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Best Wet/Dry Vacuum For The Money  
Everything You Need to Know to Get a Great Wet/Dry Vacuum at a Great Price
Top Five for the Money (Based on our Frugal5 Formula)
How do we pick these products? We spend many hours doing unbiased research to only give you the highest rated products at the best price. We first come up with a list of features, which you can see below, that we feel the majority of people will need. We then look for the highest quality products with these features and only show you the top five with the best value. Our mission is to provide you with the best five options based only on the facts. Don't see the product you were thinking about getting? Click here to calculate it's frugal score.
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Product
Vacmaster 5 Gallon, 3 HPShop-Vac 5895100 AllAround EZ SeriesShop-Vac 5940500 2.0-Peak Horsepower Quiet SeriesArmorAll AA255 UtilityAlton Enterprises Limited SL18125P-1
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Product Rating
 
 
 
 
 
Great
 
 
 
 
 
Great
 
 
 
 
 
Great
 
 
 
 
 
Good
 
 
 
 
 
Average
Average Price
 
 
 
 
 
Cheap ($45)
 
 
 
 
 
Cheap ($45)
 
 
 
 
 
Cheap ($53)
 
 
 
 
 
Cheap ($39)
 
 
 
 
 
Cheap ($44)
Frugal5 Score
Details
8.8
8.8
8.6
8.4
8.0
Features Needed
Accessory Kit
- 3-piece extension wands, 10-inch floor/squeegee nozzle
- Extension wands, dual surface nozzle, gulper nozzle, crevice tool, round brush, wall mount bracket
- 3 1 1/4" extension wands, 10" wet/dry nozzle
- 2-in-1 utility nozzle, crevice tool, deluxe car nozzle, blower nozzle, detail brush
- Crevice nozzle, Utility nozzle
At Lease Six Feet Long Power Cord
- 8 foot
- 18 foot
- 6 foot
- 10 foot
- 6 feet
At Least Four Feet Long Hose
- 6 foot
- 7 foot
- 7 foot
- 6 foot
- 4 feet
Between One And Five Gallon Capacity
- 5 gallon
- 1.5 gallon
- 5 gallon
- 2.5 gallon
- 1 gallon
Between One And Five Horsepower
- 3 horsepower
- 2 horsepower
- 2 horsepower
- 2 horsepower
- 1.5 horsepower
Carrying Handle
- Top and sides
- Top and sides
Included Filters
- Reusable cloth filter, reusable foam sleeve
- Collection filter bag, reusable foam sleeve
- Reusable disc filter, foam sleeve
- Reusable cloth filter, reusable foam sleeve
- Reusable dry filter, Foam sleeve
Features Not Needed
On Board Accessory Storage
On Board Cord Wrap
Warranty
- 2 year
- 3 year
- 2 year
Wheels
What You Need To Know In 5 Minutes

A wet/dry vacuum is a very wise tool to invest in if you’re looking to build up a tool inventory for your home and garage. It makes the daily cleaning chores associated with DIY and home improvement much easier and as such, saves you time in the long run. Unfortunately, the more powerful wet/dry vacs get in terms of suction power and holding capacity, the more expensive they get. Luckily, the average homeowner doesn’t necessarily need tons of power, which is good if you’re on a budget and don’t have a lot of money.  

So, what features should you consider when looking to purchase a decent, budget-minded wet/dry vac?

Suction Power/Capacity  

Wet/dry vacuums come in a wide variety of different combinations of suction power and capacity. Suction power is measured by the amount of horsepower a vacuum has, and capacity is measured in how many gallons the tool can hold. 

Generally, those vacs on the lower end of the scale (vacuums with somewhere between one and five horsepower and between one and five gallon capacity) are considered light duty vacs. Vacuums that have between five and six and a half horsepower, and capacities higher than five gallons (I’ve seen vacs with 18 gallon capacities before) are more heavy duty and generally geared towards professionals or those that work in busy shops that require lots of cleaning. 

Here’s the deal, if you just want a wet/dry vac for around your home, you don’t need a six horsepower, 18-gallon vacuum. You’re going to pay a lot of money and more than likely never use the extra room and suction capacity you just paid for. Smaller, less expensive wet/dry vacs are perfect for cleaning up stuff around your home, and sawdust and other similar things in your garage.

So, realistically, you should look at wet/dry vacs with a capacity of between one and five gallons that are rated between one and five horsepower. 

Long Hose and Power Cord  

Since your vac will be used all around your home and garage, a long cord and hose are both a must. This ensures you can use your vac pretty much anywhere around your workspace comfortably without the aid of extra equipment (an extension cord). In my opinion, a hose that’s at least four feet long and a cord that’s at least six feet long are good numbers to go by. 

Accessory Kit  

A good wet/dry vacuum comes with several different attachments to use with it. This is good because with a wet/dry vac, you never know what you’re going to be cleaning up, and a non-tipped hose isn’t always the best thing to clean things up with. For instance, a gulper nozzle (the long and flattened tip) is a lot better for cleaning up water. 

Included Filters  

Whatever wet/dry vac you buy should come with some sort of dry filter and a reusable foam filter sleeve (this is for wet clean up). No one likes buying extra equipment, especially if you’re on a tight budget. 

Carrying Handle  

A decent handle on top of the vacuum is a must. It makes it a lot safer to carry your equipment around, and it’s just all around more convenient. 

The following are unnecessary, though welcome, features.

Wheels  

Wheels are cool because they make it easier to move your vacuum around. However, as long as you have a top handle, wheels are just a luxury. 

On Board Accessory Storage  

Some vacuums allow you to store the various nozzles and attachments on the vacuum itself, which is really convenient because it means you always have quick access to different hose tips. I don’t think this is a necessity though. 

On Board Cord Wrap  

A lot of wet/dry vacs like to tout on board cord wrap as a great extra feature. Again, it’s convenient. With an on board cord wrap you don’t have to worry about keeping your cord untangled, and it’s safer. Like the on board accessory storage though, it’s just a bonus. 

Warranty  

Most wet/dry vacs offer warranties, considering how long the average vacuum lasts and what kind of investment it is. However, you shouldn’t pay extra for it. If a company is awesome enough to provide a warranty for free, then great. 

If you see the word portable in the description of a wet/dry vac, don’t let it scare you. It doesn’t mean it’s bad quality or anything. Most of the light duty wet/dry vacs are considered portable thanks to their small size. 

Stanley, Vacmaster, and ArmorAll are the best brands if you need a wet/dry vac while on a budget. Rubbermaid and Shop-Vac (with the exception of really small and discounted vacs, as evidenced by this list) should be avoided because they can get really pricey. 

Buying a decent wet/dry vac for not a lot of money is actually surprisingly easy if you keep the key facts in mind and stick to the right brands. 

Features You Need
Accessory Kit, At Lease Six Feet Long Power Cord, At Least Four Feet Long Hose, Between One And Five Gallon Capacity, Between One And Five Horsepower, Carrying Handle, Included Filters
Features You Don't Need
On Board Accessory Storage, On Board Cord Wrap, Warranty, Wheels
What You Should Pay
Between $38.89 - $52.84
Top Of The Line Price
Over $300.00