best wet and dry vacuum cleaner

Finding the Best Wet And Dry Vacuum Cleaner or the best wet and dry vacuum cleaner for carpet can be hard if you’re unaware of what features to look for especially that there are so many of them to find around. For this reason, we’ve put up a guide highlighting the best wetdry vac 2020 in the category.

Our team has researched and reviewed these products to help you come up with a better decision.

best wet and dry vacuum cleaner uk reviews

Wet/dry vacuums, sometimes also called a shop vac (not to be confused with the Shop-Vac brand!), tackle the jobs that other vacuums simply can’t. A wet/dry vacuum’s motor is separate from its airflow, meaning it won’t short out like other vacuums when it gets wet. It can remain nearly indestructible whether it’s tackling a flooded basement or piles of sawdust from a home improvement project.

They’re designed to deal with the harshest of situations, but that doesn’t mean they’re all-powerful. Some on the market still greatly out-perform others. That’s why we gathered up nine of the best-selling models to find out which one is worth its salt. We put each model through a set of grueling tests to measure power, usability, and versatility.

Best Wet And Dry Vacuum Cleaner

Best Overall: Shop-Vac 5979403

Shop-Vac 5979403
  • Capacity: 8 gal.
  • Portability: B
  • Airflow: 75 CFM
  • Suction: 54 in.
  • Hose Length: 7 ft.
  • Weight: 19 lbs.

Shop-Vac is the name most of us associate with the wet-dry vacuum market (to the point where we apply the name ‘Shop-Vac’ as the generic label for all manufacturers). This company has been around for over 65 years and offers you a range of sizes and features on its models. We like this 8-gallon version because it sits at a sweet intersection of horsepower and workable size.

If you want to make sure your canister doesn’t smell from debris over time, you want stainless steel, which this Shop-Vac has. It features a drain on the tank for wet messes and a blower on the back to reverse the air flow and use as you would any leaf blower. The handles allow you to move the system on its rollers with ease.

Users note that the hose length might not be adequate for all of us, and longer lengths are available as an add-on. The extensive accessories that come with the Shop-Vac fit into holes on the back of the machine’s wheeled frame for easy access, though these can get in the way for some people. If you want to suck up nails as easily as dust and effectively remove sitting water from carpet, this vacuum will be a great investment to meet your needs.

Best for Home Workshop: DeWalt 9 gal Pro Poly

DeWalt 9 gal Pro Poly
  • Capacity: 9 gal.
  • Portability: B
  • Airflow: 90 CFM
  • Suction: 70 in.
  • Hose Length: 7 ft.
  • Weight: 23 lbs.

DeWalt, a well-known name in both pro and homeowner construction tools, entered the wet-dry vac market with the intention of expanding its iconic yellow and black design to all the goods you’ll need in your workshop.

This model is one of a range of sizes offered that seems to satisfy the most enthusiastic hobbyist or DIYer out there. It features a plastic canister, so emptying it regularly will be a good idea to avoid odors.

A drain removes wet messes from the canister tank. The rear blower port is good for moving debris like leaves out of the way, and the unit overall travels easily on swivel casters. The on-off button is large and prominently colored so you won’t accidentally change the setting while engrossed in a task.

The system comes with numerous accessories with their own carrying pack, a point that some customers like and others don’t. Some complain about the suction power and blame the washable filter for restricting the airflow. Overall, though, most users are delighted with the power and variety of tasks this DeWalt can conquer in their workshops and around the house.

Best for Professional Job Sites: Vacmaster VJH1612PF Beast

Vacmaster VJH1612PF Beast
  • Capacity: 16 gal.
  • Portability: B+
  • Airflow: 150 CFM
  • Suction: 64 in.
  • Hose Length: 18 ft.
  • Weight: 24 lbs.

As we’ve found with other manufacturers, Vacmaster makes a range of wet-dry vacs across sizes and features. This model features amazing airflow, the reason it can support a detachable blower with settings up to 240 mph. The extra-large drain port on the tank helps you avoid clogs as you remove wet debris from its plastic canister.

This is a very powerful machine (which is why the pros love it) and some users have noted that blowing an electrical breaker is a possibility if you plug it into a circuit less than 20 amps. The longer power cord helps you avoid extension cords, and both the cord and the long hose can wrap around the machine. Extensive accessories store in slots around the wheeled base of this unit.

Customers note that the muffler in this vac makes it quiet to run, unique among this style of vacuum. Based on the six and a half horsepower motor, it would be nice if it offered a bit more suction, note others. For heavy duty shop or construction site needs, however, this Vacmaster makes the grade with pros and DIYers alike.

