The 8 Best Wet Dry Shop Vac | Reviews For 2024

Best Wet Dry Shop Vacuums For Home, Car, Workshop, or Jobsite

Are you looking for the Best Wet Dry Shop Vac in 2024?  Whether you’re a homeowner, renter, builder, car guy, or gal, you sometimes need more power than a standard vacuum cleaner can provide. 

Wet basements, broken pipes, RV or Truck cleaning, and sawdust from home projects are all major cleanup jobs, made easier if you have one of the best wet/dry vacs.

The range of features available for shop vacs has also expanded considerably. Today, you can find vacuums that run on lithium-ion batteries, mount to walls, and even double as detached leaf and dust blowers!

We studied dozens of Shop Vacuums and reviewed all their specifications to see the pros and cons of each model; then, we picked the best of the lot and compiled our complete list of the Top Ten shop vacs below.

The Best Wet Dry Shop Vacuum (2024 Reviews)

Editor’s Choice:   Vacmaster 14 Gal. “Beast” with Cart

Vacmaster VJE1412SW0201 Beast Professional Series 14 Gal. 6.5 HP Steel Tank Wet/Dry Vac with Cart

The best wet-dry vacuum we recommend is the Vacmaster “Beast Professional shop vac. This vacuum has been shown to handle heavy use and provide great longevity.

In addition to its impressive capabilities as a shop vac, the Vacmaster Beast includes a cart for more effortless mobility around any job site, Garage, or Workshop. 

The Vacmaster Beast also features the “best in class” suction power of any vacuum we reviewed, and

  • The key features of this product include the following:
  • 14-gallon capacity
    6.5 -peal horsepower electric motor
  • 20 ft. power cord with 7 ft. Premium kink-free suction hose
  • Hose and Cord Storage,
    233 CFM – 83″ Water Lift
    Stainless Steel  construction with Cart for mobile use
Vacmaster Beast 14 Gal. Shop Vac - Best Home Gear
Vacmaster Beast 14 Gallon Shop Vac-

We consider the Vacmaster Beast one of the best shop vacs for the money. The unit’s strength, mobility, air suction hose, and ability to pull nearly any debris make for a super-efficient vacuum and edge out most other residential shop vacs.

While we rate the Beast as the best shop vac in our Top 8 Shop Vacs list, it may be a little more power (and money 🙂 than some need – or are willing to spend.  If so, you may wish to consider the ever-popular “runner-up” model 5985300 from the Shop-Vac Brand.




Runner Up:   Shop-Vac

Shop-Vac 5989305 5-Gallon 4.5 Peak HP Stainless Steel Wet Dry Vacuum,Black, Black

Coming in second place overall is the Shop-Vac model 5989300. The defining feature of this model is its stainless steel tank construction, which makes it highly durable.

Other key features of this product include:
5-gallon tank capacity
4.5-horsepower motor
Full set of accessory tools and nozzles included
7-foot hose length

People who own this vacuum are generally very pleased by its power, design, and ease of use. Whether used for cleanup for home projects or just for everyday sweeping, this unit has enough power to get the job done. Likewise, reviewers have commented positively on its capabilities as a blower.

One downside of our review is that this model has a power cord that is only six feet long. If you plan on buying the Shop-Vac 5989300, ensuring you have an extension cord is a good idea, making it much more convenient for moving around the house.



Best Portable Jobsite Vac:   Vacmaster “Beast” 5 GAL. 

Vacmaster Professional - Professional Wet/Dry , 5 Gallon, Beast Series, 5.5 HP 1-7/8' Hose Jobsite Vac (VFB511B0201), Black

We recommend the highly portable Vacmaster VFB511B 0201 for easy cleaning up around the job site. This 5.5 HP  Wet/Dry Vacuum from the “Beast” lineup is a mighty high-performance vac designed to tackle the most challenging cleanup projects—at the job site, around the shop, or in the garage.

With onboard hose, accessories, and power cord storage, this model eliminates the hassle of transporting to and from job sites and minimizes total storage space. With over 25 ft. of cleaning reach (7’ hose and 18’ power cord), the Vacmaster allows you to reach farther without unplugging the unit.

