If you’re working at a home garage or on a construction site, you will quickly notice how much dust and debris accumulates. Wood from table saws, chips from belt sanders, and dust from tile saws can create a huge mess to clean up. Fortunately, the best way to get rid of this mess is with a wet/dry shop vacuum. But what is this device? How does it work? Let’s get into the details.
A shop vacuum is a heavy duty machine that sucks up both debris and water, depending on the model. Some models only focus on dry materials, some only focus on wet, but the best ones can suck up both with equal power.
Shop vacuums come as either a portable or a wall-mounted device. Typically, for smaller jobs or construction sites that are remote, a portable shop vacuum is ideal, as it can be moved around to fit whatever needs are required of it. However, for businesses and workshops that are stationary, a wall-mounted shop vacuum is a must, as it uses more power and cleans a lot faster. Today we’ll be focusing on wall-mounted shop vacuums, in particular, what to consider when purchasing one, and what the best options are out there.
When comparing portable versus wall-mounted shop vacuums, you need to figure out what your exact needs are. If you have a small workshop or are just working out of your garage, a relatively small, portable shop vacuum should be sufficient for the work you will be doing. However, for bigger operations, a wall-mounted shop vac is much better for cleaning your work area. Here are the main differences and benefits of a wall-mounted vacuum versus a portable vacuum.
For all of these reasons, most workshops and building sites prefer a wall-mounted shop vacuum over a portable model.
Now that we’ve gone over the benefits of wall-mounted versus portable let’s look at the main options you will need to consider before making a purchase.
First and foremost, the size of the receptacle is the most important thing to look at when considering a shop vacuum. While bigger is usually better, you want to think about the kinds of jobs you will be doing, and how much debris is generated. When it comes to size, consider the following:
Answering these questions will help you determine the right size for your needs.
The second most important consideration for your shop vacuum is the type of hose that comes with it. Many power tools can attach to a hose so that all debris is collected as it is generated. This process saves a lot of time in the long run, as you don’t need to clean up after using these tools. However, if you are still generating solid waste that accumulates on the floor or tables, then you will need to make sure that your hose can suck up all matter of particles without clogging.
As with all vacuums, shop vacuums come with a filter to sort out larger debris from fine material. Over time, the filter can get clogged and dirty, which means it needs to be replaced. When looking at a shop vacuum, you want to look at the type of filter that comes with it, as well as look at how often the manufacturer advises replacing the filter. Certain brands have much better filters that need to be changed less often, so you want to see if you can buy a shop vacuum that is compatible with various filter brands.
As with most workshop devices, shop vacuums can be relatively loud. While many newer models come with a muffler to keep the operation as quiet as possible, they can still reach higher decibels. The added noise may be a nuisance, or it could be a significant problem, depending on your location and your needs. When looking at a shop vacuum, you want to consider the average noise level and make sure that it is not too loud for your workshop.
Like with most equipment, shop vacuums usually can be used with a broad variety of accessories. From hose attachments, filters, and dust bags, a high-quality shop vacuum may need a lot of expensive additions. When looking at purchasing a shop vacuum, you need to consider what accessories come standard with it, what accessories you will need to purchase additionally, and what brands are compatible with the vacuum itself. It’s important that you factor in these costs you so aren’t blindsided by them after purchasing the vacuum.
Now that we’ve looked at what to consider when buying a shop vacuum let’s look at some of the top brands of wall-mounted vacuums. We looked at their capacity, suction level, and versatility to determine which models are best overall. Here are the results.
We begin our set of reviews with the VacuMaid GV50 Pro.The number 50 in the name is referring to the size of its hose, which comes in at a very serviceable 50 inches. The GV50 also features a 7-gallon tank, which should more than suffice for small to medium size projects.
As far as dry vacuums go, the GV50 is a pretty standard unit. The only downside is that it is only rated to pick up dry material, as it does not handle water of any kind. Thus, if you are looking for something that can be ultra versatile for your garage or workshop, the GV50 is very limited in that capacity. Otherwise, its air watt rating of 740 is one of the highest available, making it an excellent high-suction machine.
When it comes to versatility, the Vacmaster is a very capable machine.The unit is mounted on the wall, but it can easily detach, making it both portable as well as wall-mounted. Unfortunately, the trade-off is a smaller, slightly less powerful unit than the VacuMaid.
If you’re looking for a powerful, yet compact shop vacuum for home or a small workshop, the Vacmaster VWM510 is a durable, versatile machine. While not ideally suited for large sites or big jobs, the 510 is perfect for most garages.
When looking at shop vacuums, it’s important not to refer to all brands and types as a “shop vac”. The reason for this is that Shop Vac is a particular brand, so it can lead to confusion.That being said, Shop Vac is one of the highest rated brands, so it’s not as if you will be getting a sub par machine if you ask for this brand specifically.
The 3942000 is a highly versatile machine, with the following features:
Overall, the Shop Vac 3942000 is very similar to the Vacmaster, but doesn’t offer quite as much horsepower (peak 4.5 versus 5 even for Vacmaster), nor is the hose quite as long. The 3942000 is ideally suited for home use or small work sites, as it doesn’t quite have the power for large jobs.
As another brand that is known for its craftsmanship, Bissell makes a top-quality shop vacuum.And while the Garage Pro is on the smaller size regarding storage (it only has a four-gallon tank), it does come with an array of nifty features that set it apart from the rest.
Again, this shop vacuum is best rated for home use, and not for larger job sites. However, its versatility and long range hose make it ideal for cleaning the garage and operating in small workshops.
Finally, we come to the Workshop WS0500WM wet/dry shop vac. Much like the other models on this list, this vacuum unit is mounted on the wall but is easily removable for portability.This unit is very similar to the Vacmaster system in that it comes with a five-gallon tank and peak of five horsepower.
As far as unique attributes to the Workshop vacuum, they are:
As far as home use shop vacuums go, the Workshop vacuum is a fine machine with all the right components. The best part is the limited five-year warranty, as that lets you know the company stands behind their products. The only major downside, however, is the limited storage and power. While all of these shop vacuums are ideal for home use, if you’re looking for something to use on the job or in a professional workshop, you may need something with a little more kick.
For most of us, we will only need a shop vacuum to help clean up our garage and our car. To that end, all of the shop vacuums listed are more than capable of working to meet your needs at home. Even if you do carpentry or woodworking in your garage, any of the vacuums listed would be ideally suited.However, that being said, if you’re looking for something to use on a work site, you may need something a bit more powerful, like the VacuMaid GV50 Pro. Even though that unit is only rated for dry material, it provides more than enough storage and suction to meet most normal job requirements.If I had to pick one of these for myself, I would either go with the Bissell or the Workshop units since I love the added benefits of the longer warranties, coupled with the unique aspects of these vacuums.