Best for Limited Storage: Bissell Crosswave Pet Pro 2306A

Bissell Crosswave Pet Pro 2306A
  • Capacity: 1.75 gal.
  • Portability: A-
  • Airflow: N/A
  • Suction: N/A
  • Hose Length: Wand-type
  • Weight: 12 lbs.

If you live in a small space where storage will be an issue and need a machine to do all your dirty work, you’ll want to consider this Bissell.

While it doesn’t feature the type of suction or power you’d find in a workshop system, that isn’t the reason you’d buy this unit. The manufacturer notes that it is not designed to be a standard dry vacuum, though customers rave about its performance doing precisely that.

An advantage this machine has over other wet-dry vacs is that it can be used safely on different types of flooring material. Users vote positively for its effectiveness on tile and hardwoods as well as wall-to-wall carpet and area rugs. A single pass over the average stain lifts it out, and a double pass over set in versions takes care of the issue.

Note that this is not the vacuum to use if you’re working on major renovation projects or creating a lot of sawdust or dirt in the garage. It doesn’t have the strength or capacity to do that debris justice, and you’ll end up ruining its internal parts. If your pets are making your tiny home a mess, though, this Bissell will help you deal with the results.

Best for Portability: Ridgid Portable 50313 4000RV

Ridgid Portable 50313 4000RV
  • Capacity: 4 gal.
  • Portability: A
  • Airflow: 110 CFM
  • Suction: N/A
  • Hose Length: 8 ft.
  • Weight: 15 lbs.

While we can’t confirm the suction capability of this Ridgid brand vacuum, users note that its five horsepower motor is more than up for cleaning professional messes.

Its small size allows it to get into places larger machines can’t, making it a favorite of contractors like plumbers under sinks. The 20 foot power cord and low amperage requirements (nine amps) means it won’t require an extension cord and won’t blow out circuits.

The amount of air this vacuum moves is on par with much larger pro units. While the weight isn’t light by itself, the sleek design and longer hose allow you to put the base down and work without fear of not having enough distance. The quick filter release and fine dust accessory make even drywall dust easy to clean.

Customers wish this vacuum came with more accessories. Subjectively, they can’t agree on whether it is quieter than expected or a bit louder. However, for a portable unit that still needs the power of a monster, this Ridgid seems to live up to the manufacturer’s reputation.

Best for Budget: Craftsman CMXEVBE17584

Craftsman CMXEVBE17584
  • Capacity: 9 gal.
  • Portability: B+
  • Airflow: 70 CFM
  • Suction: N/A
  • Hose Length: 7 ft.
  • Weight: 16 lbs.

Rated as a medium-duty machine, this Craftsman features the durability we’ve come to expect from the brand at a reasonable price. It is a good all-around vacuum for indoor and outdoor projects, while not quite as powerful as the larger units on our list. That’s okay, because you’re buying this for the price, and you know it’s not for the pro-level high-volume user.

The power cord wraps around the top handle, and the hose attaches to the body. Accessories can also be stored on board. Filters release easily for fast clean up and replacement.

Customers say adding more length to the hose or putting on more attachments reduces suction power. While four and a quarter horsepower is deemed to be adequate under industry standards, some customers had a hard time sucking up debris they considered as usual stuff with this machine.

However, Craftsman has proven to be a workhorse under normal conditions and many that were purchased a decade ago are still going strong.

Vacuum Cleaner Buying Guide

A comprehensive guide that will give you all the information you need on how to buy a new vacuum.

Getting Started

Deciding on the perfect vacuum for your home can be tricky. There are a lot of styles, functions and high-tech features to choose from. So which one is right for you? This guide has been created to make your vacuum shopping experience as easy as possible. So let’s dive in!.Shop Vacuums


There are a few different types and styles of vacuums that we are going to address in this buying guide. We are sure you will find just the one to fit all of your cleaning needs.

