10 Best Small Shop VACs of 2020 – Reviews & Buying Guide

What Are The Best Small Shop VACs to Buy?

Small shop vacs are extremely powerful vacuums that can deal with the most complex clean up jobs because they are the wet-dry vacs.

These are portable and easy to handle vacuum cleaners, especially designed for the workshops. Once you are done cleaning with these vacs, they leave the floor absolutely spill-free.

A best products mostly have a small tank capacity of 3 gallons. However, they still perform really well with peak horsepower. If you are one of those people that are struggling to buy the most powerful vac then we have got the solution for you.

In this review, we will discuss some of the leading models online and help you sort through the right choices.


Product Name




Current Price

1. Armor All AA255 Shop VAC

2.0 HP

7.0 lbs


2. Shop-Vac 2036000 Wet Dry Vacuum

2.5 HP

5.0 lbs


3. Shop-Vac 2030100 Wet Dry Vacuum

2.0 HP

6.0 lbs


4. Craftsman Wall Mount Wet Dry Shop Vac

2.0 HP

7.35 lbs


5. Shop-Vac 5895200 All Around EZ Vacuum

2.5 HP

12.0 lbs


6. Stanley SL 12125P Shop Vac

1.5 HP

5.0 lbs


7. Vacmaster VP205 Portable Wet Dry Vacuum

2.0 HP

8.4 lbs


8. Stanley SL18128 Wet Dry Vacuum

4.0 HP

10.5 lbs


9. Shop-Vac 2021000 Micro Wet/Dry VAC

1.0 HP

5.0 lbs


10. Workshop WS0250VA Compact Shop VAC

1.75 HP

6.9 lbs


You can also read other product reviews such as shop VAC, wall mount shop VAC

10 Best Small Shop VAC - Reviews

#1. Armor All AA255 Shop VAC

Editor's Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

  • Power: 2 HP
  • Weight: 7 pounds
This Armor All shop vac is a perfect selection for all those that require a decent working vac for their workshops or to clean the outdoors and garden areas. This one weighs 7 pounds which is pretty portable.

About the power, this one gives you peak HP of 2.0 which means that you can expect decent performance from the vac whether you use it as a suction device or as a blower.

The 2.5 gallons storage tank can accommodate enough dirt and debris. And because this one is a wet dry vac, it can also accommodate water and snow.

Now, the hose installed with this one is 6 feet long but there is 10 feet power cord along with this model which increases the reach of the vacuum cleaner.

Furthermore, this one comes with a lot of tools such as a brush, detail brush, crevice tool, and others which make this model extremely versatile in all kind of working conditions.

The hose is inside the canister portion of the vacuum and once you are done cleaning, you can again keep the hose inside. This compact shop vac is a great model for general purpose usage.


  • Portable and lightweight
  • Great tools
  • Can also be used as a blower
  • Powerful motor


  • Does not have wheels to roll

#2. Shop-Vac 2036000 Wet Dry Vacuum

Editor's Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

  • Power: 2.5 HP
  • Weight: 5 pounds

From all the models that Shop-Vac has to offer, this one is the top rated small shop vac which is extremely compact and lightweight.  

About the power, this one gives you peak HP of 2.5 which means that this machine can deliver high performance when it comes to suction or even blowing the dry leaves from the yard.  

The 2.5 gallons storage tank is sufficient for enough dirt and debris. This one is also dry wet vacuum and this it can suck up all the water or liquid compounds from your surroundings.

This model is equipped with 4 x 1.2 inches hose which gives you great reach to all the confined areas of your house. This one is a simple wall mounted design so the hose will cover all the areas from one place.

Furthermore, this one comes with two prime tools such as crevice tool, and gulper nozzle which is sufficient for basic dry wet cleaning in the workplace or house.  

The disc filter is reusable and because this model is wall mounted, it comes with a tool holder where you can store all the tools next to the vac.


  • Extremely powerful
  • Very handy
  • Blower function
  • Reusable filter


  • Doesn’t come with a lot of accessories

#3. Shop-Vac 2030100 Wet Dry Vacuum

Editor's Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

  • Power: 2 HP
  • Weight: 6 pounds

Here we come with another model from Shop-Vac which is quite similar to the former one. There is a little difference in the weight of both the models.

The 2 HP peak power of the motor give decent cleaning. This one is not as strong as the former model but it is not bad either. The power is fairly enough to cover your work place.

The 1.5 gallons capacity is lesser if compared with the counterparts, yet it can accommodate enough dirt, debris or even water substances in it. Make sure you have smaller cleaning area if you are buying this model.

The 4 x 1.2 inches hose gives you good amount of reach. This one is a wall mounted model so you may have to place it in the middle of the cleaning area wherever the cleaning is needed. Hose will cover sufficient area though.

The accessories that you will get with this model is a gulper nozzle and a crevice tool. The filters are reusable. This one is a good vac if you have little area to clean.


  • Lightweight
  • Very powerful
  • Versatile
  • Can be used as a blower as well


  • The storage tank is very small

#4. Craftsman Wall Mount Wet Dry Shop Vac

Editor's Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

  • Power: 2 HP
  • Weight: 7.35 pounds

Next model in our list if from Craftsman which is a lightweight and simple wall mount vac. This one comes with very basic features and is a decent product for purchase.

