Shop Vac Vacuum Cleaner — Choosing Your Best Option

Welcome to Vacuum Cleaners Advisor, your guide to the best value. Today, we will be telling you all about Shop Vac vacuum cleaner.

Imagine you got back home full of excitement at seeing your family again after a three-day retreat at Hawaii with your colleagues. After waving goodbye at your friend who came to drop you off, you walk up to the door.

Shop-Vac 2021000 Micro Wet/Dry Vac

Something doesn’t feel right. You don’t hear the usual noise of your energetic kids rushing up to meet you at the door. You pause for a bit wondering if to be worried or brace yourself for their mischief.

You’re still eager to see them nonetheless. “Ding Dong”. Once, twice. No answer, you’re definitely worried now.

You get into the house with your key saw a note on the table beside the coat hanger in the lobby. It says “we went to get some more groceries”. It’s your husband’s writing, so he must be out with the kids.

Just then it hit you. You stocked the refrigerator full with groceries before leaving. So, you went to the kitchen to make more sense of the confusion going on in your mind.

Standing frozen at the door with your guts feeling like Hercules struck with a sledgehammer. The kitchen is total chaos. It looks just like the aftermath of Katrina. The floor has flour on one side and water on the other. The countertop has a mixture of something you quite haven’t figured out yet.

The mess is not even the problem, it is the fact that the cleaning is on you. Just as you’re wondering how to go about it, you start smelling something. It’s the signature smell of your mother-in-law’s chocolate cake.

You moved closer to the oven and noticed it’s still warm. That was the cause of this mess. Your ‘housemates’ made a cake just in time for your return.

It is a sweet thing to do but the mess is still there. You heaved a sigh of relief because you remembered that the solution is in the basement. Your husband bought it last Christmas telling you it will come in handy someday.

A Shop vac vacuum cleaner is great for heavy-duty vacuuming which makes home cleaning a cincher. Now, he turns out to be right.

So you go down to get the Shop Vac Wet/Dry Vacuum. You remember how he was raving about it back then. It is time to put it to test. Being the detailed person you are, you must read the instruction manual first.

To your surprise, the wet dry vacuum can handle all sorts of mess. Now you can vacuum the water on the floor and not mop it. Fine and even medium-sized debris is not a problem.

It has a large capacity and is easy to move around because of its wheels. It even has a blower feature! Perhaps you can use that for the inflatable by the pool.

You found out that there are lots of accessories you can purchase for your Shop Vac wet-dry vacuum. These will allow you to do different types of cleaning job with precision and convenience.

The plastic body feels quite tough and the suction power is great. Cleaning up that mess does not feel as bad anymore.

Shop Vac wet dry vacuums are available in different sizes and capacities. Whatever level of work you need to do, you will easily find one that will foot the bill.


Shop-Vac 5989300 5-Gallon 4.5 Peak HP Stainless Steel Wet Dry Vacuum


Shop Vac vs Regular Vacuum Cleaners

Indulge us by imagining a Shop vac vacuum cleaner beside any of those regular vacuum cleaners. What you will get is a depiction of a rich merchant and her bodyguard.

Shop vacs look tough and they truly are. A Shop vac vacuum cleaner is a lot more durable than the regular vacuums. You won’t need to bother if you mistakenly drop them. But be ready to dodge when they bounce back up.

Shop-Vac 4050010 Shop Sweep Indoor/Outdoor Vacuum with 8-Gallon Collection Bag for Dry PickupYou dare not use your expensive vacuum cleaners like you can a shop vac. Most regular vacuums can only do dry cleaning. Shop vac vacuum cleaner aren’t called wet dry vacuums for nothing.

These beasts can vacuum liquids and solids, literally! A household with kids and pets need a Shop vac to clean up all sorts of mess. Imagine dropping a glass of wine.

With a shop vac vacuum cleaner, you can suck up the shattered glass and wine in one fell swoop. A shop vac will clean up ash from the fireplace and snow from your doorway.

Some users have reported that their regular vacuum choked or died after sucking up a sock or screw.

With shop vac, you won’t have to worry about any of those. In fact, if you listen carefully, you will probably hear it ask if that’s all you’ve got.

That’s not all, pet and human hair can be a menace when vacuuming. A lot of regular vacuum brands claim that their machines can do just that just that.

But in reality, when you give them a try, they tangle and start losing suction power. A shop vac will suck up air as easily as it does liquids.

It doesn’t end there…

The greatness of shop vacs continues with versatility. You can use these things just about anywhere. You can clean your car with it, the garage, rid cobwebs, etc.

Some Shop vac vacuum cleaners can even become blowers. Attach the right accessory and you’re soon pumping your inflatable bed, blowing leaves off your lawn, etc.

If you don’t have an accessory that can get to hard to reach areas, you can blow the dust and dirt out to the open. Change it back to suction and suck them in. Genius!

You can also use the blower to unclog your drain. If you chase a cockroach into a hole, you can suck it out! Just hope not to pull a mouse along. Would that even be a bad idea?

Perhaps the best and most surprising thing about shop vac is the price. Considering how much better they are compared to the regular vacuums, they are way less expensive.

The premium model of a regular vacuum will probably get you the commercial duty shop vac. That one has enough suction power to rip the carpet in your living room.

Okay, that might be a bit exaggerated. But, honestly, it is close.

Shop vac downsides

The most noticeable issue with a shop vac vacuum cleaner is the noise. This is because of how powerful the vacuum is. It is a trade-off you wouldn’t mind when you consider the benefits and price. Moreover, with advancements in technology, Shop Vac is now rolling out quieter models of their vacuum cleaners.

Size is also an issue when you compare shop vac with the regular vacuums. They are generally bigger and will require more storage space. The medium sized shop vacs are as big as the upright vacuum cleaners.

Another issue you might have is that they do not often come with most of the accessories you might need. So, you might need to buy them separately. Even at that, you still won’t spend as much compared to the regular vacuums.


Types of Shop Vacs

Shop vacs come in different sizes and specifications. There are many models of shop vacs available and we won’t be able to discuss them all. For that reason, we will differentiate shop vac vacuum cleaner based on size.


Shop-Vac 2036000 2.5-Gallon 2.5 Peak HP Wet Dry Vacuum, Small, Red/BlackThese shop vac vacuum cleaners are the handheld designs. They are small enough to be wall mountable.

These sizes are usually available in 1 to 2-gallon capacity and can have up to have 2.5 peak horsepower. They are suitable for light-duty jobs over a small area.

The little workers are easier to store and of course to carry around. Forget the size, they are quite powerful and will do their jobs to the letter. They are capable of wet and dry vacuuming just like the bigger ones.





Shop-Vac 4 Gallon 5.5 Peak HP Wet/Dry Utility Vacuum with SVX2 Motor TechnologyThis is where the heavy-duty work starts. You can tell from their look that they are ready for work and won’t get tired any time soon.

These are the sizes that will work great for homes that need wet and dry vacuuming. They often have a 5-gallon capacity and can have up to 5 horsepower.

Construction sites sometimes use medium-sized shop vac vacuum cleaner to clean debris and it serves that purpose with no problem.

These types have onboard storage for accessories and the hose are bigger. They often have the blower function that allows you to use them as blowers for many more applications.




Shop-Vac 3942100 4.5 HP Bulldog Hang-Up Wet - 5 Gallon CapacityThese are the granddaddies of shop vac vacuum cleaner and are often used for commercial scale jobs. These ones are the types you will find with commercial cleaning businesses.

These ones will be an overkill to use in homes. They will probably rip things apart instead than clean them.

They mostly have 16-gallon capacities with 6 horsepower. That is a lot of power and storage in a single unit. They have hoses of 2.5 inches diameter and will suck up almost any debris that can fit in. These types also have the blower feature and some of them even have built-in water pumps.

As you might have guessed, the larger the storage, the heavier it will be. Fortunately, most mid-sized and large shop vac vacuum cleaners have wheels for easy mobility. Since they have large storage, they often have a tank drain that lets you empty them fast.



Shop vacs are sometimes called “bucket vacuums” because of their shape. The motor and other components are all stored in this single, protective unit. Shop vac vacuum cleaner shells are either hard plastics or stainless steel.

