How would you rank all of the different factors that go into the average wet/dry shop vacuum?
In no particular order, yet, here are some of the different features and specs that are inherent to most shop vacuums and dust extractors.
How much debris, sawdust, water, or other stuff can it hold? A smaller vacuum might be more portable, but a larger vac can hold more before needing to be emptied. Larger vacs are also heavier when they need to be emptied, and can be a little clunky to move around.
Often going hand in hand with capacity, do you need the vac to be a particular size? Does the vac need to fit underneath a workbench, or in another specific space? Does it need to be portable across rough terrain? For indoors use and travel, caster wheels work well. For transporting a vac outdoors, large wheels are a must. A lot of little things, such as vacuum shape (tall and narrow, or short and stout), caster style, and handles, can affect how easy or frustrating a vac can be to move around.
More power often means greater suction and faster cleanup. More premium dust extractors have adjustable suction control.
This is another feature of some dust extractors, which can turn on and off depending on the state of a connected AC tool such as a sander.
How big (or small) is the hose? Dust extractors often have longer and smaller diameter hoses. Smaller shop vacuums often have shorter and narrow hoses.
Here is a vacuum hose size chart I put together.
You can buy different sized hoses separately, but whether or not they’re a good idea is a different story. If your vac came with a 2-1/2″ hose, it’s often okay to go down a size if you have a reason for it. Cleaning a car? A smaller diameter hose will be easier to maneuver and use with accessories. But stepping up in size? A 6 gallon vac that comes with a 1-1/4″ hose likely won’t have the power to perform well with a 2-1/2″ hose, which has 4X the cross section?
Even though you’re not supposed to, everyone pulls wet dry vacs along by their hoses. Is there a locking connection to help prevent pull-out, especially if the vac’s wheels snag on a wall or corner?
Is the vac easy to carry from the top? Sides?
How easy is it to empty the vac? Is there a bottom drain for when the tub is fill of dirty water? At ~8 lbs per gallon, you don’t want to have to lift a full tub of water to empty it.
Can you buy replacement filters easily? Dust bags? What kinds are available?
For general cleanup, any filter will do. But for specific uses, maybe you want a fine particulate filter, or a washable filter.
It might not sound important, but you want to have a large and easily toggled power switch. It should easy enough to activate that you could do so with gloved hands, but also protected and placed so as to avoid unintentional shut-off by the weight of a hovering cord or hose.
How long is the cord? If it’s too short, having to find an extension cord, or switching between different outlets, can make a cleanup task longer and more frustrating to get through.
How loud is the vac? What kind of noise does it give off?
Lower frequency sounds can be easier on your ears than higher-frequency sounds.
Generally, wet/dry vacuums are LOUD. Some are quieter than others, but I have yet to find one that is quiet.
Do you need to wear hearing protection? If not, will you still want to?
This is a tough one. Noise levels is one of the reasons why I bought a Festool dust extractor so long ago. But it’s a reason for switching between classes of vacs. Comparing different models of the same product category is often better (or complementary) done by subjective means, instead of going by published noise rating.
The ideal vac will have on-board storage for the power cord, hose, and accessories such as extension wands and nozzles. It’s the rare vac that can store everything perfectly.
How much will it cost? For vacs or dust extractors that have dust bags, how much will it cost to maintain?
A blower function can come in handy, where you take the hose from the inlet and instead connect it to the motor’s outlet. But for some vacs, it adds to the cost and complexity. On my vac, it’s a nuisance since there’s no functional top handle.
Cleanup Vac or Dust Extractor?
This is going to be a much longer post for another time. In general, a wet/dry vac is designed for cleanup tasks. You use it with a cylindrical filter and bare tub, or maybe a filter and a disposable bag. A dust extractor has a filter – HEPA-rated on most models these days – and a filter bag (usually), and is designed for connecting to tools, such as saws, sanders, and routers.
Dust extractors often come with narrower hoses that are easier to move a tool around with, and the higher velocity can help with particulate collection efficiency.
Shop vacuums often have larger hoses that are less prone to clogging.
You can often use the two vacuum types interchangeably, although sometimes other accessories or add-ons are needed.
Country of Origin
Where is it made?
Plastic or Metal Tub?
Most wet/dry vacuums and dust extractors have plastic collection tubs, some have metal.
