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Best Ash Vacuums in 2022

Ryan Mcbride Profile image

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Updated September 27, 2022

What features define the best ash vacuums? For an ash vacuum to work efficiently and safely, it needs excellent filtration, preferably a dual filter system on the suction and exhaust, which helps minimize the amount of particulate matter going into the air. It should also have a well-sealed canister to contain the smell of the ashes.

In addition, the top-performing ash vacuums will likely have a powerful motor that delivers strong suction power even when the canister is nearly full. Finally, you may want to look for features that help enhance durability and safety near the fireplace or wood-burning stove. These would include metal construction around the intake and crevice tool extensions and a heat-resistant metal hose.

Keep reading to learn more about the best ash vacuums and how to choose the best vacuum cleaner for your needs.

Top Ash Vacuums

 #1  Snow Joe ASHJ201 Ash Vacuum

Award: TOP PICK

WHY WE LIKE IT: This vacuum has an extra-large 22L tank that accommodates plenty of debris. Featuring a wide hose and long nozzle, this device is adept at picking up dirt from fireplaces and barbeque grills.

Pros
  • Gigantic dirt tank
  • Long nozzle
  • Great build quality
Cons
  • Lacks accessories

The Snow Joe ASHJ201 ash vacuum cleaner is designed for handling cold ash. This device has a large 4.8-gallon tank that is big enough to accommodate huge amounts of ash. It’s suitable for ash from fire pits, barbeque grills, and wood stoves. Featuring a reusable fine dust cartridge, this device supports simple cleanup. It has an 8.5-foot power cord, which provides a measure of flexibility when cleaning. However, this device doesn’t come with specialty attachments.

This Snow Joe ASHJ201 ash vacuum resists clogging, providing effective and efficient performance. It has a dual-filtration system with a pre-filter for removing large particles. It also features a pleated filter for cleaning out small ash and dust particles. This device features a 4-amp 500W motor, providing plenty of suction power for picking up ash fast. Its heavy-duty tank provides durability. We love the wide 3.9-foot-long hose and 11.8-inch nozzle that offer versatility.

 #2  Porter-Cable PCX-18184 Ash Vacuum

Award: HONORABLE MENTION

WHY WE LIKE IT: This system has metal parts to enable cleaning up both hot and cold ash. It has a lightweight design with an insulated handle, enabling easy transportation from place to place

Pros
  • Impressive dual filtration system
  • All-metal construction is suitable for hot ash
  • Lightweight design
Cons
  • Doesn’t ship with attachments

The Porter-Cable PCX-18184 ash vacuum is a canister ash vacuum cleaner with excellent dirt pickup power. This device has a 4-horsepower motor that provides adequate suction for fast operation. The vacuum has a 4-gallon metal tank that provides durability and accommodates plenty of ash. With an aluminum extension wand, this device offers flexibility. It has a pre-filter and cartridge filter to prevent ash from escaping. However, this device doesn’t come with attachments.

This Porter-Cable PCX-18184 ash vacuum cleaner is suitable for both hot and cold ash pickup. It can be used in bonfire pits, fireplaces, and even wood-burning stoves. The device has an all-metal tank, hose, and nozzle, so it’s ideal for even hot ash. Featuring a lightweight body, this device supports hassle-free transportation. It has a sturdy insulated handle for safe carrying. With a waterproof on/off switch, this device is safe to use outdoors.

 #3  Vacmaster V)C508S 1102 Ash Vacuum

Award: BEST FOR LIQUID & ASH

WHY WE LIKE IT: This two-in-one canister vacuum and container combo have a versatile design ideal for cleaning floors, furniture, and liquid debris. It comes with a number of attachments for wide-ranging use.

