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Best Wet Dry Vac for Heavy-Duty Home and Garage Cleanups

Ian Mutuli
Updated on

Shop vacuums, best known as wet dry vacs, are a vital part of any workshop or garage. These machines can tackle heavy-duty cleaning jobs that a regular vacuum cleaner can't handle, thanks to their powerful motor. Today, the versatile machine is also becoming a household appliance that enables you to clean up after a DIY project, pump out stagnant water, and clean up carpets and car upholstery. What's more, the best wet dry vac can reverse the suction and be used as a blower.

Over the last couple of years, shop vacs have gotten smaller, lighter, and more economical. They also come in cordless, portable, and wall-mount versions that are perfect even for people with minimal storage space. Ahead, we have reviewed some of the best wet dry vacs in the market right now, and of course, a detailed buying guide to help you choose the suitable shop vac for you.

1. Shark VM252 VACMOP Pro Cordless Wet, Dry Vacuum Cleaner

Sale
Shark VM252 VACMOP Pro Cordless Hard Floor Vacuum Mop...
  • COMPLETE CLEAN: Powerful suction + spray mopping - a complete...
  • DISPOSABLE PADS: Disposable VACMOP Pads vacuum up what other pads...
  • POWERFUL SUCTION: Pulls in dirt and debris to be locked away...
  • 12 OZ. CLEANING SOLUTION: Spray mop with VACMOP spring clean...
  • NO-TOUCH DISPOSAL: Remove dirty pad with a touch of a button -...

Do you need to make easy a task like cleaning the house? If so, you can even look beyond a wet dry vacuum cleaner and get a vac mop such as this affordable Shark appliance. Coming under $100, the vacmop takes a lot of energy from picking up dirt, pet hairs, and even cleaning stains on your hard floors.

The best shop vacs are supposed to pick up chunky particles and clean wet messes, which this Shark vacmop is good at. It has excellent suction power, which, when tested by a reviewer, was easy to clean popcorns off the floor. Then, it comes with easy to install vacmop pads that can dry spills on the floor. One feature that makes these pads great is that you can also spray water; as you clean the floor, they will dry it off. That way, you don't have to follow up with a mop after vacuuming dirt and pet hair.

The disposable pads are also easy to dispose of; the vacuum has a button you press, and the pad falls off. So, you never have to touch the dirty parts of the vacuum. This Shark vacmop is affordable and lightweight. It is also cordless for easy handling. The battery charges in three hours using a magnetic charger to give you about fifteen minutes of cleaning time. The portable shop vac also has headlights so you can see where to clean. The unit is best used with Shark's cleaning solution, which is tailored to its cleaning system.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Great for wet and dry messes
  • Designed as a vacmop which makes it easy to clean the whole house in one go
  • Comes with disposable cleaning pads
  • Lightweight and cordless small shop vac
  • Eliminates the need for a filter
  • Best for sealed hard floors

Cons:

  • When using, it is easy to confuse the vacuum and spray buttons which are located very close to each other
  • Short battery life

2. Armor All AA255 Wet Dry Shop Vacuum

Sale
Armor All, AA255 , 2.5 Gallon 2 Peak HP Wet/Dry Utility...
  • 2.5 Gallon Polypropylene Tank
  • 2 Peak HP Motor
  • 10 Ft. Cord With Cord Wrap
  • Blower Function – Easy Conversion
  • On-board Accessory & Hose Storage

Shop vacs are lifesavers, but there are times you need more than dry and wet cleaning. In this case, a utility shop vac that can clean a thick mixture of dirt is your best solution. Now, this Armor All wet-dry shop vacuum comes with excellent 4.5-star reviews, which gives a great guarantee of quality even before you buy.

It is a lightweight shop vac that weighs just over pounds and comes with a 2.5-gallon tank which is more than enough for house and car cleaning. It is powered by a 2 Peak HP Motor and comes with a 10-cord so you can cover a large area without looking for another socket. In addition to cleaning, you can also use this wet dry shop vac as a blower.

Even if you get a small shop vac, you worry about how noisy it could be lest you upset neighbors as you work. Luckily, this Armor All wet dry vacuum has a built-in air and noise diffuser, which promotes a quiet operation. Your safety is also considered in the design where you find the appliance comes with an automatic shut-off to prevent overflow. In addition, the affordable unit comes with everything you need for cleaning, including ample hose storage.

