10 Best Shop Vacuums | March 2017
- two-gallon capacity
- lightweight at just 11 lbs
- battery and charger sold separately
- built-in hose and accessory storage
- five-year warranty
- batteries last 12-25 minutes
- fast-emptying liquid drain
- dust-sealed power-switch
- converts to blower
- made in the usa
- includes a rear blower-port
- three extension wands
- built-in accessory carrying bag
- drain at base for rapid emptying
- fine dust cartridge filter
- three horsepower motor
- lightweight and quiet
- dual suck and blow functions
- automatic filter cleaning system
- integrated cord and hose management
- onboard outlet for handheld tools
Choosing The Right Shop Vac
Before considering which shop vac best suits your needs, of course one must consider whether or not they even need a wet dry vacuum at all. This musing is not surprising given the common misconception most people have about the price of one of these units. While you could easily spend more than five hundred dollars on a high powered, commercial grade shop vacuum, you can acquire a low cost model for well under fifty dollars. (In fact, some shop vacs cost only a little more than thirty dollars).
The second obstacle most people cite in their decision not to buy a shop vac is size. Again, many such units are large and bulky and would be an inconvenience to store in the home. Others, though, are only a bit larger than a standard tool box and are ingeniously designed in the same rectangular pattern as such units. They can be stored away under a bed, on the top shelf of a closet, or in the garage.
Most homeowners don't need a large shop vac, and should indeed select a smaller option that can be easily stored away. Even the smaller units can easily lift open hair, dust, and other detritus from flooring and upholstery. And while you don't ever want to need your wet dry vac's wet function at home, but you will be endlessly grateful you made the modest investment in one the first time you can suck spilled water (or worse) out of your carpets quickly, saving yourself a professional cleaning job, not to mention the potential for total carpet replacement.
When it comes to a professional setting, a shop vac is not a mere convenience, but can actually be a necessity. In an environment prone to frequent water or other liquids spilled on the floors, a shop vac can help keep employees and visitors safe by minimizing the chance for slips and falls. Shop vacs are also crucial for areas where lots of particulate matter is produced, such as in lumber yards. The more sawdust (or other fine matter) that can be sucked up off the floors and workspaces, the less matter will end up in the respiratory system of those nearby.
A business's investment in a large shop vac is not only a commitment to cleanliness, but to employee and visitor safety and wellbeing.
Shop Vac Safety And Maintenance
If you are using your shop vac near water, then it is important to remember how dangerous the use of any electrical device can be when liquid is involved -- don't be lulled into complacency because the unit is purpose built to be used with liquids. Make sure to inspect the power cord of the shop vac for any cuts or tears that could present a danger, and make sure to use the unit according to its instructions.
Shop vacs use different filtration systems depending on their application. That is to say, when used to suck up water, their internal filter is usually removed wholesale. When operated to lift dry materials, the filter must be in place, or else most of that which the vacuum draws in will be broadcast right back out of its exhaust port. This will potentially cause more issues than were present before, with small particles now airborne as opposed to lying on the ground.
Again it is critical you consult a unit's manual before using it in either wet or dry applications.
Most shop vacs have filters that can be rinsed clean many times before they require replacement. The more frequently you take the few minutes required to perform this step, the better your vacuum will work in terms of suction power, and the longer the filter will last. Do replace the filter once it has become compromised by extended use and numerous washings, but prior to that treat it as a valued component to be cared for, just as the vacuum is a valued part of your home or institution.
A Brief Look At The History Of Vacuums
The first genuine vacuum cleaners were so large they had to be hauled from place to place by a team of horses. These modern though monstrous vacuums were invented by a Brit named Hubert C. Booth. The first vacuums Booth's British Vacuum Cleaner Company created were powered by gasoline fueled engines. Soon the company created a unit with an electric motor, but it was still so large as to require equine power for transportation. British Vacuum Cleaner Company vacuums would be perched outside a client's home or building and long tubes fed through the doors and windows. Professional operators then got to work cleaning the home. Booth initially planned to sell cleaning services, not cleaning products.
The first vacuums that were easily portable and could be used by a single person required manpower to create their suction. The personal vacuum cleaner of the early 1900s used a handle attached to a bellows to create airflow into its collection chamber. These hand powered pneumatic vacuums were only used for a handful of years, however, as soon portable electrically powered vacuums were on the market.
By the year 1908, the forerunner to the modern vacuum had been signed and patented. Today one can find vacuums in all shapes and sizes, from units built right into the framework of a home or business to handheld units company enough to be stored under the seat of a car. They use a variety of different techniques to create suction, to store the dirt, dust, and other debris they suck up, and are designed for a range of applications.
Few vacuums can serve with quite such versatility as the wet dry vacuum, often also known as the shop vacuum or merely as a shop vac. With a good shop vac at the ready, a person can be ready to clean up almost any mess, from crumbs to sawdust to pet hair to gallons of water spilled by a leaking pipe. Most shop vacs can also be used as blowers, and can be operated indoors or outdoors and even with fine particles like ash, provided a proper filter is installed.