Best Small Shop Vac for Your Workshop or Garage – A Full Guide

A regular vacuum cleaner can’t always handle the dust, debris, pet hair, and odds-and-ends spills on your workshop or garage floor. However, small shop vacuums can take your cleaning power to the next level.

They’re often referred to as wet-dry vacuums and are highly powerful and versatile. Overall, the best small shop vacs handle the debris in your workshop without clogging. Plus, the smaller ones are very portable and easy to move around as needed. That way, you can clean up all of your messes and spills with ease. Overall, the goal is to keep the area clean so that it’s ready to use when you need it.

10
Shop-Vac 3942300 Wet-Dry Vac

Shop-Vac 3942300 Wet/Dry Vac

This wet/dry shop vacuum also has a thick plastic body and a durable build to resist wear and tear.
10
Stanley Wet Dry Vacuum

Stanley Wet Dry Vacuum

sories to make it worth the price point.
10
Shop-Vac 2022000 Micro Vac

2021000 Micro Vac

Overall, this could be the best mini shop vac because of the thicker body design to handle normal wear and tear.
10
Craftsman CMXEVBE17595 Wet-Dry Vac

Craftsman CMXEVBE17595 Wet/Dry Vac

It’s a heavy-duty vacuum with a 6.5-horsepower motor, allowing you to suck up wood scraps, water, and screws.
10
Shop-Vac 5989300 Vacuum

5989300 Vacuum

This small shop vac also delivers on accessories.
10
Stanley 3-Gallon Wet Dry Vacuum

Stanley 3-Gallon Wet Dry Vacuum

3-horsepower motor that sucks up all types of debris without losing any suction power.
10
Shop-Vac 5895200 Wet-Dry Vac

5895200 Wet/Dry Vac

The 5895200 model is a wet/dry vac that has the power of a large vacuum, but it’s handheld.
10
Shop-Vac 1.5 Gallon Vac

1.5 Gallon Vac

The gray and turquoise color scheme makes it fun to use and unique.
10
Armor All AA355 Utility Vacuum

Armor All AA355 Utility Vacuum

Another great option on the list is the Armor All Wet/Dry Utility

There are various shop vacuums out there, so it’s almost impossible to pick the best small shop vac. For those who have never purchased shop vacs before, it’s even harder.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to check out this review to find out about the many shop vacuums that are a great choice to clean your shop floor. Most shop vacuums are reasonably priced and can tackle drywall dust and much more. In fact, you could use the right shop vac as a regular vacuum and never go back!

Let’s see what the top 10 models are. From there, you can read the buyer’s guide to understand more about these handy tools!

10 Best Small Shop Vacs on the Market

Bissell Garage Pro Shop Vac

There are three style options available to help you customize the wet/dry shop vacuum to your needs. With that, you get a 4-gallon tank that’s almost translucent so that you can see when it’s full.
10Expert Score
Suctions up wet and dry debris

Overall, the best small shop vac has to be the Bissell brand. This tool packs tons of power into an upright and slim design.

7 Versatile attachments
9.5
Filtration
2 Stage
Pros
  • Three style options
  • Cleans dry/wet messes
  • Double filter system
  • 32-foot hose
  • Seven attachments
  • 12-amp motor
  • Converts to a blower
Cons
  • Shorter power cord than others

Overall, the best small shop vac has to be the Bissell brand. This tool packs tons of power into an upright and slim design. Therefore, it’s perfect for cleaning the workshop or garage floor, and it can be stored neatly in your closet.

You’re sure to appreciate the 12-amp motor, which handles wet and dry messes with ease. This adds more versatility to the machine because it’s not likely to clog up while you’re cleaning.

Bissell Garage Pro Shop Vac

There are three style options available to help you customize the wet/dry shop vacuum to your needs. With that, you get a 4-gallon tank that’s almost translucent so that you can see when it’s full. You definitely don’t get that with a regular vacuum!

Most shop vacs come with one or two attachments, but this one offers tons of options so that you can clean messes in any room of the house. There’s even a deluxe car nozzle, so you can keep your transportation clean, as well.

Everyone enjoys the wall-mounting kit because the extra-long hose stretches to 32 feet, giving you more maneuverability. Plus, there’s an extension wand, and you get a 5-foot power cord.