Pros:

  • It is a budget wet dry vac
  • It is lightweight
  • Can handle dry messes as well as liquid spills
  • You can transform it into a blower to dry your vehicles
  • Has a powerful motor
  • Has a crevice tool for cleaning cars
  • Enough tank to clean large areas
  • It has a powerful suction to clean thick wet messes
  • Has an automatic shut off feature and works with minimum noise

Cons:

  • It is a small wet dry vac when you need to pick up larger debris like leaves

3. Bissell Crosswave Pet-Pro All in One Wet Dry Vacuum

Sale
Bissell Crosswave Pet Pro All in One Wet Dry Vacuum...
  • Buy BISSELL, save pets; BISSELL donates up to 10 dollars to the...
  • Vacuums and washes your floors at the same time. Power Cord...
  • Pet pro 2306 A features a multi surface pet brush roll and pet...
  • Dissolves dirt, grime and tough sticky messes.
  • Leaves a virtually streak-free clean.

If you have one or more pets, you need the best wet dry vacuum to pick up pet hair and leave your air clean and allergy-free. This Bissen is another shop vac you can rely on, and the good news; it is designed to clean pet hairs even in the farthest corners of your home.

It is a rechargeable model whose brushes also self-clean once you plug it at the charging station. The vacuum offers about 30 minutes of cleaning time after each charge. In addition, it comes with a 10.5-inch wide front that makes cleaning hair a breeze. While it can also dry out most water from your floors, some reviewers noted the brushes hold a lot of water, so you may not end up with completely dry floors.

The wet-dry vac comes with a multi-surface floor cleaner so you can get cleaning in no time. It is your best wet dry vac for pets, and every purchase sees the company a percentage to the Bissel Pet Foundation that aims to save pets around the country.

Pros:

  • From a reputable brand
  • Comes with a multipurpose floor cleaner
  • Best for cleaning pet hairs on sealed floors and carpets
  • Offers a 30-minute cleaning session

Cons:

  • Does not clean wet messes very well

4. Tineco Floor One S3 Cordless Wet Dry Vacuum

Sale
Tineco Floor One S3 Cordless Hardwood Floors Cleaner,...
  • Featuring iLoop smart sensor technology, FLOOR ONE S3 detects...
  • Self-propelled and Time-saving. FLOOR ONE S3 vacuums AND washes...
  • Cordless, lightweight and easy to use, FLOOR ONE S3 extends...
  • 5-in-1 self-cleaning system keeps your hands clean, system fresh...
  • All-in-one LED display, built in app connectivity and helpful...

Looking to ditch cords and cables? Great, get the best wet dry vac today, and your accidental falls will be a thing of the past. This Tineco shop vac is a great place to start; it is easy to use, recharge, and use again!

The modern design makes this vacuum lightweight and easy to use. It is the best deal for you if you have joint or mobility challenges. In addition, it comes with the iLoop Smart Sensor that detects conditions such as dry particles or liquid spills, and the appliance will adjust its cleaning mode as necessary.

It also has a digital LED control panel that makes usability pleasant since you can tell when to recharge and how much juice the battery's got left. In addition, the wet-dry vacuum has dual tanks that separate the cleaned dirt from the clean water and cleaning solution you need for cleaning. That said, it is best only to use a Tineco cleaning solution to guarantee the vacuum's durability. Then, when the tank is full, you will love how the wet-dry shop vac has a self-cleaning feature that only needs you to press the button. Each charge can last up to 35 minutes which is enough to clean every corner of your house.

Pros:

  • Cordless wet-dry vacuum
  • Easy to operate
  • Lightweight, thus great for the elderly people
  • Has two tanks that separate the vacuumed dirt from the cleaning solution
  • Compatible with voice assistants and the Tineco App
  • Has an easy-to-activate self-cleaning feature
  • Comes with a digital LED panel to let you keep track of the charge
  • Uses the iLoop smart sensor to clean as necessary

Cons:

  • You need a Tineco cleaning solution to guarantee durability
  • It takes longer to recharge

5. Stanley 6-Gallon Shop-Vac

Stanley - SL18116P Wet/Dry Vacuum, 6 Gallon, 4...
  • ❤【LARGER CAPACITY】Stanley SL18116P Wet / Dry Vacuum has a...
  • ❤【VERSATILE & POWERFUL】Thanks to the 4 peak HP motor, this...
  • ❤【3 in 1 FUNCTION】With this versatile vac you can vacuum...
  • ❤【FARTHER CLEANUP】With over 16 ft of cleaning reach(6 ft...
  • ❤【WHAT YOU GET】Stanley SL18116P Wet / Dry Vac x 1,...

