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The 5 Best Wet Vacs (2023 Review)

Wet shop vacuums are an effective machine for cleaning spilled liquids or washing hardwood floors. In this review, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the five best wet vacs on Amazon to help you find the product that’s right for you. The products included in this article are available at various retail stores, local home centers, and online retailers like Amazon.

Craftsman Portable Wet/Dry Vac, Armor All Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum, and DEWALT Cordless Vacuum isolated on a gray grid paper background Courtesy Amazon

Shop vacs differ from traditional vacuum cleaners, as they can also clean wet messes. They come in several sizes and power levels to fit a variety of needs. To help you select the vacuum that’s right for you, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the best wet vacs on Amazon. Here are our top five recommendations.


Top 5 Wet Vacs


Compare Top Wet Vacs

Product Voltage Capacity Horsepower Hose Length Weight
Product Voltage Capacity Horsepower Hose Length Weight
Craftsman Heavy-Duty Wet/Dry Vac 120 volts 20 gallons 6.5 7 feet 30.3 pounds
Craftsman Portable Wet/Dry Vac 120 volts 9 gallons 4.25 7 feet 15.5 pounds
Armor All Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum 120 volts 2.5 gallons 2 6.25 feet 7 pounds
DEWALT Cordless Vacuum 20 volts 0.6 liters Not listed 5 feet 4.5 pounds
Vacmaster Professional Wet/Dry Vac 120 volts 5 gallons 5.5 7 feet 13.5 pounds

Best For Large Tasks: Craftsman Heavy-Duty Wet/Dry Vac

Craftsman Heavy-Duty Wet/Dry Vac

Craftsman Heavy-Duty Wet/Dry Vac

  • $207

Prices taken at time of publishing.

This wet/dry vac can handle wet and dry messes of any size with its 20-gallon tank and 6.5-horsepower motor. It also has a wrap for its 20-foot cord, making it easy to store.  It also comes with several useful accessories, including seven wands and nozzles and a dust collection bag.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Has a large 20-gallon tank
✔ Has wheels for easy portability
✔ Comes with 10 different accessories

✘ Blower port doesn’t turn off
✘ Motor can be loud while in operation

What Customers Are Saying

Customers who liked this wet vac were impressed with its suction power and large gallon capacity. Others also liked that it was easy to maneuver. On the other hand, others felt this product did not seal properly while some customers had issues getting the wheels to lock on.


Best For Medium Tasks: Craftsman Portable Wet/Dry Vac

Craftsman Portable Wet/Dry Vac

Craftsman Portable Wet/Dry Vac

  • $113

Prices taken at time of publishing.

This wet/dry vac was designed with medium-sized projects in mind with its nine-gallon tank and 4.25-horsepower motor. With nozzle slots around its base for storage, this vacuum has a lot to offer. It also has wheels around its base to make moving its 15-pound body easier.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Includes two extension wands, a car nozzle, and a dust collection bag for sawdust, dirt, and other materials
✔ Has a large nine-gallon tank
✔ Features Qwik Lock Filter Fastening System for easy filter changes

✘ Does not have blower attachment
✘ Is heavy for a portable machine

What Customers Are Saying

Customers who were pleased with this wet vac liked that it had several useful accessories and attachments. They also liked that it was easy to assemble and that it was particularly effective on pet hair. On the other hand, some other customers felt this product did not have the suction power they were hoping for, while others complained that it let out a bad smell.


Best For Small Tasks: Armor All Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum

Armor All Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum

Armor All Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum

  • $50

Prices taken at time of publishing.

With a 2.5-gallon tank and two-horsepower motor, this wet vac is best for smaller household tasks, such as picking up fine sand or sucking up a gallon of water.  This wet/dry vac comes with eight accessories, including two filters, a hose, a detail brush, a crevice tool, and three nozzles.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Is lightweight at just seven pounds
✔ Comes with eight accessories
✔ Has cord wrap for easy storage

✘ Not ideal for large households
✘ Power cord is shorter than some comparable products

What Customers Are Saying

Those who were happy with this wet vac liked that it was highly portable and easy to maneuver. They were also impressed that it took up minimal space. On the other hand, others felt this product didn’t have enough suction power to lift medium- or large-size items, and others claimed it stopped working properly after a standard amount of use.


Most Portable: DEWALT Cordless Vacuum

DEWALT Cordless Vacuum

DEWALT Cordless Vacuum

  • $111

Prices taken at time of publishing.

Operated by a battery instead of a cord and featuring a flexible hose, this wet vac is easy to move between rooms. It also weighs just 4.5 pounds Additionally, the machine has a large on/off button below its rubberized handle for easy operating.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Has built-in filter that can be removed and rinsed with tap water between uses
✔ Weighs less than five pounds
✔ Blocks 99.7% of dust

✘ Too small for large particles
✘ Has a loud operation

What Customers Are Saying

Those who left satisfactory reviews for this wet vac were pleased with its simple setup and had excellent suction power for its size. Others were impressed with its lightweight design. However, some customers felt this vacuum was overly loud, and others found it challenging to operate.


