Portable Shop Vac

6 Portable Shop Vac in 2021

Are you looking for a vacuum cleaner that can get rid of wooden debris and nails in your workshop? Does your regular vacuum not do the trick? A portable shop vac is what you’re looking for. Fortunately for you, we have prepared detailed reviews on the top 6 portable shop vacs available in 2020.

The shop vacs we picked today will provide the most powerful suction at a reasonable price. Besides having a robust motor, these shop vacuums are surprisingly lightweight and easily carried around. With our portable models, you’ll never have to worry about storage space again.

Benefits of Portable Shop Vac

Shop vacs have various advantages when it comes to cleaning workshops and garages. They are usually equipped with a powerful motor that allows you relentlessly clean large messes without breaking a sweat.

  • Portability

Although most shop vacs are bulky and heavy, portable shop vacs are the opposite.

Most portable shop vacs have a compact design that doesn’t need much room to store. They also have better suction power than regular vacuum cleaners. The impressive suction power enables you to collect large debris of wood nails in your workshop.

  • Maneuverability

While some shop vacs need to plug into an outlet, other models are powered by a rechargeable battery. Needless to say, almost all of us have tripped on the power cord at least once. Without a power cord, you not only have fewer chances of falling, but you also get better maneuverability.

Speaking of maneuverability, portable shop vacs have lightweight and ergonomic designs. You’ll often find a foldable handle on top. These features make it easier to carry it around from room to room. On top of that, the models listed in this article have long hoses that can be used to reach the tricky areas in your house or garage.

  • Wet/Dry Shop Vacs

Not only that, portable shop vacs have better a tank capacity than regular vacuum cleaners. You no longer have to empty the canister every 10 minutes to clean an entire room successfully. Using a shop vac is less tedious and more rewarding. There are also some wet/dry shop vacs available in the market.

These types of shop vacs are suitable for collecting a mixture of wet and dry messes. This can be highly beneficial for cleaning the garage or driveways. Shop vacs also come with various other accessories that can make cleaning seem less like a chore. Some even have leaf blower included in the package.

6 Portable Shop Vac Reviews

There are various types of vacuum cleaners available in the market in 2020. All these options can only make it harder to make the right decision. You can easily mix a shop vac with an ash vacuum. Hence, we have handpicked the 6 best portable shop vacs for all cleaning purposes.

1. Vacmaster Professional Wet/Dry Vac

Vacmaster Professional Wet

We start off this list with a professional wet/dry vac that comes with low capacity but excels in terms of power. It’s powered by a robust 5.5 hp motor that is perfectly balanced and strong enough to serve your house cleaning needs. Most shop vacs in the market includes a 6 hp or a 5 hp motor.

The best thing about this wet/dry shop vac is its portability and ease of use. It’s a lightweight model that can be easily carried around from one place to another. Now you can efficiently clean an entire shop or house without breaking a sweat. This makes the job even easier and less time-consuming.

Its compact size also means that you can store it at almost any corner. This shop vac barely takes up any space compared to the larger models. A 5-gallon polypropylene tank provides enough capacity to clean large areas at one go. It also helps keep the weight of the vac at a minimum.

This incredible and affordable shop vac delivers 102 CFM and 82.6” of water lift, making it more powerful than most average wet/dry vac models. Besides that, its 4.9 pounds of pull force makes it capable of getting rid of maximum dirt and grime off the floor. Most low capacity models aren’t nearly as powerful.

Unlike most models, this professional shop vac comes with two different filters. The fine dust cartridge filter is specifically designed to suck up minute debris off the floor. It also includes a foam filter for those wet applications. On top of that, this shop vac allows you to wrap the cord around it for further convenience.


  • 5.5 hp motor
  • 5-gallon polypropylene tank
  • 102 CFM and 82.6” of water lift
  • Weighs 4.9 pounds
  • Integrated cord storage


  • Suction is less than average

2. DEWALT 18/20V Max Vacuum (DCV581H)

DEWALT 18-20V Max Vacuum

This wet/dry vacuum model that can be operated without the hassle of plugging it into an outlet. Yes, you heard it right! This exceptional shop vac offers cordless operation. All you need is an 18V or 20V Max battery for it to run efficiently.