Read Also: Why Buy a Stainless Steel Shop Vacuum?
Shop Vac says that: Our plastic tanks are lighter and won’t dent. Our stainless steel tanks are more durable and easier to clean.
Unless you have a reason for going with a metal tub, go with plastic.
My father’s shop vacuum lasted an incredibly long time, and so when it was time to replace it, he went with the same brand. These days, you have a lot of choices, but maybe you favor a particular brand over the others.
What are Your 3 Most Important Considerations?
Maybe around 12 years ago, I bought a small shop vacuum, focusing on 1) price, 2) size/capacity, 3) the ability to fit it with easily-found disposable dust bags and a Cleanstream filter. I was renting, and it was a perfect fit under my workbench and then on Metro-style wire shelving.
When I bought my next vac, my priorities were a little different. I wanted a 1) dust extractor that was 2) much quieter than my shrill shop vacuum, and 3) featured auto-on and adjustable power. That’s when I went with a Festool dust extractor.
2 years ago, I bought another vac, with attention paid to 1) capacity, 2) price, and 3) hose size. I wanted a general purpose shop vacuum for household cleanup tasks and all kinds of things like that.
If I were to replace that general purpose wet/dry vacuum now, my priorities would be 0) price, 1) capacity, 2) portability, 3) hose size.
For a dust extractor, quietness would be less of a consideration than it used to be. Usually, it doesn’t matter how quiet the extractor is, because when used with a power tool, the combined noise necessitates hearing protection.
1) Price, 2) Durability, 3) Portability.
I have a Ridgid with a detachable blower. When Home Depot has a “special buy” or sale on, the Ridgids are hard to beat in my opinion. Before I purchased it I also checked the cost of replacement filters.
The warranty helps reassure me too. I know that some don’t consider it much of a feature because of the purportedly difficult registration process and difficulty accessing repair centers. I registered my Ridgid products right away without any hiccups and I’ve used the warranty process on my mitre saw before – painlessly. For me, it’s a big benefit knowing that if it breaks, someone else will fix it.
I don’t use the blower feature much – but the couple times I’ve tried I was pleasantly surprised with the power.
Portability was my third requirement because that’s the one aspect I don’t like about my vac. It’s big, has no easy way to store the hose and, because of the blower, doesn’t have a top handle. If I were shopping again, I MIGHT choose a smaller vacuum for this reason. Instead, what I’m actually doing is waiting for a sale on the smallest Dewalt cordless vacuum so I have something easier to lug around.
I have the same Ridgid, it’s great for power, the price was right ($99 on sale IIRC), and replacement filters for varying purposes are readily available. I also rarely use the detachable blower, but on the few occasions I’ve had use for it it’s been a nice feature. The clips to lock the hose on are also nice. That said, onboard tool storage leaves a bit to be desired, and it’s loud as hell.
I’ve also got an old battery-powered Ryobi (dating back to when their stuff was still navy blue) that works great for lighter-duty tasks. I almost picked up the toolbox-shaped Milwaukee when I saw it on sale, but the specs weren’t incredibly impressive – if DeWalt is your preferred battery platform I’d recommend grabbing their cordless when you get a chance – I come across small jobs where I’m thankful for not having to lug the big tub around far more often than I find use for the Ridgid blower feature.
almost everybody builds a decent vacuum.
i don’t know of any commonly found shop vacuum that has storage worth a damn.
how hard can it be to make a cord handle that the cord stays on and in place . how about places to put the accessories other than a bag that is never to be found or a flimsy holder that everything falls off of the second you walk away.
I fixed the cord problem by taking a 3″ long, 2″ diameter piece of wooden dowel and split it down the middle to make two half cylinders, rounded off the corners with my dremel and screwed them to the ends of the top handle of my 14 gallon ridgid shop vac. Now i just wrap the cord around above the motor perfectly secure and out of the way.
I would love for ALL shop vacs to get on board with the same size hose/adaptors/accessories. I’ve already paid more money for all the damn adaptor parts than I did for my DXV12P so I can use it with my planer, miter, table, sander, grinder, etc
+1 for good reliable cord and accessory storage
+1 for universal hose sizes/accessories
Finally a decent hose that is attached in a way that makes it easy to pull the vacuum along without fighting the hose or getting the vacuum to roll along smoothly. Its always worse than a shopping cart with one bad wheel.
