7 Best Small Shop VACs of 2020
Small shop VACs are compact tools you can use to execute many wet and dry vacuuming tasks in your home.
You can use them to vacuum your car’s interior, remove wet spills from the kitchen and laundry, remove animal fur from surfaces, and even clearing debris from your workshop.
Their typical tank capacity is less than 3 gallons making them small and portable. They also have a powerful motor to handle even complex vacuuming jobs.
There are many small shop VACs in the market, but choosing the best one is not always easy.
In our small shop VAC review of the top 7 models, we’ll guide you on how to choose the one that is ideal for your cleaning needs and budget.
7 Best Small Shop VACs – Review
1. Shop-Vac 2021000 (Best Budget)
2. ArmorAll AA255 (Best for Car Interiors)
3. Shop-Vac 5895200 (Best Professional)
4. Shop-Vac 2030100 (Best Lightweight)
5. Craftsman Wet/Dry VAC (Easy Wall Mounting)
6. Shop-Vac 2036000 (Heavy-Duty)
7. Workshop WS0250VA (Light-duty)
1. Shop-Vac 2021000
2. ArmorAll AA255
(Best for Car Interiors)
3. Shop-Vac 5895200
4. Shop-Vac 2030100
5. Craftsman Wet/Dry VAC
(Easy Wall Mounting)
6. Shop-Vac 2036000
7. Workshop WS0250VA
1. Shop-Vac 2021000 – Best Budget Small Shop VAC
- Power: 1 horsepower
- Volume: 1 gallon
- Weight: 6 pounds
Shop-Vac 2021000 is the most affordable small VAC on our list because of its very reasonable pricing.
Since it is a budget VAC, it packs a 1-horsepower motor, which has significantly lower power than many other models on our list, it will still deliver on short and light-duty vacuuming tasks for both wet and dry collection with its 1-gallon tank capacity.
At only 6 pounds, this VAC is very compact and lightweight. When you’re cleaning large areas, carrying it around with you won’t be as straining as carrying heavier models such as the Shop-Vac 5895200.
Ease of storage is not just achieved through its size, but this tool also has a fold-down handle, which allows you to squeeze it in the tiniest of spaces. A wall bracket is also included as an accessory to help you mount it for storage.
To boost your confidence in the quality and reliability of this VAC, it comes with a 2-year warranty. It also comes with all the accessories you need to complete most of your vacuuming tasks.
Although Shop-Vac 2021000 will give you good value for your money from its low price, you will have to contend with a low-power motor, and a lower-capacity gallon compared to all the other models we have reviewed. Therefore, it is best suited for short, light-duty cleanups.
2. ArmorAll AA255 – Best Small VAC for Car Interiors
- Power: 2.0 horsepower
- Volume: 2.5 gallons
- Weight: 7 pounds
ArmorAll AA255 is a shop small VAC, which was designed to handle all your car interior’s vacuuming needs.
It is a powerful tool, which boasts of a 2-horsepower motor for efficient vacuuming. It also comes with a 2.5-gallon tank, which is in the large capacity category. You guaranteed to compete vacuuming your car and other areas in your home.
For effective reach, this VAC has a long 10-foot power cord. A 6-foot hose extends this VACs reach even further so that you don’t have to worry about shifting it frequently while vacuuming.
You will also get plenty of accessories including a reusable cloth filter, foam wet filter, nozzles, and many others to help you bring the best out of this VAC.
ArmorAll AA255 is proven companion for all your car and home vacuuming needs, we did note that it lacks rolling wheels even though it is a large-capacity VAC, meaning it can get heavy when full. However, this may not be a major issue since its extended reach eliminates the need to keep shifting it.
3. Shop-Vac 5895200 – Best Professional Shop VAC
- Power: 2.5 horsepower
- Volume: 2.5 gallons
- Weight: 12 pounds
Shop-Vac 5895200 emerges as the best professional small shop VAC on our list because it packs superior power, has a large-capacity tank, a long power cord, and many accessories.
This model comes with a powerful 2.5-horsepower motor, which is one of the highest-rated we have come across. The electric motor helps the VAC collect both wet and dry debris, which empties into a high-capacity 2.5-gallon tank.
