A vacuum cleaner is a staple in every home and workplace because they are efficient at sucking up dirt and making things look clean! A shop vac is a vacuum specifically designed for the toughest jobs, perfect for shops, construction sites and commercial spaces that need something a little more powerful than your regular household quiet vacuum cleaner. While you do get quiet air compressors now, a shop-vac can often be a much quieter way to clear debris from cracks and seams in your workshop too!
A shop vacuum cleaner can be extremely useful to have, as it can handle much bigger messes and larger pieces of debris than a household vacuum. However, the downside is that these vacs make a lot of noise. Is there a way around this?
Fortunately, there are quiet shop vac cleaners out there now that are considered to be quieter than your average vacuum and will make using them a lot easier on your ears. If you don’t know where to start looking, take a look at our buying guide all about shop vacs below. We have even included some of our top picks out there on the market today, so you can find the best vacuum for your space.
Types Of Vacuums
There are three main types of vacuum cleaner, each which has their own importance, benefits and disadvantages. You should consider a shop vac that will most likely meet your needs.
A wet dry vacuum is a vac that is capable of sucking up both wet and dry debris. They are usually used for heavy-duty jobs in large commercial spaces. These vacuums have long cords and larger wheels so they can access many different areas and have a larger-range of mobility.
A wall mountable vacuum are generally some of the more compact vacuums, so perfect if you want to conserve on space. As their name suggests, you attach the vac’s bracket to the wall, off the ground, so the vac can be stored there when not being used. This also means the vacuum is kept off the ground, great if you need to maximize your floor space. Wall mountable vacuum cleaners tend to be on the small side, rather than what you would consider a shop vac.
A cordless or portable vacuum uses batteries as it’s source of power. These cordless vacuums are lightweight and easy to transport. They’re also often handheld, so great if you need to tackle smaller, hard to reach areas. The downside to these vacs is that they have a limited run time before they need to be charged again, however they often come with an extra battery.
Things To Consider In Quiet Shop Vac Cleaners
There are a few things to consider in a shop vac, especially when you are buying one for the first time. You’ll need to do your research to make sure the vacuum is right for your shop requirements and is, of course, a fairly quiet vacuum!
If you’re looking for a quiet shop vac, the first thing you’re going to want to consider is how noisy they are! Many shop vacuums come with multiple settings so the noise they produce does vary by changing the setting. After all, these pieces of equipment are designed to suck up some of the most stubborn dirt and debris, so you will expect them to make some noise! Any vac that produces a noise less than 80 decibels is considered to be a quieter vac, although there are some which will produce a noise less than 60 decibels.
Type of Task
The type of shop vac you are going to go for depends on what you need the shop vac to do. Will you need it to access smaller, hard to reach areas? Will it need to suck up both wet and dry debris? Will you need it to suck up dust? Do you need it to be portable? Knowing the type of task you will require your vac to perform will help you to pick the right cleaner for your space.
The best vacuums usually come with attachments. Usually this consists of a blower port at the back which allows you to turn your vac into a blower, as well as extension wands, basic utility nozzle, floor nozzle, wet nozzle, brush nozzle, gulper nozzle, car nozzle and a smaller crevice tool. You vac should come with a place to store all these attachments neatly and securely for convenience.
The size of the shop vac you choose not only relates to the overall size of the vacuum and ensuring it isn’t too big and doesn’t take up too much space, but also to the size of the canister or tank. The larger the canister or the tank, the more debris you are going to be able to fit inside without emptying it. This depends on how often you will be using the vac and how much mess you will need to suction up.
You want your vac to be portable and movable, otherwise they are going to be a pain. These vacs can be very heavy, and if they are not easily portable, how are you going to move them around the space you are trying to clean? Look for a shop vac with wheels and some will come with handles too.