You can quickly control the power with the large dust-sealed on/off switch. It also includes eight accessories for nearly any task. As one reviewer noted, this Vacmaster sucks – but in a good way.

Video for the Vacmaster “Beast” Shop Vac


Key features of this model include the following:

5 Gallon* Polypropylene Tank
5.5 Peak HP High-Efficiency Motor
Integrated Hose Storage
18′ Cord with Cord Storage
It easily Converts to a Blower
Large On/Off Dust Sealed Switch
Balanced Top Handle Design
5-Year Limited Warranty

The only complaint we found from users of this model was that it doesn’t come standard with wheels.  However, if you find it ok to sacrifice storage space for mobility, you can contact Vacmaster Direct for wheels that snap into the bottom quickly. 



Best Value Shop-Vac:  Vacmaster VBV1210 Shop Vac with Blower

Vacmaster VBV1210, 12-Gallon* 5 Peak HP** Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum with Detachable Blower, Blue

Coming in as our “Best Value Shop Vac” is the Vacmaster model VBV1210. The defining feature of this model is that this shop vacuum also includes an unusual but extraordinary feature – A “detachable leaf blower.” 

With a very suitable 12-gallon tank and powerful 5 HP motor, the Vacmaster VBV1210 offers the perfect combination for light-duty home vacuuming or blowing out your garage or sidewalks.

Other key features of this product include:
12-gallon tank capacity
5-horsepower motor with a 19-foot electrical cord
Full set of accessory tools and nozzles included
7-foot hose length

Our reviews of this vacuum resulted in a unanimous conclusion. Namely due to its power, design, and ease of use, the Vacmaster is also one of Amazon’s top-selling shop vacs – and for a good reason.

Whether used for cleanup for home projects or just for everyday sweeping, this unit has enough power to get the job done. Likewise, we’ve found substantial capability as a leaf blower. However, a 19 ft. electrical cord limits the range of use.

If you plan on buying the Vacmaster VBV1210, ensuring you have an extension cord is a good idea, making it much more convenient for moving around the house or yard.



Best Portable Vacuum:   ArmorAll portable Vac

Armor All, AA255 , 2.5 Gallon 2 Peak HP Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum , Orange

Although they can be very convenient, the top-rated shop vacs with 5-gallon tanks can be cumbersome. For maximum portability, we recommend the Armor All model AA255. The key features of this product include the following:

2.5-gallon tank capacity
2-horsepower motor
6-foot hose
It comes with multiple nozzles
7-pound weight for easy portability

Buyers find this portable wet/dry vac offers plenty of power despite its smaller size. Many people use the ArmorAll AA255 specifically to vacuum out their cars, an application in which it appears to perform very well. Others use the AA255 to clean up small workshops, garages, and outdoor sheds.

One of the most frequent positives we noticed about this model is its reasonable price point relative to its capabilities.

If you plan to buy this vacuum, one potential downside to keep in mind is that it can be very loud. While this isn’t unusual in smaller shop vacs, people sensitive to loud noises may be better off getting a quieter model.

Armor All


Best Shop Vac Under $50:   Shop-Vac “Micro” 2030100

Shop-Vac 2021000 Micro Wet/Dry Vac Portable Compact Micro Vacuum with Collapsible Handle Wall Bracket & Multifunction Accessories Uses Type A Filter Bag & Type MM Foam Sleeve

If you’re looking for a great little ultra-compact vacuum at a very reasonable price, we recommend the Shop-Vac Micro 2030100. You can take this vac anywhere without taking up unnecessary space or weighing you down.  

The one advantage over the Armor-All model above is it is 3” x 3” smaller and a little more compact.

The key features of this product include the following:

1.5-gallon tank capacity
2-horsepower motor
Wall Mountable
6-foot power cord
Folding handle for easy carry
4-foot hose
Wall mountable

Almost all of the reviews of this model highlight the fact that it offers excellent power for its size. This vacuum is an excellent option for vacuuming cars and trucks, as it can quickly move around.

It can also be used to get suction in small spaces that a more traditional vacuum might not be able to reach.

Although it is an excellent option for its size range, it’s essential to understand the limitations of a 1.5-gallon tank before you buy this model to avoid disappointment.

