A shop vac is a type of vacuum cleaner with a more advanced engine than a regular vac.
While both carry out the same function, shop vacs are much more versatile as they can be used on wet and dry items, and are perfect for a woodworking shop.
Since a shop vac can suck in rough materials such as screws and metal pieces, it works much better for cleaning a woodworking space.
Choosing the right shop vac for your woodworking space is actually not hard.
However, you do have to be careful and make sure to get a durable shop vac made with high-quality engines and materials.
In this article, I will review 10 outstanding shop vacs to help you choose the best shop vac for woodworking.
Shop Vac Comparison
|Image||Shop Vac||Tank Capacity||Power||Price|
|Bosch VAC090AH||9 Gallon||6.5 HP||See at Amazon|
|Shop-Vac 5987400||16 Gallon||6.5 HP||See at Amazon|
|Craftsman CMXEVBE17595||16 Gallon||6.5 HP||See at Amazon|
|WORKSHOP WS1600SS||16 Gallon||6.5 HP||See at Amazon|
|Shop-Vac 5979403||8 Gallon||6 HP||See at Amazon|
|Vacmaster VJE1412SW0201||14 Gallon||6.5 HP||See at Amazon|
|DEWALT DXV09P||9 Gallon||5 HP||See at Amazon|
|Vacmaster VJH1211PF0201||12 Gallon||5.5 HP||See at Amazon|
|Stanley SL18115||5 Gallon||4 HP||See at Amazon|
|Vacmaster VFB511B0201||5 Gallon||5.5 HP||See at Amazon|
10 Best Shop Vacs for Woodworking in 2021 – My Reviews
1. Bosch VAC090AH
A good shop vac should be able to withstand harsh conditions as it is often used for heavy-duty cleaning.
However, what separates a decent shop vac from regular vac is its versatility.
One of the best shop vac for woodworking that is very versatile and lightweight is the Bosch VAC090AH.
Not only is this shop vac versatile and lightweight, but it is also actually very powerful with a suctioning rate of 150 cubic feet of air per minute.
The Bosch VAC090AH comes with a HEPA filter that will capture 99.97% of particles at 0.3 microns and larger.
This is very important as woodworking often creates an excessive amount of dust and wood shavings.
With a powerful engine, the Bosch VAC090AH tends to generate a lot of noise, but it should be fine especially when you are using it at a woodworking workshop.
- Versatile and lightweight
- Powerful suctioning rate of 150 cubic feet of air per minute
- HEPA filter to capture 99.7% of particles at 0.3 microns
- Generates a lot of noise
- Filter requires regular clean up
2. Shop-Vac 5987400
Shop-Vac 5987400 is a heavy-duty shop vac that will provide you a much more powerful and longer motor life than any other type of vac.
Featuring a 16-gallon tank and a capacity of 6.5 horsepower motor, this shop vac is really suitable for those of you who have a problem with cleaning large and rough materials.
With a 16-gallon tank, Shop-Vac 5987400 may be a little large, but it is still portable and comes with an 8-foot hose for maximum versatility.
Each purchase comes with multiple accessories such as extension wands, a crevice tool, and a 14-inches nozzle.
However, some people prefer more options when it comes to the additional nozzle.
- Powerful and long motor life
- High capacity of 6.5 horsepower
- Versatile and portable
- Limited choice of nozzle
- No onboard tool storage except for a cord wrap
3. Craftsman CMXEVBE17595
Cleaning after a woodworking project often requires only a dry vac, but in case you need to clean under a wet condition…
…the Craftsman CMXEVBE17595 will do a perfect job for you.
This wet and dry shop vac has a power of 6.5 HP which is very suitable for long and tedious cleaning.
To help you clean the vac quickly and easily, Craftsman CMXEVBE17595 also comes with a built-in oversized drain.
As for mobility, Craftsman CMXEVBE17595 has a dual-flex technology for 180-degree movement while cleaning.
Craftsman CMXEVBE17595 prioritizes mobility with its unique dual-flex technology, it is also designed with wheels and an oversized handle to help you move it.
However, this heavy-duty vac still weighs 26 pounds and may require extra effort compared to some other shop vac.
- Power capacity of 6.5 HP
- Built-in oversized drain for convenient cleaning
- Dual-flex technology for 180-degree mobility
- Heavy and a little hard to move around
- Takes time to assemble
4. WORKSHOP WS1600SS
Durability is one of the most important factors when it comes to choosing the best shop vac for woodworking.