The VAC was designed with maximum reach in mind. That’s why it boasts of an 18-foot long power cord, which when coupled with a 7-foot hose, give this tool unrivaled reach.
When not using the tool like a vacuum, you can convert it into a blower by attaching the hose to the blower port located at the back of the VAC.
Although you will be getting the ideal professional tool with your purchase of Shop-Vac 5895200, we did note that at 12 pounds, it is one of the heaviest models out there. If you’re going to carry it especially when loaded fully, it may prove heavy.
Also, it is one of the priciest models on our list.
4. Shop-Vac 2030100 – Best Lightweight Small Shop VAC
- Power: 2 horsepower
- Volume: 1.5 gallons
- Weight: 5.6 pounds
Shop-Vac 2030100 is the lightest small shop VAC on our list, weighing only 5.6 pounds. Its low weight makes it highly portable and ideal for wet and dry pick up jobs around your home. You can use it in the kitchen to clean spills, in your garage, vehicle, and workshop.
Even though this model is very lightweight, it still manages to squeeze a powerful 2-horsepower motor in its small frame. You can enjoy its compactness without compromising on efficiency and reliability.
When you’re not using the tool to vacuum, simply convert it into a lower by attaching a hose into the blower port. You get more versatility with this VAC.
For ease of storage, this VAC comes with a wall mounting bracket & wall mount tool holder.
Although the Shop-Vac 2030100 promises superior portability from is lightweight and small build, its tank capacity of 1.5 gallons is on the lower range compared to other models such as Shop-Vac 5895200 and others.
We also noted that both its cord and hose lengths are short, at 6 feet and 4 feet, respectively. Some users may find its reach limited compared to that of other models
5. Craftsman Wet/Dry VAC – Small Wall-mount Shop VAC
- Power: 2.0 horsepower
- Volume: 2.5 gallons
- Weight: 7.35 pounds
Craftsman Wet/Dry VAC is designed for easy wall mounting, simplifying your operation and storage efforts.
Besides the ease of storage, this model packs a powerful 2-horsepower motor. When coupled with a large-capacity tank of 2.5 gallons, you get an efficient and reliable VAC that will handle your home’s vacuuming needs.
At 7.35 pounds, this VAC is not the lightest in the market, but it is highly compact and portable enabling you to shift it around with ease.
Although the Craftsman Wet/Dry VAC is designed for easy wall mounting, storage and operation, it is the most expensive on our list. Although it is not overpriced, some may find cheaper alternatives more worthwhile.
It also comes with two attachments only, making it the model with the least accessories. However, the two are enough to make it fully operational.
6. Shop-Vac 2036000 – Heavy-Duty Small Shop VAC
- Power: 2.5 horsepower
- Volume: 2.5 gallons
- Weight: 8 pounds
Shop-Vac 2036000 is a heavy-duty small VAC, which has a powerful motor and large-capacity tank for intensive wet and dry collection.
It has a powerful 2.5-horsepower motor, which combines well with a large-capacity 2.5-gallon tank to offer efficient and reliable vacuuming service.
When you’re not using this tool for vacuuming, you can easily convert it into a powerful blower by attaching its hose to the blower port. It offers a bonus benefit.
This is one of the models that packs plenty of accessories to help you maximize on its many features. You get a crevice tool, reusable disk filter, foam sleeve, wall mount bracket, and many more.
While the Shop-Vac 2036000 is a proven heavy-duty shop VAC, it weighs 8 pounds and when filled, may prove heavy to carry around hence limited portability. Its 4-foot hose is also short compared to other longer ones we have reviewed.
7. Workshop WS0250VA – Light-Duty Small Shop Vac
- Power: 1.75 horsepower
- Volume: 2.5 gallons
- Weight: 6.9 pounds
Workshop WS0250VA is a small shop VAC designed for light-duty vacuuming tasks.
It packs a modest 1.75-horsepower motor, which is enough for light-duty vacuuming including removing spills in the kitchen and laundry, removing put fur from different surfaces, and other basic forms of cleaning.
You also get a large capacity 2.5-gallon tank, which will collect more dirt compared to low-capacity VACs. It is also ideal for extended use because it takes more time to fill up.
To extend the reach of your VAC, this model boasts of a long 10-foot power cord, and a 4-foot hose, both of which combine to help it achieve superior reach.
