What is the Best Shop Vac for Woodworking?
Tidy Your Workshop Efficiently (2023)

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Whether you’re a professional woodworker or a hobbyist, a clean woodshop is always a must. A woodshop vacuum will do the job of keeping your shop tidy and spotless, but not all can provide enough power to draw out all the clutter from your space. To avoid purchasing a deficient product, our experts will walk you through the best shop vacs for woodworking.

Best Overall
Vacmaster VBV1210
Best HP
Vacmaster Wet/Dry Vac (VFB511B0201)
Best Cleaning Reach
Stanley SL18116 Wet/Dry Vacuum
Vacmaster VBV1210
Vacmaster Wet/Dry Vac (VFB511B0201)
Stanley SL18116 Wet/Dry Vacuum
This vacuum is hailed as best in terms of capacity, versatility, and more. It has an impressive capacity of 12 gallons and 5HP. It also has a detachable blower and a great reach that can clean wet and dry surfaces.
With an astonishing peak HP of 5.5, you can rely on this vacuum to provide excellent amounts of suction for woodshop cleaning. You are also guaranteed mobility for the toughest jobs with an extended cord.
If you’re on the look for a product that will easily reach the nooks and crannies of your shop, this Stanley vac might be the right fit. It combines a 16-foot long hose with a 10-foot long power cord for easy movement.
Best Overall
Vacmaster VBV1210
Vacmaster VBV1210
This vacuum is hailed as best in terms of capacity, versatility, and more. It has an impressive capacity of 12 gallons and 5HP. It also has a detachable blower and a great reach that can clean wet and dry surfaces.
Best HP
Vacmaster Wet/Dry Vac (VFB511B0201)
Vacmaster Wet/Dry Vac (VFB511B0201)
With an astonishing peak HP of 5.5, you can rely on this vacuum to provide excellent amounts of suction for woodshop cleaning. You are also guaranteed mobility for the toughest jobs with an extended cord.
Best Cleaning Reach
Stanley SL18116 Wet/Dry Vacuum
Stanley SL18116 Wet/Dry Vacuum
If you’re on the look for a product that will easily reach the nooks and crannies of your shop, this Stanley vac might be the right fit. It combines a 16-foot long hose with a 10-foot long power cord for easy movement.

Reviews of the Top Shop Vacs for Woodworking

1. Vacmaster VBV1210

Vacmaster sits conveniently on any list of the greatest shop vacs for woodworking. It has an impressive 19-foot cleaning reach with its long and convenient hose. It is also great for cleaning both wet and dry surfaces. This is besides its peculiar detachable blower for increased functionality, along with its drain port.

One of the things that makes this particularly enticing is its construction. The polypropylene material with which it was made enables it to work efficiently for your workshop. Our experts believe that these qualities make the Vacmaster VBV1210 12-gallon wet/dry vacuum incredibly useful for woodworkers.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

2. Stanley SL18116 Wet/Dry Vacuum

Searching for the most reliable shop vac for woodworking would consistently bring back Stanley. Given the features of this Stanley SL18116 vacuum, it’s not hard to see why.

One thing our experts considered most useful is its reach. It has a 10-foot power cord that combines with a 16-foot long hose. This allows you to go quite a distance without unplugging your unit.

Additionally, the vacuum cleaner comes with a 4.0 horsepower that provides optimal suction for different woodworking tasks. Its six-gallon storage isn’t quite as large as some others. But, it does help you to get the job done in your woodshop.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

3. Vacmaster Wet/Dry Vac (VFB511B0201)

This vacuum is part of a series of vacuum cleaners known as the Beast Series. Given its features, it’s really no surprise that the Vacmaster VFB511B0201 earned that title for itself.

To put things in perspective, you should know that the Vacmaster has a 5-gallon Polypropylene tank for tough jobs. Additionally, it has 5.5 HP, providing excellent suction. It also comes with storage areas for ease of use and tidiness. Finally, has an 18-feet cord that gives you as much mobility as you might need to complete different tasks.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

4. STANLEY Wet/Dry Vacuum SL18115

The Stanley SL18115 sports several useful features for hobbyist woodworkers and professionals alike.

For starters, the vacuum cleaner is a multifunctional type. Our experts found out that despite its impressive HP motor, you can use it for your home and woodshop. Additionally, you could even reverse it and use it as a blower to dry your pet’s fur when necessary.

Beyond that, it has a convenient storage space of up to five gallons. All these features come at a comfortable 14.02 pounds. Above all these, it has a solid 12-month warranty.

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5. DEWALT DCV580H 20V MAX Cordless Wet-Dry Vacuum

Unlike some others here, this shop vacuum doesn’t need a constant supply of electricity. Instead, it functions on a battery. Our experts believe that this is an excellent advantage for professional and hobbyist woodworkers.

The most notable feature of the Dewalt DCV580H is its portability in virtually every way. This includes its 2-gallon storage tank and 5 feet hose. However, while you might think the hose length is too short, our experts believe otherwise. The reason is that it is light enough to carry around and functions on a battery. So, if you need to cover more ground, you can simply walk there.

