The 10 Best Shop Vacs of 2018 (Wet/Dry Vacuums)

Vacmaster VBV1210 12 Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vac - Best Shop Vac - Wet-Dry Shop Vacuum Cleaner Reviews
When looking for the best shop vac out there, you’ve got to go through tens of products before settling on one. There are many good wet/dry shop vacuum cleaner models, but which one should you buy? Today, we take you through our top 10 picks.

Apart from the obvious fact that shop vacs make work a lot easier, there are other critical factors to consider. These are capacity (Gallons), airflow (CFM), and suction power. Ultimately, you want one that is effective in what it’s supposed to do – getting rid of tough dirt. Other factors to consider include storage and whether the vacuum comes with extra tools/accessories.

Ideally, shop vacs are used for heavy-duty cleaning tasks that involve water, metal pieces such as screws and nails, sawdust or wood in construction sites, garages and woodwork shops. However, they can still be used at home or in cars for a more thorough cleaning.

Best Shop Vac 2018 – Overview

Before we take a look at the features of the top 10 best shop vacs in the market, here’s a quick overview:

Best Shop VacsTank CapacityHorsepowerPower CordHose
1. Vacmaster VBV1210
(Editor's choice)
12 Gallon5 HP12 ft.7 ft.
2. Craftsman 120046 Gallon3 HP17 ft.7 ft.
3. Vacmaster VFB511B5 Gallon5.5 HP18 ft.7 ft.
4. Armor All AA2552.5 Gallon2 HP10 ft.6 ft.
5. Shop-Vac 59893005 Gallon4 HP18 ft.6 ft.
6. Vacmaster VQ607SFD6 Gallon3 HP12 ft.7 ft.
7. Shop-Vac 58952002.5 Gallon2.5 HP18 ft.7 ft.
8. DEWALT DCV581H2 Gallon1.85 HP5 ft.5 ft.
9. Stanley SL181363 Gallon4 HP10 ft.5 ft.
10. Shop-Vac 59894008 Gallon6 HP12 ft.7 ft.
**Click on product name to see price**

Best Shop Vac 2018 – Reviews

In this section, we will briefly outline the product features as well as the pros and cons of each. As you would expect, this list is dominated by the Vacmaster and Shop-Vac brands. However, there are some Craftsman, Armor All, DEWALT and Stanley models that are equally good. These are the Top 10 Best Shop Vacs 2018:

1. Vacmaster VBV1210 12 Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vac – Best Shop Vac

Vacmaster VBV1210 12 Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vac - Best Shop Vac - Wet-Dry Shop Vacuum Cleaner Reviews

The Vacmaster VBV1210 is recommended as the best shop vac 2018. This shop vac is powerful enough to tackle the most difficult cleaning task. Moreover, you can easily convert it into a detachable blower if need be at the press of a button.

So, if you are looking for a powerful cleaner that will outdo your regular vacuum at home, then this won’t disappoint. Also, it is great for workshops and garages as well as when you are doing repairs at home. As mentioned above, you can conveniently use it as a leaf blower in your yard.

Its 12-Gallon capacity should be enough to take care of most cleaning tasks. Also, the vacuum comes with an array of attachments that make work easier. These include a crevice tool, 2 extension wands, car nozzle, blower adapter, 8-inch utility nozzle, blower nozzle, air/noise diffuser, reusable foam filter sleeve, and a standard cartridge filter.

Key features

  • 12 Gallon capacity
  • 5 HP peak motor
  • Weight: 24.1 pounds
  • 210 MPH blowing speed
  • Voltage: 120 V – 60 Hz
  • Amperage: 10.5 Amps
  • Large drain port
  • Large On/Off dust sealed switch
  • Balanced top handle design
  • 7-foot hose with a 2.5-inch diameter
  • 12-foot cord with cord wrap
  • 2-year warranty

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Easy to empty
  • Big tank
  • Quieter than most shop vacs (92 dB)
  • Easy to move around
  • Converts to a blower easily
  • Numerous accessories

Cons

  • The power cord could not long enough

Click here to see the current price of the Vacmaster VBV1210.

Here is the shop vac at work 2 in 1 functionality demo (YouTube video courtesy of Vacmaster):

2. Craftsman 12004 6 Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vac – Best Value Shop Vac

Craftsman 12004 6 Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vac - Best Shop Vac - Wet-Dry Shop Vacuum Cleaner Reviews

Whereas the Craftsman 12004 is not as powerful or as big as our top pick, it does pack a punch. It is fantastic with medium messes in the shop, basement or garage as well as small ones at home or in cars. You can also easily convert it into a blower to take care of your backyard.

It is a bit smaller in capacity and doesn’t come with as many attachments as we would like. However, it does a brilliant job overall. For its modest price, it will certainly give you the best bang for your buck.

