If you’re searching for the “Best shop vac,” you understand its crucial role in a workshop, garage, or home setting. 

These powerful vacuum cleaners are designed to handle tough messes, from sawdust to liquid spills, ensuring a clean and safe environment. 

So, in this article we have compiled a list of best shop vac of 2023; you can read it to choose a best one for you. 

Let’s dive in!

Best Shop Vac: Ultimate Guide

1. Ridgid 12-Gallon NXT Wet/Dry Vac HD1200 – our pick

I recently got my hands on the RIDGID 12-gallon shop vacuum, and I must say, it’s a game-changer. 

First off, the versatility is unmatched; it’s not just a vacuum; it’s also a detachable blower. I’ve used it in my workshop and was amazed at how effortlessly it cleaned up sawdust.

Then with a quick switch, blew away leaves from my driveway with a powerful 170 MPH air stream.

The 5.0 peak horsepower motor is beast; because it tackled heavy-duty cleanup tasks without a hitch. 

I especially appreciated the large 12-gallon drum, which came in handy when I had a minor water leak in my basement. 

The VAC1200 sucked up the water quickly, which saved me from a lot of stress. One of my favorite features is the 8-foot locking Pro Hose

It’s durable and doesn’t get crimped or collapsed, unlike other vacuum hoses I’ve used in the past. Plus, the Tug-A-Long locking end ensures it stays in place during use. On the other hand changing its filter is a breeze too, due to the Qwik-Lock filter system

The accessory tools, like the car nozzle, are a pleasant surprise. Cleaning my car’s interior has never been easier. 

The narrow profile of the nozzle reached all those tricky spots effortlessly. Despite its powerful features, It is pretty compact, standing about 2 feet high and weighing around 22 pounds

The orange and black design looks sleek, and it’s easy to move around, whether in the workshop or around the house.

If you’re in the market for a reliable wet dry shop vacuum, the RIDGID VAC1200 is a solid choice. It’s efficient, versatile, and built to last. 

2. DeWalt 10-Gallon Shop Vac – Editor’s Choice 

The DeWALT DXV10P vac has quickly become an essential tool in my workspace. Right off the bat, I noticed its quiet 2-stage motor, which operates up to 50% quieter than other vacs I’ve used. 

This feature alone is a significant relief, especially when you are working for extended periods. 

The vacuum comes with a dust cartridge filter, which is perfect for both small dry debris and wet materials.

I found this particularly handy when cleaning up after a woodworking project that left both sawdust and spilled glue. 

On the other hand its strong handle made it easy to move around, and the large on/off switch is both water-resistant and easily accessible. 

One of the standout features for me is the built-in 20’ power cord. It’s long enough to cover a good area without constantly unplugging and relocating. 

The accessory bag keeps all the tools organized, and I no longer have to search for the right attachment. 

The swiveling casters are a dream, which allows the vac to move smoothly in any direction. And when it’s time to empty the tank, the built-in drain ensures a mess-free process.

A few technical points to note: the tank’s actual volume is 10 gallons, but this doesn’t reflect the capacity during operation. 

The term “Peak Horsepower” (PHP) indicates the motor’s horsepower output in lab testing and not its operational horsepower. 

In real-life use, the motor doesn’t always operate at the peak horsepower shown. This machine also boasts a range of special features. 

It’s portable, lightweight, and comes with wheels for easy movement. The waterproof design ensures durability, and the washable filter is a nice touch. 

Its yellow color gives it a distinct look, and with a noise level of 80 dB, it’s relatively quiet for its power. 

The 5.5-hour charging time is reasonable, and the battery life of 300 hours is impressive. 

With a motor horsepower of 5.5 and weighing in at 22.7 pounds, it’s a robust and reliable machine.

3. Greenworks 40V 3-Gallon – Also Great

The Greenworks 40V 3-Gallon Shop Vacuum is a standout in the world of shop vacs. Right off the bat, its compact design caught my attention. 

