Shop Vac: Top 5 Best Rated Wet-Dry Vacuums 2017

A shop vac or wet/dry vac is a great tool to have around the garage or on the job site to take care of messes of all kinds or remove dust.  Like their names imply, they are useful in wet or dry vacuuming which means that their uses are virtually endless.  If you’re looking for a shop vac, you’re probably wondering which one is the best for you.  If one is a best-selling model, it’s usually because other users have found that it is a good performer.

Shop Vac: 9650600 Pro Series Wet Dry Vacuum Dirt Pickup View

Want to see other great shop vacs?  Be sure and see our articles about some of the best:

 

What should you look for in a capable shop vac?

Horsepower

The maximum output horsepower of the motor is called peak horsepower.  Although peak horsepower is often published with each shop vac, you shouldn’t get too caught up with horsepower ratings.  They may not indicate the actual operating horsepower you will be using when cleaning and may not be a valid point of comparison.

Shop-Vac: Workshop WS1400CA Wet-Dry Vac Outdoors ViewSealed Pressure

Also not a very useful comparison tool because the suction pressure is measured with no airflow and airflow makes up a big part of a vacuum cleaner’s performance.

Cubic Feet Per Minute (CFM)

This is a valid comparison point.  It represents how much air is moved by the motor of a shop vac for a specific system load.  All other specifications being equal like hose type, size, and length, the accessory tool being used, and a clean filter, you want the most CFM for the money.  CFM is especially important when picking up dry messes.

Sealed Suction

Airflow measures CFM (cubic feet per minute) or volume of air moved, which is important when picking up dry messes. Sealed Suction (inches) measures the raw strength of suction when picking up liquids.  If you are planning to use your new shop vac for mostly dry messes then a higher CFM is desirable, while if your will use it for more wet messes, sealed suction is more important.  If you want the best of both worlds, the highest number for both would be ideal.

 

 

 

 

Shop-Vac: Vacmaster 6-Gallon 3-Peak HP Wet Dry Vac In-Home ViewAir Watts

A newer term used by central vacuum and other machine type manufacturers to classify each shop vac is air watts.  While most agree is not as useful as a comparison tool, does capture both aspects of suction including sealed suction and CFM.

Size

Make sure you get the right size shop vac for your needs.  If you’re going to be regularly sucking up large amounts of water in a flooded basement, you should get the largest capacity the makes sense for your budget.  On the other hand if you clean up small messes around the home, car, garage, or shop, then you should be able to get away with a smaller capacity.

Remember that the published gallons figure is referring to the drum volume and not the total collection capacity.  The capacity of any wet-dry vacuum depends on the type of debris you’re collecting and how clean the filter is, among other factors.

We searched vacuum cleaner forums, customer review sites, social media, manufacturer sites, consumer sites, and retail sites to find the most popular and highly rated wet-dry vacuums.

Take a look at our list and see if one of these top-rated models is the best shop vac for your needs!

Shop Vac: Top 5 Best Rated Wet-Dry Vacuums

#5 – Shop-Vac 9650600 3.0-Peak HP Pro Series Wet or Dry, 6-Gallon

Shop Vac: 9650600 Pro Series Wet Dry Vacuum Main ViewFeaturing a 6-gallon capacity and 3.0 peak HP the Shop-Vac 9650600 Pro Series 6-Gallon, 3.0 Peak HP Wet or Dry Vacuum has solid power in a convenient size with side and top-of-tank carry handles that makes it easy to transport from cleanup to cleanup.  It also comes with a versatile selection of vacuum accessories to tackle a variety of messes wet or dry.  This model is part of Shop-Vac’s Pro Series of wet or dry vacuum cleaners that have more durable, dent-resistant tanks and more accessories.

Features

  • 3.0 Peak HP, 6-gallon capacity wet or dry vacuum cleaner with a 57-inch static left, 140 CFM, and 230 peak air watts of power
  • Durable, ruggedized, dent-resistant plastic tank for longer life
  • Both side and top carry handles makes transporting around the job site easier and more convenient
  • Extra-quiet housing
  • Accessory storage on dolly and onboard cord wrap
  • 6-foot power cord
  • Assembled in the USA
  • 3-Year limited warranty

Included Accessories

  • 1 – 8-foot 1-1/4-inch LockOn hose
  • 3 – 1-1/4-inch extension wants
  • 1 – 10-inch wet/dry nozzle
  • 1 – 1-1/4-inch crevice tool
  • Shop Vac: 9650600 Pro Series Wet Dry Vacuum Kit View1 – 1-1/4-inch gulper nozzle
  • 1-1/4-Inch accessory assortment for wet or dry pick up
  • 1 – Cartridge filter with retainer
  • 1 – Disposable filter bag

