Best Shop Vacs: Clean Up Quickly and Easily

Clean up messes around your home and garage with these professional shop vacs

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If you own an auto shop or spend a lot of time working in the garage, you need to ensure that your workspace is well-maintained. You can use a high-performance shop vac to suck up all the dust, dirt, and other small particles that can make your working environment uncomfortable. Here are a few options you could consider.   

  • Best Overall
    Vacmaster Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum
    Summary
    Summary
    A 12-gallon vacuum with a high blowing speed and a quick-release detachable blower.
    Pros
    Pros
    Ergonomic handle. Lightweight design. It automatically shuts off when the tank is full. Secure latch system. Accessible on/off switch. Includes wheels for easy movement. Protected from tip-overs.
    Cons
    Cons
    It takes a long time to clean dust and metal shavings. The dirt collecting bucket may become rusty. No warranty support.
  • Best Value
    Armor All Shop Vacuum
    Summary
    Summary
    A highly portable 2.5-gallon vacuum cleaner with a two-in-one utility nozzle.
    Pros
    Pros
    Cheap. Portable and lightweight design. It provides ample suction power for light jobs. Cleans up both solids and liquids. Includes a reusable cloth filter. Minimal noise. No assembly required.
    Cons
    Cons
    Small capacity. May blow out more dirt if used incorrectly. Low suction compared to other options.
  • Honorable Mention
    CRAFTSMAN Heavy-Duty Shop Vac
    Summary
    Summary
    A heavy-duty 16-gallon vacuum that can be used for outdoor projects.
    Pros
    Pros
    It features innovative cleaning power technology. Can handle tough cleaning jobs. Has a highly mobile and kink-resistant vacuum hose. Includes a large dust collection bag. Features convenient power cord organizers.
    Cons
    Cons
    May come with a few missing screws. Weak handle. May be too large for small garages.

Tips

  • Remove all small objects from the floor before you start vacuuming. They may block the blower and cause the vacuum to malfunction. 
  • Keep an eye on the collection bag/canister, and remember to empty it on a regular basis. It may tear if you use it when it’s full. 
  • If you notice a stain on the mat or surface you’re cleaning, consider treating it with a spot cleaner. Vacuums cannot get rid of the stains. 
  • Consider doing a deep clean occasionally after vacuuming. It will help you keep the garage surface or your car cleaner for longer. 
  • Read the manufacturer's recommendations on the correct setting you should adopt for cleaning different surfaces. A hardwood surface may require a different setting from a shaggy rug. 

FAQs

Q: Can a shop vac be used to clean up a vehicle?

A: Yes. You can use it to clean dirt from your floor mats, seat covers, and the truck bed. Most shop vacs can also get rid of pet fur and tiny hair stuck on your seats. A standard shop vac can also fit in a recreational vehicle and be used for clean up. 

Q: Can I use a shop vac without the collection bag?

A: Without the collection bag, you may have a hard time draining the fine dust from your vacuum. You may struggle to keep the dust particles from flying around your trash can. Also, all the fine dirt may blow back into the room the next time you switch on the vacuum. If your shop vac doesn't have a collection bag, consider purchasing a reusable cartridge filter that will pick up most of the fine dust. 

Q: Can liquids damage a shop vac?

A: It depends on the type of shop vac you have. Some shop vacuums have wet/dry performance, which means that they can be used to clean both solids and liquids from the floor without damaging the electrical system. It, however, may not be suitable for cleaning large pools of water. 

Final Thoughts

We chose the Vacmaster Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum as our top pick because it can suck up both solids and liquids in seconds. It’s also easy to use, and you can easily detach the hose when you want to move or drain it. It’s one of the best shop vacuums on the market.

The Armor All Shop Vacuum is also a cheap, but quality, shop vac that you could consider.