Best Wet-Dry Vacuum 2020

Unfortunately for most people, messes that have to be cleaned up come in every form – both dry and wet – and they aren’t always the easiest (or most convenient) to clean. But the good news is that there are a variety of the best wet dry vacuum sweepers, which handle these messes equally well.

Desirable Features

Since there are many manufacturers of these wet/dry vacuums, there must be some features that rise above the rest and are the most desirable when looking for the most appropriate model to fit the cleaning needs. The most desirable features include:


Let’s face it, if the suction power of even the highest quality wet dry vacuum isn’t up to its potential, it fails to get the job done. The suction power of the vacuum is determined by how powerful the motor is, along with the filtering system, and the amount of pressure difference it is able to create between the interior of the machine and the exterior. This means that the higher the suction, the more power the vacuum has, and the more efficient the cleaning power.

Best recommendation – Select a model which has adjustable suction levels to prevent damage to different surfaces.


It doesn’t matter how clean the environment is, those sneaky little dust particles will find a way to get in; therefore, a good filtering system is the second most critical feature. There are many types of filters, and some wet/dry vacuums come with multiple types of filters – the re-usable ones which are washable are quite popular. For folks with allergies, a HEPA filter is the best choice.

Best recommendation – Select a model that has a highly rated filtration system.


One of the most annoying features of small capacity wet/dry vacuums is the number of times the container has to be emptied – the larger the container, the fewer times it has to be emptied. On the negative side, the higher the capacity, the more weight to the device, the lower the capacity, the lighter the device.

Best recommendation – Select a model that has sufficient capacity to handle the most common job without having to be emptied frequently.


There are many sizes and shapes of wet/dry vacuums, and the best one to select is the one that is the right size for the job. If it needs to be moved around frequently, then it needs to be one of the smaller and lighter models; however, for heavy duty jobs a larger container is needed, which adds to the weight.

Best recommendation – Understand how portable the wet/dry vacuum needs to be before selecting a model.

Bagged or Bagless

Be aware that bagged models generally have a higher capacity than the bagless models; however, there are benefits to both models. Bagged models have filters which can trap more allergens, but they are more expensive in the long run due to the need to replace bags.

Best recommendation – Capacity or allergen efficiency is the determining factor of whether a bagless or a bagged model is preferable.

ProductMotorPriceCheck Price
Dustless Technologies 16003
best wet dry vacuum
3.1 HP$$$$Check Price
Shop-Vac 5986000
Shop-Vac 5986000
2.5 HP$Check Price
Dewalt DCV581H
2 Peak HP$$$Check Price
Vacmaster VBV1210
Vacmaster 12 Gallon
5 Peak HP$$Check Price
Armor All
Armor All aa255
2 Peak HP$Check Price
Dewalt DWV012
2 HP$$$$Check Price

Best Wet Dry Vacuums

When looking for wet dry vacs with the best features, the following ones all have some unique features which are ideal for a variety of jobs.

Dustless Technologies 16003

best wet dry vacuumOne of the most unique features about the Dustless Technologies 16003 has a dual filtration system due to an interior baffle wall. This means that it can switch from dry to wet jobs without having to change out the filter, plus the filters are washable. Several customers commented that this was excellent because it doesn’t blow out dust and even when attached to sanders and saws, the work area stays clean.

The filters on this wet/dry vac always do an excellent job of protecting the motor from fine particles of dust and wood particles.

The majority of customers stated that the motor is very powerful and the filtration system is superior to many other models; however, some customers complained that the lid is attached with cheaper plastic clips that seem to break easily. Dustless Technologies customer service is excellent when the lid or the plastic clips need to be replaced.

Shop-Vac 5986000 5 Gallon 4.5 Peak HP Stainless Steel Wet/Dry Vac

Shop-Vac 5986000The Shop-Vac 5986000 5 Gallon 4.5 Peak HP Stainless Steel Wet/Dry Vac is a great model. It’s designed with a stainless steel tank and a dolly with casters making it extremely easy to roll. Customers commented that it has amazing suction power and easily picks up all kinds of dust pieces and wood chips and is an excellent product. It also has a HEPA filter bag included and it does an excellent job for both the dry features and for wet vacuuming.

The main complaint about this model is that the cord is too short and owners will need an extension cord if they need to move it around a larger area. Also the hose is a small diameter, but larger diameter hoses are also available. The other main complaint is that the onboard storage for the accessories are not well designed because it is attached to the cord winder.

Read the review of Shop-Vac 5895400 here.

DEWALT DCV581H 18/20-Volt MAX Cordless/Corded Wet-Dry Vacuum

Dewalt DCV581HA great feature of the DEWALT DCV581H 18/20-Volt MAX Cordless/Corded Wet-Dry Vacuum is that it can operate with the electric cord and an AC outlet or it can be run cordless with a rechargeable 18V or 20V battery that is easily recharged. Customers love this convenience! It has a HEPA rated filter which traps up to 99.97% of the debris, and the filter can be washed and reused. The suction ability on this one is excellent, particularly for cleaning up wood shavings and dust. Although it looks very heavy, it’s actually light to move around.

The storage for the tools is very convenient and the extra components don’t protrude as they with storage on other models

Some customers complained that the motor didn’t seem to be as strong, particularly when it’s running under the batteries as opposed to the cord. In addition, several stated that the internal fuse doesn’t last.

Vacmaster 12 Gallon, 5 Peak HP, Wet/Dry Vacuum with Detachable Blower, VBV1210

Vacmaster 12 GallonWhen customers are looking for a dry/wet vac with a quick-release detachable blower, the Vacmaster 12 Gallon, 5 Peak HP, Wet/Dry Vacuum with Detachable Blower is the one to select. The blower has a 210mph blowing speed and it also comes with an extra-large drain port. Another great feature that many customers liked is that it is much quieter than many other dry/wet vac models. Many customers liked the fact that it does an excellent job with either the wet or dry vacuuming, and the blower feature is a great bonus.

Several customers complained that the wheels fall off easily; however, there are screws that are provided to secure the casters, and most customer do not realize why there are screws included. Other complaints were that it shuts off after five minutes, but be sure that it’s on a #2- or higher breaker because it will blow smaller sized breakers.

Armor All 2.5 Gallon, 2 Peak HP, Utility Wet/Dry Vacuum AA255

Armor All aa255For some customers, preventing overflow is a very desirable feature, and this Armor All 2.5 Gallon, 2 Peak HP, Utility Wet/Dry Vacuum has that feature and many more. It handles both wet and dry pick up equally well, and easily converts to a blower to help dry the area. It has a built in air and noise diffuser, which makes it run more quietly than other models and it is very efficient for picking up many sizes of woodchips and sawdust. The cloth filter is re-washable, and the foam sleeve can be used over and over. Many customers stated that the suction on this machine is excellent, and amazing because the vacuum is so small and compact.

The most common complaint is that the cord is too short, and several complained that it didn’t have as much suction as they expected, but the on-board accessory storage is very convenient.

DEWALT DWV012 10-Gallon Dust Extractor with Automatic Filter

DEWALT DWV012 The Dewalt DWV012 Wet/Dry 10 Gallon Dust Extractor with Automatic Filter is actually a dust extractor which provides a portable, yet powerful, resolution for keeping dusty job sites clean. It has a 15-amp motor which produces 140 cubic feet per minute of airflow, meaning the maximum suction level is delivered by this great little machine. It’s very handy for both wet and dry clean up needs and the telescoping handle, easy-glide casters, heavy-duty wheels, and hose that doesn’t kink makes it easy to use, and customers loved all of these features, particularly the swivel wheels and the telescoping handle for convenience of moving it around. The suction level is great and everything fits and snaps together quite easily.

The main complaint about this dry/wet vacuum is that when the tank is full, cleaning it out gets somewhat messy, and the proprietary hose can only be replaced with a Dewalt hose.


There are some excellent, and highly rated, wet/dry vacuums on the market today – and many of them are great in woodworking shops to efficiently pick up both sawdust and wood particles. The best wet dry vacuum has strong suction power, a highly rated filtering system, sufficient capacity in the container, easily portable (if frequent transporting is necessary), and a choice of bagged or bagless.

Author: John Clax

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