Overall, you get powerful suction from the Helix system that features dual filtration. That locks in dust and even turns into a blower when needed. Other shop vacs definitely don’t do that!

Shop-Vac 3942300 Wet/Dry Vac

Shop-Vac 3942300, and it might be the best small shop vac on the market. It’s a wall-mounted system that features a 5-gallon tank with a 4-horsepower motor. With that, you get the convenience of cleaning your car, garage, and workshop with a hands-free wet-dry vac!
9.5Expert Score
WALL MOUNT VACUUM

The wall mount system ensures that the shop vac stays out of your way when it’s not being used.

TOUGH
9.5
DEPENDABLE
9
Pros
  • Easy to set up
  • Cleans dry or wet messes
  • Thick plastic design for the body
  • Storage bag
  • Huge amount of accessories
  • Wall-mounted system
  • 18-foot hose with lock-on technology
Cons
  • Very noisy

You’re sure to enjoy the Shop-Vac 3942300, and it might be the best small shop vac on the market. It’s a wall-mounted system that features a 5-gallon tank with a 4-horsepower motor. With that, you get the convenience of cleaning your car, garage, and workshop with a hands-free wet-dry vac!

Shop-Vac 3942300 Wet-Dry Vac

This is a great choice because it has an 18-foot hose, 12-inch nozzle, squeegee and brush, gulper nozzle, extension wands, collection bag, round brush, tool storage bag, crevice tool, cartridge, and the foam sleeve. To top it off, it’s at a decent price point.

Because you can fit all of the accessories into the storage bag, you don’t lose anything and can stay more organized.

This wet/dry shop vacuum also has a thick plastic body and a durable build to resist wear and tear. The wall mount system ensures that the shop vac stays out of your way when it’s not being used.

Therefore, it’s a great option for tight places where floor space is limited. Because it’s one of the smaller shop vacs, you can clean dry or wet messes without clogging the motor or damaging any of the internal components. Plus, the bag makes it a breeze to clean.

Stanley Wet Dry Vacuum

Stanley Wet Dry Vacuum could be the best shop vac out there. It features a large capacity of 4 gallons, which means continuous car cleaning without needing to stop and empty the collection bin all the time.
9.5Expert Score
Light weight compact design for easy carrying

These small shop vacs have various features and accessories to make it worth the price point. You’re sure to appreciate the 15-foot reach.

High performance
9.5
Maximum power
9
Pros
  • Long reach
  • Large transfer switch
  • 4-gallon capacity
  • 4-horsepower motor
  • Large drain port
  • Many accessories included
  • 12-month warranty
Cons
  • Easily dentable outside

Anyone who owns a garage or workshop needs to have high-quality tools that don’t break the bank. Therefore, the Stanley Wet Dry Vacuum could be the best shop vac out there. It features a large capacity of 4 gallons, which means continuous car cleaning without needing to stop and empty the collection bin all the time.

Stanley Wet Dry Vacuum

Plus, it’s easy to use. Just close the cover on the shop vacuum, connect the hose, plug it into the wall outlet, and it’s ready to run. It also features a 4-horsepower motor and is powerful enough to suck up wet or dry debris, such as dirty water.

These small shop vacs have various features and accessories to make it worth the price point. You’re sure to appreciate the 15-foot reach. Plus, it has a 10-foot-long power cord with a 5-foot-long hose, allowing you to clean without moving the small shop vac around too much.

There is also an extra-large drain port, making it easy to empty out the debris. Plus, you get a transfer switch that’s easy to operate with a lightweight body. Other accessories include a flexible hose, extension wand, crevice nozzle, three floor nozzles, foam filter, dust bag, and the reusable dry filter.

Shop-Vac 2022000 Micro Vac

Small shop vacs like this have a mounting bracket so that you can put it on the wall. Plus, there’s a tool holder that also goes on the wall so that everything stays organized.
9.3Expert Score
Portable wet/dry vac, with wall bracket

Those who want a mini shop vacuum for their woodworking shops are sure to appreciate the Shop-Vac 2022000.

