Vacuums
August 30, 2021

5 Best Shop Vacs For Woodworking in 2021

Keep reading to learn about the 5 best shop vacs for woodworking.

NOTE: We may earn money from links on this page, but we only recommend products we know will make your life easier.

Our Top 5 Picks

roman peysakhovich
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Roman Peysakhovich

CEO and educator at Onedesk. Roman has over 10 years of experience as a cleaning business owner. When not operating his cleaning business, he's researching and reviewing the household products to help consumers make the best purchase.

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These are the best shop vacuums for woodworking.

Everyone who works in woodworking knows that tools wear down quickly. Sawdust is the main culprit.

To keep your work area tidy and your tools lasting longer, you need a shop vac designed for the job.

Keep reading to learn about the 5 best shop vacs for woodworking.

Our Top 5 Picks (Comparison)
Stanley Wet/Dry Vacuum, 4 Gallon, 4 HP, Stainless Steel Tank
  • Best Shop Vac For Woodworking Overall
  • Stanley
Buy Now →
Craftsman 16 Gallon Wet/Dry Heavy-Duty Shop Vacuum
  • Best Heavy-Duty Shop Vac For Woodworking
  • Craftsman
Buy Now →
Vacmaster 12-Gallon 5 Peak HP Wet/Dry Shop Vac, Blue
  • Best Vacmaster Shop Vac For Woodworking
  • Vacmaster
Buy Now →
WORKSHOP Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum Cleaner, 16 Gallon
  • Best Workshop Shop Vac For Woodworking
  • WORKSHOP
Buy Now →
Karcher WD4 Multi-Purpose Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum Cleaner
  • Best Lightweight Shop Vac For Woodworking
  • Karcher
Buy Now →

Stanley Wet/Dry Vacuum, 4 Gallon, 4 HP, Stainless Steel Tank

One of the key aspects you should look for in a shop vac for woodworking is the size of the hose and its maneuverability. You don't want a vacuum that you have to keep lifting off of the sawdust. The Stanley Wet/Dry Vacuum, 4 Gallon, 4 HP, Stainless Steel Tank is a great solution for most woodworker needs.

Weight: 8 pounds
Rating: 4.5/5
Dimensions: 11.8 x 11.8 x 22 inches
Pros:

  • 4 peak HP motor for strong suction
  • Long and wide hose that can pick up sawdust without clogging
  • Dust collection bag for easy maintenance of your vac


Cons:

  • Some may find the hose to be too thin


The Stanley 4 gallon vacuum offers great suction and performance at a fantastic price. Although it's typically used for carpeted areas, the strong suction makes it a great candidate for shops with sawdust.

One of the best aspects of the vacuum is its small weight size. You can easily push or even lift the canister around while you clean.

Its caster wheels are also high-quality. This ensures you can push it around with ease in your shop.

It also comes with a dust bag which is essential for any woodworking shop. The dust bag can collect the sawdust and ensure it isn't pushed back in the air. It also keeps your vacuum lasting longer.

What Reviewers Say

Reviewers love the powerful suction that this vacuum offers. It effectively cleans both carpets and sawdust. Many found the taller design, as opposed to a squat design, to be beneficial in terms of maneuverability and storage.

Some reviewers didn't like that there wasn't a hose storage slot. It made storing the vacuum messy.

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Craftsman 16 Gallon Wet/Dry Heavy-Duty Shop Vacuum

Anyone who works in a woodshop knows that you require heavy-duty tools. The Craftsman 16 Gallon Wet/Dry Heavy-Duty Shop Vacuum is a powerful vacuum that may be the perfect fit for your shop.

Weight: 26 pounds
Rating: 5/5
Dimensions: 21.03 x 23.8 x 26.7 inches
Pros:

  • Powerful 6.5 peak HP motor can take care of most jobs
  • Blower port makes cleaning fast and easy
  • Large drain for removing liquids inside of the canister


Cons:

  • May smell when it heats up
  • Width may be problematic for doorways


When you need a shop vac to remove sawdust from your floor or tools, then this vacuum is the one to choose. Its powerful motor can easily suck up sawdust on a heavy workday.

Even when there's too much to be sucked up, you can simply blow it all away with the powerful blower port.

This isn't a single-use vacuum either. It's just as helpful for when you need to mop down the shop or remove water. It features a large tank that can carry a lot of water and a large drain to remove the water that you collect.

With a thick canister and high-quality attachments, this vacuum is built to last and perform.

What Reviewers Say

Reviewers are in love with the powerful suction and blowing power of this vacuum. Many use it in their woodworking shops and find that it effectively cleans what they need it to clean.

They also love the dust collection bag that it comes with and that it has an additional filter to further keep the area clean.

Some reviewers found that the size of the vacuum was a bit difficult. They would have preferred that the vacuum was taller rather than wider.

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Vacmaster 12-Gallon 5 Peak HP Wet/Dry Shop Vac, Blue

With its 19-foot cleaning length, the Vacmaster 12-Gallon 5 Peak HP Wet/Dry Shop Vac is a great choice for those who want to clean efficiently.

