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Last Updated on January 6, 2024 by bluefuze
A tool mainly used in woodworking, construction, and areas needing heavy-duty cleaning, the shop vac does what ordinary vacuum cleaners cannot. This powerful cleaning-tool gobbles up sizeable chunks of dirt and debris where intense construction or cleaning activities are happening. In this post, we will cover “the best small shop vac,” and “the quietest shop vac,” along with answering some of the most common questions that come up around shop vacs.
To learn more about how a shop vac works, along with some of the best shop vacs for various needs, read on!
How Does a Shop-Vac Work?
A shop vac works through lowering the air pressure drastically, creating a vacuum, and a stronger suction as compared to a regular home vacuum cleaner. This vacuum expertly sucks in air, and with it, dirt and debris, these contents are collected and stored in a canister or a bag depending on the shop vac model. The air previously sucked in is then filtered out and expelled through the shop vac’s exhaust port.
Also known as the wet/dry vacuum, this vac differs from a home vacuum cleaner because it has more power, and sucks in larger debris and dirt particles. A shop vacuum cleaner also has a larger motor in contrast to most standard home vacs. Ultimately, the suction power depends on the horsepower your choice of shop vac possesses. A shop vac usually also comes with different filters for diverse functions.
How to Use a Shop Vac
A shop vac can be used to clear dry objects, wet substances, and for blowing; all these require different procedures, as illustrated below…
Unlatch the lid located at the top of the cleaner to assess the inlet deflector; it ( the deflector) should be facing downwards to the tank’s bottom. In case the deflector is facing upwards, turn it gently. Ensure the cake-shaped cartridge filter is slid over the flat-lid cage, and place the filter retainer on it, turning it clockwise to lock in place. The final step is pulling out the vacuuming hose and switching on power to start cleaning!
When carrying out this activity, the first step involves unscrewing the blower’s cover at the back of the motor container, exposing your shop vacuum’s blower port. The vacuuming hose is then inserted into the blower port at the side of your cleaner, ensuring that it attaches tightly. You can now turn on the power and start blowing.
How to Use a Shop Vac to Pick up Water
The inlet deflector should face the top of the tank, it can be turned easily. Remove the filter retainer so that water can flow freely into the container. In some models, the shop vacuum has a separate water tank; others use one collector for both dry and wet cleaning. If you have a shop vac with only one collector, be sure to empty the dirt and debris first before collecting water.
Once done, insert your vacuum’s liquid pick-up tube into the collecting tank, and make sure the other end is inserted into the vac’s lid cage; the hose should be pushed in the tank as far as it can go before securing the cover. Before turning on the vacuum, push the end of the wet pick-up elbow on the tip of the liquid pick-up hose, while attaching its other end to your vacuum hose till it sticks, and you are good to go.
Can You Use a Shop Vac Without a Filter?
It is recommended to always have a filter when using your shop vac, especially when vacuuming dust particles and debris. Though this is mostly a personal choice, using a shop vac without a filter when dry-vacuuming will lead to a short lifespan, and frequent needs for maintenance.
However, if the shop vac is mostly for vacuuming water and other fluids, the filter is not necessary. Even when cleaning indoors, failing to use a filter will result in the cleaner throwing out dust, thereby creating a need to clean once again. All the same, if the screen is unavailable, one can still use the shop vac outdoors without a filter.
Quietest Shop Vac
A quiet but powerful shop vac is every shop owner’s dream! We have reviewed the best quiet shop vac and settled on FIEN Turbo II, whose sound maxes out as 66dB.
This quiet shop vac comes with an 8.4-gallon collector tank, and boasts an auto-start feature allowing the user to get to work instantly. When sucking water, this vac has a 98.4″ suction power when the water is static. All the accessories and the cord are stored onboard as well, minimizing instances of displacement. Its cable is 18′ long, with the long hose being 18′; this gives the user the much-needed flexibility when working.Check Current Price on Amazon
Highest CFM Shop Vac
Whereas typical home vacuums have as low as 45 CFM, the most potent shop vac, the Bosch Dust Extractor, is equipped to deliver an incredible 300 CFM. This makes it perfectly suitable for use in rugged shop or construction environments. This is a “professional grade” piece of equipment. This vac is fitted with an ultra-powerful 17.5 Amp motor, and its design allows users to be OSHA Silica Table-1 compliance for dust.