Despite its size, it packs a punch with 70 CFM of airflow, handling both wet and dry messes with ease. 

One feature I particularly love is its quick conversion to a blower; it’s perfect for those light debris removal tasks around the workshop.

Its washable HEPA filter is impressive, trapping a whopping 99.7% of dust. This means a cleaner workspace and less sneezing for me.

The 3-gallon capacity is ample for most tasks, and the 2.1-meter hose length gives a good reach without being cumbersome.

But what truly sets this vacuum apart is its battery system. Being part of the Greenworks 40V lithium-ion platform, it shares its battery with over 40 outdoor products. 

I’ve found the battery to be reliable, providing consistent power without any fade. And the fact that some of these batteries come with USB ports.

The green color is vibrant and adds a touch of freshness to my workshop. It weighs just under 17 pounds, and is easy to move around. 

In the end the Greenworks 40V 3-Gallon is a robust and versatile tool. Whether you’re cleaning up after a project or need to charge your phone, this shop vac has got you covered.

4. Hoover 6-Gallon Shop Vac – Best Value

The HOOVER ONEPWR Cordless High Capacity Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum is a standout in the world of shop vacuums. 

Right off the bat, its powerful suction, boasting up to 65 CFM, impressed me. Whether I was indoors or out in the yard, this vacuum tackled both wet and dry messes with ease. 

Its 6-gallon capacity meant I didn’t have to empty it frequently, which was a huge time-saver. One of my favorite features has to be the No-Tip Wheel Design. 

It’s not just a fancy name; the vacuum truly glides smoothly, navigating around obstacles without any hiccups. 

The 360-degree mobility ensures that I can reach every nook and cranny without straining or struggling.

The on-board multi-purpose tool kit is a thoughtful addition. It’s evident that HOOVER considered the user’s needs, providing tools that cater to various cleaning tasks. 

The extendable hose, crevice tool, and utility nozzle became my go-to accessories, which makes the cleaning process more efficient.

It is powered by the ONEPWR Lithium-Ion battery, I never felt restricted. The fade-free power meant consistent performance, and I didn’t have to hunt for outlets. 

The vacuum comes in a clean white color, which, while not a deal-breaker, adds a touch of elegance to an otherwise industrial-looking tool. 

And with a three-year warranty, it’s clear that HOOVER stands behind the quality of their product.

5. Ryobi 40V 10-Gallon Shop Vac – Best Battery Powered

The RYOBI 40V 10 Gal Vac is a standout addition to any workspace. First off, its compatibility with the RYOBI 40V System is a major plus. 

This means if you have other tools from the RYOBI 40V lineup, you can effortlessly switch and use the same battery platform. 

The vacuum’s cordless design is a dream come true. No more dragging cords around or searching for outlets. 

With a hose length of 2.4 meters, it offers ample reach, and makes it easier to clean the more distant corners of my garage. 

The green color gives it a fresh and vibrant look, which I personally appreciate. It weighs in at 20 pounds, it’s relatively lightweight, and the dimensions (16″L x 18″W x 16″H).

The foam filter efficiently traps both wet and dry debris, and ensures a thorough cleaning experience. 

One of my favorite features has to be its dual functionality for both wet and dry cleaning.

Spilled some water? 

No problem. 

Sawdust all over? 

It’s got you covered. 

Using it firsthand, I was impressed by its suction power and how it handled different types of messes.

This dry/wet shop vac is a reliable and versatile tool; the fact that the battery and charger are sold separately might be a downside for some. 

6. Craftsman 16-Gallon Shop Vac

The CRAFTSMAN 16 Gallon Wet/Dry Vac is another powerhouse in the world of shop vacuums. With a robust 6.5 Peak HP motor, it effortlessly tackles large cleanup tasks. 

I was particularly impressed by its performance during major renovations and even flood cleanups. 

The vacuum’s capacity is immense, but it’s essential to note that the actual collection depends on the type of debris and filter condition.

