To help you find the best shop vac, we have thoroughly researched a multitude of well-regarded vacuum cleaners, ensuring that they had enough power to keep busy work areas clean and that they were durable enough to last for years to come. We preferred vacuum cleaners that were a fine choice for woodworkers, auto detailers, and other potentially messy occupations.

The best shop vac we tried was easily the DeWalt Wet/Dry Shop Vac. This high-grade shop vac is equally at home in an industrial or residential setting, thanks to the integrated noise-reducing silencing muffler and an ultra-large 16-gallon debris canister. Keep reading to learn more about other fantastic shop vacuums available for purchase.

Top 10 Best Shop Vac

 #1  DeWalt Wet/Dry Shop Vac

Award: TOP PICK

WHY WE LIKE IT: Best wet/dry vac with a slew of features, including a silencing muffler to reduce noise during operation and an ultra-large 16-gallon debris canister.

Pros
  • Silencing muffler to reduce noise
  • Large 16-gallon debris canister
  • Includes a car attachment for automobile cleaning
Cons
  • Requires some setup
  • Wheels are somewhat rickety

This DeWalt Wet/Dry vacuum is the best shop vac for car detailing, thanks to arriving with a handy car nozzle for cleaning hard-to-reach areas of the automobile. The 6.5 peak horsepower motor is powerful, yet the integrated silencing muffler does a fantastic job of reducing noise during operation. We also loved that the debris canister is larger-than-average, at 16 gallons, so you won’t have to empty it too often.

This shop vacuum cleaner does not arrive fully installed, so you’ll have to install the wheels and do some other general maintenance before it is ready to go. Additionally, these wheels are made from plastic and not as sturdy as the wheels found with some other vacuums. And if you’re looking for the best mop for your floors, we’ve also got you covered.

 #2  Ridgid 50353RID Shop Vac

Award: HONORABLE MENTION

WHY WE LIKE IT: One of the most powerful shop vacs, with a 6.5 horsepower motor, in addition to offering some convenience features like large wheels and a push handle for easy transport.

Pros
  • Powerful 6.5 HP motor
  • Large wheels and push handle for easy transport
  • Includes a car attachment for automobile cleaning
Cons
  • Not as quiet as some models

The Ridgid 50353RID is the best shop vac for woodworking, among other professional applications, thanks to an ultra-powerful 6.5 horsepower motor that makes short work out of both liquid and solid messes. The large wheels and included push handle make it easy to transport from room to room and the ultra-flexible and durable hose won’t accidentally fall out during use.

This is a powerful shop vacuum and, as such, it is not as quiet as other models available for purchase. The noise during operation isn’t quite as off-putting as it could be, however, given the sheer power on offer here. You may also want to check out some of the best floor cleaners, evaluated based on steaming power, ease of use, construction, and ability to clean.

 #3  Bosch VAC090A Shop Vac

Award: Best Quality

WHY WE LIKE IT: High-quality cleaner with a robust feature set that includes an automatic filter that self-cleans every 15 seconds and a water sensor that automatically powers down if a predetermined water level has been exceeded, to help protect the motor.

Read Full Review: Bosch Vacuum

Pros
  • Can be operated via power tool switches
  • Self-cleaning filtration system
  • Integrated tech helps avoid blown circuits
Cons
  • Does not include HEPA filter
  • 9-gallon capacity

The Bosch VAC090A features the best shop vac filter and filtration system, which not only filters out impurities, such as dust, during use but also self-cleans every 15 seconds, helping to avoid accidental clogging. This high-quality vacuum comes with integrated sensors that will automatically power down if the water level becomes too high and can actually be operated by any of the power switches available with the power tools you happen to be using at the time.

Though this could be the best shop vac with a HEPA filter, the filter that ships with the unit is not HIPAA-compliant, and an actual HEPA filter must be purchased separately. Additionally, the maximum debris capacity here is set at nine gallons, which is slightly lower than comparable models. Compare that with what is offered on some of the best pet vacuums that work for pet hair in carpet and on hardwood floors, too.

