The Best Shop Vac Options and Shop Vac Accessories For 2021

Wet-dry shop vacuums—more commonly known as shop vacs. Best Shop Vac are an indispensable tool in woodworking and auto shops, on construction sites and in other industrial applications, but they can also come in handy at home for cleaning up tough messes and standing water. With a high-powered motor and suction unit, heavy-duty hose and large canister for collecting dirt and debris, shop vacs are rugged enough to pick up nails, screws, small metal pieces, sawdust, wood chunks, glass and other small items.

If you’re in the market for a new shop vac, you have an abundance of choices at various price points. Factors like portability, airflow, suction power and canister capacity should all play into your final decision as you determine the model that best meets your needs, whether the unit is intended for a large commercial repair shop or a small home woodworking shop. Keep reading for a list of our top picks in common categories as well as a buyer’s guide to help steer you in the right direction. 

Best Overall Shop Vac 

Ridgid HD1600 16-Gallon 6.5 HP NXT Wet/Dry Vac ($99)

best shop vacThe Ridgid HD1600 16-Gallon NXT Wet/Dry Vac combines versatility, affordability and raw power to achieve the highest ranking on our list of shop vac best buys. With its roomy 16-gallon container, you can tackle large messes and spills without needing to empty the reservoir mid-task, and you can use it with or without a bag or liner.

Impressive power and airflow from the 6.5 HP motor make it suitable for industrial use, and its Dual-Flex locking hose offers 180 degrees of movement at both ends, allowing you to access hard-to-reach spaces with ease. A convenient accessory storage feature keeps all tools organized and ready for use, and the comfortable carrying handle doubles as a storage area for the 20-foot cord.

You can even remove the top of the vacuum to convert it into a powerful blower for leaves, sawdust and other loose material. As an added value, the unit is compatible with HEPA filters for advanced cleaning capability.  

Features and Specifications: 

  • Peak horsepower: 6.5 HP
  • Air volume (CFM): 161
  • Drum capacity: 16 gallons
  • Weight: 29 pounds
  • Hose diameter: 2.5 inches
  • Hose length: 7 feet
  • Cord length: 20 feet
  • Warranty: Lifetime

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Best Compact Shop Vac

Vacmaster Professional Beast Vac ($85) 

best shop vacFor the optimal combination of portability and power, the Vacmaster Beast devours the competition. With a 5.5 HP motor, it outworks many shop vacs twice its size. Its durable 5-gallon polypropylene tank resists corrosion and impact, and an integrated on-board storage system keeps hoses and accessories neatly organized.

The 18-foot power cord and 7-foot hose allow for generous reach when cleaning, and like the Ridgid HD1600, the Vacmaster Beast can be transformed into a powerful blower with a few simple steps. It’s equipped with a high-efficiency fine dust filter, and the Beast can be used with an optional dust bag to minimize mess. 

Features and Specifications: 

  • Peak horsepower: 5.5 HP
  • Air volume (CFM): 102
  • Drum capacity: 5 gallons
  • Weight: 16 pounds
  • Hose diameter: 1.875 inches
  • Hose length: 7 feet
  • Cord length: 18 feet
  • Warranty: 5 years

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Best Car Shop Vac 

Milwaukee M18 Cordless Compact Vacuum ($132)

best shop vacWith its lightweight body and nimble design, the Milwaukee M18 Cordless Compact Vacuum is ideal for getting into the hidden crevices of your car’s console and the narrow canyons between the seats. The 36-ounce canister doesn’t hold much, but chances are you won’t be picking up high-volume debris from your vehicle, especially if you’re vacuuming on a regular basis.

The M18’s sleek profile makes keeping your car or truck clean virtually effortless, and depending on the battery size you choose, you can get nearly an hour of use out of it before needing to recharge. Thanks to the included extension wands and floor tool, you can even use it for basic home or office cleanup in a pinch; it also comes with a HEPA filter and crevice tool. 

