Best Wet-Dry Vacuums to Remove Dirt and Liquid Spills

Review & Comparison, Last Update May 11, 2018
Everybody wants to live in a clean house but a conventional vacuum cleaner might be unable to remove tough messes. However, there is a way out! We recommend using wet-dry vacuums that can easily pick up dirt and even liquid spills. Look through our shortlist of 5 best wet-dry vacuums and take your best pick! ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2018
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Capacity
Mobility
Usability
Performance
Warranty
 
PROS

A built-in push handle will greatly facilitate the unit transportation, especially when the tank contains liquid spills. Besides, there is a capacious bag that will conveniently keep all accessories at hand. 

CONS

Replacement filters are rather expensive. 

OUR VERDICT

Fitted with two larger wheels and two smaller ones, the Ridgid wet-dry vacuum boasts exceptional mobility on such surfaces as asphalted or paved sidewalks and gravel pathway where other models would fail that makes it a perfect solution for terrace and yard cleanups. 

detailed parameters
Capacity

14 gallons 

Mobility

20-foot power cord, 8-foot hose, 4 wheels

Usability

Qwik Lock® Filter Fastening System, Oversize Drain, Sound Reduction™ technology, Blower feature, Push and carrying handles, Accessory storage bag, 2 Extension wands, Utility nozzle, Wet nozzle, Crevice tool, Car nozzle, and fine dust filter included

Performance

11.5 Amps, 6 peak HP, 2-stage motor

Warranty

3 years 

PROS

A flexible hose featuring 2.5-inch diameter not only allows quickly and efficiently sucking up liquids and larger debris but also will enhance the output power when using a blower feature.

CONS

The unit operation is a bit noisy. 

OUR VERDICT

A pretty high unit power paired with a 16-gallon tank capacity ensures truly efficient performance that makes the Workshop wet-dry vac suitable both for domestic and for professional use. Even if you need to tidy up large areas on a regular basis, this appliance will let you accomplish your job with minimum time and effort required. 

detailed parameters
Capacity

16 gallons 

Mobility

20-foot power cord, 7-foot hose, 4 wheels

Usability

Qwik Lock® Filter Fastening System, Drain port, Carrying handle, On-board accessories storage, Blower feature, 2 extension wands, Car nozzle, Wet nozzle, Utility nozzle, Roll tight locking sleeve and cartridge filter included

Performance

12 Amps, 6.5 peak HP

Warranty

5 years 

PROS

Thanks to 3 extension wands included in the set, this model will fit people of different height saving them the need to constantly bend while cleaning. 

CONS

The power cord is rather short. 

OUR VERDICT

Coming packed in a stainless steel body, this Shop-Vac 5 gallon vacuum not only have a stylish and contemporary look but also is suitable for the use in harsh conditions and will serve you for years to come. You'll get a highly functional and reliable appliance for your household cleaning needs and those related to your domestic DIY projects.

detailed parameters
Capacity

5 gallons 

Mobility

6-foot power cord, 7-foot hose, 4 wheels

Usability

Stainless steel tank, Blower feature, Onboard accessories storage, Carrying handle, 3 x extension wands, 10-inch wet/dry nozzle, Crevice tool, Gulper nozzle, Cartridge filter, Foam sleeve, Disposable filter bag included

Performance

9.9 Amps, 4.5 Peak HP

Warranty

3 years 

PROS

Despite its relatively small size, this unit creates a really powerful suction that makes it efficient for all kinds of home cleaning tasks. 

CONS

Onboard tool holders are somewhat inconvenient. 

OUR VERDICT

Featuring an optimal ratio of compactness and power, the Craftsmen wet-dry vacuum cleaner is an excellent choice for home use. In addition, it easily converts into a functional blower to help you remove leaves and grass clippings from your garden sidewalks or blow off the dust from hard-to-get areas.

detailed parameters
Capacity

6 gallons 

Mobility
10-foot power cord, 4 wheels, weighs 13 lbs
Usability

2 extension wands, Nozzle for cleaning cars, Filter, Blower nozzle, Floor nozzle, Liquid nozzle

Performance
3 HP, for removing minor pollution
Warranty

1 year 

PROS

With a large switch button conveniently located within easy reach, you'll be able to quickly turn the unit on and off. Besides, the button features a waterproof design preventing any shortages and motor malfunctions in case of contact with liquids. 

