Best Shop Vac

What comes to your mind when the home isn’t in good shape? The kids’ clothes are making a mess at one side, the shelves are unkempt and the dirt on the floor can trigger a vomit.

Sure, you can take away the clothes and put the shelves in order, but what happens to the floor? A wish can’t take away the dust and other debris that make it untidy.

This job is for vacuum cleaners. However, there’s a new option that offers better protection and finishing for floors.

It can also pass for a mini car cleaner. We’re talking about the shop vacuum (shop vac).

What Is a Shop Vac

As the name implies, a shop vac is a vacuum cleaner, which offers better suction. Many people regard it as a durable sweeper for shops and places that require heavy woodwork operations.

That notion isn’t wrong. However, it’s getting more integrations in homes because of the high-power operations that can “fish out” dust from the innermost part of the room.

Note that its designation is for the shop where traditional vacuum cleaners may be less functional. However, it can be a great cleaning tool for your home too.

It’s better off when used in the garage and driveway. Nevertheless, shop vacs aren’t ideal for carpet cleaning (except if you’re using them for outdoor rubber mats).

You can start giving thoughts to get a shop vac if there are large amounts of debris around your home.

Types of Shop Vacs

It’s always difficult when you’re deciding which shop vac to choose. It can be embarrassing to buy one and it doesn’t live up to expectations.

There are four main types of shop vacuums. We’ll take you through their components so that you can be armed with information and make a good decision.

Types of Shop Vacs


This is the smallest shop vac in the category. As expected, its performance is also on the low.

Mini wet/dry cleaners have some advantages such as easy storage and mobility. However, you may not find them useful for a home cleaning job. Nevertheless, they can serve as a mini-car cleaner.


This is an upgrade to the functionalities of the mini version. The icing on the cake is the handheld feature, which facilitates mobility.

Yet, you have to sacrifice performance because this shop vac doesn’t have the capacity to play in the big league of doing higher tasks, but you can utilize it to clean outdoor rubber mats.


Medium wet/dry cleaners can undertake some major tasks, such as cleaning the floors and sucking away debris.

Nevertheless, you have to note the differences between vinyl plank vs laminate flooring, as they can facilitate protection and finishing for floors. Furthermore, they are compact and flexible to carry around.


This shop vac has the necessary functionalities to take on major tasks. You’ll find its functions that resemble the steam mops interesting.

These cleaners have the most capacity and quick precision. However, you’ll find them hard to move around.

Dry vs Wet Vacuuming

Both wet and dry vacuuming have unique features (and downsides).

Dry Vacuum Cleaners

This is an option for people that don’t want to deal with liquid when vacuuming the home. It sucks away dust and dirt and deposits them in its built-in bag.

In addition, dry vacuums make use of the high-efficiency particulate arrestor (HEPA), which takes off bacteria and viruses alongside the dust.


  • It has a built-in bin for collecting dirt/debris.
  • Uses HEPA and UV light disinfection system to eliminate viruses and bacteria from your home.
  • Good particle filtration (traps dirt faster and doesn’t allow it to escape from the other end of the cleaner).
  • Has advanced filters that absorb indoor air.


  • The internal machinery doesn’t have protection for the electrical parts thus, the sucked liquid can affect these parts.
  • The chances are there will happen a short-circuiting when water gets into the electrical parts.

Wet Vacuum Cleaners

They seem to be a better alternative to the dry vacuum. A wet vacuum cleaner has the capacity to suck away water and debris.

The functionality is one of the major reasons why many people fall head over heels to get it. A wet vacuum can reach into the innermost areas where the dry vacuum can’t.

This doesn’t imply that it’s flawless. Some of its underlying features may not go down well with users.


  • Sucks away liquid on carpets and floors.
  • Picks up dust and debris.
  • Uses a bucket for waste collection.
  • The collector can is waterproof thus the liquid can’t escape and disrupt the functions of the electrical parts.


  • It may not collect enough debris, as the main focus is on liquid.
  • The low particle filtration may lead to escape of debris.

