily
  • Well constructed and durable
  • The battery is compatible with other DeWalt power tools and can last about 45 minutes
  • Reusable HEPA filters save you money

Cons

  • Not very powerful compared to standard shop vacs

Our Verdict

While it won’t be picking up small stones or other heavy objects, the DeWalt DCV581H is an excellent compromise between power and convenience with its cordless operation. If your workload isn’t very demanding, it is perfect.

2. BISSELL Garage Pro Wall-Mounted Wet Dry Vacuum

The Bissell Garage Pro is a unique shop vac in that it is designed to be installed on a wall instead of lugging it around. With its 32 ft long hose, you can easily clean up a garage workshop or your car.

BISSELL Garage Pro Wall-Mounted Wet Dry Vacuum

Read Customer Reviews Here »

Why we like it

The Bissell Garage Pro is perfect for cleaning out the interior of your car. It comes with various attachments to ensure you can reach into the smallest nooks. It is relatively powerful too, and will easily pick up liquids and solids of up to average size.

Features

  • It comes with a wall-mounting kit for installation
  • Easily converts to a blower to clear the hose
  • Helix suction system
  • Comes with 7 attachments for various uses, including bare floor cleaning, carpet vacuuming, car upholstery, among others
  • 4-gallon dirt tank capacity
  • 2-stage filtration system
  • 32ft long hose and 5ft power cord
  • 12 Amp motor

Pros

  • Wall-mounted convenience made possible by the long hose
  • Large tank capacity means fewer emptying sessions
  • Fairly powerful pump
  • Dual operation as a wet/dry vac and as a blower
  • Hose attachments available for specialized cleaning

Cons

  • Sucking up dust and muddy water spills clog up the filters. You then have to replace them
  • Narrow hose prone to clogging
  • Hard to get a certified technician if it fails

Our Verdict

For those who regularly work out of their garage or like to keep their car interiors pristine, the Bissell Garage Pro is the perfect solution. It is very convenient due to its wall mounting and offers decent power. If you are such a person, then you can undoubtedly justify its high cost.

3. Vacmaster VP205 Portable Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum

The Vacmaster VP205 is the perfect shop vac for those who want a powerful vacuum that could be carried around with ease. It is our top budget pick because of its balance between cost and functionality.

While it is not much more powerful than a typical household cleaner, it is more rugged and features wet vacuuming capabilities.

Vacmaster VP205 Portable Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum

Read Customer Reviews Here »

Why we like it

We love the affordability of this unit, making it available even to those on strict budgets. Even with its low pricing, it manages to pack it some power. We also like that it comes with special attachments to help you clean up various surfaces.

Features

  • 2 PHP motor
  • 2.5-gallon tank
  • Converts into a blower
  • 8ft power cord with onboard wrap and storage accessories
  • Top handle for easy carrying
  • Includes onboard tool storage
  • Weight – 6.4 pounds (2.9 kg)
  • Washable and reusable cloth filter

Pros

  • Easily portable
  • Reusable filter to keep running costs low
  • Long cord for added convenience
  • Dual vacuum/blower functionality
  • Capable of picking up liquids
  • The attachments make cleaning easier

Cons

  • Flimsy attachments made of cheap material. The hose, for example, keeps coming out
  • Not very powerful

Our Verdict

The Vacmaster VP205 portable wet/dry vacuum is an affordable and efficient addition to the standard home or place of business. It will deal easily with usual soils, including liquid spills, but it isn’t too powerful. You might also need to do without the subpar attachments.

4. Stanley SL18191P Wet/Dry Vacuum

The Stanley SL18191P is a powerful, industrial-quality wet/dry vacuum with Stanley’s age-old reputation of reliability.

Its multi-functional capacity allows you to suck up everything from solid waste to spilled liquids and even dust. Many shop vacs clog up quickly when you use them on fine dust, but this unit comes with a special dust/ash filter.

Stanley SL18191P Wet/Dry Vacuum

Read Customer Reviews Here »

Why we like it

We like its rigid construction and reliability, and it even comes with a limited lifetime warranty. We also like that it can be used on fine dust, fireplace ash, cement, and other fine debris.

