3 Best Shop Vacs When Money Is No Object

Your home garage requires maintenance to address messes that arise as you work on various projects. For instance, sawdust, dirt, and liquids can be hard to clean with a regular vacuum cleaner. For bigger messes, you’ll need a shop vac, also known as a wet/dry vac.

Shop vacs are also more versatile than regular vacuums because the can reverse suction to let you use them as blowers too. In addition, you can use these machines as a dust collection system by attaching the hose to the dust port of your miter saw, sander, circular saw, or other compatible tool.

So if your budget will allow it, consider one of the three models below.

How to choose the best shop vac for your garage and car

A shop vac sits on a wood floor in a wood-paneled auditorium
Shop vacs are also known as wet/dry vacs | Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

Size is an important factor when searching for shop vacs. Massive machines are ideal if you expect to clean up huge messes, but they also occupy considerable space and are heavy and bulky. Smaller, lightweight models are more useful for assorted tasks because they’re easier to work with, especially when your garage is crowded. If you want more mobility, consider a cordless model that can share batteries with your existing power tools, Popular Mechanics reports.  

Roadshow by CNET recommends that you also consider the following factors before choosing a shop vac: 

  • Dry/wet cleanups. If you’ll be cleaning water or other wet messes, you should buy a shop vac made to handle liquids.
  • Tank size. If you need a machine for cleaning your vehicle or a small garage, it’s better to buy one with a smaller tank. However, if you need to clean a large garage, find a model with a larger tank. 
  • How to use it. Consider whether you have used a similar type of appliance before, and take time to study the manufacturer’s instructions. This will ensure your safety and the vacuum cleaner’s continued efficiency. 
  • Maintenance. You should know how to maintain the shop vac you purchase. This includes knowing how to clean it, empty the vacuum, and change filters properly. 

Whatever you need to clean up in your garage or car, here are three of the best shop vacs money can buy. (By the way, we do not receive compensation for our recommendations.)

DeWalt 1/2-gallon cordless shop vac with starter kit

Despite its small stature, the DeWalt 1/2-gallon cordless shop vac  packs plenty of power thanks to its 3.0Ah battery and 20V motor. You can easily tote it around the house or to a remote job site thanks to its handheld design. It’s also light enough for you to lift and clean shelves, cupboards, and even under your workbench. Additionally, you can disengage the hose to run it along cracks or crevices to reach debris, or use it as a Dustbuster-style tool because it is very flexible. You can this model with a cordless starter kit on Amazon for about $230. 

Makita 2-gallon cordless shop vac with dust extractor

Designed with organization in mind, the Makita two-gallon cordless shop vac has hose indentations and other accessories molded onto it. This ensures the unit takes up minimal space during transport and storage. It weighs only 10 pounds and, with a top-mounted handle, is highly mobile compared to most other options. It’s also practical, with two 5.0Ah batteries that can last as long as 60 minutes. This model with a dust extractor and vacuum kit through Amazon costs $399 as of this writing. 

Bosch 9-gallon dust extractor with auto-filter clean and HEPA filter  

Bosch designed this shop vac to clean as much dust as possible. So this model is ideal when you need a workspace free of dust or have to remove fine dust indoors, such as drywall dust. It works well with a particulate air filter and even cleans the filter itself, doing so every 15 seconds to maintain maximum suction. This shop vac can also suck up any liquid spills without damaging the motor because its shuts off automatically after reaching a certain limit. It costs about $600 on Amazon.

Overall, if you’re not concerned about the price of shop vacs, it’s best to purchase one with numerous practical features and uses. Ensure that you also reseach these machines to determine which one works best for your needs and garage space.  

RELATED: 5 Best Small Shop Vacs for Your Car According to Popular Mechanics