The wet/dry vacuum is extremely versatile and useful. They’re large, canister like vacuums that can pick up both wet and dry spills as well as larger debris. Things like sawdust, drywall dust are no problem at all for wet/dry vacuums. They come in various sizes and are most often used in the garage or workroom.
How to choose the right Wet Dry Vacuum
There are many reasons to get a wet/dry vacuum, and there are just as many models as there are reasons. When you’re trying to find the best wet dry vacuum cleaner for your needs, it can be frustrating trying to compare all the different features and prices. However, if you narrow down the field based on these main features first, you’ll have a much easier time finding the right wet dry vacuum cleaner for your home.
The maximum output horsepower of the motor is called peak horsepower. Although peak horsepower is often published with each shop vacuum, you shouldn’t get too caught up with horsepower ratings. They may not indicate the actual operating horsepower you will be using when cleaning and may not be a valid point of comparison.
Also, not a very useful comparison specification, the suction pressure is measured with no airflow and airflow makes up a big part of a vacuum cleaner’s performance.
Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM)
CFM is a valid comparison point. It represents how much air is moved by the motor or a specific system load. All other specifications being equal like hose type, size, and length, the accessory tool being used, and a clean filter, you want the most CFM for the money. CFM is especially important when picking up dry messes.
Airflow measures CFM (cubic feet per minute) or volume of air moved, which is important when picking up dry messes. Sealed Suction (inches) measures the raw strength of suction when picking up liquids. If you are planning to use your new wet-dry vacuum for mostly dry messes then a higher CFM is desirable, while if your will use it for more wet messes, sealed suction is more important. If you want the best of both worlds, the highest number for both would be ideal.
A newer term used by central vacuum and other machine type manufacturers to classify each model is air watts. While most agree it is not as useful as a comparison tool, Air Watts does capture both aspects of suction including sealed suction and CFM.
Make sure you get the right size vacuum for your needs. If you’re going to be regularly sucking up substantial amounts of water in a flooded basement, you should get the largest capacity that makes sense for your budget. On the other hand, if you clean up small messes around the home, car, garage, or shop, then you should be able to get away with a smaller capacity.
Remember that the published gallons figure is referring to the drum volume and not the total collection capacity. The capacity of any wet-dry vacuum depends on the type of debris you’re collecting and how clean the filter is, among other factors.
There is no doubt that a wet-dry vacuum is a must-have tool around the shop or garage. Buying the right shop vacuum for your needs means comparing apples to apples when it comes to specifications. Understanding shop vacuum specifications is important to choosing the right wet-dry vacuum cleaner for your needs.
Fein 9-20-28 TURBO II HEPA SET Fein 9-20-28 Turbo II HEPA Set
The selected 8.4 gallon Fein 9-20-28 TURBO II is the best wet vacuum and dust extractor due to its superior suction and dust collection.
Fein Turbo 2 HEPA vacuum with 8.4 gallon tank which includes an Auto-start wet dry vacuum and the construction accessories. HEPA level filtration will ensure you are safe for even the worst environments. Powerful 1100 watt by-pass motor is ideal for the job site or DIY use. An integrated power tool socket with automatic start/stop function ensures that the extractor starts after a power tool has been switched on. 66 DB noise level. Air flow rate 151 CFM and static water lift of 98.4″ ensures a high air flow to pull up everything! Bypass motor allows for the dirty air that comes from the hose never to come into contact with the motor. This eliminates dust spewing out from the motor when you turn the vacuum on and a very long life of the product. Simply said what goes in the vacuum stays in the vacuum. Filter guard for flat fold filter if the filter is dirty, the dirt can simply be tapped out of the filter cassette without the flat fold filter being damaged, The protective filter cassette means that there is no need to replace the cellulose filter for wet extraction. Long 13′ ft. hose and 18′ ft. cord for long reach allows you to be 54′ ft. from the outlet.