Features

  • The motor produces 4PHP of maximum power
  • 75 CHP maximum airflow
  • Wet/dry functionality with a blower port
  • 10 ft power cord (3meters)
  • 10-gallon tank capacity
  • Weight: 16.6 pounds (7.5 kg)
  • Cartridge filtration
  • Hose diameter: 1 ⅞ inch
  • Includes 2 extension wands, one crevice nozzle, one gulper nozzle, one foam filter, one disposable dust bag, and one cartridge filter

Pros

  • Rugged and durable design
  • Multi-functional use as a wet/dry vac and blower
  • Cartridge filtering allows you to suck up dust and water alike
  • Large tank capacity
  • It comes with an assortment of attachments
  • Powerful suction
  • Cost-effective

Cons

  • Short hose and cord
  • The hose tends to clog up at the attachment to the vacuum

Our Verdict

This is a little but powerful shop vacuum. If you’re going to be using it for small tasks like cleaning up a workshop or your patio, you’ll love it. It might struggle with water spills, but it will do the job in the end. We do recommend that you purchase a separate squeegee attachment, though.

5. Stanley Wet/Dry Vacuum, 1 Gallon, 12-Volt DC

The Stanley 1 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum is a lightweight and portable unit that you can take anywhere with you for jobs. It allows you to charge its 12V battery using your car’s cigarette lighter port, making it perfect for jobs on the go. It is also ideal for keeping your vehicle clean and fresh.

Stanley Wet/Dry Vacuum, 1 Gallon, 12-Volt DC

Read Customer Reviews Here »

Why we like it

We like that it allows you to stay mobile without compromising on the quality of your work. If you’re used to a mobile life, you will love its car charging and rechargeable functionality. We also appreciate the fact that it is incredibly lightweight, only 3.9 pounds.

Features

  • Motor peak power is 1.5HP
  • 1-gallon tank capacity
  • 12-volt battery
  • It comes with all required parts such as a crevice nozzle, utility nozzle, foam filter, cloth filter and clamp ring, and battery clamps
  • 9ft power cord with charging connector for car cigarette lighter port
  • PU and polymer material
  • Dimensions: 10″ by 10.5″ x 15.5″
  • Weight: 3.9 pounds (1.76 kg)

Pros

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Charges from a car, which makes it extremely versatile
  • 12V battery for unlimited portability
  • Has a variety of attachments for various jobs
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Will really struggle with water, even though it’s a wet/dry vac
  • Short cord and hose

Our Verdict

This is a great little wet/dry vac, which is suitable for the small jobs and tiny corners. It won’t work with heavy jobs though, which ideally is what shop vacs should be able to do. It should be perfect for car cleaning and for those to whom portability is a priority.

6. TACKLIFE PVC01A Wet/Dry Vacuum

The Tacklife is a powerful and multi-functional wet/dry vacuum cleaner for use when dealing with tough jobs. With a 5.5 peak horsepower motor, you can use it to clean up water spills or take it outside to pick up leaves or even small stones.

TACKLIFE PVC01A Wet/Dry Vacuum

Read Customer Reviews Here »

Why we like it

We like its extreme versatility. You can use to dust your home, then take it outside to clean the car, and afterward clean up filthy water from the basement. If you want to get the dust off your computer, it can do that, too.

Features

  • Multiple 4-layer filtering system with reusable cartridge and foam
  • Security buoy design to shut it down when the tank is full of water.
  • Wet/dry and blower functionality
  • 5-gallon capacity
  • 17 ft working range courtesy of a 10ft power cord and a 7 ft hose
  • 5.5HP peak power motor with copper windings
  • 4×3600 swivel wheels for easy transport
  • It comes with a safety cleaning hose, two extension wands, couch suction, small flat suction, and a floor brush
  • Weight: 14.57 pounds (6.6 kg)

Pros

  • Powerful motor and suction
  • Long working range
  • Reusable filters and cartridge
  • Motor protection because of the buoy
  • Easy transportation
  • Multiple attachments that come in the package

Cons

  • Poor quality extension wands that detach easily
  • The hose is too narrow to pick up larger debris, despite the added power

Our Verdict

The Tacklife PVC01A wet/dry vacuum is the ultimate option when it comes to versatility. If you are looking for an all-rounded vacuum for your home or shop, this is it. However, you might have to get third-party extension wands for flawless operation.