Weight: 25.9 pounds
Rating: 4.5/5
Dimensions: 18.44 x 20.52 x 24.49 inches
Pros:

  • 5 Peak HP that provides 210 mph for its blower
  • Tons of accessories to make cleaning easier
  • Integrated accessory storage area to make storage tidy and neat


Cons:

  • Performance may be underwhelming


There's a lot to love in the shop vac from Vacmaster. For one, it has a portable blower system that can actually be detached from the rest of the vacuum.

This allows woodworkers to simply blow the sawdust out of their tools or certain areas with ease. In addition, the several attachments that come with the vacuum allow you to use the vacuum in several different applications.

One issue with many shop vacs is the size of the hose. That isn't a problem with the Vacmaster. It has a thick hose that can easily suck up sawdust without being clogged easily.

The storage area is also ideal for those who are tight on space and need their vacuum to do most of their own storage-keeping.

What Reviewers Say

Many reviewers enjoy using the blower on this unit since it's extremely powerful. However, some found it difficult to remove the blower and place it back on the vacuum.

Others found that the vacuum performed quite well in the shop and the filter ensured that the dust wasn't just being pushed back into the air.

Some found that the CPM was questionable in terms of performance.

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WORKSHOP Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum Cleaner, 16 Gallon

Nothing is more annoying than having to unplug a vacuum and move it to another outlet in order to keep cleaning. The long reach on the WORKSHOP Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum Cleaner removes that problem.

Weight: 37.7 pounds
Rating: 4.5/5
Dimensions: 23 x 21.5 x 36.38 inches
Pros:

  • Extremely long reach with a 7-foot hose and 20-foot power cord
  • Thick 2.5 inch hose
  • Ergonomic handle and large rear wheels make handling the vacuum comfortable and easy


Cons:

  • Buying additional dust bags could be costly


Due to its 6.5 Peak HP motor, this vacuum can offer a lot of power. Many users of this vacuum will love its 167 CFM that powerfully sucks up anything.

It's also able to be used for both dry and wet applications. With the several attachments that come with it, there's no crevice in your shop that you won't be able to clean.

One of the benefits of the hose is that it uses an advanced locking system to ensure the hose doesn't fall off while you're using the vacuum.

Its long reach and large gallon size also mean that you're able to clean a lot more in less time. Finally, it has a large storage space that allows you to place all of the attachments within it. You won't have to worry about losing brushes or other attachments again.

What Reviewers Say

There are a lot of things to love in this vacuum, according to reviewers. They love the powerful suction and large tank. They also find that it effectively cleans sawdust and water. They also love the large wheels that make using the vacuum in heavy construction areas easier.

Some had problems with the attachments falling off when emptying the vacuum.

Shop Now

Karcher WD4 Multi-Purpose Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum Cleaner

When you need a compact vacuum that still delivers a powerful performance, then you may want to consider the Karcher WD4 Multi-Purpose Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum Cleaner.

Weight: 15.7 pounds
Rating: 4.5/5
Dimensions: 15.37 x 20.7 x 15.12 inches
Pros:

  • Compact size makes storing and using the vacuum easy for smaller shops
  • Filter is placed on top for easy removal
  • Smooth hose interior to prevent clogging


Cons:

  • Only delivers 76 CFM


If you're interested in a compact vacuum for limited use, then the Karcher vacuum may be exactly what you're looking for.

Its tiny size ensures that you're able to use this vacuum in tight spaces and small shops without feeling like the vacuum is cumbersome. Despite its small size, it still offers powerful suction.

One of the best aspects of this vacuum is its ability to be self-cleaned. Removing the filter is easy and since you can clean it yourself without having to dirty up the rest of the vacuum, you can make the filter last for some time before it needs to be replaced.

What Reviewers Say

Reviewers are loving the kind of performance you get from the vacuum at its affordable price. They enjoy how easy it is to clean and maintain.

Many found that the vacuum was also great for several different applications in several different environments.

Some found that it was easy to blow a fuse on the vacuum if using it at too high of power.

Shop Now
Our Top 5 Picks (Comparison)
Stanley Wet/Dry Vacuum, 4 Gallon, 4 HP, Stainless Steel Tank
  • Best Shop Vac For Woodworking Overall
  • Stanley
Buy Now →
Craftsman 16 Gallon Wet/Dry Heavy-Duty Shop Vacuum
  • Best Heavy-Duty Shop Vac For Woodworking
  • Craftsman
Buy Now →
Vacmaster 12-Gallon 5 Peak HP Wet/Dry Shop Vac, Blue
  • Best Vacmaster Shop Vac For Woodworking
  • Vacmaster
Buy Now →
WORKSHOP Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum Cleaner, 16 Gallon
  • Best Workshop Shop Vac For Woodworking
  • WORKSHOP
Buy Now →
Karcher WD4 Multi-Purpose Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum Cleaner
  • Best Lightweight Shop Vac For Woodworking
  • Karcher
Buy Now →

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I look for when buying a shop vac?

When buying a shop vac, you need to consider your needs. Do you have a shop that often gets wet? Then you may need a vacuum that has the capability of both wet suction and dry suction. If performance is your main concern, then you want to look for a vacuum that has a large CFM rating.

Can I use a shop vac as a dust collector?

You can definitely use a shop vac as a dust collector. Some are able to be used on carpets while others are not. You also need to consider shop vacs that come with attachments that make collecting dust easier.

Which shop vac has the strongest suction?

Of those listed above, the Craftsman has the most powerful suction. Its heavy-duty motor also provides high-quality performance.

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