8 Best Shop Vacs for Woodworking in 2021

How messy is your space after working with wood? The fine sawdust and larger wood particles make cleaning a bit challenging for a regular vacuum cleaner.

Luckily, a shop vac for woodworking projects can help you clean the mess. 

Take a few minutes to discover the best vacuums for woodworking and how to pick one using our buyer’s guide.

In a rush? Check out our favorites for woodworking:

Woodshop Vacuum Reviews

DeWALT DXV10P 10 gallon Quiet Poly Wet Dry Vacuum

(Our Top Pick)

DeWalt is one of the biggest names in the industry of wet-dry shop vacuum cleaners. Its DXV10P is powerful, large, and easy to use regardless of the dirt you’re dealing with. 

It’s a heavy-duty shop vacuum, featuring a powerful 5.5 HP motor. However, it’s not as loud as many similar models, so it won’t disturb the people around you. 

The dual-stage 10-gallon tank holds 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-foot power cord that wraps around the tank for much easier storage. It’s not the longest 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. 

DeWALT DXV10P 10 gallon Quiet Poly Wet Dry Vacuum

Specifications

  • Tank Capacity: 10 GAL
  • Weight: 23.1 lbs
  • Cord length: 10′

CRAFTSMAN CMXEVBE17607 16 gallon 6.5 Peak Hp

(Best Maneuverability)

This heavy-duty 16-gallon shop vacuum 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 6.5 HP motor makes 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 extra-large drain. It’s located at the lowest point of the canister, making it easy to empty the liquids you’ve collected. 

Also, this heavy-duty shop vac comes with a 7-foot hose, a pair of extension wands, a car nozzle, a utility nozzle, a crevice tool, a locking blower wand, a wet nozzle, and a diffuser. 

CRAFTSMAN CMXEVBE17607 16 gallon 6.5 Peak Hp Wet/Dry Vac

Specifications

  • Tank Capacity: 16 GAL
  • Weight: 29.8
  • Cord Length: 20 ft

Armor All, AA255

(Best for Quick Cleanups)

Armor All is another popular name in the industry, which is just one of the reasons why you should consider its shop vacuums. Among many models that the manufacturer offers, its AA255 shop vac is one of the best shop vacs for woodworking.  

It’s meant for smaller cleanups since it features a 2.5-gallon tank. This isn’t a lot, especially when compared to other vacs on the market. 

It comes with a 10-foot cord and a 6′ long hose. This may not sound like a lot, but it should be enough for small cleanups around your garage or workshop. 

Also, this shop vac comes with a rear blowing 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. 

Armor All, AA255

Specifications

  • Tank Capacity: 2.5 GAL
  • Weight: 7 lbs
  • Cord Length: 10 feet

Shop-Vac 5989300

(Best Choice for Hard-to-Reach Areas)

Shop-Vac 5989300 is a high-quality wet-dry cleaner, featuring a 5-gallon tank made of stainless steel. It might be the best shop vac for both large and small woodworking shops and garages.  

It picks up everything from sawdust and tree twigs to various liquids. Also, this Shop-Vac 5989300 stainless steel vac is suitable for cleaning grass clippings and other similar debris from tight and hard-to-reach areas. 

It features a 6′ power cord that wraps around the 5-gallon tank. Although it’s not the longest power cable, it adds up to the 7′ long extension hose. 

This stainless steel shop vac for woodworking 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 around. On top of that, it weighs only 15 pounds, which isn’t a lot given that it’s made from stainless steel.

Shop-Vac 5989300

Specifications

  • Tank Capacity: 5 GAL
  • Weight: 14.7 lbs
  • Cord Length: 12 ft

Tacklife 5-gallon Wet Dry Vacuum Cleaner PVC01A

Tacklife PVC01A is a 3-in-1 woodworking 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 cleaner 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 nozzle, a filter bag, a small flat tool, and a couch tool. 

Tacklife PVC01A woodworking shop vac features Buoy technology, automatically shutting off when you go over the level in the bucket. This helps to protect the motor, ensuring its longevity. 

Tacklife Wet Dry Vacuum PVC01A

Specifications

  • Tank Capacity: 5 GAL
  • Weight: 8.4 lbs
  • Cord Length: 10′

WORKSHOP Wet Dry WS1600VA

(Blower and Vacuum in One)

If you need the best shop vac with a powerful motor and plenty of accessories, you should check this high-quality Workshop wet dry cleaner. It’s a 2-in-1 shop vac with an extension hose and several useful features. 

Its 7′ long dual-flex locking hose rotates for 180°, allowing ultimate maneuverability and flexibility. The tab ensures that the dual-flex locking 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 extra-large drain port at the bottom of the 16-gallon tank. It makes it easy to empty the liquids during wet cleaning. Also, this shop vac for woodworking works as a blower as well. It comes with utility and car nozzles, wet nozzle, and two extension wands. 