Ridgid WD1851 16 Gallon Wet/Dry Vac Ridgid WD1851
The WD1851 Wet/Dry Vacuum is designed to deliver the powerful suction, large capacity, rugged construction, unique features and excellent mobility that Pro’s demand for job site use. It comes with a top handle, cord wrap, and accessory storage bag which are features that all come in handy and that you often don’t find on lower price units. The top handle combined with larger rear wheels make it easier to get up and down stairs. The hose is 7 feet long and has a diameter of 2.5″.
The Ridgid WD1851 is recommend primarily for use on job sites or users who will use it a lot. For more occasional users there are cheaper options available.
Craftsman 12007 XSP 16 Gallon Wet/Dry Vac Craftsman 12007
The Craftsman 12007 shop vacuum provides similar performance to the Ridged WD1851 although it does not have a top handle, but it does have even more suction.
This Craftsman 12007 XSP 16 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum offers innovative cleaning power technology designed to tackle the toughest cleanup projects at the jobsite, shop, garage or home. Vacuuming wood chunks, metal shards, nails or sawdust in the shop, clearing drywall chunks, broken glass and screws at the job site, liquid pickup in a flooded basement and lastly removing leaves and other debris from gutters (gutter kit sold seperately) are just a few of the projects XSP can handle. Innovative top-tray storage allows you to conveniently store items such as mechanics tools, power drills, screws or necessities on top of the vacuum so they are easily accessible when needed.
The Craftsman XSP 16 Gallon 6.5 Peak HP Wet/Dry Vacuum also quickly converts to a blower. Cleaning up at a messy jobsite, blasting dirt from the shop floor or fall leaves off the driveway can be done in a snap. It also includes a 9 Pc accessory set for nearly any situation.
More Suction Power than Shop-Vacuum and Ridgid
Tackles the toughest jobs. Vacuums away wood chunks, metal shards, nails or sawdust in the shop. Clears drywall chunks, broken glass and screws at the job site. Drains flooded basements and removes leaves and other debris from gutters (gutter kit sold seperately) just to name a few.
Larger 16 Gallon collection tank with extra-large quick empty liquid drain
Powerful 6.5 peak HP motor makes short work of jobs
Top tray storage conveniently stores items such as mechanics tools, power drills, screws and needed tools on top of the vacuum so they are easily accessible when needed
On-board hose, accessory and power cord organizers provide space saving, convenient and hassle-free storage
Over 27 Foot Cleaning Reach (7’ x 2-1/2 In. Secure Fit Hose, 20’ Power Cord and Two Extension Wands)
Fein 9-20-27 TURBO I SET Fein 9-20-27 Turbo I Set
The Fein 9-20-27 Turbo I is significantly cheaper than the Turbo II model, but it also only has a capacity of 5.8 gallons. It still has powerful suction and is also super quiet at just 66 decibels.
This version is a great auto-start dust extractor as long as your power tools are not generating too much dust since the tank will fill up faster. A major plus is that the 9-20-27 features the longest hose of any shop vacuum on our list at 16 feet with a 1.375″ diameter.
If you need to collect small amounts of dust then the Fein 9-20-27 Turbo I is perfect. However, if you need to collect large amounts of wood debris or a large volume of liquid then this unit will not work well for you.
Craftsman 12006 XSP 12 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum Craftsman 12006
This Craftsman XSP 12 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum offers innovative cleaning power technology designed to tackle the toughest cleanup projects at the jobsite, shop, garage or home. Vacuuming wood chunks, metal shards, nails or sawdust in the shop, clearing drywall chunks, broken glass and screws at the job site, liquid pickup in a flooded basement and lastly removing leaves and other debris from gutters (gutter kit sold seperately) are just a few of the projects XSP can handle. Innovative top-tray storage allows you to conveniently store items such as mechanics tools, power drills, screws or necessities on top of the vacuum so they are easily accessible when needed. On-board hose, accessory and power cord organizers eliminates unneeded hassle and reduces overall storage space. Equipped with an extra-large drain, it quickly empties the tank of liquids. An over 27 Foot cleaning reach (7’ Hose, 20’ Power Cord + Extension Wands) allows you to reach larger areas without unplugging the unit. The 2-1/2” diameter secure fit hose system keeps the hose in place during use. Heavy duty 360° swivel casters offer enhanced mobility on most surfaces; integrated ergonomic top handle provides comfort and easy transport. Quickly control the power with the large dust sealed on/off switch.
