Drywall dust can be a huge pain on the worksite, and the best way to make sure that the situation doesn’t get out of hand is to invest in a high-quality shop vac. Unfortunately, shopping online for these great tools can be difficult.
In theory, shopping online is supposed to simplify the process, but that’s not always the case in reality. Misleading product descriptions, and manufacturers that are looking to make a buck at your expense with low-quality products, can lead to you getting a product that you’re not happy with.
Our reviews are meant to help you find a model you’ll like at the best possible price. We cover the good and the bad so that you can buy the product you need with full confidence that it’s the right model for your next project. What’s more, you’ll know that you’re getting a great deal on it, too.
|Shop-Vac 9625810||22 lbs||4.5/5|
|WORKSHOP Wet Dry Vac WS1600VA|
(Best for the Money)
|Craftsman XSP 12 Gallon||25 lbs||4.25/5|
|Shop-Vac 9650610||18 lbs||4.0/5|
The Shop-Vac 9604710 is the model to get if you’re looking for the best wet/dry vac for drywall dust on the market today. It’s an extremely powerful model, capable of pumping 6 gallons per minute and it can pump water up to 50 feet vertically, which is a feat few shop vacs can match. Solids tend to be easier to move, so you can expect even more out of this machine in those situations. This shop vac also comes with a 20-gallon capacity, so you’ll be able to use it for a long time without having to empty it, which will save you a lot of time in the long run.
Also included are an 8-foot hose and a 6-foot hose, which give you great range, and allow for simultaneous suction and pumping. It also comes with a high-efficiency collection bag, which is great for trapping drywall dust within the machine. Furthermore, this model has a reputation for running relatively quietly, making it a good choice for areas that are noise-sensitive. The pumping feature isn’t as good as the vacuuming, but if you’re using this model for drywall dust collection, you’ll be happy with its performance.
The Shop-Vac 9625810 is another great shop vac from the same company as our top model. The biggest difference between these two models is the tank size. This model only comes with a 10-gallon tank, which is decent overall, but it’s only half the size of the one on our top model. However, this shop vac is also capable of fine particle filtration, which is necessary when dealing with drywall dust. It also comes with an onboard cord wrap, so it’s easy to move from site to site without trailing a cord.
Like the previous model on this list, this one runs very quietly. Construction isn’t always quiet work, but there’s no reason to add unnecessary noise to the job. Being easy on the ears adds a lot of value. This shop vac does, however, have a tricky on/off switch. It’s hard to actuate, and it sometimes results in the machine turning itself off, which is a pain to deal with. This model is about half as expensive as our top entry, so it will still be worth it to some people. It’s likely though, that most will get a better experience from the model with the larger tank and better on/off switch.
The WORKSHOP Wet Dry Vac WS1600VA works well and comes with a dust filtration system, which makes it a great choice for those looking to keep their drywall dust under control. Since you can get it for less than half of what you’d pay for the top model on our list, this one represents the best value for your money. This model comes with a long, 7-foot hose, and also includes a high-quality dust filtration system. You may want to upgrade both of these down the line, and this machine comes with the power needed to handle such upgrades, but you’re saving enough money that you could buy them upfront.
This machine also comes with a 16-gallon tank, which is one of the larger ones on our list; you’ll be able to work for a long time without stopping to empty out the chamber. The big downside to this model is the fact that it’s very loud. Unlike the previous two models, which have a reputation for running quietly, this shop vac creates a lot of noise. If it were quieter, we’d rank it higher.
The Craftsman XSP 12 Gallon is a model that could potentially top other lists. Know that you’re getting a largely-adequate model if you purchase this one. It comes with a 12-gallon tank, which won’t blow anyone’s mind, but it’s still large enough to be useful. It also comes with a 7-foot hose, which is long enough to make the job easy, though some workers will want a longer one. Additionally, it features a 5.5HP peak motor, which is one of the more powerful motors on our list.
However, that powerful motor is also noisy. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to invest in a loud shop vac when you can get a relatively quiet one for about the same price. This model also comes with poor cord/hose storage relative to the other models on our list. It’s not well-placed, and it’s likely to get in the way while you work. Overall, this model isn’t a bad shop vac by any stretch of the imagination, but you can get better ones for about the same price.
If you’re looking for a portable solution, you might want to check out the Shop-Vac 9560610. It’s another model from the same company that makes the top two models on our list, so you know that it’s not the quality that sinks this model to last place. This model comes with an 8-foot hose, which is one of the longer ones that you’ll find on a shop vac. It also comes with a dust filter, so it can deal with drywall dust right out of the box. Plus, this model weighs just over 6 pounds, making it one of the lightest shop vacs out there by far.
However, being a decent shop vac doesn’t mean it’s a good shop vac for dealing with drywall dust. This model comes with just a 6-gallon tank. That’s 40 percent smaller than the next smallest model on our list, and less than a third of the capacity of the largest one. Additionally, it comes with a 3.0HP peak motor, which is at its best, merely okay. If you’re looking for great value, you’ll want more than a machine that is “merely okay” for the task at hand.
The three most important features to consider when shopping for a shop vac to deal with drywall dust are power, tank size, and noise.
Drywall dust is lightweight. And while you may think that makes it easy to suck up, you wouldn’t be entirely correct. Lighter objects can be harder to suck up because the air circulates around them and doesn’t pull at them enough to make them move. Stronger suction is required for both very light and very heavy objects. That means you’ll want a shop vac with no less than a 4-horsepower motor.
The tank size is another feature that has a big impact on how much people enjoy using their product. Bigger is almost always better, since it means you can work for longer without having to stop and empty the tank. The only time this might not be true is when you know in advance that your projects are going to require you to haul your shop vac up and down stairs.
Finally, noise plays a huge factor in how bothersome your shop vac becomes. Some brands, like Shop-Vac, have invented systems that greatly reduce how much noise their shop vacs create, despite the fact that they’re also often the most powerful models on the market. You typically won’t need ear protection when using a shop vac, but it’s always nice to have a model that doesn’t make you question if you should be wearing it anyway.
Here are some of our other popular shop-vac reviews:
The Shop-Vac 9604710 is our favorite model due to its great power, large tank capacity, and quiet operation. Its sister model, the Shop-Vac 9625810 is another good choice, and while it comes with fine particle filtration and quiet operation, its smaller tank and bad on/off switch drop it to second place. The WORKSHOP Wet Dry Vac WS1600VA is a solid performer, coming with a long hose, dust filtration system, and a large tank, and given its low price, it’s the best overall value for the money. The Craftsman XSP 12 Gallon is a good model that comes with a long hose and powerful motor, but its noisy operation and poor cord/hose storage drop it to fourth place. Coming in last is the Shop-Vac 9560610 which is a great overall shop vac, but its small tank and weak motor make it a poor choice for dealing with drywall dust.
Hopefully, our reviews and buyer’s guide have helped you better understand shop vacs and have helped you find a great model at a price that you’ll love.