With this vacuum, you can clean your car and reach into small spaces, but it probably isn’t the best option for cleaning your entire home.



Best “Cordless” Wet/Dry Vac:   DeWalt DCV581H

DEWALT 20V MAX Wet/Dry Vacuum, Cordless and Corded, Versatile Power Source, Portable Shop Vacuum, Tool Only (DCV581H)

One of the biggest problems people can have with wet/dry vacs is managing the electrical power cords. Models that have short cords can be challenging to use effectively, while overly long extension cords can be cumbersome and get in the way.

The DCV581H from DeWalt solves the cord problem altogether – using either an 18-volt or 20-volt battery as a power source. This vacuum can, however, also run off of a cord if you want it to. (Best of both worlds)

The key features of this product include the following:

2-gallon tank capacity
Batteries interchangeable with other DeWalt tools
HEPA-rated filter

Although small and can run on a battery, the DeWalt DCV581H’s power surprises many people who buy it. Thanks to its lightweight and small size, this model is also very convenient for use in tight places that may be difficult to run an extension cord to.

As with other small, lightweight vacuums, it’s important not to overestimate this model’s capabilities. This unit may not be the best for you if you have an entire construction project to clean from top to bottom.

When you don’t want to deal with extension cords or don’t have a portable generator to plug into, this is an excellent shop vac to own.

It should also be noted that the vacuum does not come with a battery but will accept DeWalt’s standard tool batteries from both their 18-volt and 20-volt series lineup.

DeWalt Shop Vac


Best “Portable/Commercial” Wet/Dry Vacuum – Shop-Vac 

Shop-Vac 5951400 6.5 Peak hp Wet/Dry Vacuum, 14 gallon, Yellow/Black

Although it can be convenient to have a small, light vacuum on hand sometimes, some jobs require higher power and super Heavy-Duty construction.

If you typically have a lot of heavy vacuuming or need a commercial-grade unit, we highly recommend the Shop-Vac 5951400. It is one of the very best wet-dry vacs you can buy. Period.

The key features of this product include the following:

14-gallon tank capacity
6.5-horsepower motor
12-foot cord
8-foot hose
It comes with a complete set of hose and nozzle accessories

People who own this Shop-Vac model are overwhelmingly impressed with its power and its ability to stand up to hard use. One of the most significant advantages of this vacuum over other wet/dry vacs on the market is its larger hose diameter.

With a larger hose, this vacuum avoids clogging when forced to deal with large amounts of material. For a commercial-grade unit, the Shop-Vac 5951400 is also reasonably quiet.

One disadvantage of this vacuum that has appeared in a few user reviews is that the instruction manual can be a bit unclear. While it isn’t too difficult to figure out, you may have trouble assembling the vacuum and using it for the first time.

Once you learn your way around it, you can use it easily.




“Best Large Shop Vac” – Craftsman 20 Gal. Heavy Duty

CRAFTSMAN CMXEVBE17656 20 Gallon 6.5 Peak HP Wet/Dry Vac with Cart, Heavy-Duty Shop Vacuum with Attachments

Heavy-duty jobs require heavy-duty construction, and the Craftsman shop vac is at the top of our list for those jobs.

If your needs are for a job site or large Shop, you will most likely need commercial-grade equipment, and if so, we highly recommend the Craftsman 20 Gallon Heavy Duty Shop-Vac. 

The key features of this product include the following:

20-gallon tank capacity
6.5-horsepower motor
20-foot cord
10-foot professional-grade suction hose
It comes with a complete set of nozzle accessories

The Craftsman name is synonymous with durability and quality.  And on those two counts, the Craftsman shop vac shines.  Its large 6.5 hp motor, best-in-the-class hose, cord, and accessories make it a clear front runner for anyone tackling big jobs.

The integrated handle not only provides 360 maneuverability but provides the only onboard accessories pouch of any shop vac in our review. They thought of everything.

The only disadvantage of the Craftsman shop vac may be its size.  Certainly, unless you have a large garage or workshop or own an SUV or pickup to transport this incredible tool, it may be bigger than you need.

Craftsman Shop Vac



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How much does a shop vacuum cost?

The average cost for our Best rated wet-dry shop vacuum will range between $40 – $100.