Best Filtration: Vacmaster Professional Wet/Dry Vac

Vacmaster Professional Wet/Dry Vac

Vacmaster Professional Wet/Dry Vac

  • $169

Prices taken at time of publishing.

This wet/dry vac comes with a fine dust filter and a foam wet filter in addition to other accessories, preventing debris and liquid from damaging the machine. The fine dust filter that not only protects the machine from dust but also prevents that dust from entering the air.

Courtesy Amazon

Pros and Cons

✔ Comes with foam wet filter that prevents debris from damaging machine
✔ Has 5.5-horsepower motor and five-gallon tank
✔ Features quick-release cord

✘ Hose holder is poorly designed
✘ Has a smaller capacity than some other wet vacs

What Customers Are Saying

Customers who liked this wet/dry vac were impressed with its excellent suction power and its long cord. Others liked that it had a long cord. However, some customers felt this wet/dry vac was hard to maneuver since it didn’t have wheels. Some also found that the latches didn’t fully tighten.


Buyer’s Guide

Read our buying guide below to learn about the features that distinguish the best wet/dry vacuums from each other.

Cleaning Ability

Most of the shop vacs on the market pick up dirt and other dry debris in addition to liquids for added versatility.

Tank Size

Most wet vacs have tanks between two and 18 gallons in size. Choose a tank size that fits the types of jobs you will use your shop vac for. Small jobs require tanks between two and six gallons, while 14-18 gallon wet/dry vacuums are better for large jobs.

Material

Most wet vacs have stainless steel or plastic bodies. Plastic is more lightweight, making transportation from room to room easier. However, stainless steel is more durable and long-lasting.

Power

The power of your wet vac’s motor is measured in horsepower. Small tasks, such as picking up a half-gallon water spill, require one-to-two-horsepower motors, while large tasks, such as picking up large pieces of debris or pumping water out of your basement, require more powerful suction ability such as machines with four-to-six-horsepower motors. However, vacuums with more horsepower typically have a shorter runtime.

Accessories

Wet vacs often come with extra hoses, brushes, extension wands, and other accessories for use in different situations. Vacs with accessories typically also have onboard storage to keep all of the tools together. Some vacuums will also include a drainage plug to on the bottom of the canister to help reduce clogs, and others have built-in self-cleaning capabilities.

Maneuverability

Wet or wet/dry vacuum cleaners that come on wheels or casters will be easier to maneuver. Heavy, corded wet/vacs will be the most challenging to move, especially if you have rely on an extension cord Light weight, handheld, and cordless vacs are more portable options.


Frequently Asked Questions

Are wet vacs loud?

Yes. Some wet vacs are as loud as 85 decibels, so you may want to wear ear protection to avoid hearing damage.

Are wet vacs portable?

Most wet vacs are either lightweight for carrying or have wheels for rolling. This allows you to maneuver the vacuum to clean up messes with ease.

What does the static pressure rating of my wet vac mean?

Static pressure (SP), also called sealed pressure or sealed suction, is a measurement used for shop vacs whose main function is to pick up liquid. High-end shop vacs usually have an SP rating of around 75.

What is the difference between a shop vac and wet/dry vac?

A shop vac is a vacuum optimized for heavy-duty cleanup. It typically doesn’t come with a rotating brush roll, meaning it shouldn’t be used on carpet. Shop-Vac is also the name of a popular brand of wet dry vacs.

Wet vacs can clean liquids without ruining the vacuum. Most wet vacs are also wet/dry vacs meaning they can separate dry materials.


Why Trust The This Old House Reviews Team

This Old House has empowered homeowners for more than four decades with top-notch home improvement content in the form of television programs, print media, and digital content on its website and social media platforms. The This Old House Reviews Team focuses on creating in-depth product and service review content to help inform your purchasing decision for just about any item or resource that you might need for your home. The This Old House Reviews Team has written over 1,000 reviews on products in the home space, from cordless drills to kitchen trash cans, lawn mowers, and dining room decorations.

We recommend products in each review using an intensive research process, spending hours combing through the best available models on Amazon. For a product to make our list of top picks, it must hold a solid sales record on Amazon, have consistently positive customer reviews, and offer unique features, among other factors. After narrowing down our list of recommendations, we conduct additional research and sometimes in-person testing to ensure that the products meet our standards. Once we conclude the research phase, we craft a well-rounded, user-friendly article that includes our recommended products and additional information to help homeowners like you make the right purchase.

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