Vacuums
March 10, 2021

5 Best Small Shop Vacs in 2021

These are the best small shop vacs in 2021 that are worth buying.

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
About Your Guide

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 small shop vacs that are great for shops.

Whether you have a smaller home or a tight workshop, larger shop vacs may not be ideal. They can be cumbersome to use and their mobility leaves much to be desired.

Fortunately, there are a number of high-quality smaller shop vacs available on the market. These are the best small shop vacs in 2021 that are worth buying.

Our Top 5 Picks (Comparison)
Bissell MultiClean Wet/Dry Garage And Auto Vacuum Cleaner
  • Best Bissell Small Shop Vac
  • Bissell
Buy Now →
FEIN Turbo Shop Vacuum Cleaner Set, 13 Ft Suction Hose
  • Best FEIN Small Shop Vac
  • FEIN
Buy Now →
Armor All 2.5 Gallon Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum
  • Best Armor All Small Shop Vac
  • Armor All
Buy Now →
STANLEY Wet/Dry Vacuum With Stainless Steel Tank
  • Best STANLEY Small Shop Vac
  • STANLEY
Buy Now →
Stanley Wet/Dry 3 Gallon Portable Vacuum
  • Best Portable Small Shop Vac
  • Stanley
Buy Now →

Bissell MultiClean Wet/Dry Garage And Auto Vacuum Cleaner

The smaller Bissell MultiClean Wet/Dry Garage And Auto Vacuum Cleaner still packs a lot of power and is quieter than most other shop vacs.

Weight: 16.1 pounds
Rating: 4.5/5
Dimensions: 16 x 16 x 24.5 inches
Pros:

  • Blower function
  • Large floor brush
  • Auto tool kit


Cons:

  • Thin hose may clog


The BISSELL MultiClean vacuum cleaner is an ideal choice for workshops and homeowners who require something a bit smaller. It's less bulky than other shop vacs and a bit lighter as well. This can make using and moving the vacuum around a lot easier. Despite its compact size, the vacuum cleaner still boasts a 6-gallon tank. That allows you to clean up a great deal before needing to empty it.

One of the advantages of this vacuum cleaner is that it comes with an auto tool kit. This kit contains several different cleaning attachments that are specifically made for cleaning a car or garage. It also comes with a blower port that makes blowing sawdust, leaves, or other larger debris out of an area easier than ever.

Switching between different surfaces is also easy with this vacuum. There's a simple switch that you can push that can switch between the different suction modes on the vacuum. It enables you to seamlessly move from bare floors to carpeted ones.

It also has a larger floor brush to clean more in less time.

What Reviewers Say

Many reviewers consider this vacuum to be more for home or garage use than in an actual workshop. It performs well for housecleaning. They enjoyed its compact design and how less bulky it was. They also appreciated the waterproof power switch. A few noted that because the hose is on the thin side, it may clog easily.

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FEIN Turbo Shop Vacuum Cleaner Set, 13 Ft Suction Hose

The FEIN Turbo Shop Vacuum Cleaner Set, 13 Ft Suction Hose is built to keep suction intact even when using tools.

Weight: 26.3 pounds
Rating: 4.5/5
Dimensions: 15.5 x 15 x 18.5 inches
Pros:

  • 151 CFM
  • 98.4" water lift
  • Auto-start function for tools


Cons:

  • Need to frequently buy new filters


This FEIN vacuum cleaner offers some unique features not easily found in other shop vacs. For one, its auto-start feature makes working with the vacuum easier than ever. When you want to use your tools in conjunction with the vacuum, you may become annoyed at needing to walk over to the vacuum just to turn it on, then walk all the way back to your work table.

This vacuum cleaner removes that annoyance by simply allowing you to turn on the vacuum when you turn on the tool. Now, you can simply get to work without having to walk and back forth from your vacuum cleaner to operate it.

It also has a ton of suction power. Its 151 CFM rating means that this cleaner can deliver powerful suction. It's also capable of lifting 98.4" of water. That makes it ideal for almost every application.

What Reviewers Say

While several reviewers state that this is a powerful tool for most workshops, a few expressed some disappointment in the hose. The hose felt cheap to them and wouldn't stop clogging. Others didn't like that you need to buy filters regularly to replace the used ones. That being said, the general consensus is that the vacuum is powerful and performs well.

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Armor All 2.5 Gallon Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum

If you need a lightweight vacuum that's easy to carry around, then you might want to consider the Armor All 2.5 Gallon Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum.

Weight: 7 pounds
Rating: 4.5/5
Dimensions: 10.6 x 14.2 x 14.4 inches
Pros:

  • Lightweight for easy maneuverability
  • 2-Peak horsepower
  • Auto shut off to prevent overflowing


Cons:

  • Dust bin may fall open


The Armor All vacuum cleaner is an ideal choice for those looking for a cheap, but powerful, vacuum cleaner. This one is specifically made for car and garage cleaning. Its compact design allows you to easily fit it inside of your car or carry it with you through the garage as you clean. Because it's so lightweight, you'll have a much easier time using it.

