How to Choose a Wet Dry Vacuum


Wet/dry vacuums are about the greatest things in the world when you have a mess to clean up. If you have a workshop, you need a wet/dry vac for sawdust, nails or drywall dust. If you have to clean up chunks of plaster or pools of water or both together, you need a wet/dry vac. Some even have a detachable motor that can be used as a leaf blower. Wet vacs range in size and power from hand-carried 1-gallon models to heavy 20-gallon ones. Small portable or rolling ones are fine for occasional light jobs, but anyone doing home renovations should consider a larger one. Here are points to consider when choosing a wet/dry vacuum.

  • Find the power draw. The more you can get, the better, up to 12 amps; more than that can trip a circuit.

  • What is the peak horsepower? Horsepower measures maximum power. It is not the greatest indicator of performance, but sometimes the only specification available. Look for 1.5 to 2 horsepower on small machines and at least 3.5 on larger ones.

  • Check the seal suction in inches of water lift. If you need to vacuum water from the bottom of your pond and it's deep, you want to be able to do so. Look for 50 inches or more.

  • Find the air flow in cubic feet per minute. This tells you how powerfully the motor draws in air and factors in restrictions such as filters and bags. This is the best comparison between similar machines. Anything less than 90 cfm is not very effective.

  • Begin to look at standard equipment. Find the hose diameter. It can vary from model to model. The manufacturer matches the size to the power and capacity. A longer hose is more convenient, but length will reduce suction. Also check where and how the hose connects to the tank. You want a screw-on or locking connection so it doesn't pull loose.

  • Noise is the next thing to determine. Wet/dry vacs make noise and lots of it. Decibel levels about 80 require ear protection and 85 decibels and up is typical of unmuffled units. Those with mufflers typically are 60 decibels. You can add on a muffler for about $10.00 that will quiet the vacuum to acceptable levels, but still wear ear protection.

  • If you are using the vac to catch exhaust from a power tool, choose one that comes with a high-efficiency particulate air, or HEPA filter. Wood dust is a carcinogenic. Get a wet/dry vac that traps particles smaller than one micron. Look for a vacuum that has a filter bag inside the tank, so you don't end up with a cloud of dust when you empty it.

  • If you have a choice between big and bigger, get the bigger one. If you are vacuuming water, however, remember that water weighs about 8 pounds per gallon, so take that into consideration if you are looking at a 20 gallon tank

  • Steel is more durable than plastic. Tall vacuums tip more easily. Try pulling the vacuum by the hose. If it tips over, the vacuum is too tall.

  • Get a vacuum with a drain on the side near the bottom. That will save you the trouble of trying to empty the tank.

  • Get a vacuum with the longest power cord you can find. Make sure it comes with four sturdy wheels and attachments that store onboard.

Related Searches

Promoted By Zergnet


You May Also Like

  • How to Use a Wet Dry Vac

    Standard vacuum cleaners are not meant to be used on liquid spills. While you can use them to vacuum up dirt, dust...

  • Genie Wet/Dry Vac Instructions

    The Genie Vacuum Cleaner Company is a small vacuum-repair and sales store in Manchester, New Hampshire. The company sells many different brands...

  • How to Vacuum Wet Carpet

    A wet carpet provides the perfect breeding ground for fungus such as mold and mildew. Both will feed off your carpeting, spread...

  • The Best Vacuums for Ceramic Tile Floors

    Cleaning ceramic tile floors is often a task for a dust pan and broom, a mop or an implement that has a...

Related Searches

Check It Out

22 DIY Ways to Update Your Home on a Small Budget

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!