The Best Shop Vacuums

Shop vacuums are useful tools that clean up large amounts of debris. They have powerful motors, large-capacity tanks, and flexible hoses with wide diameter mouths in order to vacuum up anything that gets in their way. Many shop vacuums are as capable of taking in large amounts of water as they are dirt and sawdust.

We reviewed many different shop vacuums and have identified the best for cleaning up messes in and around your home, business, or job site. Considering factors such as suction power, debris tank capacity, and overall functionality we have chosen our top picks and provided a detailed list of some other great options for you to browse.

Best Shop Vacuum Overall
Craftsman 16 Gallon Heavy-Duty Shop Vacuum
The Craftsman 16 Gallon Heavy-Duty Shop Vacuum is high-powered, has a high tank capacity, and is highly versatile. It’s a great tool for home or work.

We’ve chosen the Craftsman 16 Gallon Heavy-Duty Shop Vacuum as our overall top pick. This product is a fully-functional wet/dry vacuum with a detachable leaf blower and an assortment of useful attachments, all of which make it a fantastic choice for the home or the job site.

The 5 Top-Rated Shop Vacuums

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best Shop Vacuum OverallCrafstman 16 Gallon Heavy-Duty Shop Vacuum4.8
Best Wall-Mounted Shop VacuumCraftsman 5 Gallon Wall-Mounted Shop Vacuum4.9
Best Budget Shop VacuumShop-Vac 6 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum4.5
Best Cordless Shop VacuumPorter-Cable MAX Cordless Shop Vacuum4.6
Best Quiet Shop VacuumDeWALT Quiet Poly Wet Dry Vacuum4.6

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

Best Shop Vacuum Overall: Craftsman 16 Gallon Heavy-Duty Shop Vacuum

The Craftsman 16 Gallon Heavy-Duty Shop Vacuum is a versatile and capable tool that will accomplish all of the cleaning needs of your home or business and then some. Its powerful 6.5hp motor and 2.5″ diameter hose will clean fast without leaving any debris behind. The 16-gallon tank is large enough for use on a busy construction site while remaining maneuverable and convenient for the homestead thanks to helpful features like its durable caster wheels.

There are a number of sizes of this Craftsman model available if you desire a vacuum that is more powerful and larger or smaller and more portable. That said, we believe that this model hits the sweet spot that most home handypersons and workshop owners desire.

Wet/dry functionality means that this vacuum is able to suck up liquid as easily as sawdust. It’s able to clean up anything that can fit through its hose, but it can also function as a high-powered leaf blower. The motor can be detached and connected to a locking blower wand to create an excellent leaf blower to blast away leaves and dirt. Aside from the blower wand, this vacuum also comes with an accessory caddy and an assortment of cleaning attachments.

Craftsman 16 Gallon Heavy-Duty Shop Vacuum Key Features:

  • 6.5 HP motor
  • 16-gallon tank with smaller and larger options
  • Detachable leaf blower
  • Durable caster wheels

Best Wall-Mounted Shop Vacuum: Craftsman 5 Gallon Wall-Mounted Shop Vacuum

Best Wall-Mounted Shop Vacuum
Craftsman 5 Gallon Wall-Mounted Shop Vacuum
Ideally sized for a home garage, the Craftsman 5 Gallon Wall-Mounted Shop Vacuum was designed with convenience and utility in mind.

Yes, this is another Craftsman product, but there are reasons why this brand makes a double appearance on our top choice list. The Craftsman 5 Gallon Wall-Mounted Shop Vacuum is another knockout vacuum that’s practical, powerful, and reliable beyond measure. This isn’t the biggest and burliest wall-mounted shop vac we looked at, but it’s efficient and sized just right for a home garage.

One of its best selling points is that this unit features a built-in muffler/diffuser to keep its operation quiet for use in smaller spaces. This vacuum is a complete wet/dry vac with a 21-foot hose reach that has a 1-7/8″ diameter. It’ll work well in tidying up a messy garage and can clean a vehicle’s interior with ease.

On top of this vacuum’s excellent functionality, the wall mount itself is more functional than any other we’ve seen. Comprised of heavy-duty plastic, the mount features a well-molded hose corral and several storage spots for the included extension wands. You can’t go wrong in choosing this as your personal wall-mounted shop vac, but check out our other options below if you need a wall-mounted unit with a bit more capacity or reach.