If you’re looking for a vacuum cleaner that can suck away dust, a dry vacuum is an option you should look at. The wet one is a bet for people that want to maintain a healthy environment in the home by sucking away liquid and debris.

Make sure you consider the pros and cons of each, as they’ll help you avoid malfunctions later.

Wet Vacuum Cleaners

Best Uses of Wet Vacuuming

There are specific functions that a wet vacuum performs. It’s imperative to highlight this, as the functions will influence the buying decision. The general place of use is in the home.

The first benefit is the ability to suck away liquid. There has been a paradigm shift from the brick and mortar use of mop and bucket to keep the home tidy.

Now, people are looking for an “automated process” that can take away every trace of dirt around the house. That’s the first feature you’ll like about wet vacuums.

They suck away liquid on the floor and carpet and equally pick up debris. The waterproof feature reduces the chances of liquid interference in the operations of the internal machinery.

Finally, the use of buckets for waste collection may be better than bins. On the flip side, users may not like the inefficient debris collection (wet/dry vacuum’s main focus is on liquid).

Best Uses of Dry Vacuuming

There’s no doubt that you’ll get a clean and healthy environment after putting your dry vacuum to use. The UV light disinfection system and the HEPA technology facilitate the elimination of viruses and bacteria in your home.

You can’t view these with bare eyes thus it’s pertinent to use dry vacuums in fishing them out from hidden parts in the home. Efficient particle filtration traps debris for a longer time.

Above all, dry vacuuming is an efficient way to get rid of debris. In addition to the above, these are the general use of the wet/dry vacuum cleaners:

  • Blow debris and leaves in the garden into a pile. Afterward, the blower function packs them up.
  • Reduce the stress of cleaning out fireplaces. They do this by sucking up cold ashes.
  • Unblock sinks and baths by setting the machine to the blower and forcing the air into the designated hole.
  • Tackle flooding from burst pipes by sucking up the water.
  • The blower function can suck away snow during winter.
  • The width of the hole can suck up nails and wood shavings.
  • Efficient in the removal of stains and marks in the carpet and outdoor rubber mats.
  • The attachments make it a vacuum for hardwood floors, as it cleans the designated areas.

How to Choose the Best Shop Vac

Are you convinced that a shop vac is what you need in your home? There’s still a long way to go before your dreams of a clean home materialize.

It’s important to consider some factors that’ll help you pick the best shop vac that’ll be efficient in cleaning the interior and exterior parts of the home.

Here’s what you need to pay attention to:

Ease of Use/Mobility

Ease of Use of Shop Vac

Vacuum cleaners come in different shapes and sizes. The paradigm in recent years is a reduction of weight of some of them.

The current models are durable sweepers that can fit into different cases. Before buying a shop vac, it’s imperative to consider mobility.

Dry vacuum cleaners can be an option because they have non-marking wheels that facilitate movement. Also, look for the ones that have large wheels. This makes it possible to lift your device when going upstairs.


The filtration is another factor to consider. A wrong choice may lead to an inability to trap specks of dust.

Debris tends to blow back into the air when you use the wrong filter. Note that the choice of a filter should be based on the type of debris you want the vacuum to handle.

There’s no doubt that steam mops can do a good job. However, there’s a need for a filtration system, such as the HEPA cartridge filters (for people that have allergies).

Here are other filtering options for dry and wet vacuuming:

Medium Filtration Level

The medium filtration level is compatible with medium debris. Get your hands on this if you intend to use the dry and wet vacuum cleaners in few areas in the home.

Foam Sleeve Over the Filter

Apply a foam sleeve over the filter if you’re dealing with wet debris. There’s no doubt that this is a way to complement the functions of the dry and wet vacuum cleaners.

General Household Filtration Level

This filter is an option when you’re dealing with large debris. It can be useful for working in many areas of the home.

Fine Filtration Level

This is an option if the debris is not voluminous. It works well when the environment isn’t under threat by noticeable dirt.

The essence of the HEPA Filtration System is to reduce the amount of dust that gets past and pushes back into the air through the vacuum’s exhaust.


