Best Wet/Dry Vacuums Of 2020

We're an affiliate

This post may contain Amazon affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Thank you if you use our links, we really appreciate it!

When it comes to versatile household cleaning equipment, it’s hard to beat the wet/dry vacumm.

This machine will allow you to suck up liquid spills, water overflows and other home horrors and then go right on beautifying your carpet without missing a beat.

Once the domain of commercial cleaning companies, the wet/dry vacuum is now a residential cleaning staple.

There are many models on the market, but how do you know which is the best?

That’s where we come in.

We’ve scoured the wet/dry vacuum market to identify the best wet/dry vacs out there right now.

In this article, we present to you the 5 best wet/dry vacuums in our wet/dry vacuum review.

We also answer all of your wet/dry vacuum questions with our in-depth FAQ section.

Best Overall
Armor All, AA255 , 2.5 Gallon 2 Peak HP Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum
DEWALT 18/20V Max Vacuum, Wet/Dry (DCV581H)
CRAFTSMAN CMXEVBE17595 16 Gallon 6.5 Peak HP Wet/Dry Vac, Heavy-Duty Shop Vacuum with Attachments
Stanley SL18910P-3 Wet/Dry, 3 Gallon, 3 Horsepower, Portable Car Vacuum, 3.0 HP AC, Black+Yellow
Vacmaster Professional - Professional Wet/Dry Vac, 12 Gallon, Beast Series, 5.5 HP 2-1/2" Hose (VJH1211PF0201)
MSRP
$59.85
$151.21
$82.49
$42.99
$145.82
Our Rating
96
94
91
88
86
Size
2.5 gallon
2 Gallon
16 Gallon
3 Gallon
12 Gallon
Weight
7 lbs.
11 pounds
26 pounds
8.65 pounds
14.15 pounds
Power
2.0 HP
1.85 HP
6.5 HP
3 HP
5.5 HP
Type of Filter
Cloth / Foam wet
Reusable cloth
Qwik Lock Pleated Paper
Foam, non-woven
Fine Dust Cartridge Filter, Foam Wet Filter
Best Overall
Armor All, AA255 , 2.5 Gallon 2 Peak HP Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum
MSRP
$59.85
Our Rating
96
Size
2.5 gallon
Weight
7 lbs.
Power
2.0 HP
Type of Filter
Cloth / Foam wet
More Information
DEWALT 18/20V Max Vacuum, Wet/Dry (DCV581H)
MSRP
$151.21
Our Rating
94
Size
2 Gallon
Weight
11 pounds
Power
1.85 HP
Type of Filter
Reusable cloth
More Information
CRAFTSMAN CMXEVBE17595 16 Gallon 6.5 Peak HP Wet/Dry Vac, Heavy-Duty Shop Vacuum with Attachments
MSRP
$82.49
Our Rating
91
Size
16 Gallon
Weight
26 pounds
Power
6.5 HP
Type of Filter
Qwik Lock Pleated Paper
More Information
Stanley SL18910P-3 Wet/Dry, 3 Gallon, 3 Horsepower, Portable Car Vacuum, 3.0 HP AC, Black+Yellow
MSRP
$42.99
Our Rating
88
Size
3 Gallon
Weight
8.65 pounds
Power
3 HP
Type of Filter
Foam, non-woven
More Information
Vacmaster Professional - Professional Wet/Dry Vac, 12 Gallon, Beast Series, 5.5 HP 2-1/2" Hose (VJH1211PF0201)
MSRP
$145.82
Our Rating
86
Size
12 Gallon
Weight
14.15 pounds
Power
5.5 HP
Type of Filter
Fine Dust Cartridge Filter, Foam Wet Filter
More Information

Armor All AA255Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum

BEST OVERALL

Armor All AA255Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum Review

Benefits

The ArmorAll A255 is specifically designed for use as a car vacuum. It does not come with wheels and has a capacity of 2.5 liters.

This machine handles wet and dry pick-up. It comes with a range of assortments to allow you to get into every imaginable nook and cranny.

Drawbacks

The ArmorAll A255 does not have any wheels so it is not as portable as many other models on the market.

It is not overly good at picking up dry debris, even though it does a great job with liquids. It would have been great to have an included shoulder strap to make it easier to transport the machine.

There is also no extension wand with this wet/dry vacuum.

Extra Features

The ArmorAll A255 is a very lightweight coming in at just 6.5 pounds. That makes it very easy to move the machine round, despite it not having any wheels.