 #4  Bissell Garage Pro Shop Vac

Award: Best Attachments

WHY WE LIKE IT: Ships with a multitude of useful attachments and accessories, with a design that can easily be wall-mounted in a garage or wherever else it receives consistent use.

Pros
  • Dual-stage filtration system
  • Design allows for easy wall mounting
  • 12 amp motor excels with wet and dry messes
Cons
  • 4-gallon tank capacity
  • Somewhat heavy and no wheels

The Bissell Garage Pro is a fantastic choice for those who need a bit of versatility when it comes to their shop vac. It ships with a multitude of useful attachments and accessories, including a 32-foot hose, a crevice nozzle, and an automobile kit, in addition to functioning nicely as a blower. The 12 amp motor is powerful enough for both wet and dry messes and the integrated wall mount allows for easy wall hanging in a garage, repair center, or office.

The debris tank capacity here is just four gallons, which is on the lower end but still large enough for multiple cleanings. Also, this vacuum weighs around 35 pounds and does not include any built-in wheels for the purposes of transport. The Bissell Garage Pro could also be used with the best carpet cleaner detergent.

 #5  Karcher WD4 Multi-Purpose Shop Vac

Award: Best Durability

WHY WE LIKE IT: Exceptionally durable design, with a polypropylene exterior, sturdy wheels that can easily be locked in place, and an automotive-style pleated top-mounted air filter.

Read Full Review: Karcher WD4

Pros
  • Top-mounted air filter
  • Sturdy wheels and relatively light form factor
  • Powerful 1800-watt motor
Cons
  • On the louder side
  • Blower port on the weaker side

The Karcher WD4 Multi-Purpose shop vac is extraordinarily durable, with an exterior that is made almost entirely from tough polypropylene. The caster wheels are exceptionally sturdy and can easily be locked in place during use. We also loved the automotive-style pleated top-mounted air filter, which effectively removes dust, bacteria, and related allergens as you operate the vacuum. The powerful 1800-watt motor is also on the higher-end and is a perfect choice for commercial, residential, and industrial applications.

Though this vacuum does include a blower port, the output of this port is on the weaker side compared to some available models. Additionally, the powerful motor does create a fair amount of noise during use, so take that into consideration.

 #6  DeWalt DCV581H Shop Vac

Award: Best Filter

WHY WE LIKE IT: Comes equipped with a fantastic HEPA filter with a 99.97 percent efficiency rating, in addition to featuring a light form factor, 10 pounds, and an ergonomically designed easy-carry handle.

Pros
  • Offers option for cordless use
  • Ergonomic handle and light form factor
  • Also operates as a capable blower
Cons
  • 2-gallon tank capacity
  • 33 CFM on lower side

The DeWalt DCV581H comes equipped with a fantastic HEPA filter that is reusable, washable, and certified to operate with a 99.97 efficiency, meaning that it will easily remove most dust and bacteria particles. The ergonomically designed handle and light form factor give it a high portability rating and we also loved that this vacuum can dual-operate as a blower. You can also insert a battery to turn this into a cordless vacuum, though one is not included with the purchase.

The two-gallon tank capacity is on the lower side, requiring regular cleaning and maintenance. Also, this vacuum operates with a 33 CFM rating, so it isn’t the most powerful cleaner on the market, though it is more than serviceable.

 #7  Bissell MultiClean Shop Vac

Award: Best for Car Cleaning

WHY WE LIKE IT: Ships with a number of attachments and accessories that are perfect with automobile cleaning and detail work, in addition to featuring a powerful blower function and an 11 amp motor.

