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Cleaning the hard mess by yourself can be an overwhelming task. Indeed, it can be a little tricky to find a useful tool to help you gather all the dirt, both at home and at work. 

Particularly if you are looking for a vacuum that is also able to clean up grease, water, and dry waste. Although it seems difficult to locate this amazing tool, well, happily, there is a powerful and very special device that can do all this job: the best small shop vac.

From the construction site to the other varied woodworking workshops, the clutter these places produce requires the highest quality vacuums. As you might expect, all the dirt and heavy-duty duties would not be able to cope with the regular household units only.

You may consider investing in a store vac to support your standard vacuum cleaner, depending on your specifications. All surfaces can even be handled by a shop vac, even garage doors, sinks, concrete, almost everything.

What is a Shop Vac? And do You Need One?

A shop vac is a particular form of vacuum that is most commonly used in manufacturing and carpentry. These devices consist of a strong motor and suction unit that sucks up dirt, waste, and pieces of material from construction sites and woodworking shops. They have a very large and sturdy hose, a large canister to carry the debris, and work miracles to clean very messy and dirty spaces. 

Some individuals prefer to shop vacs as bucket vacuums because, yeah, they look like buckets with a hose sticking out of them. They usually have wheels that make it easier to maneuver around the room.

To put it plainly, this is not the sort of vacuum you will usually use to clean your house. It is planned for large-scale work.

What does Shop Vacs do?

In general, shop vacs are only found in building sites or woodworking shops, which is why they are named shop vacs. This specific type of vacuum is designed to suck up nails, screws, other smaller bits of metal, wood chunks, sawdust, and all other small objects that are frequently on a woodworking shop or building site ground.

If you are on the look for the best small shop vacs, we’ll give you a detailed review of the top 8 small shop vacuum cleaners on the market, with their features, specifications, advantages, and disadvantages.

#1 Bissell Garage Pro Garage Wet Dry Shop Vac

bissell-garage-pro-wet-dry-shop-vac

Bissell wins the top pick for the best small shop vac. This tool packs a lot of strength in a compact and upright build that makes it suitable for sweeping the floor of your garage or workshop and then conveniently storing it in a cabinet. 

It has a 12-amp engine that can accommodate wet and dry messes, and this brings to this unit a degree of flexibility that means that it won’t clog in the midst of washing up.  

You get three models to choose from when you purchase to help you tailor your preference based on what your criteria are for the right small shop vac. 

Although it’s just a four-gallon tank that comes with this model, the Bissell Garage Pro compensates by giving you plenty of features that set it apart from all the other units on the market. 

Surprisingly, the tank is a semi-translucent system that helps you to see where you’re at filling it up. 

bissell-garage-pro-semi-translucent-tank

Safety Features  

An internal thermal protector is provided with the Bissell Garage Pro 18P03 Wet/Dry Vacuum cleaner to ensure that the unit does not heat up during operation. The thermal protector operates by stopping the main motor of the device, allowing you the ability to clean out the root of the problem of overheating, whether filthy filters, clogging, or a whole cup of mud. 

There are three LED lights on the faceplate on the unit. When you turned the unit on, the green light switches on, the yellow light shows that the dirt tank needs emptying, and when the water volume in the tank is too high, the red light lights up.

Long Hose Feature

bissell-garage-pro-long-hose

When choosing a garage vac, another important factor is the hose that comes with it. This Bissell model features an extra-long 32-foot hose that will allow you to access most of the areas without removing it from the wall in your shop basement or garage. 

The suction that this vacuuming machine gives is very average. However, most tiny things will be picked up, but the 1.5-inch diameter mouth would not allow more important objects such as leaves to be picked up.

bissell-garage-pro-wall-mount

Specifications

  • Vacuum Style: Canister
  • Collection Type: Bagless
  • Floor Surface Type: Bare Floors
  • Product Weight: 32.5 lbs
  • Vacuum Capacity: 4 Gallons
  • Vacuum Type: Wet & Dry
  • Attachments: 7
  • Hose Length: 32 ft.
  • Filter Change Indicator: Yes
  • Electrical Cord Length: 5 ft.