While compact models serve their purpose, the best quality and performance find their way to the higher-priced models we reviewed. As the saying goes, “You get what you pay for.”

Should You Remove the Filter When Using a Shop Vac for Water?

Absolutely. You should always remove the air filter when using a shop vac to remove water.  The “filter” in a shop vac is designed to capture fine dust particles in dry conditions and will be ruined if you vacuum water through the shop vac filter.

In addition, you must remove the “dust collection bag” if you are currently using one. 

Most manufacturers include a “Float” with their Wet Dry Shop Vacs.  The float is designed to prevent high water from reaching the motor. 

Be sure you’re using the manufactured supplied float, especially if you plan on filling the wet shop vac full.

See the How to Turn a Dry Vac into a Wet Vac – Ready for Water (video) 


What Type of Shop-Vac model do I need?

If you’re looking for maximum liquid capacity from your Wet Vac Or do a lot of woodworking and need larger-scale cleanup in your workshop or garage space, you should focus on the heavy-duty commercial-size models.

These include the Shop-Vac model 5951400 or the Craftsman model, which features a 20-gallon tank.

However, If you’re planning to use your vac for auto or truck cleaning, then the portability and convenience of the Armor-All model or the Dewalt – Cordless vac will better suit your needs.

Have you ever owned an everyday carry (EDC) Multi-Tool?  Check out the Ten best Multi-Tools you can buy Here.

What type of Filter Does a Shop-Vac use?

A:  Most models we feature include a small replaceable paper filter. However, larger shop vacs like the Vacmaster and larger Shop-Vac brands include reusable cloth and foam wet filters.

Either way, pick your next shop vac with whatever jobs you plan on using it for.

What are The Two Holes In a Wet Dry Shop Vac For?

Many shop vac manufacturers include two holes in the front of their shop vacs. In this case, one hole is for vacuuming, and the other is for using the shop vac as a blower.

What Attachments Come With A Shop-Vac?

Shop Vacs come with multiple attachments, which will vary per model. These attachments typically include wands, crevice tools, extensions, and squeegee adapters for cleaning wet surfaces.

Once again, determine the purposes you intend to use your shop vacuum for, and it will help you narrow down the best Wet Dry Vacuum for your needs.

If You’re Looking to Upgrade Your Power Tools – Check out the 5 Best Cordless Combo Tool Kits.


As you can see, the selection of shop vacuums goes from small, portable units to commercial-level models capable of handling even the most challenging jobs. Of course, the right model for you will depend heavily on the applications you plan to use it in.

If you’re bringing it to a job site or cleaning out a frequently used home shop, the larger shop vacuum, such as the “Vacmaster “Beast” or the Craftsman 20 Gallon, may be the right model for you.

If you only plan to use it to clean out your car, on the other hand, you’ll probably find a small model like the Armor All AA255 a better fit.  If you’re a “cordless” equipment lover, consider the DeWalt DCV581H the right tool.

One particularly important feature to keep in mind when you’re choosing your wet/dry vac is the capacity of its tank. While not quite as crucial for dry material, the tank capacity is important if you must remove large amounts of water from your basement at some point.

The more capacity you have, the easier it will be to deal with sizeable liquid vacuuming jobs. At the same time, the best-wet vacuum is also one you can carry once it is complete, meaning that you don’t want the absolute largest tank size if you aren’t powerful.

Regarding overall features, quality, and functionality for everyday use, we recommend the Vacmaster VBV1210 as the best wet/dry vacuum.

Between its large capacity, high power, quality construction, and the ability to act as a detached blower, the Vacmaster outperformed the rest of the field when evaluated for general use.

Be sure to check out the features, pros, and cons of each of our top-rated shop vacs to find the one that best meets your needs.

Thanks again for visiting BestHomeGear.Com, and good luck choosing your own Wet Dry Vac!

References & Additional Resources

Kevin Carroll
Kevin Carroll
Kevin is the author and editor for Best Home Gear, and uses his 25+ years experience in Commercial and Residential Construction Management to author and publish the work for this website. In addition to publishing Best Home Gear; Kevin enjoys the outdoors in Michigan and Arizona, hiking, cycling, fishing, golf, and completing DIY projects at his Home and Garden.


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