The Stanley SL18116P Wet Dry Vacuum is a best seller available in 5 sizes. Again, it's no surprise as STANLEY is a reputable brand in making vacuum cleaners. The mid-range 6-gallon size is large enough to do a professional clean-up job because you don't have to empty the bucket that often. In addition, it boasts 4.0 peak horsepower and powerful suction sufficient for any job.

The machine has a 3-in-1 functionality that allows you to vacuum dry debris, wet surfaces, or liquids and blow leaves away using the blower port. In the package, you get a 4x6 inch super flexible hose, extension wands, gulper nozzle, crevice nozzle, floor nozzle, foam filters, reusable dry filters, and a dust bag. In addition, you can organize the hose and cords on the top handle and side wraps.

With over 16 feet of cleaning reach provided by the 6 feet hose, 10 ft. cord, and 3 piece extension wands, you can easily reach the farthest parts of the house, under the benches, and up the ceilings without unplugging the machine. Besides, it has four swivel casters for easy maneuverability, making it an excellent cleaner for mobile jobs like car vacuuming.

This is one of the wet-dry vacs that's easiest to use because it has an oversized button that allows you to switch between wet, dry, and blower settings easily. It is a powerful, lightweight machine at a very affordable cost.

Pros:

  • Easy to switch between modes with the oversized button
  • Lightweight
  • Great for all kinds of vacuuming, including houses and cars
  • You can use it as a leaf blower
  • Comes with a powerful motor and suction
  • Long cord so you can reach the farthest corners
  • Comes with a large canister
  • Comes with all necessary accessories

Cons:

  • None

6. DeWALT 12 Gallon Poly Wet/Dry Vac

DeWALT 12 gallon Poly Wet/Dry Vac,Yellow,DXV12P
  • Sturdy 12 gallon wet/dry Vac ideal for large pick-up applications
  • Powerful 5.5 peak horsepower motor provides just the amount of...
  • Ultra durable rubberized casters allow smooth swiveling for ease...
  • Extra long, 20' Power cord with cord wrap helps reach almost any...
  • Built-in blower port powerful enough to blow Sawdust and debris...

DeWalt is a world-renowned name in the construction tools industry, so it comes as no surprise that their shop vac is the best. This 12-gallon poly wet dry vac was designed to complete their iconic yellow and black design catalog of everything you can ever need in a workshop. It is ideal for large pick-up applications, and its 5.5 peak horsepower motor provides enough suction to do any clean-up job.

The device has an extra-long 20-inch power cord that helps reach even the farthest parts of your workshop. What's more, it has a convenient handle and large rear wheels, making it easy to move around as you clean. In addition, its ultra-durable swiveling casters provide easy maneuverability in any direction, and it has a built-in tank to make draining liquids easy.

Like the modern home appliance that it is, this shop vac comes with numerous accessories put in their own carrying pack. One of those is the rear blower port which comes in handy when you need to blow leaves or debris out. The best part is that this DeWALT Poly Wet/Dry Vac has a washable cartridge filter for dry and wet debris.

It's truly a beautiful tool to look at, and its power is unparalleled.

Pros:

  • From a reputable brand
  • Affordable
  • Comes with a powerful motor
  • Large canister makes it ideal for handling long-hour jobs
  • Powerful suction to handle any vacuuming needs
  • Long power cord so you can reach far when working
  • It comes with durable swiveling wheels for easy portability and maneuverability
  • It comes with the necessary accessories
  • It has a blower power so you can also use it to clean the yard
  • Comes with a durable and washable Hepa filter cartridge

Cons:

  • It may be too bulky for some

7. Vacmaster Professional Wet/Dry Vac, 16 Gallon

Sale
Vacmaster Professional - Professional Wet/Dry Vac, 16...
  • Best-in-class suction power and air flow easily tackles tough...
  • Integrated hose, accessory and power cord organization provide...
  • Includes 7 ft. X 2-1/2 in. Kink resistant hose, utility nozzle,...
  • Over 27 ft. Of cleaning reach (7 foot hose and 20 foot power...
  • Large 16-Gallon collection tank with extra-large quick empty...

This 16 gallon Wet/Dry Vac is part of Vacmaster's best series range that gives the best in class suction power and airflow to tackle the most challenging clean-ups around any site. Between the 7-foot hose and 20-foot power cord, the machine gives over 27 feet of cleaning reach so you can tackle every corner of the work area. Its large 16-gallon tank also comes with an extra-large quick empty liquid drain that also converts into a blower when need be.