While cleaning a woodworking workshop is not necessarily the heaviest job for a shop vac, frequent use will still wear the shop vac down.
For durability, I recommend using WORKSHOP WS1600SS, which also comes with a 5-year warranty.
While some shop vacs that are made with plastic works well, this shop vac is made of high-quality stainless steel.
It is made with an ergonomic design with portable storage for accessories attached directly to the cart.
While it does come with wheels, some people find the wheels less sturdy than other shop vacs.
- Made with durable stainless steels
- Comes with a 5-year warranty
- Ergonomic design
- Unsturdy wheels
- Not the cheapest option for a shop vac of its class
5. Shop-Vac 5979403
As long as it is made with high-quality material, it doesn’t really matter whether a shop vac is made of plastic or stainless steel.
Regardless, if you still prefer a stainless steel product, the Shop-Vac 5979403 boasts an airflow capacity of 175 CFM.
You will receive an assortment of additional accessories. Like 3 extension wands, gulper nozzle, crevice tool, floor nozzle, cartridge filter, foam sleeve, and a filter bag.
The Shop-Vac 5979403 does have a high airflow capacity, but the suctioning power may not be as powerful compared to several other shop vacs.
However, most people find the power more than enough when it comes to cleaning woodworking areas.
- Airflow capacity of 175 CFM
- Comes with additional accessories
- Made of stainless steel
- Not the most powerful suctioning
- The hose diameter is rather small (1.25 inches)
6. Vacmaster VJE1412SW0201
When it comes to a shop vac, a large tank capacity will ensure you a longer cleaning time without having to discard the tank.
At a capacity of 14 gallons, Vacmaster VJE1412SW0201 is one of the larger shop vacs that I recommend for you.
This large shop vac is carefully designed to prioritize effectiveness, both in mobility and operation.
Vacmaster VJE1412SW0201 comes with an integrated hose, accessory, and power cord organisation system to provide you hassle-free storage.
It is a large shop vac and may be a little confusing to assemble at first, but there’s an instruction manual and customer service whenever you need them.
As for the noise, this shop vac may be a little noisy, but you will get a noise diffuser to reduce the noise level.
- Large capacity of 14 gallons
- Integrated hose, accessory, and power cord organisation for hassle-free storage
- Comes with a handy noise diffuser
- May be confusing to assemble
- Generates a lot of noise when not equipped with noise diffuser
7. DEWALT DXV09P
The DEWALT DXV09P is a shop vac with one of the best filtration systems that you can get.
A good filtration system is crucial for a shop vac as it will help in maintaining the shop vac itself.
Besides, a good filter will help in cleaning and suctioning even the smallest wood shavings and particles after a woodworking project.
The filter in DEWALT DXV09P features an easy-to-wash cartridge filter to ensure convenient cleaning afterward.
At 5 HP, this may not be the most powerful shop vac for woodworking, but 5 HP is actually more than enough to clean your woodworking space.
In any case that you suck in any liquid, this shop vac comes with an easy-drain system for quick liquid removal.
- One of the best filtration system
- Easy-to-wash cartridge filter
- Easy-drain system for quick liquid removal
- Not the most powerful shop vac
- Stiffer hose compared to other shop vac
8. Vacmaster VJH1211PF0201
Vacmaster VJH1211PF0201 is a 12-gallon shop vac that has one of the best hoses with a convenient storage system.
This shop vac has a 7-foot hose with a diameter of 2-½ inches. A long hose is always helpful as it will increase your mobility, but storing it can be a little harder.
With the Vacmaster VJH1211PF0201, you will find integrated hose storage for easy storage of the hose.
Along with the hose, there will be a 20-foot power cord to further enhance your mobility.
As for accessories, this shop vac doesn’t come with built-in storage, but you can always put it safely on top of the flat-surfaced tank.
- 7-foot hose to increase mobility
- Integrated hose storage system
- 20-foot power cord
- Doesn’t come with a built-in storage
- Big and bulky despite being lightweight
9. Stanley SL18115
If you are looking for an affordable option, make sure to not sacrifice quality.
I recommend trying Stanley SL18115 for a standard shop vac that will clean your woodworking space well.
As the cheaper option, this shop vac only has a power capacity of 4 HP and a capacity of 5 gallons, meaning that you will have to discard and clean the tank more frequently.
However, this shop vac is actually more than capable of cleaning your woodworking space thoroughly.
At only 11.55 pounds, Stanley SL18115 is one of the lightest and most portable shop vac available on the market.
As for storage, you will not find an easier shop vac to store than the Stanley SL18115.