Cordless
9.5
Rechargeable
9
Pros
  • Folding carrying handle
  • Very lightweight and portable
  • 2-year warranty
  • 6-foot power cord
  • Various accessories
  • Wall-mounted system
  • Micro-sized
Cons
  • Expensive to purchase the disposable dust bags

Those who want a mini shop vacuum for their woodworking shops are sure to appreciate the Shop-Vac 2022000. It’s a budget-friendly choice with a 1-gallon capacity that runs using 1 horsepower. Therefore, this is a portable shop vac that has everything you need to suck up wood chips and wet debris.

Shop-Vac 2022000 Micro Vac

Small shop vacs like this have a mounting bracket so that you can put it on the wall. Plus, there’s a tool holder that also goes on the wall so that everything stays organized.

You’re sure to appreciate the folding top handle that makes it easy to move it around. Overall, this could be the best mini shop vac because of the thicker body design to handle normal wear and tear. With that, it has larger clips to take off the top to empty it.

Mini shop vacs like this run on the standard 120V outlet, and you get a 6-foot-long power cord to extend your reach. With that, it features a gulper nozzle, crevice tool, 4-foot-long hose, tool bag, wall mount bracket for the bag and tool, a foam sleeve, and a collection bag.

If you want the best small shop vac, this could be an ideal option. Plus, you’re sure to love that these small shop vacs are bright red and easy to see.

Craftsman CMXEVBE17595 Wet/Dry Vac

Plus, it features a built-in blower port at the back to help you blow leaves, sawdust, and grass clipping out of the workshop or garage. That way, they aren’t mucking up the space and causing a slip-and-fall hazard.
9.3Expert Score
DUAL-FLEX technology for 180-degree mobility at each end to resist kinking

Craftsman Wet/Dry Vac. It can help you easily and quickly clean up the debris on the worktable or the floor.

HEAVY-DUTY
9.5
OVERSIZED DRAIN
9
Pros
  • Very stable base
  • Tons of accessory storage
  • Dual-flex hose technology
  • Oversized drain
  • Built-in blower
  • Utility nozzle
  • 6.5-horsepower motor
  • Great suction power
Cons
  • Can't get into small spaces

Those who want to keep the workshop tidy should consider the Craftsman Wet/Dry Vac. It can help you easily and quickly clean up the debris on the worktable or the floor. It’s a heavy-duty vacuum with a 6.5-horsepower motor, allowing you to suck up wood scraps, water, and screws.

Craftsman CMXEVBE17595 Wet-Dry Vac

Plus, it features a built-in blower port at the back to help you blow leaves, sawdust, and grass clipping out of the workshop or garage. That way, they aren’t mucking up the space and causing a slip-and-fall hazard.

Overall, this is the best shop vac out there because it has a simple trigger switch to go between the blower function and vacuum.

Plus, you’re sure to like that this shop vacuum has an oversized drain, so you can empty the liquids without fearing that you get them on you. The small shop vac even uses Dual-Flex technology. That means the hose flexes to 180 degrees so that it doesn’t kink while you’re cleaning different areas.

On top of that, you get tons of accessories with this shop vac. For example, there’s a 7-foot long hose, car nozzle, wet nozzle, two extension wands, a utility nozzle, dust collection bag, and even a Quik Lock filter.

Shop-Vac 5989300 Vacuum

You get a filter bag, cartridge filter, foam sleeve, gulper nozzle, floor nozzle, three extension wands, a crevice tool, and a seven-foot hose. That way, you’ve got more flexibility when cleaning your house, office, garage, or car.
9.5Expert Score
Top & side carry handles enhance its portability

5989300 model is highly portable and powerful. In fact, it features a stainless steel tank with a 5-gallon capacity that doesn’t corrode or rust.

POWERFUL
9.5
PORTABLE
9
Pros
  • 3-year warranty
  • Very maneuverable
  • Two carrying handles
  • Broad base
  • Onboard accessory storage
  • 5-gallon capacity
  • Stainless steel body
Cons
  • Unstable tool holder
Shop-Vac 5989300 Vacuum

When you want a wet/dry shop vac that meets all of your needs, the 5989300 model is highly portable and powerful. In fact, it features a stainless steel tank with a 5-gallon capacity that doesn’t corrode or rust.

