DeWalt DC517B Cordless Wet Dry Vac Review

Many of us have owned a shop vac in the past that was bulky, didn’t roll correctly, or required some re-calibration multiple times to get it working like it should.

To be honest, I have often felt like the convenience of cleaning up wet and dry messes in the house or the garage is completely cancelled out by the inconvenience factor of size, bulk, and portability.

DeWalt Tools has apparently heard my cries and curses of frustration, and created the DeWalt DC517B ½ Gallon 20V Cordless Wet/Dry Vacuum. Let’s take a look at the features of this portable cleaning dynamo.

DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Vacuum Kit

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DeWalt DC517B Cordless Wet/Dry Vac Features

Dual Clean-up Modes

One of the features I love most about the DeWalt DC517B is how easy it is to switch between the primary vacuum mode and the detachable rubber hose. I can run this right over the bulk of a mess using the built-in vacuum attachment on the front, then pop the hose off and get into the cracks and crannies where the mess has spread. All the parts are heavy duty plastic and rubber, and they stand up well to the beating they take every time I have a mess to clean up.

Washable GORE Filter

Like any vacuum, the DeWalt DC517B needs to have its insides cleaned out fairly regularly. Fortunately for consumers, DeWalt uses a hand washable GORE filter that catches particles down to the 0.3 micron level (that’s wicked tiny if you aren’t sure). All you have to do when it’s time to clean the filter is pop it out of the chamber, run it under warm water in the sink or outside, let it air dry, and pop it back in the vacuum. That’s it. It is really that simple.

DeWalt 20V Lithium Ion Battery

The DC517B uses DeWalt’s family of 20 volt lithium ion batteries. If you are already a DeWalt Power Tools fan, you can use this battery pack with any other DeWalt 20V cordless tool, any amp hour. Long lasting interchangeable battery packs I can use with my other tools really make this a convenient buy, and it increases the overall value of the product for existing DeWalt users.

½ Gallon Capacity

A key advantage to this model wet/dry vac is the ½ gallon integrated tank. In my opinion, it provides just the right blend of portability and capacity. The DeWalt DC517B is big enough for larger spills and wet messes, but not so large and heavy as to make it as unwieldy as traditional 120V wet/dry shop vacs.That means when a pet or kid disaster strikes in the car or the kitchen, this shop-vac can pinch hit and get up the mess quick without anyone having to exert any significant effort.

DeWalt Toughness Guarantee

The DeWalt DC517B is an amazing value product that gives you the power and convenience of a wet/dry shop vac in a handheld package. DeWalt stands behind their tools, and they offer a 3 year limited warranty and a 90 day money back guarantee if you are not completely satisfied with the performance of your DC517B. Honestly, that is really the best value add this product possesses: DeWalt toughness backed by both a warranty and a money back guarantee.

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Here’s a quick rundown of the pros and cons for this model.

Product Benefits

  • Cordless and rechargeable
  • ½ Gallon capacity that doesn’t lose suction as it fills
  • GORE hand-washable filter
  • Battery is interchangeable/replaceable with other 20V DeWalt tools

Product Negatives

  • Not as effective on carpeted surfaces
  • No attachments specifically designed for this wet/dry vac
  • Unit weight is heavier than comparable models
  • Size is somewhat unwieldy compared to other handheld vacuums

Highlighted Features

  • Batteries can be replaced with standard 20V DeWalt Battery packs
  • ½ gallon collector seals tightly and is easy to remove and clean
  • Removable rubber hose makes for easy cleanup in tight spaces
  • 20V of power means this is stronger than any dustbuster on the market
  • Battery can be recharged from dead in about an hour on the included fast charger

The Final Verdict

For my money, the DeWalt DC517B is the best handheld vacuum/wet/dry shop-vac on the market. It is convenient, ready to use, and built like a tank. There are some complaints about the bulk and noise of this unit, but I would say that the noise produced and size are both normal when you take into account that this is intended to be a shop-vac and not a standard dustbuster.

I also like the fact that if I have a problem with this unit, the warranty is three years through the manufacturer, and if I hate it I can get my money back for 90 days. Very few manufacturers stand behind their tools the way DeWalt does, and I like having that security when I invest my hard earned money in a tool that should see me through years of reliable service.

Buy the DeWalt DC517B Cordless Wet Dry Vacuum, and you are buying a quality wet/dry shop-vac that will make your cleanup easier and give you the peace of mind that comes with buying any DeWalt Tool.

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About the Author Richard White

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