CONS

This model does not have a blower feature. 

OUR VERDICT

At an affordable price, the Stanley wet-dry vacuum offers the power and functionality of commercial-grade cleaners and lightweight design of domestic models. If you need an efficient home assistant for all-around house cleanups, tackling the mess in your garage or workshop, or doing car cleaning, this appliance is for you.  

detailed parameters
Capacity

4 gallons 

Mobility

10-foot power cord, 5-foot hose, 4 wheels

Usability

Stainless steel body, Carrying handle, On-board accessories storage, 2 extension wands, Utility nozzle, Crevice nozzle, Foam filter, Reusable dry filter with a clamp ring included

Performance

4 peak HP

Warranty

1 year 

Ridgid 50348

Make Short Work of The Toughest Jobs

Many people dream about a big private house with a beautiful garden or yard around. But only some of them relate a big household not only to comfort and welfare but also to a whole variety of tasks they will have to accomplish to keep a house and its adjacent territory clean and tidy. The list of routine chores will include anything from dedusting, sweeping, mopping, washing, and vacuum cleaning tasks to an array of outdoor works to say nothing of accidental jobs such as unclogging sinks, tidying up your garage or workshop and handling the mess caused by kids and pets. Yet, if you are a happy owner of such kind of residence, you already know about that and might be looking for an efficient way to manage all those jobs. This is where a wet-dry vacuum cleaner from Ridgid will come in handy.

Designed for both wet and dry cleaning, the unit features a forceful 6 HP motor that will ensure a truly powerful suction to pick up literally any type of dirt and debris, be it fine dust or hair, pet litter or some dry food remnants, metal or wooden chips, sand or flowerpot ground as well as almost any possible spills and larger garbage such as gravel or small hardware. In addition, a blower port on the back panel will let you convert the unit to a fully functional blower to clean your patio, porch or sidewalks from leaves, sand, or grass clippings or blow out dirt from corners and tight spaces. It’s worth noticing that, despite its power, the motor operation is pretty quiet, thanks to a special Sound Reduction™ technology that controls the airflow coming through the vac to reduce the noise level.

A complete kit of attachment nozzles included in the package greatly expands the cleaner functionality and will further facilitate your work. Thus, 2 extension wands, a utility nozzle, wet nozzle, crevice tool, and a car nozzle will help you remove wet and dry messes, suck up dirt and dust at heights, below and in between the furniture, reach out ceiling panels, moldings, and ventilation fans, clean carpets and upholstery, and even spruce up your car interior.

Powerful and highly functional, the Ridgid wet-dry vacuum will help you handle all kinds of mess. Not only will it perfectly replace a number of cleaning tools in your household arsenal but also save you the need to pay cleaning services.

Review of Ridgid 50348 Wet/Dry Vacuum with Cart, 14 gal

Distinguished by Exceptional Mobility

At a glance, this model might seem somewhat bulky and rather heavy. However, it is normal, since to suck liquids, it features a 14-gallon garbage tank. And you should not worry about handling it since the manufacturer fitted this powerful cleaning machine with a number of options that make it exceptionally mobile. The appliance rests on a wheeled cart for easy transportation. Besides, unlike many other models in its class featuring only a top handle to carry the unit to some other area, the Ridgid vac also has a push handle that will let you conveniently roll the vac to where the mess is. On top of that, large rear wheels will let you easily propel the appliance both on smooth indoor surfaces and over rough terrain and thresholds.  

Ridgid 50348 Wet/Dry Vacuum with Cart, 14 gal in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

WORKSHOP WS1600VA

Commercial-grade Performance for All Kinds of Cleaning Tasks

Most wet and dry vacuum cleaner manufacturers basically produce two types of units commonly differing by motor power and garbage tank capacity, with some minor differences in overall design. One category is designed for heavy-duty commercial and professional use while the other is meant for lighter home applications. However, there are some domestic chores that might power and reliability of commercial models, for example, if you are a keen DIYer owning a home workshop or simply need to sort out the mess in your garage or clean up your basement from tie to time. For this reason, many professional models can be used at home as well delivering commercial-grade performance for all kinds of home cleaning tasks. And the Workshop wet-dry vac is one of such models.

