clock menu more-arrow no yes

The 5 Best Shop Vacs (2021 Review)

Shop vacs have various functions, prices, and sizes. In this review, the This Old House Reviews Team researched the five best shop vacs on Amazon to help you find the product that’s right for you and your home. The products included in this article are available at various home improvement stores, local home centers, and online retailers like Amazon.

Shop Vac Courtesy Amazon

Shop vacs are similar to regular vacuum cleaners in that they clean up debris from floors and other surfaces. However, they’re more powerful, making them better for picking up liquids and larger debris. Keep reading to learn about the best shop vacs available on Amazon.

Most Heavy-Duty: Craftsman Wet/Dry Vac

This Craftsman shop vac has a 16-gallon tank and a 6.5-horsepower motor, giving it the capacity to withstand tasks that require sucking up large particles, including sand, sheetrock debris, leaves, and more. Additionally, its hose features Dual-Flex technology, which allows both ends to twist 180 degrees to prevent kinking.

Key Features

  • 16 gallons
  • 6.5-horsepower motor
  • 26 pounds
  • Four wheels
  • Carrying handle
  • Three-year warranty
  • One hose, two extension wands, one utility nozzle, one car nozzle, one wet nozzle, one filter, and one dust collection bag included

What Customers Are Saying

The Craftsman Wet/Dry Vac has over 5,600 customer reviews with an average rating of 4.8 stars out of 5 stars. Ninety-six percent of the reviews have 4 or more stars, and 3% received 2 or fewer stars.

This product received high ratings for its value, versatility, and suction power. Customers also said that it was easy to assemble and maneuver. Those who weren’t satisfied said that their package arrived with missing parts, including drain caps and leg screws.

Best For Medium Jobs: DEWALT Poly Wet/Dry Vac

This product from DEWALT falls in the middle range for both tank size and power. With its six-gallon tank and four-horsepower motor, this shop vac works best for medium-sized projects. At just over 14 pounds, its size allows for movement.

Key Features

  • Six gallons
  • Four-horsepower motor
  • 14.7 pounds
  • Four wheels
  • Carrying handle
  • One hose, two extension wands, one utility hose, one floor nozzle, one crevice nozzle, one filter, and one dust collection bag included

What Customers Are Saying

More than 3,000 customer reviews have been written on the DEWALT Poly Wet/Dry Vac. The product has an overall rating of 4.7 stars out of 5 stars. Ninety-four percent of the reviews are 4- and 5-star reviews, while 3% have 2 stars or less.

Happy customers liked this product’s strong suction, medium capacity, and plug-and-play design. Those who weren’t satisfied with their purchase mentioned not receiving screws, filters, and hoses, which prevented them from using the vacuum.

Most Durable: Stanley Wet/Dry Vacuum

This shop vac has a stainless steel body, allowing it to last longer than shop vacs made of plastic. The stainless steel body is paired with a plastic carrying handle and wheels for easy mobility.

Key Features

  • Five gallons
  • Four-horsepower motor
  • 11.5 pounds
  • Four wheels
  • Carrying handle
  • One-year warranty
  • One hose, one gulper nozzle, one floor nozzle, three extension wands, one dust collection bag, one crevice tool, one wet filter, and one dry filter included

What Customers Are Saying

The Stanley Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum has a 4.6-star average rating on Amazon. More than 4,200 customers have left reviews. Ninety-two percent of the reviews have 4 or 5 stars, and 4% have 1 or 2 stars.

Satisfied customers liked that this product was lightweight and compact without compromising suction power. Several reviewers also said that while the machine wasn’t completely silent, it was quieter than other options that they had tried in the past. Dissatisfied customers said that the machine’s motor failed prematurely and that the company’s customer support was lacking.

Most Portable: Armor All Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum

This shop vac only weighs seven pounds. It also has a handle on the top, making it easy to carry from room to room. Plus, it comes with a wide range of accessories for use in cars, workshops, and homes.

Key Features

  • 2.5 gallons
  • Two-horsepower motor
  • 11.5 pounds
  • Carrying handle
  • Two-year warranty
  • One hose, one filter, one utility nozzle, one detail brush, one crevice tool, one blower nozzle, and one car nozzle included

What Customers Are Saying

The Armor All Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum has a 4.5-star average rating from about 16,500 reviews. Eighty-eight percent of the reviews have 4 or more stars, while 6% have 2 or fewer stars.

Satisfied customers said that this product was easy to transport because of its lightweight. Pet owners were especially pleased with how well the Armor All Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum picked up pet hair. Unsatisfied customers said that the vacuum was louder than they had expected to be and that it didn’t have great suction.

Best For Small Jobs: Shop-Vac All-Around EZ Series Wet/Dry Vacuum

This shop vac has a 2.5-gallon tank and 2.5-horsepower motor, which works best for lighter projects around the home, such as cleaning floors or vacuuming car upholstery. Its dual-floor nozzle lets you seamlessly transition from wood or concrete floors to carpeted floors.

Key Features

  • 2.5 gallons
  • 2.5-horsepower motor
  • 13.6 pounds
  • Four wheels
  • Carrying handle
  • Three-year warranty
  • One hose, two extension wands, one floor nozzle, one gulper nozzle, one crevice tool, one round brush, one wall mounting bracket, one foam sleeve, and one filter bag included

What Customers Are Saying

Nearly 1,900 reviews have been written about the Shop-Vac All-Around EZ Series Wet/Dry Vacuum to give it an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 stars. Eighty-eight percent of the reviews have a 4- or 5-star rating, while 6% have 1- or 2-star ratings.

Customers were satisfied with the performance of this product, especially when they were cleaning cars and pet messes. Other customers liked its maneuverability and portability. Those who weren’t happy with their purchase said that its suction wasn’t as powerful as they expected.

Buyer’s Guide

Take a look at our buyer’s guide that breaks down important shop vac factors, such as tank size, tank material, power, and storage.

Tank Size

Shop vac tanks range from about two gallons to 18 gallons. Follow the chart below to match the size of the tank to the type of task you’ll be using your vacuum for.

Task Size Guidelines

Project Size Tank Size
Project Size Tank Size
Small Up to six gallons
Medium Six to 14 gallons
Large At least 14 gallons

Tank Material

Your shop vac tank will either be made of stainless steel or plastic. Plastic tanks are lighter, making the shop vac easier to carry from room to room. However, stainless steel is more durable and long-lasting.

Power

Horsepower is a measurement of how powerful the shop vac’s motor is and how much suction it offers. For small projects, a one- or two-horsepower motor will suffice. If you’re picking up larger debris, you’ll want a shop vac that has a four-to-six horsepower motor.

Storage

Shop vacs are much larger than regular vacuums, so they’ll take up more room in your closet, shed, or garage. If you have limited storage space, consider buying a smaller shop vac.

Frequently Asked Questions

What power source do shop vacs use?

Shop vacs use electricity to run. Most come with a cord that you plug into an outlet, but some have a rechargeable battery. Shop vacs with cords have an unlimited supply of electricity, but they require extension cords for more reach. Shop vacs with batteries are more portable, but they require frequent recharges.

Will my shop vac come with accessories?

The shop vac you choose may or may not come with accessories. If it does, those accessories will likely include multiple brushes and extension wands to clean more surfaces in your home, car, and workspace.

What is a wet/dry shop vac?

A wet/dry shop vac is capable of picking up liquids and solids.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.