Pros:

  • Like many of its competitors, this wall-mounted system does not take up floor space in the corner. It would never tip over and, without leaning against anything, it will not hold up on its own. 
  • Both damp and dry messes can be handled by this vacuum, which many portable vacuum cleaners can not do. 
  • Its big four-gallon tank has much more capacity than its competitors. 
  • The 32-foot hose of the vacuum helps you to clean around without having to lug the vacuum cleaner around.

Where to buy Bissell Garage Pro Garage Wet Dry Shop Vac

#2 Stanley 5 Gallon Shop Vac

stanley-5-gallon-shop-vac

This vacuum cleaner from Stanley has a capacity of 5 gallons and is a 3-in-1 model that will support you in every way possible around the home. You won’t have to clean the bucket very much because it has a vast capacity. 

You will be able to remove all dry residue and wet drops with his assistance. As for its scope, you will be able to drive along up to 15 feet with it. Its 10-foot cord and its extension wands have this distance. 

You would be able to use it for many uses, such as cleaning the home, garage, vehicle, and so on, because of its strong suction. 

Main Features: 

  • Water-resistant 
  • Built-in Tank and Power Cord Wrap 

The 5-gallon stainless steel tank gives a stunning look to this vacuum. The tall shiny drum embossed with the trusted “Stanley” logo is a welcoming spot in every workshop. The rugged structure and solid reliability combine to establish a good performer for this wet/dry vacuum. 

Based on the durability of stainless steel, every other component of this hardy vacuum is designed to function for a long time to come.

Convenience

stanley-5-gallon-shop-vac-convenience

A nice feature for a wet/dry vacuum is the onboard attachment storage. The simple and easy placement of accessories removes all the time you spent looking for those “parts” that you have tucked away for later whenever you need them. 

Your crevice nozzle, floor brush, and utility nozzle are all on hand when you’re about to use them, without peeking into long lost boxes or frantically searching cabinet drawers. When not in operation, this all-inclusive feature makes the vacuum self-contained and easily stored away.

Product Specifications: 

stanley-5-gallon-shop-vac-specifications
  • Airflow: 70 CFM
  • Body: Stainless Steel
  • Container Capacity: 5 Gallons
  • Hose Length: 5 ft
  • Motor Horsepower (Peak): 4
  • Power Cord Length: 10 ft
  • Voltage: 120 V
  • Applications: Wet/Dry Vacuum
  • Attachments
  • 1-1/4 in. x 5 ft. Flexible hose
  • 3 extension wands
  • Crevice and Utility Nozzle
  • Floor brush
  • Foam filter
  • Cloth filter with clamp ring
  • Reusable fabric filter bag

Pros: 

  • This high duty wet/dry vacuum weighs in at just 9 pounds and is comparatively light and easy to bring around, up the stairs, out into the vehicle, off to the basement. No matter where you need to vacuum up the mess when shifting it from place to place, the Stanley SL18130 won’t break your back. 
  • We also know that the float ball’s high pitch sound cuts off suction as liquids are dropped from the wet/dry canister. But there is also a large bright red LED on the powerhead in this vacuum that also lets us know when it is time to empty the tank.

Cons:

  • For this type of vacuum, a common concern is that for many customers it has a lower suction among others. Measured at 70 CFM, for certain users, air capacity just doesn’t cut it. 
stanley-5-gallon-shop-vac-attachments

Where to buy Stanley 5 Gallon Shop Vac

#3 CRAFTSMAN CMXEVBE17595 16 Gallon Heavy Duty Shop Vacuum

craftsman-cmxebe1759516-6.5-gallon-shop-vac

For this unit, managing large-scale repairs, floods, or floors is nothing. This is a great and reliable vacuum built to provide you with the finest cleaning experience. For tackling larger clean-up tasks, CRAFTSMAN CMXEVBE17595 is the best shop vac for you. 

For instance, in your work site, workshop, or any place where you need more power, you can use it.