Despite its smaller nature, it still provides decent suction thanks to its 2-Peak horsepower motor. Because such a small design can sometimes lead to overflows and damaging the inner machinery, the vacuum makes sure it protects itself with an auto shut-off function. Before the vacuum overflows, it will automatically turn off to prevent any more from being taken into the tank. This informs you that it's time to empty the vacuum before resuming your cleaning.

The bags that come with the vacuum can also be cleaned out and reused. This makes the vacuum cleaner even more affordable.

Besides operating as a vacuum cleaner, it can also be used to pick up wet messes. Despite being on the smaller size, this vacuum has practically everything you could need in a compact shop vac.

What Reviewers Say

Many reviewers love using this vacuum to clean their cars and garages. They found that it worked extremely well and was quiet to operate, too. A few found that it had problems dealing with thick messes, but that it was able to pick up pet hair without a problem. A few warned that it might clog.

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STANLEY Wet/Dry Vacuum With Stainless Steel Tank

The STANLEY Wet/Dry Vacuum With Stainless Steel Tank offers everything you could need in a shop vac without taking up space.

Weight: 14.02 pounds
Rating: 4.5/5
Dimensions: 14.5 x 14.5 x 18 inches
Pros:

  • 4-Peak horsepower
  • Compact design
  • Washable filters


Cons:

  • Emptying bags and cleaning filters can be annoying


If you want a reliable compact shop vac that does what you need it to do, then you'll likely want to consider this STANLEY vacuum cleaner.

Its compact size was designed for easy storage. It can fit in most tight areas and its slightly flat top allows you to store it under other objects.

The power of the vacuum is ideal for most messes. It has a 4-Peak horsepower motor that delivers 85 CFM. While it may not be the strongest suction on the market, it can tackle most jobs. For homeowners, it can even pick up pet hair.

One of the benefits of this vacuum is that you can keep it clean by using its dust bags.

While the bags are optional, it does help keep the rest of the vacuum cleaner clean. The caveat is that you also need to empty that bag after cleaning.

Both the foam and dry filters are able to be taken out of the vacuum cleaner and washed.

This reduces the number of times that you need to buy new filters.

What Reviewers Say

Several reviewers were pleased by the power behind this vacuum. It was able to clean the messes they had without difficulty.

They described the vacuum as good for its price but not a great vacuum overall.

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Stanley Wet/Dry 3 Gallon Portable Vacuum

The Stanley Wet/Dry 3 Gallon Portable Vacuum offers both power and easy portability.

Weight: 8.08 pounds
Rating: 4.5/5
Dimensions: 14 x 11 x 15.95 inches
Pros:

  • Reusable filters
  • 3-Peak horsepower
  • 3 gallons for even more storage


Cons:

  • Hose may be a bit too stiff


This STANLEY portable vacuum cleaner is a great choice for homeowners or workshops that need flexibility and maneuverability.

Because it's so lightweight, you can easily pick up the vacuum with the fortified handle and carry it with you throughout your cleaning.

Despite its small size, this vacuum still has a decent motor. Its 3-Peak horsepower can deliver satisfying suction for both dry and wet messes.

It even has blower capabilities to allow you to quickly and easily clear out your garage or workshop. It also has a larger tank than most other portable vacuums. Its 3-gallon tank can hold more. This allows you to clean even longer without having to stop in order to empty it.

The filters are also able to be taken out and washed. Doing so increases the lifespan of the vacuum cleaner and ensures that you're always giving your home, car, or workshop a thorough clean.

What Reviewers Say

Users of this vacuum were pleased by its suction power. Several were able to clean up their sawdust and other messes with ease.

Some found that the hose was a little stiff to work with and came too short for some applications.

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Our Top 5 Picks (Comparison)
Bissell MultiClean Wet/Dry Garage And Auto Vacuum Cleaner
  • Best Bissell Small Shop Vac
  • Bissell
Buy Now →
FEIN Turbo Shop Vacuum Cleaner Set, 13 Ft Suction Hose
  • Best FEIN Small Shop Vac
  • FEIN
Buy Now →
Armor All 2.5 Gallon Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum
  • Best Armor All Small Shop Vac
  • Armor All
Buy Now →
STANLEY Wet/Dry Vacuum With Stainless Steel Tank
  • Best STANLEY Small Shop Vac
  • STANLEY
Buy Now →
Stanley Wet/Dry 3 Gallon Portable Vacuum
  • Best Portable Small Shop Vac
  • Stanley
Buy Now →

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best small portable shop vac?

If you want the most powerful portable shop vac, then you'll want to either choose the FEIN or portable STANLEY vacuum cleaner. The FEIN has the most power, but you may found that the portable STANLEY vacuum has more portability.

Who makes the best small shop vac?

Based on this list, the FEIN is the best brand for the best small shop vac. It delivers incredible suction power, is easy to move around, and has several cleaning tools that can make tight areas easier to clean than ever.

What’s the smallest shop vac?

The Armor All model is the smallest shop vac on this list. Its compact size makes it ideal for cleaning small areas or areas that require a lot of finesse.

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