Pros
  • Powerful blower function
  • 11 amp motor and 6-gallon capacity
  • Two-stage filtration system
Cons
  • Included hose is just 6′
  • On the noisier side during use

The Bissell MultiClean is an excellent choice as a car vacuum for fine detail-oriented cleaning work, thanks to shipping with a number of automobile-centric attachments and accessories. These include a crevice tool, a precision blowing tool, an upholstery brush, and a detailing nozzle, among others. This vacuum can double as a powerful blower, which can be handy in a number of scenarios such as inflating an air mattress. The specs here are also on point, as this vacuum boasts an 11-amp motor and a six-gallon debris tank capacity.

Though the accessories here are indeed useful, the included hose is just over six feet in length, which is slightly below average. Additionally, the powerful motor can drum up a lot of noise during use, so consider that before making a purchase.

 #8  Makita XCV10ZX Shop Vac

Award: Best Portable Design

WHY WE LIKE IT: Backpack design that is easily wearable, making it shine as a portable shop vac, while still offering 64 CFM of sucking power and an integrated HEPA filter.

Read Full Review: Makita Backpack Vacuum

Pros
  • 64 CFM of suction power
  • Integrated HEPA filter
  • Gets over an hour on single charge
Cons
  • Small ½ gallon debris tank
  • Batteries not included

The Makita XCV10ZX is built from the ground up to be eminently portable, as this shop vac can be worn like a backpack and easily carried from room to room or location to location. The specs here are on point, with a motor that produces 64 CFM of suction power and 44-inches of water lift, with an integrated HEPA filter that effectively removes 99.97 percent of potentially harmful particles, such as bacteria and dust.

Due to the wearable design on offer, the debris tank here is on the smaller side, at just one half of a gallon. Also, this portable shop vacuum can operate cordlessly, but requires the purchase of batteries, as they don’t come standard with an initial purchase.

 #9  DeWalt DXV06P Shop Vac

Award: Best Value

WHY WE LIKE IT: Value-conscious shop vac with a robust list of features, including ultra-durable rubberized casters, smooth-rolling wheels, and a powerful built-in blower port.

Pros
  • Ultra-durable rubberized casters
  • Fairly light and portable (14 lb)
  • Built-in blower port is powerful
Cons
  • 6-gallon capacity is decent, though not largest
  • Only crevice nozzle and flat nozzle included

The DeWalt DXV06P shop vac comes in at a value-friendly price while offering a serious feature set that includes a built-in blower port that is powerful and perfect for blowing away wood particles from a worksite. This is a fairly light and portable shop vac, weighing just 14 pounds, and the durable rubberized casters and smooth-rolling wheels make it easy to transport from room to room.

Though the four horsepower motor is powerful enough for most jobs, the six-gallon capacity debris tank is not the largest you are likely to see while comparison shopping. Additionally, the attachments that accompany this vacuum are minimal, with just a crevice nozzle and a flat nozzle included with the initial purchase.

 #10  Armor All AA255 Shop Vac

Award: Best on a Budget

WHY WE LIKE IT: Budget-conscious vacuum with a suite of high-end features, such as the capacity to operate as a blower and a debris tank made from ultra-durable and long-lasting polypropylene.

Pros
  • On-board accessory storage
  • Easily converts to a powerful blower
  • Debris tank made from durable polypropylene
Cons
  • 2 HP motor not the most powerful on market
  • Power cord is on the shorter side

The Armor All AA255 shop vac comes in at a budget-friendly price while offering features in line with more expensive competitors, including the capacity to operate as a blower as well as a vacuum. The debris tank is on the smaller side, at 2.5 gallons, but is made from polypropylene, which is known to be durable and long-lasting. We also loved that this vac doubles as a storage container for all of its attachments and accessories, helping to keep everything in one place.

The 2 horsepower motor is decent but is not nearly the most powerful motor available for purchase. Also, the power cord is somewhat short, at only ten feet, so take that into consideration before making a purchase.

How We Decided

To help narrow down to the above list, we thoroughly researched a number of well regarded shop vacs, ensuring that their specs were up to snuff and suitable for both wet and dry conditions. We liked durable models with powerful motors that were a great choice for automotive repair shops, woodworking shops, bike repair shops, and other commercial, industrial, and residential locations.