A carry handle makes it even easier to carry the unit around. A built-in air diffuser with blower function adds to the versatility of the machine, allowing you to use it for everything from unblocking drains to collecting up leaves. 

It also has an automatic shut off to prevent overflow and a built in air and noise diffuser for efficient and quiet operation.

This wet/dry vacuum comes with a 72-inch hose, built-in hose storage and on-board storage accessory. The ten-foot power cord provides you with a decent distance to work with. 

This shop vacuum also comes with a floor nozzle, crevice tool, concentration tool and car nozzle.

Buying Advice

The ArmorAll Wet/Dry A255 is ideally suited for cleaning your car. 

It is ideally suited to fit into the trunk of your vehicle and provides you with a lot of accessories to get into every area where you need to collect dust, debris and liquid spills. 

It also has great onboard organization.

DEWALT 18/20V MAX Vacuum Wet/Dry

RUNNER-UP

DEWALT 18/20V MAX Vacuum, Wet/Dry DCV581H Review

Benefits

The DEWALT 18/20V MAX Wet/Dry Vacuum is an extremely versatile wet/dry vac. It allows you to work away from a power point thanks to its 20-volt max battery capability.

It also runs on a conventional AC power outlet. This vacuum features a HEPA rated wet/dry filter that is guaranteed to trap dust with 99.97 percent efficiency at 1 micron.

Drawbacks

The DEWALT 18/20V MAX Wet/Dry Vacuum battery and charger do not come with your purchase, so must be purchased separately. 

However, being a popular quality brand, the battery and charger will be compatible with many of the other products in DeWalt’s 180 product range. The diameter of the hose is just 1.25 inches which may cause debris to get clogged.

The downside of having a cordless ability is that you will not get as much power as when you plug the cord in. In addition, the battery will only last for 30 minutes max. 

The hose on this vacuum could also be a little longer.

Extra Features

The filter on the DEWALT 18/20V MAX Wet/Dry Vacuum is easily accessible and is both washable and reusable. Simply use tap water to rinse and clean before reusing the filter. 

The hose that comes with this unit is made from heavy duty crush resistant material and has a 1.25inch diameter. On-board hose and accessory storage makes it easy to keep everything together.

Attachments that come with the DEWALT 18/20V MAX Wet/Dry Vacuum include a crevice tool and a nozzle tool attachment.

The DEWALT 18/20V MAX Wet/Dry Vacuum is a lightweight and portable unit. Your purchase comes with a reusable washable filter. 

The vacuum also has the ability to blow as well as suck, adding to the versatility of use.

Buying Advice

The biggest selling point of the DEWALT 18/20V MAX Wet/Dry Vacuum is its cordless ability. 

That frees you up to do cleaning jobs away from a power point and is ideal for people who live off the grid. Just be aware that you will have to buy the battery and charger separately. 

If you already have a DeWalt battery pack for another tool, however, it will be compatible with his vacuum.

CRAFTSMAN 16 Gallon 6.5 Peak HP Wet/Dry Vac

CRAFTSMAN Wet Dry Vac Review

Benefits

The Craftsman Wet/Dry Vac is a heavy duty machine that is suitable for both commercial and residential use. 

It has a powerful 6.5 peak HP motor to provide an impressive level of suction power. It has a built-in blower port that allows you to use the machine to blow leaves as well as to unclog drains and pipes.

Drawbacks

The Craftsman Wet/Dry Vacuum has been reported by some online reviewers to produce a somewhat toxic smell. 

The quality of the plastic used on this machine is not as good as the products that we have reviewed above it.

Extra Features

The Craftsman Wet/Dry Vac comes with an oversized drain to provide for more efficient and convenient emptying of liquids. 

The hose on this unit features dual flex technology to provide 180-degree mobility at each end to resist any kinking. 

The diameter of the hose is 2.5 inches, making it easier for debris to travel up it and lessening the likelihood of blockage. 

And with a length of seven foot, it will reach into any area or crevice of your home.

Your purchase of the Craftsman Wet/Dry Vac comes with the following accessories: 2-1/2 in. x 7 ft. Pos-I-Lock Dual-Flex Hose, 2 Extension Wands, Utility Nozzle, Car Nozzle, Wet Nozzle, Qwik Lock Filter and Dust Collection Bag.

