A shop vac is an indispensable addition to any home or garage since it takes the performance of a vacuum and turns it up to 11. Shop vac is the name for both the typical shop vacuum and a specific brand of vacuums available today. The Best Shop Vac For Home Use come in many different sizes, typically measured in gallons. The larger the vacuum, the more it can clean up. The power of the motor will also affect how much it can suck up. You should decide on the power and size you need based on the size of the space you want or need to clean. All of these top-rated best shop vac 2020 options will get the job done, but bigger jobs may need one of the heavier-duty picks on our list.
best shop vac for home use
1. Shop-Vac 5989300 5 Gallon Shop Vac
The Shop-Vac 5989300 features a long-lasting, durable stainless steel tank.
- Secure Latch System which securely holds the tank and lid are together.
- Rear blower port converts your vacuum into a powerful blower.
- Use top and side carry handles for portability, take the vacuum to your mess.
- On board tool storage keeps them where you need them.
- Convenient easy to reach on-off switch.
- Accessories and filters included.
- Full circumference dolly to prevent tipping over.
2. Armor All 2.5 Gallon Shop Vac
The ArmorAll’s Utility Vac features a 2.5 gallon polypropylene tank making it ideal for portability.
- Offers easy conversion to a blower function.
- Auto shut-off detects fill limit and prevents overflow.
- Top handle and onboard accessory storage make for easy carrying.
- Built-in air and noise diffuser minimizes volume.
- Includes: 10-foot cord with wrap, 6-foot, 1.25-inch hose, reusable cloth filter, reusable foam sleeve, 2-in-1 utility nozzle, crevice tool, deluxe car nozzle, blower nozzle, and detail brush.
- No assembly required.
3. Vacmaster VFB511B 5 Gallon Shop Vac
The Vacmaster Professional Beast Series features a 5-Gallon tank with a 5.5 Peak HP motor.
- Offers a 25 ft. cleaning radius (7’ hose and 18’ power cord) to reach farther without unplugging the unit.
- Includes on-board hose, accessory, and power cord storage.
- Quickly control the power with the large dust sealed on/off switch.
- Includes eight accessories:
- Kink resistant premium hose.
- Utility nozzle.
- Crevice tool.
- Car nozzle.
- Extension wand.
- Fine dust cartridge filter.
- Foam wet filter.
- Air & noise diffuser.
best shop vac 2020
4. Craftsman 16 Gallon Shop Vac
The CRAFTSMAN 16 Gallon Wet/Dry Vac features a powerful 6.5 peak HP motor.
- Features a blowing port that doubles as a leaf blower alternative.
- Comes with a dual-flex hose to resist restricting airflow through the hose.
- Features the “Qwik Lock Filter” system, allowing for quick filter changes.
- Equipped with a drain to quickly empty liquid from the tank.
- Includes a 2-1/2 in. diameter hose.
- Features hose, accessory, and cord storage.
- Includes a car, utility, and wet nozzles.
5. Shop-Vac 5989400 8 Gallon Shop Vac
The Shop-Vac 5989400 features a durable stainless steel tank.
- Tank and lid are held together with a secure latch system.
- Features both top and side carry handles.
- On board tool storage keeps equipment easily accessible.
- No more lifting heavy tanks to dump contents.
- Simply remove the drain cap to remove the liquid.
- Convenient and easy to reach On/Off switch.
- Full circumference dolly to prevent tipping over.
6. DeWALT DXV09P 9 Gallon Shop Vac
The DeWALT DXV09P wet/dry vac features a large convenient top-mounted handle to easily move it around.
- Features large swiveling casters to provide easy multi-direction movement.
- Includes a tank drain to quickly and easily remove liquids.
- Features a built-in 20’ power cord for convenience.
- Includes an accessory bag to help with organization.
- Features a water-resistant large on/off switch.
- Includes a dust cartridge filter.
7. Shop-Vac 5895200 2.5 Gallon Shop Vac
The Shop-Vac 2.5 Gallon 2.5 peak HP Wet/Dry Vac comes with versatile accessory assortment.