7. Shop-Vac 5895200 EZ Series Wet/Dry Vacuum

From the company that gave us the name shop vacuums, Shop-Vac is the undisputed world leader when it comes to household and commercial cleaning solutions. The Shop-Vac 5895200 EZ series is a lightweight, powerful yet affordable bucket vacuum.

Shop-Vac 5895200 EZ Series Wet/Dry Vacuum

Read Customer Reviews Here »

Why we like it

Shop-Vac excels in making user-friendly products for everyday use. In this unit, we like the 18ft cord length for a massive cleaning radius. You can also mount the vacuum body to a wall to get it out of the way.

Features

  • 2.5hp peak horsepower motor
  • 2.5-gallon capacity tank
  • Included accessories: 1.25″, 7 ft hose, two extension wands, dual surface nozzle, gulper nozzle, crevice tool, round brush, wall mount bracket
  • It has a blower port for easy conversion
  • Onboard storage
  • Top handle with roller casters for transport
  • 18ft power cord
  • Weight: 12 pounds (5.44 kg)

Pros

  • Maximum durability assured with a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty
  • Long working radius
  • Multi-functional use capacity
  • Portable
  • It comes with various handy attachments
  • Optional wall mounting
  • Works great with water

Cons

  • The hose is prone to clogging and requires frequent emptying during heavy jobs
  • The long power cord tangles easily and is a pain when storing

Our Verdict

Simply put, the Shop-Vac 5895200 EZ Series is the real deal. It sucks up water and debris effortlessly, and the only complaints you will hear, involve the hose. Otherwise, this unit packs a mighty punch for its small size.

8. Shop-Vac 5870400 All-Round Wet/Dry Vacuum

The All-Round range of vacuums from Shop-Vac gives you the power of a full-size unit and the portability of a hand-held model. Shop-Vac 5870400 is a super powerful wet/dry model to handle tough jobs while allowing you to have the ultimate convenience and ease of use.

Shop-Vac 5870400 All-Round Wet/Dry Vacuum

Read Customer Reviews Here »

Why we like it

We are in love with the suction of this little monster. It will suck up water, dust, small stones, pieces of metal, wood shavings – practically anything. All the while, it remains quiet and hardly attracts attention.

Features

  • The motor gives 4.5HP of maximum power
  • 18ft power cord
  • Easy to use, disposable collection bags
  • 8 ft, 1.25″ diameter lock-on hose
  • Dual service selector nozzle
  • It comes with a crevice tool, round brush, a cartridge filter, and a filter bag
  • 2 rear wheels and top handle
  • Weights: 18.03 pounds (8.16 kg)
  • 3 years warranty

Pros

  • Powerful suction
  • Long cleaning radius, over 25ft
  • Durable and reliable with a good warranty
  • Wet/dry functionality, with an especially good capacity for clearing liquid spills
  • Reusable cartridge filter
  • Lightweight and easily portable

Cons

  • You have to assemble it yourself out of the box
  • The hose is too narrow and disappointing

Our Verdict

The best thing about this Shop-Vac is its suction power. When using it for liquids, however, you will need to replace its cartridge filter with a foam one. Apart from that and the ordinary hose, it is perfect for heavy-duty tasks. Plus, it is guaranteed to last many years.

9. Shop-Vac 5989400 Stainless Wet Dry Vacuum

Stainless beats plastic whenever it comes to hygiene. The Shop-Vac 5989400 consists of pure stainless steel for the body and tank, which makes it easy to keep clean and eliminate odors. Apart from that, you get all the power and quality associated with the brand.

Shop-Vac 5989400 Stainless Wet Dry Vacuum

Read Customer Reviews Here »

Why we like it

The strongest point here is the stainless steel construction. Even if you use it to pick up stinking sewage, you will have an easy time cleaning it up compared to plastics that hold onto odors no matter what you do. It is also more durable.