Like the Dewalt above, this wet dry vac has a handful of helpful accessories that all wrap around the machine for organization and space-saving. Some of them include a kink-resistant hose, crevice tool, extension wand, utility nozzle, foam filter, noise diffuser, floor nozzle with squeegee and brush, and a fine dust cartridge filter. In addition, the heavy-duty swivel caster enables you to do 360 degrees movements with ease.

People who have used this wet dry vacuum admit that it's an extremely powerful machine and poses the possibility of blowing an electrical breaker. On the other hand, the fact that it's so quiet is a plus that many have acknowledged because it's rare with a vacuum of its kind.

Pros:

  • Quite affordable
  • Long cord offers better cleaning reach
  • One of the best Vacmaster shop vacs with excellent reviews
  • It comes with a large tank so you can work longer
  • It comes with all the necessary accessories for dry and wet vacuuming
  • The cord wraps around the machine for great storage
  • The 360-degree swiveling wheels make maneuverability and portability easy
  • Noiseless operation
  • Uses a powerful motor

Cons:

  • It is easy to clog the Hepa filter

8. RIDGID 50313 4000RV Portable Wet Dry Vacuum, 4-Gallon

RIDGID 50313 4000RV Portable Wet Dry Vacuum, 4-Gallon...
  • Powerful 5.0 Peak Horsepower makes this portable shop vacuum...
  • The ultra-flexible, 1-7/8-inch x 8-foot hose locks in place, is...
  • The 20-foot power cord delivers extended reach and wraps around...
  • A patented Qwik Lock Filter Fastening System allows for...
  • Blower capacity offers versatile performance so you can switch to...

At only 14.5lbs, this RIDGID 50313 4000RV is one of the most portable and lightweight vacuums around. That, however, doesn't affect its power as the machine boasts a powerful 5 peak horsepower which is ideal for any professional clean-ups. In addition, this wet-dry shop vacuum comes with a 20-foot cord, which, when combined with the 8-foot hose, gives you extended reach no matter where you are.

Our favorite part of this machine has to be the patented Qwik Lock Fastening System which allows for easy filter installation and removal for replacement without using any tools. The shop vac also features a very versatile blowing capacity, so you can quickly switch to blowing leaves and debris out of your walkway or deck.

Its small size makes it more portable and allows you to reach places larger machines wouldn't be able to. Its ultra-flexible 7-8 inch hose locks in place beautifully and is four times more durable than any standard hose. The machine could do with more accessories, but it seems to do its job well above par and live up to its reputation.

If you are in search of a small, portable, and affordable wet dry vacuum for your home and commercial needs, this RIDGID 50313 4000RV is perfect and comes with a lifetime warranty.

Pros:

  • Comes with a lifetime warranty
  • Portable
  • It is lightweight
  • The compact size makes storage easy
  • The cord and hose combine to offer the ideal reach whenever you want to vacuum far
  • It has a blower port
  • It is easy to install a filter using the Qwick Lock fastening system
  • It is an excellent wet-dry shop vacuum to use in the house or car

Cons:

  • It does not come with a lot of accessories
  • Its small size also means it fills up quickly

9. Milwaukee M18 Cordless Wet/Dry Vac

Sale
Milwaukee 0880-20 18-Volt Cordless Wet/Dry Vacuum, Red
  • Included Components: Shop Wet Dry Vacuums
  • Power Source Type: Battery Powered
  • Works on all Milwaukee 18V slide-on batteries, Li-ion or NiCd
  • The powerful motor to provides strong suction and air flow
  • The tool box design provides easy transport and storage

When you see this Milwaukee M18 Cordless Wet/Dry Vac for the first time, it's easy to confuse it with a toolbox. However, the simple toolbox design helps provide easy transport and storage when you are moving from one site to another. Make no mistake, though; this tiny package boasts a powerful 18-volt motor that provides professional-grade suction and airflow.

The cordless shop vac works on all Milwaukee 18V slide-on batteries and gives an impressive 30 minutes run on a single charge. Despite its small package, this shop vac is packed with accessories, including a flexible hose, crevice tool, and utility nozzle; all stack onto the machine for neat storage. The device also features a built-in blower port and a washable wet dry filter that delivers excellent fine dust collection and doesn't need to be changed often.