It comes with multiple nozzle accessories, such as a utility nozzle, a nozzle for the vehicle, and a wet nozzle. In addition, it comes with a Dual-Flex diameter hose that prevents crushing and kinks. It also has on-board storage for attachments that lets you keep things organized. 

Qwik Lock Filter

CMXEVBE17595 has even more creative features, such as the Qwik Lock Filter Fastening System, which helps you to adjust the filter easily. This is, overall, a decent cleaning product fitted with all the right features. It comes with a wheelbase, which means you don’t have to order it separately.

Less Noise

For most vacuums, one of the major concerns is that they produce a lot of noise. But you do not have to deal with anything like that with CRAFTSMAN CMXEVBE17595. This creates so little noise and therefore makes it easier for you to vacuum. Through this unit, you can clean at any time you want without bothering your family members or neighbors. 

Kink-Free Hose

The hose included with the vacuum is fitted with DUAL-FLEX TECHNOLOGY to withstand crushing and kinks for 180-degree mobility at either end. This helps you to use the hose without having to worry about damaging it. Also, within this range, it can give you longer service than another hose.

High Suction Strength

craftsman-cmxebe1759516-6.5-gallon-shop-vac-specifications-power

This unit is designed for larger cleaning tasks and is suitable for work sites and garages. This is a heavy-duty device with a solid 6.5 peak Horsepower. This offers additional power for large projects in the workshop, garage, and on the work site.

For those looking for a high-performance cleaner, this is the ideal cleaning tool for you. It has shop vacs that can carry water and heavy debris like that. Not just that, but you can use it to blow leaves and grass off your porch as a blower, too.

Product Specifications:

craftsman-cmxebe1759516-6.5-gallon-shop-vac-specifications
  • Tank Capacity: 16 Gallons
  • Cord Length: 20 Ft
  • Accessory Storage: Onboard
  • Weight: 26 lbs
  • Product Height: 23.8 Inches
  • Product Length: 21.3 Inches
  • Product Width: 21.3 Inches

Pros:

  • Strong suction • 
  • Suitable for bigger projects 
  • Includes a wheelbase 
  • Powerful engine
  • 20-ft long power cord 
  • Less noisy. 

Cons: 

  • Large-sized 
  • Some people found the locking mechanism of the lid a little stiff, which means that it may be vulnerable to breaking off or cracking.

Where to buy CRAFTSMAN CMXEVBE17595 16 Gallon Heavy Duty Shop Vacuum

#4 DeWALT DXV09P 9 Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum

The DeWalt DXV09P is a wet/dry vacuum cleaner with a large 9-gallon polycarbonate drum canister intended for workshops and building sites with small to large pickups. 

It is possible to use the DeWalt DXV09P as a wet/dry vacuum cleaner, dust extractor, and blower. It comes with a long range of cleaning equipment and accessories available to clean various kinds of dirt.

9-Gallon Canister

dewalt-dxv09p-shop-vacuum

The DeWalt 9-Gallon Wet/Dry Vac being firmly within the mid-size range for shop vacuums, should have enough room to get the job done without occupying too much floor space. For most shops and garages with enough convenient portability to bring to the work site, the size is a reasonable one. 

Blower

It’s an easy matter of converting the DeWalt 9-Gallon Wet/Dry Vac to its blowing mode. Only detach the hose from the vacuum port and tie it back to the exhaust of the engine. You’ve got yourself a low-power blower in seconds.

Mobility

This DeWalt vacuum is equipped with four 360 ° spinning caster wheels. This can allow the vacuum to turn around in smaller spaces. The lack of bigger wheels, of course, means that jumping cords and clutter will be a problem, but free travel will be a breeze around the store. 

There is also a fairly simple product improvement here, with rolling features that are much smoother than the other versions.

Hose and Cord Management 

This is one of the aspects that some thought has been put through by DeWalt. The cord wraps around the handle quickly and safely. The DeWalt 9-Gallon Wet/Dry Vac has a fairly excellent hose control system where a lot of model units have let us down. The hose wraps around the engine housing and the heavy-duty rubber straps secure it in place.