Features and Specifications: 

  • Air volume (CFM): 40
  • Drum capacity: 36 ounces
  • Weight: 4 pounds
  • Hose diameter: 1.25 inches
  • Hose length: 4 feet
  • Cord length: Cordless
  • Warranty: 5 years

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Best Cordless Shop Vac

Ridgid HD0918 Cordless Wet/Dry Vacuum ($99)

best shop vacWith a surprisingly muscular 82 CFM airflow, the Ridgid HD0918 cordless wet/dry vacuum performs almost as well as its corded counterpart while offering the portability of battery power. With a 9-gallon drum, the unit can handle full-sized wet or dry messes in almost any location, and it runs for more than an hour with both battery ports engaged.

A large carrying handle and on-board hose and accessory storage make the vacuum easy to transport, use and store, and its rugged Dual-Flex locking hose and durable polypropylene canister construction ensure longevity. In addition to the traditional one-layer filter that comes with the unit, the vacuum can also be used with fine dust, HEPA and wet filters. 

Features and Specifications: 

  • Motor: 18V
  • Air volume (CFM): 82
  • Drum capacity: 9 gallons
  • Weight: 16 pounds
  • Hose diameter: 1.875 inches
  • Hose length: 7 feet
  • Cord length: Cordless
  • Warranty: Lifetime

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Best Dust-Collecting Shop Vac 

Vacmaster Professional Beast 16-Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum ($120)

best shop vacWith a best-in-class airflow of 150 CPM and a high-performance 6.5 HP motor delivering serious suction, the Vacmaster Professional Beast 16-Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum gives you the power to take on tough messes at home, the shop or the worksite.

Drywall, sawdust, metal shavings and even water from a flooded basement are no match for the Beast. The sturdy rolling casters, large handle and lightweight design guarantee smooth transport between jobs, and an on-board hose, power cord and accessory storage system keeps everything tucked neatly in its place. With a few simple steps, you can even convert the unit for use as a blower to clear leaves, dust and other debris. 

Features and Specifications: 

  • Peak horsepower: 6.5 HP
  • Air volume (CFM): 150
  • Drum capacity: 16 gallons
  • Weight: 25 pounds
  • Hose diameter: 2.5 inches
  • Hose length: 7 feet
  • Cord length: 20 feet
  • Warranty: 5 years

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Best Woodworking Shop Vac 

Laguna Tools B|Flux 1HP Dust Collector ($499) 

best shop vacFor serious woodworkers, only a dedicated dust collector provides the specialized suction and filtration to keep you breathing easy in your shop. The Laguna Tools B|Flux 1HP Dust Collector will set you back a few hundred dollars more than the other vacuum systems on this list, but when you consider the massive airflow produced by this small but mighty unit, you can be confident you’re getting the best performance on the market.

The powerful 8.4-amp motor plugs into a standard household outlet, with a horizontal dust chute that swivels 180 degrees to provide optimum airflow. The canister provides a filtration efficiency of .2 to 2 microns at 99.97 percent of particles, and it operates at a reasonable noise level of 76 decibels.

Features and Specifications: 

  • Peak horsepower: 1 HP
  • Air volume (CFM): 650
  • Weight: 77 pounds
  • Warranty: 2 years

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Best Portable Shop Vac

Makita XCV10ZX HEPA Backpack Vacuum ($449)

best shop vacThough it’s positioned on the high end of the shop vac price spectrum, the quality and versatility of the Makita XCV10ZX backpack vacuum easily justify its cost. Its smooth, powerful brushless motor delivers 64 CFM of suction and 44 inches of water lift, while a two-stage HEPA filter removes 99.97 percent of particulates measuring .3 microns and larger.

An auto-start wireless system features Bluetooth technology for added convenience. Weighing in at just under 10 pounds, the wearable unit features comfortable padded shoulder straps and adjustable waist belt for a custom fit. The push-button controller sits within easy reach on the waist belt, and the 39-inch flexible hose and telescoping extension wand give you the flexibility to reach tight spaces.

When operated with two 18V 5.0Ah batteries, you can count on 90 minutes of continuous operation on the low setting and 60 minutes on the high setting.