The Milwaukee M18 Cordless Wet Dry Vacuum has received plenty of 5-star reviews, mostly for its long-lasting battery capacity and powerful suction. In addition, it is a more convenient option than corded shop vacs because you can go with it anywhere, provided you keep the job under 30 minutes. So if you need a powerful vacuum that cleans up your stairs, house, and car, condensate drain lines, or reaches those really high places in the house, this portable machine will sort you out.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • From a reputable brand
  • Compact design for easy storage
  • Has a powerful motor to suction and dry wet messes
  • It comes with the necessary accessories
  • Features a blower port
  • Its battery recharges fast and lasts long for your cleaning needs
  • It has a washable filter
  • Best shop vac for portability

Cons:

  • The canister can fill up quickly

10. CRAFTSMAN CMXEVBE17250 Wet/Dry Shop Vac

CRAFTSMAN CMXEVBE17250 2.5 gallon 1.75 Peak Hp Wet/Dry...
  • PORTABLE: Lightweight, 2.5-gallon wet dry vac offers unparalleled...
  • IDEAL FOR SMALL MESSES: Perfect for the home, garage, cars,...
  • EASY TO STORE: Compact size, carry handle and cord wrap feature...
  • TWO-IN-ONE CAPABILITY: Shop vacuum can be used as a blower for...
  • ACCESSORIES INCLUDED: 1-1/4 in. x 5 ft. Friction Fit Hose,...

Not only does this wet dry shop vac come in an eye-catching, compact design, it also packs quite the power to fulfill all your cleaning needs. A 1.75 Peak HP motor will rid your floors of unwanted debris that will then go into a 2.5-gallon canister. It needs 120V power to operate, and with that, you will find it quite easy to use.

The shop vac is from a reputable brand that dedicates time and research to make the best appliances. True to their words, this shop vac comes with over three thousand 4.6-star reviews, so you know you will end up with one of the best shop vacs available.

This best shop vac comes with necessary accessories, including the 5-foot hose, a crevice tool, a utility nozzle, and a filter bag. Still, it is well-priced, under $100. It is your best shop vac if you need to save space and ensure easy portability. It weighs less than seven pounds and comes with a carry handle. When you find unwanted leaves on your doorways, there is no better shop vac to use to blow them to a collection site.

Pros:

  • One of the best budget shop vacs
  • From a reputable brand
  • Comes in a compact, easy to carry and store design
  • Features a blower port
  • Excellent reviews online
  • Has a powerful motor and ideal canister for home use
  • Comes with vital accessories
  • The accessories store nicely
  • The shop vac comes with a 3-year limited warranty

Cons:

  • It could use more suction power

11. Eureka NEW200 All in One Corded Wet Dry Vacuum Cleaner

Eureka NEW200 All in One Corded Wet Dry Vacuum Cleaner...
  • All in One Convenient Powerful Cleaning: The one-step machine...
  • Powerful Pick Up & No Streaks: All in One Powerhouse that...
  • Two Tank System: Don’t double dip in dirty water with your mop...
  • Lightweight Design & Swivel Steering: Easily maneuver around...
  • Multi-Floor Cleaning with Fingertip Controls: Allows you to...

Do you need a vacuum that deals with wet or dry messes in a minute? If so, you can get this Eureka wet dry vacuum cleaner with a mop. It is your best cordless shop vac when you want to clean your spaces faster.

It also sports a modern look with the white and black color combination, and if that is not your ideal look, you can also get it in a graphite look. The lightweight wet-dry shop vacuum features a powerhouse motor that guarantees adequate suctioning on hard floors, carpets, and rugs. In addition, it comes with two tanks so that it won't mix the dirt with your cleaning water. It is easy to use even for people with joint problems as it comes with swiveling wheels to make pushing it effortless.

One of the best wet dry shop vacuums in the market, you can control it easily with strategically placed fingertip controls. Easily switch between different cleaning modes for floors and carpets. Then, when you are done cleaning, a simple button push will have it start self-cleaning in readiness for the next use. It is easy to store and comes with a Eureka cleaning solution.

Pros:

  • One of the best shop vac models in the market
  • It is both a vacuum cleaner and a mop
  • It comes with fingertip controls for usability
  • It is lightweight and compact for portability and easy storage
  • From one of the best household vacuum brands
  • Dual tank design
  • Available in a modern color combination
  • Perfect suctioning and drying
  • Swiveling wheels for maneuverability
  • The best-corded shop vac

Cons:

  • Quite costly

12. WORKSHOP Wet/Dry Vacuum

Sale
WORKSHOP Wet/Dry Vacs Vacuum WS0255VA Compact, Portable...
  • Compact and portable wet dry vacuum cleaner has a large ergonomic...
  • Stable, flat-bottom design prevents the small shop vacuum cleaner...
  • 10-Foot power cord, 4-foot hose and all shop vacuum attachments...
  • Vacuum includes an integrated blowing port for added versatility
  • Includes: portable shop vacuum cleaner, hose, WS01025F filter...