Performance 

dewalt-dxv09p-shop-vacuum-performance

The DeWalt 9-Gallon Wet/Dry Vac has a 5 Horsepower motor that can pull a maximum of 90 CFM and a 70-inch water lift through its 1-7/8-inch diameter hose, which is 7 feet in length. Usually, the engine is a little smaller than any of the other choices out there that offer you a 5.5 Hp engine to deal with. As usual, the size of the engine isn’t the same as what you do with it. It ensures you get both airflow and lift.

Product Specifications:

  • Tank Capacity: 9 Gallons
  • Cord Length: 10 ft
  • Accessory Storage: Onboard
  • Weight: 23 lbs
  • Product Height: 22.25 Inches
  • Product Length: 18 Inches
  • Product Width: 18 Inches

Attachment Inclusions

dewalt-dxv09p-shop-vacuum-inclusions
  • 2 Extension Wands
  • Cartridge Filter (Washable)
  • Disposable Filter Bags
  • Floor Nozzle
  • Accessory Storage Bag
  • Utility Crevice Nozzles

Pros:

  • This shop vacuum is very strong, and can suck up almost anything.
  • One of the highlights is the onboard accessory storage bin, as it makes for convenient access to all your preferred accessories. 
  • The castors make moving the vacuum around the house quick. 
  • For certain reasons, the size is ideal, because it is not too small or too large.
  • It works well on both wet and dry surfaces, and the attachments provided also allow it to be a flexible vacuum.

Cons:

  • Although the vacuum is easy to maneuver, the small power cord significantly reduces the area covered. If you want to clean more than a small area before changing the power outlet, you’ll most definitely have to buy an extension cord.

Where to buy DeWALT DXV09P 9 Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum

#5 Vacmaster Armor All AA255 Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum

armor-all-aa255-shop-vacuum-

As of today, a wet/dry vacuum is the only vacuum cleaner that can effectively vacuum up wet and dry stuff. You can vacuum all sorts of different wet materials with a wet/dry vacuum. This contains, among many other kinds of wet things, stuff like water that has leaked into your house, vomit, spilled drink, and even mud. 

This is where the Armor All AA255 shop vacuum specializes.

The Armor All Wet and Dry vacuum is lightweight, unlike the bulky ones people keep in their garage, making it ideal for cleaning the inside of your vehicle. While the motor is powerful, the operation sound is silent thanks to the diffusion technology. 

Even though it is small, the tank can hold over 2 gallons of garbage, and when the tank exceeds its maximum capacity, the vacuum automatically shuts off. It comes with lots of attachments and a hose that is adjustable. Plus, you can transform the vacuum into a blower, so that you can spiff up your driveway and walkway with it.

50-Plus Airflow from CFM 

There is a 6-amp motor within the All Armor AA255. In the world of wet/dry vacuums, this size motor can be light, but do not be deceived by the power output. This vacuum motor has a 2-horsepower output. 

The airflow of this wet/dry vac is measured at 53 cubic feet per minute, strong enough to remove sticky debris like pet fur. The flow of air is silent despite its suction power thanks to the presence of a diffuser, which lessens the sound level.

Small Yet Powerful

armor-all-aa255-shop-vacuum-convenient-size

The Armor All AA255 is the perfect wet/dry vacuum for the task, and you’re just trying to vacuum your vehicle, not detailing a massive workshop. A remarkably large tank complete with stable latches and a powerful motor that provides an above-average airflow is the compact, lightweight wet/dry vacuum. 

With the variety of tools and the bendable hose that comes with it, this model has dry suction, liquid cleaning and blower features that you can reap the benefits of. A cord wrap also serves as the smartly built handle, and premium features such as a sealed power switch and auto-shut-off function are available.

 Use this Armor All Wet and Dry Vacuum to make the car’s interior look fresh from the showroom.

