A bagless wet and dry vacuum cleaner, also called a shop vac, looks similar to a normal vacuum cleaner, but it has a larger upright storage container or tank, more heavy-duty hoses, and a stronger motor. Besides its powerful suction, the bagless wet and dry vacuum cleaner can perform almost any type of cleaning task such as:
- Vacuuming dust, dirt and debris from any type of surface.
- Removing stubborn stains from carpets.
- Vacuuming animal hair off furniture.
- Cleaning up ashes from the fireplace or sawdust that is leftover from a renovation.
- Sucking up water that has overflowed in your basement.
- Unblocking the kitchen sink.
- Cleaning the inside of your car, RV or boat.
- Blowing away leaves or debris from your garden or patio.
- Draining flooded dishwashers and clothes washers.
- Inflating children’s toys.
How to Choose the Best bagless wet and dry vacuum cleaner
When it comes to choosing a wet-dry vacuum there are a few questions to consider.
- What is the power level of the unit and does it use electricity or a battery?
- Do you want to use the vac for light or medium-duty tasks or for heavy-duty cleaning?
- What is the capacity of the vacuum’s tank to hold liquid, dust, and debris?
- Is it bagless and what type of filter does it use?
- Is it compact and lightweight or is it heavy and bulky?
- What is the noise level of the vac?
- What extra features does it offer: onboard storage and extra cleaning accessories and attachments?
Power and Capacity
The power level is measured by horsepower which indicates the strength of the motor which will contribute to the level of suction and will ultimately determine the vacuum overall cleaning performance.
You also need to consider the tank’s gallon capacity. The larger the tank the more debris, dust, and liquid it can hold. Wet-dry vacuums can be designed either for residential/home-based cleaning or for commercial/industrial cleaning purposes and they can cater either for light, medium or heavy-duty cleaning tasks.
The wet-dry vacuums in this guide are for residential purposes only, so a vacuum that can deal with light to medium-duty tasks will be sufficient for most householders. But we have also included a review of a heavy-duty cleaner that is ideal for people who have a lot of heavy-duty cleaning tasks to complete.
Another thing to consider about the vacuum cleaner’s power and capacity is that while the horsepower (HP) gives you a good indication of the power and suction level of the machine, do not be fooled by the smaller or more lightweight compact units as they can be surprisingly powerful, but they may have a very small tank.
Light Household Cleaning Tasks
If you just need to take care of light household cleaning, like regular vacuuming or cleaning up the occasional spilled drink, a wet-dry vacuum like the Armor All AA255 2.5 Gallon, 2 Peak HP, Utility Wet/Dry Vacuum or the Craftsman 12004 6-Gallon 3 Peak HP Wet/Dry Vac, have very good levels of power for everyday cleaning tasks. These types of vacuums are usually very lightweight and compact, so they are the perfect choice for cleaning in small, confined spaces like inside your car or boat.
Medium Household Cleaning Tasks
If you have medium cleaning tasks that have to be done around your home, like cleaning up large amounts of debris or sawdust that has accumulated on the garage floor, sucking up a lot of liquid, unblocking the sink, or removing leaves that are littering your garden, a wet-dry vacuum like the Vacmaster VF408 4-Gallon, 5 Peak HP Vacuum and the Shop-Vac 5986000 5-Gallon 4.5 Peak HP Vacuum, not only have strong engines that provide extra cleaning power and strong suction, they also have larger sized tanks can hold a lot of debris and liquid.
The DEWALT DCV581H 18/20-Volt MAX Cordless/Corded Wet-Dry Vacuum is a compact but powerful unit and it is a great choice for people who are planning to do some DIY renovations. It has a strong suction ability for sucking up water and vacuuming broken glass.
It also gives you the choice of using either an 18 or 20-volt battery or plugging it into an electrical outlet, so it offers you a lot of portability. The only downside of this versatile machine is that it only has a small 2-gallon tank.
Heavy-duty Cleaning Tasks
If you need to do a lot of heavy-duty cleaning, but do not want to haul around a bulky or heavy cleaning machine, the Workshop High Power Wet Dry Vacuum Cleaner is a great choice.
It has anextra powerful 6.0 peak HP motor that provides super strong suction and its massive 14-gallon tank is mounted on a sturdy cart that has large wheels/casters which makes the unit much easier to move around or maneuver up and down a flight of stairs.
When you need to do some cleaning in your apartment or maintenance work in a block of apartments, the noise level is extra important, but if you are working on a larger, more remote property, the noise level may not be such an issue.
If you are concerned about the noise level of a wet-dry vacuum, there are manufacturers that use the latest technologies to reduce the noise, like Armor All whohave installed a noise diffuser in their vacuum cleaner. Why not consider the Shop-Vac which is considered to be one of the quietest vacuums available?