Overall, our experts deem this Dewalt model as one of the best shop vacs for woodworking.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

6. Vacmaster VQ607SFD Wet/ Dry Shop Vacuum

At 3HP, it’s clear that the Vacmaster VQ607SFD doesn’t have as much horsepower as some others in the market. However, what it lacks in a good horsepower motor, it makes up for in other features.

For example, its nozzle can cater to different floor types. Besides that, its stainless steel design will come in handy for durability when you’re setting it hard at work on various surfaces.

This model is also very lightweight and comes with a large drain port. Our experts find this particularly useful for cleaning out its 6-gallon wet/dry vac tank quickly and efficiently.

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7. Shop-Vac 2036000 Wet Dry Vacuum

Shop-Vac is an American original. The brand has numerous impressive shop vacuums, including the Shop-Vac 2036000. It comes with a number of useful accessories, including a crevice tool which makes it very easy to sniff out bits of sawdust hiding in corners. One of the best things our experts like about the tool is that you can mount it on the wall.

But, then again, that doesn’t come as much of a surprise as the Shop-Vac is very portable and easy to carry around. Finally, this model comes with a rear blower port.

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8. Makita XCV11Z Wet/Dry Dust Extractor/Vacuum

This incredible shop vacuum by Makita is battery-powered. Despite that, it can deliver an impressive 57 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) and a laudable 27 inches of water lift suction. By extension, our experts believe it will be excellent for your shop vacuuming needs.

Asides from its highly-efficient HEPA filter mechanism, the Makita XCV11Z comes with a filter cleaning system. This helps to maintain efficiency during its 1 hour of continuous use. To help monitor its battery life, there’s an LED indicator on the machine.

The Makita vacuum only weighs 10.1 pounds, making it very convenient to carry around.

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The CRAFTSMAN CMXEVBE17250 Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum is another good dust extractor for woodworking that you can use in your shop. This model is very portable and allows you to carry it easily.

Granted, others in the industry offer more mobility. However, the 10-foot long cord of this dust extractor still allows you a significant amount of freedom. Its tank can hold two and a half gallons of vacuumed dirt.

There’s also ample space for tool storage. This will help you to neatly organize your things on the vacuum. Finally, it has a convenient crevice tool.

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10. CRAFTSMAN 17612 Wet/Dry Vac

Craftsman 17612 is another excellent shop vacuum for woodworking. While it is a small and portable type, it offers quite a few powerful features. One of those features is a 5.0 HP engine. This rivals even some of the strongest corded shop vacuum cleaners.

Besides that, this model has a 4-gallon storage tank. Our experts find this very convenient for vacuuming without necessarily needing to empty out your tank too frequently.

Finally, its 20-foot cord makes it very easy for you to get a lot of work done without having to unplug and re-plug.

What We Like

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Shop Vacs for Woodworking Buyer’s Guide

Unfortunately, not everyone takes their time out to confirm if their vacuum cleaner can tidy efficiently and easily. So, before you start shopping for a shop vacuum for woodworking, check the following qualities our team has listed below before you make a purchase.

Power and Efficiency

Regardless of the work you do on your shop, the truth is that you’ll generate a lot of dirt. This dirt could come in the form of splinters, but most of it will come in the form of sawdust. 

The only way to get things done efficiently is with a heavy-duty shop vac that has a reasonable amount of suction power in it. This is because woodshop dirt is usually reasonably tougher, and sawdust and wood splinters aren’t easily picked up by other regular vacuums.

So, before you choose your wet/dry vacuum cleaner, make sure it has the suction power to handle your task. You should pay close attention to the horsepower here. In that regard, you can aim for something with a peak HP of 5.5 for these power tools.


Earlier, we established that you’ll generate dirt as a woodsman, even with a dust collection system. However, if you’re a professional woodworker who gets jobs often, you’ll likely generate more.

If you followed our expert advice and picked the best shop vac for woodwoorking good power, you shouldn’t have much of a problem picking up dust particles. However, beyond the horsepower, you also need to look at the tank capacity of the shop vac.

If your tank capacity is too small, you’ll have to stop in the middle of cleaning every time. This is so that you can empty out the tank to accommodate more dirt, which would slow down your work considerably. If you’re a professional woodsman with a lot of work to do, it’s safe to say that you really don’t have that much time.

Hence, our experts strongly advise that you check the capacity before you buy your next woodworking vacuum. If you have to do a lot of cleaning, you can go for a wet/dry vacuum that has up to 5 or 6 gallons of storage space. If you really want to be ambitious, you can go for a 16-gallon tank.

On the other hand, you can go for a wet/dry vacuum with about two gallons if you’re a hobbyist. Just make sure that you choose something that works for you. That way, your tasks wouldn’t get unnecessarily slowed down because you’re constantly emptying the shop vac tank.

Material and Durability

When purchasing a shop vac for woodworking, you’ll likely use it frequently. This is understandable, as regular shop cleaning is necessary during woodworking projects. However, with frequent use, the shop vac is more susceptible to wear and tear.