Product Specifications: 

armor-all-aa255-vacuum-specifications
  • Horsepower (Peak) : 2HP
  • Voltage: 120 V
  • Tank Capacity: 2.5 Gallons
  • Hose Diameter: 1.25 in
  • Weight: 8.4 lbs
  • Power Cord Length: 10 ft
  • Manual

Accessories Included:

  • Reusable Cloth Filter
  • Foam Sleeve
  • Crevice Tool
  • Deluxe Car Nozzle
  • Utility Nozzle 2-in-1
  • Blower Nozzle/Adapter
  • Detail brush
armor-all-aa255-vacuum-inclusions

Pros:

  • A six foot hose and multiple accessories come with this wet and dry vacuum to allow you to reach almost every mess. It has a pretty long, 10 foot power cord as well. 
  • The vacuum has an auto-shutoff such that when it is filled with liquids, it doesn’t overflow. 
  • This vacuum doesn’t require difficult assembly.   
  • On par with home vacuum cleaners, it produces even more power than portable vacuums. And it weighs less than any of the competing portable vacuum cleaners, at just over eight pounds.

Cons:

  • The hose does not always remain in place while this wet-dry vacuum is in blowing mode. If you are struggling to dry a damp car seat, it is more comfortable to leave it in the sun or use a blow dryer.

Where to buy Vacmaster Armor All AA255 Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum

#6 Shop-Vac 2036000 2.5 Gallon Shop Vacuum

shop-vac-2036000

This wet/dry small shop vac can be used to clean all sorts of messes, even spilled liquids. This is a lightweight device that makes it faster and more efficient for any cleanup. It comes with numerous attachments and filters, all of which can be reused, making it highly useful. 

This price is made even better by the fact that a 3-year warranty comes with this shop vac. It is built to be easy to carry and used in your home.

shop-vac-2036000-convenience

Its 1600 watt motor has enough power that makes it easy to clean. Metal extension wands, dual surface nozzles, and a filter bag are the attachments that come with this wet vac. 

This vacuum is simple to use and reliable, so it can last for a long period of time. Using the attachments on the hose, it can also quickly be made into a blower, making this a highly flexible unit. The power cord is long enough to cover all the necessary areas and enables your home or workspace to be cleaned completely.

shop-vac-2036000-inclusions

Product Specifications:

  • Liter(s): 9.46
  • Capacity: 10.0 quarts
  • Peak Horsepower: 2.5 HP/3.4 Kw
  • Airflow: 58 CFM
  • Apms: 8
  • Voltage: 120 V
  • Air Watts: 120
  • Attachments: Crevice Tool, Wall-mounted tool holder, Nozzle, Dry filter, Foam sleeve
  • Tank Capacity: 2.5 Gallons
  • Hose Diameter: 1.5″
  • Product Weight: 8.1 lbs
  • Product Width: 11 in
  • Hose Length: 4 ft
  • Power Cord Length: 6 ft

Pros:

  • Portability and compactness
  • Wall-mount option that holds it up and out of the way from the floor
  • Can be converted to a blower
  • This model is fitted with a convenient carrying handle that is collapsible.

Cons:

  • Sad to say, it has only 4ft hose length. This is the only minor concern from some users.

Where to buy Shop-Vac 2036000 2.5 Gallon Shop Vacuum

#7 Hoover Commercial Lightweight Shop Backpack Vacuum

hoover-lighweight-backpack-vacuum

Hoover is an impressive manufacturer that sells a number of excellent vacuum cleaners. The Hoover Commercial C2401 Backpack Vacuum might be just for you for a decent backpack vacuum cleaner.

With the ease of not needing to lug around a cleaner, the Hoover Commercial C2401 BackPack Vacuum helps you to vacuum comfortably and easily. Cleaning can be made easier and bring it around a busy floor and reduce the need to move furniture by wearing it as a backpack.

Key Features

hoover-lighweight-backpack-vacuum-chiropractor-designed
  • The chiropractor-designed harness, with plenty of padding and shoulder braces, provides good back support when cleaning. For less exhaustion, the Hoover Shoulder Vac Pro Backpack Vacuum is lightweight (only weighs 9.2 lbs). 
  • For right or left hand vacuuming, the upper dome lid may be adjusted. 
  • The Hoover Commercial C2401 features a reusable dust bag which has a HyperconeTM HEPA filter to prevent you from getting in the dust and debris that you are vacuuming. 
  • This vacuum has a 48 foot control cord that is incredibly long, allowing you to vacuum wide areas.
  • Hoover C2401 has huge 6.4 quarts of dust, greater than many other consumer vacuums. 

