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Make Cleaning a Breeze Using the Best Shop Vacuum

  1. Shop-Vac All Around Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum
  2. ArmorAll Utility Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum
  3. Shop-Vac 2021000 Micro Wet/Dry Vacuum
  4. Vacmaster VF408 Wet/Dry Vacuum
  5. Buyer's Guide

Where I'm from, the best shop vacuums in 2022 are a necessity in any garage. They make clean up a breeze, and can handle more difficult items such as screws, nuts, bolts, leaves, bits of drywall, and anything else that you throw at it. This can make them invaluable for everyday tasks. Still, while there is much argument, there is one truth in shop vacuums: Shop-Vac is king. There are many great manufacturers and plenty of affordable models, but best in terms of quality will always go to Shop-Vac and their different capacity models. The following lists explore the best of shop vacuums, minimizing the amount of research that you must put in.

Comparing the Best Shop Vacuums for 2022

best Shop-Vac All Around Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum

Shop-Vac All Around Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum - Best Shop Vacuum Overall

With its small 1.5-gallon capacity, the Shop-Vac 5895100 is ideal for smaller jobs which don't require larger and heavier shop vacuums. The units small size makes it easy to use, especially with the attached dolly with casters and top and side carry handles. The 5895100 is wall mountable and includes multiple accessories such as a dual surface nozzle, gulper nozzle, crevice tool, and round brush. This small shop vacuum can accomplish much tougher jobs than might be expected thanks to a peak of 2 HP. It’s recommended to purchase the optional dry disc filter with the 5895100 as it’s necessary to effectively vacuum up dust. Otherwise, it does an excellent job out-of-the-box with both wet and dry tasks making it one of the best small capacity vacuums you can get.

ArmorAll Utility Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum - Runner Up

This small wet/dry vacuum is made by Vacmaster for ArmorAll with the purpose of being the perfect shop vac unit for the auto enthusiast. While the AA255 might be made with cars in mind, it’s also quite capable of being used for more general purposes. A 2 HP motor delivers good suction while the 2.5 gallon tank holds enough to complete light tasks. The 10-foot cord isn't the longest, but the 6-foot hose allows you to get into all the crevices of your car without having to tug along the vacuum itself. The AA255 offers a blower function, auto shut-off to prevent overflow, and multiple accessories (Again, geared primarily toward cars) which can be stored on-board. This lightweight and portable vacuum performs surprisingly well on hard floors and around the house, even effectively removing pet hair. Quiet and affordable, the ArmorAll AA255 is no-brainer for cleaning your car but also worth considering as a budget-friendly and compact vacuum for around the house.

Shop-Vac 2021000 Micro Wet/Dry Vacuum - Honorable Mention

With 1-gallon capacity tank and 1-peak HP motor, the Shop-Vac 2021000 is essentially a miniature version of a wet/dry shop vacuum. However, this doesn't mean it lacks the performance to justify having it over a regular vacuum. Small and affordable, the 2021000 is lightweight enough to carry around with the fold-down top handle while offering a wall bracket for storage although the 6-foot power cord may somewhat limit reach. A tool bag contains useful accessories such as a hose, gulper nozzle, and crevice tool. If you're looking for a portable and budget-friendly vacuum for smaller jobs, the Shop-Vac 2021000 can be purchased for a low price point.

Vacmaster VF408 Wet/Dry Vacuum - Consider

The Vacmaster VF408 offers strong performance for both wet and dry jobs thanks to a surprisingly quiet 5 HP motor delivering suction suitable for picking up heavy objects like nails and rocks. While the 4-gallon tank isn’t the largest, the VF408 does have a sturdy body and the 18 foot power cord features automatic rewind. On-board storage keeps accessories such as extension wands, a crevice tool, and a utility nozzle within easy reach. The Vacmaster VF408 is a lightweight, compact, and extremely powerful shop vacuum perfect for the home or workshop.

Buyer's Guide

Workshops are the workhouses for all things construction or fabrication. And whether you own a DIY workshop in your backward or work in a professional full-sized workshop, you will quickly realize the essence of a shop vacuum or shop vac. Between the different operations – cutting, drilling, sanding, and occasional spills, dust, and debris are sure to gather quickly.

Initially, we gave you an outline of the best vacuums for shops that stand out from the rest with exceptional functionality. But you may still be stuck on which to choose that will be the best for your needs.

