A wet/dry shop vacuum is one of the most useful items a homeowner can possess. It’s an essential tool for any home improvement project or plumbing emergency, and it’s a must on any construction site. A well-designed shop vacuum is powerful, portable, and able to access most spaces in order to clean out water, dust, and debris.
Shop Vac Attachments
The more attachments your shop vac has, the more spaces and situations you can enter and tackle. Shop vac attachments are specifically designed for use on smooth or rough surfaces.
They’re also specifically shaped to reach a myriad of spaces, both open and awkward. You can have an excellent shop vac, but without the right attachments it will be difficult to properly detail your work space. The more attachments the better.
Two factors to keep in mind when deciding what kind of shop vac is right for you is portability and access. For example, a large shop vac has the hose to access small spaces but isn’t as portable. Additionally, a large canister shop vac is better equipped to handle emergency water clean-up situations.
Smaller units offer portability and usually enough suction power. However, small units tend to come with a smaller diameter hose, no wheels, and a lack of storage space for attachments. This detail can undermine the convenience of their portability.
Essentially, if you have a shop at home and do a lot of your own home maintenance, including basic plumbing, we suggest a 12 to 16-gallon unit with a generous attachment package.
For the everyday homeowner that dabbles in home improvement projects and cosmetic DIY home projects, you’ll be satisfied with a 4 to 8-gallon mobile canister unit, again with a generous attachment package.
For the self-reliant novice, who will get their hands dirty if necessary, I’d go with a hand-held unit that’s easy to store and doesn’t take up as much space.
The Best Shop Vacs On Amazon
RIDGID 14 Gallon Wet Dry Vac
Estimated Price: $140.00
Nine out of ten remodel construction sites will have this vac on site, and you won’t get much complaint from workers about it. The 6.0 high-performance motor is great for normal clean-up and necessary for water recovery.
The air filter and dust bags are easy to install and remove. The canister is on swiveled wheels for easy maneuverability, and the unit comes with tons of space for quick attachment storage. The hose has a double-lock mechanism to stay put, and can be switched to exhaust to blow debris instead of suck. An all-around great unit.
Festool HEPA Certified Dust Extractor
Estimated Price: $560.00
Festool is at the cutting edge of power tool development and design. The Festool CT MIDI Dust Extractor can collect dust at a rate of 137 cubic feet per minute (CFM), which is powerful to say the least. The unit comes with an adjustable power control to regulate the amount of suction you need.
Festool’s line of dust extractors connect to vac-ready power tools to limit dust disbursal into your breathing environment. They have a dual HEPA certified filtration system, which means the unit’s exhaust is 99% clean and microbe free.
Festool dust extractors are quiet, warrantied, and Festool SYS toolbox system ready for easy onboard storage.
The attachment toolkit set is sold separately and is a must for this unit. At four gallons, the MIDI qualifies as a smaller canister unit, but it’s arguably the best and most versatile wet/dry vacuum available on the market.
RIDGID 4 Gallon Wet Dry Vac
Estimated Price: $209.00
This is a smaller version of the 14-gallon Ridgid model with the same amount of power, attachment compatibility, and hose length.
This unit has large wheels that make it easy to drag, and a 20-foot power cord that allows for optimal access. There’s less storage on board this rig, but it’s easier to carry up and down stairs and manipulate in tight spaces.
This model comes with a detachable handheld blower, which is ideal for blowing off your deck or driveway.
This is a versatile shop vac with all the power and maneuverability you need to clean a job site, or thoroughly detail your car.
DEWALT Wet-Dry Vacuum
Estimated Price: $99.99
If you’re going to go small, go with this shop vac. This unit is either battery or AC outlet powered, making it easy to maneuver for both spot cleaning and deep cleaning.
Afterward, the encased design makes it easy to wash out by hose or tap, and the crush-resistant HEPA filter is easy to remove and clean.
It’s extremely lightweight, and at 2-gallons it is big enough for both moderate construction and plumbing clean-up. There’s onboard attachment storage and a two-way system, so you can use the vac as a blower.
It’s important to keep in mind that this vac comes with a 5-foot, 1 ¼ inch diameter hose, opposed to a 7-foot, 2 ½ inch hose like the larger models listed above. That said, this vac is a mighty mouse.