- Includes 7′ x 1 1/4″ Friction Fit Hose, 2 1 1/4″ Extension wands, dual surface nozzle, gulper nozzle, crevice tool, round brush and wall mount bracket.
- Filters included are the foam sleeve and collection filter bag.
- Comes with a 18′ power cord, side tank handles, dolly with easy roll casters and top carry handle.
- Comes with wall mount bracket for out of the way storage.
8. DEWALT DCV581H 2 Gallon Shop Vac
The DEWALT DCV581H 18/20v MAX* Cordless/Corded Wet-Dry Vacuum has the ability to provide cordless or corded operation powered by either an 18v or 20v MAX battery or an AC outlet.
- Features a HEPA rated wet/dry filter that traps dust with 99.97% efficiency at 1 micron.
- Includes a filter that is reusable and washable with water.
- Features a heavy-duty crush-resistant fully integrated 5′ c 1-1/4″ diameter hose.
- Includes on-board hose and accessory storage.
- Comes with crevice and wide nozzle tools.
- Battery and charger sold separately.
9. Stanley SL18116P 6 Gallon Shop Vac
The Stanley’s SL18116P Wet/Dry Vacuum, features a 6 gallon tank with 4 Peak HP.
- Features a rear blower port to transition into a leaf blower alternative.
- Accessories included: two extension wands, crevice nozzle, and a 10-inch floor nozzle.
- Includes an accessories holder and a large on-off switch.
- Features a 1-1/4” wide. 6-foot long hose.
- Includes swiveling casters to easily move the unit.
- Airflow of 75 CFM.
- Includes a 10 ft. power cord.
10. TACKLIFE 5 Gallon Shop Vac
TACKLIFE Wet Dry Vacuum, 5 Gallon, 5.5 Peak HP, 1000W Stainless Steel Wet/Dry Vac, Over 320 Square Feet Clean Range, 4-Layer Filtration System, Dry、Wet、Blow Three Functions for Cleaning Needs-PVC02ATACKLIFE
The TACKLIFE 5 features a durable 5-gallon stainless steel tank for long-lasting durability.
- Includes a washable cartridge filter for dust and a foam filter for liquids.
- Features accessory storage on the top of the vacuum.
- Includes 360 degree casters to provide easy multi-direction movement.
- Features an automatic power-off system when the vac is full.
- Offers a 17 ft working range.
Things to Consider When Buying a Vacuum Cleaner
The old vacuum cleaner has “bitten the dust” and you need a replacement. One quick look online is all it takes to realize that choosing a new machine might be more challenging than you thought. It’s easy to get caught up in the “latest and greatest” when perusing vacuums online or in magazines and end up with a machine that is either too much or not enough, or just doesn’t fit your needs.
We’ve put together a few questions for consideration to help focus your search efforts before purchasing that new vacuum cleaner. Maybe you’ve already thought about some of these, so please use the following list to quickly navigate to the concerns most important to you.
What Flooring Types Do I Have?
Probably the most obvious consideration is whether you have mainly carpeting, hard floors, or a fairly even combination of both. Generally speaking, for homes with a lot of carpeting, especially in large areas, an upright vacuum cleaner is a good choice. However, if your personal preference tends toward canister style vacuums, there are quite a few excellent choices available. You will want to be sure that it has a floor nozzle with a motorized brushroll and height adjustment options for various pile carpets.
If you love hardwood or tile flooring with a few rugs here and there, or enjoy low-pile carpeting, a canister style vacuum is a great option. Using a specialized floor brush, these are usually very maneuverable for working quickly around and underneath furniture. Some are equipped with combination floor tools that easily switch to effectively clean scatter rugs. For true canister vacuum lovers, there are machines that feature high quality motorized floor nozzles that can effectively handle deep-pile carpets.
Most people have a combination of both carpeting and hard floors. At this point, style preference will be your guide. However, be sure to check for convenience features such as on/off brushroll control, height adjustment, and suction control. Be sure to note whether the brushroll is air-powered or electrically powered as this affects the effectiveness of deep-pile carpet cleaning.
Do I Need to Control Allergens?