Filters are very important for trapping dirt, dust, and debris and stopping these allergens from circulating in the air while you clean. The filter is especially important for people who suffer from asthma or other types of breathing problems.
A bagless vacuum cleaner like the Craftsman 12004 is a very good choice as it minimizes any dust. If you suffer from allergies or are concerned about dust, a wet-dry vacuum that has a HEPA filter, like the Vacmaster, stops any dust or allergens from flying into your breathing space and it holds the dust safely inside the collection bag until you are ready to empty it.
On-Board Tool Storage
Onboard tool storage allows you to store your cleaning accessories and extension hoses all in one place so you can access them when you need them, and you do not have to worry about rummaging around for loose accessories in your broom closest or wherever you store your cleaning tools.
Other features to consider are the width of the hose, which is especially important when you need to suck up a lot of debris. If you are going to be using the vac for sucking up liquid and cleaning up animal hair, chances are that the hose can get clogged up so look for a hose that has a width of a least 2½ inches, like the Workshop vacuum.
Another feature that will make your cleaning sessions run more smoothly is a hose that is crush-resistant like the DEWALT Wet Dry Vacuum, which makes sure that the suction level stays consistent.
Maneuverability is also important as it can be so annoying when the hose gets caught on or under furniture. Dual-flex locking hoses or a Roll Tight Locking Sleeve, which the Workshop vacuum has, make sure that the hoses stay connected and allows you to maneuver the vacuum easily.
There are many different types of cleaning accessories that may come with the wet-dry vac or you may have to purchase them separately.
Here is a list of the different cleaning accessories that may come with a wet-dry vacuum.
- Extension Wands
- Round brush
- Multi-purpose nozzle
- Crevice tool
- Rug shoe
- Brush shoe
- Dog grooming tool
- Upholstery nozzle
- Locking hose kit
- Drain hero
- Car cleaning kit
- Wet/dry cleaning kit
- Micro cleaning kit
- Heavy-duty floor carpet cleaning kit
- Different size hoses
Best bagless wet and dry vacuum cleaner Reviews
1. Armor All AA255 2.5 Gallon, 2 Peak HP, Utility Wet/Dry Vacuum
If you are looking for a lightweight wet dry vacuum that has loads of power, the Armor All AA255 vacuum cleaner is an excellent choice. It is very easy to see why the Armor All wet dry vacuum is one of most popular wet dry vacuums on the market as it is very lightweight, weighing 8-pounds, and it has a 2HP motor that gives loads of suction power for most general household cleaning tasks.
The Armor All offers you a lot of cleaning versatility, you can use it for cleaning inside your car or easily convert the unit to a blower function to dry or blow away dirt from motorcycles, car grills and wheels.
Whether you need to clean up solids or liquids from any type of surface, animal hair off furniture, vacuum up sawdust after some renovations, or even cleaning out the grate in your fireplace, the power-packed Armor All can deliver a high suction deep cleaning performance.
As well as its cleaning versatility, it is very easy to maneuver as the 2.5-gallon polypropylene tank is small enough to carry around with a sturdy handle, and the 10-ft. cord with cord wrap gives you ample room for maneuverability and quick and easy storage. The 6-ft. hose gives you more freedom of movement for cleaning in hard to reach spaces like cleaning under furniture.
Armor All has your main attachments covered like 1.25-inch diameter hose, a crevice tool, the 2-in-1 utility nozzle, deluxe car nozzle, blower nozzle, and detail brush and the onboard storage organization means you can keep all the attachments in one place for quick access. The cloth filter is reusable and washable and the foam sleeve is also reusable.
If you are worried about the noise level of the vacuum, it has a noise diffuser, and for extra safety when you are sucking up liquids, there is an auto-shutoff that prevents any overflow.
With a reliable working performance and easy maneuverability, the Armor All vacuum cleaner is great value for money and it is covered by a 2-year warranty.
- Great value for money
- Very powerful 2HP motor
- Ideal for small cleaning jobs
- Especially ideal for cleaning a car
- High cleaning versatility
- Lightweight and compact 2.5-gallon polypropylene tank
- Handy auto-shutoff to prevent overflow
- Utility nozzle, crevice tool, and car nozzle
- Noise diffuser
- 10-ft. cord with cord wrap
- Onboard storage
- No assembly required
- Problems with filter if vacuum tips over
- Not ideal for heavy-duty tasks as the tank fills up quickly
- No wheels
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2. Craftsman 12004 6-gallon Wet/Dry Vac
With a powerful 3 peak HP motor and a large 6-gallon tank, the Craftsman 12004 Wet/Dry Vac is a great choice for small to medium clean-up tasks around your home. Craftsman is one of the most well-known manufacturers of high-quality home/garden equipment and their wet/dry vacuum is an example of their dedication to making solid and reliable products at a very affordable price.
