Recommend me a Shop Vac for light home repairs
December 14, 2016 5:30 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a Shop Vac for cleaning up after home renovation projects that are mostly plastering and painting jobs and generally cleaning up in the basement and garage. I had a smaller ShopVac brand one but the motor burnt out and I'd like to get a full sized one but I have no idea what are good brands these days.
posted by octothorpe to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have one of the larger Craftsman brand ones and have been using it for four years without an issue, even on heavy duty work. I recommend looking for one that has the stainless steel body, as it doesn't get scuffed up and is easy to clean. Craftsman wet/dry shop vacs are compatible with a lot of the standard parts.
posted by bookdragoness at 5:50 AM on December 14, 2016

Shop-Vac seems to be the main brand. I have a model with a steel body and one of those sync socket things that you can use to turn the vac on automatically whenever a connected tool is in use. Whether you need one of those things will depend on whether you're likely to use power tools (e.g. a saw or sander) that produce a lot of dust; I use mine with one of those 'detail sanders' with the triangular sanding pad - it's very good at reducing the mess those things make.

I like everything about the Shop-Vac (I don't recall the model - they seem to have dozens of different/very similar ones) except the tools. The plastic tools feel quite cheap. But maybe that's what you want for a basement/shed/garage situation: cheap tools that you can replace inexpensively. My other small gripe is that the (very long) hose that comes with it tends to get blocked easily. Neither of these things is a big problem for me, though, and I'm quite happy with what wasn't a massively expensive purchase.

If I were buying again, I'd probably choose something with a little more power. More power is good if you're using the vac to pick up all the little chunks of plaster and brick you get with some projects.
posted by pipeski at 6:10 AM on December 14, 2016

I've got a 16 gallon Rigid that's lasted 10 years; the suckage is enormous - if it fits up the hose, it's gone.

The trick to making your vac last is to always use the right filter for the job you're doing, and to keep the filters clean.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 6:30 AM on December 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

Also Rigid vac here. It's saved us from a few basement floods in 10 years of use. It's noisy, the muffler helps a tiny bit. A HEPPA filter for a few dollars more than paper filter makes a big difference. We got the car detailing accessories, a long skinny hose and brushes.
posted by fixedgear at 6:54 AM on December 14, 2016

I have a cheapo Shop-Vac 5-gallon. It is fantastic and has taken quite a lot of use/abuse over 2 years. It's not amazing, it could have a bit more power, but it's handled lots of concrete and tile debris well. For $60 it's no hardship to replace should it bite the dust (heh).
posted by so fucking future at 7:28 AM on December 14, 2016

I can't even remember when I purchased my 16 gallon Ridgid, it's been working flawlessly that long.
posted by humboldt32 at 9:01 AM on December 14, 2016

I also have a Ridgid — seems to be the Home Depot house brand. We've used it for everything from household repairs, cleaning up the workshop, to sucking up (and pumping, via attachment) gallons of water, when our basement flooded. Had it for five years, and hasn't broken down yet. The filter is kind of a pain in the ass to clean, but I tend to vacuum fine plaster particles and the like, so I suppose that's to be expected. We have the 12 gallon wet/dry vac with 5 HP motor; their smaller models have less-powerful motors, so your suction may vary.
posted by mboszko at 12:12 PM on December 14, 2016

If you get a separate cyclone system, you can use just about any vac. It's opening is about 2" so doesn't make sense to get a really large shopvac.
posted by flimflam at 12:13 PM on December 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

I've been happy with my Rigid.

Whatever you get, make sure it has a 2" diameter hose. I originally had a vac with a 1" hose, and that would clog up at the drop of a hat.
posted by monotreme at 4:58 PM on December 14, 2016

posted by artdrectr at 11:03 PM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Follow up: Got a 16 gallon Rigid that's has performed great so far. Thanks all.
posted by octothorpe at 5:42 AM on January 14, 2017

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