This Craftsman XSP 12006 best Wet Dry Vacuum would be recommend for any user who needs an affordable way to clean up jobs around the home, shop, or garage and does not need dust.
Ridgid WD1451 14 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum with Auto Detail Kit Ridgid WD1451
RIDGID 14-Gal. 6.0 Peak HP Wet/Dry Vacuum with Auto Detailing Kit
This RIDGID 14 gallon High Performance Wet/Dry Vacuum is designed to deliver the powerful suction, large capacity and rugged construction in a more compact design than is offered in our largest cart type vacuums. This vacuums 14 gallon drum size helps us achieve a more compact overall design but it still provides a big capacity capable of handling large job-site chores. The 6.0 peak HP motor delivers the high performance necessary to handle these chores. Other key features include; a 3-layer fine dust filter to capture dry wall dust, accessories that can be stored on-board, casters that provide 360 degrees of mobility.
This 14 gallon model features a 7 foot hose with 2.5-inch diameter and comes with an auto detailing kit.
The WD1450 is a perfect choice for a normal user who does not need professional dust extraction.
Vacmaster VBV1210 Detachable Blower Wet/Dry Vacuum Vacmaster VBV1210
With this convenient 2-in-1 tool, you get a powerful 5 peak HP wet/dry vacuum that converts to a 210 MPH leaf blower with an effortless press of a button. No more hassling with cumbersome latches and locks. The shop vacuum has a rugged 12 gallon polypropylene tank, on-board accessory storage, an extra large drain for fast emptying and 11 accessories that will be useful for most vacuum and blower applications.
Properties of Vacmaster VBV1210 Detachable Blower Wet/Dry Vacuum
- Tank Size: 12 Gal.
- Tank Material: Polypropylene
- Peak HP: 5
- Blower Speed: 210 MPH
- Voltage: 120V-60Hz
- Amps: 10.5
- Cord Length: 12 Ft.
- Hose Diameter: 7 Ft. x 2-1/2 In.
- Replacement Filters: VCFF, VCFS, VFF51
The Vacmaster VBV1210 will work fine for basic jobs for almost all homeowners, but it is not recommended for fine dust collection.
Shop-Vac 5986100 8-Gallon Stainless Steel Wet Dry Vacuum Shop-Vac 5986100
This heavy-duty Shop-Vac wet/dry vac features a 8-gal. Stainless steel tank and a powerful 5.5 peak HP motor to handle just about any cleanup job, wet or dry. The rear blower port also allows you to blow off dusty surfaces.
If you don’t need a larger capacity tank then you might want to consider the 8 gallon Shop-Vac 5986100.Overall suction is good, but not great. Features include a stainless steel tank, on-board cord and tool storage, and 7 foot hose with 1.25″ diameter. It is lighter and easier to move around than the larger capacity wet/dry vacuums.
Shop-Vacs like the 5986100 are built in the USA from components sourced from around the world and the United States. It is a great choice for user who has small jobs.
Shop-Vac 5986000 5-Gallon Stainless Steel Wet Dry Vacuum Shop-Vac 5986000
Shop-Vac 5986000 5-Gallon Stainless Steel Wet Dry Vac features a durable, easy to clean, stainless steel tank. This vacuum provides you with powerful cleaning for picking up wet or dry messes in your garage, workshop or basement. Attach the hose to the rear blower port to blow dirt out of those hard to reach places or grass clippings from your sidewalk. The included cartridge filter provides the proper filtration for dry pick up and small amounts of wet pick up, while the disposable filter bag makes it easy to dispose of dry debris. The vacuum comes with a 1-1/4 inch diameter accessory assortment containing a 7 foot hose, three extension wands, a 10 inch floor nozzle, crevice tool and gulper nozzle. The onboard tool holder keeps your accessories organized.
