Best Portable Shop Vac

Top 5 Best Portable Shop Vac On The Market

When it comes to keeping things neat and tidy, nothing works quite as well as a vacuum. Most vacuums on the market are suitable for large rooms, but not so much when it comes to getting into awkward, tight, and hard to reach areas.

Portable vacuums may have the answer.

Vacuums have a reputation for being loud, bulky, and only good for one job – getting carpets and floors clean from dust and debris.

Portable vacuums solve an issue that their bigger, bulkier cousins do not. What if you only have a small mess to clean? What if I need to clean in a spot where vacuums can’t reach?

Portable vacuums solve these issues. They get into areas that are otherwise impossible, like cleaning the dust on top of kitchen cabinets, getting inside the track of a window, or even cleaning the track of your sliding glass door.

All of these places can’t be reach by a traditional vacuum.

What is a Portable Shop Vac?

A portable shop vac is a vacuum, just like their not-so-portable counterparts.

The difference is that portable shop vacs are smaller, more maneuverable, and more portable than these large, conventional vacuums.

This means you can bring them out to the car, clean your windowsills, or even use them to dust off your mini blinds. They can reach areas that other, larger vacuum cleaners aren’t able to reach.

How To Choose The Right Portable Shop Vac

Portable vacuums aren’t made equally. This can make it difficult, confusing, and time-consuming to find the one that works for you.

Thankfully, I’ve done the hard work for you. I’ve reviewed about 20 of these small, portable vacuums. I’ve looked at features, how easy it is to use, how powerful the vacuum is, and more.

I’ve singled out the five best portable shop vacs that performed the best based on price and quality.

But first, let’s take a quick look into how I made my decision.

These are the biggest features I took into consideration, and something you need to research if you’re out to find the best portable vac for you.

Does It Have a Cord? If so, How Long?

Just because a vacuum is small and portable doesn’t mean it is cordless. As awesome as it might be to have a vacuum that uses battery power, I chose ones that have power cords. Why? Because as the vacuum is being used, the battery power slowly depletes.This means that the power of the vacuum also gets weaker. With a corded vacuum, I’m able to ensure that I don’t lose power.The two DeWalt vacuums below are battery powered, but they don’t lose suction as the battery power depletes. Once you use a certain amount of the battery, the unit shuts off. I liked this quality, so these two made this list.

Tank Size

The tank size will determine how much debris the vacuum can pick up before you need to empty the tank. The smallest tank size I’ve reviewed has a half-gallon capacity while the rest range from three to five gallons.This has a lot to do with it’s overall weight and can affect its portability. A full half-gallon tank won’t weigh nearly as much as a full 5-gallon tank.

Replacement Filters

As time goes on, you will eventually need to replace the filter on the unit. Although some filters are washable, most aren’t. As you make your choice, take a look at the replacement filters and how much they might cost you.

The same principle applies to dust collection bags. Although most portable shop vacs are completely operable without dust collection bags, these can be handy for keeping the dust contained when you go to empty the unit, plus they are convenient (and sometimes necessary) to keep allergens out of the very air you breathe.

The Price

Of course, as you go through each of these and consider which one might suit your needs, consider the price. This will tell you what you can expect to pay for the vacuum of your choice.

Other Considerations

  • Many portable shop vacs don’t come with the standard array of accessories that you might expect to find on larger vacuum cleaners. You may find aftermarket, compatible accessories if they match the hose diameter for your chosen vacuum.
  • Most of the filters for portable shop vacs are not HEPA-rated. If this is important to you, then keep your eyes peeled for one that has a HEPA filter, as they are out there.

Reviews of Top 5 Portable Shop Vacs

DEWALT DC515K Cordless Wet/Dry Vac

DEWALT DC515K Cordless Wet Dry Vac

Editor Rating

This vacuum uses straight–up battery power. A complementary battery and charger come included in the package.

The detachable hose makes it really convenient to clean those areas that are traditionally hard to reach.

Does It Have a Cord? If so, How Long?

This model is completely cordless. It runs on the included 18v XRP NiCad battery included in the box.  If you prefer you can purchase the DEWALT DC515K Cordless bare tool and purchase the DEWALT DC9182C 18V Lithium Ion Battery and Charger separately.  The lithium ion battery will last longer and hold a charge longer than the NiCad battery and is well worth the extra cash if you are going to use this vacuum very often.

Tank Size

This model has a tank size of 0.5 gallons.

Replacement Filters

This model uses a DEWALT DC5151H HEPA Replacement Filter.

Check Price On Amazon

WORKSHOP WS0300VA Portable Wet Dry Shop Vacuum

WORKSHOP WS0300VA Portable Wet Dry Shop Vacuum

Editor Rating

Workshop is a name that has proven itself in reliability, quality and value.This model has a 3-gallon tank to make quick work of larger messes, yet is small enough to fit in a cupboard.

The power cord ensures that this unit will not lose suction over time.

Does It Have a Cord? If so, How Long?