Features and Specifications: 

  • Battery: Lithium-ion
  • Air volume (CFM): 64
  • Drum capacity: .5 gallons
  • Weight: 9.9 pounds
  • Hose diameter: 1 inch
  • Hose length: 59 inches
  • Cord length: Cordless
  • Warranty: 3 years

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Best Home Shop Vac 

Craftsman 16-Gallon 6.5 HP Wet/Dry Vac ($111)

best shop vacWhether you’re completing a home renovation, tackling a flooded basement or clearing leaves and yard waste from your deck or patio, the Craftsman 16-Gallon 6.5 HP Wet/Dry Vac has the power to handle your mess at a price that won’t break the bank.

The vacuum comes with an arsenal of useful accessories, including a car nozzle, utility nozzle and wet nozzle, all of which can be stowed in the on-board organizer for easy access. The durable Dual-Flex hose resists kinks and crushing and slides neatly into its storage space when not in use.

A convenient filter fastening system makes changing the filter a snap, and the oversized drain port for quick emptying of liquids. When you need a powerful blower, simply convert the unit to direct high-speed air through the hose. The vacuum is made with legendary Craftsman quality and is covered by a three-year warranty. 

Features and Specifications: 

  • Peak horsepower: 6.5 HP
  • Air volume (CFM): 115
  • Drum capacity: 16 gallons
  • Weight: 26 pounds
  • Hose diameter: 2.5 inches
  • Hose length: 7 feet
  • Cord length: 20 feet
  • Warranty: 3 years

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Best Heavy-Duty Shop Vac

Vacmaster Pro 8-Gallon Certified HEPA Filtration Wet/Dry Vac ($188)

best shop vacFeaturing an industrial two-stage motor, four-stage filtration system and strong suction stats, the Vacmaster Pro 8-Gallon Certified HEPA Filtration Wet/Dry Vac is an affordably-priced, portable powerhouse. . Its peak airflow of 150 CFM and 106-inch maximum water lift can handle almost any mess you create.

A 30-foot power cord and 10-foot crushproof hose combine for an extended cleaning reach of 40 feet, and onboard storage hooks keep both neatly tucked away when not in use. The HEPA cartridge filter, microfiber pre-filter, sealable tear-resistant collection bag and HEPA-material exhaust filter remove 99.97 percent of particles .3 microns and larger. Ball bearing locking casters and rugged rubber wheels provide excellent stability and maneuverability.  

Features and Specifications: 

  • Peak horsepower: 6.5 HP
  • Air volume (CFM): 150
  • Drum capacity: 8 gallons
  • Weight: 19.4 pounds
  • Hose diameter: 2.5 inches
  • Hose length: 10 feet
  • Cord length: 30 feet
  • Warranty: 1 year

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Best Construction Shop Vac 

DeWalt DXV16PA 16-Gallon Wet/Dry Vac ($194)

best shop vacThis rugged shop vac checks all the boxes, delivering the power, durability and capacity demanded by jobsite applications. The muscular 6.5 peak horsepower motor produces 116 CFM to clear away large materials and debris, and the unit also features a fine-dust cartridge filter for small, dry particles and wet materials.

A large, sturdy handle and smooth-swiveling casters make it a breeze to move around the shop or jobsite, and an onboard accessory bag keeps tools and attachments organized and within reach. The package includes three disposable filter bags, car nozzle, silencing muffler and hose adapter. 

Features and Specifications: 

  • Peak horsepower: 6.5 HP
  • Air volume (CFM): 150
  • Drum capacity: 16 gallons
  • Weight: 42 pounds
  • Hose diameter: 2.5 inches
  • Hose length: 7 feet
  • Cord length: 20 feet
  • Warranty: 3 years

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Best HEPA Shop Vac

Bosch VAC090AH 9-Gallon Wet/Dry Dust Extractor Vacuum with Auto Filter Clean and HEPA Filter ($549)

best shop vacIf you’re specifically looking for a unit to help you achieve compliance with OSHA silica dust regulations, the Bosch VAC090AH 9-Gallon Dust Extractor with Auto Filter Clean and HEPA Filter is the total package. With an eye-popping 150 CHM airflow, the dust extractor is capable of sustaining a maximum 97-inch static water lift, and the automatic filter cleaning system engages every 15 seconds to maintain suction power.