Key features

  • 3 peak HP motor
  • 6 Gallon capacity
  • Weight: 15 pounds
  • Large dust sealed on/off switch
  • Top carry handle for balance
  • Over 17-foot cleaning reach
  • 7 ft. x 1-7/8-inch secure fit hose
  • 10-foot power cord
  • Accessories: two extension wands

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Quickly converts to a blower
  • Easy to move around
  • Fantastic price
  • Relatively quiet
  • Hose diameter is larger than in most shop vacs

Cons

  • Power cord could be longer
  • No drain port

Click here to see its current price.

3. Vacmaster VFB511B 0201 Beast Series 5 Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vac

Vacmaster VFB511B 0201 Beast Series 5 Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vac - Best Shop Vac - Wet-Dry Shop Vacuum Cleaner Reviews

The next Vacmaster shop vac in this list is not here by chance. It’s not called a ‘Beast’ for no reason. Boasting strong suction and powerful air flow, this wet/dry shop vacuum cleaner is great with tough tasks in the workshop or any job site, garage, cars, and also houses. Obviously, dealing with small messes is a breeze.

Apart from having a wide range of accessories to deal with all kinds of dirt and debris, this shop vac easily converts into a blower. While it is naturally loud, this can be handled by a muffler that comes as part of the package. However, you are not supposed to use the muffler when blowing of leaves and the like.

The accessories provided include a utility nozzle, car nozzle, crevice tool, one extension wand, foam wet filter, fine dust cartridge filter, and noise diffuser.

Key features

  • 5 Gallon tank capacity
  • Motor power: 5.5 peak HP
  • 102 CFM
  • 320 Air Watts
  • Weight: 13.5 pounds
  • Water-lift: 82.6 inches
  • 7-foot hose
  • 120 Volts
  • 18-foot power cord
  • 5-year limited warranty

Pros

  • Powerful suction
  • It is easy to switch from wet to dry and vice-versa
  • Easy to carry around (not heavy)
  • Over 25-foot cleaning reach (long power cord)
  • A wide array of accessories
  • Quickly converts into a blower
  • Easy to assemble
  • The design is also attractive

Cons

  • Loud
  • No wheels
  • The tank doesn’t hold 5 Gallons of liquids as expected

Click here to find out how much this amazing wet/dry shop vac costs.

4. Armor All AA255 2.5 Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vac – Best Cheap Shop Vac

Armor All AA255 2.5 Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vac - Best Shop Vac - Wet-Dry Shop Vacuum Cleaner Reviews

This small, compact wet and dry shop vacuum is not only easy to carry around but also effective in its job. However, having only a 2.5 Gallon capacity and a 2 peak horsepower, don’t expect it to outperform the likes of Vacmaster VBV1210.

Whereas this vacuum can get rid of both solids and liquids in the garage, workshop or the house, it is most recommended for cleaning car interiors. Also, if you need to clear leaves and other light dirt off your patio or yard, you can quickly convert the Armor All AA255 into a blower.

At just less than 50 bucks, you can get your hands on this little champ.

Key features

  • 5 Gallon capacity
  • 2 peak HP motor
  • Weight: 7 pounds
  • Easily converts to a blower
  • Auto shut-off
  • Top handle
  • 10-foot power cord
  • 6-foot hose
  • Frequency: 60Hz
  • CFM: 53
  • 2-year warranty

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to assemble
  • Great for cleaning car interiors
  • Quickly converts into a blower

Cons

  • Relatively weak suction
  • Not ideal for heavy-duty tasks

Click here to find out how much this little guy costs.

5. Shop-Vac 5989300 5 Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vac – Best Wall Mounted Shop Vac

Shop-Vac 5989300 5 Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vac - Best Shop Vac - Wet-Dry Shop Vacuum Cleaner Reviews

This is another powerful shop vac worth a look. It has a strong 4 peak HP motor that helps to deal with all kinds of messes efficiently and effectively. The advantage with this unit is that it can be mounted on the wall so convenience. So, cleaning your basement, garage, workshop, car interiors or even your living room floors becomes a walk in the park.

Also, expect to tackle all kinds of heavy duty to smaller dirt and debris with ease thanks to the accessories available. These include 1.25-inch diameter extension wands, a 12-inch nozzle with brush and squeegee, gulper nozzle, crevice tool, round brush. Other accessories also available include a collection bag, foam sleeve, cartridge, and a tool storage bag.

Key features

  • 5 Gallon capacity
  • 4 peak HP motor
  • Weight: 16.7 pounds
  • 18-foot lock-on hose
  • Accessories provided
  • 120 Volts
  • 6-foot power cord
  • 3-year warranty

Pros

  • Great suction
  • Compact design
  • Large hose diameter
  • A wide variety of accessories are available
  • Wall-mountable for convenience

Cons

  • Loud
  • Wall mount design could be better

Click here to see its current price.