One of the standout features for me was the variety of nozzles it comes with. The car nozzle, utility nozzle, and wet nozzle make it versatile for different cleanup tasks. 

The 2-1/2 in. diameter hose is a bonus, especially with the added Dual-Flex feature that resists kinks and crushing. 

I’ve used other vacuums in the past where the hose would easily kink, and reduce suction power, but this wasn’t an issue with the CRAFTSMAN.

The on-board hose storage, accessory, and power cord organizers eliminate the usual clutter and reduce the storage space needed. 

Changing the filter is also hassle-free, thanks to the Qwik Lock Filter Fastening System. I appreciated the extra-large drain, which made emptying liquids straightforward.

Another feature I found handy was the blowing port. After cleaning up post-renovation debris, I used it to clear yard waste off my deck. 

The high-speed exhaust air through the hose was surprisingly effective. The CRAFTSMAN 16 Gallon Wet/Dry Vac comes  with a 20-foot cable length, so I had ample reach around my workspace. 

Its red color gives it a professional look, and the touch control is intuitive. The noise level, at 69 dB, is reasonable for such a powerful machine. 

And with a 3-year limited warranty, it’s clear that CRAFTSMAN stands behind their product.

7. Stanley 8 Gallon Shop Vac

From the moment I unboxed the Stanley 8 Gallon Shop Vac, I could tell it was a cut above the rest. 

Stanley, a brand synonymous with quality, has once again delivered with this portable wet/dry vacuum cleaner. 

The design is sleek, with its silver color giving it a professional look that fits right into any workshop, garage, or home.

One of the standout features for me was the powerful 4 peak HP motor. When I turned it on, the suction was impressive. 

Whether I was cleaning the floor, picking up debris from a recent DIY project, or vacuuming the car’s interior, this shop vac didn’t disappoint.

It tackled both wet and dry messes with ease, making the cleaning process not just efficient but enjoyable.

The 8-gallon stainless steel tank is another feature I genuinely appreciate. It’s spacious enough that I don’t find myself constantly emptying it. 

This ultra-large storage space is a time-saver, especially during those extensive cleaning sessions.

Safety is paramount, and Stanley has incorporated their Safety Buoy Technology into this model. 

I found peace of mind knowing that the vacuum would automatically power off if the water level reached a certain point, protecting the motor.

The 1.8-meter hose length is ample for most tasks, and the noise level, at 70 dB, is reasonable for such a powerful machine. 

In terms of maintenance, cleaning the vacuum and its accessories is straightforward. Regular upkeep ensures that this machine will last.

Small metal shop vac

The Shop-Vac Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner is a compact yet powerful tool, boasting a robust 85W suction. 

Its cordless design, powered by a 2600mAH Li-ion battery, offers a decent 15-minute runtime, which makes it convenient for quick clean-ups. 

The vacuum comes with a variety of attachments, including a brush nozzle, crevice nozzle, and round brush, which I found particularly useful for different cleaning tasks. 

The 1.4-liter capacity is ample for its size, and the inclusion of both foam and HEPA filters ensures efficient dirt capture. 

At 80 dB, it’s not the quietest, but it’s bearable. And it weighs under 4 pounds, it’s easy to handle and maneuver. 

The red and black design is sleek, and the push-button controller is straightforward to use. 

The only drawback is the relatively short battery life, but the performance and versatility make up for it.

Can You Use Shop Vac to Clean Pool

Yes, you can use a Shop Vac to clean a pool. A Shop Vac is designed to handle both wet and dry debris, making it suitable for removing water and small particles from your pool. 

To clean your pool with a Shop Vac, first ensure it’s set to the wet mode. Then, using the appropriate nozzle, start vacuuming the bottom of the pool to pick up dirt and debris. 

It’s especially handy for spot cleaning or for pools that don’t have a dedicated pool vacuum system. 

