Wet Dry Vacuums Buying Guide

Do you tend to have a lot of hefty messes in your household ?  Maybe the standard vac  just isn't enough to contend with your routine home improvement chaos--we're talking way beyond spilled milk to dishwasher  leaks, drywall  dust, chunks of plaster , wood shavings and beyond.  So maybe it's time to invest in a wet dry vacuum that sucks up debris quickly, quietly and completely.  Check out the rest of this guide for tips on how to get the best wet dry vac for your household mishaps and then start the sucking!  You'll be seeing squeaky clean carpets  and floors in no time.

The Basics

Wet dry vacs can pretty much suck up anything.  This includes cat litter ,garden mulch , sawdust and any other substance that may cause your regular vacuum to quite literally explode.  So besides superior sucking powers, some other things you should look for in a wet dry vac include:  

  • Noise Level.  Older and in some cases, less expensive models, tend to be pretty noisy.  If you want to keep your ear drums intact, you should look for details about noise on the packaging.  And if you get a chance to test it out, definitely do it to hear things for yourself.
  • Hose Size.  The wider the hose, the faster the pick-up speed.  Long, narrow hoses can only pick up small amounts of debris at a time, inevitably prolonging your clean-up process.
  • Capacity.  The amount indicated on the package is often inaccurate.  It refers to the amount the tank can hold without the filter in place.  Once the filter is installed, you can expect the tank to hold up to around 65% of what it's supposed to.
  • Horsepower Rating.  The highest HP rating is usually around 6.5, but this doesn't mean that your vac's motor is on par with the incredible hulk.  Horsepower often refers to the motor's peak, or the point at which it would be overloaded with work and stall.  If you're looking at a more accurate way to gauge the power of your consumergrade tool, trying looking at the amperage.
  • Warranties.  All models should come with a warranty, but the length of said warranty often varies from model to model.  Some units have a one-year limited warranty, while others offer a lifetime warranty.  Look for a model that offers the most security on the vac motor, specifically.
  • Cost.  Many modern models of wet dry vacs are inexpensive, often costing less that your average household vacuum cleaner .  But to cut costs even further, eliminate extra features and asses your basic needs.

The Options

Wet dry vacuums come in a variety of shapes and sizes to best suit your needs as a consumer and a messy do-it-yourselfer around the house!

  • Hand-held cordless units are great for small spills, and they are often less noisy than their larger counterparts.
  • Heavy commercial models have large capacity tanks capable of cleaning up the big messes.  They work well for home construction projects.
  • Some models have storage compartments where the hose  can be folded up and tucked away.  This makes it easier to stick them in the closet or a tight spot in the shed.
  • Some models come with special liners  that are specifically designed to capture fine dust and can be easily installed/removed depending on the job.

Major Manufacturers

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