The 2 HP peak power of the motor give effortless cleaning of the area and this one can also be used as a blower to blow away the dead and dry leaves.

This one is in the capacity of 2.5 gallons which make it pretty suitable for small garages and work areas. This one is a dry wet vac which means that you can clear dirt, debris, particles, and even liquids easily.

The hose of this model is sufficient enough to cover larger areas. Other than that, the tools that come with the vac makes it even convenient to do effortless cleaning.

This one is a simple corded shop vac that can be of great use for everyday cleaning. You can also install it outside of the house to clean your car. This handy little thing will give spectacular cleaning.


  • High in performance
  • Versatile
  • Sufficient capacity
  • Durable


  • Little heavy

#5. Shop-Vac 5895200 All Around EZ Vacuum

Editor's Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

  • Power: 2.5 HP
  • Weight: 12 pounds

This one is another vacuum cleaner from Shop-Vac from EZ series. This one is an all rounder vacuum that can be used for house cleaning as well as outdoor clean up.

The peak power of 2.5 HP gives great suction to suck up anything it comes across. This one is great for wet platforms as well. Even if you have spilled wine in your car, this vac can effortlessly clean every platform.

Also, this one has 2.5 gallons tank capacity which means that the vac can accommodate a lot of dirt and debris from your work place. You can also use this vacuum to clear snow from your doorsteps and yard.

The 7 x 1-1/4 inches long hose makes it convenient for the increased reach of the vac. The accessories that you get with this model are care & carpeted floor nozzle, gulper nozzle, crevice tool, foam sleeve, filter bag, round brush and wall mount bracket.

This one is a wall mounted model but it also comes with wheel pusher that will allow you to take this machine to different places and take out dirt from the most confined areas as well.


  • Very versatile
  • On-board storage
  • Rear blower port
  • Multiple accessories


  • Expensive
  • Very heavy

#6. Stanley SL 12125P Shop Vac

Editor's Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

  • Power: 1.5 HP
  • Weight: 5 pounds

This dry wet vac from Stanley is best portable shop vac in our list because it is the tiniest and weighs only 5 pounds. But at the same time, the performance of this shop vac is not compromised at all.

With 1.5 HP peak power, this model can give you decent cleaning of the work place. The motor is high performance to give excellent results after the cleaning is done.

Furthermore, the capacity of this model is 1.5 gallons which is not very great, if compared to the other models in our list. Yet, this one can suit the needs of smaller cleaning areas.

The 6 feet long power cord can be managed seamlessly with the vac as you can wrap it around the vac in an organised way. The 1-1/4 x 4 feet hose give you great reach.

The accessories that you get with this model are crevice nozzle, utility nozzle, and reusable dry filter. This one is an extremely lightweight and compact model with a handle on the top for easy carrying.


  • Very compact and lightweight
  • High in performance
  • Economical


  • Storage tank is too small

#7. Vacmaster VP205 Portable Wet Dry Vacuum

Editor's Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)

  • Power: 2 HP
  • Weight: 8.4 pounds

This model from Vacmaster is another amazing model that you can consider buying. This one is also very compact and lightweight model with a handle on the top to make carrying easy.

The peak motor power is 2 HP which is great for all kind of cleaning. Also, this one is a wet dry vac which means that this one can suck up powder dirt and water as well.

The storage tank capacity of this model is 2.5 gallons which makes this model great for home and office usage. This one does not just have great suction but it can be easily switched to a blower as well.

The 4 feet long hose is great to reach all the confined placed of your work place or house. Plus, the auto shut off feature prevent from overflow.

The accessories that you get with this model are cord wrap, 2 in 1 utility nozzle, and a crevice tool, a reusable cloth filter and a reusable foam sleeve. You get on board accessory storage on the vac.

This model is available with 2 years of warranty and at a great price.


  • A lot of accessories
  • 2 years warranty
  • Great suction
  • Good storage tank capacity


  • Does not come with a roller trolley

#8. Stanley SL18128 Wet Dry Vacuum

Editor's Rating: 3.8 out of 5 stars (3.8 / 5)

  • Power: 4 HP
  • Weight: 10.5 pounds

Among all the models discussed in this list, this one is the most powerful shop vac that you can purchase. It is not very light in weight because this one is a heavy duty model.

The vac has got 4 HP peak power motor which is extremely powerful and can provide you splendid cleaning. As per the features of this model, it is very well priced as well.

The 2.5 gallons storage tank also make this model great and sufficient for holding enough dirt and debris. Also, it can hold snow from your yard.

Now, about the hose length, this one has got 1-1/4 x 5 feet long hose which give good reach. Also, the 10 feet long power cord allow you to take the vacuum anywhere in the cleaning area.

Moreover, the vac cord wrap design to keep the cord at one place. About the accessories, this one comes with a lot of accessories such as three extension wands, crevice nozzle, utility nozzle, floor brush, reusable dry filter, and a foam filter.

The 4 swivel casters that comes with this vac make it multi-directional and offer best manoeuvrability.