- One of the most affordable option
- Light and portable
- Easy storage
- Less power compared to other shop vacs
- Small tank capacity requires frequent cleaning and removal
10. Vacmaster VFB511B0201
Last but not least is the Vacmaster VFB511B0201, one of the best vac for woodworking that is equipped with an incredibly efficient motor at 5.5 HP capacity.
This shop vac has a tank with a 5-gallon capacity.
While it may not be the largest tank around, it is certainly more than enough for woodworking, especially when you are not suctioning any liquid.
Vacmaster VFB511B0201 takes pride in its portability.
At only 13.5 pounds, this shop vac is very portable and comes with an integrated storage system where you can store both your accessories and hose securely.
While this shop vac is lightweight and easy to carry around, it does not come with wheels as most shop vacs do.
- Efficient 5.5 HP motor
- Portable and lightweight
- Integrated storage system for hose and accessories
- Small capacity at only 5 gallon
- Does not come with wheels
How to Choose a Shop Vac for Woodworking
1. Tank Capacity & Size
Depending on your woodworking projects, you might require a shop vac with different capacities.
A large tank capacity means you don’t have to clean the tank frequently and 5-6 gallons should be more than enough for standard woodworking.
If you are running a large commercial woodworking space, I recommend a capacity of at least 10 gallons.
2. Tank Material
The 2 most common materials that are used for shop vacs are plastic and stainless steel. Plastic shop vacs are usually more portable and lightweight.
Meanwhile, those made of stainless steel have a harder, more durable body.
The power of a shop vac is measured in HP. In general, a shop vac will be much more powerful than a regular home vac.
Whether you need an extremely strong shop vac for cleaning your woodworking space depends on your woodworking projects.
If you are only looking to clean and suction off small wood shavings, a standard 5 HP shop vac would be enough.
4. Power Sources
While most shop vacs still rely on a cord, you can find many options of shop vac that support cordless operation.
Getting a cordless shop vac is not necessary for a woodworking space. If you want extra mobility, just make sure to get a shop vac with long cords.
Of course, you can still get the cordless shop vac.
Some shop vacs offer additional accessories to attract consumers.
However, keep in mind that vacs with multiple accessories are usually more expensive than a simple shop vac with fewer accessories.
For woodworking, you will not need a lot of accessories so a shop vac with a standard hose will do.
Also read: 10 Best Moisture Meters for Woodworking
The price of a shop vac depends on its size, power, quality, and additional features. Again, this depends on your woodworking needs.
If you are looking for a durable and high-quality shop vac, you might want to bet on premium vacs. However, an affordable standard shop vac should do you well.
Before thinking about the warranty, make sure that the shop vac you are getting is made of high-quality material with durable motors.
When it comes to warranty, the longer you can get the better.
However, keep in mind that claiming it may be cumbersome depending on the customer service of each product.
8. Customer Reviews
Each brand will convince you that they have the best shop vac for woodworking.
If you are still not sure about the product you are getting, you can always refer to the customer reviews.
Customer reviews are often honest, they can be really helpful especially if you find a case that you relate with.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is a shop vac the same as a wet/dry vac?
Yes, a shop vac is a cleaner that can work in both wet and dry conditions. They have tanks with different capacities to suction and store liquid.
Most shop vacs also come with a drainage system to help you remove water from the tank easily.
2. How loud is a shop vac?
In general, a shop vac is louder than a regular home vac.
Some people do not have a problem with the loud noise as they are already working in a harsh condition with even louder noises.
For those of you wanting to reduce the noise level, you can always use a noise diffuser or clean the filter regularly.
3. Can I use a shop vac without a bag?
Yes, you can always use a shop vac without having a bag. However, this is not recommended as it will create a mess in the canister.
Having a bag will also help you prevent clogging and it will help you clean the tank easily.
4. How do you know when a shop vac bag is full?
There are different ways for you to know if a shop bag is full. A full bag is physically visible so you can directly know if it’s full.
If you can not spot by the size of the bag, just make sure to check the bag whenever the suctioning power decreases.
5. How many CFM do I need for a shop vac?
For effective dust collecting, 1000 CFM is the standard rate.
However, 350 CFM is more than enough for suctioning chips and larger pieces of objects.
Choosing the best shop vac for woodworking is simple. Before looking for your shop vac, we recommend setting your budget accordingly.
This way, you can look for products in a more specific price range and start sorting the one that suits you the most.
Remember to also check the customer reviews before purchasing, and good luck!