 

Customer Reviews

See Shop-Vac 9650600 3.0-Peak HP Pro Series Wet or Dry, 6-Gallon Customer Reviews >>>

 

Pros

  • Relatively quiet operation
  • Good value
  • Long hoses
  • Lightweight and easy to transport

 

Cons

  • Hose is small diameter makes it easy to clog
  • Short power cord
  • Tool storage doesn’t hold tools securely

 
 

 

 

#4 – Shop-Vac 5986000 5-Gallon 4.5 Peak HP Stainless Steel Wet Dry Vacuum

Shop-Vac: 5986000 5-Gallon Wet Dry Vacuum Main ViewWith a tough 5-gallon capacity stainless steel tank and plenty of power, the Shop-Vac 5986000 5-Gallon 4.5 Peak HP Stainless Steel Wet Dry Vacuum can handle most medium to heavy-duty messes you can throw at it.  It’s an excellent tool for cleaning garages, shops, offices, and other work spaces where you need the capacity and wet/dry capability it offers.  It has built-in top handle that makes it easy to carry from cleanup task to cleanup task and a rear blower port.

Features

  • 4.5 Peak HP, 5-gallon capacity wet/dry vacuum cleaner with 175 CFM
  • Rear blower port
  • Durable stainless steel tank
  • Stable tank dolly with easy-roll casters
  • 6-foot power cord
  • On-board cord and tool storage

 

Included Accessories

  • 1 – 7-foot x 1.25-inch friction fit hose
  • 3 – Extension wands
  • 1 – 10-inch wet/dry floor nozzle
  • 1 – Gulper
  • 1 – Crevice tool
  • Shop-Vac: 5986000 5-Gallon Wet Dry Vacuum Kit View1 – Tool holder
  • 1 – Cartridge filter
  • 1 – Collection bag

 

 

Customer Reviews

See Shop-Vac 5986000 5-Gallon 4.5 Peak HP Stainless Steel Wet Dry Vacuum Customer Reviews >>>

 

Pros

  • Great value
  • Powerful suction for the size
  • Powerful blowing capability
  • Compact and easy to carry

 

Cons

  • Small capacity
  • Poor cord and accessory storage design
  • Short power cord
  • Small diameter hose

 

 

#3 – Vacmaster VBV1210 Detachable Blower Wet/Dry Vacuum, 12 Gallon, 5 Peak HP

Vacmaster VB1210 Front View

 

Vacmaster makes highly versatile and powerful wet/dry models that easily convert from a standard shop vacuum to a detachable blower with the push of a button to give you two tools in one.  The Vacmaster VBV1210 Detachable Blower Wet/Dry Vacuum, 12 Gallon, 5 Peak HP features a large 12-gallon capacity polypropylene tank, 5 peak HP, and 11 included accessories designed to tackle any cleaning task wet or dry.  Easily switch from draining a clogged utility sink, to blowing sawdust off your workbench, to vacuuming your car’s upholstery with the one-finger flick of a release button without suffering through cumbersome latches and locks.

Features 

  • Powerful 5 peak HP, 11-gallon capacity wet/dry vac that converts to a 210 MPH leaf blower
  • Rugged 12-gallon polypropylene tank is durable and dent-resistant
  • Top handle design is balanced for easy carrying
  • On-board accessory storage
  • Extra-large drain delivers fast emptying
  • Heavy-duty casters are stable and make it easy to move the vacuum between cleaning tasks
  • Long 12-foot power cord gives you plenty of range and wraps conveniently for storage
  • Shop-Vac: Vacmaster VBV1210 12-Gallong 5-Peak HP Wet Dry Vacuum Kit ViewSealed on/off switch
  • Auto-shutoff
  • 2-Year warranty

Included Accessories

  • 1 – 7-foot x 2.5-inch diameter hose
  • 2 – Extension wands
  • 1 – Cartridge filter
  • 1 – Foam sleeve
  • 1 – Car nozzle
  • 1 – Crevice tool
  • 1 – Eight-inch utility nozzle
  • 1 – Blower nozzle
  • 1 – Air/noise diffuser
  • 1 – Adapter for blower wand

 

 

Customer Reviews

See Vacmaster VBV1210 Detachable Blower Wet/Dry Vacuum, 12 Gallon, 5 Peak HP Customer Reviews >>>

 

Pros

  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Rugged stable design
  • Powerful suction with relatively quiet operation
  • Onboard tool storage

 

