27 Best Wet/Dry Vacuums of December 2019

Find the 27 best wet/dry vacuums, based on 10 reviews

  1. 1.

    Bissell CrossWave Pet Pro 2306A

    100 % 1 review
  2. 2.

    Vacmaster VBV1210

    90 % 1 review
  3. 3.

    DeWalt 16 Gallon DXV16PA

    88 % 1 review
  4. 4.

    DeWalt 9 Gallon DXV09P

    82 % 1 review
  5. 5.

    Vacmaster Professional VFB511B 0201

    82 % 1 review
  6. 6.

    Bissell CrossWave 1785

    80 % 1 review
  7. 7.

    DeWalt DCV580H

    80 % 1 review
  8. 8.

    Stanley SL18129

    79 % 1 review
  9. 9.

    DeWalt DCV581H

    73 % 2 reviews
  10. 10.

    Bissell Garage Pro 18P03

    0 % 0 review
  11. 11.

    Craftsman 16 Gallon CMXEVBE17595

    0 % 0 review
  12. 12.

    DeWalt 6 Gallon DXV06P

    0 % 0 review
  13. 13.

    DeWalt 14 Gallon DXV14P

    0 % 0 review
  14. 14.

    DeWalt 10 Gallon DXV10P

    0 % 0 review
  15. 15.

    Makita XLC02RB1W

    0 % 0 review
  16. 16.

    Nulaxy Car Wet/Dry Vacuum

    0 % 0 review
  17. 17.

    Shop-Vac All Around EZ J200A

    0 % 0 review
  18. 18.

    Shop-Vac Micro MC150A

    0 % 0 review
  19. 19.

    Shop-Vac HangOn MACM-250

    0 % 0 review
  20. 20.

    Shop-Vac All Around Plus E87S450

    0 % 0 review
  21. 21.

    Shop-Vac All Around EZ K250

    0 % 0 review
  22. 22.

    Shop-Vac Stainless Steel SS11-450

    0 % 0 review
  23. 23.

    Shop-Vac All Around EZ KA450

    0 % 0 review
  24. 24.

    Stanley Portable SL18123P

    0 % 0 review
  25. 25.

    Stanley SL18116P

    0 % 0 review
  26. 26.

    Vacmaster Household VF408

    0 % 0 review
  27. 27.

    Vacmaster Wall Mountable VWM510

    0 % 0 review

Top 5 comparison

Score100%90%88%82%82%
Bissell CrossWave Pet Pro 2306AVacmaster VBV1210DeWalt 16 Gallon DXV16PAVacmaster Professional VFB511B 0201DeWalt 9 Gallon DXV09P
(5.0)
(1 reviews)
(4.5)
(1 reviews)
(4.4)
(1 reviews)
(4.1)
(1 reviews)
(4.1)
(1 reviews)
Tank Capacity0.18 gal12 gal16 gal5 gal9 gal
Cord Length25 ft12 ft20 ft18 ft10 ft
Accessory StorageN/AOnboardOnboardOnboardOnboard
Weight11 lbs18 lbs42 lbs14.33 lbs23 lbs
Product Height12 in24.2 in28.94 in17.1 in22.25 in
Product Length46 in17.8 in19.29 in17.8 in18 in
Product Width10.5 in17.8 in19.29 in12.5 in18 in

Characteristics of a Wet/Dry Vacuum (Also Known as Shop Vac/Shop Vacuum)

The wet and dry vacuum, also known as shop vac or shop vacuum, is a versatile and powerful vacuum cleaner in a robust design. It usually consist of a baseplate with 4 castors/wheels attached underneath, but some models are stationary and therefore don’t feature any wheels. On top of the base is the tank itself, which is either made from some type of rugged plastic material, or steel. On top of the tank is the motor unit with all the electronics and connectors for the hose. Usually the tank and the motor unit are locked together by a couple of latches along the side, to firmly secure the vacuum from falling apart. Most wet and dry vacuums are slightly upright in their design, and most of them are canisters with a hose and extension wand connected to them. A few models are upright/stick vacuums, but those are usually compact versions designed for light use in private homes.

