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There’s always a lot of mess after woodworking. It’s either fine sawdust or larger wood particles, which tends to make cleaning a bit challenging. In other words, not every vacuum cleaner can tackle the challenge.
The best way to clean the mess is to find the best shop vac for woodworking. Shop vacs are powerful and large, making it easy to collect all the sawdust and debris.
However, there are many shop vacuums on the market, which tends to be confusing, especially if it’s your first time buying one. Some are similar, while others are quite different, which is why you should consider your needs and preferences. You need the right type of vacuum that’s easy to use for dust collection.
Take a few minutes to read our shop vac reviews as we discuss their features, specifications, and pros and cons. We’ve also included a detailed buyer’s guide with information that can help you choose.
|10 GAL||23.1 lbs||10 ft|
|16 GAL||29.8 lbs||20 ft|
|2.5 GAL||7 lbs||10 ft|
|5 GAL||14.7 lbs||12 ft|
|5 GAL||8.4 lbs||10 ft|
|16 GAL||23.4 lbs||20 ft|
|4 GAL||16.41 lbs||20 ft|
|4 GAL||33.2 lbs||5 ft|
Woodshop Vacuum Reviews
DeWALT DXV10P 10 gallon Quiet Poly Wet Dry Vacuum
DeWalt is one of the biggest names in the industry of shop vacuums. Its DXV10P wet dry vacuum is powerful, large, and easy to use regardless of the dirt you’re dealing with.
It’s a sturdy shop vacuum, featuring a powerful motor that sports 5.5 peak horsepower. However, it’s not as loud as many similar models, so it won’t disturb the people around you.
The dual-stage tank measures 10 gallons, holding everything from liquid to solid messes. Plus, it features a tank drain, making it easy to empty the liquids you’ve cleaned.
It comes with a 20′ power cord that wraps around the tank for easier storage. It’s not the longest power cord, but it should be enough once you add the length of the extension hose. Another thing we should mention is its built-in blower port.
- Four sturdy wheels
- Floor, crevice and utility nozzles
- 7′ long hose
- Heavy (23 pounds)
CRAFTSMAN CMXEVBE17607 16 gallon 6.5 Peak Hp Wet/Dry Vac
This 16-gallon shop vac is ideal for cleaning debris but also leaves, tree twigs, and other similar messes. It’s a 2-in-1 vacuum that cleans by vacuuming and blowing the debris.
Its motor delivers 6.5 peak horsepower, making it easy to clean all kinds of debris and particles. Also, it comes with a dual-flex hose that provides 180° flexibility. This adds to its overall maneuverability and ease of use, especially when it comes to tight and hard-to-reach areas.
Another thing worth noting is its oversized drain. It’s located at the lowest point of the canister, making it easy to empty the liquids you’ve collected.
Also, the vacuum comes with a 7′ long hose, two extension wands, car and utility nozzles, a crevice tool, locking blower wand, a wet nozzle, and a diffuser.
- Dust collection and filter included
- Large 16-gallon canister
- Four wheels
- It weighs nearly 30 pounds
Armor All, AA255
Armor All is another popular name in the industry, which is just one of the reasons why you should consider its vacuums. Among many models, the manufacturer offers its AA255 as one of the best for woodworking.
It’s meant for smaller cleanups since it’s tank measures 2.5 gallons in capacity. This isn’t a lot, especially when compared to other shop vacs on the market.
It comes with a 10′ long power cord and a 6′ long extension hose. This may not sound like a lot, but it should be enough for small cleanups around your garage or workshop.
Also, this one features a rear blower port that makes it easy to clean different particles and debris. Plus, it comes with a utility nozzle, crevice tool, car nozzle, detail brush, and a blower nozzle.
- On-board accessory and hose storage
- Reusable filters
- Short power cord
Shop-Vac is a wet dry vac, featuring a 5-gallon tank made of stainless steel. It’s a durable shop vac that’s easy to use in both large and small woodworking shops and garages.
Since it’s a wet dry vacuum, it picks up everything from sawdust and tree twigs to various liquids. Also, it’s suitable for cleaning grass clippings and other similar debris from tight and hard-to-reach areas.
It features a 6′ long power cord that wraps around the tank. Although it’s not the longest power cable, it adds up to the 7′ long extension hose.
This one has a rear blower port so that you can blow dirt and whatever debris you’re dealing with. It has four wheels to make it easier to move it around. On top of that, it weighs only 15 pounds, so maneuverability shouldn’t be an issue.
- Easy-to-use blower port
- Stainless steel tank
- Pivoting wheels
- No drain
Tacklife Wet Dry Vacuum PVC01A
Tacklife PVC01A is a 3-in-1 shop vac, designed to pick up dirt, wood chippings, sand, liquid spills, and metal shavings. It also has a rear blower port, allowing you to blow out any dirt that’s difficult to reach.
It’s a wet dry vacuum that comes with a 5-gallon tank. It also has a hose and accessory storage so that everything is always at hand.