We liked shop vacuum cleaners with built-in filtration systems for the purposes of reducing dust, allergens, and bacteria particles during cleaning. We also preferred vacs with a relatively light form factor, with bonus points awarded to truly handheld units that could operate without the use of power cable or cord. Models with sturdy casters and wheels that easily glide across various types of surfaces were also preferred.

During our research, we enjoyed shop vacuums packed with additional features, such as the ability to operate as a blower for the purposes of inflating toys and mattresses and keeping work areas free of debris and clutter. Finally, we liked vacuums that shipped with all manner of attachments and accessories, such as automobile kits, crevice tools, extra-long hoses, and more.

Shop Vac Buying Guide

The Most Important Features to Consider

Power

When it comes to shop vacs, higher power is preferred. Look for vacuums with plenty of suction power that is derived from top-class motors. This power can be measured in a number of ways. There is CFM, which stands for cubic feet per minute and measures the amount of cleaning that can get done in a minute, and the wattage/amps of the motor itself. Look for a motor of at least 500 watts. Finally, there is horsepower. If you are cleaning average-sized messes, a motor with 1 or 2 HP should be fine. If you are dealing with some heavy-duty messes, however, then go for something with 5 or 6 horsepower.

Durability

These shop vacs are generally built to last, as they are primarily intended for industrial and commercial use. Look for vacuum cleaners with tough exteriors, often made from polypropylene or a similar chemical derivative, with rubberized components when necessary. The casters and wheels should also be of exceptional quality, to help with hauling it from room to room or from location to location as you go about the cleaning process.

Additional Features

Many of these shop vacs ship with additional features, accessories, and attachments. Look for a vac with a blower function, as that will allow you to keep work areas free of debris and can also double as an inflator for mattresses and the like. You’ll also want a lengthy hose and other attachments such as crevice tools, automobile kits, extension wands, and more. Some vacuums ship with as many as a dozen attachments, so the sky’s the limit here.

Shop Vac FAQs

What is the best shop vac on the market?

The best shop vac should be made from ultra-durable components, such as rubber casters and polypropylene exteriors. They should also boast powerful motors with plenty of suction power in both wet and dry conditions.

How much horsepower does a shop vac need?

This depends on what kind of messes you are going to be using the shop vac to clean up. The higher the peak horsepower, the higher the suction power. If you are going to be using it for general maintenance in a workshop or small job site, one or two horsepower should be sufficient. However, if you are in a heavily trafficked industrial setting, such as a construction site, then you’ll want to go with the big guns. Look for a motor with five or six horsepower.

What should I look for when buying a shop vac?

There are a bunch of features you should be looking out for while shopping for a wet-dry vacuum for cleanup purposes. There is the tank size, which denotes how much debris the vac can hold before needing to be emptied, and motor power. Large capacity tanks should be preferred, with stainless steel tanks being the most durable option. Durability is important, usually measured via the manufacturing components, and so are additional functionalities and features. Other features include drain ports and swiveling casters, in addition to accessories such as extension wands.

Who are the best manufacturers of shop vacs?

We took great care to include several renowned companies that are known for creating top-notch wet dry vacuums for home improvement and for industrial and commercial cleanup. These include Ridgid, DeWalt, Bosch, and Emerson. Shop vacs, or wet-dry vacuums, are primarily intended for use in commercial or industrial settings and, as such, they are highly durable and feature powerful motors that can make short work out of intense messes. These vacuums are typically rated to handle both wet and dry conditions and feature large debris containers of several gallons. Shop vacs often feature a blower mode, for quickly cleaning away debris, and ship with attachments for the cleaning of automobiles and for out-of-the-way areas. They are, on average, bulkier and heavier than garden variety vacuums.

Lawrence Bonk

Lawrence Bonk is a copywriter with a decade of experience in the tech space, with columns appearing in Engadget, Huffington Post and CBS, among others. He has a cat named Cinnamon.

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