This is a key question to consider since we spend, on average, about 90% of our time indoors where pollutants can be 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations. This is especially important to ponder if you or someone in your family has asthma or allergies. A vacuum cleaner that provides HEPA filtration can be an important contributor to improving your indoor air quality. HEPA filters capture particulate matter down to 0.3 microns so that the exhausted air is actually cleaner than what was sucked into the vacuum. There are also machines that include some level of charcoal filtration to help control odors—great for pet owners.
An additional consideration is a vacuum that not only uses HEPA filters but does so in a completely sealed system. This means that there is virtually no leakage of air through the housing or fittings of the machine and all air (along with pollutants) is forced through the filtration system, leaving your indoor air allergen free. See this article for more information about allergies and vacuums.
How Often Do I Vacuum?
Something you may not have thought about, the frequency of your cleaning schedule can be impacted by the ease or difficulty of storing and accessing your vacuum. For those folks who shed their shoes the minute they hit the door, walking on floors that quickly accumulate pet fur, crumbs, and tracked-in dirt or sand, daily vacuuming is standard operating procedure. In that case, a vacuum that is difficult to access and use quickly can make this routine a real chore. Consider a robotic vacuum that can be scheduled to clean while you’re at work or running errands so you return to grit-free floors, really nice if you frequently bring home company.
If your debris tends to concentrate in specific areas, a stick vacuum is a champ at quickly taking care of daily messes whether on hard floors or carpets, as well as effectively handling more extensive weekly cleaning. There are also light-weight uprights and compact canisters with parking features that make them easy to store and use at a moment’s notice.
How Many Levels are in My Home?
In other words, how many stairs do you have to carry your vacuum up and down? There are many maneuverable, light-weight cordless vacuums that have great suction power and long run times that can handle multiple floor types. There are also lightweight vacuums in both upright and canister styles that make transporting them between floors easy.
An additional thought is the type of flooring on each level. While it sounds crazy, sometimes more than one vacuum is a very good idea. If you have a main floor that really benefits from a machine that can handle a variety of floor types, your upper floor may only require a vacuum best for carpets or hard floors. Or, the reverse may be true. In either case, consider purchasing a smaller stick vacuum for the space best suited for it, and save yourself grueling trips up and down stairs with your larger machine.
What Additional Surfaces will I be Cleaning?
If you like vacuuming away all the accumulated dust from furniture, curtains, moldings, and baseboards instead of dusting, you’ll want a vacuum that includes a variety of accessory tools. Most include at least a combination brush and crevice tool, while others have additional floor nozzles, an upholstery tool, and specialized accessories for specific types of cleaning. If you own pets, or have a lot of stairs, consider a vacuum that includes a mini-motorized tool for easy cleaning. Some offer an even wider variety of specialized tools and extension wands which you can purchase separately as you need them.
How Much Noise Can I Stand?
Given the technology, if you will, of vacuums, there is a certain amount of expected sound generated during use. Typically, the larger and more heavy-duty the machine for the job, the louder it is. For homes, and for office spaces where a quieter sound level is desired, there are vacuums that have been designed with insulated motor housings as well as newer low-noise motors for quieter operation. Some can run as lows as 47 dB at maximum power while still delivering 120 CFM. Vacuum manufacturers such as NaceCare, Miele, and Sebo have recently redesigned some of their machines for quieter operation. Check specifications for your selection before buying.
How Much Maintenance is Required?
This is a question that really depends on your definition of “a lot” and how tedious different kinds of maintenance are for you. Bagless vacuums don’t have bags that need to be changed, but dust bins still need to be emptied and washed periodically, especially if your home includes allergy-sufferers. Any vacuum with a HEPA filter will need that filter to be replaced when necessary, depending on individual home environments. The same is true for any other type of filter unless it is specified as a washable filter.
Brushrolls will collect pet fur, hair, threads and other debris and will need to be cleaned to maintain top operating capabilities. Ease of access to it should be a consideration. For quality vacuums that last for years, sometimes accessory tools like dusting brushes may need to be replaced. Check to see if these are available for purchase either at retail or from the manufacturer.
The Main Vacuum Types
There are five primary shapes of vacuum cleaners, each performing a slightly different function, although some combine those forms in order to provide more bang for your buck. Being aware of the expectations you have of your vacuum cleaner can help you more intelligently and decisively pick one of the following.
