It does not matter if you are a business owner who is interested in deep cleaning their storefront or just a homeowner who is interested in making sure every dust speck is well sucked when vacuuming: shop vacs are considered to be among the best tools suited for such tasks. They are made to offer powerful suction ensuring even the most stubborn dust and dirt is cleaned away. 

However, with so many options available in the market, getting the right shop vac can be quite a great challenge. That is why we made the initiative of creating a list of the best 5 shop vacs for you.  We have also listed some of the important factors you need to consider before you can settle on a particular shop vac. With this, let’s dive in and look for the shop vac suited for you. Also, don’t forget to click on the buttons below to get their best deals on Amazon.

Best Shop Vacs Comparison & Rating

Shop Vacs

Features

CRAFTSMAN CMXEVBE17595 16 Gallon 6.5 Peak HP Wet/Dry Vac, Heavy-Duty Shop Vacuum with Attachments
  • 180° mobility
  • dual-flex technology
  • in-built drain
Shop-Vac 5989400 8 gallon 6.0 Peak HP Stainless Wet Dry Vacuum, Black
  • wide variety of attachments
  • positive latch system
  • automotive vacuum systems
Vacmaster Professional - Professional Wet/Dry Vac, 5 Gallon, Beast Series, 5.5 HP 1-7/8" Hose Jobsite Vac (VFB511B0201), Black
  • durable polypropylene
  • extra-long 18-foot power cord
  • 5.5 Peak HP high-efficiency motor
Shop-Vac 5989300 5-Gallon 4.5 Peak HP Stainless Steel Wet Dry Vacuum
  • 4.5 peak horsepower
  • 7-foot long hose
  • 6-foot long cord
Armor All, AA255 , 2.5 Gallon 2 Peak HP Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum
  • 2.5-gallon capacity
  • 10-foot cord
  • deluxe car nozzle

1. Craftsman CMXEVBE175951 Heavy-Duty Shop Vacuum

CRAFTSMAN CMXEVBE17595 16 Gallon 6.5 Peak HP Wet/Dry Vac, Heavy-Duty Shop Vacuum with Attachments
Specifications:
96% Overall

Brand

Craftsman

Dimensions

21.31” x 21.31” x 23.81”

Weight

26 pounds

Capacity

16 gallons

97%
Durability
96%
performance
96%
value for money
95%
features
Pros:
  • Heavy-duty, hence able to offer the extra power required for handling larger projects.
  • Perfect vac for your garage, shop, and job sites as it comes with an in-built blower port that makes it possible to be converted into a blower.
  • Comes with an in-built drain that is over-sized making it possible to empty any type of liquid that it sucks up.  With this, it is possible to use it in disposing of grass and leaves clippings in your garage and outdoor areas at your home.
  • Comes with a unique dual-flex technology that ensures 180° mobility at the end of a wet or dry vacuum and offers resistance to kinking.
  • Has its own accessories that include a wet nozzle, two extension wands, a dust collection bag, a flex hose, utility nozzle, and a Qwik lock filter.
  • Its large capacity makes it suitable for large scale renovations, floods, and building projects.
  • Onboard accessory storage compartment and a long power cord for convenience.
Cons:
  • The wheels of this shop vac sometimes  encounter problems. 
Final Take:

Craftsman CMXEVBE175951 is a high-performing shop vac as it comes with a 6.5 peak hp that offers extra power for large projects in the shop, garage, and job site. It comes with a built-in blower port that facilitates faster cleaning of grass and leaf clippings. It also has an inbuilt oversize drain on the wet/dry vac that allows for convenient emptying of liquids. This product features a dual flex technology that ensures 180-degree mobility. Has lots of accessories included in its package.