  • Extremely powerful
  • Sufficient storage capacity
  • Multiple accessories
  • 4 swivel casters for convenient movement


  • Hose size is small

#9. Shop-Vac 2021000 Micro Wet/Dry Vac

Editor's Rating: 3.8 out of 5 stars (3.8 / 5)

  • Power: 1 HP
  • Weight: 5 pounds

This last model from Shop-Vac is a micro vac which is wall mounted and compact in size. This one is suitable for smaller places because of its petite size.

The 1 HP peak power motor is decent in working. This one can suck up large debris and dirt but not so great with the minute substances. Also, this dry wet vac is great to pick liquid substances.

The tank capacity of this model is 1 gallons which is only for basic cleaning of the smallest areas because it will not be able to accommodate a lot of dirt.

The 4 feet hose length will give you decent reach and since this model is wall mounted, it will not be able to reach the confined areas.

The accessories available with this model is gulper nozzle, crevice tool, tool bag, wall mount bracket for tools, and wall bracket for tool bag to keep all the tools handy and stored at a place.

Basically, this one is a highly conventional model for basic needs.


  • High performance
  • Ideal for smaller places
  • Lightweight
  • Durable


  • Capacity too small
  • Motor power could have been better

#10. Workshop WS0250VA Compact Shop Vac 

Editor's Rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars (3.7 / 5)

  • Power: 1.75 HP
  • Weight: 6.9 pounds

This model from workshop is extremely petite and compact in size. This one practically doesn’t take any space of your work shop and due to the large carrying handle, you can take it to anywhere in the shop.

The 1.75 HP peak power of the motor is decent in performance and fairly does the job. However, this one is not recommended for extreme clean-ups.

The 2.5 gallons of storage tank will accommodate sufficient dirt and debris and also the water substances that you may spill in the work shop.

The 4 feet long hose and 10 feet long power cord increases the reach of this shop vac. Furthermore, the stable flat bottom design of this model prevents the collected dirt to spill out.

About the accessories, this one comes with a portable power hose, a filter bag, utility nozzle, car nozzle, and an owner’s manual. This one comes with 5 years warranty.


  • 5 years warranty
  • Sufficient quantity storage tank
  • Flat bottom to prevent dirt to spill out


  • Power could have been better

How to Buy the Best Small Shop VACs

Considering the dire need of the shop vacs, the requirement of these tiny machines has increased significantly. Here we give you some tips to shop the best shop vac:

#1. Capacity

The capacity relates to the amount of dirt and water substances that a vac can accommodate. These vacs are not suggested for large houses or offices because of their petite capacity.

The shop vacs are also available in different capacity and most of them are available in 2.5 to 3 gallons. You can pick a model as per your area of cleanliness.

Be sure that a large capacity vac will be heavy as well and most of the shop vacs don’t have wheels so you might have to pick it and take to different places.

A small capacity vac can also be of great use, only if you don’t mind frequent trips to the bin to empty the storage tank.

#2. Durability

Durability of a shop vac depends on the material and the maintenance of the machine. About the material, most of the vacs are made of plastic and stainless steel tank.

Because these vacs are dry wet vacuums, the stainless steel tanks are the most durable form. Stainless steel does not corrode or rust even after constant usage and moisture contact.

Thus, the vacs are durable enough. Now, about the maintenance, after every usage of the vacuum, you must instantly empty the bin, wash the tank, and dry it before setting again.

This way, you can ensure longevity of the shop vac. Make sure of buying stainless steel tanks while selecting the shop vac.

#3. Attachment

Most of the vacuums are available with multiple accessories and tools. These parts increase the versatility of the machine.

Most of the vacuums are available with hose, crevice tool, multiple types of brushes for effective cleaning. You must consider the accessories that the brand is offering.

#4. Storage

Large shop vacs are difficult to store. But fortunately, these machines come in extremely compact size which make them very convenient to store.

Most of these machines are wall mounted so they don’t require any special storage. Others come with storage bags as well where you can keep the machine after every usage.

While purchasing the best shop vac, you must ensure the dimensions and size of the machine so that it does not cause any trouble of storage.

#5. Warranty

Shop vacs are not any such accessories that you usually buy repeatedly. Best is to invest in a machine that is extremely durable and comes with at least 2 years warranty from the makers.


As we conclude our shop vac review we would like to say that all the models that we have mentioned above are different in size. These can fairly suit the needs of all kind of buyers.

If you want an extremely compact model then you can select Workshop compact shop vac and if you wish to buy the most powerful model then Stanley SL18128 wet dry vacuum.

As you can see, we give you finest options in the market that are powerful, extremely durable and handy. Make your pick as per your needs.

Happy Shopping!

Last Updated on August 7, 2020 by Tom Bradly

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Tom Bradly

My entrepreneurial journey started in 2006, when I dropped out of university. I wanted to work with my hands, to build things. Now I mix my background with computers with my first-hand experience with woodworking to provide insights into the tools I like best. I love everything about woodworking and have been building stuff for over 20 years of my life. I hope to pass some knowledge and expertise. See more at TomBradly.com

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