Looking for a heavy-duty shop vacuum to clean up those heavy or wet messes around the home, garage, or shop? A shop vacuum cleaner makes a great addition to any home’s toolset, but not all shop vacuum cleaners are created equal.

A regular shop vacuum may have between 2 and 4.5 horsepower and typically will have a capacity of around 6 gallons or less. A standard wet dry vac is good for occasional messes and cleanup around the home or shop, but if you are going to use it every day you need a heavy-duty model.

What are heavy-duty wet dry vacuums? Heavy-duty Shop Vacuum WORKSHOP WS1600VA Wet-Dry Vacshop vacs have some distinct characteristics for those serious about their planned uses for a shop vac. They usually have very large capacities on the order of 12-16 gallons and they have large motors around 6.5 or larger to provide great continuous suction for longer periods without having to empty the canister. They also usually come with a cart to carry their large sizes around and to make it easier to store them.


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


Here is just a note about 2-stage motors/blowers. We have included one industrial model in the mix in case you need this capability. You will find that their suction may not be as good as a single stage model, but you will be able to reach HEPA-level reduction in dust and allergens thanks to their 2-stage design and additional filtering. This may not be required in a home setting, but is often required in industrial or office settings.

Take a look at our list of large, heavy-duty wet dry vacuum models and see if one of these is the perfect shop vac for your needs!

Shop Vacuum: Top 5 Large Heavy-Duty Home Shop Vacs

#5 – Ridgid 25653 RV2600B 16-Gallon 2-Stage Industrial Vacuum

Shop Vacuum Ridgid 25653 16-Gallon 2-Stage Industrial VacuumPart of Ridgid’s industrial line of shop vacs, the Ridgid 25653 RV2600B is a powerful, high-lift, 16-gallon, 2-stage motor/blower vacuum that has better suction and quieter operation than other 2-stage vacuums. Complete with a sturdy cart, handle, and large rear wheels, this model is easily moved from one job to the other or even from level to level. It features a locking hose that won’t pull loose during vacuuming, quick-release accessory storage bag, and a heavy-duty 2-piece rugged drum. Take a look at all of its industrial-grade features.


  • 2-Stage high-lift suction 11.5 Amp motor/blower design with high-efficiency airflow, optimum suction, and powerful performance
  • 2-Piece drum is more durable for better longevity on job sites
  • Sturdy cart with push handle and large rear wheels provide stability while making it easier to move the unit from room to room and level to level
  • Large 16-gallon capacity is perfect for large cleanup jobs or multiple smaller jobs
  • Patented Scroll Noise Reduction technology precisely controls airflow through the vacuum resulting in quieter operation
  • Quick-release accessory storage bag stores accessories but is removable when emptying debris
  • Unique 10-foot Tug-A-Long Locking Premium hose won’t pull loose during use
  • Also functions as a powerful blower for removing dust, sawdust, and small debris from shop floors, garages, decks, sidewalks, and as a car vacuum
  • A large drain built into the drum makes emptying water easier


  •  2-Steel extension wants
  • 1-7/8-inch x 10-foot 4x Pro Locking Hose
  • 1-Floor tool with 3 quick-change attachments
  • 1- Crevice tool
  • 1-Dust brush
  • 1-Claw nozzle
  • 1-Muffler/diffuser
  • 1-Fine dust filter


  • Quiet operation
  • Industrial strength
  • Many handy accessories
  • Filters more dust than single stage units


  • Lower air volume than single stage units
  • Pricey

#4 – WORKSHOP Wet/Dry Vacs WS1200VA Heavy Duty General Purpose Wet Dry Shop Vacuum, 12-Gallon, 5.0 Peak HP

Shop Vacuum WORKSHOP WS1200VA Wet Dry VacA very popular wet-dry vacuum, the WORKSHOP WS1200VA Heavy Duty General Purpose Shop Vac has less power, a smaller capacity tank, and no cart, but delivers great durability and quality in a model that costs less than $100. Great for home or job site use, the onboard-storable accessories and suction capability make this a great value in shop vacs. Here are some of its main features.


  • A large 2-1/2-inch Dual-Flex locking hose provides 180 degree flexibility both at the tool end and the vacuum end
  • The Roll Tight locking sleeve keeps accessories securely connected even during heavy duty uses
  • A durable and tough co-polymer drum resists dents and cracks while eliminating rust problems
  • Large drain empties the tank fast
  • Handy caster-frame accessory storage keeps accessories secure until you need them and puts them within easy reach
  • An integrated blowing port provides blower capability


  • 1-Vacuum hose
  • 1- Utility nozzle
  • 1-Car nozzle
  • 2-Extension wands
  • 1-Locking sleeve
  • 1-Cartridge filter
  • 1-Dust bag


  • Powerful and efficient
  • Large hose sucks up more debris
  • Quality construction
  • Easy to assemble and use


  • Casters could be larger
  • Loud operation
  • Wet filter not included
  • Hoses pull apart too easily

Shop Vacuum WORKSHOP WS1200VA Wet-Dry Vac Review

#3 – Shop-Vac 9651400 6.0-Peak HP Pro Series Wet or Dry Vacuum with Vacuum Cart, 14-Gallon

Shop Vacuum Shop-Vac 9651400 Wet Dry VacuumWith 6.0-Peak HP, a 14-gallon tank, and plenty of cleaning accessories, the Shop-Vac 9651400 Pro Series Wet-Dry Vacuum with Vacuum Cart is plenty of machine for the largest home cleanup tasks. Assembled in the USA, the best know brand in wet-dry vacs, Shop-Vac is known for their quality, highly capable shop vacuums. This model is perfect for wet pickup in garages and basements as well as dry pickup in workshops, garages, basements, and vehicles. Take a look at this Pro Series model’s main features.