This small shop vacuum comes with an ergonomic handle for easy portability. In addition, it comes in a compact size that makes storage a lot easier. It also has one of the best designs for storage and use; it features a flat base that prevents it from tipping over whether in use or after you store it.

Despite the small size, i is the best shop vac for reaching those long distances. It comes with a 10-foot cord that gives you more cleaning reach when added to the four-foot hose. The package comes with a hose, a filter bag, a crevice tool, a utility nozzle attachment, and a manual book.

The portable shop vac comes at an affordable price plus a 5-year manufacturer's warranty. In addition, all the accessories and attachments store easily onboard to save storage space, and the wet and dry vacuum also has a blower feature.

Pros:

  • Quite affordable
  • Comes in a compact size
  • Lightweight
  • Has an ergonomic handle for portability
  • Easy to store due to the size, plus a flat base and onboard attachment storage
  • Comes with a 5-year warranty
  • Comes with needed accessories
  • The blower feature improves its versatility

Cons:

  • Relatively small for a job site

13. Fein Turbo I Wet/Dry Dust Extractor

Sale
Fein Power Turbo I Wet Dry Dust Extractor Vacuum...
  • OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE - The dust extractor is very effective at...
  • FURTHER REACH - The Turbo II has a large range due to its 19 ft...
  • SAFETY FEATURES - It has an autostart outlet with power-on delay...
  • CONVENIENCE + VERSATILITY - Our practical storage area with rim...
  • SPECIFICATIONS - 1100 Watts, 151 CFM Suction Capacity, 98 PSI...

If you have a busy job site, you understand the importance of a reliable cleaning tool. You are often exposed to fine dust particles, drywall dust, water, and more impurities. Standard vacuum cleaners may not clear fine dust particles, while others underperform if faced with wet spills. If such is a problem you face, a suitable dust extractor like this Fein Turbo 1 that also has powerful water suction is your best bet.

There are more reasons to love this wet and dry vacuum besides its 1100-watt motor, 151 CFM Suction Capacity, and 5.8 Gallon Capacity. For instance, it offers onboard storage for all attachments while it also offers long-range reach. In addition, it sports a 19.7 ft Cable plus a 13 ft. vacuum hose so you can vacuum without changing plugs.

Very effective against all wet and dry messes, the wet and dry vacuum cleaner comes with a 1-year warranty and performs with minimal noise pollution so you won't bother your neighbors. You can use it in the house, workplace, or car.

Pros:

  • Best shop vac for your wood shop
  • Great design that also incorporates onboard storage
  • 5.8-gallon capacity makes the shop vacuum ideal for long term use
  • Offers excellent cleaning rich with the long cord and hose
  • Convenient carry handle plus swiveling wheels for maneuverability
  • Comes with a 1-year warranty

Cons:

  • No blower port

Corded Vs. Cordless Shop Vacs?

When looking for your best wet dry vac, you will come across two types of builds. You can choose between a corded shop vac or a cordless shop vac. In application, this is how these two shop vacs differ.

a) Cordless wet and dry vacs

A cordless shop vac uses battery power for suction. As such, this model comes with a charging cord so that you can recharge after each use.

In appearance, the shop vac is thin and, as such, exceptionally lightweight. It may not make a lot of noise while vacuuming. However, it also tends to lose power quite fast, so even the best shop vac in this category might not vacuum for more than 30 minutes.

Cordless shop vacs are ideal for home use since you can collect dirt and liquid spills in a few minutes. They are also easy to store due to their design. In addition, these sop vacs allow more maneuverability since you do not need to keep them plugged in for power.

If buying a cordless shop vac, ensure it has a durable lithium-ion battery that can last many years. Also, it is best to read online reviews from users who also have the model you want. Doing so will give you an idea of battery performance and control features. Finally, let us look at the pros and cons of these cordless shop vacs.

Pros

  • They use rechargeable batteries to allow use even when there is no power
  • They are lightweight and portable
  • They are easy to store
  • Great for home use

Cons

  • They are quite expensive
  • They drain power fast, which also affects the suction power

b) Corded shop vacs

A corded shop vac needs to stay plugged into a power source to vacuum. Unlike the cordless shop vac models, these guarantee a constant power supply, making them ideal for home and professional use. They also have very powerful motors that allow them to vacuum any debris and wet stuff.