I have rarely seen a good accessory storage system. they all annoy me. haha.
Suction…why else have a vacuum.? If it’s not powerful ,it’s useless, all the other features don’t matter if it can’t do the job.
Noise. Unless you’re intentionally going as cheap as possible and buying some $30 shop vac from a discount store, any shop vac is going to be good. You can split hairs on comparison if you want to, but any decent ShopVac, Rigid, Craftsman, etc will have great suction, give years of service, etc. The one thing that seems to vary considerably between models is noise. It’s true all shop vacs are loud, but some are tolerable, others are ear-splittingly loud.
Max suction and airflow. Why does every company’s family of wet/dry vacs differ in power with the smaller units getting smaller motors? Why not put the same top end motor on all of them? I’d pick a nice compact vac if that were the case.
All of Festool’s dust collectors have the exact same motor on them: MINI, MIDI, CT26, CT36, etc.
I use the MIDI as the 26 is too cumbersome to move in and out of the job daily. Nice to know I’m not taking a hit in terms of power and cfm.
Wow, really? I always felt like my midi was underpowered and I regretted not getting the CT26. I chose the MIDI primarily for space and I assumed I was trading off some power. If they are the same power, then I did make the right call in the first place.
The older MIDI models did have smaller motors, but as of maybe 3-4 years ago, the MINI and MIDI models were standardized with the rest of the larger vacs.
Indeed mine is older and that explains it…
Plus the midi/mini right angle fitting kills suction.
I’m pretty sure it’s a cost and retail pricing consideration.
I’ve had several over the years. Currently I have the 12 gallon Craftsman XSP. I had the 16 gallon for quite awhile but couldn’t get used to the size so the neighbor has it now. The 12 gallon is perfect size for me so size is a consideration. I’ve never had a shop vac that wasn’t noisy to my ears, though the less noise the better. A few things I like on mine is the storage on the wheels for attachments. Looking at the Dewalt above, there is none which to me is wasted space. Another thing I like about mine is the flat surface on top to set things on. I see the one up top has a small spot for that too. Ditto on the top mounted handle to carry it. Both important. I like that the handle above is molded to double as a power cord wrap. Mine doesn’t have that and it’s annoying as could be. So that’s a consideration.
My XSP also has a hose holder bracket to wrap your hose around the top which I love and also consider important. However, the latches to lock the lid down are also important and the ones on mine are flimsy and easily broken. I broke both on my 16 gallon so I baby my 12. The plastic used is cheap and the design itself was just poor. I much prefer something like shown above. I do like the large diameter hose of the XSP which is important as well. The reason being, they also sold smaller diameter hose and an adapter for it should you want to use that for smaller things. The large hose is great for large jobs and it never gets plugged. It’s a hassle though if you’re trying to vacuum out your car but I’m not limited since the port itself on the vac is large. How the filter inside is mounted is important too. I’ve had some units where the filter wouldn’t stay put or the mounting bracket was plastic and broke.
If I could combine a few of the things above into my XSP or vice versa I think I’d have my ideal shop vac. I’ve never seen one though that IMO was completely thought out.
I have a Rigid Shop Vac that is about 20 years old, bought it at one of the first Black Friday Home Depot events. It’s had the filter replaced about 6-7 times, but that’s about it. Cord storage sucks, but the accessory storage is pretty solid, and you can still buy all the attachments at HD.
Cord wrap & noise are my consideration when purchasing, I wish manufactures would publish sound levels when running.
Tom in Eagan
For me, the big 3, in order are:
1. Noise. Too noisy, I just don’t use it.
2. HEPA filtration. My lung cancer demands it. Should have had it sooner it look like.
3. Power. For most vacs, by the time you put on the mufflers and add the HEPA filtration there is no power left. Need high static pressure, high volume, and high dynamic pressure.
3. Size, smaller is better. I have had/have big shopvacs, Ridgid is a very good example of this, good; tool storage, suction, large hose size, filter selection (gore-tex), bags and pump for emptying. bad: big. in use i prefer quiet, hepa and small.