It’s important to note that its cleaning range measures 17 feet. On top of that, it comes with a 7′ long extension hose, two extension wands, a floor brush, a filter bag, a small flat tool, and a couch tool.
Tacklife PVC01A features Buoy technology, automatically shutting off when you go over the level in the bucket. This helps to protect the motor, ensuring its longevity.
- Washable filters
- Rotating wheels
- Automatic protection switch
WORKSHOP Wet Dry Vac WS1600VA
If you need a shop vac with a powerful motor and plenty of accessories, you should check this Workshop wet dry vacuum. It’s a 2-in-1 vacuum with an extension hose and several useful features.
Its 7′ long dual-flex locking hose rotates for 180°, allowing ultimate maneuverability and flexibility. The locking tab ensures that the hose stays on during wet and dry cleaning.
It comes with a copolymer drum that won’t rust and is strong enough to resist cracks and dents. This makes it ideal for use in rough conditions such as construction sites and woodworking shops.
Another thing worth noting is the drain at the bottom of the tank. It makes it easy to empty the liquids during wet cleaning. Also, this one works as a blower as well. It comes with utility and car nozzles, wet nozzle, and two extension wands.
- Qwik Lock filter included
- 20′ long power cord
- Sturdy 16-gallon tank
- Some accessories have sharp edges
CRAFTSMAN 17612 4 Gallon 5.0 Peak HP Wet/Dry Vac
This Craftsman 4-gallon wet dry vacuum is among the best choices for small to medium garages and shops. It features a powerful motor, sporting 5.0 peak horsepower.
It comes with a 20′ long power cord that wraps around its ergonomically-designed handle. Also, the package includes a crevice tool, combo brush, two extension wands, cartridge filter, and accessory caddy. The 7′ long extension hose stores on the vac as well.
This one is easy to use at home as well as in commercial and jobsite conditions. It’s because it weighs only 16 pounds, and all its accessories are within reach. Also, it has two large wheels in the back, along with one smaller wheel in the front.
Its power switch is dust-sealed and won’t break or damage due to excessive exposure to different particles.
- Accessory caddy
- Cord and hose storage
- Swivel caster foot
- A bit too small for heavy-duty cleaning tasks
Bissell Garage Pro Wall-Mounted Wet Dry 18P03
If you need a large shop vac with a powerful motor, you should consider this Bissell model as one of the best ones from the brand. It’s among the best shop vac models that work as a vacuum as well as a blower.
The most important thing to note is that this is a wall-mounted shop vac. It features a 4-gallon tank, extension hose, and a 5′ long power cord. Its total reach measures 32 feet.
The 12-Amp wet dry vacuum picks up everything in your workshop and garage. It’s meant for wet and dry messes, which means you can clean sawdust and dirt along with different liquids and spills.
On top of that, this one converts into a blower, featuring a Helix system. It comes with two extension poles, an extension hose, a brush, two cleaning heads, two crevice tools, and a smaller cleaning head.
- Two-stage filtration
- Wall-mounting kit included
- Full-tank indicators
- Difficult to clean if it clogs
At this point, you probably have a good idea of what makes a shop vac. However, you’ve probably also noticed that there are several different models, making it tricky to choose the best vacuum model.
In the guide below, we’ll discuss all the critical buying factors you should consider before you choose the best shop vac for your workshop.
Power is among the first things you should think about as it largely depends on the motor. The more power your shop vac has, the more it will pick up regardless of the kind of debris.
There’s a general rule if you’re wondering how much power is enough. Four peak horsepower should be enough for sawdust and bits of wood.
If you need a more powerful motor, you should consider five peak horsepower or more. It’s an industrial-grade shop vac that picks up nearly everything on its way.
Most people check how long the hose is, but they forget that width is equally as important. You should look for a long hose that will extend the overall reach of your shop vac. Most workshop vacuums come with a 7′ hose, although some are shorter/longer.
The best is to consider whether or not the shop vac of your choice has wheels. Shop vacs are rarely lightweight regardless of how full they are. For this reason, you’ll appreciate having wheels.
Make sure to think about its overall stability as well because you don’t want it to tip over, especially when cleaning liquids.
Nearly every shop vac has a powerful motor. For this reason, all models are relatively loud, especially when compared to domestic vacuum cleaners.
Although some are quieter than others, most models are considered loud. It’s the price you have to pay for the power that shop vacs deliver.
You should consider a smaller shop vac if you’re on a limited budget. These aren’t as expensive, although you’ll have a less powerful motor and a smaller tank. Bigger and more powerful models are typically more expensive as well.
For this reason, shop vacs range from $50 to $300. Depending on the features and tools you need, you can get away with a $150 – $200 shop vac.
When thinking about capacity, you should consider the type of task you need a shop vac for. Will you use it once a day for a small cleanup? Or, are you cleaning larger bits of wood and sawdust?
Some vacuums are larger than others, so think about the amount of work you’re dealing with. However, keep in mind that bigger vacuums are more challenging to empty, especially when it comes to liquids.
Shop vacs can usually clean both wet and dry messes. These versatile wet dry vacuum cleaners are ideal for workshop conditions.