A powerful 6.5 HP motor and a high-capacity 16-gallon waste tank make this model suitable both for job sites, offices, public areas, and construction sites and for a whole range of home applications as well. Whether you do some kind of refurbishment or renovation in your household and need to manage drywall and sawdust or you need to remove the water from flooded ceiling, maintain your workspace clean while completing woodwork or metalwork projects in your workshop, tidy up a terrace from sand and dry leaves, or simply pick up potato chips your kiddie scattered around the living room, the Workshop vac will come to help.

A garbage tank capacity paired with a 20-foot power cord and 7-foot hose will let you clean large areas and perform a number of cleaning tasks or handle large messes before you’ll need to discard the waste. Besides, emptying the unit is a real breeze. With two large built-in side handles, you can easily tip the tank over to get rid of dry waste while with a front drain, no heavy lifting is required when there is liquid inside.

A set of handy attachments will add convenience to your work and enlarge the vacuum cleaner scope of application. Corners, crevices, tricky areas and tight spaces won’t be a problem anymore.

Speaking of the unit design, a convenient carry handle will keep it mobile while rugged caster wheels ensure excellent maneuverability. The lid quickly detaches from the drum to change a quick-lock filter when needed. The filter in its turn easily snaps in and out of place without the need for tools. The suction hose tightly locks in place with a locking tab and won’t get loose when in use. All accessories can be stored onboard for easy reach.

This model is by far the best among Workshop wet and dry vacuum cleaners. It provides capacity for larger jobs and delivers the performance you demand for your in-house cleanups and outdoor works.

Review of WORKSHOP WS1600VA 16-Gallon Shop Vacuum Cleaner

Suck It up! Get It Done!

Unlike most wet-dry vacuums designed for home use that usually have a hose diameter up to 1.5 inches, the Workshop professional cleaner features much wider hose with a diameter of 2.5 inches. What benefits does it bring? First of all, it will let you suck up larger garbage and debris without clogging the hose. It will work great for picking up gravel, small stones, or some ground and grass lumps when cleaning sidewalks in the yard or cleaning under and around the porch as well as handling used hardware in a workshop like nails, bolts, clamps, and screws, and efficiently removing liquids of any density. In addition, a bigger hose diameter allows achieving more intensive blowing force when using the appliance as a blower. Not only will it help you quickly blow some inflatable toys for your kiddie but also you’ll be able to blow off fallen leaves from your lawn in almost no time.

WORKSHOP WS1600VA 16-Gallon Shop Vacuum Cleaner in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Shop-Vac 5989300

A Combo of Exceptional Durability and Performance

Choosing a home appliance, we want to get the most out of it, especially when it comes to household units that really facilitate our lives and save our time on domestic routines to spend it on some more pleasant things and activities. Hence, we usually seek high-quality products with bunches of useful features and functions we’ll be able to apply to get some work done easier, more quickly, and efficient. And for most of us,  maximum functionality and high reliability are of utmost importance. This is exactly what you will get with the Shop-Vac 5-gallon wet-dry vacuum cleaner.

Like all models from a powerful Shop-Vac Stainless Steel series intended for professional use and commercial applications, this unit features a durable stainless steel tank that makes it suitable for operation even under harsh conditions. Meanwhile, a motor power of 9.9 amps paired with a suction power of 320 air watts allows efficiently collecting even large debris as well as quickly sucking up large amounts of liquids. The accessory set including 3 extension wands, a 10” nozzle, a crevice tool, and a gulper nozzle will let you easily get into tricky areas and tight spaces and perform all kinds of cleaning with ease. Whether you need to remove the dust from chandeliers and from under the furniture, clean the ceiling panels, suck up the waste from drainage pipes outside the house, clean carpets, and upholstery, combat the spills in the laundry caused by a washing machine overflow or tackle a big mess in your garage, you’ll find the necessary attachment in the set and the unit definitely offers more than enough power for that. Besides, by attaching the hose to a rear outlet, you can turn your vacuum cleaner to a powerful blower that will come in handy for the applications where you need a powerful air jet.