With a 5 gallon tank, you are a bit more limited in what you can collect and the suction is the weakest of any model on this list, but it can still get the job done it most instances.
If you are looking for the best cheap shop vacuum for use around your home and in the garage then this is good choice for you. Just know that for certain jobs the 5 gallon tank will be a liability.
Craftsman 12002 Ultra-Quiet 4 Gallon Portable Household Wet-Dry Vac Craftsman 12002
From cobwebs on the ceiling fan to grit on the floor and everything in between, the Craftsman ultra-quiet 4-gallon 5-peak hp household wet/dry vacuum can do a thorough job of cleaning up your disasters, big and small. It will suck up those accidental spills and take care of a dishwasher flood with equal ease. Its advanced filtration system, including a HEPA exhaust, will trap dust mites and fine particles than can torment allergy sufferers. The four-gallon collection tank means less stopping to empty the contents.
The Craftsman wet/dry vacuum keeps everything together in one convenient place thanks to a built-in tool storage system. The 15-foot cord and seven foot hose give you room to maneuver, while a collection of three extension wands and a 10-inch combo brush ensure that you have the right tools for virtually any job. Swivel casters let you get around easily, while the rear wheels keep the vacuum upright on rough surfaces.
This best Wet Dry Vacuum is designed to be a quiet, portable wet/dry vacuum for household and light duty shop work. It is pretty light and comes with large rear wheels to make it easier to maneuver while helping to keep it upright. At 72 decibels it is quieter than most shop vacuums, but still is noisy. It comes with a 7 foot hose with 1.25″ diameter and on-board cord and tool storage system.
The Craftsman 12002 is not a good choice to tackle jobs with large debris like wood chips, leaves, or other shop debris. It is a decent choice for users who need a wet/dry vac to use inside and outside the home for small jobs.
What should be considered before buying a Wet Dry Vacuum?
Types of Jobs – Knowing which types of tasks you will be using your shop vacuum on will determine which style you should get. For general wood-shop clean up such as wood chips and shavings, experts recommend a 2.5″ diameter hose. Hoses smaller than this might clog, however if you will be using the hose as a collector on your power tools, then a smaller and more flexible hose might be preferred. If collecting dust is your primary use then get an automatic tool-triggered vacuum for dust extracting.
Capacity/Tank Size – Go with a bigger tank, 15-20 gallons, for sucking up wood chips or other big cleanups such as liquids. For basic garage use 9-14 gallons is a good size. Remember also how much space it will take in your shop. You can also get wall mounted units with long hoses if space is a problem for you.
Filters / Bags – You will need to clean and eventually replace your filter, so know how much a replacement costs – this can vary greatly for different models. For some projects, like sheet rock, you might need a special filter like a HEPA filter for the fine dust. Some models use bags to collect dust and debris – you may want one built for fine dust, sometimes called sheetrock bags. Also most models require you to change filters for wet versus dry operation.
Noise – Most units are very loud at around 80 decibels and up. The best wet/dry vacuums are around 65 decibels.
Drain Valve – You will want this to drain any fluids otherwise you have to take the lid off and lift and tip the tank to empty it, which is not an easy task with 16 – 20 gallons of liquid.
Maneuverability – A wide set of wheels and a low profile will help to prevent tip-overs. Also if you have to transport your vacuum up and down stairs then look for a model with large back wheels and a handle for easy use.
Storage – Cord wraps and on-board storage for accessories keeps everything neat and tidy.
Accessories/Attachments – Remember to check which attachments come with the unit you want to buy. Some brands come with only very basic accessories and you will need to purchase more to accomplish your tasks.
Usage of a Wet Dry Vacuum
As people spend more time working the importance of being able to care for one’s belongings easy and quickly becomes more important. People don’t want to spend their days off from their job cleaning when they could be spending time relaxing with their family. With the advancement of technology came more products to make your life easier. One product that will make your life a little easier and allow less time cleaning and more time with family is the wet dry vacuum cleaner.