Upright Vacuums


This style of vacuum is going to be the most popular type of vacuum that can be found in many households today. It’s the best go-to vacuum for removing dust and dirt from carpeting, and is able to clean large areas of carpet quickly. They also work well on area rugs and hard floors.However, it is good to note that not all upright vacuums can be used on hard floor surfaces, since doing so might cause damage to some floors and vacuums. If this is an important factor it’s smart to do research on the brand of vacuum you are looking into, to make sure it works well on hard floors too. A brush on/off switch is recommended, as it will help protect the finish on bare floors.Some other things to look for when deciding on your upright vacuum are onboard attachment, bag-less or not, and the weight of the unit. Upright cleaners come in a variety of styles and sizes, each varying in weight. Some uprights include edge cleaning, which picks up dirt under the entire area of the head. This is a helpful feature especially when cleaning wall-to-wall carpeting. Suction control is another useful feature to look at when cleaning draperies and upholstery.Shop Upright Vacuums

Canister Vacuums


Canister Vacuums are portable and easy to use. They are well suited for people who clean a variety of surfaces but are most popular for those who have little carpeting and like to vacuum their hard surfaced floors. They tend to be lighter than other vacuum designs, plus they have a highly maneuverable power head that can reach tight spots with ease.Canister vacuums have the motor and bag in a separate unit, which is usually mounted on wheels to help with maneuvering. The canister itself is connected to the vacuum head by a flexible hose. By using a revolving brush system or brush agitator, it can dislodge dirt particles from the carpet so they can be picked up easily; this comes in handy when picking up things like pet hair. Without a built-in revolving brush, canister vacuums use straight suction to clean. Most canister vacuums have a bag that needs to be replaced, however there are bag-less models available, which eliminates the additional cost of buying dust bags.Bottom line, this style is perfect for vacuuming hard-to-reach spots and furniture; it’s also great for cleaning cars and drapes as well.Shop Canister Vacuums

Handheld & Stick Vacuums


These types of vacuums are the smallest and lightest options available, they are often cordless and operate on batteries. They also offer lots of convenience when it comes to a variety of cleaning tasks around the house.Handheld vacuums are perfect for cleaning closets, vents, blinds, upholstery or car interiors, and made mostly for above-the-floor cleaning. They’re best used for tasks such as cleaning up small spills, getting cobwebs out of corners or vacuuming dirt out of windowsills.Stick vacuums are very similar to upright vacuums. The design is the same, but stick vacuums tend to be a lot lighter in weight and usually do not come with any attachments. If you have a multilevel home, a stick model vacuum is great to keep on the second floor and eliminate the need to carry your main one up and down the stairs. Not to mention, there are certain models out now which have been designed with handheld features, making it easy to clean stairs, ceiling fans and more.Shop Handheld & Stick Vacuums

Robot Vacuums


Robot cleaners are completely hands-free, battery-operated vacuums. They seek out and suck up dirt, debris and dust from carpets and hard surface floors. They are a great choice for light, daily cleanings and extremely popular with pet owners, allergy sufferers, busy households, or just anyone who wants their floors to stay constantly clean.A robot vacuum is self-propelled and programmable, so you don’t have to do any extra work when it comes to vacuuming. These nifty gadgets use sensors to avoid obstacles and stairs, while smart enough to still easily clean underneath furniture. If you’re someone who simply does not have enough time to vacuum regularly, a robot vacuum can help you solve this problem.Shop Robot Vacuums

Commercial & Garage (Wet & Dry) Vacuums

Wet & Dry

Commercial and garage vacuums are often referred to as shop vacs. They offer extra power when it comes to professional-sized messes. These vacuums are the perfect type when it comes to cleaning up things such as sawdust in basements, dirt and water in garages, or any other mess, wet or dry. Many labor workers use them on job sites as they can handle that kind of debris. To choose the right commercial or garage vacuum, one must think about how they will use it and where it will be stored.Smaller models will be easier to move around, but they will not be able to handle larger messes.Shop Commercial & Garage (Wet & Dry) Vacuums

Carpet/Steam Cleaners

Carpet/Steam Cleaners

Carpet cleaners come in a variety of different styles ranging from uprights to portable spot cleaners, even smaller handheld carpet cleaners, all of which are capable of cleaning and disinfecting furniture, drapes or rugs.Even if you vacuum your carpets pretty regularly things such as dirt, pet dander, bacteria and dust mites remain deep in your carpet’s fibers. To fix this issue, carpet cleaners use moisture and heat to loosen the dirt and stains that a regular vacuum can’t suction. Not to mention, they can also disinfect carpets by killing unwanted germs. If you’re looking for a deep clean, a carpet cleaner is your best bet.Steam cleaners have become very popular in recent years because they are considered the healthy and “green” alternative to cleaning. Many steam cleaners look like upright vacuums, they have a large tank that dispenses hot water with a cleaning solution, while another tank holds the dirty water. If you or anyone in your home suffers from allergies and chemical sensitivities, a steam cleaner is a healthy way to deep clean a variety of surfaces without aggravating allergy symptoms. You and your family can live healthier and breath better by using a steam cleaner on a regular basis.Shop Carpet/Steam Cleaners