1) Durability/more metal (stainless)
3) Should be cordless and corded in one machine
4) Wet and dry
5) Noise level
6) Medium size
7) Auto on
8) On board storage
9) Country of origin: Germany
Lower power — I want one that won’t blow a breaker if it’s sharing a circuit with a trim router or circular saw! There aren’t always extra circuits everywhere I’d like them. Cordless is one obvious sidestep to this problem, but I’ve never met a cordless vac that impressed me. Vacuum motors need sustained high power, which is incredibly hard on batteries. (Maybe if they made one that ran on the yard-equipment batteries?)
Ability to mount a filter bag — As a gift, I was given the ONE model of Ridgid vac where the hose enters the top, not the base, and thus it cannot use filter bags. I’m glad to see the entire NXT lineup is bag-compatible, at least.
Compact storage — not taking up half the shop would be nice. The ones with storage on the handle are pretty cool, so at least the accessories don’t sprawl everywhere, but those also tend to be the monster models that demand their own circuit.
It looks like the wall-mount models come closest to checking all my boxes.
1) Suction. When I turn it on I want the solar system to shrink because the planets get closer to earth.
2) Air Flow. LOTS of it because without air flow there’s no suction and lots of air flow allows using the exhaust side as a cleaning blower. Very useful feature.
3) Size. design it with a high HP power head (see 1 and 2 above) and buyer-chosen 12 gallon AND 30 gallon tanks. Wheels on the 12 allow dragging it by the hose without tipping it over, cart-style wheels on the 30 so it’s easy to roll to a different location.
4) More flexible, and longer, 2 1/2 hose. 30 ft is about right. Having to connect multiple hoses to get distance stinks.
5) Ability to accept 4 inch hose – which does NOT mean an adapter to plug into a 2 1/2 port, maybe a flip-down 2 1/2 that opens a 4 inch connection. Yes, you’ll sacrifice some suction, but for those times a 2 1/2 clogs (large wood chips, connecting to a planer at a job site, etc.) a (long, flexible) 4 inch would be perfect.
6) Noise. I don’t want to hear a 747 taking off inside the shop, but I’ll trade noise for performance.
7) The usual – a convenient liquid drain, some way to organize accessories and keep them handy, a MUCH longer power cord, an accessory 120 volt outlet on the power head, switches easy to use with gloves on, a handle on top, etc.
8) Suction. Did I mention LOTS OF SUCTION?
And my dream: the ability to have a 120 volt-powered carpet brush head that takes 2 1/2 hose; think “central vacuum system” beater bar power head to clean customer’s carpets spic ‘n’ span when finishing the job; there’s always more dust than can be contained and Hoover and Dyson just don’t have the horsepower. The power cord for it can connect to that utility outlet I mentioned in #7, quick-clips to hold the power cord attached to the 30 ft 2 1/2″ hose.
Noise, Filtration (cost and effectiveness), and flow (power I guess).
The more power, the better. Also easy on board storage, lock in hose, retractable cord.
My other needs would be cordless with the power of corded and a good set of wheals.
Hoping to see one of these in Flexvolt really soon:)
1) How well does it work with a clearvue or dust deputy type cyclone to use for dust collection? For instance, Festool was previously advising not to use a cyclone with their dust extractor. Electricity fried the circuits apparently. But also how effectively does it work with the vac/extractor.
2) Form factor: How well will it fit the type of cart that Jay Bates made for the cyclone/vac. This gets at form factor, but very specific. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pi0xqEUmuu4 The smaller the better, but full-powered.
3) Hepa filter that doesn’t impede suction
Also the following might figure in:
4) Auto-start plug-in. But I’d want to know ratings for the plug in, will it only work with smallish/wimpy tools or larger more powered tools? What limitations?
My shop vac is not used by itself. It lives on a cart. My shop is small and my hose can reach most places in my small shop with just the bosch 35mm hose I use (VAC005) This hose is pretty good when it comes to connectors (VAC 003 and VAC 004) for most of my uses There are several Bosch adaptors that work better than anything I’ve found to adapt to both imperial and metric sizes, sometimes to a secondary adapter. I have the larger size hose that came with the vac, and can’t remember when I last used it. I’d have to be able to use the Bosch hose with whichever one I got.
-PRICE (lower the better)
-Power Use (Wattage/Runtime. Double 20V pack or 120V)
-CFM/Sucktion (Doesn’t have to be the best but must be very good)
-Capacity-to-compact ratio(Too big too lug around. Too small to do much)
If DeWalt, maybe, use the 120V adapter system for a vac that is almost the size of the XL DS400 tough box or DS450, it may address many things. Cord-ed/less, power consumption, more runtime via BL motor, modular to existing systems. Accessory storage could be on the vac or in another tough box. Use as a blower is not important.