Pros
  • Powerful suction
  • Suitable for wet ash and household dirt
  • Comes with numerous attachments
Cons
  • Ash clogs vacuum filter
  • Narrow hose
  • Loud

The Vacmaster VOC508S 1102 ash vacuum cleaner is a versatile machine for general house cleaning and ash removal. This combo machine consists of a 5-gallon canister vacuum and a 3-gallon ash tank. It cleans up a large amount of ash before requiring emptying. The vacuum has a top handle to simplify carrying. Equipped with casters, the vacuum cleaner glides around the floor easily for mobility. However, this vacuum lacks a valve to stop the ash from escaping the ash tank into the vacuum.

This Vacmaster VOC508S 1102 ash vacuum cleaner is suitable for cleaning up BBQ grills, stoves, and fireplaces. It has a powerful 8A motor that provides adequate suction for picking up ash and small particles. This device can easily be converted to a blower for wide-ranging use. The ash tank connects easily to the vacuum cleaner with a horse to protect the vacuum cleaner filter from clogging. The vacuum has integrated accessory storage for convenience. The wet/dry vacuum is suitable for wet floors.

 #4  Pellethead Ash Vac Pro Ash Vacuum

Award: BEST FOR INDOOR APPLICATIONS

WHY WE LIKE IT: This vacuum has a powerful 10A motor that provides excellent dirt pickup power. People with allergies will appreciate the dual filtration system with a HEPA filter, which makes this device a good choice for indoor applications.

Pros
  • Excellent HEPA filtration system
  • Incredible suction power
  • Comes with a crevice tool and brush
Cons
  • Not suitable for hot ash

The Pellethead Ash Vac Pro ash vacuum cleaner is a dedicated canister vacuum for ash. This vacuum is corded, delivering a consistent power supply for flawless performance. It comes with a number of attachments, including a brush for dusting. The vacuum also comes with a crevice attachment that simplifies cleaning grills, pellet stoves, and other equipment with narrow openings. The dual HEPA filters on this device prevent ash from escaping back into the home. However, this device is not suitable for hot ash.

This Pellethead Ash Vac Pro ash vacuum has a powerful 10A motor that provides outstanding suction power. With a noise rating of just 78 dB, this vacuum cleaner is ideal for use in living spaces and other places where noise is undesirable. It has a large 5-gallon tank to minimize the need for regular emptying. A 7-foot metal hose and 10-foot power cord offer extended reach. This device has a heavy-duty metal build for durability.

 #5  Shop-Vac 4041300 Ash Vacuum

Award: BEST FOR PELLET STOVES

WHY WE LIKE IT: This vacuum cleaner has heavy-duty metal parts that will stand up to regular use. It ships with a crevice tool, brushes, and metal intake nozzle for wide-ranging use.

Pros
  • Outstanding suction power
  • Suitable for hot ash pickup
  • Comes with attachments
Cons
  • Not suitable for hot or wet ash
  • Short 6-foot power cord

The Shop-Vac 4041300 ash vacuum cleaner is a durable device made for cold ash. This vacuum has a bypass motor for dealing with ash and small charcoal particles. An included HEPA filter prevents dirt from escaping, making this device a good choice for indoor use. This ash vacuum cleaner includes a thermal protective unit for safety. We like the selection of accessories that ship with this vacuum. However, this device is not suitable for hot or wet ash.

This Shop-Vac 4041300 ash vacuum comes with a crevice nozzle to allow cleaning through the narrow spaces in grills and other equipment. A metal intake nozzle enables picking up small charcoal particles easily. This device also comes with a durable vinyl-plated steel hose that provides durability. An included pellet stove kit helps with stoves. The vacuum cleaner has a stainless steel tank with metal buckles to provide lasting durability. A top carry handle on this machine simplifies transportation.

 #6  PowerSmith PAVC102 Ash Vacuum

Award: BEST PORTABLE

WHY WE LIKE IT: This vacuum system is equipped with high-quality casters that move around the home easily. It features a connector that can convert this vacuum cleaner into a blowing unit at will.