Craftsman 5 Gallon Wall-Mounted Shop Vacuum Key Features:

  • 5 HP motor
  • 5-gallon tank
  • Built-in muffler
  • 21-foot long hose

Best Budget Shop Vacuum: Shop-Vac 6 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum

Best Budget Shop Vacuum
Shop-Vac 6 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum
The Shop-Vac 6 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum has strong suction and good debris capacity at a fair price.

Simple, yet capable, the Shop-Vac 6 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum is everything most people are looking for in a shop vac. The motor provides adequate suction to clean a household, home garage, or small shop, and the 6-gallon debris tank is large enough to tackle the majority of use it will see in these locations.

This unit is lightweight and portable. The roll caster wheels make it mobile on hard floors, and the 8-foot pliable hose is easy to manipulate.  Multiple extension wands and nozzles are supplied with the vacuum, as are a reusable cartridge filter and a filter bag.

There’s nothing extraordinary about this Shop-Vac, and there’s nothing lacking, either. This budget-friendly option will clean a dusty garage floor and drain a flooded laundry room at a price that won’t break the bank.

Shop-Vac 6 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum Key Features:

  • 3 HP motor
  • 6-gallon tank
  • Roll caster wheels

Best Cordless Shop Vacuum: Porter-Cable MAX Cordless Shop Vacuum

Best Cordless Shop Vacuum
Porter-Cable MAX Cordless Shop Vacuum
Lightweight and powerful, the Porter-Cable MAX Cordless Shop Vacuum will make quick work of any small messes around the house or job site.

Take your vacuum with you wherever debris may be with the Porter-Cable MAX Cordless Shop Vacuum. With a 2-gallon capacity, this vacuum can tidy up small messes in a single attempt, and the 4Ah power will ensure that you don’t miss any of it. This wet/dry vacuum can clean up dirt and liquid with the best of them.

The 9.2-pound weight is light enough to carry around, and its box-like design provides stability when you need to set it down in precarious places. Though you can operate this vacuum while holding it, the long 7-foot 8-inch hose enables you to set the vacuum down in a room while you point the nozzle wherever it needs to be.

Onboard accessory storage keeps your extra nozzles and extension wands organized. This vacuum uses 20V batteries that users say provide up to 45 minutes of continuous runtime. An endless array of uses can be imagined for a cordless vacuum such as this, and it can work wonders in tight spaces such as bathrooms or crawlspaces where larger shop vacuums can find it difficult to reach.

Porter-Cable MAX Cordless Shop Vacuum Key Features:

  • 20V battery
  • 2-gallon tank
  • 7-foot 8-inch hose
  • 9.2 pounds

Best Quiet Shop Vacuum: DeWALT Quiet Poly Wet Dry Vacuum

Best Quiet Shop Vacuum
DeWALT Quiet Poly Wet Dry Vacuum
Featuring a 2-stage motor, the DeWALT Quiet Poly Wet Dry Vacuum is quieter and more reliable than other shop vacs with standard motors.

Shop vacuums can be incredibly powerful and deafeningly loud, but the DeWALT Quiet Poly Wet Dry Vacuum cuts down the noise without sacrificing suction thanks to its 2-stage 5.5 HP motor. Other shop vacuums at this power level can sound like jet engines in small spaces with echo-inducing walls and many people wear earplugs when operating them. By contrast, this DeWALT unit is quiet enough to hold a conversation while operating.

Although its quieter than average operation is a highlight, you should know that it is also a versatile and powerful shop vacuum. The motor is quite strong, and the 10-gallon tank will hold more than enough debris than most people will need to vacuum in a single session. It also features a blower port that can be used to turn the device into a functional leaf and dust blower.

The rubberized caster wheels are quiet in their own right, more so than the typical plastic wheels. This vacuum comes with a convenient accessory bag for all of its cleaning attachments, a large drain port for liquid disposal, a washable cartridge filter, and it has a convenient carry handle that doubles as a power cord corral. This is one of the best mid-sized shop vacuums you can buy today.

DeWALT Quiet Poly Wet Dry Vacuum Key Features:

  • 5.5 HP motor with 2-stage quiet operation
  • 10-gallon tank
  • Rubberized caster wheels
  • Built-in blower port

Who Should Buy A Shop Vacuum

Homeowners and business owners should certainly consider owning a shop vacuum or two. Most household vacuums are not up to the challenge of cleaning anything beyond flat carpet and hardwood floors. A shop vacuum is essential for cleaning a garage, patio, shop, and other such places where excess dirt and grime tend to manifest.

Even if you don’t own a home, a shop vacuum can be a great tool in many situations. Shop vacuums make cleaning the interior of a car much easier, and they can be useful in a myriad of other messy situations. Some shop vacuums have blower functionality and can be useful for ridding your driveway of autumn leaves or your front deck of dust and pollen.

