Portable shop vacuums Guide

6 Best Portable Shop Vac Reviews and Buying Guide in 2021 [Updated]

A shop vacuum picks up what household models drop off. When your cleanup involves liquids, automotive debris, job site materials, or heavier household waste, you need the best portable shop vac that can pick up all of that. This is a job for a best portable shop vac.

Almost all of the reputed brands have their own version of portable vacs. Some are more powerful than others. While it is fairly easy to buy any compact vacuum cleaners out there, it is difficult to find the right one that can handle all types of messes.

That’s why I have selected some of the best portable wet dry shop vacuum out there that will surely save your time when buying one. If you want to know how I’ve selected them, please refer to the buying guide at the end of this article.

In a Hurry? Check the list of our Best Portable Wet Dry Shop Vacuums

Our Top 6 Picks of  Best Portable Shop Vac

1. Armor All 2.5 Gallon, 2 Peak HP, Utility Wet/Dry Vacuum

Armor All, AA255 , 2.5 Gallon 2 Peak HP Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum

The Armor All Utility Vac is a small machine that has a 2.5-gallon tank capacity with a 2-peak horsepower. Since it’s a wet/dry vacuum, it can handle both wet and dry vacuum. This unit is specifically designed to clean the interior of your vehicle. The low-profile design makes it easy to carry around tight corners. It also comes with all the necessary accessories needed for complete interior cleaning.

The best feature is yet to come. This unit easily converts to a blower. You can use this feature to dry motorcycle or blow out dust from your tires, car grills, and air filters. To prevent overflow and also to prevent damaging the unit, it has an automatic shut-off feature. For efficient and quiet operation, there is a built-in noise and air diffuser.

It has a 2-horsepower motor on it, so you should be able to get good suction out of it. The vacuum hose is pretty long too. It is 6-foot long, and the diameter of the hose is 1.25-inch, which means it is flexible and wide enough so that you won’t have any clogging issue. Not only that, but it also has a 10-foot power cord with a cord wrap.

If you have a power outlet located nearby where you park your car, I’m pretty sure you won’t need any extension cords. That’s is pretty handy because you don’t have to drag the vacuum all over the place. The polypropylene tank might be small, but it has enough space for most interior cleaning jobs.

Highlighted Features

  • This utility vac has the best value for the money.
  • It has a powerful suction.
  • Long power cord and hose.
  • Small and lightweight design.
  • Easy to use blower function.


2. Vacmaster 2.5 Gallon, 2 Peak HP, Portable Wet Dry Vacuum, VP205

Vacmaster, VP205, 2.5 Gallon 2 Peak HP Portable Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum

Spruce up your home, workshop, or garage with the Vacmaster 2.5 Gallon ultra-portable wet/dry vacuum. Full-sized small shop vacs are cumbersome, so Vacmaster created a compact vac that is just the right size. For minor messes and spills around the house, in the car, or anywhere you need for a quick clean, there is no need for two tools when one does it all.

It is equipped with a powerful 2 Peak HP that can deliver powerful suction right from the start. The Vacmaster VP205 does quick work out of any mess, wet or dry. It comes equipped with a 4-ft long hose that has a 1-1/4-inch diameter. It also comes with an 8-inch long power cord with cord wrap.

Now, the hose and the cord aren’t that long as the Armor All utility vac, but you can expect the same level of performance.

It also comes equipped with an easy-to-empty 2.5-gallon tank — is ideal for quick cleanup. With a handy suite of tools and the reusable and washable cloth filter and wet foam filter, you will have the right tool to suit any cleaning tasks. The 2-in-1 utility nozzle makes quick work of any dirt and debris. To keep all of the attachments in one place, it has onboard accessory storage, which makes storage very easy.

It has a large easy to use on/off button and pretty straightforward usage. To prevent overflow, it has an auto shut off mechanism. The key feature of this tool is its blower function. From inflating pool toys and inflatable beds to clearing unwanted debris, you can use the blower feature.

Highlighted Features

  • It has a convenient size and weight for maximum portability.
  • Ideal for quick cleanups and storage.
  • Reusable and washable foam wet filter and a cloth filter.
  • Easy conversion to blower function.
  • A strong 2 Peak HP motor.