6. Vacmaster VQ607SFD 6 Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vac

Vacmaster VQ607SFD 6 Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vac - Best Shop Vac - Wet-Dry Shop Vacuum Cleaner Reviews

Even though it is rated as 3 peak horsepower, the Vacmaster VQ607SFD is powerful enough to handle most kinds of tough dirt in your basement, laundry room, workshop, garage, and the floors in the house.

Apart from the more or less common 6-Gallon tank capacity, the VQ607SFD has other advantages. First, it has wheels that make it easy to push around as you clean. Also, its balanced top handle design makes it easy to carry from one area to the next.  Secondly, the stainless steel makes for an attractive appearance as well as prolonging its lifespan.

Just like other Vacmaster wet/dry vacuums, this one also comes with an array of accessories to make your work easier. These include air control nozzle, multi-surface floor nozzle, crevice tool, 2 extension wands, 2-in-1 utility nozzle, round dust brush, standard cartridge filter, and a reusable foam sleeve. A dust bag is also included.

Key features

  • 6 Gallon capacity
  • 3 peak HP motor
  • Weight: 16.2 pounds
  • 7-foot hose
  • 12-foot power cord with cord wrap
  • Onboard accessory storage
  • Dust-sealed switch
  • Balanced top handle
  • Stainless steel
  • 2-year warranty

Pros

  • Relatively quiet
  • Easy to move around
  • Attractive design
  • A decent number of attachments
  • The suction relatively strong

Cons

  • May topple over
  • Not as powerful as the Vacmaster VBV1210 and the Vacmaster VFB511B.

Click here to find out the current price of this wet-dry shop vac.

7. Shop-Vac 5895200 2.5 Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vac

Shop-Vac 5895200 2.5 Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vac - Best Shop Vac - Wet-Dry Shop Vacuum Cleaner Reviews

This is the smallest Shop-Vac unit in this list, but this compact cleaner’s capability justifies its place in this review of the best shop vacs. This unit is very easy to handle while cleaning. At only 12 pounds, it’s easy to carry around by the handle. Also, you can roll it on the wheels from one location to the other.

Even though the 2.5 Gallon capacity is quite small, the shop vac can tackle hard messes in the garage, laundry room, workshop, household, and car interiors. Also, it comes with multiple accessories including a wall-mounting bracket. This makes it easy to store the cleaner, especially in tight spaces.

Other accessories available include two extension wands, bare and carpeted floor nozzle, crevice tool, gulper nozzle, foam sleeve, round brush, and a filter bag.

Key features

  • 2.5 Gallon capacity
  • 2.5 peak HP motor
  • Weight: 12 pounds
  • 7-foot hose
  • 18-foot power cord
  • Electrical ratings: 120V, 60 Hz, 8 Amps
  • Rear blower port
  • Easy-roll casters
  • Top carry handle
  • Side tank handles
  • 3-year warranty (in-home)

Pros

  • Compact
  • Affordable
  • Versatile
  • Can be wall-mounted
  • Many accessories
  • Long power cord
  • Converts into a blower via the rear blower port

Cons

  • Relatively small tank capacity

Click here to see its current price.

8. DEWALT DCV581H 2 Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vac

DEWALT DCV581H 2 Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vac - Best Shop Vac - Wet-Dry Shop Vacuum Cleaner Reviews

The DEWALT DCV581H is another compact shop vacuum that warrants its place in any best shop vac review. Unlike most of its competitors, this wet-dry shop vac uses a HEPA filter. HEPA filtration is known to trap up to 99.97 percent of allergens. So, this is a welcome option for anyone fighting allergies.

Versatility is the name of the game here. This vacuum can be used as a corded or cordless unit. You can either connect it directly to power or use an 18v or 20v MAX battery. This is very critical if the area you want to vacuum is a bit far from the power outlet. It is also useful when dealing with car interiors.  However, the battery and charger are usually sold separately.

Also, the build is heavy duty so as to withstand the occasional falls. Unlike most shop vacs, this one comes with only 2 attachments – a crevice tool and a wide nozzle tool.

Key features

  • 2 Gallon tank capacity
  • Motor: 1.85 peak HP
  • Airflow: 33.55 CFM
  • Weight: 11.06 pounds
  • Corded/cordless options
  • Washable, reusable HEPA filters
  • 5-foot hose
  • Power cord length: 5 feet
  • Crush-resistant
  • Onboard storage
  • 20 Volts
  • 3-year warranty

Pros

  • Light and compact
  • Can be used as a cordless vacuum
  • HEPA filtration
  • Reusable filter
  • Heavy-duty build
  • Onboard storage for easy transport

Cons

  • Suction is not the best
  • The power cord is shorter than in most shop vacs

Click here to find out the current price of the DEWALT DCV581H.

