10 Best Wet/Dry Shop Vacuums

Wet/dry shop vacuums are a must have item for your garage or work-space. 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. There are also more advanced dust extractors which 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 sheet rock 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 you might want to consider a 15-20 gallon tank.

Below we review the top 10 best shop vacs.

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


9.3
#1)

Fein 9-20-28 TURBO II HEPA SET

We selected the 8.4 gallon Fein 9-20-28 TURBO II as the best shop vacuum and dust extractor due to 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. It features a long 13 foot hose with a 1.375″ diameter which will handle dust fine, but might struggle with larger wood debris.

Perhaps the nicest attribute to the 9-20-28 is the noise. At just 66 decibels, it is significantly quieter than most models.

Priced at $499 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 as much as $100 cheaper.


9.2
#2)

Ridgid WD1851 16 Gallon Wet/Dry Vac

At about $139 the Ridgid WD1851 is significantly less money than the Fein. 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 often don’t find on lower price units. The top handle combined with larger rear wheels make it easier to get up and down stairs. The hose is 7 feet long and has a diameter of 2.5″.

We recommend the Ridgid WD1851 primarily for use on job sites or users who will use it a lot. For more occasional users there are cheaper options available.


9.1
#3)

Craftsman 12007 XSP 16 Gallon Wet/Dry Vac

The Craftsman 12007 shop vacuum provides similar performance to the Ridged WD1851 although it does not have a top handle, but 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 makes it quicker and easier to drain. The hose is 7 feet long with a 2.5″ diameter.

Priced at $110 the Craftsman 12007 provides excellent performance at a decent price. In fact you won’t find better suction at a lower price than this.


9
#4)

Fein 9-20-27 TURBO I SET

The Fein 9-20-27 Turbo I is significantly cheaper than the Turbo II model at $347, but it also only has a capacity of 5.8 gallons. It still has powerful suction and is also super quiet at just 66 decibels.

This version is a great auto-start dust extractor as long as your power tools are not generating too much dust since the tank will fill up faster. A major plus is that the 9-20-27 features the longest hose of any shop vacuum on our list at 16 feet with a 1.375″ diameter.

If you need to collect small amounts of dust then the Fein 9-20-27 Turbo I is perfect. However, if you need to collect large amounts of wood debris or a large volume of liquid then this unit will not work well for you.


9
#5)

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

The Ridgid WD1451 used to be our pick for the best shop vacuum under $100, but it now sells for $109. You still might be able to find in on sale for under $100 occasionally. At either price it is still a good value since it scores high marks in both its wet and dry suction.

This 14 gallon model features a 7 foot hose with 2.5-inch diameter and comes with an auto detailing kit.

The WD1450, which is this vacuum minus the auto detailing kit, was picked as a Best Buy by the leading consumer magazine. Overall we feel that the Ridgid WD1451 is a perfect choice for a normal user who does not need professional dust extraction.


8.9
#6)

Craftsman 12006 XSP 12 Gallon Wet/Dry Vac

Our new selection for best shop vac under $100 is the Craftsman 12006 which sells for $90. The 12006 also ranks as the best 12 gallon shop vacuum. 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 on-board hose, accessory, and power cord organizers to reduce overall storage space.

We would recommend Craftsman XSP 12006 for any user who needs an affordable way to clean up jobs around the home, shop, or garage and does not need dust extraction.


8.7
#7)

Vacmaster VBV1210 Detachable Blower Wet/Dry Vacuum

Many other publications and sites have rated the Vacmaster VBV1210 as one the best values. Priced from $82, users have rated it at 4.5 stars on Amazon. This 12 gallon model does not have quite as much suction power as the units we rate higher, but it still works great for cleaning up after basic jobs.

One nice attribute of the VBV1210 is that it also features a detachable blower. It has a 2.5″ diameter, 7′ long hose.

The Vacmaster VBV1210 will work fine for basic jobs for almost all homeowners, but it is not recommended for fine dust collection.


8.6
#8)

Shop-Vac 5986100 8-Gallon Stainless Steel Wet Dry Vacuum

If you don’t need a larger capacity tank then you might want to consider the 8 gallon Shop-Vac 5986100 which has a price of $73. Overall suction is good, but not great. Features include a stainless steel tank, on-board cord and tool storage, and 7 foot hose with 1.25″ diameter. It is lighter and easier to move around than the larger capacity wet/dry vacuums.

Shop-Vacs like the 5986100 are built in the USA from components sourced from around the world and the United States. It is a great choice for user who has small jobs.


8.6
#9)

Shop-Vac 5986000 5-Gallon Stainless Steel Wet Dry Vacuum

The best selling Shop Vac on Amazon is the Shop-Vac 5986000 which is also the cheapest shop vacuum on our list at just under $60. With a 5 gallon tank, you are a bit more limited in what you can collect and the suction is the weakest of any model on this list, but it can still get the job done it most instances.

Features include a 7 foot hose with 1.25″ diameter, stainless steel tank, on-board cord and tool storage just like the 5986100.

If you are looking for the best cheap shop vacuum for use around your home and in the garage then this is good choice for you. Just know that for certain jobs the 5 gallon tank will be a liability.


8.5
#10)

Craftsman 12002 Ultra-Quiet 4 Gallon Portable Household Wet-Dry Vac

The 4 gallon Craftsman 12002, $90, is designed to be a quiet, portable wet/dry vacuum for household and light duty shop work. It is pretty light and comes with large rear wheels to make it easier to maneuver while helping to keep it upright. At 72 decibels it is quieter than most shop vacuums, but still is noisy. It comes with a 7 foot hose with 1.25″ diameter and on-board cord and tool storage system.

The Craftsman 12002 is not a good choice to tackle jobs with large debris like wood chips, leaves, or other shop debris. It is a decent choice for users who need a wet/dry vac to use inside and outside the home for small jobs.


Best Shop Vacuum Comparison Chart

Model Rating Price Weight
(lbs)
Capacity
(Gallons)
Peak HP Hose Length
(FT)
Hose Diameter
(in)
Power Cord
Length (FT)
Decibels
Fein 9-20-28 TURBO II 9.3 $499 20.1 8.4 1100 watt 13 1.375 18 66
Ridgid WD1851 9.2 $139 31.25 16 6.5 7 2.5 20 81
Craftsman 12007 9.1 $109.99 31.6 16 6.5 7 2.5 20 78
Fein 9-20-27 TURBO I SET 9.0 $346.77 17.9 5.8 1100 watt 16 1.375 16 66
Ridgid WD1451 9.0 $109 30.9 14 6 7 2.5 20 79
Craftsman 12006 8.9 $89.99 26.5 12 5.5 7 2.5 20 77
Vacmaster VBV1210 8.7 $81.10 18 12 5 7 2.5 12 ~ 80
Shop-Vac 5986100 8.6 $72.99 21 8 5.5 7 1.25 12 ~ 80
Shop-Vac 5986000 8.6 $59.49 14.3 5 4.5 7 1.25 6 ~ 78
Craftsman 12002 8.5 $89.99 17.7 4 5 7 1.25 15 72


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 2.5″ 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 most 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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