3. Shop Vac 2021000 Micro Portable wet dry shop Vacuum with Collapsible Handle

Shop-Vac 2021000 Micro Wet/Dry Vac

The Shop-Vac 2021000 is a little monster that is perfect in every way. It’s small but at the same time extremely powerful. It has powerful suction with a 1-gallon tank capacity. It has 1 peak HP motor that delivers good suction right out of the box. This is a wet/dry vac so you can clean dry and wet dirt and debris. The only downside is that it doesn’t have a blower port. Other than that, it does what it was supposed to do and does a great job.

It has a 6-foot power cord, so you would want to consider getting an extension cord. Keep in mind that it has a 1-gallon tank capacity, so you need to frequently empty the can before you start picking up dirt again. It comes with a paper bag filter that fills up for dry debris and wet pickups. All you need to do is remove the bag, and you are good to go.

It doesn’t have a blower system, so you won’t be able to put the hose into the exhaust side to convert it into a blower. If you absolutely need a blower function, this isn’t the tool for you. This mini vac is perfect for cleaning the interior of your car. It will take up little to no space in your trunk because of its small and ergonomic design. If the cord is too small for you, you can make some adjustments and purchase a 25-foot three-prong extension cord.

Considering the price of this unit, you don’t need to keep your expectations high. What you will get is way more than what you will be paying for. It’s the best shop vac for small jobs, and if you want more tank space, you can buy the next size up. You can also mount this unit to a wall and use a long hose to do all your cleaning.

Highlighted Features

  • Very lightweight and compact.
  • Wall mountable unit.
  • 1-gallon tank capacity with 1 Peak Hp.
  • Wet/dry capable shop vac.
  • It comes with a lot of cleaning accessories.


4. Stanley Wet/Dry Vacuum, 3 Gallon, 3 Horsepower

Stanley 3 Gallon Wet Dry Vacuum, 3 Peak HP Poly 2 in 1 Shop Vac

This small shop vac Stanley wet/dry vacuum is great for small messes. But it is also built to take on bigger messes too, making it perfect for picking up pet hair, drywall dust, debris, and more. That’s not even the half of it. It has a removable blue cloth filter as well as a foam filter. Attach the foam filter when you are ready to take on spills that would normally take up an entire roll of paper towels.

You no longer need to use a different vac to clean spilled milk. You can clean it up in an instant with this Stanley wet/dry vac. This mini vac also features a high-performance blower port. It is perfect for blowing leaves off the patio. You can even use the inflator kit to turn your vacuum into a custom tool for inflating your air mattress quickly.

You can also use this for coal-ash cleanup. This vac is just the tool you need to clean out your fireplace, grill, and bonfire pit. You don’t need to use a bag to pick up wet stuff. It’s a good product at a good price and has plenty of suction power for general cleaning applications. It can easily suck water off the floor or carpet. This particular model has a 3-gallon tank capacity with a sealed pressure of 53-inches.

You won’t have to worry about leaking or anything. It has a powerful 3 peak Hp motor. This hose is 4-ft long with a 1-1/4-inch diameter. Accessories include gulper nozzle, crevice nozzle, foam filter, reusable dry filter, and clamp ring. In addition to that, it also has onboard storage, which makes storage very easy and neat. It would be a killer vac if the hose was a bit long and also the power cord. Other than that, you will be getting good value out of it.

Highlighted Features

  • 60 CFM airflow capacity.
  • Easily converts into a blower.
  • Powerful suction for wet pickup.
  • Reusable dry filter and foam filter.
  • 52-inches of sealed pressure.


5. Stanley Wet/Dry Vacuum, 4 Gallon, 4 Horsepower, Stainless Steel Tank

Stanley portable Wet/Dry Vacuum

This is a stainless steel 4 gallon wet/dry vac from Stanley. It is perfect for wet spills, messy jobs around the workshop, or a garage vacuum cleaner, or you can convert this into a blower and take care of those big jobs like cleaning the patio, blowing out the leaves, etc. On top of that, the housing and the tank is made from stainless steel. I mean, who doesn’t love ss steel? It’s ridged, tough, rugged, won’t crack, and it certainly won’t brittle when it is cold outside.

It lasts forever. When it comes to the vac, this is my favorite metal behind gold and silver. The whole vac with all the accessories is right around 8 pounds. So, this is really the perfect size. It still has 4-gallons of tank capacity; it comes with all the accessories you will ever need, and it has a powerful 4 peak HP motor. Speaking of accessories, you will be getting a complete set.