Also, nearly every wet dry vacuum has a blower port. It’s a highly useful feature to blow out all the tiny sawdust from tight and hard-to-reach areas.
The biggest concern with shop vacs is the fact that they exhaust some of the sawdust back into the air. They don’t have as efficient filters, which is why you should consider wearing breathing protection.
Take appropriate precautionary measures when cleaning liquids as well.
Some shop vacs have more power than others, which is why you should first think about the kind of mess you’re cleaning. Too much suction power can’t be bad, but you don’t have to pay as much for it if you don’t use it.
Think about whether you’re cleaning sawdust or larger bits of wood.
Shop vac cleaners are typically quite heavy because they’re large and made of stainless steel. Even those made of plastic are quite heavy, more so when they’re full.
For this reason, you should think about capacity as well as maneuverability. Go for a model that has wheels because these usually don’t feel as heavy.
Unfortunately, shop vacs don’t usually have HEPA filters. They’re not the best to use if you’re prone to allergies or you’re sensitive to sawdust.
Look for the best shop vac that has washable filters and is sealed. Sealed vacuums are unlikely to release the collected particles back into your breathing space.
Woodworking Site Maintenance
The first thing you should do is consider air filtration. If you can’t really afford this right now, you can use a furnace filter. Attach it with hook-and-loop tabs to the box fan. Hang the fan between the ceiling joints so that it’s out of your way and turn it on when needed.
Another thing to consider is adding a layer of carpet to make standing more comfortable. Use a utility knife or scissors to cut a pad out of foam carpet. Place it wherever you need it and tape the edges to the floor using duct tape.
Also, make sure to use a shop vac to clean the area every day. It may sound tiring to clean your workshop every day, but it’s something that will help you in the long run. Make it a habit to run your wet dry vacuum after you’re done working.
However, it’s quite important to maintain the vac as well. Make sure to clean it regularly, emptying the tank when needed. Check the hose and other accessories and tools to make sure there are no clogs, either. This way, your shop vac is always ready for the next task because there’s nothing more annoying than a dirty vacuum.
We suggest you collect all the metal bits and pieces before running any shop vac. Certain metal pieces can damage the tools and even the motor. For this reason, make a magnetic broom by screwing a magnet pad on the end of a wood dowel to collect the metal with.
Dust Collector VS. Shop Vac for Woodworking
Many people think that dust collectors and shop vacs are the same. Still, they’re not as they’re meant to work in different conditions.
Collectors are powerful and among the most efficient machines to clean wood remains and sawdust. They are built to clean faster regardless of how large the area is. Plus, a collector can clean a large area at once, which is something you may not do with a shop vac.
On the other hand, shop vacs may be more suitable for smaller tasks and tighter areas. The most powerful ones are ideal for small to medium amounts of sawdust and wood remains. They’re easy to use and excellent for DIY projects.
Dust collectors are more efficient when it comes to removing tiny particles. This makes them better for allergy-prone people and everyone sensitive to sawdust.
However, shop vacs are cheaper than collectors. They’re smaller and require virtually no assembly or installation. Collectors need more space and are made for larger tasks. Although they’re more efficient, they’re trickier to use, especially if you’ve never had a similar machine.
Many people suggest you start with a shop vac before you invest in a collector. Shop vacs do a great job of removing sawdust and other particles you may have in your workshop. They’re simpler and easier to use, especially if you’re not dealing with as much sawdust.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use a shop vac for dust collection?
A: As we said, you don’t have to invest in a heavy-duty dust collector. Instead, you can use your shop vac to pick up the dust and dirt around your workshop.
However, this depends on the amount of particles and debris as well as the shop vac power. A powerful model can pick up nearly everything, and with ease, so you may not even need a collector.
Could I use a regular household vac for a woodworking mess?
A: Using a regular household vac for this type of mess isn’t the best idea. Not only your household vac isn’t strong enough, but you may even damage it beyond repair.
In most cases, using it this way will void the warranty, so any damage you create won’t be covered by the manufacturer.
Is filtration required for a shop vac for woodworking?
A: Cleaning sawdust without a filter would damage some of the shop vac’s internal components. You should remove the filter when cleaning liquids but put it back when cleaning debris and dirt.
Plus, most vacuums tend to blow some of those particles back into the air. Using a wet dry vacuum without its filter would make an even bigger mess.
At this point, you’ve probably chosen the best shop vac for woodworking that fits your needs and preferences. Having a wet dry vacuum at hand makes all the difference in how your workshop looks each day before and after you work.
However, there are many vacs on the market, which is why you should carefully consider which would work the best for you. Some are more suitable for smaller tasks, while others are more heavy-duty.
Think about its tank capacity and peak horsepower. While considering the motor, you should also think about accessories and how maneuverable the vac is. Power and tank capacity may be the most critical aspects, but you should also look for a blower port.
Go back to our reviews if you haven’t already found a shop vac for your garage/workshop. Take a moment to read the buyer’s guide as well since the information we included can help you pick the best model.