However, for larger pools or more thorough cleaning, a dedicated pool vacuum might be more efficient. 

What is a shop vac?

A shop vac is a powerful vacuum cleaner designed for cleaning up big messes and wet spills. 

People often use it in workshops, garages, and construction sites. It can suck up things like sawdust, nails, water, and other debris. 

Unlike regular home vacuums, a shop vac has a big canister and a strong motor. It often comes with different attachments to help clean various surfaces.

What to consider when shopping for a shop vac

When shopping for a shop vac, you should consider these points:

1. Purpose: firstly you should decide why you need it. For home, workshop, or commercial use?

2. Size & Capacity: then choose the right tank size. Bigger tanks hold more, but they’re heavier.

3. Power: Look at the horsepower (HP); more HP means stronger suction.

4. Filter Type: Ensure it can handle fine dust if needed. Some have HEPA filters for tiny particles.

5. Wet/Dry Capability: Some can pick up liquids; decide if you need this feature.

6. Portability: Check if it has wheels or handles; this helps in moving it around.

7. Attachments: You should also look for useful tools like crevice tools or brushes.

8. Hose Size: A wider hose picks up bigger debris. A longer hose reaches further.

9. Noise Level: Some are quieter than others; if noise bothers you, check this.

10. Price: Set a budget; don’t overspend, but remember, very cheap ones might not last long.

11. Warranty: A good warranty can save you money if something breaks.

Are shop vac vacuums good?

Shop vac vacuums are good for specific tasks. They are strong and can pick up both wet and dry messes. 

Many people use them in workshops, garages, or for big spills because they handle heavy-duty cleaning well. 

However, for regular home cleaning, they might be too bulky and not as convenient as traditional vacuums.

What is a strong shop vac?

A strong shop vac is a powerful vacuum cleaner designed for heavy-duty cleaning. It can pick up both wet and dry messes, making it useful in workshops, garages, and construction sites. 

Unlike regular home vacuums, it has a sturdy build and can handle tough debris like nails, wood chips, and liquids. 

People often use it for big clean-up jobs or when they need a machine that can handle rough conditions.

How to Use Shop Vac

Here is how you can use a shop vac in a right way:

1. Prepare the Shop Vac

Before you start using your Shop Vac, ensure the filter is clean. If you see dirt or debris, either clean it or replace it with a new one.

And you should pick the right filter for your task: a general-purpose filter for regular debris or a fine dust filter for smaller particles. 

Also check the tank; if it’s full or has some debris, empty it out. This way, your Shop Vac will work efficiently and give you the best results.

2. Choose the Right Attachment

When you use a Shop Vac, always pick the best attachment for the job. For cleaning floors, grab the wide floor nozzle. 

If you need to reach tight spots, the crevice tool works best. And for general cleaning, like dusting off surfaces, the round brush is ideal. 

Because using the right tool not only makes your cleaning more effective but also saves you time.

3. Connect the Hose

First, find the vacuum port on the Shop Vac; it’s usually on the front or top. Take the hose and push its end into this port. 

Ensure it fits snugly; and you should hear a click or feel it lock into place. Now, the hose is secure and ready for use. 

4. Plug in the Shop Vac

Now you’ll need to find a nearby electrical outlet. Ensure the Shop Vac’s power switch is in the “OFF” position. 

Take the power cord of the Shop Vac and plug it into the outlet. Ensure the plug fits snugly. Now, your Shop Vac is ready to use.

5. Turn On the Shop Vac

Then you should check that the hose is securely connected to the vacuum port. Then, find the power switch on the Shop Vac. 

Push this switch to the “ON” position; you should hear the motor start, indicating the Shop Vac is now on and ready to use. 

If it doesn’t turn on, ensure the outlet works and that there are no issues with the power cord.

6. Start Cleaning

Grab the hose or the attachment you’ve chosen; hold it close to the dirt or debris. Move it slowly over the area to make sure you pick up everything. 

