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Best Shop Vacs: 2024 Buying Guide

Techtown has put together a concise buyer’s guide with the best shop vacs available on the 2024 market. Sometimes, you need a little suction action to clear a clogged drain line or mop up some spills that a regular stick vacuum would cough and choke on. 

So whether you're an HVAC technician, construction worker, electrician or simply a DIYer who needs a shop vac for quick cleaning or troubleshooting, we’ve listed a wide range of possible wet-dry vacuums that might catch your eye. Check out 5 handpicked machines with a diverse set of features that cater to a variety of applications and price points. 

Best Rated Shop Vac – Ridgid 12 Gallon NXT HD1200

Ridgid 12 Gallon NXT HD1200 Shop Vac - Best Shop Vacs 2024
Source: Ridgid

Coming in hot at the top of the list is 2024’s best-rated shop vac: the Ridgid 12 Gallon NXT HD1200 model. This fairly priced, best-budget shop vac kit includes a diverse range of features and attachments, consisting of the unit itself, a 7ft hose, 2 extension wands, a utility, wet, and car nozzle and a general debris filter to protect the motor. 

Gone are the days of searching through the work truck or garage, wondering which box or bag, if any, you’ve stored the hoses and wands. Rigid has solved that problem by integrating storage with mobility. That’s right, you can snap the attachments right onto the wheels for convenient storage and access.  

Across the board, one of the oldest problems terrorizing customer satisfaction has been their lack of maneuverability and, not surprisingly, suction power. With a 5-peak horsepower motor, 144 CFM, and (4) 360-degree rotation caster wheels, the issues that have plagued the field of shop vacs can finally be put to rest. Ridgid has even done one better, providing reach with its 7 ft-long tug-along hose that locks onto accessories for continuous cleaning. What is one of the best indicators of quality? A lifetime warranty, which Ridgid does not shy away from.

  • Price: $79.98
  • Corded/Cordless: Corded
  • Cord Length: 15 ft
  • Hose Length: 7 ft 
  • Hose Diameter: 2.5 in
  • Peak Horsepower: 5 php 
  • Air Volume: 144 CFM
  • Capacity: 12 gal
  • Blower Port: Yes 
  • Weight: 22 lbs
  • Warranty: Lifetime Warranty 

Most Powerful Shop Vac – CRAFTSMAN 6.5 Peak HP CMXEVBE17596

CRAFTSMAN 6.5 Peak HP CMXEVBE17596 - Best Shop Vacs

Source: Craftsman 

The highest suction shop vac award goes to none other than the CRAFTSMAN 6.6 Heavy Duty  CMXEVBE17596 Wet/Dry Vacuum. This kit also comes with the most goodies, containing the shop vac, 2 extension wands, a crevice tool, car, wet, and utility nozzle; muffler/diffuser, standard filter, dust collection bag and a 7 ft locking hose.

With a complete collection of accessories accounted for, it’s no wonder customers who’ve bought this product have highly praised the shop vacuum for its suction power, versatility, value and lightweight design. If you need a heavy-duty shop vac that can handle the robust demands of commercial job sites, scroll no further. This vacuum also comes backed by a 3-year warranty, so you don’t have to worry about potential quality concerns or defects.

  • Price: $169.99
  • Corded/Cordless: Corded 
  • Cord Length: 20 ft
  • Hose Length: 7 ft 
  • Hose Diameter: 2.5 in
  • Peak Horsepower: 6.5 php 
  • Air Volume: 182.1 CFM
  • Capacity: 20 gal 
  • Blower Port: Yes
  • Weight: 30 lbs
  • Warranty: 3-Year Warranty

Best Portable Wet/Dry Vac – Milwaukee M18 Wet/Dry 0910-20 Vac

Milwaukee M18 Wet/Dry 0910-20 Shop Vac - Best Shop Vacs
Source: Milwaukee

The best cordless wet/dry vacuum on the market this 2024 is, hands down, the Milwaukee M18. This portable shop vac comes equipped with the bare tool, wet/dry vacuum motor head, cart, high-efficiency filter, 9 ft hose, crevice tool, 2 extension wands and a floor utility nozzle. 

The accessories and functions are pretty standard at this point. Compared to the previous two models, this shop vac doesn't come with as many attachments, and it’s not as powerful or holds as much debris. But the real selling point is its attention to features aiding in portability, maneuverability and reach. Coming with an interchangeable motor head, tank and cart, you’ll be able to tidy up those hard-to-reach places.

As a rule of thumb, cordless vacuums are not as powerful as their corded companions and, obviously, have some time and battery limitations to consider. However, compared to other 3.5 php shop vacs, Milwaukee claims theirs will outperform other models in durability and cleaning power, making it the ideal choice for those who only need to use it for 31-47 minutes at a time.

  • Price: $219
  • Corded/Cordless: Cordless
  • Hose Length: 9 ft
  • Hose Diameter: 1-⅞ in
  • Peak Horsepower: 3.5 php
  • Air Volume: 87 CFM
  • Capacity: 6 gal
  • Blower Port: No 
  • Weight: 26 lbs
  • Warranty: 3-Year Warranty

Best Small Shop Vac – Vacmaster 5 Gallon Beast Series 

Vacmaster 5 Gallon Beast Series Shop Vac - Best Shop Vacs
Source: Vacmaster

As far as small capacity and portable shop vacs go, you can’t go wrong with the Vacmaster 5 Gallon Beast Series. Included in the package for just under $100 are the wet-dry vacuum, 7 ft hose, extension wand, utility and car nozzle, crevice tool, air/noise diffuser, fine dust cartridge filter and foam wet filter. 

Shoppers favor this model for its suction power, value, cord length, size, ease of cleaning and lightweight design. And at just over 15-½ pounds, this shop vac is by far the easiest to pick up and throw in the back of the truck for those off-site cleanups and house calls. Out of all the brands and models that made our list of best shop vacs, this one is by far the smallest and most portable of the corded options. 

  • Price: $96.41
  • Corded/Cordless: Corded
  • Cord Length: 18 ft
  • Hose Length: 7 ft
  • Hose Diameter: 1-⅞ in
  • Peak Horsepower: 5.5 php
  • Air Volume: 102 CFM
  • Capacity: 5 gal
  • Blower Port: Yes
  • Weight: 15.63 lbs
  • Warranty: 5-Year Limited Warranty