Shop Vac Hoses

Have in mind that the dry and wet vacuum cleaners don’t function without the hose. This is literally its powerhouse, which means that you should give as much thought to it as to other factors.

Before deciding on this, make a mental note of the locations you’ll put the durable sweeper to use. Are you using the vacuum for hardwood floors?

Is it for protection and finishing for floors in the home? Any location you decide on, the size of the hose should be able to reach there.

The width starts at 1.25” and can get as wide as 2.5”. The larger the size is the more debris it sucks up.

A 1.25-inch hose is a pick for fine debris. If you’re dealing with medium debris, a 1.5-inch hose can serve the purpose. Otherwise, get your hands on a 2.5-inch hose for large debris.

The length of the hose also matters. Therefore, the more you extend the reach, the lower the suction gets.


This is what every buyer has his eyes on. The price shouldn’t bother you if you’re out for quality. There are many cheap vacuum cleaners but you must be sure that the functions are good.

Many buyers hold the notion that the more money they spend to buy a durable sweeper (such as a mini-car cleaner), the higher the quality they get.

On the flip side, there are vacuums for hardwood floors that are cheap and efficient. Thus, you must consider other options rather than hinging your opinion on the amount you’ll spend.

Suction Power

The output of the motor is another area of concentration. It’s true that wet/dry vacuums have power-lifting and suction capabilities.

You must make sure that the innate functions are in tandem with what you need.

These are the things to look for:

  • Air-Watts/Air Power (AP)

This is where the power of the wet/dry vacuum cleaners lies. A higher air power means higher airflow, which, in turn, translates to picking up heavy pieces of stuff.

  • Sealed Pressure

This tests the amount of pressure the suction can sustain. The measurement is by inches of water and it means that the more water/liquid the cleaner holds the better.

  • Cubic Feet Per Minute (CFM)

The focus is on the maximum airflow the vacuum can get at an opening. It’s important to go for a vacuum cleaner that has a high CFM rating.

Consider these additional factors when choosing wet/dry vacuum cleaners based on suction power: input and output power and noise.

Many buyers are quick to judge the performance of the vacuum cleaner by the rated input power. Note that this is just an indication of how much electricity it consumes.

It has little or nothing to do with the effectiveness of the cleaner. The calculation is in watts and it can range between 900-1600 watts.

Also known as, “Airwatt,” the output power is the conversion of the input power into the airflow. You can locate this at the end of the hose.

Finally, if you’re not at home with noise, it’s pertinent to go for a durable sweeper that has low noise emission when working.


Every vacuum cleaner comes with different attachments. When choosing a wet/dry vacuum, your focus should be on the attachment that’ll enhance protection and finishing for floors.

There are interchangeable brushes that feature spinner scrubber and wide path head. Attachments with a narrow ending are useful for reaching every nook and cranny in the home.

You may consider getting one with brushes for cleaning grout from floor tiles or buffer brush attachment for buffing and vacuuming hardwood floors.

There’s the brush attachment that scrapes off dust particles before the vacuum cleaner sucks them away into the hose. Most wet/dry vacuum cleaners get a supply of attachments, such as extension wands and brushes.

The aim is to enable the user to clean a variety of surfaces and reach inaccessible places. These additional attachments may come with:

  • Upholstery nozzle
  • Hard floor brush (used in non-upright vacuums for hardwood floors)
  • Crevice tool for scraping hard floors and stuck particles on the floor
  • Dusting brush
  • Vacuum hose

Shop Vac Attachments


Decide on the areas you want to use a vacuum on. They typically work on carpets, upholsteries and picking up dirt from hard surfaces.

You may also want to consider outdoor rubber mats, the garage, floors and basement. Above all the choice of a shop vac should take basis on the surface it’ll work on.

Tank Capacity

There’s the need to consider the capacity as well as the size of the tank because there are different ranges to look at. There are the 1-gallon and a maximum of 15 gallons (though some models can exceed this).

The benefit of higher tank capacity is that you will not have to bother about emptying it very often. On the contrary, a heavy tank can translate to more weight.