Features

  • 6 HP maximum power
  • 110V corded power source
  • 8-gallon tank capacity
  • 12 ft hose length, 1.25″ diameter
  • Weight: 19 pounds (8.6 kg)
  • Stainless steel construction
  • Components include nozzles, filters, and hose
  • 3-year warranty

Pros

  • Easy to keep clean
  • Powerful suction
  • Tough and durable
  • Long hose for easy cleaning
  • Great warranty

Cons

  • Poor quality accessories
  • Narrow hose

Our Verdict

This vacuum cleaner would be perfect if it had a wider hose (or an option to have both narrow and wide). Otherwise, you’re bound to love it for its quality and durability.

10. CRAFTSMAN CMXEVBE17595 Heavy Duty Wet/Dry Vac

The Craftsman CMXEVBE17595 is a high-performance shop vac from a highly respected manufacturer. It gives you heavy-duty construction to pick up and withstand the most substantial debris. For your workshop or garage, you cannot ask for a better option.

CRAFTSMAN CMXEVBE17595 Heavy Duty Wet/Dry Vac

Read Customer Reviews Here »

Why we like it

We like the ruggedness and power of this unit. If all you do is pick up nails with it, it will be none the worse for it. It seems the majority of users agree, with a 4.7-star rating on Amazon.

Features

  • 6.5 PHP motor
  • Rear blower port
  • Oversized drain for easy emptying
  • Dual flex technology to prevent kinking
  • 2.5″ diameter hose
  • Includes a 7ft hose, two extension wands, utility nozzle, car nozzle, wet nozzle, Qwik Lok filter, and a dust collection bag.
  • 16-gallon tank capacity
  • Weight: 26 pounds (11.8 kg)

Pros

  • Powerful suction power
  • Wide hose with inbuilt protection from kinking
  • Large tank
  • Rugged construction
  • It comes with special nozzles for your car and for collecting water

Cons

  • It does not come with a foam filter
  • The rear wheels don’t swivel, so it is a bit inconvenient to maneuver

Our Verdict

This is the most potent shop vac you can run on a standard 15amp home circuit. However, we do recommend going for the classic options model to avoid the said inconveniences.

Best Shop Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide

What makes a good shop vacuum? The answer depends on the person, but there are a few criteria you can use.

Airflow

Airflow, measured in cubic feet per minute (cfm), determines the capability of the vacuum to pick up debris. The higher the number, the better. More powerful shop vacs range from 70cfm to over 130cfm.

Suction/lift

This is the distance the motor can lift a certain amount of water. Manufacturers rarely include this information, but customer reviews can give you a good idea.

Capacity

The larger the tank, the more work you can do before it requires emptying.

Portability

While shop vacs are designed to be big and powerful, it pays to get one that you can move around quickly. Look for those with wheels, or else go for the wall-mounted ones if you prefer.

Construction

You will be picking up all sorts of debris with it, so you need to make sure it is well-built. The attachments are particularly susceptible to poor workmanship. If you can, get a stainless steel model for easy cleaning.

Best Shop Vacuums FAQs

How big of a shop vacuum do I need?

Shop vacuums can be categorized into small capacity, medium capacity, or large capacity models. Medium capacity units are enough for most people unless your needs lean towards the two extremes. Ensure the capacity of the canister or bag is sufficient for your needs.

Is a shop vacuum a wet/dry vacuum?

A shop vacuum refers to a more robust and heavy-duty vacuum compared to the household ones. A wet/dry vacuum is one that can also pick up liquids. While the terms can be used interchangeably, not all shop vacuums have wet/dry functionality.

What can a shop vacuum pick up?

Most shop vacs can pick up anything so long as it fits in the hose. This includes wood chippings, metal filings, nails, sawdust, gravel, leaves, etc.

Do you use a filter for wet vacuuming?

Wet vacuums have different filters for both dry and wet operation. Always make sure to use the right filter. A foam filter is used for wet vacuuming.

Can you wash a shop vacuum?

You can clean the tank of a shop vacuum by filling it with warm water, soap, and a cup of bleach. Let it sit for about half an hour before scrubbing it clean. Don’t dunk it in the water though, as you could damage its components.

Conclusion

Shop vacuums, otherwise known as wet/dry vacuums, are an invaluable addition to every home, office, workshop, or even a construction site. They are powerful enough to pick up large and sticky debris as well as liquids, thus saving you a lot of time.

This review of the 10 best shop vacuums will help you to choose the best one for your needs, thus saving you time and money.

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