If you do any kind of work in any kind of shop, you know that you’ll need a shop vac. Whether you are doing carpentry, outdoor woodwork, or construction of any kind, you’ll need something that can clean up the debris that is left behind after you have done your work.
Along with floor vacuums, carpet cleaners, and floor mops, shop vacs are also very diverse. Different shop vacs exist for different situations, and it is up to you to select the best shop vac for your situation.
It is also up to you do determine some other things involving your shop vac, including how big your shop vac needs to be, what kind of filtering it uses, how big the filter itself is, and how much power they use. These are things that will be explored as well as the upcoming list of shop vacs themselves.
Portable shop vacs: A buying guide
As mentioned earlier, there are a lot of things to consider when buying a portable shop vac. Buying a portable shop vac sight unseen can be a very risky thing to do, especially if you regularly do shop work.
The regularity of your shop work needs to be the first thing to consider. This is especially true if you are doing shop work for a living or if you own a business that requires you to do shop work constantly. In situations like this you will probably need a very big shop vac that can clean up a lot of the debris that is left behind from your shop work.
You also need to consider the size of the location that you are doing your shop work in. Even if the shop vac is smaller, you’ll need to take advantage of the portability of the smaller shop vac if you want to have an easier time in a bigger location. Moving around a large shop vac can be very tiresome. This is solved if you have a smaller shop vac that is easier to move around.
Accessories and other features are something else that you’ll need to pay attention to. These are mostly relative to the kind of work you are doing, and you’ll want to spend some time matching up these kinds of accessories to the situation that you are in is one of the best considerations that you can make when choosing a portable shop vac.
The final thing that you should do is check to see how powerful the shop vac is. Usually the size of the shop vac is directly proportional to how powerful a shop vac is, but this is not often the case. If you plan to use the shop vac in a place where you need to clean diverse materials, you’ll need to err on a more powerful shop vac.
Five portable shop vac reviews
When you think of shop vacs, what usually comes to mind? The stereotypical shop vac typically looks like a giant bucket shaped contraption that takes up the entire room and makes a lot of noise.
That is what the common shop vac looks like. Common shop vacs take up a lot of space, are very heavy, make a lot of noise, and it is difficult to clean out the filter.
Shop-Vac’s micro vac is basically a very small shop vac. Being about half the size of a common shop vac, and it can be carried very easily. This is a godsend if you need a shop vac for multiple rooms because it can be carried around so easily.
The size of the micro shop vac does not take away from its accessories, either. It has all the accessories that you would expect a common shop vac to have, including a 4 foot hose, crevice tool, the same kind of gulper as a common shop vac would have, and a disc filter bag. These things make it very effective if you need a shop vac for multiple rooms.
Because it is so small, Shop-Vac’s micro shop vac can only do so much. If you need a shop vac for a larger room or for a workshop, you will probably need to look elsewhere as you will need to empty the filter of the micro shop vac a lot if you use it for larger jobs.
There are two common problems with portable shop vacs. The first has to deal with how powerful they are relative to common shop vacs. Portable shop vacs trade a lot of power for their size, and that can be detrimental.
The second problem has to do with storage capacity in the filter. Many portable shop vacs simply cannot store enough in its filter to be useful.
ArmorAll’s shop vac addresses both of these. It runs at a peak of 2 horsepower, which makes it a bit more powerful than most portable shop vacs. It also has a 2.5 gallon filter capacity. Both of these make ArmorAll’s shop vac very effective when cleaning a lot of materials and debris.
It is very realistic to use ArmorAll’s shop vac in a workshop, but it is also possible to use it in multiple rooms. If you do workshop type work in multiple rooms, ArmorAll’s shop vac will be very helpful.
There is one glaring downside to ArmorAll’s shop vac, and that is how it is charged. Most portable shop vacs are so small that they can be charged with a USB connection. Unfortunately, ArmorAll’s shop vac can only be charged with a wall outlet.
The best of both shop vac worlds are brought together with Vacmaster’s shop vac. If you need a shop vac that can hold a lot in its filter and is very powerful, but also need a shop vac that you can carry around easily, consider Vacmaster’s shop vac.
While it does have similar size and power capabilities as a common shop vac, Vacmaster’s shop vac is also very compact and small. It is easy to carry around. This makes it very useful when cleaning multiple rooms, or even when cleaning one big room.
Another thing that makes it much easier for Vacmaster’s shop vac to clean one big room are its impressive attachments. One of these is a remote control, which you can use to turn the shop vac on and off whenever you need to. This makes things very convenient, as walking up to the shop vac to turn it on and off can be very tedious.
Despite all of these nice features, Vacmaster’s shop vac is not completely portable. It is not wireless like other portable shop vacs are. If you are looking for a shop vac to clean a very large room, you might actually want to consider a traditional shop vac.
DeWalt is a brand that revolves around woodwork and construction, and their portable shop vac is a decent complement to anybody who is doing woodwork in either one large area or many small areas.
The fact that it is cordless speaks to this, as this feature is a great help when moving from space to space cleaning things up with it. While most cordless shop vacs do not really have the capacity to effectively be used in this way, DeWalt’s shop vac is different. It has a 2 gallon capacity, which is very nice if you are going from area to area with it, as you will not need to empty the tank as much as you would with most other portable shop vacs.
DeWalt’s shop vac is powered with an 18 or 20 volt MAX battery, which are known for charging very quickly and lasting very long. This is a great help when doing very long cleaning jobs.
There are a couple of questionable things about DeWalt’s shop vac, however. Because of the batteries it uses, it can only be charged when plugged into a wall. That is the first questionable thing.
The second has to do with its hose. While most shop vacs, portable or no, have hoses that are an average of 7 feet, DeWalt’s portable shop vac only has a five foot hose. This can make things inconvenient.
Whether they are portable or not, most shop vacs are not built to be too sturdy. When they are being used very intensely or frequently, they have a good chance of falling over.
When designing their portable shop vac, Workshop decided to address this. It has a flat bottom design which will prevent it from falling no matter how much it is used. This design also makes it much easier to pick up than other shop vacs, portable or no.
Another issue that most portable shop vacs have is capacity. Most portable shop vacs can only store so much before needing to be emptied out. If you are using such a thing to clean multiple rooms, it can be a massive chore having to empty it out constantly. Fortunately, Workshop’s portable shop vac has a 2.5 gallon capacity, which makes it perfect for cleaning multiple rooms.
The hose of Workshop’s portable shop vac, however, leaves a lot to be desired. While most portable shop vacs have a 7 foot hose or even longer, Workshop’s only has a 4 foot hose. This will force you to clean in close quarters, which can be less than optimal, especially if you are cleaning one large room with it.
A shop vac is a must if you want to do any kind of construction or DIY type work in or around your home. Nothing cleans debris from those kinds of environments better.
The only question is how big of a shop vac do you need? Can you stand to use a portable shop vac?
As portable shop vacs are slowly becoming just as powerful with similar capacities to their traditional counterparts, the answer to this question is slowly becoming “yes” more and more.
Do not forget that just like there are many types of traditional shop vacs, there are also many types of portable shop vacs, and it would behoove you to explore the specifics of any given portable shop vac before deciding to purchase one for your workspace.