With the Shop-Vac 5989300, you’ll get a professional-grade cleaning unit to tackle both minor and heavy dry or wet messes in your dwelling, garage, basement, or workshop as well as outside your household.

Review of Shop-Vac 5989300 Stainless Steel Wet Dry Vacuum

Designed With User Convenience in Mind

Along with a powerful operation and excellent functionality, the Shop-Vac 5 gallon vacuum cleaner offers every convenience of use you’ expect from the unit of this kind. A sturdy dolly with 4 solid caster wheels will prevent the vac from tipping over and ensure its mobility and maneuverability on different types of surfaces both indoors and outdoors. Besides, top and side carry handles further enhance the unit portability and contribute to convenient handling. A secure latch system will keep the tank and lid tightly closed while a hose lock will keep the hose firmly attached to the tank inlet during operation.

For efficient cleaning performance and easy maintenance, the vac comes complete with a cartridge and disposable filters for dry cleanups and a foam sleeve for picking up wet messes. Though unlike other models in its series, the 5989300 does not feature a tank drain function, due to a pretty compact unit size and average canister capacity, tanks drainage won’t be a hassle.

Shop-Vac 5989300 Stainless Steel Wet Dry Vacuum in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Craftsman 12004

Capacity

The collection tank has a 6-gallon capacity - not much but enough for a good clean-up. The dust collection tank is made from polypropylene which is durable, so this wet dry vac will serve you for a long time. No need to say, if you need to get rid of puddles around the house you might need a larger wet-dry vacuum cleaner, but if you want an appliance for home - that is a great choice.

Review of Craftsman 12004 Wet-Dry Vac

Flexibility

It is medium-sized wet and dry vacuum that is 8.3 inches high. It's lightweight, around 13 lbs., so this Craftsman Shop vac is a good choice for women. Also, you can easily move it since it has 4 rolling casters. The power cord is not very long - 10 ft. so you might need an extension cable for longer reach.

Craftsman 12004 Wet-Dry Vac in the use

Usability

As we have already mentioned, this is a good wet and dry vacuum for versatile tasks and particularly useful at home. The package is quite rich - a hose (7 inches long), 2 extension wands, a nozzle for cleaning cars, a filter, a nozzle for air blowing, a floor nozzle, a liquid nozzle. Obviously, you don't need anything else. However, changing a filter on time is important, so do it when the filter gets too old and dirty. Air blowing allows you to remove leaves and small dirt from loans and so on.

Detailed review of Craftsman 12004 Wet-Dry Vac

Performance

The electric motor of this wet and dry vacuum cleaner generates just 3 HPs - it is a lot for any home clean-up. For example, you can clean up your yard or patio, remove leaves from your lawn, and so on. Also, this small wet/dry vac is a good helper for keeping your small store or office clean.

Craftsman 12004 Wet-Dry Vac application

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


VIDEO
Craftsman Vacuums: Wet/Dry Vacs
 

Stanley SL18129

Affordable and Efficient Home Assistant

What do you expect from a quality domestic wet-dry vacuum cleaner? Though the appliance name itself implicates its end purpose and displays its functional versatility, there are still some basic points to check when you choose a cleaning helper for your home. A quality unit should be powerful enough to cope with the majority of cleaning jobs you need to get done around the house on a regular basis. Then it should have a number of usability options ensuring the ease of unit operation and convenience of your work. And, of course, it should feature a rugged design for durability, flawless unit performance even under harsh conditions, and longevity. Finally, wouldn’t it be nice to have all of this at an affordable price-tag? If you look for this kind of cleaner, the Stanley wet-dry vacuum is exactly what you need. See for yourself.

The first thing you will like about this model is its sturdy and portable design. A stainless steel drum is shockproof and won’t rust over time. A lid and dolly are made of strong plastic not prone to damages or cracks. An ergonomic handle on the top will let you conveniently carry the appliance from one room into another or move it up and down the stairs while 4 small yet rigid casters add mobility and maneuverability during work. The unit requires not time-taking assembly and comes fitted with all hoses, cords, and filters necessary to use the vacuum right out of the box. In addition, the whole construction is rather compact and won’t take much storage space in a closet or laundry room.