Central Vacuum Systems

Central Vacuum Systems

Central vacuum systems are the most durable options available. Although they may be a bit more expensive up front, the lack of maintenance and longer lifespan often make up for the cost and then some. Unlike traditional vacuums, the motor and collector of a central vacuum system is installed into the home, typically in the basement or garage. From there, vacuum piping runs through walls, crawlspaces, or other out of the way areas of the home to floor or wall-mounted inlet valves in a handful of locations around the house. By attaching a hose to these inlets, like those used by canister vacuums, you’re able to vacuum all of the areas of your home without lugging around a heavy canister or upright vac. The hoses are typically 30 feet long, allowing you to vacuum multiple rooms from a single inlet. These systems also offer all the same kinds of attachments you’d find on traditional types of vacuum cleaners, from wands to crevice tools to pet brushes.Installing a central vacuum system offers a number of benefits over traditional models. In addition to their longer lifespan, central vacuum systems also provide far greater suction capabilities when compared to other types of vacuum cleaners. More powerful motors translate to greater cleaning potential, allowing you to pull more particles out of thick carpets or upholstery.

Central vacuum systems are also significantly quieter than their portable counterparts. Without the motor roaring next to you as you clean, the only sound is that of fast-moving air. Additionally, central vacs promote cleaner air quality by extracting and containing dust particles, allergens, and other contaminants, whereas other types of vacuum cleaners can end up releasing their smaller particles back into the air, often when being emptied.There are a handful of qualities to look for when deciding between central vacuum systems. First and foremost, you want to be sure to use a trusted brand. While you may save a few dollars opting for a cheap system, you’ll likely end up paying more in the long run with service calls and/or a shorter lifespan. For the best indicator of suction strength look at the Air Watts specification, with higher numbers signifying stronger suction. You also need to make sure the system offers enough suction to cover every corner of your home. Choosing a model that boasts a coverage area greater than the square footage of your home is a good idea as these numbers are calculated with perfect conditions in mind.Lastly, you’ll need to decide between bag systems, those that use filters, a hybrid of the two, or a cyclonic system.

Bagged systems use a bag inside their collector canister to contain debris. Although they don’t require outside venting, using a vent will reduce noise and odor. Filter systems similarly don’t require venting but benefit from it. These systems use one of a handful of filter types to protect dirt from contaminating clogging the motor, filing a canister or bag that needs to be emptied every three to six months. Cyclonic systems are the only ones that require outside venting. Most of the dirt is captured with the canister with a small percentage of tiny particles venting outdoors. Hybrid systems, those that use filters and bags are a great choice. They help keep the motor running clean and offer an easy to dispose of container for debris.Shop Central Vacuum Systems

Useful Features to Consider

Before settling down and picking a vacuum that will work best for you, take a look as some additional features that may be important or become important long-term:


Bag-less designs probably offer the utmost convenience by allowing you to simply detach the container unit from the vacuum. You can then quickly dispose of any dirt inside, without having to pull out and replace a bag. However, bag designs are still nice because they can usually keep dust contained a lot better, since the bag itself seals the dust away. This prevents any further messes from occurring when cleaning out your vacuum. Not to mention, if allergies are a concern the bag is definitely a smarter choice.

Multi-Surface Flooring

If you have a combination of hard surfaced floors and carpets, or lots of hard floors, a multi-surface vacuum is the best way to go. Multi-surface vacuums allow you to turn the brush roll on and off, so you can avoid scratching your hard floors when transitioning from carpets.


Filters are a must-have for anyone who is sensitive to dust or pet hair, as well as allergic to pollen. HEPA filters are considered to be the best because they remove particles such as dust, dander and allergens from the air. Some vacuum models feature a filter that needs to be replaced regularly, while some have started to include reusable filters that allow you to remove, clean and replace the same filter as necessary. Reusable filters would be the ideal kind to use, as they are a great money-saving option.Shop Vacuums

Vacuum Accessories & Attachments

If you’re looking to do more than just vacuum the floors around your home, you may need to consider certain vacuum accessories and attachments. In order to properly clean drapes, sofas and chairs, dust shelves, and get to all the nooks and cracks in your home, you’ll need the right attachments.A crevice tool is great for cleaning corners and tight spaces. A dusting brush can be used to gently dust shelves and tables, as not to scratch them. An upholstery tool is perfect for vacuuming your furniture without causing any damage. Turbo brushes can offer a deeper clean for longer carpets.

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.

1. Handheld

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.

2. Canister

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.

3. Upright

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.

4. Stick

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.

Vacuum Cleaners

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.

Bare Floors:

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.

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