Bag or No Bag?

Most wet and dry vacuums come with a large tank, where you can either collect liquids or dry stuff. You can also collect both, but you’ll have to keep in mind that everything gets wet and nestles at the bottom as a layer of mud, if you vacuum both wet and dry materials. Some models require a bag to function properly, but some have a filter installed instead. The ones with a filter are usually more economical, and you don’t have to worry about getting new bags all the time. If you choose to use a bag, you might get better filtration and less dust particles from the exhaust of the vacuum, but it might downgrade its suction as well.

List of the Best Uses for a Wet/Dry Vacuum Cleaner

The wet and dry vacuum is a highly versatile machine, which can be used for many different tasks around the house. Some models even feature a blower port, which make them able to function as a leaf blower too. Here are some of the best uses for a wet and dry vacuum:

Spills

Spills are common in most households, particularly in families with small kids. While small spills are easily wiped off using a cloth, larger spills require a bit more. Imagine the puddle from e.g. a whole bottle of milk or soda pop dropped on the floor. You’d have to wipe for ages, where the wet and dry vacuum sucks it all up in just a few seconds. Bring out your wet and dry vacuum, and suck it all up easily. Afterwards you can wash the floors using a suitable detergent, and then bring out the wet and dry vacuum for another round. Afterwards your floors will be shining, and it’s only taken you a few minutes.

Cleaning the Fireplace

The wet and dry vacuum is great at picking up cold ashes, so if you’re cleaning the fireplace you could bring it out and do it easily, without making an even bigger mess on the floor. For this particular task it is recommended to ensure the filter is properly inserted, and you might want to insert a bag as well. Ashes consist of very small particles, and those are easily emitted into the air if you don’t ensure the filters are efficient and working properly.

Workshop Cleaning

Wood shavings, nails, most types of liquids (except for oils, glue, etc.). The wet and dry vacuum, also known as shop vac, helps you keep the workshop clean throughout the day. Some wet and dry vacuums come with a wall mount and work well form a stationary position, while others are portable and easy to bring around the entire workshop when needed.

Leaf Blowing

Lots of wet and dry vacuums have a blower port too, which is actually just the exhaust that has been designed to fit the hose. But this neat feature enables you to do additional tasks around the house, e.g. blowing leaves away from your patio, clearing an area of wood shavings without picking them up, or blowing dust away from a specific area.

Clogged Sinks and Bathtubs

The wet and dry vacuum is able to assist you in unclogging your drains. You can use the blower function and push the clumps further down the drain until they reach a larger pipe, which is an easier and more convenient method compared with using the old fashioned plunger.

Emptying Fish Tank

Most people empty their fish tanks or aquariums in one of these ways:
  • The messy way: Scooping the water with a bucket. Emptying it into the drain one bucket at a time.
  • The less messy (but slow) way: Sucking the water by gravity from a hose into a bucket. Emptying it into the drain one bucket at a time.
Both ways are inefficient, inconvenient, and time consuming. With a wet and dry vacuum you can easily suck out all the water, and some vacuums even have enough power to remove the bottom material too. If you invest in one of the large wet and dry vacuums, you can roll it directly onto a drain and open a lid in the bottom of the tank, to let out the water sucked up from the fish tank. This is one of the easiest, most convenient ways to empty an entire fish tank.

Flooding

In some areas floodings are common during severe storms. Wet and dry vacuums help you suck up excess water from most types of floors, so you can start dehumidifying the areas affected by the water. Floodings can also occur due to leakage from broken drains or water pipes, but with a wet and dry vacuum you might be able to prevent water damage, or at least limit it to just a small area.

Carpet Cleaning

Carpets are probably dirtier than you think, despite how clean they look. That’s why it’s recommended to clean your carpets occasionally, so you’ll avoid a buildup of bacteria, dust, dirt, etc. The wet and dry vacuum works great for this task. After you’ve washed down your carpets using a suitable detergent, the vacuum sucks up most of the the water and leaves the carpets to quickly dry on their own.