If you see larger pieces of trash, pick them up by hand to avoid clogging the hose. Keep an eye on the tank; if it gets full, stop and empty it before continuing. 

7. Empty the Tank

When your Shop Vac’s tank is full, stop using it. First, turn off the machine and unplug it; then, open the tank’s lid. 

Pour out the liquid or dump out the debris into a trash bin. Ensure you get everything out. After emptying, close the tank’s lid securely. 

8. Clean Up

After you finish a task, you should always clean up and put tools back in their places. Wipe down surfaces to remove dirt or spills. 

Sweep or vacuum the floor to pick up any debris. Throw away trash in the garbage bin.

Why You Should Trust Us

When it comes to evaluating the best shop vacs on the market, our team brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the table. 

We’ve spent years reviewing and analyzing tools and equipment, ensuring that our recommendations are backed by thorough research and real-world testing. 

Our commitment is to provide our readers with unbiased, accurate, and up-to-date information. 

We have no affiliations with shop vac manufacturers, and our reviews are not influenced by any external pressures. Our sole aim is to help you make an informed decision.

Who This is For

Whether you’re a professional tradesperson, a DIY enthusiast, or someone simply looking to keep their workspace clean and dust-free, a shop vac is an essential tool. This guide is tailored for anyone:

  • Seeking to purchase their first shop vac and needs guidance on what to look for.
  • Looking to upgrade their current shop vac to a more efficient model.
  • Interested in understanding the differences between various shop vac models and brands.
  • Desiring a reliable and durable tool that can handle both wet and dry messes with ease.

How We Picked

Our selection process is rigorous and methodical. Here’s how we narrowed down the vast field of shop vacs to the best ones:

1. We started by compiling a list of the most popular and highly-rated shop vacs available in the market.

2. Then we compared the features, capacity, power, and other technical specifications of each model.

3. Real-world feedback is invaluable; we squared online reviews, forums, and feedback to understand the pros and cons of each model from actual users.

4. We considered the reputation and reliability of the brand, ensuring that our recommendations come from trusted manufacturers.

5. While we understand that everyone has a budget, we aimed to find the best shop vacs that offer great value for their price.

How We Tested

Testing is a critical component of our review process. Here’s how we ensured that our recommendations stand up to real-world challenges:

1. We tested the suction power of each shop vac, assessing how effectively they pick up both wet and dry debris.

2. Our team used each shop vac extensively over a period of weeks to check for any signs of wear and tear.

3. A quieter operation is always preferable. We measured the decibel levels of each model during operation.

4. From assembling the shop vac to emptying its contents, we evaluated how user-friendly each model is.

5. We assessed the weight, size, and design of each shop vac to determine how easy it is to move around and store.

6. We also tested any additional features, such as blower functions, filter efficiency, and accessory storage.

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The Bottom Line

We hope this article has assisted you in choosing the best shop vac for your needs. 

Our top recommendations are the Ridgid 12-Gallon NXT and the DeWalt 10-Gallon shop vacs. 

These models stand out due to their superior features, including powerful suction, large capacity, durable construction, and user-friendly design, all at a reasonable price point. 


DiClerico, D. (2023, July 14). 7 Best Shop Vacs-. Good Housekeeping. Retrieved September 4, 2023, from https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/appliances/vacuum-cleaner-reviews/g41352409/best-wet-dry-shop-vacs/

McGaffigan, J. (2022, December 20). Greenworks 24V Cordless 3-Gallon Vacuum Review – PTR. Pro Tool Reviews. Retrieved September 4, 2023, from https://www.protoolreviews.com/greenworks-24v-cordless-3-gallon-vacuum/

RIDGID 12 Gallon 5.0 Peak HP NXT Wet Dry Vac Review. (2018, December 30). working class garage. Retrieved September 4, 2023, from https://workingclassgarage.com/2018/12/30/ridgid-12-gallon-5-0-peak-hp-nxt-wet-dry-vac-review/

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