You also get a maneuverable dolly to take it all around the shop without knocking the shop vacuum over as you work. Plus, there are carrying handles on the side and top to make it easy to pick up and take where you need it.

It includes four wheels with a wider square base, so it’s quite stable, as well, making it one of the best shop vacs on the market.

If you want, you can switch from a vacuum to the blower with the flip of a switch!

This small shop vac also delivers on accessories. You get a filter bag, cartridge filter, foam sleeve, gulper nozzle, floor nozzle, three extension wands, a crevice tool, and a seven-foot hose. That way, you’ve got more flexibility when cleaning your house, office, garage, or car. Plus, there’s onboard accessory storage, which keeps the pieces together so that you don’t lose them.

Stanley 3-Gallon Wet Dry Vacuum

Therefore, you want the best shop vac from Stanley to get the job done. It features a 3-gallon capacity, so it’s a bit smaller than the others on the list.
9.3Expert Score
2 in 1 Function With this versatile vac

Plus, this small shop vac only weighs 8.65 pounds, so it’s portable and lightweight. Take it to the construction site when larger vacuums don’t do it for you.

LARGER CAPACITY
9.5
VERSATILE
9
Pros
  • Cleans wet/dry messes easily
  • 3-horsepower motor
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Longer life cycle
  • 10-foot reach Large drain port
  • 12-month warranty
Cons
  • Shorter cord length than other models

Whether you want to clean your entire car or clean the job site, normal vacuums don’t do what you need. Therefore, you want the best shop vac from Stanley to get the job done. It features a 3-gallon capacity, so it’s a bit smaller than the others on the list.

Stanley 3-Gallon Wet Dry Vacuum

However, that just means it’s easier to store when you aren’t using it. Plus, you just connect the hose and plug it in to get it to work. You’re sure to appreciate the 3-horsepower motor that sucks up all types of debris without losing any suction power.

Plus, this small shop vac only weighs 8.65 pounds, so it’s portable and lightweight. Take it to the construction site when larger vacuums don’t do it for you.

This wet/dry vacuum works well in your car, house, workshop, and garage. Plus, you get a cord length of 6 feet and a 4-foot hose to make a 10-foot cleaning reach. That way, you can get into every cranny to suck up the debris.

With that, this wet/dry vac features a long life cycle that runs for 300 hours. There’s also a large drain port to get rid of the dirty water without it spilling. Also, this shop vacuum comes with a long hose, foam filter, crevice nozzle, and a non-woven filter.

Shop-Vac 5895200 Wet/Dry Vac

Plus, there are tons of accessories included with this Wet/Dry vacuum cleaner. These include extension wands, a dual-surface nozzle, a 7-foot hose, a gulper nozzle, a wall mount bracket, and the round brush.
9.3Expert Score
Janitorial & Cleaning Supplies

It does a great job and is portable, so you can pack it up and take it to construction sites or anywhere else.

TOUGH
9.5
RECHARGEBLE
9
Pros
  • Easy to transport
  • Compact design
  • High-powered motor
  • Wall mount system available
  • Various accessories
  • Stable design
  • Two sizes
  • 2.5-horsepower motor
Cons
  • Not the best suction power
Shop-Vac 5895200 Wet-Dry Vac

If you tend to have smaller cleaning projects, you should get the best shop vac ever. The 5895200 model is a wet/dry vac that has the power of a large vacuum, but it’s handheld. With that, it features a 2.5-gallon tank and 2.5-horsepower so that it can suck up all the debris in your home.

It does a great job and is portable, so you can pack it up and take it to construction sites or anywhere else. Plus, there are tons of accessories included with this Wet/Dry vacuum cleaner. These include extension wands, a dual-surface nozzle, a 7-foot hose, a gulper nozzle, a wall mount bracket, and the round brush.

When you choose to mount the shop vacuum on the wall, you can keep things organized and have more floor space. It’s a great small shop vac with a cool gray/pink color scheme. Plus, the wide base ensures that you can pull it around with no issues.

Shop-Vac 1.5 Gallon Vac

Plus, this shop vacuum has the accessories needed to get into all those tight spaces. They include extension wands, gulper nozzle, crevice tool, round brush, and the wall mounting brackets. Plus, the small shop vac even has a blower feature!
9.3Expert Score
Automotive vacuum systems

Though it’s a cheaper model, it doesn’t stall or clog when you use it. Plus, it has a 2-horsepower motor, so it packs a punch.

