Best shop vac

Tackle the toughest clean-ups in the garage, shed, and even outside with a shop vac. Here’s our pick of these powerful and robust cleaners.

Best shop vac
(Image credit: @Michal Jarmoluk on Pixabay)

The vacuum cleaner you use indoors generally isn’t up to the job of cleaning up in the garden, shed, and garage. That’s where a shop vac comes in. These powerful cleaners are made to deal with the usual dirt and dust but also debris like gravel, sand, and more. What’s more, many are wet and dry models that can suck up spills as well. If there’s a gap in your life for one of these hard workers, you’ll find a model to suit you in our selection of the best.

Best overall

Vacuum cleaner

(Image credit: Amazon)

Kärcher WD2 wet and dry vacuum

All on board

A powerful and easy to use design for tough dirt and spills.

Pros:

  • Tool storage on the vac
  • Long handle
  • 12-litre capacity

Cons:

  • Vacuum bag required

Make cleaning up super simple, whether we’re talking on the patio or even the lawn, the garage or the shed, with this nifty shop vac. It’ll save you the task of brushing then scooping debris from paving, and you can even suck up spilt gravel and more from the grass. It’ll sort out spills as well. I like that its tools are stored on the cleaner, so you don’t have to go to and fro to get hold of what you need. It’ll spare your back, too, as the long handle avoids an overly stooped posture as you work. 

Best for leaf blowing

Vacuum cleaner

(Image credit: Amazon)

Bosch 06033D1170 wet and dry vacuum cleaner

Multi-tasking marvel

A corded design that can tackle hard-to-reach areas with ease.

Pros:

  • Wet and dry cleaning
  • On-vacuum tools
  • Blowing function

Cons:

  • You’ll need to buy bags, too

You can cut down on the number of appliances you need to keep your garden looking lovely if you opt for this shop vac. It has a blowing function as well as suction, allowing you to blow leaves and blast the dirt out of awkward-to-reach areas. The floor nozzle works on both wet and dry materials you need to clean up outdoors, in the shed and garage, and in your home. There’s no filter swapping to do either, as it works for both wet and dry mess. The cleaner has an excellent 15-litre capacity, and accessories are ready to hand on board. 

Best for style

Vacuum cleaner

(Image credit: Amazon)

Draper 13785 wet & dry vacuum cleaner

Sleek and lightweight

Go longer before emptying with a larger tank size.

Pros:

  • 20-litre capacity
  • Stainless steel tank
  • Blower function

Cons:

  • Hose can be a little rigid

Looks aren’t everything, but if you want a shop vac that’s handsome as well as handy, then this could be the model for you. With a stainless-steel tank plus a blue colour top and bottom, I think it’s definitely the best looking of our selection. Use it in the garden, the shed, the garage, a workshop, or around your home to pick up both wet and dry mess. With an air blower function, it will help you with leaves and dirty nooks and crannies, too. A 20-litre tank capacity allows you to go longer before you need to empty it, which is labour saving. Although it’s a robust design, it won’t be a struggle to move around with as it weighs just 4.5 kilograms.

Best for fans of bagless vacs

Vacuum cleaner

(Image credit: Amazon)

Vacmaster wet and dry vacuum cleaner

Stay shipshape

A large capacity model that will cope with everything from dust to rubble.

Pros:

  • Can be used without a bag
  • 20-litre capacity
  • Power tool connectability

Cons:

  • A little heavy

Keen DIYers will fall for this shop vac which allows you to plug in a power tool to the onboard socket and extract dust as you’re working. Coping with wet and dry messes, it will help you keep your home, outbuildings, and garden clean and works on artificial turf as well as other garden surfaces. Like some of our other picks, it has a blower function for dealing with fallen leaves, and you can even use it to inflate the kids’ paddling pool. The tank size is a hefty 20-litres, and if you don’t mind the mess, it doesn’t have to be used with a bag. Bear in mind that it’s a little heftier than some of our other picks at 6 kilograms.

Best for reach

Vacuum cleaner

(Image credit: Amazon)

Nilfisk Buddy II wet and dry vacuum cleaner

Simple to store

A neat solution that’s easy to manoeuvre and tidy away afterwards.

Pros:

  • 18-litre tank
  • Deals with DIY and garden debris
  • 5-metre cable

Cons:

  • Some accessories require separate purchase

I like this shop vac’s long cable of 5 metres, which means you should be able to easily clean where you need to in the garden, shed, garage, or inside your home. The tank is 18 litres in size, so it has good capacity even though you’ll find larger versions among our selection. It will cope with liquids and all sorts of debris, including that from DIY plus wood chippings, sand, and sludge. It’s another model that can blow leaves and other dirt or inflate a mattress, as well as vacuuming. It comes with a floor nozzle and one for crevices, but if you want other accessories, you’ll need to buy them. 

Our verdict

Spare yourself a lot of effort when it comes to keeping your garden pristine with a shop vac. Our favourite is the Kärcher WD2 wet and dry vacuum, which will keep lawns and patios looking clean and tidy.

Regular DIYers might be tempted by the Vacmaster wet and dry vacuum cleaner, which allows you to plug a power tool into the vac to extract dust as you work. And if being able to vacuum a long way from your power socket is a crucial buying criterion for you, consider the Nilfisk Buddy II wet and dry vacuum cleaner with its 5-metre cable.

Why trust us?

At GardeningEtc we recommend the best products to enhance your life. As expert curators, we handpick products based on quality and usefulness to positively impact your day-to-day, from cart to doorstep. We take our responsibility seriously — testing products, reading reviews, and sourcing knowledgeable outlets to ensure our selections are worthy of your time and money. We deliver detailed product overviews, balancing objective information with subjective opinions, so making the best choice for your home and lifestyle is as easy as possible.