The feature gives you an upper hand when cleaning large spaces. It removes the possibility of tripping over the power cord or being limited by the length of the extension cord. Alternatively, you can also use a power cord if you prefer. It comes with a specially designed cord that’s compatible with AC outlets.

Moreover, it’s equipped with an integrated hose that offers more flexibility than any other model. This will prove beneficial when you’re trying to get into those tight corners. The hose is also crush resistant and built to withstand regular heavy-duty usage. A 5 feet hose will allow you more room to maneuver as well.

This wet/dry shop vac is built to endure a harsh working environment and can last a very long time. Ease of use is another thing to look forward to. It can be a perfect vacuum for your woodworking shop. The model also has onboard storage for the cords and filters. Its HEPA filter is powerful enough to trap 99.97 % of dust and debris in your shop.

If the HEPA filter gets dirty, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s unusable. The manufacturer designed it in such a way that you can wash and reuse it as much as you want. Apart from that, this wet/dry vac has a 2-gallon tank and provides 31 CFM.


  • Cordless operation
  • 5 feet flexible hose
  • HEPA filter traps 99.97% of dust
  • Onboard storage
  • 2-gallon tank


  • Comparatively lower power

3. Armor All AA255 Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum

Armor All AA255 Wet-Dry Utility Shop Vacuum

We have this exclusive shop vacuum that has both sucking and blowing capabilities. What really sets it apart from other vacuums is its auto-shutoff mechanism. That makes sure that the shop vac automatically turns off before the water storage capacity is exceeded.

This is a portable shop vac that can be easily carried around due to its low weight. It weighs nearly 8 pounds and comes with a plastic handle on the top. This handle allows you to carry it anywhere you like more conveniently. Its six-foot hose comes with multiple attachments for different applications.

The hose is powerful enough to suck up almost any type of mess in your household. You will rarely find such a versatile shop vac at a reasonable price. This is one of the most efficient yet affordable wet/dry vacs in the market. If your budget limits you, this can be an ideal choice. I can even use it after working with the dovetail jig.

This utility shop vac is powered by a 2 peak hp motor. Of course, it’s not as powerful as the larger models, but it surely does its job. Its lightweight and compact size make it suitable for cleaning the interior of your car. The 10 feet power cord also allows more freedom of movement when cleaning.

Its cord can be easily wrapped around the shop vac to save space. Due to its compact size, you can store it almost anywhere you want. This shop vac model doesn’t need to be assembled either. Just take it out of the box, attach the accessories, and you’re good to go.


  • Easy blower function
  • Auto shutoff mechanism
  • Weighs only 8 pounds
  • No assembly needed
  • Compact size


  • Filters tend to clog easily

4. Shop-Vac 2021000 Micro Wet/Dry Vac

Shop Vac 2021000 Micro Wet Dry Vac

This is a wet/dry vac that comes with a wall-mounted tool holder. Its exterior consists of brackets that can be used to store all the necessary tools and accessories for cleaning. This tool’s unique design lets you mount it on the wall and clean an entire room effortlessly.

Despite its 1 peak hp motor, this highly efficient shop vac can get rid of most of the debris in your house. Don’t be fooled by its small size as it can easily suck up even the most minute particles. It provides a form of thorough cleaning like you’ve never seen before.

On top of that, this portable shop vac can be used without a power cord. It comes with a rechargeable battery that can deliver up to 120V. This makes it even easier to carry the shop vac from room to room. You also have the option to connect it to an outlet. Its 6-foot power cord gives you more room to clean.

This low priced shop vac also comes with different types of filters. They can be washed and reused multiple times without any lack of efficiency. Additionally, it comes with a crevice tool and a gulper nozzle, enhancing its performance for any type of dry or wet cleaning.

Its impressive suction power enables you to get rid of stubborn debris with ease. The 1-gallon tank allows you to consistently clean several rooms without the need of emptying it repeatedly. It also has a fold-down handle that lets you carry it easily.


  • Can run without a power cord
  • Fewer chances of tripping
  • Fold-down handle
  • Crevice tool and gulper nozzle
  • 6-foot power cord


  • Low capacity

5. Stanley 6 Gallon Wet Dry Vacuum

Stanley 6 Gallon Wet Dry Vacuum

This particular shop vac is extremely versatile and can be used for various purposes. It is one of the most powerful vacuums in the market due to its 4 hp motor. The robust motor provides you with sufficient power for relentless cleaning in your house, shop, or garage.