If you’re planning on cleaning out the gutters of those leaves, then you won’t want to miss The Best Telescoping Ladders.

Best Shop Vacuum Overall
Craftsman 16 Gallon Heavy-Duty Shop Vacuum
The Craftsman 16 Gallon Heavy-Duty Shop Vacuum is high-powered, has a high tank capacity, and is highly versatile. It’s a great tool for home or work.

Important Features to Consider

There are a few important considerations to think through before purchasing a shop vacuum.

  • Tank size. Be aware of the debris tank capacities of the shop vacuums you are considering. The biggest size available isn’t always the best answer because shop vacs can get bulky and heavy. Someone in need of a shop vacuum for their household garage may be best suited for a 10-gallon or lesser tank, while a business owner with a working carpentry shop may sacrifice mobility for the capacity of a much larger vacuum. It all depends on your needs.
  • Power. The power rating of shop vacuums tends to go hand in hand with its tank capacity, but that’s not always the case. Every shop vacuum has a listed power rating in either horsepower or AMP hours. Cordless battery-powered shop vacuums have much weaker motors, and though they have the functionality of a shop vacuum, their power likely to be too weak for heavy-duty use.
  • Wet/Dry. Perhaps one of the most useful abilities of a quality wet/dry shop vacuum is that it can collect water. This is a great trait to have when a pipe suddenly bursts and you find your feet and floor utterly soaked, or you find yourself needing to drain a clogged appliance. Not every shop vacuum is wet/dry capable, however, so do your due diligence and research each vacuum you’re considering to buy.
  • Mobility. This loops back to tank size, and also to cordless shop vacuums. Mobility is essential for some people, but not necessary for others. There are highly maneuverable shop vacuums that are cordless or corded. Some have wheels, and some are light enough to carry around. There are even shop vacuums that remove mobility from the equation because they’re designed to be mounted to a wall. Each type has its benefits. You need to consider which is best for your situation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a shop vacuum and how does it work?

Shop vacuums are powerful utility vacuums designed for working areas that typically have large amounts of debris that needs to be cleaned regularly. Shop vacuums often feature long hoses with wide mouths that can easily collect large pieces of material such as dirt, sawdust, and dried plaster. Many shop vacuums are also capable of collecting spilled liquids, and these are often called wet/dry vacuums.

What is a shop vac used for?

Shop vacuums are primarily used in garages, on outdoor patios and decks, and other areas where large amounts of debris tent to collect. Wet/dry vacuums can also be used to clean up spills in kitchens, bathrooms, and basements. Shop vacs go beyond the capabilities of standard household vacuums and are most useful when tackling cleaning tasks that household vacuums cannot accomplish.

Can I clean my carpet with a shop vac?

You can, and there are attachments that will make this easier, but shop vacuums are not the best tool for carpet cleaning. Carpet cleaners and traditional household vacuums will be much more efficient on carpet.

Is a shop vac better than a regular vacuum?

Shop vacuums are better than regular vacuums in a number of scenarios. First, shop vacs are better at cleaning up large amounts of debris because they have more powerful suction, larger hoses, and larger capacity tanks. Shop vacs are also better for cleaning up liquids because wet/dry vacs have no issue taking in gallons of water. Shop vacs are also more durable and can handle the rigors of working in places like metal shops and construction zones where household vacuums would quickly fail.

Other Shop Vacuums We Reviewed

Best Shop Vacuum Overall
Craftsman 16 Gallon Heavy-Duty Shop Vacuum
The Craftsman 16 Gallon Heavy-Duty Shop Vacuum is high-powered, has a high tank capacity, and is highly versatile. It’s a great tool for home or work.

We looked at 20 other shop vacuums. Even though they didn’t make our five best shop vacuum list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your utility vacuum needs. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.

Shop Vacuums

AUTLEAD Wet Dry Vacuum

AUTLEAD Wet Dry Vacuum

The AUTLEAD Wet Dry Vacuum has strong suction from its 5.5 HP motor. It can vacuum up to 5.5 gallons of debris and liquid, and the motor is protected by buoy technology that automatically cuts power before internal liquid levels reach a height that would damage the motor.

Key Features:

  • 5.5 HP motor
  • 5.5-gallon tank
  • Safety buoy technology

Cost: $70

DeWALT MAX Wet/Dry Vacuum

DeWALT MAX wet:Dry Vacuum

Uniquely versatile, the DeWALT Max Wet/Dry Vacuum can be operated via a cord through an AC outlet or can run on a 20V lithium-ion battery. This vacuum features onboard storage for its attachments and utilizes a washable HEPA filter.