It comes with a standard 5-ft long flexible hose with 1-1/4-inch diameter, three long extension wands, three nozzles, three separate filters, and many more. If you have one of those cleaning jobs that require fine vacuuming like drywall or fine wood mess with disposable filter bags that pop right in. These filters are handy for that stuff that can really mess up a vacuum.

The whole unit, you can pick it up with one finger. That’s how lightweight this unit is. Because ordinary shop vacs are kind of bulky, heavy, and cumbersome to move around. In addition to that, it also has 4 swivel casters that allow for convenient multi-directional movement. The power line cord is 10-feet long and has a cord wrap design.

Highlighted Features

  • Waterproof design for safety and easy operation.
  • Stainless steel durable tank.
  • High-performance motor for great suction power.
  • Swivel casters for easy maneuverability.
  • Lightweight and compact design for easy storage.


6. Shop Vac 5895200 2.5-Peak Horsepower AllAround EZ Series Wet/Dry Vacuum 2.5-Gallon

Shop-Vac 5895200 2.5-Peak Horsepower All-around EZ Series Wet/Dry Vacuum

The shop vac 5895200 is a small shop vac, portable, powerful, comes with great attachments, and looks pretty darn cute. One of those compact wet/dry vacs offers similar performance and power to a full-sized shop vac. Plus, you will get the freedom of mobility and the convenience of a handheld model. It is powered by a 2.5 peak horsepower motor and has a 2.5-gallon tank capacity. You can easily pick it up using the top carry handle or drag it around the house with the easy roll casters.

This AllAround EZ Series Wet/dry vac comes with a complete set of versatile accessories. It has a 7-foot long flexible hose with a 1.25-inch diameter. Other accessories include two extension wands, a dual surface nozzle, crevice tool, gulper tool, a round brush, and a bracket to wall mount this unit. It has a rear blow port that you can use to attach the hose and easily convert this machine into a powerful blower.

For easy storage, you can hang this unit on the wall, and the vacuum will be out of your way. As a matter of fact, all of the All-Around EZ Series vacs are wall mountable. This unit is very lightweight and can be easily carried to where the mess is. Whether it is a wet or dry mess, you can use this to pick those up in and around the house.

You can keep all the accessories and tools organized with the vacuum by using the onboard storage. This way, you can easily reach any tool whenever you need it. This is a highly versatile cleaning machine because of its versatile accessories. Simple switch the cleaning heads, and you can easily and effortlessly go from bare floors to carpet.

Highlighted Features

  • It has an 18-foot long cord—the longest one on this list.
  • A powerful 2.5 peak HP motor.
  • Versatile cleaning attachments.
  • Easy roll casters for mobility.
  • Wall mountable unit.


How to Choose the Best Portable wet/dry Vacs?

what is the best Portable Shop VacSince you here, that means that you probably own some vacuum or you are looking for something that can clean not only your house but also your garage and vehicles. A standard upright vac won’t help you clean those areas, and that is why you should opt for a portable wet/dry shop vac.

Here are the following key factors that you need to consider when choosing a portable wet/dry shop vacuum.

Filters & Collection Bags

Wet/dry vacuums use filters ranging from general to fine grade. Choosing one comes down to the job at hand.

Cartridge filters are great for the both wet and dry pickup but can require a tad cleanup. A general duty collector bag keeps your tank clean and makes disposal easy as long as debris is dry. Foam filters handle wet pickup, and for a mixture of wet and dry debris, a tear-resistant wet and dry collection bag separates wet and dry waste in one handy container. For fine debris like drywall dust, you will need a high-efficiency or HEPA rated filter. You can combine a HEPA cartridge with a HEPA collector bag for maximum dual dry filtration.

Wet/Dry

In any garage, messes can happen in all shapes and sizes. It can be either in liquid form or solid. So, it would be best if you were prepared for whatever happens. Get the best shop vac that can clean both liquids and solids. Only the vacs that are marked “Wet/Dry” can do that job with ease.

They have special filters and dust bags that can separate liquid wastes from solid and make cleaning much easier afterward. You never know what kind of mess you will make inside the car or your garage. And you certainly don’t want to use two vacuums.

Don’t limit yourself in how you can clean messes and get a wet/dry capable vac. Even though there are a lot of models that are capable of cleaning both types of waste, there are some models that are better at it than others.

