best portable shop vac

Best Portable Shop Vac in 2018 – Reviews and Complete Guide

You don’t always need the biggest and the baddest vacuum to make sure that you can clean up a mess effectively. In fact, sometimes you need something a little more compact so that you can clean up small areas like your workshop, workspace, garage or vehicle. It can be much easier for small cleaning jobs to use a portable shop vac, instead of lugging around a heavy vacuum that weighs 20 pounds and can hold up to 10 gallons of wet or dry material.

If you are in need of finding a high performing, small and portable shop vacuum, we are here to help. Let’s take a look at some of the best portable shop vacs you can find.

The 5 Best Portable Shop Vacs

Picture

Name

Price

Shop-Vac 2021000 Micro Wet/Dry

Shop Vac 2021000

Shop-Vac 2030100

Shop Vac 2030100

DeWalt DCV581H-20

DeWalt DCV581H-20

WORKSHOP Wet Dry Vac WS0250VA Compact

WORKSHOP Wet Dry Vac WS0250VA Compact

 Rigid VAC4010

Rigid VAC4010

Best Portable Shop Vac Reviews

1. Shop Vac 2021000

Shop-Vac 2021000 Micro Wet/Dry

Editor Rating:

In terms of being both lightweight and portable, this vacuum has both. This compact vacuum holds up to a gallon of waste and only weighs in at five pounds, which makes it really easy to pick up and move wherever you need it. It has a fold-down carry handle that makes it easy to transport. This vacuum also comes with the wall-mounting tools and brackets that you need so that you can mount your vacuum out of the way, in order to save space in your garage or shop.

The vacuum has a wall-mount tool holder which is a great way to keep all of the tools and attachments that you have for your vac nice and organized. This portable shop vac also comes with a lot of great attachments and features including a hose, crevice tool, tool bag, wall mount bracket for tools, gulper nozzle, wall mount bracket for tool bag kit, foam sleeve and disposable filter bag.

PROS

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    Incredibly lightweight and portable
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    Great for both wet and dry cleaning jobs
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    Perfect for your home, work area, workshop, garage and your vehicles- Uses a wall mount and wall bracket storage system to save space
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    Includes wall-mounted tool holder that keeps all of your vacuum tools organized
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    Fold-down top carry handle for easy transportation - 140 air watts of power
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    Included: 4 x 1 ½ foot hose, crevice tool, tool bag, wall mount bracket for tools, gulper nozzle, wall mount bracket for tool bag kit, foam sleeve and disposable filter bag
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    Holds up to one gallon of waste
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    Only weighs in at five pounds
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    One horsepower motor

CONS

  • It is so small that you basically have to hold it while you use it
  • Not great for big cleaning jobs

2. Shop Vac 2030100

Shop-Vac 2030100

Editor Rating:

This vacuum from Shop Vac is the next step up when it comes to getting a bigger, portable shop vacuum. We just took a look at the smaller version of this model in the very first product review. This model is slightly bigger with a little more power, that still offers maximum portability. 

This vacuum weighs a meer pound more than the prior version, but has double the horsepower and an extra half gallon of cleaning capacity. This shop vac is also totally wall-mountable and offers a 10 foot cleaning radius, so that you can plenty of cord and hose length for cleaning your small shop, garage, or vehicle. It also has a top carry handle that makes it really easy to transport it to where you need to clean. This portable shop vac also comes with a 4 ¼ hose, gulper nozzle, crevice tool, a wall mount bracket for your vacuum, a foam sleeve, a tool holder and a reusable disc filter with ring. We really appreciate that this portable shop vacuum also features a rear blower port.

PROS

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    Collapsible top carry handle for easy transportation
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    Included: 4 ¼ hose, gulper nozzle, crevice tool, a wall mount bracket for your vacuum, a foam sleeve, a tool holder and a reusable disc filter with ring
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    2.0 peak horsepower motor
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    1.5 gallon capacity
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    10 foot cleaning radius: six foot power cable and a four foot hose
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    Features a rear blower port for blowing out your work area or shop
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    Weighs in at only six pounds
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    Wall-mount design that saves space in your shop or garage

CONS

  • The exhaust port is inconveniently placed
  • Not the best for larger shops or big messes

3. DeWalt DCV581H-20

DeWalt DCV581H-20

Editor Rating:

This particular portable shop vac is unique in that you can use this vacuum while it is plugged in as well as having the ability to use this vacuum wirelessly. This vacuum runs off of either an 18 volt or 20 volt battery so that you can use it totally cordless for the maximum amount of mobility, or you can use the power cord on this vac to plug it straight into an AC outlet.

We really appreciate that this vacuum uses a reusable HEPA rated filter, which has a 99.7% efficiency rating when you are cleaning. If you are a fan of durability, this vacuum uses a five foot crush-resistant hose that is up to any cleaning challenge. This vacuum also has all of the onboard storage that you need for your cleaning accessories, for convenient and quick access while you are cleaning.