Addressing the new DUDE vac, the strap can be inconvenient. An additional belt clip would help prevent it swinging around when moving.
For the type of work that I do, I look for suction power and blowing powers along with drum size, hose material and diameter and of course price. Noise can be remedied with earplugs. I look for something that can suck up chunks of rubble and debris with ease and not get clogged up. Anything made with a 1¼” hose is a waste of time and money and a 12+ gallon size drum full of water is pretty heavy and getting rid of that much debris isn’t easy. The hose needs to be large enough to suck up chunks of drywall, masonry, wood, etc without clogging the filter and it should be flexible enough to maneuver easily in any direction. Cord wrap isn’t that big of a deal cuz you can easily make your own by screwing some bolts on opposite sides of the handle. On board storage tends to do the opposite of what it was meant to do in that the attachments always fall off and get lost. Especially if the storage is on the castors. There’s obviously a huge price difference in a dust extractor and a wet/dry vac as well as usefulness and abilities. And being that I don’t consider a dust extractor to be anything like a vacuum due to its use and purpose, I would likely never spend money on one instead of a vac. They’re meant to remain in a set location and suck the dust out of the surrounding air as where a vac is meant move around and quickly clean up. If you’re using a hepa filter with a wet/dry vac, you’re defeating the purpose of its use and you should be using a dust extractor. Especially if you’re using a large (6 gallon and up) drum size vacuum. They weren’t made for fine particulate cleaning and you’ll notice that when you turn on a vac the fine dust blows out of it with or without a filter. This is also why you should obviously wear a dust mask when cleaning up rubble and debris. Blackish boogers and snot are a good indicator of that you need to be wearing a dust mask. The power switch on most of vacs are simple rockers and are extremely easy to operate. The only shopvac brand vac I ever owned had the worst on off switch I’d ever seen (ridiculously over engineered) and that’s one brand that I don’t ever plan to own again. As for everyone else, brand doesn’t really matter being that they’re all vacs are meant for one purpose and that is to clean up debris quickly and easily. However they are not meant to extract dust.
Top 3 in Priority Order:
1- Suction. Some vacs have motors too weak for their size. A 12gal tub with a 2.5″ hose and a 3hp pull isn’t going to get the big stuff with the ease of a 5hp.
2- Containment. I have a pre NXT Ridgid; the connection between motor housing and tub shifts about 3/8″ and causes dust, particularly from drywall to puff out in transit, especially when lifting. Clamp handles on the NXT are a solid solution.
3- Portability. Small things make moving shop vacs a real pain. I understand why, but the removable wheels on both of mine almost always separate. Accessory on those wheels mean a wheel and a 2ft section of tube may fall off. A diffuser protruding 4-6″ beyond the circumference of the entire vacuum makes packing difficult on a shelf and worse in a vehicle. My current Ridgid also has the way too small power switch inside the handle, so sometimes it gets bumped and turns on when you plug it in.
Needless to say, I will grab an NXT when I can afford to and relegate my old one to a dust collection cabinet for a saw or router.
Funny thing- my early 2000’s Craftsman shop vac is a better design than my 3-4yo Ridgid.
I used to have a Craftsman with a auto-switch plug-in. It was the best! I wish they were still made. Also an excellent form factor. Not sure of the vintage, but maybe about the same as yours. If they could make Craftsman vacs with features like this, not sure why Ridgid can’t make them now. My guess is that it would be popular with a plug-in to carry on-site without the cost of a high-end dust extractor, which might get stolen depending on the site. Replacement cost is much less.
Koko The Talking Ape
Maybe I’ll be unusual, but for me, filtering effectiveness is more important than simple suction power. I have some respiratory problems, and even when I wear a mask, I have to be careful. So it won’t help to have a super-powerful vacuum if it sprays ultra-fine dust all over the place. (Anyway, I can sweep up the larger shavings or sawdust that doesn’t stay in the air.)
So that is most important for the sander, so in a vacuum I would look for small hoses and a handy way to connect it to the sander.
suction isnt as important as airflow. Take a penny and put it on your hand and make sure the vac nozzle is sealed on your hand . Without airflow the penny wont be sucked up. Give it some air and it will suck up immediately.