The plastic is so tough, it cannot dent and you surely know how durable stainless steel is. Whichever shell you decide to go for is a great choice and will last as long as you need.


How to choose the best shop vac vacuum cleaner for your need

We have intimated you with the benefits, power, and versatility of shop vacs. If you have decided that you will give one a try, this is where you find out which one is suitable for you.

The first thing you need to be clear on is what you need a vacuum for. If you get a lot of wet and dry mess, the regular vacuum might not be tough enough for your needs.

If you want to be able to clean all sorts of dirt in all sorts of places, a shop vac vacuum cleaner is an ideal candidate.


The main reason you will choose a shop vac over the regular vacuum cleaner is mainly because of what it can do, aka performance. One way you can easily compare the performance of any vacuum cleaner is the suction power. There are 3 main units that affect the suction of a shop vac and they are as follows:

Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM)

This is a function of the maximum airflow a shop vac can manage. Since you chose a shop vac so it can vacuum different types of dirt, you want to go for one with a high CFM. Shop vac vacuum cleaners with high CFM are capable of vacuuming fine dust.

Sealed Pressure

This rating is measured in liquid inches. It is the rating used for determining how well suited the suction is for pulling water. Since you would want to do wet and dry vacuuming with your shop vac, you want to watch out for those with 75 and higher. Those ones are the high-end vacuum cleaners.

Air Power

This is the rating for knowing a shop vac’s capability for sucking in heavy debris such as nuts, screws, paper clips etc.  It is the power that sucks up debris and is measured in air watts.

If you will be using your shop vac at home and you want to watch out for heavy debris, this might not matter much. But if you don’t care about much about what you vacuum, go for shop vacs with higher air watt ratings. That way, your machine will vacuum without coughing.

Hose size

The width of the hose has everything to do with what you can vacuum. You don’t want to be using a 1.5-inch hose and think you can vacuum bigger chunks of debris.

You will only end up with a clogged hose. Obviously, you can only vacuum debris your hose can allow through.

If you want to feel free to vacuum just about anything, first be sure you’re using a shop vac vacuum cleaner with enough power. Then remember to fit a hose that is big enough.

The length of the hose you use also affects how you can use your shop vac vacuum cleaner. A short hose will have you bend while vacuuming the floor if you’re tall.

A long hose will allow you to reach further. With a longer hose, you can clean cobwebs and not get to move around too much. However, the longer the hose, the lower the suction power. So, you might want to find a balance there.


Shop-Vac 4 Gallon 5.5 Peak HP Wet/Dry Utility Vacuum with SVX2 Motor TechnologyWe said earlier that you can use some shop vacs as blowers. So, if you need this kind of versatility, be sure to look out for a shop vac that is capable of this.

Shop vacs with a blower might come in two forms; a shop vac with a blower port or a shop vac with a detachable blower.

The detachable blowers will work great for blowing leaves off your lawn while a vac with a blower port is great for hard to reach areas. Talk about two tools in one.


Pump vacs

Still on versatility, we mentioned earlier that there are shop vacs that are capable of pumping water. If for whatever reason you move water from one reservoir to another or just to empty one, this will come in handy.

You only need to use your regular garden hose to channel the water and the shop vac will do the rest.

The capability of shop vacs to do other things apart from vacuuming gives them a great advantage over regular vacuums.


You already know that shop vacs are not going to bore a hole in your pocket. Depending on which size you opt for, they are relatively inexpensive when compared to their value.

Since most people shop with a budget, you might want to keep an eye out for the price tag as you marvel at an option.

This is why it is important that you know what you need the shop vac for. That way you can know the features you can do with that. This type of information will make it easier for you to decide on a shop vac that will suit your needs and not exceed your budget.


That was quite a trip, yeah? We hope you enjoyed it. More importantly, we hope you got all the information you were looking for.

We took you through what shop vacs are capable of and how they compare to regular vacuum cleaners. We then breezed through the types of shop vac vacuum cleaner available to you. And we finally capped it up with factors to consider when choosing a shop vac.

Now that you have all the information you need. What’s holding you back? Make that purchase and start showing dirt it has no place in your abode.