Pros
  • Excellent dirt pick up
  • Comes with useful attachments
  • Doubles as a blower
Cons
  • Motor overheats after elongated use

The PowerSmith PAVC102 ash vacuum is a corded ash system suitable for grills, stoves, and fireplaces. This device has a heat-resistant metal hose that is ideal for working with ash. With a 79 dB noise rating, this vacuum cleaner functions quietly. It has an air outlet that enables using this device as a blower. A 10-foot hose offers flexibility during cleaning. However, the motor is prone to overheating after elongated use.

This PowerSmith PAVC102 ash vacuum cleaner has 360-degree casters that facilitate hassle-free mobility. The device features a crevice nozzle for reaching through narrow spaces in grills and pellet stoves. A 16-foot power cord on this device enables users to freely move around in large rooms. This device comes with a two-filter pack that rids the room of small and large particles. With a 10-Amp motor, this device is fast and effective. It has a 4-gallon tank to accommodate ash from large fireplaces.

Beginner’s Guide to Ash Vacuums

What Are Ash Vacuums?

Ash vacuums are vacuum cleaner models specialized for picking up ash around fireplaces, stoves, and barbecues. They typically use metal and heat-resistant construction and have hoses designed to fit around fireplace grates or outdoor fire pits. A fireplace ash vacuum cleaner usually has various attachment options, such as a pellet stove hose and fine brush nozzle.

Ash vacuums can be either the leading shop vac type or the upright canister vacuum type. Some models can also handle wet ash cleanup. Unlike regular shop vacs, however, wet and dry ash vacuums usually have metal wands or nozzles and true HEPA filters, making them safer to use for ash and fine dust.

Ash Vacuums vs Vacuum Cleaners in General

Compared to other vacuum cleaners, ash vacuums use broadly similar technology but have specialized features for dealing with ash and finer particles. They may also have heat-resistant metal nozzle and heat-resistant filter systems that enable working around wood stoves and fireplaces. Regular multi-use vacuum cleaners and wet-dry vacuums aren’t built to handle ash and can be a fire hazard if they accidentally suck up hot ash or embers.

Just like the best cordless shop vacs, a good ash vacuum stands out from a regular vacuum cleaner not only for heat tolerance but also for particle filtration. Ash from pellet stoves and wood-burning fires can be toxic, so an ash vacuum cleaner needs at least dual filtration to keep the finest ash particles from blowing out into the air through the vacuum exhaust ports. Many have a pre-filter and a sealed canister with an inner and outer filter.

Speaking of blowing air out, you can also use such mechanics as a leaf blower for your lawn by building a leaf vacuum.

These models also generally have a powerful motor to maintain suction through dual or triple filtration systems. As with other vacuum cleaners, most ash vacuums are AC-powered and come with an extra-long power cord, but cordless ash vacuums are also on the market.

Unlike most shop vacs and wet and dry vacuums, the best ash vacs nearly all have multiple particulate filters to trap fine dust and aerosols. Plus, if you want the area to stay clean, you’ll probably do best with a top-rated commercial backpack vacuum, since it’ll be easier to tote around with you. Additionally, if you’re more interested in heavy-duty vacuums, then you’ll want to check out our list of high-end commercial vacuums and top-rated commercial leaf vacuums.

How Ash Vacuums Work

Like regular vacuums, ash vacuums use a motor to turn an air pump that generates suction. The suction power may be directed via a flexible hose, extension wands, or a brush attachment.

Most ash vacuums are corded models that plug into a power outlet via an extra-long power cord. Larger models may use a powerful 10-amp motor, while smaller, more portable AC-powered hot ash vacuum cleaners can use a 4-amp motor.

Cordless ash vacuum cleaner models typically use an 18-36 volt battery pack. Newer cordless units tend to have lithium-ion battery cells to provide longer battery life and faster charging.

Ash vacuums often use a metal intake nozzle and metal crevice tool to provide thermal protection for working around heavily-heated areas such as the tray under a pellet stove or corners of a fireplace. Some models come with other accessories that help remove ash from other surfaces. An upholstery nozzle or brush nozzle can add versatility.

