The Top 10 Best Shop Vacs
Thanks for taking your time to read our reviews of the best shop vacs currently available on the market. We have researched these vacuums so as you don't have to, and included only those with the highest buyer satisfaction ratings.
So here is our list of the 10 Best Shop Vacs
Please note that in the table below, we have included our ranking, the product name, an average buyer satisfaction rating, the size in gallons, the cord length and the motor size as those are the most important elements.
The buyer satisfaction rating we get from looking at all the websites that sell these products and working out the average buyer satisfaction ratings.
Shop Vac Top 10 Comparison Table
We have done summary reviews of each of these shop vacs below.
No 1 - Vacmaster Professional Wet/Dry Vac 5 Gallon Beast Series
- This Vacmaster has a rugged 5 Gallon Polypropylene Tank
- 5. 5 Peak HP High Efficiency High Water Lift Motor
- Integrated on board hose storage 7 feet x 1-7/8" kink resistant hose
- 18' Cord with Cord Storage
- Easily Converts to Blower
- Extension wand
- Utility and car nozzle and crevice tool
- Fine dust cartridge filter and foam wet filter
- Noise diffuser
- CFM: 102
This one does get the highest customer satisfaction rating, and overall they believed this one to be the best value for money. It does get the name of being "the beast," and most buyers seemed to agree with that.
No 2 - Vacmaster 12 Gallon 5 Peak HP Wet/Dry Vacuum with Detachable Blower VBV1210
- Appears to be the biggest seller online
- 12 Gallon Polypropylene Tank
- 5 Peak HP Motor
- Quick release (one handed) detachable blower
- 210 MPH blowing speed for multiple uses around the garden and yard such as a leaf blower
- 12 feet cord with cord wrap
- Has a locking hose 7 feet x 2-1/2" hose
- Has an extra large drain port
- Comes with car nozzle and 2 extension wands
- Cartridge filter and wet filter
Buyers have overall given this shop vac a solid rating and there are a few thousand of those ratings and reviews to go on. There were some niggly complaints, but quite a number of those are about other issues rather than the vacuum itself
No 3 - DeWALT 6 Gallon Poly Wet/Dry Vac
- This is a portable 6 gallon wet/dry vac ideal for small clean-up jobs
- The heavy duty 4 HP motor provides just the amount of suction needed to most any cleanup job
- Has casters that allow for ease of movement
- Has a 10 feet power cord with cord wrap
- Has a blower port to blow sawdust and debris
- Has a carrying handle
- Has a waterproof on/off switch and dust cartridge filter
- Has a built-in tank drain
- The hose is 7 feet by 1-7/8"
Buyers really do seem to like this Dewalt model, and the main complaints are about receiving damaged goods rather than about the vac itself. This is a small portable vacuum that the majority of buyers think is high quality, and from a very well known brand
No 4 - Shop-Vac 4 Gallon 5.5 Peak HP Wet/Dry Utility Vacuum with SVX2 Motor Technology
- The manufacturer uses their VX2 motor technology which they say gives a longer life, quieter operation, and better performance
- This is better when compared to standard 5.5 peak HP motors
- On-board 18 feet with tool storage basket and hose storage allows hose to be stored with vacuum
- Has a rear blower port
- Has a 7 feet by 1-1/4" x 7' hose
- Comes with 2 extension wands, dual surface nozzle, 10" wet dry nozzle, crevice tool, gulper nozzle, and a round brush,
- Has a cartridge filter with retainer and a filter bag
- Top carry handle for portability and rear wheels for mobility
This shop vac is pretty new to the market, but we will continue to update it when more information is available. So far it is getting very good ratings.
No 5 - Stanley Wet/Dry Vacuum, 3 Gallon, 3 Horsepower
- This Stanley model is a compact 3 gallon design
- One of the cheapest that you will be able to find but has limited features
- Has a 3 HP peak
- Has a sealed pressure (Inches of water): 52-inches
- Airflow: 80-CFM
- Comes with a 4 feet by 1-1/4-inch by 4-foot flexible hose
- You also get a crevice nozzle, and gulper nozzle
- Clip lock for easy operation
- Comes with a reusable dry filter with mounting ring and a foam filter
This is a small compact vac and the majority of buyers say that it does a good enough job for their needs. Any complaints we found were about the product not working as it should or breaking down. Some people did get a replacement under warranty.
