I had fun putting this article together and found out some of the major differences between different shop vacs based on their size. There is a lot more to that needs to be considered than just the capacity, I noticed this firsthand when diving into my research. I picked out some of the best shop vacs by their size and why I chose them.
Accessory kits, power, cfm rating, mobility, hose diameter and ratings are just a few things I looked at and compared. Let's get onto the findings and see what you think...
Reviews & Price: The Ridgid VAC5000 had more than 260 reviews from places like Amazon, Home Depot, Ridgid's website and other sources. It averaged a four and a half out of five star rating as well making it a strong contender and ultimately my decision for the best 5 gallon shop vac.
There was a little bit of a price discrepancy between Amazon and Home Depot in Home Depot was about $40 cheaper than Amazon so I would definitely recommend buying it from Home Depot unless you can't get it from there for whatever reason.
Features: Obviously, this has a 5 gallon capacity but is also powered by a five peak horsepower motor and has a very impressive accessory kit that goes along with it. It has a storage rack that you can mount to the wall which makes storing it easier and accessing that super easy. It comes with two different hoses which are a little bit smaller in diameter and is primarily made for smaller pick up tasks like cleaning out your car.
The compact size makes it really easy to tote around and it has a more square design to it like the traditional cylindrical shape. In total, you're able to achieve a maximum of 21 feet of hose which is ridiculous and has cool little features like an LED light on one of the nozzles to help when cleaning out darker areas like under the seats in your car. All the features, the small footprint and overall power of this rigid shop vac make it really the best pick for those of you who are looking for a shop vac with a 5 gallon capacity.
Reviews & Price: The Armor All AA255 had more than any reviews out of any of the vacuums we looked at, more than 2600 in total! It also had a very respectable 4 1/2 star rating out of a possible five. The price was pretty competitive for the most part but I did find the Amazon was one of the best places to get it because of free shipping and the price.
Features: this is a two half-gallon vacuum that is powered by a 2 hp motor and has plenty of suction power from what customers have said about it.
The hose comes in at a decent 6 feet in length and the power cord is roughly about 10 feet, so plenty of reach for most cleaning tasks. There really isn't any special features to this vacuum but it does have the essentials like an accessory kit, the option to convert it to a blower, integrated storage for the accessories on the unit itself and so on.
Why It Stood Out: Out of all of the other two half-gallon shop vacs I found, this one was the highest rated model and seemed to have the most suction power for its size according to reviewers. It was small, compact and provided enough length in the hose and cord to tackle most projects people would end up using it for, in my opinion. The two year warranty was also a selling point and really showed confidence in the product.
Reviews & Price: Next up, is the Vacmaster VQ607SFD, there have nearly 260 reviews from sources like Home Depot, Amazon and others and an overall rating of some around 4 1/2 half stars. The prices very competitive among the 6 gallon vacuum category and really sat around the average range, which is nice considering it really stood out from the other models for the same price.
Features: The features are what really sold me on this 6 gallon shop vac, to start the stainless steel container looks nice and will help resist corrosion and rust when dealing with liquid messes.
The design of the canister was another selling point for me, it has a smaller footprint and is a little bit taller than the other models I looked and still had the larger hose diameter that can pick up bigger chunks of debris. So, you really get a more compact vacuum footprint with the power and capacity of a larger unit. It also comes with a couple of different accessories, has a 3 hp motor, a very generous 12 foot long power cord, 7 foot hose, a drain plug at the bottom and is mounted on caster wheels to move around a little bit easier.
Why It Stood Out: All of the other 6 gallon shop vacs I looked at seemed very generic and unappealing to me and were the same price as this unit on top of that. They really seemed to be a base model with very few attachments, functionality and power. But this Vacmaster VQ607SFD really stood out like a diamond in the rough. The great reviews also contribute in to my decision and really was the final nail in the coffin.
Reviews & Price: The Shop Vac 5870400 had just over 300 reviews from a variety of different sources online. They did get a pretty decent overall rating of 4.3 to 4.4 stars so not too bad as far as that goes. This was at the lower end of the pricing spectrum, having noticed most shop vacs this size were going for $60, all the way up to $100, the majority of them anyways.
Features: The first thing that stands out in the picture is the accessory kit that comes with the vacuum itself and the different attachments as well.
The Shop Vac 5870400 is pretty basic in design and functionality and really is more of a step up model if you have the 1.5 or 2.5 gallon vacuum already and want something a little bigger and a little more stable. The two large wheels in the rear provide a lot more stability and having a small rails on the front maintain the turning radius pretty well. It is powered by a 4.5 hp (peak) motor and comes with a three-year warranty.
What Stood Out: The 4 gallon shop vacs should still be portable but be a little bit larger than a smaller unit and have a little bit more functionality to them. This vacuum was really the best overall choice because of the accessories, the configuration and mobility aspect, the hose design, warranty and manufacturers name. Nothing like an original, a brand that consumers trust and love according to the reviewers who bought the product.