A good ash vacuum cleaner will also have an extensive triple filter or dual filtration system to prevent ash particles from blowing out the vacuum’s exhaust. An outer filter or pre-filter unit catches larger particles, dust, and debris, while a second dust filter or HEPA filter captures finer particles.

The best fireplace ash vacuum models typically use a sealed canister to better contain small, potentially irritating, or hazardous dust particles. Wood and pellet stove ash can be toxic, so an ash vacuum should have well-designed filtering and a durable, well-fitted canister with decent storage capacity.

Why Should You Buy a New Ash Vacuum?

If you have a fireplace at home that you use in the winter months, or if you’re spending some time at a winter cabin that relies on a biofuel or pellet stove, an ash vacuum can greatly simplify the chores around ash cleanup and fireplace maintenance.

Ash vacuums may also be a great purchase if you frequently use a hot stone oven or barbecue grill. Regular ash cleaning is important to maintain flavor and heating performance. A good ash vacuum with a wide metal nozzle and powerful suction can speed up the task of cleaning out the old ashes and getting the grill ready to cook another delicious meal.

You might also want to consider a top-rated ash vacuum cleaner for better safety and environmental health. Some types of ash from fireplaces, home heating, and cooking furnaces can be irritating or toxic, especially to people with asthma or respiratory difficulties. An ash vacuum with a true HEPA cartridge filter and sealed ash canister helps clean up ashes without putting as much dust pollution into the air.

New ash vacuums include more special features that help them outperform standard vacuums when cleaning up ash from wood stoves and fireplaces. The newest ash vacuum models have improved filter efficiency and easier handling, with options like larger capacity canisters, an aluminum nozzle, and a stainless steel body that resists heat and smudging.

Are Ash Vacuums Worth Buying?

  • You’re Using the Fireplace at Home: if you often use your fireplace for heat or ambiance, you’ll likely want to clean out the ashes at some point. A good ash vacuum with at least a 2-stage filtration system can do the job more quickly and more safely than an old-fashioned brush and dustpan.
  • Grilling or Baking in Tandoori Oven: Outdoor grills and hot stone ovens can be fun for entertainment and gourmet cooking, but cleaning them with a broom or regular vacuum can be inconvenient. Excess ash buildup can affect flavor and introduce toxic or irritating chemicals, but the right ash vacuum can efficiently remove it without creating too much airborne dust.
  • You Have a Pellet Stove: Pellet stove ash can be a nuisance, and having the right type of tool to clean it up safely makes a big difference. An ash vacuum with special features like a pellet stove kit can make it easier to keep the pellet stove area clean and safe.
  • Bonfire and Barbecue Cleanup: Cleaning a barbecue with a vacuum may seem easier than using a dustpan, but not just any upright or shop vacuum is up to the task. A vacuum needs a strong motor, powerful suction, and excellent filters to remove ash from a barbecue or bonfire pit safely.

Why Ash Vacuums May Not Be for You

  • You Don’t Have a Fireplace: A specialty ash vacuum may seem pointless if you don’t have a fireplace. However, the best vacuums for fireplace ash cleanup may also have versatile uses, such as barbecue or drywall dust cleaning. An ash vacuum with dual-filtration can help reduce particulate air pollution when cleaning up dust from building materials or any type of ash, such as that from biofuel stoves.
  • Using a Broom and Dustpan for Ash: If you’re used to cleaning your wood-burning stove or fireplace by hand, the task may not seem too difficult or inconvenient. However, a well-sealed ash vacuum can help clean the fireplace while releasing fewer ash and dust particles into the air.

How Long Do Ash Vacuums Last?

According to EPA life cycle analysis estimates, the typical household vacuum lasts from 6-8 years. Ash vacuums should last around as long and, with routine maintenance, can generally exceed the average longevity of a vacuum cleaner. Many ash models come with features that should improve their durabilities, such as a metal wand, stainless-steel construction, and replaceable metal filters. With longevity like this, you won’t be selling the vacuum cleaner anytime soon.