No 6 - Stanley Wet/Dry Vacuum, 6 Gallon, 4 Horsepower
- The manufacturer classes this 6 gallon vac one as having maximum suction power for heavy duty pickup
- Has a 4 HP peak motor and a 10 feet cord
- It has a rear blower port instantly converts vacuum to power blower
- The base has casters that allow you to make movement in any direction
- Has an On/off switch that is waterproof
- Has a built-in 10-foot built-in power cord with cord wrap
- Comes with a 6 feet by 1-1/4" hose, extension wands, a crevice, floor and gulper nozzle
- Also has a reusable dry filter and foam filter
- 75 CFM
The number of complaints on this vacuum is higher than any we have reviewed on this list so far. At around 13% bad reviews that is considered high and in the main they are about the lack of power and suction
No 7 - Stanley SL18115 Wet/Dry Wet Dry Vacuum Steel Tank, 5 gallon/4.0 HP/50"
- This model has a 5 gallon steel container
- It also has a 4.0 peak HP motor with an airflow of 85 CFM
- Has a rear blower port
- Comes with a 10-foot power cord with built-in cord wrap
- It has casters for easy movement
- The hose is 5 feet by 1- 1/4-inch
- Comes with two extension wands, crevice nozzle, gulper nozzle, floor brush, foam filter, cloth bag with clamp ring, and dust bag
This model gets quite mixed reviews. Some people really like whereas others say to avoid it. We will continue to monitor this one, but for now, we would give it a miss.
No 8 - Shop-Vac 2021000 Micro Wet/Dry Vac Portable Compact Micro Vacuum with Collapsible Handle
- The manufacturer states this is a lightweight and portable wet/dry micro vacuum
- That explains the 1 horsepower motor with a 1 gallon tank
- It has a 6-foot power cord with cord wrap
- It comes with a top carry handle & wall brackets for space-saving storage.
- You get a 4-foot by 1-1/4" hose
- You also get a crevice tool, gulper nozzle, tool holder & foam sleeve reusable disc filter bag
As long as you understand that this is a micro version of a shop vac, then you shouldn't be disappointed. The majority of buyers used this for their vehicle and that is about the right type of use
No 9 - Shop-Vac 5989400 8 gallon 6.0 Peak HP Stainless Wet Dry Vacuum
- This model has an 8 gallon stainless steel tank
- It has a positive lid latch system
- Also has a rear blower port
- Has on board cord and accessory storage
- It is assembled in USA
- This one has a 6 HP peak
- The hose is 7 feet by 1-1/4"
- Comes with 3 extension wands, a 10" wet dry nozzle, a gulper nozzle, crevice tool, cartridge filter, foam sleeve, and filter bag
- It also has a top carry handle
This shop vac gets mixed reviews and almost 1 in 5 complaints. For light jobs seems to work OK, but after that it appears to be hit and miss. This one is not for us.
No 10 - Shop-Vac 5989300 5-Gallon 4.5 Peak HP Stainless Steel Wet Dry Vacuum
- This wet/dry vacuum has a 5-gallon stainless steel tank
- It uses 4.5 peak horsepower motor
- Comes with top and side carry handles
- Has a positive lid latch & rear blower port
- Comes with a 7 feet by 1-1/4" hose
- You also get 3 extension wands, crevice tool, gulper nozzle, floor nozzle, plus cartridge filter, foam sleeve & filter ba
There are 1 in 5 people complaining about this shop vac. We believe there are better options available at the top of the list.
Shop Vac Buyer's Guide
Just below we have included some important tips when it comes to buying a shop style vac. When we were doing our research, we paid a lot of attention to what buyers actually said.
That included the complaints and the disappointments they had after they had bought and used the product. Based on all of that information, we have created what we think is a very useful shop vac buying guide.
Length of the Corded Lead
Initially this may not seem like a key feature, but of all the complaints that buyers made, this was the number one gripe. This is of course the lead that plugs into the electric socket and allows you to power up the vac. The complaint was that most of these were simply far too short.
It is of course possible to plug these into an extension lead and that is in fact what most people end up doing. However you don't want to have to do that if the vac is permanently located in your workshop. So our advice is to watch out for the length of this lead as they can vary quite a bit.
Most of these leads are anything between 12-18 feet, and even that is short. However some can be as short as 4-6 feet and that is just a bad design in our opinion. We have included the cord length in our table comparison at the top of this article.
Length of the Hose
Like the electrical lead above, another source of complaints was the length of the hose. The standard size for these is around 7 feet and that seems to work well for most people. However there are many of these on sale where the lead is much shorter, and that restricts its use.
More importantly is the diameter of the hose. For a shop vac to be useful you want to have as wide a diameter as possible. The majority of shop vacs will have a diameter of 1-1/4", but the better design is something like a 1-7/8" design.
It really does depend on what you plan on hoovering up with your vac. Some buyers want one that will pick up small pieces of wood, and for that you will need a wider opening.
Size in Gallons
If you have read our article above, you will have noticed that the vacs are all measured in gallons. The principle behind that is, that the gallon measurement is "supposed" to represent the amount of liquid that one of these vacs can accommodate when doing a clean up.
We have found, and this has been verified by buyers, that no shop vac will be able to hold the stated amount. This gallon measurement is closer to the actual size of the vac. In other words a 6 gallon vac will be slightly bigger that a 5 gallon vac.