2. Shop-Vac 5989400 6.0 Peak HP Stainless Wet Dry Vacuum

Shop-Vac 5989400 8 gallon 6.0 Peak HP Stainless Wet Dry Vacuum, Black
Specifications:
94% Overall

Brand

Shop-Vac

Dimensions

18.5” x 17.5” x 22.5”

Weight

19 pounds

Capacity

8 gallons

95%
Durability
94%
performance
94%
value for money
93%
features
Pros:
  • Cordless in nature. This ensures you are in a position of moving it around freely without the need of worrying about yanking on the cord whenever you are far from the outlet. 
  • Very tough product and dependable as it comes with a wide variety of attachments which allow you to handle all the areas of your car and home.
  • Reliable and made of sturdy materials which makes it durable and a top performer among the wide variety of shop vac in the market.
  • The stainless steel which has been used in making this product ensures that you will not have to worry about rust when using it.  Even when it takes a few hits, it will not show any damage signs.
  • You will not have to worry about this product tripping over the cord whenever you are walking.
Cons:
  • It can be quite heavy to carry around due to the stainless steel used in making its body. However, the stainless steel makes it resistant to rust and non-corrosive.
Final Take:

This Shop-Vac 5989400 is well known for its positive latch system. It comes with lots of accessories like rechargeable wet dry vacuums, air movers, automotive vacuum systems, and bags. This product is a recognized world leader in the wet/dry vacuum cleaners industry. It is made using high-quality and durable materials.

3. Vacmaster Professional Beast Series Shop Vac

Vacmaster Professional - Professional Wet/Dry Vac, 5 Gallon, Beast Series, 5.5 HP 1-7/8" Hose Jobsite Vac (VFB511B0201), Black
Specifications:
93% Overall

Brand

Vacmaster

Dimensions

17.8” x 12.5” x 17.1”

Weight

13.5 pounds

Capacity

5 gallons

94%
Durability
93%
performance
92%
value for money
91%
features
Pros:
  • Boasts of a very superior suction power that enables it to lift liquids off the floor with lots of ease without leaving any single drop behind.
  • A very portable product due to its mounted handle and integrated onboard storage. This makes it easy for one to keep all the accessories including the cord and hose.
  • Comes with a tank that is made using durable polypropylene. This helps it in resisting corrosion and impact.
  • Its blower port allows you to convert the 5-gallon vacuum into a blower with lots of ease. The extra-long 18-foot power cord can extend to an impressive 25-feet.
  • Vacmaster professionals perform well in cleaning your cars and homes. It also performs well in a workshop setting where there are always lots of spills and messes.
Cons:
  • Not a suitable shop vac for large jobs but still performs well above many other products in the market.
Final Take:

Vacmaster Professional Beast suits people who are in need of a very powerful shop vac. It is well known for its 5.5 Peak HP high-efficiency motor. You can convert it to a blower with lots of ease. It comes with an 18-inch cord together with cord storage. The hose storage is well integrated.

4. Shop-Vac 5989300 Shop Vacuum

Shop-Vac 5989300 5-Gallon 4.5 Peak HP Stainless Steel Wet Dry Vacuum
Specifications:
92% Overall

Brand

Shop-Vac

Dimensions

14” x 14” x 21”

Weight

15 pounds

Capacity

5 gallons

93%
Durability
92%
performance
91%
value for money
90%
features
Pros:
  • Comes with a motor that allows it to reach up to 4.5 peak horsepower with the stainless steel tank holding 5 gallons of liquid and solids.
  • Comes with a crevice tool, 7-foot long hose, floor nozzle, three extension wands, foam sleeve, gulper nozzle, filter bag, and a cartridge filter. All these accessories will help in ensuring the product serves you well.
  • Maneuverable shop vac thanks to its four wheels. This together with the 6-foot long cord makes it possible for one to move the shop vacuum easily when using it.
  • Offers a cartridge filter together with a disposable filter bag. The cartridge filter holds large debris and fine dust while the filter bag helps in not allowing any dirt or debris to escape.
  • Sports a blower port at its back. The blower port helps in increasing the suction power. This feature makes it possible for one to use this shop vac as a blower.
Cons:
  • Truly loud while being used, but this ensures that the motor is efficient in doing its job.
Final Take:

Shop-Vac 5989300 is a perfect shop vac for people who are in need of a portable and powerful machine. Its full line of products includes rechargeable wet dry vacuums, air movers, cordless, attachments and automotive vacuum systems. This product offers a complete line of vacuum cleaners, filters, attachments, bags, etc. This shop vac is a recognized leader in the wet/dry vacuum cleaners. It comes with side and top handles to enhance its portability.