Key Features:

  • Reuseable HEPA filter
  • 2-gallon tank
  • Can be operated with AC outlet or lithium-ion battery

Cost: $230

RIDGID Portable Wet Dry Vacuum

RIDGID Portable Wet Dry Vacuum

The RIGID Portable Wet Dry Vacuum is both a powerful vacuum and blower. Attached by a 20-foot power cord, this lightweight shop vacuum runs strong and can cover most garages from a single outlet. Switching between vacuum and blower modes on the fly is as easy as transitioning the hose from one port to the other.

Key Features:

  • 5 HP motor
  • 4-gallon tank
  • Blower port

Cost: $95

Shop-Vac 18 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum

Shop-Vac 18 Gallon Wet:Dry Vacuum

A powerful shop vacuum with monstrous capacity, the Shop-Vac 18 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum is a great choice for working shops and garages that create an abundance of debris. This vacuum has a powerful 6.5 HP motor that’ll pull everything off of your dirty floor. Many specialized cleaning attachments are included.

Key Features:

  • 6.5 HP motor
  • 16-gallon tank
  • Roll casters

Cost: $185

Shop-Vac 4 Gallon Utility Vacuum

Shop-Vac 4 Gallon Utility Vacuum

The Shop-Vac 4 Gallon Utility Vacuum is like the little kid brother of the previously mentioned 18-gallon model. This unit is much smaller, but still quite capable, and it features a large storage basket for its suite of specialized cleaning accessories. It also features vacuum and blowing functionalities.

Key Features:

  • 5.5 HP motor
  • 4-gallon tank
  • Large storage basket

Cost: $85

Vacmaster 12 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum

Vacmaster 12 Gallon Wet:Dry Vacuum

Not only is the Vacmaster 12 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum a capable shop vacuum, but it’s also one of the most useful blowers on our list. The motor and hose can detach when you put it in blower mode to transform into a lightweight, highly maneuverable blower with blowing speeds up to 240mph.

Key Features:

  • 5 HP motor
  • 12-gallon tank
  • quick-release detachable blower

Cost: $80

Workshop General Purpose Wet Dry Vacuum

Workshop General Purpose Wet Dry Vacuum

This Workshop General Purpose Wet Dry Vacuum is a well-rounded, heavy-duty shop vacuum that features a 2.5-inch diameter, flexible hose and a large drain plug for efficient liquid disposal. A utility nozzle, wet nozzle, car nozzle, and two extension wands are included with the vacuum.

Key Features:

  • 5 HP motor
  • 12-gallon tank
  • Large drain for liquid disposal

Cost: $95

Budget Shop Vacuums

Shop-Vac All-around EZ Series

Shop-Vac All-around EZ Series

The Shop-Vac All-around EZ Series is the little shop vacuum that could. It has a smaller motor and tank capacity than most, but it should be adequate for most home garage needs. A suite of cleaning accessories is included, as is a wall-mount bracket that can be utilized to save space on your garage floor.

Key Features:

  • 2.5 HP motor
  • 2.5-gallon tank
  • Included wall-mount bracket

Cost: $55

Stanley Wet/Dry Portable Vacuum

Stanley Wet:Dry Portable Vacuum

With ‘portable’ as its middle name, you know that the Stanley Wet/Dry Portable Vacuum will travel with you wherever you need it. The device functions as both a vacuum and blower, making it quite a useful tool for how inexpensive it is. It’s an incredible value.

Key Features:

  • 3 HP motor
  • 3-gallon tank
  • 12-month warranty

Cost: $40

TACKLIFE 5 Gallon Shop Vacuum

TACKLIFE 5 Gallon Shop Vacuum

Often you’ll find that inexpensive products are cheaply made and suffer from poor reliability, but that’s not the case with the TACKLIFE 5 Gallon Shop Vacuum. This wallet-friendly option features stainless steel construction. Users praise its durability, power, and longevity.

Key Features:

  • 5.5 HP motor
  • 5-gallon tank
  • Stainless steel body

Cost: $55

Workshop Compact Wet Dry Vacuum

Workshop Compact Wet Dry Vacuum

If power and capacity are low on your list of vacuum priorities, the small and lightweight Workshop Compact Wet Dry Vacuum may be the shop vacuum you’ve been looking for. It’ll work well to clean up small messes under sinks, in bathrooms, and other household uses, but it’s not ideal for large garages or shops.