Car Cleaning

With a wet and dry vacuum placed in your garage, you can easily clean out your car from inside and out. Some wet and dry vacuums, especially the stationary ones, come with a long hose. This hose can be brought everywhere inside your car, to easily reach underneath seats, storage bins, etc. You can also vacuum the trunk, which is especially useful if you’re often transporting tools, garbage, or goods back and forth.

Inflatable Items

This might be one of the less conventional tasks, but the wet and dry vacuum actually comes in quite handy when you need to inflate pool toys, air mattresses, and everything else. To do this, your vacuum needs a blower port. You simply attach the hose at the blower port, and blow air into the inflatable item. Turn it on, and wait. As simple as that.

Remove Puddles from Your Patio

In some areas the weather is rapidly changing during the day, with daily afternoon showers as a completely normal occurrence. But what if you want to use your patio in the evening, without getting your feet wet? No problem. Bring out the wet and dry vacuum, and suck up the puddles left from the afternoon shower. You’ll quickly be able to enjoy an evening at your patio, without getting your feet wet at all.

How to Find the Best Wet/Dry Vacuum for Your Needs

Finding the best wet and dry vacuum, or shop vacuum, depends on your needs. There’s a great difference in which model you should choose for one need or another, which is why you should carefully consider your priorities before choosing. To find the best wet and dry vacuum for your needs, this is what you’d want to consider:  
  • Capacity - wet and dry vacuums come with tank sizes of just 1 gallon and up to more than 20 gallons. If you need a lightweight, portable model, go for one with 1-5 gallons capacity. If you need a high capacity model, especially for wet vacuuming, go for one with at least 5 gallons of capacity, but choose a significantly larger model if you’re planning on using it for an entire house.
  • Suction (measured in CFM) - suction is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM), and although these numbers aren’t always completely accurate (some rates might be inflated), it gives you an idea of how powerful it is. The higher the number is, the more suction it has. If you’re leaning between two models, its suction measured in CFM could very likely be your deciding factor.
  • Attachments (and storage options) - most wet and dry vacuums come with a set of attachments included, which makes you able to do multiple tasks around your house. You should at least look for a model with a crevice tool included, or even better: A model where lots of extra attachments are available at an extra cost. That way you can choose on your own which attachments you need.
  • Hose length - the hose length is crucial when it comes to the vacuums functionality. Usually the hose is around 4-6 feet long, but it differs from model to model. Some stationary models have a very long hose, which makes it possible to reach more areas without pulling the vacuum closer, and that is especially useful when vacuuming your car or workshop. If you’re planning on cleaning your house with your shop vacuum, you should carefully check both the hose length and the wand length, to see if it fits your height. That way you’ll avoid awkward work positions.
  • Cord length - some wet and dry vacuums have surprisingly short power cords, which means you’ll have to buy an additional extension cord if you want to vacuum around your house. Make sure your vacuum comes with a power cord that suits your needs, as it might become a pain to plug in an extension cord every time you want to use the vacuum.
  • Dimensions - the dimensions are particularly important if you want to store the wet and dry vacuum in a cabinet, or have a specific place you want it to stand when it isn’t used. Make sure you measure your storage space properly, and choose a model that fits into the space.
  • Blower port - most wet and dry vacuums feature a blower port, which extends its range of functions beyond vacuuming wet and dry items. The blower port is a nice and useful feature, which might even save you the price of a separate leaf blower.
 

Which Is the Best Wet/Dry Vacuum Cleaner?

Some of the best wet and dry vacuums include the Vacmaster VBV1210, but smaller models like the Makita XLC02RB1W would also work wonders around tiny areas. However, the question “which is the best wet/dry vacuum cleaner?” doesn’t have a simple answer, as it highly depends on your needs. Choosing the best wet and dry vacuum is more about knowing your needs, rather than just choosing one. That’s also why we put an effort into showing you the most important features of each model, so it becomes significantly easier for you to make the right decision.

Which Is the Most Powerful Shop Vac?