Despite its relatively small size as compared to other wet and dry vacs, the Stanley cleaner is a pretty powerful appliance. Packed with a forceful 4 HP motor, it generates a really high suction power to quickly pick up dry debris and liquids including even larger garbage most conventional home vac won’t be able to tackle. A number of standard nozzles and attachments will let you conveniently accomplish a variety of works. Thus, 2 extension wands are meant to reach dust and dirt on upper shelves, ceiling panels, and moldings, as well as from distant corners. A crevice tool works great in corners and tricky areas, such as door frames, fridge and fan grills, window sills, and spaces under or between the furniture. A utility nozzle will efficiently remove liquids and pick up debris from upholstery, stairs, and counters while a floor brush is a nice addition for dedusting carpets and all types of floor surfaces.

With the Stanley wet-dry vac, you’ll get a functional and efficient home cleaning assistant, without the need for a considerable investment.

Review of Stanley SL18129 4 Gallon Wet Dry Vacuum, Stainless Steel Tank

Get the Maximum out of Your Wet-dry Vac

Originally used only for commercial applications and usually designed for extensive daily use, most wet-dry vacuums are distinguished by high durability and long service life. Yet, if you want to get the most of your cleaner and maintain its peak performance during the whole period of use, there are several simple yet essential rules to follow:

  1. Keep reusable filters clean and regularly change replaceable filters to maintain due suction power.
  2. Clean the unit exterior from dust sticking to it during operation, rinse the collection tanks and wash the hose on a regular basis and any time after handling some oily or sticky spills.
  3. Try to discard collected debris and liquids after every cleanup to prevent the waste from getting compact that will reduce suction and avoid the growth of bacteria, germs, and mold.
Stanley SL18129 4 Gallon Wet Dry Vacuum, Stainless Steel Tank in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Infographics

Comparison of Wet-Dry Vacuums to Remove Dirt and Liquid Spills

What Is a Wet Dry Vac?

Cleaning is something you do on a daily basis to a certain extent. Though you are not necessarily into a big clean-up every day, there is a lot of tidying up tasks you have to tackle daily, especially if you have kids and pets or are engaged in some kinds of DIY projects, works, or hobbies related to big amounts of mess. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an opportunity to cope with a variety of cleaning jobs by means of a single unit? This is what wet-dry vacuums are meant for.

Following the same working principle applied in traditional vacuums, wet-dry vacs feature a bucket instead of a standard collection bag and boast much higher air intake ensuring extremely powerful lifting and suction capabilities. Unlike other vacuum cleaners for home use, wet-dry vacs are much more versatile and can be used not only for removing in-house dirt and spills but also for unclogging water pipes, cleaning out your fireplace, removing snow from your pathways, or handling construction waste in a workshop.

In case, you need a vac for minor cleaning tasks such cleaning furniture or car interior, you can go for a light-duty handheld vacuum cleaner.

What Features to Compare

When you are choosing a wet-dry vacuum cleaner, you need to clearly realize what you need it for. The first and a really important feature to consider is the Capacity of the wet-dry vacuum cleaner. It tells you how big a garbage collection tank is and, therefore, how much waste you can remove using a certain wet-dry vacuum cleaner. It is usually measured in gallons though some manufacturers prefer other units of measurement depending on the country. The larger the tank capacity is the more dirt and debris you’ll be able to collect per cleanup without the need to discard the waste. However, one important thing to mention here is that a tank capacity also determines the vac size. And with a big tank being filled with waste, the whole unit will become heavier and more difficult to handle. Hence, it’s recommended choosing the vac size meeting the tasks you need to tackle on a regular basis.

Next, check the unit Performance. First of all, you should find out the power of every wet/dry vacuum cleaner as the suction depends on it. The power is measured in horsepower (HP). For example, if you wish to make a home clean-up, a small and portable 1-horsepower vac is sufficient, but if you need to clean a garage, a yard or a workshop, you need a more powerful model. The higher the suction power is the more different cleaning tasks your vac will be able to accomplish and the wider scope of application it will have.

Also, you need to pay attention to the Mobility of every wet/dry vacuum cleaner. This feature tells you how easy your vac is to carry or transport, how long its power cord is, etc. To make the right decision, you need to know what kind of area a wet-dry vac is applicable in - home, garage, workshop, etc.