An oversized top carry handle makes it easy to carry this wet/dry vac around. You also get easy on board storage facility to make sure that everything you need is easily accessible. 

There is also a built in drain to take care of any overflow. A generous 20-foot power cord allows you to work from room to room without having to move the power cord.

Buying Advice

The Craftsman Wet/Dry Vac is a heavy-duty machine which provides you with plenty of suction and blowing power. 

It comes with an impressive range of accessories, along with a large 2.5- inch diameter hose to prevent any possibility of clogging. 

The Craftsman Wet/Dry Vac should be your wet/dry vacuum of choice if you are after a more powerful vacuum than the standard.

Stanley 3 Gallon Wet Dry Vacuum

Benefits

The Stanley 3-Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum has a 3 gallon capacity, making it better suited for those large liquid spills. 

Even with smaller jobs, you will not have to empty the tank as frequently with this machine.

Drawbacks

The Stanley 3-Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum does not have a blower function. Nor does it have a built-in drain tank. 

The reach on this unit is not very impressive, with just a six-foot cord and 4-foot hose. 

There is no extension want which would make it difficult to reach ceiling skirts or other high up areas of your home. 

The product does come with a 12-month warranty, however, several online reviewers have mentioned that they have failed to get satisfaction on the warranty after the motor stopped working within the warranty period.

Extra Features

The Stanley 3-Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum has a powerful 3 peak HP motor. It has enough suction to clean up most jobs. It features on-board storage to keep everything together and facilitate ease of transport.

A solid top handle makes for even more convenient transportation. The vacuum comes with a 10-foot cleaning reach, made up of a 6-foot power cord and a 4 foot hose.

The Stanley 3-Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum comes with a 3 in 1 crevice nozzle, a gulper nozzle, a foam filter and a reusable dry filter x 1. 

The 3 in one crevice nozzle is ideal for getting into hard to reach areas when detailing your car and getting into other tight spaces.

This product comes with a 12-month limited warranty.

Buying Advice

The Stanley 3-Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum is a large capacity wet/dry vacuum cleaner that provides a powerful suction, but does not have a blower function. 

Its range is also a little limited. Overall this is a good option for those slightly bigger jobs.

Vacmaster Professional Wet/Dry Vac

Benefits

The VacMaster Professional is a large capacity wet/dry vacuum, with a 12-liter bucket.

That makes it ideal for tackling those really tough clean up jobs like a burst pipe or other residential or commercial flood emergency.

Drawbacks

The Vacmaster Professional is a bulky machine, due largely to its 12-gallon capacity.

That may make it difficult to store away in your cupboard.

Extra Features

The VacMaster Professional comes with a 20-foot power cord, allowing you to move from room to room without having to unplug.

This effectively extends the sucking and blowing reach to 27-feet when you add the length of the hose.

The rugged polypropylene tank of the machine is both corrosion and impact resistant.

An extra large drainage port allows for quick and easy removal of water and other liquid that has been sucked up.

The VacMaster Professional features a unique flat power head design so that you can easily and conveniently store tools on top of the vacuum for immediate availability as needed.

Heavy duty 360° swivel casters improve mobility on most surfaces. 

The impressive range of accessories that came with your purchase include a utility nozzle, crevice tool, two extension wands, a floor nozzle with squeegee & brush, a fine dust cartridge filter, foam wet filter, and air & noise diffuser.

Buying Advice

The Vacmaster Professional is a large capacity wet/dry vacuum that provides both sucking and blowing functions. 

Its 27-foot reach allow you to get to almost any nook and cranny, including the ceiling. 

Your purchase comes with an impressive number of accessories and the original flat power head design allows you to store all of your necessary tools onboard for easy access. 

It features a high performance motor that provides plenty of suction.

Wet/Dry Vacuums FAQ

What does a wet/dry vacuum do?

A wet/dry vacuum cleaner is designed to clean dirt and dust convnetionally but also to be able to clean up liquid spills. 

These types of vacuums were first created for heavy duty commercial use. In recent years, however, wet/dry vacuums for residential use have come onto the market. 

Having a wet/dry vacuum cleaner allows the home user to clean their carpets and floors while also being able to clean up spills and wet areas.

How does a wet/dry vacuum work?

The internal electrical parts of a wet/dry vacuum are extremely well insulated and kept in a separarte compartment to the other internal componentry. 

This keeps the machine safe from electrocution. Rather than using a vacuum bag, the wet/dry vacuum cleaner utilizes a two bucket system in order to keep the liquid and solid material that is sucked up separate. 

The dirt and debris is sucked up by way of an integrated port and travels along a tube along with any liquid that is sucked up. 

The air flow then decreases which decreasess the air’s grip so that the liquid and solid particles separate and fall into their respective buckets.

You can also get wet/dry vacuums that have a blower function with the ability to blow out air as well as suck it in.

What types of wet/dry vacuum cleaners are on the market?

man cleans car with wet n dry vac

The types of wet/dry vacuum are separated according to their size as follows:

Large – large wet/dry vacuums are the most powerful and are generally designed for commercial applications. However, they are also the bulkiest.

Medium – medium sized wet/dry vacuums are best suited for residential home use. They are compact and will handle all of your spills and cleaning requirements.

Small – these are compact hand-held cleaners that can be taken withyou when you are on the run. You will lose some performnce capability with these models.

Is a shop vac a wet/dry vac?

Shop Vac is a brand name of a popular wet/dry vacuum manufacturer. In fact, it is so popular that the words Shop Vac have come to represent the entire product category. 

Shop Vacs are made of stainless steel. This ensures that there is no smell resulting from the dust and liquid.

Should I remove the filter before vacuuming water?

Yes, you should remove the filter from the vacuum when sucking up water or any other liquid. 

However, some vacuums will allow you to keep the filter in place when sucking up small amounts of liquid. If you do so, you should also rinse and dry the filter after use to prevent mildew from forming.

Some types of wet/dry vacuums use a bag while others have two collection chambers, or buckets. If your vacuum has a bag, you should remove the bag before sucking up any liquid.

You should then attach the water removal accessory to the vacuum. You are now ready to activate the wet switch and begin sucking up the water.

How do I know when the liquid container in the vaacuum is full?

man cleans car with vacmaster

Most models of wet /dry vacuum will have a floating ball mechanism that will stop sucking up the liquid when the tank is full. 

When this occurs the vacuum will emit a high pitched noise. You should stop vacuuming as soon as you hear this noise in order to prevent damage to the motor of the machine.

What is a wet/dry vacuum good for?

A wet/dry vacuum is a very versatile home cleaning machine. It can be used to clean up liquid spills on any type of surface around your home. 

In addition, it is great for unblocking sinks and baths (provided that the vacuum has a blower function). Many wet/dry vacuums also come with attachments that allow you to buff hardwood floors and clean curtains and upholstery. 

A wet/dry vacuum will also make the job of cleaning up a fireplace or even clearing snow away from your patio much easier.

If you are ever unfortunate enough to experience flooding from a burst pipe, the wet/dry vacuum will be a life-saver. 

This machine can also be used as a carpet cleaner, as it will enable you to remove marks, stains and mildew after applying a cleaning detergent.

What types of atttachments usually come with a wet/dry vacuum cleaner?

Wet/dry vacuums will typically provide you with a range of attachments to tackle all sorts of cleaning jobs around your home. 

You should expect to get some type of brush attachment that allows you to scrape off dust particles before they are sucked up into the hose. 

You will also get attachments with naarrow ends to allow you to reach into those hard to get areas where dust typically collects. You may also get attachments for cleaning mats and car seats as well as a buffer attachment. 

The most expensive wet/dry vacuum cleaners should come with a range of specialty attachments, including a wide path head and a spinner scrubber. 

Some will also provide you with brushes for cleaning grout from a tile floor.

Do wet and dry vacuums clean carpets?

wet/dry vac for cleaning carpet

Yes, wet/dry vacuum cleaners will act as a conventional vacuum cleaner, in addiiton to being able to suck up water and other liquids.

What is the most important thing to look for in a wet/dry vacuum cleaner?

The most critical thing to look for is the size of the suction hose. 

If it is too small, it will not do an effective job of sucking up water and debris. Smaller hosess will end up getting clogged up, causing you no end of hassles. 

You should look for a wet/dry vacuum that has a 2.5 inch hose, rather than a 1.5 inch.

Conclusion

The best wet dry vac on the current market is the Armor All AA255Wet/Dry Utility Shop Vacuum.

Our second best wet vacuum is the DEWALT 18/20V MAX Vacuum Wet/Dry.

Rounding out our top three best wet dry vacuum machines on the 2020 market is the CRAFTSMAN 16 Gallon 6.5 Peak HP Wet/Dry Vac.