Compared to the cordless models, most corded shop vacs are pretty bulky and can limit your range of cleaning as you have to have a power source nearby. Thus, if buying this shop vac, it is essential to find one with a long cord and hose.

However, on the bright side, the wet-dry vacs have bigger canisters for dry debris and wet messes. In addition, they use the best Hepa filtration to guarantee durability. These models also come with more accessories that guarantee versatility. One constant feature in most corded shop vacs is the blower feature. So, when not using it to clean wet and dry messes, these appliances double well as blowers to keep your driveways clean.

Pros

  • They are affordable
  • They have a reliable power supply and Hepa filtration
  • Bigger canisters collect more dirt
  • They are great leaf and debris blowers
  • they are available in different sizes; a smaller shop vac is great for home use, while the larger shop vacs are great for your job sites

Cons

  • They are quite bulky
  • They can only work when there is a reliable power supply

How Do I Choose A Wet And Dry Vac?

The best wet dry vac for you will be determined by where you use it and your budget. These two factors will dictate the size, volume, capabilities, and any additional attachments you may need.

Let's look at these features individually.

a) Capacity

There are two reasons why a wet-dry vacuum tank volume is essential; one, you don't want to stop work every few minutes just to empty the tank, and two, the capacity is directly related to its power. The best shop vacs usually come in three capacities;

  1. small, 2-6 gallons
  2. medium, 6-14 gallons
  3. High capacity, 14-18 gallons.

While a small wet dry vacuum is sufficient for home use, most professionals use medium-capacity vacuums. However, a high-capacity shop vac that will provide higher air power and more suction is the best for big construction sites and other professional settings.

b) Air And Suction Power

A motor determines how powerful a shop vac is. Hence vacuums with higher air watts have greater suction power. What many don't know is that this power determines how efficient the vac will be at sucking in dirt. This power is measured in CFM, and a standard 6-gallon vac has around 75CFM.

For professional work where you need to suck in a lot of dirt and big items, you should go for at least 6.0 peak horsepower. This will take care of wood pieces, nails, bolts, sand, and anything you can think of as long as it can fit inside the hose. However, a 4.0-5.0 horsepower vac is sufficient for home use if you don't need too much output.

c) Distance To Power

Is the cord long enough to reach the span of your workshop? What if you need to vacuum the car's interior or blow leaves away on the driveway? The length of your cord needs to work with your needs. The best wet dry vacuums have a 20 feet cord and several extra cords to ensure the length does not limit you. Others come with a retractable cord that can pull up to 60 feet. If that is not an option, you can go for a cordless shop vac that uses a rechargeable battery and doesn't need to be plugged in to work.

d) Versatility

The best wet dry vac can do more than just suck in debris. You want a vacuum that comes with many accessories that can blow leaves off, vacuum your seats and even remove cobwebs from ceiling corners. A shop vac should also have a noise muffler and a few filters. The more it has, the better, as this will mean you can do more with it.

What Are the Benefits of Owning the Best Wet Dry Vac?

Every home or workplace needs a good vacuum cleaner. While you can find regular vacuums from any dealer, investing in the best wet dry vacuum is beneficial in the following ways.

  1. You won't worry about wet or dry messes. These shop vacs are designed to collect dry debris and liquid spills, and they often work great on hard floors and carpeted surfaces.
  2. They are great if you have pets. While it is lovely living with your furry friend, they tend to shed fur, predisposing you to various allergies. A shop vac makes clean-up easy since it can collect the finest pet hairs.
  3. You won't have to deal with dirt. The best shop vacuums make cleaning your forte even if it was your worst chore previously. With the suction power, these shop vacs clean both dry debris and clean liquid spills, and you never have to come into contact with the mess. If you got the best vacmop, it is also easier to dump the used pads without touching them.
  4. They improve air quality. Using these handy tools, you have the guarantee they will clean all the hard-to-reach areas of your house that would otherwise collect dirt and impurities to pollute the indoor air quality. So, it is best to have one of these if you are prone to dirt allergies, if you have a baby, and if you struggle to clean all the debris from hidden or tight spaces in a room.

How to Use the Best Shop Vac Properly

Now that you have your best wet dry vac, it is time to start cleaning your spaces. There are several ways to use this handy tool for the best results, and we explore three here.

a) To vacuum dry debris

A wet and dry vacuum perfects collecting dry dust and dirt particles to keep all your spaces clean. Here are the steps to follow;

  1. Make sure the canister is empty. Before using the shop vac, make sure you remove any water or dry debris so you won't have to stop halfway if it fills too fast.
  2. Check the filter. Install the Hepa cartridge filter correctly to prevent dust particles from flying out.
  3. Attach the largest vacuum attachment to pick most debris. If you want to clean pet hair, you can use the brush attachment to sweep the hair off the floor.
  4. Vacuum your space and then clean the canister to prepare for subsequent use.

b) To vacuum water

A wet and dry vacuum can be a great lifesaver if you have a soaked carpet or a flooded garage. It can suck most of the water if you follow these steps;

  1. Remove the dry debris bag. If you previously used your shop vac to vacuum dust and debris, you will need to remove the bag so you won't damage it with water.
  2. Change the dry filters. Most wet dry vacs use paper filters which could get damaged if used t vacuum water. So, you can change these for the wet filters if your model came with them.
  3. Attach the large flat nozzle, which is great for collecting water.
  4. Plug the vacuum into a GFCI outlet that prevents electrocution. This step is vital since you will be vacuuming water with an electric appliance. However, you can skip this step if you know your shop vac brand double-insulates their shop vacs, including those you want to use.
  5. Turn on the shop vac and start vacuuming. If you are vacuuming flooded water, it'd be best to place the vacuum nozzle on top of the water where it can collect large quantities. If you have water spread across the floor, you will need to track where most of the water is and collect it by placing the nozzle on top.
  6. When done, empty the canister and disinfect it with other accessories.

c) As a blower

You don't always need to own a blower to clean your garage or driveway when you have the best wet dry vac. You can convert it into an effective blower with these steps.

  1. Remove the motor from the base.
  2. Disconnect the hose from its port.
  3. Remove the nozzle from the hose.
  4. Install the hose on the blower port of the shop vac.
  5. Turn on the shop vac and blow debris and leaves out of the way.
  6. When done, reinstall the vital accessories for your day-to-day vacuuming. You will need to reconnect the hose to its port, attach a nozzle, and reinstall the motor on its base.

Conclusion

While wet-dry shop vacs can also be used at home, they are primarily designed to deal with more difficult cleaning jobs like construction sites and workshops. You should not use a wet-dry shop vac as the primary vacuum cleaner at home because they produce too much power, which can end up destroying the motor if used too often. That said, it's perfectly okay to do occasional jobs like cleaning a very dirty carpet, cleaning up the basement after a flood, and clearing up the mess after a DIY project.

Frequently Asked Questions

a) Are Wet/Dry Vacuums Worth It?

Absolutely. While regular vacuum cleaners do a fantastic job of keeping your home or office clean, they have their limitations. A wet dry vac is a more powerful and versatile option that you can use to suck up debris, clean up leaks and spills, remove a great deal of water from carpeting or floor, blow away leaves, and clean wood chips, shavings, and metal parts from workshops. Today, wet-dry vacs come in small affordable sizes so that you will be getting more value for less money.

b) What Shop Vac Has The Best Suction?

Suction power (measured in CFM) in a vacuum cleaner is essential because that's what sucks in the debris, dust, and liquids. Ideally, you should choose a shop vac with high power for efficiency and power saving. The Vacmaster Professionalâ Beast Series™ 16-Gallon 6.5 Peak Wet/Dry Vac is among the few wet dry vacs with the best suction, thanks to the 64-inch water lift and 6.5 peak horsepower motor. In addition, the vacuum has a 16-gallon capacity which means it can suck up any substance without worrying about where to put it.

c) Can You Use A Dry Wet Vac Without A Filter?

Theoretically yes. A wet dry vac can work without a filter if you vacuum wet surfaces or use water as the filtration system. However, none of these methods safeguard the machine from damage when dust or debris escapes and gets into the motor. Therefore, for safety purposes and to increase the lifespan of your shop vac, it's always best to use clean filters.

d) How Can I Clean my Shop Vac?

If you want to guarantee durability, you will need to take good care of the shop vac. The best way to do so is to clean it regularly following these steps;

  1. Remove the canister and fill it with water and bleach. The black is an excellent disinfectant to remove all germs, and it will also leave the canister smelling fresh.
  2. Clean the hose. You will need to run water through the hose until it runs clear.
  3. Clean the filters with a power washer to remove all debris and particles.
  4. Dry all cleaned accessories with a clean rag before reinstalling them.

When you know the shop vac is clean, it is best to store it in a dry and dry place to prevent any damage.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.