WORKSHOP Wet Dry Vac WS1600VA

Specifications

  • Tank Capacity: 16 GAL
  • Weight: 23.4 lbs
  • Cord Length: 20 ft

CRAFTSMAN 17612 5 Peak HP Vacuum Cleaner

This Craftsman four-gallon wet-dry vac is among the best shop vacs for small to medium garages. It features a powerful 5 HP motor, sporting plenty of suction power.

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-foot hose stores on the vac as well. 

This small shop vac for woodworking 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 thanks to its onboard accessory storage. 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. 

CRAFTSMAN 17612 4 Gallon 5.0 Peak HP Wet/Dry Vac

Specifications

  • Tank Capacity: 4-gallon tank
  • Weight: 16.41 lbs
  • Cord Length: 20 ft

Bissell Garage Pro Wall-Mounted Wet Dry 18P03

If you need a large shop vac with a powerful motor, you should consider this Bissell shop vac for woodworking as one of the best ones from the brand. It’s among the best shop vac models that work as a vacuum cleaner as well as a blower.  

The most important thing to note is that this is a wall-mounted shop vac for woodworking. It features a 4-gallon tank, extension hose, and a 5′ long power cord. Its total reach measures 32 feet and it also has an onboard accessory storage. 

The 12-Amp wet dry cleaner is powerful enough for everything in your workshop and garage. It’s meant for wet and dry particles, which means you can clean sawdust and dirt along with different liquids and spills. 

On top of that, this woodworking shop vac converts into a blower, featuring a Helix system. It comes with two extension poles, an extension hose, a brush, two cleaning heads, two nozzle crevice tools, and a smaller cleaning head. 

Specifications

  • Tank Capacity: 4 GAL
  • Weight: 33.2 lbs
  • Cord Length: 5 ft

Looking for more vacuum options for your garage? See our complete guide.

Buying Guide

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 cleaner. 

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

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.

Vacuum Hose

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-foot hose, although some are shorter/longer. 

Maneuverability

The best is to consider whether or not the shop vac of your choice has wheels. Shop vacuums 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. 

Noise

Nearly every shop vac has a powerful motor. For this reason, almost every shop vac is relatively loud, especially when compared to domestic vacuum cleaners.  

Although some are quieter than others, most shop vac models are considered loud. It’s the price you have to pay for the power that these vacs deliver. 

Capacity

When thinking about gallon 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. 

Versatility

Shop vacuums can usually clean both wet and dry messes. These versatile wet dry vacuum cleaners are ideal for workshop conditions.  

Also, nearly every wet dry cleaner works as a blower. It’s a highly useful feature to blow out all the tiny sawdust from tight and hard-to-reach areas. 

Safety

The biggest concern with these 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. 

Suction

Some shop vacs have more suction 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 dry-cleaning sawdust or larger bits of wood. 

Weight

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 tank capacity as well as maneuverability. Go for a shop vac that has wheels because these usually don’t feel as heavy. 

Filtration

Unfortunately, shop vacs don’t usually have HEPA filters. Instead of HEPA filters, you might come across a cartridge filter that’s the next best thing. However, shop vacs aren’t the best to use if you’re prone to allergies or you’re sensitive to sawdust because they don’t have HEPA filters. 

Look for the best shop vac that has washable filters, a cartridge filter, and sealed construction. A sealed shop vac is unlikely to release the collected particles back into your breathing space even without HEPA filters. 

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 the best 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 cleaner 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, extension wands, and other power 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 cleaner. 

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, a shop vac is usually cheaper than collectors. It’s smaller and requires 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. A shop vac is a great dust extractor that does a good job of removing sawdust and other particles you may have in your workshop. It’s often simpler and easier to use, especially if you’re not dealing with as much sawdust. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:

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 vacuum cleaner can pick up nearly everything, and with ease, so you may not even need a specifically-made machine for dust collection.

Q:

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. 

Q:

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 cleaner without its filter would make an even bigger mess. 

Read more: Is It Possible to Use a Shop Vacuum with no Filter?

Conclusion

At this point, you’ve probably chosen the best shop vac for woodworking that fits your needs and preferences. Having a wet dry vacuum cleaner 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 its extension wands 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.

We hope that our best shop vacs for woodworking guide helped with your decision!

I’ve been a dedicated writer for Clean That Floor for approximately 3 years. I’ve written about various topics, mostly focusing on cleaning products, vacuum cleaners, mops, and simple cleaning solutions for homeowners. I enjoy testing tips and tricks on house maintenance, reviewing both the process and results.

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