Whether it’s dry garbage or wet substances, there is no match for the incredible suction power of this wet/dry vac. Furthermore, the shop vac’s 10-foot power cord gives you more freedom of movement. Now you can cover a larger area without moving the vacuum from one place to another.

They have also added wheels to the bottom of this shop vac, making it easier to transport. You don’t even have to pick it up to move it to the next room anymore. The wet/dry vac also includes a 6-foot hose with intense flexibility. This highly improves its maneuverability and helps you clean the tough to reach areas.

The shop vacuum weighs only 13.8 pounds and boasts a portable design. Due to this, it barely takes up any space. This is a highly durable model that can run up to 300 hours consecutively, without breaking down. As if the wheels weren’t enough, they also included a handle on top, making it easier to carry.

Its low weight, rolling wheels, and powerful suction make it an absolute breeze to operate. The wet/dry shop vac doesn’t require any assembly, either. Plug it to the nearest outlet, attach the hose, and start cleaning.


  • Powerful 4 hp motor
  • Weighs 13.8 pounds
  • Added wheels at the bottom
  • Improved maneuverability
  • Can run for 300 hours consecutively


  • Relatively expensive

6. WORKSHOP Wet Dry Vac WS0301VA


In this review, we have also added this portable shop vac that comes with a wide range of accessories and It was one of the best in our shop vacuum reviews. This wet/dry vacuum cleaner is particularly suitable for cleaning cars and other small vehicles. It’s one of the most reliable models in the market due to its copolymer drum.

The drum is resistant to dents and cracks and doesn’t include the risk of rusting. Therefore, it has a longer lifespan than most products of its kind. Besides that, this wet/dry vac has a compact size that allows it to fit in tight spaces. You can store it in any corner of your garage or carry it around in your trunk.

Speaking of carrying it around, it also comes with a large carry handle that allows you to hold it while cleaning your car. The vacuum is so lightweight that you won’t feel the need to set it down, no matter how long you’re cleaning with it. You can easily carry it in one hand while using the other to clean.

What really amazed me was the vacuum’s suction power. Its 3.5 peak hp motor allows it to deliver enough suction to remove 99% of dust and debris from the surface. Besides, it’s astonishing how such a portable device can be so powerful. The Quick-Lock filter fastening mechanism makes changing filters much easier.

Moreover, the vacuum consists of an integrated dustpan that can suck up dust particles without using a hose. However, the 7-foot hose gives you an extended reach when cleaning large areas.


  • Rust resistant
  • 3.5 peak hp motor
  • Quick-Lock filter fastening
  • Suction powered dustpan
  • 7-foot extendable hose


  • No onboard storage

What to Look for Before Buying

Before you jump into buying one of the aforementioned shop vacs, there are certain factors you need to consider. These points are crucial for deciding which portable shop vac is most suitable for you.

  • Size

The first factor you need to consider is the size of the shop vacuum. If you’re looking for a portable vacuum, you might want to avoid larger models that can be too heavy to carry around. Pay attention to the tank capacity as well. You shouldn’t choose a model with a higher tank capacity than 4 gallons.

It might sound promising, but it can be very hard to carry when the tank is full. If you want one with a larger capacity, you should look for one with wheels. This will allow you to move the vac without picking it up (which is easier). Also, check its overall weight. Shop vacs are twice as heavier when they are full of debris.

The shape of the vacuum is also important. It can tell you how easily you can move it around. A compact shape will also let you store it anywhere you like.

  • Performance and Capacity

Both the power and capacity of a shop vac are crucial factors to consider. When buying a portable shop vacuum, you need to keep in mind the amount of mess you need to collect on a daily basis. The bigger the mess, the more horsepower you will need.

When cleaning large spaces, the large sized tank is helpful. A higher capacity means you don’t have to empty the tank every now and then.

  • Motor

Portable shop vacs aren’t nearly as powerful as the larger models. They are suitable for cleaning small rooms or workshops with ease. Make sure the shop vac you choose has enough horsepower to get the job done. Some smaller models can also have the most powerful motors.

However, the price of the shop vac will also depend on its power. So, choose accordingly.

  • Filters 

Different types of shop vacs come with different filters. The type of filter should depend on the mess you want to remove. Cartridge filters are equally suitable for wet and dry messes. They require regular maintenance.