Cordless models generally have a shorter service life due to the limited longevity of their batteries. Most lithium-ion battery packs can last for around 1000 charge cycles. Running batteries down, fast charging, and extreme temperatures can shorten battery life significantly.

As with other types of vacuum, filter maintenance and timely emptying of canisters and bags help prolong the lifespan of an ash vacuum. Experts suggest changing the filter every six to twelve months. Some newer vacuums have automatic sensors and LED indicators that tell you when they will need replacement filters.

To prolong the lifespan of corded models, experts suggest plugging into a surge protector and ensuring the circuit breaker can handle the vacuum motor’s draw. To keep cordless models running as long as possible, keep them someplace dry and away from excess heat or freezing temperatures, and avoid charging the batteries when hot.

How to Choose an Ash Vacuum

Various factors can affect which ash vacuum works best for a given application. You might want to consider the type of ash you need it for, how often you use the vacuum, and whether you need portability or indoor/ outdoor use. You might also want to consider the size of the fireplace vacuum and the types of accessory storage that come with it. Larger models can come with powerful suction but may weigh more than compact, lightweight models.

Best Ash Vacuum Key Factors

1. What Types of Ash Do You Need to Vacuum?

Some models of ash vacuum are better suited to different types of ash than others. If your main use for the vacuum is to clean around a pellet stove, for example, you may want a model that comes with a pellet stove cleaning kit.

2. Do You Need a Hot Ash Vacuum?

A hot ash vacuum is more specialized with heat-resistant nozzles and a metal canister, making it safe to use near wood stoves and hot stone ovens without having to wait until the ashes have completely cooled. The fire itself still has to be extinguished, of course, before you can vacuum, but with a hot ash vacuum, you can clean up the ashes shortly after putting the fire out or turning off the ignition.

3. Do You Need Portability?

If you’re looking for a vacuum to handle ash cleanup at an outdoor barbecue grill or fire pit, you might want to consider a portable model with a convenient carry handle. For cleaning up ashes away from home, you might want to look for a lightweight model that’s easy to transport to a studio or workshop.

4. Do You Have Allergies or Respiratory Conditions?

If you experience respiratory conditions, an ash vacuum with extensive, high-quality filtering is crucial. You might want to look for a model with a 3-stage filtration system and a true HEPA filter, for example, to reduce air contamination from dust and ash grains.

Best Ash Vacuum FAQs

What causes an ash vacuum to lose suction?

Ash vacuums have complex filter systems to keep ash particles out of the air, but this means when the filters get dirty or come close to reaching their capacity, they can become dense enough to block the suction.

What can you use an ash vacuum for?

You can use an ash vacuum to clean up ashes from fireplaces, pellet stoves, campfires, and other sources. Most models can only handle cold ash, but some can safely vacuum warm ash with temperatures up to around 104-degrees Fahrenheit.

Why can't you use regular vacuums for ash?

Regular vacuum cleaners aren't designed to handle the unique demands of ash vacuuming. You can use a vacuum to scoop up cold ash, but a regular multi-use vacuum may not have the filter capacity to handle fine-grained ash. This can cause ash to get aerosolized and cause irritation or increase the chances of an asthma attack. Regular vacuums also aren't designed to handle warm debris, and if any embers that are still hot get sucked up in a regular vacuum, it can damage the vacuum and create a fire hazard.

How do you clean the filter on an ash vacuum?

It depends on how much you use the vacuum. In general, ash vacuums call for filter replacements every four to six months or whenever they get dirty.

Can you use ash vacuums for anything else?

An ash vacuum specializes in cleaning up small, fine particles, which means they may not be well suited to larger particles typical of household dirt and carpet debris. However, some ash vacuums may be well suited to cleaning up drywall and wood dust in the garage or shop.
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