Cons

  • Some reports of loose-fitting wheels
  • Hose connection may be problematic
  • Cord is not as long as some
  • Large size can be unwieldy to carry

 

 

 

#2 – Vacmaster VQ607SFD 6-Gallon, 3 Peak HP, Stainless Steel Wet/Dry Vacuum 

Shop Vac: Vacmaster 6-Gallon Wet Dry Vac Main ViewLightweight, powerful, and portable, the Vacmaster VQ607SFD 6-Gallon, 3 Peak HP, Stainless Steel Wet/Dry Vacuum has the look of professional machines with a stainless steel tank and plenty of accessories.  Perfect for home, garage, shop, or office, the 3 Peak HP motor delivers plenty of suction for most cleaning tasks wet or dry and is versatile for use on carpet and hard floor surfaces.  It converts easily to a power blower for removing debris from sidewalks, driveways, tools, and lawn equipment.

Features

  • 3 Peak HP, 6-gallon, wet/dry vacuum
  • Durable and good-looking stainless steel tank
  • Converts easily to blower
  • Multi-surface floor nozzle is versatile enough to clean carpet, tile, linoleum, wood, and more
  • 12-foot power cord with cord wrap
  • On-board accessory storage on the rear base
  • Dust-sealed switch
  • Balanced top-handle design
  • Weather resistant design
  • Shop Vac: Vacmaster 6-Gallon Wet Dry Vac Kit View2 – Year limited warranty

 

Included Accessories

  • 1 – 7-foot x 1-1/14-inch hose
  • 1 – Cartridge filter
  • 1 – Foam filter sleeve
  • 1 – Dust collection bag
  • 1 – Air regulator handle
  • 1 – Multi-surface nozzle
  • 1 – 2-in-1 Utility nozzle
  • 1 – Round dust brush
  • 1 – Crevice tool
  • 2 – Extension wands

 

Customer Reviews

See Vacmaster VQ607SFD 6-Gallon, 3 Peak HP, Stainless Steel Wet/Dry Vacuum Customer Reviews >>>

 

Pros

  • Very stable and hard to tip over
  • Very powerful with strong suction
  • Quality fit and finish
  • Relatively quiet operation

 

Cons

  • Poor cord storage design
  • Telescoping pieces must be very tight or they fall apart too easily
  • Narrow hose
  • Short cord

 

 

 

 

#1 – WORKSHOP WS1400CA 6.0 Peak HP, 14-Gallon Wet-Dry Vacuum

Shop Vac: WORKSHOP WS1400CA Wet Dry Vac Main ViewWORKSHOP vacuums are designed to balance the benefits of powerful airflow and sealed suction so that the WORKSHOP WS1400CA 6.0 Peak HP, 14-Gallon Wet-Dry Vacuum delivers the best performance whether you’re picking up dry or wet messes.  Featuring a rugged 2-piece construction drum that is stable even over rougher terrain, you will appreciate this model’s reduced noise operation, huge capacity, and high performance.  Its extra-large 14-gallon capacity tank is designed to accommodate a wide variety of cleaning tasks while its large rear wheels, ergonomic, and sturdy cart handle make it easier to transport from level to level and site to site.

Features

  • 6.0 Peak HP, 14-gallon wet-dry vacuum cleaner with 143 CFM airflow, 47-inches sealed suction, and 217 max air watts
  • Extra-large 14-gallon capacity gives you the flexibility to keep cleaning longer without emptying
  • Unique design of the cart creates a very stable platform
  • Large rear wheels make it easier to transport from level to level, over thresholds, and in rough terrain
  • An ergonomic handle and sturdy cart handle makes this model easier to steer and transport
  • Bottom drainage port makes it easy and fast to empty liquids
  • Onboard accessory storage keeps all your tools right at hand
  • A long 7-foot hose stores on-board when not in use and the 20-foot power cord wraps neatly around the carrying handle
  • Shop Vac: WORKSHOP WS1400CA Wet Dry Vac Kit ViewAuto-shutoff float mechanism prevents overflow during wet pickups
  • Long 5-year limited warranty

 

Included Accessories

  • 1 – 7-foot locking hose with 180-degree flexibility at both ends
  • 1 – 2-1/2-inch utility nozzle
  • 1 – Car nozzle
  • 1 – Wet nozzle
  • 2 – 2-1/2-inch x 20.5-inch extension wands
  • 1 – Roll Tight Locking Sleeve
  • 1 – WS22200F Qwik Lock fine dust filter
  • 1 – WS32200F dust collection bag

 