Key Features:

  • 1.75 HP motor
  • 2.5-gallon tank
  • Compact, flat-bottom design

Cost: $55

Cordless Shop Vacuums

DeWALT MAX Cordless Vacuum

DeWALT MAX Cordless Vacuum

With a unique front utility nozzle and a detachable heavy-duty rubber hose, the DeWALT MAX Cordless Vacuum can conveniently clean up any little mess that’s in its way. The powerful 20V battery is interchangeable with other 20V power tools batteries, and the internal filters can be easily removed and cleaned.

Key Features:

  • 20V battery
  • 0.5-gallon tank
  • 4.3 pounds

Cost: $100

Makita Brushless Cordless Shop Vacuum

Makita Brushless Cordless Shop Vacuum

The Makita Brushless Cordless Shop Vacuum uses a proprietary 18V battery that boasts a 60-minute continuous runtime. An LED indicator brightly displays the current battery level. An over-the-shoulder carrying strap can be attached to the integrated tethering hooks.

Key Features:

  • 18V battery
  • 2-gallon tank
  • 10.5 pounds

Cost: $160

Milwaukee M18 Cordless Wet/Dry Vacuum

Milkwaukee M18 Cordless Wet:Dry Vacuum

Strong, locking latches separate the different compartments of the Milwaukee M18 Cordless Wet/Dry Vacuum. This unit has a 2-gallon tank, and on top of that rests a convenient storage compartment for the vacuum’s accessories. It all packs away into a neat package.

Key Features:

  • 18V battery
  • 2-gallon tank
  • 12 pounds

Cost: $140

Ryobi 6 Gallon Cordless Vacuum

Ryobi 6 Gallon Cordless Vacuum

The Ryobi 6 Gallon Cordless Vacuum is a large piece of equipment with a 30-minute continuous battery life. The low design and four wheels make this vacuum extremely maneuverable, and the assortment of different carry handles enable you to lift it however you choose.

Key Features:

  • 18V battery
  • 6-gallon tank
  • Four wheels

Cost: $120

Vacmaster Professional

Vacmaster Professional

Designed like a burly toolbox, the Vacmaster Professional is a dream for those who like to keep things organized. The top section opens to a cleanly-designed storage compartment, and the hose tucks away nicely when not in use. This is heavy at 16.5 pounds, so be sure that you are comfortable lifting that amount of weight before you make a purchase.

Key Features:

  • 20V battery
  • 4-gallon tank
  • 16.5 pounds

Cost: $85

Wall-Mounted Shop Vacuums

Bissell Garage Pro Wall-Mounted Vacuum

Bissell Gargare Pro Wall-Mounted Vacuum

The Bissell Garage Pro Wall-Mounted Vacuum conveniently lifts out of your way and reaches up to 32 feet from its mount thanks to the flexible heavy-duty hose. Several cleaning attachments are included, and the vacuum easily converts into a blower as well.

Key Features:

  • 12 AMP motor
  • 4-gallon tank
  • 32-foot reach

Cost: $170

Stanley Wet Dry Hanging Vacuum

Stanley Wet Dry Hanging Vacuum

Featuring a stainless steel tank and a synthetic rubber steel-reinforced hose, the Stanley Wet Dry Ganging Vacuum is a durable shop vacuum with generous power and storage capacity. This product comes with a 12-month warranty and a well-designed accessory storage pouch.

Key Features:

  • 4 HP motor
  • 4.5-gallon tank
  • 26-foot reach

Cost: $80

VacuMaid GV30 Mounted Garage Vacuum

VacuMaid GV30 Mounted Garage Vacuum

The VacuMaid GV30 Mounted Garage Vacuum is a heavy-duty shop vacuum with impressive power, reach, and debris storage capacity. A 5-year warranty is paired with the device, and you can bet that its powder-coated steel design will last much longer than that. This unit utilizes HEPA style bags.

Key Features:

  • 12 AMP motor
  • 7-gallon tank
  • 30-foot reach

Cost: $250

VacuMaid GV50B Mounted Garage Vacuum

Kicking it up a notch, the VacuMaid GV50B Mounted Garage Vacuum is constructed of powder-coated galvanized steel and comes packaged with a premium 50-foot crushproof hose. Plastic telescoping and curved wands are included, as is an assortment of other cleaning attachments.

Key Features:

  • 12 AMP motor
  • 7-gallon tank
  • 50-foot reach

Cost: $300

Products You May Be Interested In:

Avatar