What makes this vacuum backpack work so well is not just the equipment used, but the outstanding motor that drives the whole unit. This motor produces a huge amount of suction, which makes it extremely easy for almost any vacuuming job!

Product Specifications:

  • Vacuum Type: Backpack
  • Product Weight: 9.2 lbs
  • Hepa Filter: Yes
  • Power Cord Length: 48 ft
  • Dust Bag Capacity: 6.4 quarts
  • Suction Power: 8.5

Pros:

  • It works great on hardwood floors
  • HEPA Filters to remove micro particles.
  • Long power cord so you can clean a large area
  • Chiropractor Designed

Cons

  • You can’t shorten its wand while vacuuming.

Check out our individual product review for Hoover Commercial Lightweight Shop Backpack Vacuum

Where to buy Hoover Commercial Lightweight Shop Backpack Vacuum

#8 Vacmaster Professional 5 Gallon Shop Vacuum

One of the leading and powerful brands out there is the Vacmaster. They are known to provide consumers with high-quality goods, and this Vacmaster 5 gallon vacuum is no different. It comes with a 5-gallon tank that is appropriately wide for the vac. . If you are looking for a high-performance and efficient vacuum, then you should go for this one. 

Powerful and Portable 

vacmaster-professional-5-gallon-performance

This is a portable power vac on the go. It is designed to have the best performance for you. The job of cleaning gets so much easier with Vacmaster VFB511B0201. 

The unit has a powerful 5. 5 peaks HP high-efficiency motor and suction that allow it to provide excellent performance. Vacmaster VFB511B0201 will do it all, no matter how complicated the cleaning project is. 

Great for Pet Hair and Car Cleaning 

The Vacmaster VFB511B0201 works great in cleaning vehicles and extracting pet fur from your home.

Silencer for noise

Most vacuums have a reputation for having a noisy operation. These devices are operated by strong engines, and when in operation, they can be loud. The manufacturers have integrated a silencer into the system to take care of this issue, so that it does not cause excessive noises. 

High suction power

vacmaster-professional-5-gallon-portable-power

This vac machine comes with high suction strength, as stated. It is for this purpose that the machine can run properly. It can pull up all the dust and dirt, allowing you to clean easily and efficiently. 

An 18-inch cord comes with this device that makes the work all the easier. It encourages you to reach areas that are otherwise harder to reach.

Product Specifications:

vacmaster-professional-5-gallon-inclusions
  • Brand: Vacmaster
  • Hose Length: 7 feet
  • Product Depth: 17.8 inches
  • Product Width: 12.5 inches
  • Amps: 11 A
  • Cord Length: 18 feet
  • Features: Blower Port/Wet/Dry
  • Peak Horsepower: 5.5 HP
  • Capacity: 5 Gallons
  • Warranty: 5 Years

Pros:

  • Can be easily converted into blower
  • No loud noises when cleaning
  • Dust-sealed on/off switch for quick control and stable top handle design for comfort 
  • Best-in-class suction capacity and airflow can comfortably perform difficult cleaning jobs

Cons:

  • Some users are having a hard time storing all the attachments and keeping the hose under full control

Where to buy Vacmaster Professional 5 Gallon Shop Vacuum

Quick Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Right One

Shop-Vacs are available in several different models, one for your business, one for your house, and even one for cleaning your vehicle, but which one is right for you 

When determining the right shop vac for you, you will need to take into account of the ff:

  1. Determine the size/capacity needed 
  2. How much performance you will need?  
  3. Choose the right filter 
  4. Consider the length/size of the Hose

Final Thoughts

The best small shop vacs are excellent pieces and maybe the best devices that you should have in your garage or workshop. We’ve narrow down to these 8 shop vacuums that will give you the best products on the market today, and you can use the short buying guide to help you pick the best small shop vacs based on your wants and needs.

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