Water has weight and coupled with a full tank, it may limit movement. The way to get around this is going for the mini or medium wet/dry vacuum cleaner.

This is an option if the work is downstairs. Otherwise, it’s advisable to go for a smaller cleaner or choose one with lower tank capacity.


Take time to check how the cleaner traps dirt and debris. In spite of the fact that the bucket holds them in place, there may be chances of dissolving into the air.

The role of the air is to ensure that the contents in the bucket remain in place and get disposal through the best medium. For disposal, the air current starts through the motorized fan.

Meanwhile, the dirt particles dissolve inside the water in the bucket. This approach makes it easier to expel them from the vacuum cleaner through the exhaust port thus it’s pertinent to check how the exhaust filtration system and the bucket work for dirt disposal.


Everyone wants value for purchased items. Some shop vacs have more warranties than others do. It’s your choice to make.

Ascertain the number of months (or years) the warranty covers. Also, find out the risks of self-damaging the vacuum and if the same coverage extends to it.

Stainless Steel Tank vs. Plastic

The debate has always been on the profitability of the stainless steel and plastic tank. Both have impressive features, but it all boils down to what you want.

If you’re in for flexibility, the plastic is a safe bet. On the contrary, the stainless steel tank is sturdy but heavy.

In addition, some users opine that stainless steel tanks have static issues, which can trigger a shock. Static electricity is possible when the humidity of the air is low.

It’s also obtainable when the area of work is dry. On the other hand, they can be easy to clean and serve as durable sweepers. Plastic tanks are easy to lift and don’t dent.

Tank Drain

Large tank capacity is acceptable, but there’s a need for tank drains. It comes in handy when you plan on sucking up a lot of water.

With this by the side, you can pump the large volume of water into the drain and continue sucking.

Blower Option

Blower Option on a Shop Vac

The blower option is something to look out for when choosing a wet/dry vacuum cleaner. The integrated blower port can serve many purposes.

It’s useful when working in the garden, as it blows the leaves to a point before the hose sucks them away. It’s interesting to note that it has a detachable feature, which means that you can plug and unplug it at will.

In addition, it’s a means to get to far-reaching places. There’s no need to squat or get the head in between chairs while looking for debris in obscure places.

It can also reverse the airflow and dry the car (when using the vacuum as a mini-car cleaner).

How to Clean/Replace Vac Filter on Shop Vac

The filter in your wet/dry vacuum cleaner serves many purposes. It’s time to clean or replace it when you notice a discharge of dust from the exhaust or reduction in the suction.

Note that you have to check for tear and wear before considering outright replacement. Also, have in mind that the type of filter determines how to apply the cleaning/replacement.

There are no set rules to achieve this, but there are some guidelines to help you.

Step 1 – Installing a Wet Vac Filter

Disconnect the power cord from the outlet and remove the powerhead. After that, place it in an upside down position and slide the foam wet filter down the filter cage.

While at this, make sure the filter covers the entirety of the cage. Replace the power-head on the container and get ready to use.

Step 2 – Clean/Install a Cartridge Filter

How you clean or install a cartridge filter depends on the filter you use. Avoid the use of abrasive materials or brushing the filter.

Instead, remove the filter from the vac and clean with water. Start by rinsing the inside of the filter and move outward.

Reinstall and allow to air dry for 24 hours before use. If this didn’t work, it’s time to install a new cartridge filter.

This is done by disconnecting the power cord from the outlet. Remove the power-head and position it in an upside-down format then turn the filter container anti-clockwise to loosen.

Lift and remove the old filter and install the cartridge filter over the cartridge cage. Carefully push down until it stops against the power-head.

Place the filter retainer on top of the cartridge filter and turn the container clockwise to tighten down the filter retainer.

Step 3 – Cleaning the Foam Sleeve

If you use foam sleeve in your filter, there’s a likelihood of dirt trapping inside. Shake with a rapid up and down motion.

If this doesn’t work, hold under running water for a few minutes and rinse from the inside of the filter outward. Leave to air dry for a few hours before replacing the vacuum cleaner.

Step 4 – Cleaning HEPA Filters

This doesn’t pose much problem. All you should do is remove the filters from the vac and tap against the inside of a garbage can to loosen debris (take the next steps if this doesn’t work).

Rinse the outside surface of the filter with running water and leave it some time to dry. After that, replace it in the vac.

How to Clean and Maintain Shop Vac

There may be no general rule for this, but you have to keep your vac tidy. These tips can help you clean and maintain the appearance and functionality of your shop vacuum cleaner:

First of all, check for tear and wear in the hose. Inspect the filters at intervals and clean/replace them if needed.

Don’t overstretch the functions of the vacuum. Use detachable blowers to reach farther distances and dispose of the tank when it gets full.

Release the extra water into the tank drain. Finally, inspect the exhaust and make sure it functions properly.

Shop Vac vs. Steam Cleaner

There’s no gainsaying the fact that shop vacs are taking the place of traditional vacuum (steam) cleaners. But which of these options is a good pick for your home?

Shop vacs can win the debate and here are the reasons to support that claim:


Users think that shop vacs are more durable than traditional vacuum cleaners thus, you need not to worry when you hit it against a hard surface or drop it by accident.

This feature is great considering the fact that you want value for the money. That may not be possible when the vacuum cleaner is of inferior quality.

The quality of the shop vas doesn’t only pitch it against steam cleaners but also improves the user’s experience.

Sucks Everything

The width of the hose and the efficient suction power of the best shop vac can lift the hardest of debris. This comes in handy when you have a lot of debris around the home/workplace.

The best use of it is in the garden, where you can delegate it to suck away the heaped debris packed at a corner.


This is a landslide victory for the shop vac. You can use it anywhere – be it in the rooms, garden, garage and even as a mini-car cleaner.

Above all, versatility is a feature worth commending. This helps in saving costs because you won’t have to buy different vacuum cleaners for different purposes.

Considering the fact that users want to get the best product at the best prices, the versatility/multi-tasking of these cleaners make it a favorite for many users.


Everyone wants to have some funds on the side. If you’re working on a budget, you may consider getting a shop vac.

It ranks as one of the cheap vacuum cleaners you can get your hands on. Some users suggest that the price is much cheaper than a traditional vacuum.

Shop vac has some downsides even though it has more benefits than traditional vacuum cleaners. It has a bigger frame, which reduces mobility.

The big size and suction power can suck up multiple items in one go. You may have to get attachments for ease when working though.

Shop Vac vs Upright Vacuum Cleaners

The upright vacuum may be an option considering the size of shop vacs. In the absence of the detachable blower, users may have to squat to extend the reach of the vac to every nook and cranny.

With an upright vacuum, you’ll be in a standing position while the cleaner gets to work.

Shop Vac vs Upright Vacuum Cleaners

Does Spending More Mean More Quality

What works for other people may not work for you. Some features, such as attachments, blowers and the tank capacity can influence the price of the shop vac.

However, a higher price doesn’t translate to more quality. There are some cheap vacuum cleaners, which function better than those in a higher price category.


Can you use a shop vac for vacuuming water?

Yes. You can use shop vacuums to suck up the excess water that floods your basement or the pool of water on the floor.

Where can you buy COREtec flooring?

You have to understand the differences between vinyl planks vs laminate flooring before looking for where to buy COREtec flooring. You can get COREtec waterproof-designed floors by making a search on Amazon or from COREtecfloors website.

Shop vac vs. different stains (pet hair, dust, etc.)

A shop vac can suck up a whole of items including dust and pet hair. It can also suck up human hair without choking, so you can use it to fight all types of stains that come to mind.


The home needs to be tidy at all times. Whether you’re looking to make a clean environment in the garden or garage, shop vacuum cleaners are tools to achieve that. Above all, you’ll like their precision and mobility, which make it easy to use in diverse scenarios.

Photos from: NayYai /, Baloncici /, krasyuk /, ttatty /, nikolay100 /, grigvovan /, Georgina198 / and AndreyPopov /