For maintenance of absolute suction power, an automatic filter-cleaning system that is fitted onboard activates at 15-second intervals. All dust particles, which are 0.3 microns (and larger) are captured at a 99.97% rate. This shop vac also works well for water suctioning, coming with a drain hose and water-level sensor. Other exciting features include height adjustability, wheeled metallic frame, and the option of hooking it up to two different tools in the construction site.Check Current Price on Amazon
Most Powerful Garage Vacuum
The Bissell Garage Pro Wall-Mounted Vacuum is not only the most powerful in its category but also takes up zero floor space in the garage. This feature helps avoid minor tripping accidents, as well as saving valuable garage space, all while handling both dry and wet messes with consistency. This 18P03 model is equipped with a 4-gallon tank, surpassing the capacity of most competitors. The 32-foot hose allows for much-needed flexibility within the garage.
Loaded with car-detailing features, this garage vacuum is specially built to maneuver in tight nooks and deep-clean car mats. There is an attachment bag which helps recover small tools and items which are sucked in accidentally during the cleaning process. During its assembly, very little effort is required, and no tools are used. However, the filter will end up clogging when the vacuum is used to clean cement and sawdust. For this reason, users are advised to use brooms where there is immense dust before using this appliance.Check Current Price on Amazon
Best Small Shop Vac
With its modest 5.5 HP motor, this small shop vac does tremendous cleaning work and stores all the gathered debris/water in its 5-gallon storage tank. Regardless of its minute size, its application of power to water lift and CFM sets it apart from its competition. The 18′ hose and cord are integrated and easily rolled up when it is not in use, while its storage is accessorized and can be removed when need be. Even though it has several other accessories, the shop vac’s small size means that there is no room on board for their storage.
There are two filters included, one for wet purposes and the other for dry cleaning. The vac’s incredible 102 CFM feature ensures that thorough work is done despite the size. Water lift power is at an impressive 82.6″, complementing its compactness and making it particularly well suited for vehicle cleaning.Check Current Price on Amazon
Best Shop Vac for the Money (BUDGET CHOICE)
This budget-friendly shop vac offers the best value and service for its low price, and its competitors can hardly match up. Behind its exquisite stainless steel appearance, this 5-gallon capacity vac has a 4.5 peak HP, giving you enough juice to accomplish thorough wet/dry cleaning. It is also portable, which makes it easier to maneuver throughout the workstation; its top handle makes it easy to handle. The accessories in this budget shop vac include a 7-foot hose, gulper nozzle, filter bag, three extension wands, and the cartridge filter.
Though not particularly suited for large industrial applications, this shop vac does well in its category. It is built to last for years, only requiring scheduled maintenance. The motor noise is also quite low, and the casters are easy-rolling. Moving it around your workstation is a breeze.Check Current Price on Amazon
Best Wet Dry Vac 2020
In 2020, this Mikita shop vac model is set to provide users with the best quality cleaning services. This OSHA compliant appliance has 8 accessories which can be used interchangeably, giving you all the flexibility you need. Relying on its reverse air-flow methodology, this vac cleans out its filter at 15 seconds intervals, thereby extending its lifespan significantly.
The pass-through power is limited to 600 watts, a notch higher than that of other vacs in this category. On its back, there is plenty of room to store all the accessories, minimizing instances of loss and damage. With the hose, however, it is stored outside and, to some, might not look so appealing. With a 135 CFM, it helps users accomplish a great deal. On top of all this, it’s also a quiet operating shop vac coming in at only 59 dB.Check Current Price on Amazon
Be sure to also check out my other posts on cleaning your garage: