Last Updated: March 2019
What Do You Need?
With the best shop vac you will want a combination of different features. Do you want a longer hose and a long power cord? Do you require a larger tank size? this is so you are not constantly emptying the waste but please remember you need the room to store the vac.
Wet/dry shop vacs come with a variety of different filters. A cartridge filter that you can clean and reuse is the most common type or you can get the cloth filter that needs to be changed when full. do you need a filter that can trap the smallest of particles such as sawdust or ash.
What are you using your vacuum for?
Attachments can make cleaning those spillages easier and take less time if you pick a vac with the right ones for you. Most shop vacuums come with extension wands for hard to reach place, but some come with multiple wands that will connect together to reach further. If you are cleaning bulky debris then the brush nozzles work best and the crevice tools are good for cleaning in the corners or cracks. Some vacuums can be used as a blower and come with a special wide tool for covering a larger area. For wet cleanup look for a squeegee type attachment.
The best shop vac wet/dry should be able to suck up a wide variety of things from little spills to potting soil, sawdust to snow. some of the top models even have a blow port so you use it as a leaf blower.
These are our top picks so if you know which Shop Vac you need, use our quick look chart or if you would like more in depth info on each Shop Vac read on…
Shop-Vac 9633400 6.5-Peak HP Ultra Pro Series 12-Gallon Wet or Dry Vacuum with Detachable Blower
This shop vac can clean both wet and dry. It is on the large side so you can take on the larger rooms and bigger messes and spills. It has a 12 gallon tank that will give you plenty of space to suck things up before having to empty it. The 6.5 HP motor that is powerful enough to handle many different types of debris. This vac has a 18 foot power cord so there will be no holding you back. You can easily transport this vacuum has it has side tank handles and a top carry handle.
The accessories with the shop vac 9633400 are a large 8 inch utility nozzle, crevice tool for hard-to-reach places and several different filters. The filters will help to keep smallest of things from entering inside the vac and causing damage. This vacuum will also double up as a leaf blower as you can reverse the motor so it blows. The hose is eight-feet long for extra reach.
Ridgid 50348RID 50348 1400RV Wet/Dry Vacuum with Cart
If you need a vacuum that is on the bigger side then the rigid 14 gallon 6.0 HP is one of the biggest capacity shop vacs around. Considering the size of this shop vac it is quite easy to move around has it has 4 caster wheels to help. It has a top handle and a cart style push handle.
The rigid 50348 comes with a 8 foot hose and 20 foot power cord. It has a 6 horsepower motor that is covered by a well-made plastic shell. The filter system has a 3layer filter,which is designed to suck up the smallest of particles. The filter is easy to replace. There is a helpful plug at the bottom to help drain the water.
This model comes with the basic accessories and you get a 3 year rigid warranty.
Shop-Vac 5986100 8-Gallon 5.5 Peak HP Stainless Steel Wet Dry Vacuum
This shop vac is smaller than our other two vacs, this model has A 8 gallon tank. It is made with a stainless steel tank that makes this very durable. It is easy to clean wet and dry with the 5 HP motor but it is on the small side so the performance is quite as powerful as some of the more expensive shop vacs. There is a blow port at the back so you can use to blow those unwanted leaves in to pile.
Weight is 19.2 pounds and comes with a 7 foot hose and 12 foot power cord. The shop vac comes on 4 caster wheels, which makes it easy to manoeuvre. The main draw back with this shop vac is the handles on the lid don’t seem to have a good grip when you pick the vac up to move it.
Vacmaster 12 Gallon, 5 Peak HP, Wet/Dry Vacuum with Detachable Blower
This 12 gallon, 5 horsepower shop vac is strong and sturdy. The weight is 17.4 pounds so not too heavy to lift. It is brilliant for sucking up liquid so if you ever have a flood or large spillage this shop vac is exactly what you want to hand. This shop vac converts to a hand held blower, which is reported to be at 210mph.
The Vacmaster is big, but it is also portable. There are 4caster wheels, which move 360 degrees. Unfortunately these do not click into place, which might cause a problem if you want to pick the vacuum up to move it to a different location. The vacuum hose is 7 feet long and 2.5inch wide and is securely attached to the body of the vac so you can pull it around by the hose. A really good feature on the Vacmaster is it has a large drain plug at the bottom of the tank. No lifting and tipping to dump the waste.
Vacmastercan be used for drywall, soot or ash, but the manufacturer suggests you buy a separate dust filter, which are sold separately. There are 8 different attachments for the Vacmaster these include two extension wands,car nozzle and crevice tool, and the well thought of blower nozzle that helps to cover a larger area when using the blower.
Stanley Wet/Dry Vacuum, 6 Gallon, 4.5 Horsepower, Stainless Steel Tank
Stanley SL18129 is a 4-gallon shop vac with a stainless steel tank. It has a 4 HP motor that is rather loud. This wet and dry vac is on 4 little caster wheels and is easy to move around the floor and at just 8lb it is light enough to pick up and move as well. The hose is 1/14inch wide and just 5 feet long and that can be a bit of a pain if you want to reach round a corner or stretch up to the taller ceiling in the garage. It does come with three extension wands though, that can be linked together to help reach those hard to reach places.
The Stanley does have a 10 foot power cord and also comes with a floor nozzle, car nozzle and a crevice tool as well as the 3 extension wands mentioned before. There is no drain plug on this shop vac so you will have to lift and dump the waste content.
This Stanley SL18129 is an ideal vac for the smaller tasks. It has a lot of attachments and is light in weight but with a loud motor and a short hose it left us feeling there is a better option out there.
Vacmaster 6 Gallon, 3 Peak HP, Stainless Steel Wet/Dry Vacuum