Craftsman has designed a very user-friendly unit. The 12004 has a large dust-sealed on/off switch and an ergonomic handle making it easier to carry the vac around your home. The 6-gallon polypropylene collection tank can hold a lot of solids and liquids and the powerful 3HP motor gives you all the suction you need for heavy spillages.
To help you maneuver the unit indoors and outdoors, the vac has four 360-degree heavy-duty swivel casters that offer very good mobility on most surfaces. It has a long 7-foot hose and a retractable 10-foot power cord and the two extension wands give you an extended reach of up to 17 feet.
This cleaning dynamo also offers a lot of cleaning versatility. As well as the wet/dry facility, the vac can be converted to a high powered leaf blower for cleaning away leaves from your patio or driveway. It is a great cleaner for draining flooded dishwashers and clothes washers, cleaning out your vehicle, boat or RV, and vacuuming up broken glass or dirt after a DIY home renovation.
The Craftsman vac comes with an 8-piece accessory set that also includes a hose bracket set, cartridge filter, wet pickup foam filter, utility nozzle, and floor squeegee nozzle combo. With all these extra tools, you will be ready for any type of cleaning and its onboard storage facility keeps all your accessories in one place.
Two of the main highlights of this super cleaning machine include its bagless design and the filter which minimizes any excess dust, so as well as being hygienic, the bagless function means you will save money.
The Craftsman wet/dry vac is covered by a 1-year limited warranty.
- Great cleaning performance
- Excellent value and price
- Very powerful 3HP motor
- Large collection tank
- Bagless design
- Versatile: converts into a blower
- Extended 17 ft. reach
- Four 360° swivel casters
- Compact size
- Easy to move
- Large on/off switch
- Wheels don’t lock onto body
- Can clog easily
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3. Shop-Vac 5989300 5-Gallon 4.5 Peak HP Stainless Steel Wet Dry Vacuum
Delivering a consistent cleaning performance, the Shop-Vac is an excellent choice for light to medium-duty wet and dry cleaning tasks. It has a strong 4.5 HP motor that makes cleaning up heavy messes quick and easy and the durable 5-gallon stainless-steel tank is built to last.
The tank sits on a sturdy dolly with four easy rolling casters which provide you with that much-needed maneuverability and the large handle enhances its portability. It has a 6-foot electric cord and together with the three extension wands, you have an extended reach for cleaning in hard to reach places.
Whether you are cleaning up wet or dry messes, the foam seal filter and reusable disc filter is effective at trapping dust and debris. The onboard storage space has plenty of room for the cord and cleaning accessories.
You can also use the Shop-vac for cleaning tasks outside your home. Just connect the hose to the rear blower port and the vacuum becomes a powerful blower that blows away leaves from your patio or grass clippings from the pavement.
One of the stand-out features of this hard-working vacuum is its quiet motor, and for extra peace of mind, it is covered by a very generous 3-year limited warranty. The only downside of the Shop-vac is that is has a shorter 6-ft electric cord, so if you need to venture away from the power-point, you will need to use an extension cord.
- Ideal for light to medium-duty tasks
- Affordable price
- Powerful 4.5 HP motor
- Very good suction
- Strong stainless steel tank
- Blower attachment great for leaves
- Very compact and lightweight
- 4 easy-roller casters
- Very good portability
- 3 extension wands
- Extremely quiet
- 3-year limited warranty
- Short power cord
- Short hose can clog easily
- Accessory holder is not very strong
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4. Vacmaster VF408 4-Gallon, 5 Peak HP with 2-Stage Industrial Motor Wet/Dry Floor Vacuum
Become a professional cleaning master with the Vacmaster Vacuum. Whether you need to clean up around your house, in the shop, in the garden or car, the smart-looking bright blue Vacmaster can power through any type of cleaning task fast!
This lightweight wet/dry vacuum has loads of surprising features that are packed into such a compact unit, it has a high-powered 2-stage industrial 5 peak HP motor that can tackle wet and dry cleaning tasks at just a press of a button. The sturdy 4-gallon polypropylene tank can carry a lot of liquid.
There is a generous 7-ft. hose, an extra-long 18 ft. cord with cord wrap and the automatic rewind makes it easy to store the unit after your cleaning tasks have been completed. There are plenty of attachments, a floor combo nozzle, 3 extension wands, a 2-in-1 utility nozzle, a dust brush, and a crevice tool for cleaning in those tight spaces and all of these accessories can be stored in the rear tool caddy.
As well as being able to handle all types of clean up jobs like spilled drinks or shattered glass, the Vacmaster has excellent suction and it can be used as a leaf blower in your yard at the flick of a switch and is it is one of the quietest operators so you do not have to worry about the noise level offending your neighbors.