Handheld vacuums are perfect for getting those painfully hard-to-reach areas that desperately need a cleaning. The most common example for use is in vacuuming cars, since, as the name suggests, this model can be held in only one hand. Its versatility makes it a dream for suctioning up dirt and debris in a variety of tight places, but it would not serve well for general flooring cleaning, which would take a long time to clean with a handheld. This type of vacuum cleaner comes in all sorts of different forms with equally different price tags.
Canister vacuum cleaners are a happy medium between the upright model and the stick model. They are powerful like the upright cleaners, but feature a slender frame, like the stick cleaners. In this case, a separate canister is attached to a long wand which can be used to maintain not only carpeted areas but also bare flooring as well. This style of vacuum cleaner tends to be one of the most expensive options, given its technologically-forward and multi-functional design.
These cleaners are perhaps the most popular and sought-after forms of vacuum cleaners. When you imagine a vacuum cleaner or see one advertised in media, the image you picture is probably that of an upright machine. These models provide the most powerful clean-up for your house, and offer the comforting benefit of usually easy-to-understand functions and accessories, since most people have used an upright vacuum cleaner at least once in their lifetime. Most models provide settings that allow these vacuum cleaners to be used not only on carpeted surfaces but also bare floors.
While perhaps the least powerful of the vacuum models, stick vacuums have a knack for getting into narrow places and doing a tremendous job on hardwood floors, area rugs and light carpeting. This type of vacuum features a long stick-like handle and a slender construction. The slimness of this model makes it a perfect addition to any closet space, as it tucks neatly into most corners after its purpose has been served.
5. Autonomous / Robot
Robot vacuum cleaners have gained a lot of popularity in recent years, mainly due to the fact that they require little effort on your end. These vacuums are able to roam freely around your home, sucking up any small mess in its way. They not only save you time, but they are also able to reach places that larger vacuums wouldn’t be able to, such as under the couch. One main drawback of robot vacuums is that they typically come at a steep price.
Location, Location, Location
Do you have primarily hardwood floors throughout your house? Are these floors covered with area rugs, or are they bare? Is your home filled with wall-to-wall carpeting? These are considerations you must make before taking the leap and purchasing your very own vacuum cleaner.
If you have bare floors, you’re better off with models that provide a number of attachments and which don’t have quite as much heft as some of the others. Using a regular upright vacuum on flooring like hardwood poses a number of problems, which includes scratching your smooth and coveted floors and being counterproductive by scattering debris across their surfaces. Some upright vacuums do provide settings that function better on non-carpeted areas, but for the most part your best bet would be with a model like the canister vacuum, which can also take care of your area rugs if you have any. These vacuums usually come with a bare-floor brush, which makes keeping your floors squeaky clean and scratch-free a piece of cake.
On the other hand, if you have wall-to-wall carpeting, it’s definitely worth considering a model with different advantages than a vacuum cleaner suited for hardwood flooring and tiling. You won’t need to worry about scratching the surface of your carpet, and in fact, you’ll want something powerful that pulls up all the lingering debris from the carpet strands. In this instance, an upright cleaner is a great way to go. There are all sorts of extra conveniences that upright vacuums have recently come out with, including a dirt sensor which makes sure you get that last speck of grime.
Know the layout of your flooring and what sorts of surfaces you’ll be dealing with to ensure your needs will be met with your new vacuum cleaner.
To Bag or Not To Bag
The general consensus is that, whether you have a bagged vacuum or a bagless vacuum, your house will be clean either way (as long as you keep using it). However, there are a few small differences that may make or break your decision to buy one or the other.
If you or any of your family members are sensitive to allergens or have asthma, the bagged vacuum is probably more for you. Dust exposure is minimized when the bag is emptied and most bags are guaranteed to trap all but .03% of the dust and pollen in your carpeting. You do have to replace the bags on a regular basis, although these are typically available at most supermarkets.
If you are environmentally-minded and prefer to not have to deal with replacing bags, the bagless vacuum is more for you. These vacuums usually have a see-through canister which gives you perfect access to seeing how full the vacuum is, which can help you determine when you need to empty it out.