PROS

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    This vacuum can be operated cordless via the 18 volt or 20 volt battery pack
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    This vac can also be operated with a cord, while plugged in
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    Uses a HEPA rated filter that captures debris with 99.7% efficiency
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    Uses a reusable filter, so you don’t have to replace it as often
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    Uses a crush-resistant five foot hose that is flexible and durable
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    Includes onboard storage for all of your attachments for easy transportation
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    2 gallon cleaning capacity

CONS

  • The vacuum is lacking in terms of cleaning power, especially on the battery
  • The battery life fades quickly in the short and long term

4. WORKSHOP Wet Dry Vac WS0250VA Compact

WORKSHOP Wet Dry Vac WS0250VA Compact

Editor Rating:

This portable shop vacuum from Workshop provides everything that you need in a reliable shop vacuum. The vacuum weighs in at only 6.9 pounds, and has a top handle that is ergonomically designed to make carrying your vacuum easy and comfortable. One of the finer design features that we appreciate about this vacuum is that it has a flat bottom surface. This may seem like a small, negligible detail, but this keeps the vacuum from tipping over while you are using it.

This shop vac is perfect for cleaning up both wet and dry messes, and comes ready with a filter bag so that you can start cleaning as soon as possible. With this shop vac, you get a 14 foot cleaning radius, via the 10 foot power cable and the four foot hose that both come with the vacuum. It also comes with a car nozzle, utility nozzle and an owner’s manual so that you know how to use everything.

PROS

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    Lightweight and portable design that makes cleaning on the go easy
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    Top carry handle that is ergonomically designed
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    Made for cleaning up both wet and dry materials
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    Uses a flat-bottom design that makes the vacuum stable and prevent it from tipping over
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    14 foot cleaning radius: four foot hose with a 10 foot power cable
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    Covered by Workshop’s five year limited warranty
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    Includes: four foot hose, filter bag, car nozzle, utility nozzle and owner’s manual- Perfect for cleaning your workspace, workshop, garage and vehicles

CONS

  • It would be nice to have a longer hose on this model
  • It is not wall-mountable 

5. Rigid VAC4010

 Rigid VAC4010

Editor Rating:

Our final vacuum clocks in with the highest peak horsepower that we have seen yet at 6.0. This powerful and portable shop vacuum also includes a blower port and a leaf blower attachment that you can use to blow out your workshop, garage, workspace or car. 

This portable vacuum rolls on wheels so it is easy to move it around to wherever you need it. It is perfect for cleaning up both wet and dry messes, and comes with a couple of extension wands and a locking blower wand for heavy cleaning jobs. This shop vac has a maximum capacity of four gallons, and is great for cleaning up messes in small and medium-sized shops.

PROS

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    Perfect for cleaning up both wet and dry materials and messes
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    Comes with a blower port
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    Leaf blower attachment that you can use for blowing out your sop and garage
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    Powerful 6.0 peak horsepower motor
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    Can be used as either a portable shop vac or a compact leaf blower
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    Includes a storage caddy for all of your tubes and extensions
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    Uses a quick locking filter that keeps your filter secure and makes it easy to change out
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    4.0 gallon max capacity- Includes an eight foot hose
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    Comes with two extension wands and a locking blower wand

CONS

  • It would be nice if the main hose was a little longer
  • This vacuum is really loud in comparison to smaller portable shop vacs

So which vacuum came out on top at the end of this review? For us personally, we thought that the Rigid VAC4010 provided the best value. The only drawback to this portable shop vac is that it is significantly more expensive, compared to the other shop vacs that we cover in this review. We believe that the big bump in price is well worth what you are paying for though.

With this vacuum, you are getting three times the horsepower of the strongest of the other, smaller shop vacuums. With 6.0 horsepower of cleaning capabilities, you will have no issues cleaning the toughest of wet or dry messes in your shop. You are also going to be getting much more cleaning capacity, since this vacuum can hold up to four gallons of waste and debris. It has a large cleaning radius, all of the attachments that you need and a heavy duty hose for added durability.

If all of that wasn’t enough of an incentive to get this portable shop vac, it also has a blower port and comes with a leaf blower. This gives you the ability to blow out your shop space with plenty of added power. 

Choosing the Best Portable Shop Vac

What are some of the features and qualities that we should be looking for in the perfect portable shop vac?

Weight

Since you are looking for a compact vacuum, the total weight of your vacuum is going to be very important. Make sure that you find a vacuum that is durable, but not too heavy so that you can carry it around to where you need to clean.

Capacity

What is the cleaning capacity of your portable shop vac? Make sure that you check how many gallons a shop vac can hold to know if it is adequate for cleaning your shop and around your home.

Horsepower

Horsepower ultimately dictates the amount of suction power and force that your vacuum has available to suck up debris and pull it from whatever surface you are cleaning. Heavier debris and materials are going to require greater horsepower to pull debris into the container of your vacuum.

Cleaning Radius

The cleaning radius of your vacuum is a combination of the length of the vacuum hose and the length of your vacuum power cord. Having a longer cleaning radius can make your cleaning job easier, so that you don’t have to keep relocating to different power outlets.

Attachments

Attachments can include anything from different kinds of nozzles and hoses that can be used with your vacuum to onboard storage and carrying devices. They can make your cleaning experience easier and much more convenient.

Additional Features

Other features that come with your portable shop vac can include filters, bags, blower ports, mounts so that you can attach your vacuum to the wall to save space and much more. Make sure to take a look at the features of each of the vacs that you are considering.

About the Author David Perez

I have a passion for clean floors and living areas, so it is no surprise that I know a lot about vacuum cleaners and how to clean different surfaces. Sharing this knowledge gives me a lot of pleasure which is why I started this blog and I hope everyone who needs help will find the help they are looking for here.

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