In that regard, two things are likely to happen. The vacuum could pack up and stop working, leaving you frustrated. Alternately, it could stand the test of time and help you get things done. In the case of the former, you would’ve lost the value for your money. This might be covered by the warranty or not.

To prevent all the heartache that comes with broken machines, choose something that’s very durable. You can go for a shop vac that is made of stainless steel. The stainless steel automatically guarantees a fair amount of strength. As an alternative, you can go for a kind of vac that has propylene.


Vacuums are usually made up of several different parts[1]. These parts perform different functions and enable you to do different things. An example of one such part is the crevice tool that helps you to get deeper into crevices and clean them out.

Now, some companies will sell their vacuum attachments separately. This could include everything from the crevice tool to a simple battery that you’ll need to operate the device. Other companies would be slightly more generous. It is important to go for the latter.

When the tool comes with all the attachments you need to clean your woodshop, it helps you to save money. This is because you wouldn’t have to buy all of them separately. So you should definitely consider attachments before buying. 

Among other things, you should look for a crevice tool for hard-to-reach particles, car nozzle, extension wands, utility nozzle, cartridge filter, etc. These, especially the extension wands, will make your work significantly easier.

However, you should still be careful. The reason is that some brands put tools with subpar quality as attachments just to make more sales. So, as you look for attachments, make sure you can vouch for the brand’s durability.

Additional Features

You should look for additional features so that you can get certain things done easily. One example of an additional feature is the auto-shut-off function. This comes with many vacuums It gives your heavy-duty woodworking shop vac the ability to go off by itself when the need arises. That way, it can protect itself from leakages and motor damage.

Another added function is the drain valve. This feature saves you a lot of time, stress, and energy. You wouldn’t have to drain the dirt out of your shop vac manually. All you need to do is to open or close it and it would get rid of everything for you.

One more thing you can look out for is a shop vac with onboard storage compartments. These storage compartments will function as storage areas for the attachments we mentioned earlier. This helps to make workflow much smoother.

Size and Portability

Shop vacs come in different shapes and sizes. If you have a ton of work to do, you might want something large with huge engines. You might also want something with a huge 16-gallon tank that can get a lot of cleaning done in one go. But if you want a space-saving tool, opt for high-quality small shop vacs for added portability.  

Alternately, you might simply require something compact that’ll get you the bare minimum in terms of cleaning. The truth is that this part is entirely up to you and your specific requirements as a furniture maker. However, make sure you have a proper understanding of your needs before you make a purchase.


When choosing a shop vac, there’s a very small chance that you’ll only need it for your woodshop. This is even more likely to be true if your woodshop is in the garage of your house or something of that sort. For this reason, you’ll need something versatile.

Our team suggests to make sure that your shop vac has poly wet/dry shop vacuums’ capabilities when you need it. This will make it useful for wet and dry messes in the shop and at home. Besides taking care of wet and dry mess, it should easily double as a blower. This type of vacuum and power tool will be excellent for yard work when the need arises.


Finally, when you want to buy your shop vac, like any other power tool, make sure you’re getting it at a good price/value. Some of them can be really cheap. You should be careful with those because cheapness might also mean that their value isn’t so great. 

The best way to determine what direction to follow in terms of cost is by creating a budget beforehand. Afterwards, you should note the specific features like extension wands that you want.

How to Use a Shop Vac?

Using a shop vac is quite easy. The very first step is to assemble it after purchase. Most producers will provide a detailed manual for you to follow in this regard. It’s advisable that you follow the assembly manual to the letter. Veering from it might cause you to make mistakes that’ll affect your tool’s performance.

Having concluded that part, you’ll need to plug in the vacuum cleaner. This is important even if it’s battery-powered because you’ll need to charge the battery. Once plugged in with sufficient power, turn on the machine, set it to suck, not blow. Then, point the hose and voila, you got a working shop vac on your hands!


Can you use a shop vac for sawdust?

Yes, you can use a shop vac for sawdust. Most shop vacs are specifically designed to help you get dry sawdust out of your workshop.

What Shop Vac has the best suction?

The shop-vac with the best suction is the Vacmaster VFB511B0201. The horsepower on this machine can go as high as 5.5HP.

How much horsepower do I need in a shop vac?

The amount of horsepower you need in a shop vac depends on how much cleaning you have to deal with. For a simple woodshop, you can make do with just 3HP. For one with a lot of work and dirt, you might need 5HP.

Our Top Pick For a Shop Vac for Woodworking: Vacmaster VBV1210

Our experts deem the Vacmaster VBV1210 as our top pick in this shop vac reviews. The product is an excellent machine that provides a lot of cleaning reach with its 19-foot hose. Also, it has 12 gallons of storage space and 5HP for excellent suction. Considering all these, it wasn’t hard for our experts to decide that this is the best shop vac for woodworking.

Want a better working environment? Well, you can consider these three methods to upgrade your own garage workshop

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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