On the other hand, foam filters are particularly suitable for wet pickup. You can also collect a mixture of wet and dry substances with this filter. A wet and dry collection bag will go well with foam filters. If you want to collect finer debris, a HEPA filter is what you’re looking for.

  • Additional Features

Besides the common factors, you should also pay attention to the shop vac’s additional features. For example, a long power cord, along with an extendable hose, can give you more freedom of movement. Accessories such as the crevice tool can help you clean those tricky areas.

Each accessory is specialized for a certain purpose. Browse through all the options and pick a model that can benefit you the most.

Difference between Shop Vacs and Normal Vacuum

Difference between Shop Vacs and Normal Vacuum

It’s easy to confuse a shop vac with a regular vacuum cleaner. However, there are several ways we can differentiate them. To make it easier for you, we have categorized their differences below.

  • Cleaning Type

Shop vacs are more suitable for heavy-duty usage in garages and workshops. You will find them very similar to garage vacuums. They usually have incredible suction power, which makes them capable of collecting large debris. Moreover, they can even get rid of large chunks of wood and nails. Regular vacuum cleaners don’t have the same power as shop vacs.

They are usually suitable for the collection of smaller dust particles and debris in the house. Normal vacuums tend to have a larger capacity than shop vacs.

  • Power

As we already mentioned, shop vacs are used for larger and heavier debris than regular vacuum cleaners. Therefore, they are equipped with a more powerful motor that can provide enough suction power to collect large debris. However, not all shop vacs are equally capable of sucking up minute dust particles.

Regular vacuum cleaners have less horsepower and are more equipped for removing smaller debris. They are also efficient at sucking up stubborn debris and pet hair from carpets.

  • Size

A shop vac can also be distinguished by its size. They are mostly required for heavy-duty usage and usually larger in size. As they built to collect more dust and debris than regular vacuums, they are much bulkier as well.

Shop vacs have a large storage capacity, which removes the hassle of emptying the canister repeatedly. You can clean an entire room with a shop vac without being interrupted. There are portable shop vacs in the market as well. They are much lighter than regular shop vacs, which makes them easy to carry.

Unfortunately, those models don’t have enough capacity to clean a large amount of debris at a time. Normal vacuum cleaners are used for household chores. Cleaning the carpet and drapes and collecting fine debris are much easier. Thus, they don’t need a large tank. They are smaller in size.

  • Filtration

Regular vacuum cleaners are usually equipped with a good filtration system. This enables them to remove harmful allergens floating around in the atmosphere. Home vacs can keep you safe from harmful diseases, especially if you’re allergic. Shop vacs don’t have a filtration system.

  • Emptying

As shop vacs are used for collecting large debris, it’s often a hassle to empty the tanks. To empty a shop vac, you’ll need to lift them up entirely and transfer the debris to the garbage can. Home vacs store the dust and debris in disposable bags. These bags can be easily removed and cleaned once you’re done.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you run a shop vac without a filter?

Shop vacs are powerful enough to remove all types of dust and debris from the surface. Whether it’s dry or wet, a wet/dry shop vac can easily get rid of any mess. The best-rated portable shop vac works well even without a filter. With that being said, you can only collect wet debris without a filter.

Sucking up dry dust particles without a filter can clog and damage the machine.

  • How much horsepower do you need in a shop vac?

The amount of horsepower you need in a shop vac mainly depends on the type of mess you need to clean. 1 to 2 horsepower is more than enough for cleaning a small area. 3 to 5 horsepower is mostly recommended for collecting a large amount of debris on a regular basis.

  • Can a shop vac pick up dry wall dust?

Yes, a shop vac has enough suction power to pick up dry wall dust. But to make sure it doesn’t get clogged up; you need to attach a HEPA filter along with a HEPA collection bag.

  • Which shop vac has the best suction?

Shop vacs are mostly known for their incredible suction power. There are several powerful shop vacs on the market, the best of which are listed above.

  • Is 4.5 hp good for a shop vac?

Yes, a shop vac with a 4.5 hp motor can suck up a large amount of debris efficiently.

Final Words

If you have reached the end of this article, you have probably set your mind on a particular shop vac from our list. They all may have different features, but none of them will shy away when it comes to clean. Make sure you assess all their attributes before deciding which one is the best portable shop vac for you.

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