Shop vacs, also known as wet and dry vacuums, are generally quite powerful. Their suction is generally measured by CFM, which means cubic feet per minute. This number describes how many cubic feet of air the vacuum moves through its motor per minute, and is in general a useful factor. Some vacuums also indicate their amount of horsepower, but that’s not as descriptive as the CFM. One important thing to know about the CFM though, is that is might be inflated. It might be measured during certain circumstances, that aren’t highlighted in its description, so when you use it at home or at a job site, the actual CFM is lower. Therefore the CFM should be considered an indicator rather than a parameter, to give you an idea of how powerful a specific wet and dry vacuum is.

Larger Hoses Require More Power

CFM isn’t a stand-alone parameter either. The size of the hose plays a role too, when choosing the most powerful shop vac. The smaller the hose is, the less CFM it takes to create a powerful suction.

Which Is the Best Shop Vac for Woodworking?

If you’re working with wood, you have two options: You can either choose a small portable shop vac to use on a job site for quick cleaning, or you can choose a stationary shop vac for use at your own workshop. If you want one of the best shop vacs for woodworking, you should choose a model with a high capacity, so it doesn’t need to be emptied all the time. Make sure it has a hose large enough to pick up all wood shavings, and also make sure it is powerful enough to do the job. When in the workshop you’d probably prefer a stationary shop vac mounted on the wall or standing no wheels besides your working table, so that it’s easy to use and switch on whenever you need it. On a job site you’d want a lightweight model, that’s easy to carry around and handle when you’re moving between different locations.

Which Is the Best Shop Vac for the Money?

The best shop vac for the money would probably be some of the less-known brands, but some of the big brands feature a nice range of cheap shop vacs too. Key is to look for models where the entire body is made of plastic, yet has a nice range of attachments, great castors, and a decent motor for the job. Check the prices and don’t go with the cheapest model possible, but settle with something at a slightly higher price. Usually the difference is like night and day, and it might only be a couple of bucks that set the cheapest model apart from the far better model.

Customer Support Is Important Too

Some manufacturers dump their prices because their customer support is non-existent, meaning you have to wait more than an hour before being put through to an employee at customer support, or perhaps the company chose to outsource the customer support to countries like China or India, where the labor is significantly cheaper than within the US. Some manufacturers offer repairs from authorized dealers, while others require you to send it to one of their own repair shops. While the first option is always the best, since you’re usually getting your vacuum back within a few days, the last option might cause waiting time of more than several weeks, before the destiny of your vacuum is determined.

Which Is the Best Wet/Dry Vacuum Cleaner for Home?

The best wet/dry vacuum cleaner for homes are the ones with a compact and lightweight design. Those are perfect for home use, since they aren’t too big or too small, and they are likely to function very well on almost any type of floor. Depending on the size of your house, you should never go with a model smaller than at least 4 gallons. And if you have pets, you should get an even larger model. For a small home, a wet and dry vacuum like the Vacmaster Household VF408 is a good choice, but for larger homes or homes with pets, the DeWalt 9 Gallon DXV09P is worth considering.

Which is the Best Small Shop Vac?

Small shop vacs offer great portability, and are usually very easy to handle, due to their compact design. Normally they don’t have castors, and therefore you have to carry it around the house or job site. They are best suitable for smaller tasks, which they do very well however. Some of the best small shop vacs include the Shop-Vac Micro MC150A with a tank capacity of just 1 gallon and a very compact size, but the battery powered DeWalt DCV581H is also worth considering, if you want full portability and independence of power outlets.

Which is the Best Portable Shop Vac?

Depending on your needs, and whether you want a battery powered shop vac or corded shop vac, you have a few different options here. First off, a portable shop vac should be lightweight and compact, yet still functional. Portable shop vacs are great at many different tasks, and can easily be carried around a job site when doing different types of work like detailing, or small cleanups. Some of the best portable shop vacs include the battery powered DeWalt DCV581H, which also has a 5-foot power cord included for those occasions where you run out of battery power. A cheaper option is the corded Shop-Vac Micro MC150A. Those are some of the smallest shop vacs available, and they are quite affordable.