In the past if you had a spill on your carpets or anywhere it meant getting out a bucket and scrub brush and spending hours cleaning the floor and waiting for it to dry before you could walk on it. That could pretty much use up an entire day cleaning for a large spill. Wet dry vacuum cleaners have made cleaning up spills large or small much easier and less time consuming.
Wet dry vacuums are designed to pull the spill out of the carpet with more power and amps than a regular standard vacuum cleaner. In addition to cleaning up spills you can use the wet dry vacuums to clean up larger dry spills such as common messes in the workshop or garage.
Wet dry vacuums generally have a rolling canister and a home for cleaning. There is no bag just an empty canister for sucking the spill out of the floor. They are a surprisingly simple product. Yet it can handle big jobs.
Wet dry vacuums can pick up almost anything. You do not to be responsible not to pick up flammable products though. A filter cartridge is located in the vacuum to help clean the air blowing back out of the vacuum and into the environment. The filter is generally hand washable and should be cleaned regularly.
Filtering the air as it returns out of the vacuum and into the air is important for keeping the air particles clean. If you have asthma or allergies it is very important that you never use the wet dry vacuum cleaner without the filter in place.
How to Maintain a Wet Dry Vacuum
Before you begin be sure to unplug your vacuum.
Check your vacuum cleaner bag regularly and replace when full. A full bag means your machine has to work harder to push air through the debris, which cuts down on efficiency. If the machine is not picking up all the dirt when in operation, the bag is probably full. Check it with your fingers to make sure. Then fasten the new bag by hooking all the holders securely in place.
If you have a bag less model, empty the tray or bin every few weeks.
Clean the brush roll. This is the spinning brush located underneath the unit that gets dirt out of carpets. You get to it by removing the bottom plate of your vacuum cleaner. There will be a latch or screws holding the plate in place. Remove the brush roll by pulling it out of the slots on either end and then sliding it out from under the belt. Clean the brush with your fingers, removing hair, string, and other debris. You can also use a scissors or seam ripper to cut out stubborn threads.
Unscrew the caps on both ends of the brush roll, remove the bearings, and clean out any dirt from the area. Lubricate the bearings so that the roll can spin freely.
Check the belt for wear and tear. Look for cracks as well as melted, worn, or uneven areas. Replace the belt if it is damaged or if it seems loose. Ideally belts should be replaced every six months to a year. To replace the belt, remove the brush roll and slide the belt off the drive shaft area. Slide the new belt on and make sure it is taut. The belt goes on over the brush roll and drive shaft, with the brush roll fitting into appropriate slots. Replace the cover plate once you are through.
Note: Before you return the brush roll to its place, remove any debris from the air passages and housing.
Replace or clean your vacuum cleaner’s filters. Many new models are made with filters covering the exhaust area in order to catch particles. If your unit’s filter is made of foam or plastic, rinse and then dry it thoroughly. If the filter is made of paper, you can simply shake out the debris or replace the filter with another.
Check your vacuum’s hoses for obstructions. If you are not getting enough suction power, you may have an obstruction inside the hose. Carefully push a broomstick or another similar device through the area to dislodge anything that might be stuck.
Other Helpful Maintenance Tips
- If you own a wet/dry vacuum cleaner, make sure you empty the bin and replace or clean filter regularly.
- If you have an upright vacuum cleaner, make sure your hose is inserted securely to avoid air leaks.
- No matter what type of unit you have, do not vacuum up large objects.
- Turn your vacuum cleaner off immediately if you hear a change in its sound during operation. Unplug it and check for obstructions.
- If your vacuum cleaner overheats, unplug it and wait until it cools and then check for obstructions.
- Make sure the plug does not pull out of the outlet while you are using your vacuum cleaner. This can cause damage to the prongs as well as the cord.
- Make sure the cord to the unit does not catch on furniture or other areas to avoid puncturing or tearing.
A wet/dry vacuum is one of the most useful best Wet Dry Vacuum and versatile cleaning devices around. If you don’t have one, be sure to get one, as this little thing will certainly come in handy when trying to clean your carpet at home.