Cordless
9.5
Powerful blower.
9
Pros
  • Rear blowing function
  • Onboard tool storage
  • Compact design
  • Large carrying handle
  • 1.5-gallon tank
  • Built-in drain
  • Powerful motor
  • Long cord
Cons
  • Clogs easily with large debris

If you find yourself refinishing the hardwood floors, you want the best shop vac for the money. Though it’s a cheaper model, it doesn’t stall or clog when you use it. Plus, it has a 2-horsepower motor, so it packs a punch.

Shop-Vac 1.5 Gallon Vac

With the 1.5-gallon tank capacity, you’re sure to suck up all the mess, including liquid spills and dust particles.

Plus, this shop vacuum has the accessories needed to get into all those tight spaces. They include extension wands, gulper nozzle, crevice tool, round brush, and the wall mounting brackets. Plus, the small shop vac even has a blower feature!

The gray and turquoise color scheme makes it fun to use and unique. You can pick it out of the cluttered space with ease. Since it’s a smaller vacuum, you can move it around wherever you need it or take it in the car. Plus, it features a wide handle, so you can pick it up and carry it.

It also comes with wide latches to hold the canister and top in place. That means you don’t have to mess around with it when you’re trying to dump the mess out.

Armor All AA355 Utility Vacuum

The average homeowner could probably use this poly wet/dry vac for the duration of owning the home with no issues. Plus, it has a 2-horsepower motor that sucks up dry, damp, and wet debris with no clogs. You never lose suction power here!
9.3Expert Score
2.5 Gallon Polypropylene Tank

Armor All Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum. It’s made of polypropylene with a 2.5-gallon capacity. The thicker design ensures that it doesn’t break or crack with time.

Easy Conversion
9.5
Lightweight
9
Pros
  • Sleek colors
  • Compact design
  • 2.5-gallon tank
  • Built-in air/noise diffuser
  • Accessory storage features
  • Blower function
  • Cord wrap feature
  • Longer hose length
  • Powerful motor
Cons
  • No wheels
  • No HEPA filtration

Another great option on the list is the Armor All Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum. It’s made of polypropylene with a 2.5-gallon capacity. The thicker design ensures that it doesn’t break or crack with time.

Armor All AA355 Utility Vacuum

The average homeowner could probably use this poly wet/dry vac for the duration of owning the home with no issues. Plus, it has a 2-horsepower motor that sucks up dry, damp, and wet debris with no clogs. You never lose suction power here!

These shop vacuums also feature a 10-foot cord to increase your reach. Just wrap the cord around your small shop vac when you’re done to make storage a breeze. Plus, the cord doesn’t fray.

You get on-board hose storage with this shop vac, too. That’s great for those smaller spaces, and it helps you keep track of the accessories. Just flip a switch to turn this baby into a blower. Plus, it comes with a built-in air/noise diffuser, so it runs quietly, giving you a broad range of times to use it.

Buyer’s Guide

The best shop vacs work like the standard vacuum you probably have in a closet somewhere. However, you can pick up large debris, such as nails and wood bits. Plus, it is designed to clean up spilled liquids, such as on a hardwood floor. If you happen to have a flooded basement, you can suck the water from the carpet to prevent more damage and problems later.

Overall, a small shop vac is a multi-purpose tool that works well for business and home use. If you enjoy doing DIY projects around your home, you’re sure to appreciate having a small vacuum.

The issue now is finding the right model, as there are various shop vacuums out there. This buyer’s guide shows you the factors to consider to narrow down your options and choose the best product for the job.

Tank Capacity and Size

The biggest reason to get a small shop vac is to clean up everyday debris, small messes, and dirt from your car. Therefore, you can usually get away with having a small tank. A smaller shop vac has a tank size from 1.5 to 6 gallons.

If your goal is to clean up big messes in your workshop or home, it might be wise to consider shop vacs with an 8 to 14-gallon capacity. However, the smaller size is ideal when you want powerful suction without the high price. That way, you can get rid of liquids and dry waste effortlessly.