Built-In Features

Up next, consider the built-in features of portable shop vacs. For sizeable wet pickup, consider a vac with a built-in pump out feature. This allows for continuous pumping beyond tank size using a standard garden hose.

If you are dealing with basement flooding, a pump vac may be a better bet. Poly tanks avoid static, while stainless steel tanks prevent odor absorption.

A blower port helps with interior car cleaning or leaf blowing. If noise is a factor, choose a vac with a lower decibel rating.

Staying in one place, try a stationary or drop away dolly model. If mobility is important, consider how onboard tools are stored, how the hose connects, and the electrical cord’s length.

Long Cord & Hose

Having a generously sized power line cord will give you more reach in larger spaces. Some wet/dry vacs are wall-mounted that come with a short hose of 5-ft long. And other models come loaded with a 20 foot power cord or more.

Similar to a long power cord, you should also look for a longer hose. The longer the hose, the longer the reach. Usually, a portable or a wall mount unit will come with a long hose of 20-ft to 32-ft in length. A medium to a large hose can have 7-ft to 10-ft in length.

Built-In Storage

It’s better to have storage space for all the vacuum attachments. Cord wraps, cleaning heads, hoses, and other accessories can be neatly tucked away if you have proper onboard storage.


Benefits of Using Portable Shop Vacs

Portable shop vacs, aka canister vacs, have a wide variety of benefits. Apart from being portable, owning one over the more significant, more traditional model also has other benefits.

The obvious reason why you would pick up one of these models is because of their portability. Since they are compact in size, you can take them anywhere you want and clean even the tightest of corners. They are light in weight and can be used by anyone. The vacuum’s size and weight allow you to carry them around from room to room with ease.

These vacs are great for cleaning the interior of your car. They work better than a handheld vacuum. The wide array of cleaning heads and attachments are small enough to go anywhere and allow you to effortlessly clean upholstery, leather surface, car floor, dashboard, in between cushions, and many more.

Some models come with a crevice wand that can do some of those cleaning but having portable shop vacs do the job can result in a better cleaning experience.

These are simple and easy to use vacs. Just turn on the switch when you need to clean dirt and debris from floors and other surfaces. You don’t have to mess around with adjustable brushes or suction speed. The vac does the hard work for you. They have fewer buttons and lever and easy enough to be used by anyone.

These portable shop vacs are compact, short, and lightweight, they are very easy to store. You can easily find enough storage space inside your closet to fit one of these cleaners. Some of them allow you to hang them up when not in use.

You can clean more with portable shop vacs than you could with an upright vacuum. A portable vac is small and light, and because of that, you can clean bed-sheets, countertops, workbenches, desks, upholstery, stairs, window sills, and much more.

But maintaining a shop vac is very important for its long life span. Proper caring can make a shop vacuum strong and ready to provide more perfect services.


Frequently Asked Question about Portable shop vac

What is the best small portable shop vac?

According to my list, finally, the winner of the best small portable shop vac is Armor All, AA255. It is specially featured to clean the interior site of your cars and other vehicles. It is small enough and lightweight that you can easily carry. Even you can reach with it close-fitting spaces to clean up.
By the way, if you are looking for the best value, then this one is the right to pick up. It’s become popular among the consumer as it provides many functions like home uses, blowers, suck up wet messes.

Which shop vac has the best suction?

For the best suction, I must say about Stanley’s sl18910p- vacuum. Its powerful suction is enough to vacuum the inside of your cars, leaves, and crumbs. It’s little but not too small to have to empty frequently. Also, it’s a versatile vac that you don’t need to use your regular vacuum for cleaning like cat litter, food spills, and glass.

What is the best shop vac for woodworking?

Though it depends on your needs and demand, on my research, I found Stanley’s wet/dry vacuum is best for woodworking or any heavy work. It featured stainless steel to makes it durable. Its powerful motor provides great suction so that the bulk amount of mess can easily clean.

Which portable shop vac is right for you?

Every ones budget is not same, needs are different. Consider some essential factors like water tank size and portability you need to choose one of the best according to your budget.

Final Thoughts

Now that you have gone through all the criteria for selecting shop vacs, that means that you are ready to buy one. If you are still in doubt, take your time a little bit of research of your own. All the models listed here have high positive reviews. With unbeatable durability and versatility, the best portable shop vac will remove the stress from your next big mess from whatever you are cleaning.