In the rest of this buying guide, we help you zero in on the best vacuum cleaner for your shop, by outlining the different deciding factors and qualities that separate one vacuum from another.

What are the Different Types of Shop Vacuums?

The first factor you want to get out of the way is the shop vacuum you want to get. Shop vacuums can be classified into different categories but mainly based on their power source.

Based on Power Source

Based on its power source, a shop vacuum will be classified as a corded or cordless vacuum cleaner.

Corded Shop Vacuums

Corded shop vacuums connect to your mains supply for power. They are the most popular type of vacuums used in shops. They also boast of the most power as they draw and are typically the largest vacuums you will find today.

Cordless Shop Vacuums

Cordless shop vacuums run on batteries that are typically rechargeable. They are the ideal eco-friendly vacuum cleaners. They eliminate the need or clutter that comes with wires and allow for nearly unlimited cleaning range. They are also more reliable than corded shop vacuums if there is no mains supply in sight.

The only downside to cordless shop vacuums is that they don’t come with power ratings as high as those on a typical corded shop vacuum of the same size and capacity, and the batteries tend to run out quickly. They are also generally more expensive.

What Factors Should I Consider Before Buying a Shop Vac?

Power Rating

The power rating on the shop vacuum in consideration is one of the most important factors to consider. Specified in Watts or Kilowatts and horsepower, the higher the power rating, the more suction the shop vacuum can generate and the faster it cleans. A more powerful shop vacuum will also be able to pick up larger debris than a less powerful one.

Do note, however, that higher power shop vacuums means more power will be drawn from the mains (for corded units) and in turn, higher electricity bills. A more powerful shop vacuum, will however, likely make up for its running costs in its quick cleaning speed.

Cleaning Versatility;

The best shop vacuums should be able to handle different dirt and debris profiles as they come.

Wet-dry Shop Vacs

Wet-dry shop vacuums are very popular today. They are designed to handle both dry and wet cleaning conditions by sucking up a good range of liquids and solids.

The only exception to this may be high-viscosity liquids like oil or toxic liquids that can damage the vacuum components. However, it is always a good choice to buy a wet-dry vacuum cleaner. They are also great to dry out wet surfaces quickly.

Included Accessories

The included accessories that come with the shop vacuum in question are also very important as they will determine its cleaning versatility and performance. The ideal shop vacuum should come with a wide brush head for general cleaning, a spot cleaner for cleaning out tight corners, a scrubber, etc.


Debris in your shop is likely to fly around and get scattered. Any shop vacuum you are getting should obviously be very portable and easy to move around as you navigate to the different spots. It should come with wheels for larger models and flexible hoses, or ergonomic carrying handles for smaller vacuums.

Capacity and Size

Shop vacuums come in different sizes or capacities. This will usually be stated as a unit of volume in gallons, cubic-inches, or cubic-feet. The larger the capacity, the more dirt the vacuum cleaner can hold before the bin will have to be emptied. This is especially important for large shops that get dirty often.

Note, however, that a large capacity will translate into a bulkier unit that may sacrifice storability and compactness.

Noise Levels

Shop vacuum and just about every vacuum cleaner, can get very noisy. The powerful motor moving at high speed and the air rushing through the hoses all contribute to this.

The ideal shop vacuum should come with the lowest noise possible. This will typically be stated in decibels shortened as dB.


Q: What is the difference between a dust extractor and a shop vacuum?

Dust extractors and shop vacuums should not be confused for each other. A dust extractor is a machine designed exclusively to suck up dust-sized micro particles. Shop vacuums, on the other hand, are versatile and can suck up both micro and fairly large debris, and also liquids.

Q: Are there robotic shop vacuums?

They are very unusual. Robotic vacuum cleaners or robot vacuums are almost exclusively designed for home use. First they are very compact and lightweight, and pick up small debris or spills on the floor. Dirt and debris in the workshop will likely be found everywhere – on the floor, on the workbenches, in and around tools, etc. A robot vacuum can’t climb shelves to clean.

Also, the amount of dirt in a workshop will easily overwhelm a conventional robot vacuum, hence they are not typically used.

Q: How do use a wet-dry shop vacuum?

While most shop vacuums are wet-dry, they need some input on your part. Except stated otherwise by the manufacturer, you may need to change the filter between wet and dry cleaning cycles. Some wet-dry shop vacuums, however, come with versatile filters that work great for both wet and dry debris.

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