This model comes with a generous 5-year warranty for a risk-free and confident purchase.
Although Workshop WS0250VA is the go-to VAC for light-duty vacuuming tasks, it is not the most powerful. Those looking to maximize the power of their VACs for more intensive cleaning may benefit from more powerful models.
How to Buy the Best Small Shop VAC
The capacity of your VAC’s collection tank is an important consideration because it determines how long your vacuuming task can last before it requires emptying.
If you don’t want to be pausing every few minutes to empty the tank, then a large-capacity one is your best bet. 2.5-gallon tanks are the highest capacities we have reviewed, although there are small VACs available with 3-gallon ones.
It’s worth noting that large-capacity tanks will raise the overall weight of your VAC as we noted in the reviews. The heavy VACs have large tanks.
Small-tank VACs are good for carrying around as they are lightweight. They will allow you to shift your VAC units easily.
You VAC’s power output will determine how fast and efficiently it can deliver on vacuuming tasks for both wet and dry collections.
We noted that the common power range for most small VACs is 1-2.5 horsepower. A 2.5-horsepower vac is very powerful and when coupled with a large-capacity tank and long hose, it can be ideal for heavy-duty collection.
A low power VAC, such as a 1-horsepower one, can perform short and light-duty vacuuming excellently.
Also, most of the high-horsepower models can also be converted into blowers, making such VACs multi-purpose and versatile. If you want to take advantage of such a bonus from your VAC, get a high-powered one.
The durability of your shop VAC will depend on a combination of factors including build material, maintenance cycle, and intensity of use.
Regarding build material, most of the shop VACs you’ll encounter will be made of hardened plastic. This material is easy to clean and will not be damaged by abrasion or chemicals.
VAC tanks may be made of stainless steel for durable and reliable performance. High-intensity usage may wear out the vac faster than light-duty vacuuming.
Ensuring a regular maintenance schedule for your VAC is vital to its durability. Maintenance can involve checking that all components are intact or as per the manufacturer's specifications that will most likely be on your user guide.
Most shop vacuum cleaners have many accessories that can attach to it to maximize on its various applications. The most fundamental attachments include hoses, nozzles, and brushes, which are necessary for the VAC to work.
The more the accessories that come with your VAC, the more versatility you can expect from it. Some of the accessories that may enhance the value you derive from your shop VAC include reusable foam sleeves for wet collections, crevice tools, and different types of nozzles.
If you encounter a shop VAC, which may require you to buy even the most basic attachments separately, then you won’t be getting a lot of value for your money.
Ease of storage will be a factor you will prioritize when shopping for a small shop VAC. Since the tank capacities of these tools are capped at 3 gallons, you are unlikely to encounter an oversized VAC.
However, small VACs still come in variable sizes, which may impact how they are stored and how much storage space they occupy. Pick a machine with dimensions that fit within the storage space you intend to allocate it.
Many of the small VAC models in the market have a wall mount option so they don’t demand any special storage. Whatever storage option is available with a shop VAC, the most compact is always the easiest to store.
From our reviews of the top small VAC models, we have established some of the important considerations you need to make when shopping for this handy tool.
Remember to get a VAC whose tank capacity can accommodate all your wet or dry vacuuming needs. Power is also a key factor you shouldn’t overlook. High-power VACs are likely to perform better than low-power ones.
Accessories are a big deal too, so get a VAC with the most, including the basic ones.
When shopping for your desired model, peek into our top 7 small shop VAC reviews and buying guide to help you pick the best for your needs and budget.
- 7 Best Small Shop VACs – Review
- 1. Shop-Vac 2021000 – Best Budget Small Shop VAC
- 2. ArmorAll AA255 – Best Small VAC for Car Interiors
- 3. Shop-Vac 5895200 – Best Professional Shop VAC
- 4. Shop-Vac 2030100 – Best Lightweight Small Shop VAC
- 5. Craftsman Wet/Dry VAC – Small Wall-mount Shop VAC
- 6. Shop-Vac 2036000 – Heavy-Duty Small Shop VAC
- 7. Workshop WS0250VA – Light-Duty Small Shop Vac
- How to Buy the Best Small Shop VAC