5. Armor All AA255 Shop Vacuum

Armor All, AA255 , 2.5 Gallon 2 Peak HP Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum
Specifications:
90% Overall

Brand

Armor All

Dimensions

10.6” x 14.2” x 14.4”

Weight

7 pounds

Capacity

2.5 gallons

91%
Durability
90%
performance
89%
value for money
88%
features
Pros:
  • The tank that comes with this product is capable of holding up to 2.5 gallons of debris. This means you will not have to dump it midway when cleaning your vehicle.
  • Comes with an onboard storage area for the hose and your accessories. With this, you should never have to worry about storage or losing your extra accessories.
  • Not only great when using it in cleaning indoors but can work when it comes to truck, car, or RV cleaning.
  • Has a detailed brush that is finer and lets you into places such as your car’s AC blowers.
  • Can be converted to a blower easily and works as a dry/wet vacuum.
  • Offers a deluxe car nozzle that is designed to get into tight spaces of the vehicle which would be impossible otherwise.
  • Lightweight which makes it very portable hence easy to carry around wherever you want to go.
Cons:
  • It comes with a 6-amp motor which might be light when compared to other vacuums in the market. However, never get fooled by the amperage. This vacuum motor boasts of having an output of 2 horsepower.
  • It is a bit smaller in capacity. However, this does not affect its performance in any way.
Final Take:

Armor All AA255 is a perfect shop vac for individuals who are in need of a lightweight machine that they can carry around with ease.  It comes with a 10-foot cord that has a cord wrap. There are also on-board accessories together with hose storage space. Its blower function is very easy to convert. It is a perfect shop vac for indoor use.

Best Shop Vacs - Buyer's Guide

size and portability

The size or how portable a shop vac is should be one of the main considerations you make when shopping for the best shop vac in the market. If you plan to use the shop vac in different places in the house, then it is advisable to go for one that is lighter or smaller in size. However, when you are interested in a shop vac of larger bin capacity, you can get one that has wheels. However, if you do not intend to be moving it more often, then you can go for a heavier and bigger unit.

horsepower

It is important to first know what you will be using your horsepower for before you can make any purchase. In case you will be cleaning little stuff like small spills or pet hair, then, you can go for one that is around 1-2 HP. 

However, if you intend to use the shop vac on stubborn messes, you can settle for one with 4-5 HP machines.

cubic feet per minute

This refers to the amount of pressure there is to move the air. You do not require a shop vac with lots of CFM for doing small cleanings or everyday use. In case you will be cleaning finer debris like sawdust or sand, then you will need something that has a higher CFM.

capacity

Just like the other metrics of the unit, you need to know what you will be using the shop vac for. In case you want one to help clean finer materials, smaller debris and little messes, then there is no need to go for a bigger capacity bin. 

In case you will be using the shop vac on a regular basis, regardless of the debris type, then you will want to go for one with a bigger capacity to help in alleviating constant bin emptying.

accessories

In case you are in need of a shop vac that you will be using to clean your car and house, then it is appropriate that you go for a model that comes with accessories that will suit your needs. There are models that will come with a crevice tool meant for tight spots. This will work well for cars while others will come with better attachments to ensure effective cleaning of liquid messes.

Best Shop Vacs - FAQs

Why will I still need a shop vac when I have a regular vacuum cleaner?

Although a normal vacuum cleaner will be enough for some quick cleaning, most of them lack enough CFM to handle heavy-duty and bigger jobs. Also, the woodworking together with other jobs that produce fine particles like dust will clock the normal vacuum. The shop vacs were initially meant for use in shops hence, they are better equipped for such types of tasks.

Is it possible for a shop vac to collect water?

Yes, the shop vac can pick up water, be it wine, soda, water, urine, it will suck it up. However, it is important that whenever you are switching to dry vacuuming that your vac has the necessary filter and if possible, a bag. The HEPA filters are the best due to their filtering special design.

Can I still use my shop vac for wet debris even when it is not rated for wet and dry?

It is never advisable to do so. Filters are not the same and there could be internal components that can be ruined by the wet debris.

What is the most suitable horsepower for a shop vac?

Horsepower of between 5-6hp does have a blower conversion capability and can handle everything right from the fine dust to large debris.

Author

Jimmy Black started his career as a construction and carpenter foreman. After years of hard work, he decided to go on his own. Now, Jimmy is one of the trusted experts at SolidSmack who knows at first glance whether your hammer would do a great job or not. He still involves himself in various construction projects and works for individual clients. Behind formalities, he enjoys being a father to two lovely kids who keep on asking him why they can’t quit school and travel the world like Dora The Explorer.