Power and Capacity
Horsepower defines the the power of a shop vac in relation to the power of the vacuum cleaner’s motors. When looking for the power of your shop vac, you should look for the cubic feet per minute (CFM). This is the volume of air the vacuum will suck up in a minute and the higher the CFM, the better and faster its suction force.
The sealed pressure (SP) is also known as a water lift and measures how high the shop vacuum will lift a column of water in a tube. SP is the best indicator of suction power. A rating of 75” or higher is advised, especially for construction sites and woodworking shops.
Shop vacuums usually have a longer cord length than household vacuums because they are designed for larger spaces. This may or may not be something that is important to you, depending on the size of the area you will be vacuuming.
Hose Length and Diameter
The hose length and diameter greatly affect suction. The type of area you are vacuuming and the size of the debris you are trying to suction is very important when it comes to choosing the hose diameter in particular. You should choose 2.5″ for large shops and regular clean-ups, 1.5″ for medium size debris and 1.25 inches for finer debris.
The length of the hose is only really important if you have hard to reach areas. It works in conjunction with the cord length — if the cord length is shorter, then you may want a longer hose length so you can reach certain areas.
Choosing a vacuum with a warranty may or may not be important to you. We advise it because if the vac you bought isn’t durable and breaks then you will have wasted a lot of money!
If you’re ready to find the right quiet shop vacuum for your shop, commercial space or construction site, take a look at the best quiet shop vacs we recommend below. These are all available to you on Amazon.
The Best Quiet Shop Vac Cleaners — Reviewed
This 10 gallon wet dry vacuum from DeWALT prides itself on being 50% quieter than your average shop vac and generates roughly 65 decibels of noise – about the same level as conversation tones at a restaurant. Despite this, it still has a powerful 5.5 peak horsepower motor that provides just the amount of suction needed to most any cleanup job.
The built-in blower port is powerful enough to blow sawdust and debris from almost any workshop and it comes with an extra long, 10 foot power cord to reach even the hardest areas. Ultra durable rubberized casters allow smooth swivelling for ease of movement, too. The large built-in tank drain makes it easy to remove liquids picked up and there is an accessory storage bag conveniently attached to the backside of the vac to keep all accessories neatly organized.
This wet dry vac from TACKLIFE has a cyclonic engine that means although the shop vac has a power of 1000W, the suction reaches 17.5 kp for fast, easy clean up. Despite this, the sound level of the vacuum stays at 70dB and has, therefore, a quieter operation than many vacs of a similar size. This vacuum has a three-layer filtration that helps to tightly prevent dirt from entering the engine and comes with three functions: dry suction, wet suction and blowing.
With 16 feet of cable, 4 feet of hose and 2 feet of extension hose, this vac gives you a large working area. When the water level reaches a certain level, the motor of the vac stops working automatically and the transparent body allows you to check the running status at any time. Two large straight wheels and two multi-directional wheels allow for easy movement, too.
The FEIN Turbo II X wet dry vacuum cleaner is a lightweight and robust cleaner that ensures excellent dust extraction and suction capacity. Thanks to the small size of this shop vac, it can be used in hard-to-reach areas and has a 25 foot power cable and a 13 ft suction hose for even the largest of spaces. The high performance turbine gives 151 CFM and 98.4” water lift, while still operating at a low volume of 66 decibels, making this one of the quietest shop vacs on our list.
It has an autostart outlet with power-on delay to prevent current spikes and an integrated power tool socket with auto start/stop function. A protective filter case allows the filter to remain installed during wet or dry extractions, too. Even better, the different attachments that come with the vac can be stored in the vacuum lid for further portability.
With 137 CFM and a super quiet 62 dB on the low setting, the Festool 574930 CT 26 shop vac balances both power and size without damaging your ears! While this vac is very compact, it still has a container capacity of 26 L and is light enough to be portable with it’s swivelling castor wheels and rear wheels for optimum mobility. It also has a locking brake that provides stability on any surface as well as during transport.