PRICE IS obviously big deal.
Hose size is important. A 1-1/4″is suitable for light duty and will tend to clog up more often, so i will always lead towards a 2-1/4″ hose
Availability of bags and filters is extremely important. That vac at costco may look like a good deal at the time,but you just know it will be out of the store within 5 months and you wont be able to get bags or parts for it.
I would like a tall, narrow shopvac with a truly integrated hose so it’s NOT ALWAYS IN THE WAY! It would have it’s own integrated tornado “pre-filter”. This design would take up less floor space, extend my filters lives, have the tornado be able to be removed and function as a wet vac without having to change the filter out. The dimensions would be 16″-20″ diameter X 40″ height. That would give it about 30-50 gallons total volume and maybe a little less if the motor was within the height.
The main problem with shopvacs are:
Their hoses are always flopping around.
No decent storage space for accessories.
Not enough power in the small ones and if you get a decent sized one they’re short and fat and take up too much room in my work trailer.
The filters get clogged too quickly.
Might as well make it Flexvolt/M18 powered while we’re at it…
Quiet and variable suction which most shop vacs cannot attain because they are set at low price points for the majority of users.
Vacuum hose size (2.5”) and corresponding Hp (5-6.5)
For me, apart from price (which kept me from going full dust extractor), it needs to have a good quality hose, not be tipsy/easily moved, and be quiet. The hose size doesn’t matter as much to me as flexibility, crush resistance, and positive attachment clip/locking. I need to be able to pull by the house and not worry about the vac tipping over or getting caught on a corner. Rubberized corner guards are also a plus. Finally, I want to be able to have a conversation in the same space whole using it. For me, this all added up to a Fein turbo. Low, light, and a great hose. It could be quieter (Festool and Bosch were both noticeably quieter), but it blows Ridgid/Craftsman/Shop Vac out of the water. Yes it’s more than twice as much, but it’s way more reasonable than a Festool or Bosch at $600 and it seemed to be the best bang for the buck. There are times where I wish I had the larger Turbo II, but it’s mostly fine. Onboard storage is great, as are the accessories. My only real complaint is with filter prices, but I’m still happy with my choice a year later.
The original (older) Fein Turbo II I had years ago was the quietest vac I’ve ever had and had lots of power. Much quieter than my festool vacs.
The newer Fein vacs have eliminated the variable speed function of the more recent older models, but I had heard they had some serious reliability issues with them, so maybe that’s why.
I just received the new Metabo deal vac and get this – damn thing runs on a 16ga cord!! Every festool vac made runs on a 12ga cord, no wonder the Metabo vac requires a math calculation to figure out what tool can be plugged in at what variable speed setting.
I appreciate German quality, but this Metabo vac is a beast in every other way, why in the heck did they cripple it with weak-a$$ electrical?
I have one of the 15 yr old Feins. I was told that it had two motors, so that when the suction tube was blocked, the other motor still cooled the unit. Not sure if this was hype or true, but when it was blocked, it didn’t go into a high pitched whine.
It is so quiet, that I can hold a normal conversation while standing next to it. Noise level is my #1 concern after a serious hearing loss over the years. Many times I was in a hurry & didn’t want to go find my ear muffs (for ONLY a couple of minutes) while using another shop vac.
Filtration is important, so I pulled the filter & retrofitted a Gore filter, then use a dust separator, so it’s easy to dump.
My Rigid is not as quiet, but the main drawback is that it’s so fat that it’s hard to carry out in front thru doorways or around the shop. If like a taller, more easily carried one, even if I had to take on & of the wheels for stability.
My brother said that his favorite shop vac is a HD 5 gallon bucket with the aftermarket motor on top. Small & easily carried (kind of like the new cordless shop vacs).
The hype between 5 peak or 15 peak hp is meaningless. I don’t care if it takes me an extra minute to vacuum an area.
I have a ridgid 1450 and festool mini. They are both good vacs. I use the ridgid more mainly due to its larger capacity.
Noise level is about the same. They are both quieter than the Dysons in the house so I have no complain. One thing I hate about the ridgid is hose management. And the stiff hose.
I wish they had some kind of chip separation to prolong filter life. I use bags on both and try to reuse them when full ( I know I’m cheap), but the ridgid bags tear so easily it’s barely reusable.
