10 Best Wet/Dry Shop Vacuums

Wet/Dry shop vacuums are a must have item for your garage or workspace. Although they are usually called shop-vacs, that is not the correct terminology since Shop-Vac is an actual brand. They are especially useful for sucking up saw dust or liquids. The more advanced dust extractors have attachments that work with power tools to capture the dust they create. Some of the features to look for, besides actual performance, is the tank size, filter, hose diameter and length. The filter can be really important because if you are working with fine sheetrock dust then a good HEPA filter is a must. For most household and garage units a 9-14 gallon tank is fine, but if you are cleaning up wood chips or sucking up lots of water then go with a 15-20 gallon tank.

For more information check out our wet/dry shop vacuum buying guide.


Fein 9-20-28 TURBO II HEPA SET

This 8.4 gallon HEPA Fein model is our #1 choice for its superior suction and dust collection. If you need an auto-start dust extractor to use with your power tools such as a router, sander, miter saw, or table saw then look no further. Perhaps the nicest attribute to the 9-20-28 is the noise. At just 66 decibels, it is significantly quieter than most models. It features a long 13 foot hose with a 1.38″ diameter which will handle dust fine, but might struggle with larger wood debris.

Priced at $599 it is expensive and might be overkill if you don’t need to use your shop vacuum as a dust extractor with power tools. This version comes with a set of attachments included, although you can also get versions of the 9-20-28 without attachments or the HEPA filter for about $100 cheaper.


Ridgid WD1851 16 Gallon Wet/Dry Vac

At about $159 our #2 choice is significantly less money than #1. This 16 gallon Ridgid model is great to use on jobsites and users on Home Depot have rated it at a 4.7 out 5. It can handle heavy-duty cleanups, but doesn’t offer the same kind of dust collection as the Fein. It comes with a top handle, cord wrap, and accessory storage bag which are features that all come in handy and that you don’t find on lower price units. The hose is 7 feet long and has a diameter of 2.5″.


Fein 9-20-27 TURBO I SET

The Fein 9-20-27 Turbo I is significantly cheaper than the Turbo II model at $399, but also only has a capacity of 5.8 gallons. It also has powerful suction and is super quiet at just 66 decibels. This version is a great dust extractor as long as your power tools are not generating too much dust. It features the longest hose on our list at 16 feet with a 1.38″ diameter.

If you need to collect small amounts of dust then this Fein model is perfect. But if you need to collect large amounts of wood debris or a large volume of liquid this product will not work well for you.


Craftsman 12007 XSP 16 Gallon Wet/Dry Vac

The Craftsman 12007 shop vacuum provides similar performance to the Ridged WD1851 although it does have even more suction. It comes with a large 16 gallon tank with an extra large liquid drain on the bottom of the tank which. The hose is 7 feet long with a 2.5″ diameter.

Priced at $110 this Craftsman model provide excellent performance at a decent price.


Ridgid WD1451 14 Gallon Wet/Dry Vac with Auto Detail Kit

This is our top choice for a value wet/dry shop vacuum under $100 as it is priced at just $89. It is also rated as a best buy by the leading consumer magazine. It scores high marks for both its dry and wet suction. It features a 7 foot hose with 2.5-inch diameter and comes with an auto detailing kit. This shop vacuum is a perfect choice for a normal user who does not need professional dust extraction.


Craftsman 12006 XSP 12 Gallon Wet/Dry Vac

Another excellent choice under $100 is the Craftsman 12006 at $90. It features XSP suction, although the motor is a bit less powerful than the 12007 version. It has a 7 foot, 2.5 inch diameter hose and 12 gallon capacity tank.

We would recommend this model for any user at home that do not need dust extraction.


Craftsman 12008 16 Gallon Detachable Blower Wet/Dry Vac

The Craftsman 12008 is unique in that it is a 16 gallon shop vac, but also con be converted into a detachable blower giving you a dual purpose power tool. This model is not as powerful as the 12007 since it lacks the XSP or Extreme Suction Performance, but it is certainly not lacking in power either.

Priced at $130 it can be a good value if you will use the blower, but if you do not plan on using the blower then there are cheaper options available.


Shop-Vac 586-76-00 QSP Quiet Deluxe Wet/Dry Vacuum

This is a newer Shop-Vac model designed to be quieter than average. It has a 20 gallon tank with a 7 foot hose which has a 2.5″ diameter. The suction is good, but not great.

You will find it priced at around $200.


Shop-Vac 9551600 6.5-Peak HP Ultra Pro Series Wet or Dry Vacuum

Another Shop-Vac assembled in the USA. It also has decent suction, but not spectacular. It comes with a 8′ hose with a 2.5″ diameter and a 16 gallon tank.

It is priced at around $145.


Vacmaster VQ607SFD Stainless Steel 6 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum

If budget is a concern you might want to look at the Vacmaster VQ607SFD which is priced at just $69. Despite the lower price it still was rated 4.6 stars by Amazon buyers. It comes in with a stainless steel 6 gallon tank, 1.25 inch diameter 7 foot long hose, and weighs 23 pounds.

Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum Buying Guide

Features to consider:

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 2.25″ to 2.5″ diameter hose. Hoses smaller than this might clog, however if you will be using the hose as a collector on your power power tools, then a smaller and more flexible hose might be preferred. If collecting dust is your primary use then get a 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 some 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.

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