The HEPA filter offers the ultimate in clean air and filtration so you can suction up any mess, dust, sawdust or other debris without having to worry. You can also extract dust automatically with tool triggered on/off functionality. You can also customize this vac with accessories like a handle, industrial cleaning sets, and larger hoses for the ultimate shop solution.
The Vacmaster VQ607SFD wet dry shop vac has a six gallon stainless steel tank that ensures optimal performance and durability. With a sound level of 80 decibels, this vac is slightly louder than some of the other shop vacs on our list, but is still much quieter than many out there on the market! A powerful 3 horsepower motor is up for any task and it has a 7 foot hose, a 1.25″ locking hose and a 12 foot cord with cord wrap, so you can reach any areas and cover any size of space with this vacuum.
It comes with further accessories such as a contour handle with suction control, 2 extension wands, a cartridge filter, a dust bag, reusable foam sleeve, 10″ multi-surface floor nozzle, 2-in-1 utility nozzle, a crevice tool and round dust brush, so you truly can tackle any mess! The ultra lightweight and portable design means it can be used anywhere, too.
Another shop vac from Vacmaster, this vacuum is a 4 gallon capacity wet dry vac with a 2-stage motor for powerful suction. It operates at a low volume of 72 decibels yet has a 5 peak HP motor and a 71-inch sealed water lift perfect for vacuuming up a range of messes. The HEPA material exhaust filter ensures that the air filtering back into the space is dust and allergen free and the balanced top handle design, durable casters, and non-marring rear wheels provide stable and safe transportation in and around your shop.
Lightweight and portable, this vac has an 18 foot cord with automatic cord rewind and a 7 foot x 1 1/4 inch long hose for reaching difficult areas. It comes with accessories such as 3 extension wands, a crevice tool, 2-in-1 utility nozzle, a floor nozzle and a dust brush so you can tackle any surface and there is a rear caddy for compact accessory storage, too.
The Nilfisk ALTO Aero 21 wet dry vacuum is compact, lightweight and robust. One of the smaller vacs on our list, this shop vac is perfect for smaller spaces and has a 20 liter capacity. The cord length is 5 meters, and the vac has a stainless steel container with a robust trolley and lifting handle for durability. Another quiet vac, it works at the noise level of 64 decibels despite being powerful.
It comes with a washable PET fleece filter with a minimum 99.9% filtration efficiency, as well as an exhaust blow function. Stable wheels allow you to move the vac around easily and makes transportation easy. Included accessories are a filter bag, an extension tube, floor nozzle, crevice nozzle and universal nozzle, with storage of this vac also made easy with positions for the suction hose, nozzles and power cord.
The FEIN Turbo I Vacuum Cleaner is a wet dry vacuum with a 5.8 gallon tank. Powered by 1100 watt bypass motor and with an air flow rate 151 CFM, this vac is great for a range of different spaces and messes. The bypass motor allows for the dirty air that comes from the hose never to come into contact with the motor, eliminating dust spewing out from the motor when you turn the vacuum on and ensuring greta durability of the vacuum.
This vacuum runs with a noise level of 66 decibels and is therefore perfect for anyone looking for a quiet operation. It also has a long 13 foot hose and an 18 foot cord that allows you to be 54 feet from the outlet, making this vac great for even the largest of spaces. There is on-board storage for the cord and accessories that help to make the shop vac compact and portable, too. Even better, the integrated power tool socket with automatic start/stop function ensures that the extractor starts as soon as your tool does for maximum efficiency.
If you’ve got a shop, a construction site or another large commercial space to clean, a shop vac is going to be very useful. Even better, a quiet shop vacuum will allow you to work without deafening you every time you need to use it! There are many features to look for when it comes to choosing the right shop vac, particularly factors such as the type of tasks the vacuum will be able to perform and how portable and easy to use the vac is, alongside the noise it makes. No matter what type of vac you need, you’ll be sure to find a quiet shop vac in our list above that you’ll love.