Customer Reviews

See WORKSHOP WS1400CA 6.0 Peak HP, 14-Gallon Wet-Dry Vacuum Customer Reviews >>>

 

Pros

  • Powerful suction
  • Quality materials and construction
  • Quiet operation
  • Stable design is easy to maneuver

 

Cons

  • Challenging assembly

 

 

 

 

Shop Vac Comparison

Image
TitleShop-Vac 9650600 3.0-Peak HP Pro Series Wet or Dry Vacuum, 6-GallonShop-Vac 9650610 3.0-Peak Horsepower Right Stuff Wet/Dry Vacuum, 6-GallonShop-Vac 5872410 5.5-Peak Horsepower Portable Contractor Right Stuff Wet/Dry Vacuum, 5-GallonVacmaster VBV1210 Detachable Blower Wet/Dry Vacuum, 12 Gallon, 5 Peak HPFein 9-20-25 Turbo-II 9-Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum with Auto-Start
ColorYellow and BlackYellow/BlackYellow/Black
FeatureDurable Plastic Tank
Side and top carry handles
1-1/4-Inch accessory assortment for wet or dry pick up
6-Foot power cord
Assembled in the U.S.A.
Top carry handle
Rear blower port
On board accessory storage
On board cord wrap
Made in the U.S.A.
Top carry handle
Rear blower port
On board accessory storage
On board cord wrap
Made in the U.S.A.
Detachable blower function with 1 button release
On board storage for all accessories
Extra large drain port
Large On/Off dust sealed switch
12 foot cord with cord wrap
Durable, compact, quiet, producing an average of 60 dB (A) noise level at 3.5-Feet
Electronic variable suction control with LED indicator
Rugged and improved new design: The new Fein dust extractors are designed for heavy, continuous, industrial use. The new design has an optimized shape and 6 wheels instead of 4. This reduces tipping
Tremendous static water lift: 90-Inch
Auto start for dust extraction, 19-Amp switch on vac allows you to plug in your router, miter saw, portable table saw
Includes 16 ft vacuum hose (1-1/4 in dia.) and 5 micron filter cloth
Model965060096506105872410VBV12109-20-25
Price$65.21$64.99$84.99$98.99$279.99
Height13.5 inch20.75 inch17.75 inch0 inch
Weight11 pound17.7 pound7.88 pound25 pounds0 pound
Width20.75 inch16.13 inch14 inch0 inch
Length13.5 inch16.13 inch17.25 inch0 inch
Warranty3 Year1 Year1 Year2 Year1+2 Year warranty
Rating4.2 out of 5 stars4.6 out of 5 stars4.6 out of 5 stars4.6 out of 5 stars4.5 out of 5 stars
ReviewsRead ReviewsRead ReviewsRead ReviewsRead ReviewsRead Reviews
LinkMore InfoMore InfoMore InfoMore InfoMore Info

Product prices and availability are accurate as of Aug 21 17:21:53 EDT but are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the merchant site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

 

 

 

 

 

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What do you think of these wet-dry vacuum models?  Which brand and model are you planning to buy? Please take a moment to leave a comment below.

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Wet-dry vacuums are a necessity for most workshops and garages.  They are designed to pickup messes that you’re home vacuum isn’t equipped to handle.  We sincerely hope that this article has given you valuable information that helps you choose the right shop vac for your needs!



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Comments
  1. Bill Metazone

    I want to clean the interior of my car with an upholstery cleaner (e.g. Folex or Adam’s); the recommendation on auto-detailing sites is to apply the cleaner, rub in a little (but only in the area of the stain), and then to extract the water (without rubbing). There were some recommendations on water extractors but others suggested getting a wet shop vac. If I went with a wet shop vac, would be the level of suction I’d need for extracting water from car carpet and upholstery?

    • Mark Ridgeway

      Hi Bill, thanks for your question. Most shop vacs are designed to suck up water in addition to dirt. If you’re only looking for a shop vac for that one purpose, have you considered a car wash? The suction on those vacuums is usually great and it will probably only cost you $5 or so. Other than that, most shop vacs will suck the water out of your interior and carpet. If you’re looking for a recommendation, the Shop-Vac 5872410 5.5-Peak Horsepower Portable Contractor Right Stuff Wet/Dry Vacuum has plenty of suction, is portable and easy to store out of the way.

  2. Mark Ridgeway

    Hi Andi, check Amazon here – http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=shop+vac+with+large+wheels&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Ashop+vac+with+large+wheels

    Large wheels are usually placed in the back and you use the handle to tip the unit to roll easily over rough terrain or other obstacles. So I think you would be okay with just getting a model with large rear wheels. Hope that helps! -Mark

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