Finally, you should consider the Usability of the vacuum cleaner and that is where the number of attachments is important. Every wet-dry vac comes with its individual set of attachments and the more of them it has, the more versatile the tool is. The best wet-dry vacuum allows you to clean up floors and carpets, remove liquid spills, small stones or wooden cuttings, etc. Also, you need to consider the durability of a vac as these appliances are not cheap, so you need to be sure your wet-dry vacuum will serve you for many years.

Everything depends on what you need, so go ahead and check out the advantages of every wet-dry vacuum cleaner in our review.

FAQ:

Q: Do I really need a wet and dry vacuum?
A: More likely than not, you have some kind of vacuum cleaner in your dwelling. It might be a canister vac, stick vacuum, a fully automated robotic vac or some kind of compact handheld vac for minor cleaning tasks. Yet, most of them, do only vacuum cleaning. And if you live in a big apartment or a private house, have several kids and pets, your cleaning chores go far beyond only dedusting surfaces. Hence, if the idea of getting an all-in-one cleaning assistant that will help with a variety of jobs and replace several cleaning tools sounds interesting to you, you will definitely appreciate all the benefits of a wet-dry vacuum cleaner. The only recommendation here is to scrupulously check all unit characteristics before making a purchase to get the appliance that will fully meet your household needs.

Q: What does the peak horsepower mean?
A: Normally, the horsepower rating denominates the power output of an electric motor. When it comes to the peak horsepower, it is the maximum power output the motor can achieve. Yet, it does not mean that the motor will always operate at its maximum. Motor power defines the suction power you will get and it is greatly impacted by numerous external factors such as the filter and accessories you use for a certain job as well as the filter cleanness and the amount and type of garbage in the collection tank.

Q: Why does my shop vac lose suction?
A: To ensure that you will get the maximum output suction power for efficient and flawless operation, always check that the hose is duly locked on and you use the vacuum cleaning option, check the hose for clogs and maintain it in a clean condition, regularly clean and replace the filters, make sure there are no rips or tears in the filter and it is installed in a proper position, use the right filter for each type of job, and watch that the garbage tanks doesn not get full to the maximum and discard the waste after every cleanup.

Q: How do I know which filter I should use for wet and dry cleanups?
A: Usually, for a dry pick-up, you should use a cartridge filter or a cloth filter coming in the pack. It will efficiently retain dust, large and medium-size wastes and debris. Cartridge or cloth filters are meant for dry cleaning only. Hence, do not forget to replace the filter before starting a wet pick-up. For wet cleaning, there is a foam sleeve filter that will prevent debris that might be in the liquid from coming into the motor.

Q: Should I use a collection bag?
A: It depends on the type of debris you are going to pick up. When handling large or medium-size dry garbage, you don’t have to use a collection bag. Yet when sucking up fine debris like drywall dust or cold ashes, you should use a high-efficiency filter bag or a HEPA filter. When removing spills, just vice versa, a collection bag should be used together with a foam sleeve to trap some larger debris such as glass or stones contained in the water.

Q: What types of materials should I avoid sucking up with a wet-dry vac?
A: It’s highly recommended to avoid picking up any type of hazardous materials such as toxic, cancerogenic or combustible powders and liquids or such materials as lead, asbestos, arsenic, pesticides, etc. that are extremely dangerous for human health.

Sources:

1. How to Choose a Wet Dry Vacuum, DoItYourself.com.

2. John Kelsey Choosing and Using Wet/Dry Vacs, This Old House.

3. Wet/Dry Vacuum, Consumer Reports. September 2016.

4. Wet-Dry Vacuum Cleaners: A Buying Guide, eBay. June 4, 2015.

5. Seven Advantages of a Handheld Wet Dry Vacuum Cleaner, DoItYourself.com.

6. Tom Raley What Is a Wet-Dry Vacuum? Sciencing. April 24, 2017.

7. Tam Lee Advantages Of Wet And Dry Vacuum Cleaners, SelfGrowth.

8. Kelsea Weber Don’t Let Pet Hair Destroy Your Vacuum, Ifixit. October 26, 2016.

Other reviews