The unit comes with a HEPA filter that removes 99.97 percent of particles .3 microns and larger, as well as a fleece filter bag to protect the filter and contain dry dust and debris. The unit’s rugged construction, polypropylene tank are designed to stand up to the rigors of the job site. A built-in wet vacuuming water-level sensor automatically shuts down the vacuum when the water reaches maximum height to protect the motor.

Features and Specifications: 

  • Air volume (CFM): 150
  • Drum capacity: 9 gallons
  • Weight: 28 pounds
  • Hose diameter: 1.37 inches
  • Hose length: 10 feet
  • Cord length: 15 feet
  • Warranty: 1 year

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Best Wall-Mounted Shop Vac

Rikon 60-101 Wall-Mounted 1 HP Dust Collector ($490)

best shop vacWhether you have limited floor space in your woodworking shop or simply don’t want a massive unit, the Rikon 60-101 Wall-Mounted 1 HP Dust Collector performs beautifully without taking up much room. 

A 10-inch spiral impeller produces 800 CFM with 4-inch ductwork and 1,100 CFM with 5-inch ductwork, clearing away wood chips and dust from saws, planers, sanders and jointers and removing up to 99 percent of 1-micron dust particles.

The polyester-spun bond-pleated canister filter includes an internal flapper for easy cleaning; simply turn the handle on the side to send debris into the bottom-mounted bag for disposal.

Features and Specifications: 

  • Peak horsepower: 1 HP
  • Air volume (CFM): 800 (4-inch inlet), 1,100 (5-inch inlet)
  • Bag capacity: 1.5 cubic feet
  • Weight: 61 pounds
  • Warranty: 5 years

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Shop Vac Buyer’s Guide

Shop vacs (or wet-dry shop vacuums, if you want to be formal) are the undefeated champions when it comes to cleaning up big messes, whether you’re at home, in the shop or on the jobsite. They can handle large, sharp debris that would shred your average household vacuum, and they can quickly clear away leaks and standing water from basements and garages. They can even come in handy for cleaning out vehicles, power tools and other atypical spaces. Though it may not be your day-to-day go-to for household cleaning, when a massive mess demands serious power, you’ll be relieved to have this reliable tool at the ready.  

Factors and Features to Consider When Comparing Shop Vac Models

Airflow (CFM)

Airflow is a measure of the volume of air flowing through the vacuum’s nozzle in a given period of time. Typically expressed as cubic feet per minute (CFM), high airflow levels indicate the ability to pick up large amounts of material quickly. Most commercial-grade shop vacs top out at 120 to 150 CFM, but you may not require that much suction if you’re just using it for household applications. On the flip side, dust extractors can generate between 800 and 1,100 CFM to rapidly eliminate virtually all dust and small particles from a space. 

Water Lift (Suction Power)

Water lift reflects a shop vac’s power and is measured in inches. The higher the water lift rating of a model, the heavier the items it will be able to pick up—including chunks of wood, nails, glass and even pieces of concrete. 

Capacity

The canister or drum capacity of a shop vac tells you how much material the vacuum can collect before requiring you to empty the container. Compact and cordless units generally have smaller capacities—anywhere from a few dozen ounces to a few gallons—while heavy-duty shop vacs often feature capacities of up to 16 gallons. 

Portability

Cordless shop vacs tend to be the lightest models and may even include straps to allow you to wear the unit like a backpack. Corded models are usually heavier, but generally include a comfortable carrying handle and sometimes wheels or casters to make the vacuum easier to move around your home, shop or jobsite. 

Accessory, Cord and Hose Storage

Many wet/dry vacuums come with multiple accessories as well as long cords and hoses, and keeping these items organized is essential for convenience and efficiency. When comparing shop vac models, look closely at the functionality and capacity of any onboard storage and cord management systems to keep everything in its place. 

Price and Value

Consider how frequently you expect to use the vacuum as well as the length of the warranty and quality of its construction as you determine how well the expected long-term value measures up against the initial price tag. 

Power Source

For raw power and versatility, corded models are the way to go. Cordless shop vacs are rapidly improving in terms of suction, capacity and run time, so they may be sufficient for smaller jobs or locations where access to electric power isn’t guaranteed. 

Our Final Thoughts on the Best Shop Vac Options and Shop Vac Accessories

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