This model is not cordless. It uses a 10-foot power cord. This model doesn’t include battery integration.

Tank Size

This model has a tank size of 3.0 gallons.

Replacement Filters

This model is compatible with 2 filters and one dust collection bag.

  • WORKSHOP Wet/Dry Vacs WS11045F 3 to 4.5-Gallon Standard Filter, priced at $18.65 each, no discount available.
  • WORKSHOP Wet/Dry Vacs WS12045F 3 to 4.5-Gallon Fine Dust Filter, priced at $18.66 each, saving you $5.33 off the list price.
  • WORKSHOP Wet/Dry Vacs WS32045F Shop Vacuum Dust Collection Bag, priced at $11.97 each, saving you $2.02 off the list price.

The Price

This model is priced at $62.99, saving you $59.60 off the list price.

Check Price On Amazon

Shop-Vac 5872510 6.5 HP Professional Heavy Duty Portable Vacuum

Shop-Vac 5872510 6.5 HP Professional Heavy Duty Portable Vacuum

Editor Rating

This Shop-Vac has a 5-gallon capacity with a carrying handle to make it easy to clean large messes.The power cord is long enough to get into the far reaches of tight spaces that a traditional vacuum normally isn’t allowed to go.

Does It Have a Cord? If so, How Long?

This model is not cordless. It uses a 20-foot power cord. This model doesn’t include battery integration.

Tank Size

This model has a tank size of 5.0 gallons.

Replacement Filters

This model is compatible with one replacement cartridge filter and one dust collection bag.

  • Ultra-Web Cartridge Filter for Wet or Dry Pickup, priced at $16.49 each, saving you $8.12 off the list price.
  • Shop-Vac 90671, Type H, 5-to-8-Gallon High-Efficiency Disposable Collection Filter Bag, priced at $12.19 for a package of two, saving you $1.40 off the list price.

The Price

This model is priced at $125.30, saving you $50.41 off the list price.

Check Price On Amazon

Ridgid 50318 4500RV ProPack Wet/Dry Vacuum

Ridgid 50318 4500RV ProPack Wet Dry Vacuum

Editor Rating

This powerful little vacuum only weight 16.5 pounds.Ridgid is one of Home Depot’s home brands with a long history of providing top-quality products.

This model includes an array of accessories, including three extension wands, making it easy to get into the really tight spaces.

Does It Have a Cord? If so, How Long?

This model is not cordless. It uses a 20-foot power cord. This model doesn’t include battery integration.

Tank Size

This model has a tank size of 4.5 gallons.

Replacement Filters

This model is compatible with one replacement cartridge filter and one dust collection bag.

  • Ridgid VF3500 3-Layer Filter, priced at $15.97 each, saving you $10.18 off the list price.
  • Ridgid 23738 VF3501 Pleated Air bag for Small Vacuums, priced at $16.95 for a package of two, no discount available.

The Price

This model is priced at $107.36, saving you $11.96 off the list price.

Check Price On Amazon

DEWALT DCV581H 18/20-Volt Wet-Dry Vacuum

DEWALT DCV581H 18 20-Volt Wet-Dry Vacuum

Editor Rating

This model can be used corded or cordless. It can be run off the NiCad, lithium ion batteries, or a/c power (corded).It is compatible with 18v XRP, 18v lithium ion, and 20v MAX batteries.

This model includes a crush-resistant 5-foot hose to get into difficult areas.

Does It Have a Cord? If so, How Long?

This model can be used with or without the included 5–foot long power cord. It includes battery integration (battery and/or charger not included in the box).Alternatively, it can be used as a cordless vacuum, being powered by a DeWalt® Battery.

Tank Size

This model has a tank size of 2.0 gallons.

Replacement Filters

This model is compatible with one replacement cartridge filter.

  • DEWALT DC5001H Replacement Hepa Filter, priced at $24.77 each, saving you $20.99 off the list price.

The Price

This model is priced at $114.99, saving you $109.41 off the list price.

Check Price On Amazon

Final Verdict

The best portable shop vac for you comes down to you and how you want to use it. For the majority of messes, all of these vacuums offer stellar performances.

If you have other battery-powered DeWalt® tools in your shop, then you can’t go wrong with either of the DeWalt® shop vacs.

If you’re looking for mastery over larger messes without hauling out your traditional vacuum, then you’re looking at the Ridgid 50318 4500RV or the Shop-Vac 5872510 6.5 HP Professional Heavy Duty Portable Vacuum. Both of these will deliver power for the money. Plus, the extension wands on the Ridgid make it easy to get into the smallest nooks and crannies.

If you’re looking for something in the middle, and one that you can fit in a kitchen cupboard, then look no further than the WORKSHOP Wet/Dry Vacs WS0300VA Portable Wet Dry Shop Vacuum. The tank is a bit smaller on this one, but still large enough to handle messes. This one will be easier to carry around without losing power to battery drainage.

About the Author Richard White

Leave a Comment: