The Best Wet/Dry Shop Vacs — A Review

A Guide to the Best Wet / Dry Vacuum

Determine how you will use your new vacuum!

RIGID Wet / Dry Vacuum
Ranger and I reviewing the contents of the RIGID Wet / Dry Vac

The first and most important consideration is what will you be using your new Shop Vac for. Whether it’s for heavy construction projects or simply to clean your garage floor and vacuum your car’s interior. This guide will help you to determine what is right for your needs.

As with many products and tools, there is a wide price range in the large market of wet/dry vacs, also referred to as shop vacs. We’ve concentrated our reviews  on residential and light commercial consumers’ needs.

Just be aware that there is a large selection of commercial-grade wet/dry vacuum’s on the market as well, where prices are generally well above what the residential or light industrial models are priced at.  However, as stated above, this review will focus on the practical everyday use models.

As a general rule of thumb, the price point usually determines the type of material, accessories and construction quality that the shop vac with have.

Key considerations when you purchase your Wet / Dry Vacuum

Ease Of Use

  • Maneuverability / Bulkiness
  • Hose and Power Cord Length
  • Tank Size

Features and benefits

  • Is the vac equipped with a blower?
  • Does it have a tank drain?
  • What attachments and accessory tools does the vacuum come with?
  • Quality of construction and materials
  • Maximum horsepower


  • How do various makes and models compare?
  • Is the cost of the machine in line with the functionality that you need?
  • What is your budget?


Best Wet / Dry Vac


Shop-Vac 5979403 8 gallon 6.0 Peak Hp Stainless Wet Dry Vacuum,Black

Shop Vac” is synonymous with the Wet / Dry Vacuum!

Think about it.. the name says it all, SHOP-VAC!! Whether made by any specific company or any certain brand, this type of heavy duty vacuum will always be known as SHOP-VAC the one and only original! Who else can set the standard in quality industrial vacuums but SHOP-VAC?

  • Stainless steel tank
  • Positive lid latch system
  • Rear blower port
  • On board cord and accessory storage
  • Powerful 6.0 HP Motor
  • Multi-attachment
  • Rear blower port
  • Top and Side carry handles
  • Tool storage
  • Assembled in USA

We love this vacuum due to its powerful motor which allows for awesome pick up ability. The quality stainless steel construction and a tank that is just the right size along with its  positive latch system make this the preferred Shop Vac ( many other brands have problem with the lid coming off or loosening during usage and/or transport) This vacuum is durable, tough, tried, true and tested. Priced significantly less then other comparable brands. Hands down Shop Vac 5979403 is Let’s Fix It Up’s  #1  Best Choice.

Our Second Choice Shop Vacuum

Ridgid WD1450 14-Gallon 6-Horsepower Wet/Dry Vacuum

  • 6 peak HP motor with noise-reduction technology offers powerful yet quiet performance
  • Fine-dust filter for picking up dry materials and small amounts of liquid
  • 20 ft. cord wraps under the pull handle for storage
  • Pull handle and casters provide maneuverability while the side handles offer grips for lifting
  • Blowing feature blows away sawdust and other debris
  • Powerful suction to handle tough job-site clean-up
  • Quick-release accessory storage bag keeps accessories close at hand but is quickly removable to make emptying debris from drum quick and easy

Although powerful enough to do the job, the Rigid Wet/Dry Vacuum in our experience has its draw backs when compared to the Shop Vac  5989400. The casters at times become unseated, leading to a certain amount of frustration and the latches holding the motor  assembly / canister would often come loose, mainly during transportation. Although we like the Rigid brand in general, the larger 6.0 horsepower motor comes with a tank that we consider to large and cumbersome at 14 Gal.  and at last check,  this unit is priced considerably higher then the Shop Vac  5989400. For these reasons it has made second on our list.



A Good Alternative Choice

We also like the RIDGID 50323 1200RV Wet Dry Vacuum, 12-Gallon Shop Vacuum as a cheaper alternative.

RIDGID 50323 1200RV Wet Dry Vacuum, 12-Gallon Shop Vacuum with 5.0 Peak HP Motor, Casters, Pro Hose, Drain, Blower Port, Accessory Storage

  • This Wet/Dry Vac has a more reasonably-sized 12 gallon tank. Not too big and not too small, the vac is compact, considering its capacity.
  • It combines good mobility with a reasonably sized tank.
  • Ridgid got it right with the on-board attachment storage on this vac. It utilizes the space above the wheels to holster the tools that come with the vacuum.
  • The attachments that come with this vacuum are not huge, yet they are adequate because it contains most of what the typical shop vac user might require.  Two extension poles allow you to reach hard to get to places.

Best Budget Shop Vac

Why we chose this budget wet/dry vacuum

Shop-Vac 5989300 5-Gallon 4.5 Peak HP Stainless Steel Wet Dry Vacuum

Much like its big brother, the Shop-Vac 5 gallon 4.5 HP, this smaller version possesses many of the same qualities and is priced very reasonably.

  • superior craftsmanship to its competitors
  • Stainless steel tank
  • Positive lid latch system
  • Top and Side carry handles
  • Tool storage
  • Assembled in USA

The Final Analysis – Wet/Dry Vac

It’s not always easy to determine a clear winner considering the multitude of uses, the size differences and built in design usage application of each wet / dry vac. However, as an overall consideration of price, durability and suction power,  the Shop-Vac 8 gallon 6.0 Peak HP Stainless Wet Dry Vacuum is our #1 choice overall, for full-size best value.