Suction, portability, containment. I use one of ridgid’s shop vac’s for drywall/clean-up on job sites. Not the most ideal set-up for sure. But I do like it’s the right size so it doesn’t tip over. However, it is a pain to transport and keep all its accessories together.
I would Iike to see one of the bigger name brand tool companies come out with an upgradable vac/dust collection system that utilizes cordless technology w/ retractable power cord or adapter, remote on/off and some kind of hose mgmt. I’m not bias when it comes to tools, but take dewalt for example. I think it would be great to have something built around the toughsystem dolly. Utilize a couple tough boxes for hose and accessories and have the vacuum clip in on the bottom.
I know dewalt has something similar but it’s compatible with the t-stak.
Noise, suction, and hose management.
I have an old Ridgid that is so loud it’s actually painful. It works perfectly but I bought a new Craftsman model because it didn’t require hearing protection. It also has to have, and retain, good suction with sawdust. I also didn’t realize how important is was to have a good system to hold the hose after use. The Craftsman has a neat wire holder on top that easily holds and releases the hose. No more dragging the hose or looping around before falling on floor.
Suction capability – Noise – Efficiency.
Suction most have – lightly surprised more shop vac like items don’t use the double vane or other impeller systems like you see on higher end home vacs.
Noise – After buying a 100 dollar shop vac why doesn’t it come with that nifty muffler piece.
Efficiency – I don’t know why but it would see like a vac of decent power shouldn’t need it’s own 15A circuit. Maybe I’m crazy.
Otherwise – tool storage I don’t use most of them. I’d have loved if my newest one had come with both a 1-1/4 hose and a 2-1/2 hose. Even if it didn’t come with other attachments. I don’t so much mind the 1-1/4 attachments I use them often now. Or give me the 2 hoses and no attachments, except the mentioned muffler, and then let me pick and choose as you can buy most of them seperately. Thing is – why do molded pieces of plastic cost so much.
OH and filtration – now that everyone has a version of true HEPA filtration That’s not on my list anymore.
Hose material! He standard hose, regardless of diameter, seems to be semi-flexible plastic. These tend to break or kink. I purchased a rubber hose (like you find at the car wash). It has out lasted 2 Shop vacs. Nothing more annoying to me then having to duck tape the hose to maintain suction.
People kept saying that shop vacs are super noisy but that’s not really true. it really varies by model. I’ve seen shop vacs that sound like jet engines but my Ridgid wd1450 and festool mini both measure only around 70 decibels or less at 3 ft distance. With the same meter my Makita 18v cordless drill measures about 75 at the same distance, full speed no load.
Wheels! Almost all the ones I’ve ever owned have crap for wheels (like they improvised from granny’s coffee table). Gotta be non-marring, large and not get stuck on a cord.
Filtration! Already with the “Free Shop Vac with each Filter purchase ripoff”. Make them reusable, HEPA option and optional Cyclone attachment for your small shop sawdust maker.
Noise! Well, I am wearing earplugs (ISOtunes hint hint) so not big deal.
Capacity! I want that container to handle (or even accomodate) a beefy 6mil Contractor Trash Bag.
Speaking of trashbags…those sold at HD (the 55 ct big contractor black bags), are crap to try to fill. Who design those %$&^!@ flaps? Every single time…flap folds in and trash hits the floor.
I used to have access to one of these:
The US-version was outfitted with 3 individually switched 7-amp vac motors you could run on a standard 20-amp circuit. Huge pleated filter, Huge capacity. …and Huge Price (no doubt).
….i’ve mentioned this before…. tapered vac hose does wonders if you can handle a little DIY…
Bought a shop vac 6 hp 8 gallon February 4. Took it home and used it 4 days. Went to use it the 5th day and it didn’t work. I took it back to Rona February 10. I thought I should get another one to replace it or my money back. No they would send it away to fix it. Rona called me March 10 to say that motors would be made in 2 weeks.. Called April 10 they said it was there. I went and picked it up and when I got home and opened the box it wasn’t my shop vac. Called Rona and they said they gave me the wrong one back to Rona again and exchanged it for mine. I get home and open the box and there is no motor. So here I am May 15th and all I have is a can where I get a broom and dust pan and pickup the saw dust and throw it in the shop vac. I’m not asking for much but it would be nice if I could get some service. Not a happy customer.