9. Stanley SL18136 Wet/Dry Shop Vac

Stanley SL18136 Wet/Dry Shop Vac - Best Shop Vac - Wet-Dry Shop Vacuum Cleaner Reviews

The Stanley SL18136 is a lightweight, compact shop vacuum that is quite easy to use and move around. If you need to carry it from one point to the next, the top handle comes in handy. Also, you can roll it along the floor easily because it has swiveling casters.

Thanks to a strong 4 horsepower motor, the vacuum is powerful enough to handle even the toughest dirt in workshops, garages, basements, and laundry rooms. Despite the fact that shop vacs are designed for very difficult jobs, this shop vac also does an excellent job clearing solid and liquid messes in houses and car interiors.

Double filtration ensures that most pollutants and allergens are not allowed back into air circulation. So, this leaves the place clean and fresh after every round of cleaning.

Lastly, apart from a 5-foot hose, the vacuum comes with quite a number of accessories to make the work easier and thorough. These include three extension wands, floor brush, crevice nozzle, gulper nozzle, foam filter, reusable filter bag and a cloth filter with a clamp ring.

Key features

  • 3 Gallon capacity
  • 4 peak HP motor
  • Airflow: 85 CFM
  • Stainless steel container
  • Weight: 11 pounds
  • Swiveling casters
  • Voltage: 120V AC/60Hz
  • 600 Watts
  • 10-foot power cord
  • 5-foot hose
  • Double filtration system
  • 1-year limited warranty

Pros

  • Strong suction
  • Easy to move around
  • Quiet operation
  • Attractive design
  • Compact hence easy to store

Cons

  • Relatively short hose
  • The power cord could be longer

Click here to see its current price.

10. Shop-Vac 5989400 8 Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vac

Shop-Vac 5989400 8 Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vac - Best Shop Vac - Wet-Dry Shop Vacuum Cleaner Reviews

The third and final Shop-Vac cleaner to appear on this review is the 5989400 model. Just like its kin, this wet/dry shop vacuum has also been produced by one of the industry’s leading manufacturer. Similar to the Shop-Vac 5895200, this one can also be converted into a blower using the rear blower port.

Even though it is slightly heavy, the compact vacuum can easily be carried around using the top and side handles. Also, with a tank that can hold up to 8 Gallons, it is large enough to easily take care of bigger tasks in the shop, garage, basement, laundry room or in the house.

Apart from the long hose, this shop vac has other accessories. These include three extension wands, crevice tool, floor nozzle, gulper nozzle, cartridge filter, foam sleeve, and a filter bag.

Key features

  • 8 Gallon tank capacity
  • 6 peak HP motor
  • Weight: 18.85 pounds
  • 12-foot power cord
  • 7-foot hose
  • Secure latch system
  • Stainless steel tank
  • Rear blower port
  • Onboard tool storage
  • On/off switch
  • Electrical ratings: 120V, 60 Hz, 11.8 Amps
  • 3-year motor warranty

Pros

  • Very powerful
  • Large tank capacity
  • Full circumference dolly prevents tip-overs
  • Multiple accessories
  • Pleasant to look at
  • Easily converts into a blower
  • Easy to drain

Cons

  • The power cord is shorter compared to other models

Click here to see how much the Shop-Vac 5989400 costs.

Best Shop Vac 2018 – Final Thoughts

A good shop vac should be able to deal with all kinds of messes, from the smallest to the toughest. Apart from the powerful suction, we would advise that you get one that can take care of both solids and liquids. Thankfully, all the shop vacs reviewed here have the capability to clean wet and dry messes.

So, whichever you pick should do a good job. Whether you are looking for an apartment vacuum or one for tough jobs, wet/dry shop vacs will get it done.

Another thing you need to consider is the amount of dirt you have to clean up – whether it’s sawdust collection or sucking up water. Larger quantities (especially of water) demand larger tank capacities. The shop vacuum cleaners we recommend as the top 10 range from 2 Gallons to 12 Gallons and should give you a good range to pick from.

Lastly, if you have any feedback or question regarding shop vacuums, feel free to let us know in the comments section below.

Here is a summary of The 10 Best Shop Vacs:

  1. Vacmaster VBV1210 12 Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vac
  2. Craftsman 12004 6 Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vac
  3. Vacmaster VFB511B 0201 Beast Series 5 Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vac
  4. Armor All AA255 2.5 Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vac
  5. Shop-Vac 5989300 5 Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vac
  6. Vacmaster VQ607SFD 6 Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vac
  7. Shop-Vac 5895200 2.5 Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vac
  8. DEWALT DCV581H 2 Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vac
  9. Stanley SL18136 Wet/Dry Shop Vac
  10. Shop-Vac 5989400 8 Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vac

 

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