  • A large, durable 14-gallon plastic tank can take care of large home cleanup tasks or busy shop cleanups alike
  • With 6.0-Peak HP, this comes with increased performance and quieter operation than many heavy-duty models
  • Built-in blower feature
  • Large accessory basket holds its many accessories and keeps them right at hand
  • Long 12-foot power cord with its own onboard storage means you may be able to accomplish some cleanup task without an extension cord
  • Side and top tank handles makes this model easier to load and unload
  • Large on-off button is accessible even with work gloves
  • Dimensions are 19.63H x 27.5W x 19.63D with weight of 30 lbs.
  • 3-Year limited warranty


  • 1-8-foot x 2-1/2 inch LockOn hose
  • 2-22-1/2 inch extension wands
  • 1-14-inch floor nozzle with brush
  • 1-Squeegee
  • 1-8-inch utility nozzle
  • 1- Crevice tool
  • 1-Concentrator nozzle
  • 1-Ergonomic elbow grip
  • 1- Hose holder
  • 1-Accessory basket
  • 1-Foam sleeve
  • 1-Cartridge filter


  • Cart with handle is very useful
  • Handy accessories storage
  • Good value
  • Great power and durability


  • Foam sleeve for water not included

Shop Vacuum Shop-Vac 9651400 Wet Dry Vac Review


#2 – Ridgid 31693 WD1851 16 Gallon 6.5 HP Wet/Dry Vacuum with Cart

Shop Vacuum Ridgid 31693 WD1851 16-Gallon Shop VacIf you’re looking for high-end performance in a shop vac, the Ridgid 31693 WD1851 is one of the best choices on the market. With one of the largest 16-gallon tank capacities and a 6.5 Peak HP motor, this model has the performance and efficiency you need to tackle tough cleanups quickly and easily. Plus, Ridgid’s Scroll Noise Reduction technology helps to make this model one of the quietest during operation. See its great features below.


  • High performance 6.5 Peak HP motor provides powerful suction of about 1 gallon per second
  • Large 16-gallon tank gives you the size you need to complete large cleanup tasks without stopping or keep up with a busy shop all day
  • Sturdy cart features a push handle and large rear wheels for stable movement from room to room, job site to job site, or level to level
  • Ridgid’s Scroll Noise Reduction technology makes this one of the quietest heavy-duty shop vacuums available
  • A quick-release accessory storage bag places accessories right where you need them, but then quickly removes for emptying the drum
  • A 2-piece drum is features rugged construction that can stand up to the toughest job site cleanup tasks
  • A 3-layer fine dust filter captures fine dust particles in addition to regular dirt and debris
  • The unique Tug-A-Long Locking Hose won’t pull free during heavy use
  • The large carry handle makes transporting this vac from site to site easier and more efficient
  • Long 20-foot power cord wraps neatly around the handle and minimizes the need for long extension cords
  • Converts easily to a powerful blower to move debris off garage floors, shop floors, decks, and sidewalks


  • 1- 2-1/2 x 7-inch Tug-A-Long locking hose
  • 2-Extension wands
  • 1-Utility nozzle
  • 1-Car nozzle
  • 1-Wet nozzle
  • 1-Crevice tool
  • 1-Muffler/diffuser


  • Quiet operation
  • Powerful suction
  • Quality construction
  • Very durable


  • Pricey

Shop Vacuum Ridgid 31693 WD1851 16-Gallon Shop Vac Review

#1 – WORKSHOP Wet/Dry Vacs WS1600VA High Capacity Wet Dry Shop Vacuum, 16-Gallon, 6.5 Peak HP

Shop Vacuum WORKSHOP WS1600VA Wet-Dry VacSimilar to the Ridgid WD1851 the WORKSHOP WS1600VA High Capacity Wet-Dry Shop Vacuum has a powerful 6.5 Peak HP motor and a large capacity 16-gallon tank. You get all the capability you would expect from a WORKSHOP vac including a large 2-1/2-inch Dual-Flex locking hose, Qwik Lock Filter Fastening System, and the durable, heavy-duty drum WORKSHOP vacs are known for. This is just the type of vacuum you would expect to find a job site, but will also fit in perfectly in a garage or home shop. Here are its main features.


  • This is a very large and powerful shop vacuum with a 6.5 Peak HP motor and 16-gallon tank
  • A large 2-1/2-inch Dual-Flex locking hose offers 180 degree flexibility at both hose ends while moving large amounts of air and debris to the vacuum tank
  • The Roll Tight locking sleeve keeps accessories securely attached to the vacuum even during heavy-duty cleanups
  • A handy Qwik Lock Filter Fastening System makes filter changes easier and faster
  • You get WORKSHOP’s tough co-polymer drum that resists dents and cracks and eliminates rusting
  • A large drain at the bottom of the tank makes liquid removal faster
  • A dedicated blowing port converts this unit to a powerful blower


  • 1-2-1/2-inch Hose
  • 1-Utility nozzle
  • 1-Car nozzle
  • 1-Wet nozzle
  • 2-Extension wands
  • 1-Locking sleeve
  • 1-Cartridge filter


  • Plenty of powerful suction
  • Easy to empty
  • Handy tool storage
  • Worth the money


  • Doesn’t come with wet filter
  • Connections come apart too easily
  • Noisy operation

Shop Vacuum WORKSHOP WS1600VA Wet-Dry Vac Review


Shop Vacuum Comparison Chart

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