Larger shop vacs tend to have bigger tank capacities, and they’re found in large workshops. The issue is that they are similar to a regular vacuum cleaner and aren’t portable. Therefore, it’s a good idea to look at the weight of the product to make sure that it is a great investment and offers the best value for your needs.

Material

Most of the small shop vac models listed here offer a durable plastic body. It’s the most popular because it’s less expensive and still gives that water-resistant design you crave.

Typically, plastic isn’t as heavy, so the shop vacs are easy to carry, hold, or transport.

Whether you’re taking it to each room of the house, into the workshop, or out to the patio, you can clean large dust out easily without hurting yourself.

You can also find metal tanks, which are durable and corrosion-resistant, but they tend to be heavy. The polypropylene design is also great to have.

One other thing to think about here is caster wheels. When the vacuum has wheels on the base, you can move it around without having to drag it over the carpet or pick it up.

Horsepower

The amount of power coming from the shop vac depends on the debris you’re picking up. Shop vacuums with more horsepower have a stronger suction. If you want enough power for many cleanup jobs, it’s best to choose a higher horsepower for your shop vac.

Accessories and Features

Shop vacs typically suck up fine dust and can clean water and other messes. However, it’s best to focus on various features and options available. For example, do you want a rear-facing exhaust port to ensure that the heat doesn’t make you hot while using it?

Overall, you want a shop vac with all the accessories for a low price. This can include built-in pumps for liquid, various hose lengths, a HEPA filter, and others. Sometimes, they even come with car-cleaning brushes, cartridge filters, and noise-reducing technology.

Power Source

Do you want to use the shop vac to clean the garden walkways or the driveway? Is it primarily to be used in the home? Your answer determines the power source you need.

The shop vacs listed today use a power cord that plugs into the outlet. However, you can find a battery-operated wet/dry shop vac that can be used outside without an extension cord. Called a cordless shop vac, they still give you the power you want in the yard or elsewhere. It’s important to pay attention to how long the battery lasts, though. Otherwise, you might have to stop cleaning multiple times before the job is done.

Storage

Does the shop vac come with many storage options? Some shop vacuums have wall-mounted systems to hold the machine and accessories. Others feature on-board storage options or an accessory bag. With a shop vac model like that, you can put all the tools on the machine or store them in a bag that hangs from it.

Think about where you want to store the vacuum when you’re not using it and the components and accessories that come with it. Then, you can determine how much room you need and buy the right option for your home or workshop.

Conclusion

Now that you know how to choose the right wet/dry vac for your workshop, garage, or home, it’s important to think about all the information you learned and make the best choice.

There are tons of shop vacs to buy, and you want to choose something that is durable, long-lasting, and ready for any spill or mess you make.

Overall, the best small shop vac is from the Bissell brand. It comes with many accessories, converts to a blower, and can clean wet/dry messes. Plus, it features a sleek black color that matches almost any home or workshop setup.

If you want the perfect small shop vac and are on a budget, you may want to go with the Stanley brand or the Micro Vac from Shop-Vac.

Why trust Handyman.Guide?

s written by Itamar Ben-Dor, who has 25 years of experience in renovations, carpentry, locks, creation, landscaping, painting, furniture construction, and furniture renovation, works with concrete, plumbing, door repair, and more.

This article was written by Itamar Ben-Dor, who has 25 years of experience in renovations, carpentry, locks, creation, landscaping, painting, furniture construction, and furniture renovation, works with concrete, plumbing, door repair, and more.


Disclosure: handyman.guide participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for publishers to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Itamar Ben Dor

Itamar Ben Dor

My father is a practical engineer, and as a hobby he was also involved in construction, renovations, carpentry and woodwork at home; So there was always tools, saws, drills and more at home. Already I was a little kid Dad and I would renovate the house. Once we built a shed for garden tools, once we did flooring for the garden, once we renovated the bathroom and that’s the way it is. Long before there was an internet, directories and plans. We would build things, kitchen cabinets, install electrical appliances, do flooring, pour concrete and more ... I in this blog want to pass on to you the experience I have gained over the last 20 plus-minus years since I was a child to this day and give you information about the best tools, project plans, guides and more.

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