Carrying and maneuvering the Vacmaster is a breeze as it is very compact and the two small front casters and two large rear wheels provide easy mobility.
If you suffer from allergies or are concerned about dust, the HEPA filter meets EPA environmental standards and it stops any dust from flying into the air and the dust collection bag can hold a lot of dust until you are ready to empty the bag.
- Great value for money
- Very powerful 5HP 2-stage industrial motor
- Strong suction
- High wet and dry cleaning performance
- Good water pick up
- 2-in-1 functionality: can be used as a leaf blower
- HEPA filter
- Quiet operation
- Extra-long power cord with automatic rewind.
- 8 cleaning accessories
- Onboard storage
- 2-year limited warranty
- Not ideal for heavy-duty cleaning
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5. DEWALT DCV581H 18/20-Volt MAX 2-Gallon Cordless/Corded Wet-Dry Vacuum
If you want a great alternative to a corded electric wet-dry vacuum, the Dewalt DCV581H cordless wet/dry vacuum offers you a lot of portability and versatility. The Dewalt vac can be powered by either a strong 18 or 20-volt battery or you can run it on electricity and as it features a compact-sized 2-gallon tank, so you take it anywhere, for indoor or outdoor cleaning purposes.
Whether you need to vacuum up dirt and debris in your garage, spillages on the carpet, sucking up dust after installing some drywall, or cleaning up the inside of your car or boat, the Dewalt has very good suction and you can perform most cleaning tasks without having to worry about the noise level as this vac is very quiet.
It is quite lightweight and the sturdy handle makes it easy to carry, and the 5-ft. hose is crush resistant which means you will not lose suction even if the hose gets caught under a lounge or trapped in a tight spot.
The vac has a great onboard storage facility for the hose and other attachments and the HEPA filter traps dust up to a 99.97% efficiency and as it is reusable, you can remove it and wash it for your next cleaning session, which will also save you money in the long term. The Dewalt wet dry vac comes with a crevice tool attachment and a wide nozzle tool attachment, but the battery and charger are sold separately.
For extra peace of mind, Dewalt offers a 3-year warranty.
- Very good power
- Ideal for small to medium wet and dry cleaning tasks
- High versatility: battery or AC power
- Small and portable
- Quiet operation
- Reusable and washable HEPA filter
- Not ideal for heavy-duty tasks
- Performs best with electricity
- Limited cleaning attachments
- The hose has a limited reach
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6. WORKSHOP WS1400CA High Power 14-Gallon 6.0 HP Wet Dry Vacuum Cleaner
There is a lot to love about the stylish black and yellow Workshop Wet Dry Vac. As well as featuring a high cleaning performance and excellent suction for all types of wet and dry cleaning tasks, the vac offers a lot of portability and it is one the quietest vacuums available.
The Workshop is aptly named as it has been designed for heavy-duty cleaning, with a reliable 6.0 peak HP motor and a massive 14-gallon tank that is made out of tough non-rusting copolymer material. You do not need to worry about the hose clogging up as the 7-ft hose measures 2½ -inches in diameter and as it has a dual-flex locking hose it gives you 180-degree flexibility at both hose ends and the “Roll Tight Locking Sleeve” keeps the hose securely connected to the vacuum cleaner during the cleaning process.
The hose also has a “Qwik Lock Filter Fastening System” that allows for quick and easy wet to dry vacuum filter changes. The auto shut-off float mechanism helps to prevent overflow when you are sucking up a lot of liquid and the integrated drain port allows any liquid to be disposed of quickly.
For extra portability, the vacuum is mounted on a sturdy cart that has an ergonomic handle and the large rear wheels provide easy transport over rough terrain and up and downstairs.
The 20-ft electric cord is massive which gives you extra room to move, and the storage bag keeps all of your accessories within easy reach. The vacuum also comes with a 2½-inch utility nozzle, a car nozzle, a wet nozzle, 2 extension wands, a fine dust filter, a WS32200F dust collection bag, and an owner’s manual. The Workshop is compatible with WS23200F HEPA Media cartridge filters.
The Workshop offers a very generous 5-year limited warranty.
- Excellent value for money
- High cleaning performance for wet/dry
- Amazing suction
- Extra-large 14-gallon tank
- Strong motor
- 7-ft dual flex locking hose
- Roll tight locking sleeve
- Auto-shutoff system
- Anti-clogging hose
- Very quiet
- Extra-long 20-ft cord
- High level of portability
- Ergonomic handle and large rear wheels allow for easy transport
- Unique cart design
- Onboard storage bag
- 2 extension wands
- Fine dust filter
- 5-year limited warranty
- Replacement filters are expensive
- Vacuum cleaner is very bulky
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