Shop messes are more difficult to pick up than indoor spills, so a special vacuum is required to get rid of them. Shop vacuums help people remove sawdust, liquid spills, and any type of debris that falls on almost all types of surfaces, their high-demand being easily understandable considering their unique performance.

Top 5 Shop Vacs Comparison

1. Vacmaster VBV1210 2. Vacmaster VF408 3. Shop-Vac 5870400 4. Shop-Vac 5986000 5. ArmorAll AA255
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General Information

Manufacturer Vacmaster Vacmaster Shop-Vac Shop-Vac ArmorAll
Dimensions (H x W x D) 24.2″ x 20.75″ x 18.25″ 18.25″ x 19.5″ x 12.25″ 15.5″ x 13″ x 16.5″ 19.5″ x 13.5″ x 13.5″ 14″ x 31″ x 14″
Weight 21 Lbs 17.2 Lbs 16.5 Lbs 14.8 Lbs 7 Lbs
Tank Construction Polypropylene Polypropylene Plastic Stainless Steel Polypropylene
Cord Length 12 Feet 18 Feet 18 Feet 6 Feet 10 Feet
Hose Length 7 Feet 7 Feet 8 Feet 7 Feet 6 Feet
Hose Diameter 2.5″ 1.25″ 1.25″ 1.25″ 1.25″
Air Watts N/A 200W 320W 320W 240W


Peak Horsepower 5 HP 5 HP 4.5 HP 4.5 HP 2 HP
Vacuum Capacity 12 Gallons 4 Gallons 4 Gallons 5 Gallons 2.5 Gallons
Blower Conversion
Blowing Speed 210 MPH 240 MPH 210 MPH N/A N/A
Air Volume 133 CFM 63 CFM 175 CFM 175 CFM 110 CFM
Sealed Pressure N/A 71″ 60″ 60″ N/A
Noise Level 94 dB 72 dB N/A 75 dB 95 dB


Dry Pickup
Wet Pickup
Cartridge Filter
Foam Sleeve Filter
Caster Wheels
On-Board Storage
Top Handle Design
Other Features Extra Large Drain Automatic Cord Rewind Cord Storage Cord Storage Automatic Shut-Off
Dust-Sealed Power Switch Contour Handle Lock-On Hose Disposable Filter Bag Air/Noise Diffuser
Automatic Shut-Off Dust-Sealed Power Switch Automatic Shut-Off Cord Wrap
Filter Retainer Rear Caddy
Air/Noise Diffuser Secure Fit Hose
HEPA Exhaust Filter

Cleaning Perofrmance

Concrete Floors
Bare Floors
Laminate Floor
Car Interior


2 x Extension Wand 3 x Extension Wand 2 x Extenstion Wand 3 x Extension Wand Extension Wand
Car Nozzle Floor Nozzle Floor Nozzle Gulper Nozzle Utility Nozzle
Crevice Tool Crevice Tool Gulper Nozzle 10″ Wet/Dry Nozzle Car Nozzle
8″ Utility Nozzle Utility Nozzle Crevice Tool Blower Nozzle
Blower Nozzle Round Brush Round Brush Detail Brush
Blower Adapter Upholstery Nozzle


Product Warranty 2 Years 2 Years 3 Years 3 Years 2 Years
Customer Support
User Manual

Atelier Vacs Reviews

1. Vacmaster VBV1210

What recommends the VBV1210 to take the number one spot in our top of the best vacuums is its enhanced performance that guarantees a single pass will suffice to clean the entire area. The reusable filter that it comes with, as well as the numerous accessories, provide you the possibility to use it for large jobs just as easily as smaller ones. Regardless of the type of mess that you are dealing with, whether it is debris or liquid that fell on the floor, you can rely on it to fix the situation with its powerful suction. One of its main highlights is the fact that it boasts a 12-gallon capacity that guarantees you won’t have to empty it too often.

In terms of convenience in use, it is a breeze to clean up messes with it as it features a 12-foot long cord that allows mobility throughout the shop, as well as a 7-foot long hose that adds to the vacuum’s reach. Featuring a 5 HP motor, you can rely on it for heavy duty tasks without worrying that it might be overwhelmed. Considering the fact that it produces approximately 94 dB when it sucks dirt and debris off of surfaces, you can rest assured knowing that it won’t present a distraction for those around you when using it. Additionally, it comes with a complete set of accessories that are specifically designed for certain tasks. Also, due to its design and the accessories that it comes with, the vacuum can handle all types of surfaces that you might confront it with.



Can be used as a 210 MPH blower Bulky design makes storage a bit hard
Air volume rating of 133 cubic feet per minute
Features a foam sleeve filter for powerful debris entrapment
Automatically shuts off to prevent overflow
12-foot long cord allows enhanced maneuverability around the shop


The 5 HP peak power motor alongside its 7-foot long hose allow you to clean the shop or general work environment with ease, regardless of the type of mess you are dealing with. This Vacmaster entry is all the more desirable as it can double as a blower, delivering a blowing speed of up to 210 MPH.

2. Vacmaster VF408

The 4-gallon capacity of the VF408 makes it far inferior to the aforementioned vac that we talked about, more precisely our pick for the number one spot. Nonetheless, this does not take away from its usability and functionality as the 4-gallon capacity of the tank makes it improbable that you will have to empty it too often, regardless of the mess that usually unfolds in your shop. Capable of picking up both dry and wet messes, there is no limit to what you can clean with its help. What makes it so efficient at cleaning up wet messes is the foam sleeve filter that it comes with and that traps debris as water passes through it.

It boasts a top handle design that ensures ease of use and mobility around the shop, making it easy for you to take the vacuum with you from one spot to another without much hassle. For extra efficiency performance-wise, it features a HEPA exhaust filter that helps enhance its cleaning capabilities. What delights us about this product is the fact that it can be used on all types of surfaces, including upholstery, carpets, vinyl, leather, laminate floors, bare floors, concrete floors, and even car interiors. Basically, there is no limitation to what you can do with it. This amazing usability is provided by its design and features as well as the numerous accessories that it comes with. Additionally, due to the fact that it is manufactured by an industry-leading company, you can rest assured knowing that it is a reliable product to use in your shop.



Can be used as a 240 MPH blower Some customers have complained that it does not always reach its peak 5 HP power
Produces only 72 dB when it runs – one of the quietest vacs in its niche
Features on-board storage for accessory organization
Carry handle allows you to easily move it between floors
Backed by a 2-year warranty


As it comes with a complete set of accessories and it can be used as a blower as well, we strongly recommend the VF408 to anyone looking to conveniently clean up shop messes. Furthermore, it is actually reasonably priced considering the overall performance it delivers.

3. Shop-Vac 5870400

Another vacuum that you will adore using as it not only delivers a great performance but because it is designed to make your life easier is the 5870400 from Shop-Vac. If you have searched the market for a vacuum to use in your shop, it is highly likely that you have already encountered this brand many times as it is one of the top manufacturers out there. The model that we ranked as the third best on the market impresses with the amazing 18-foot length of the cord that allows free movement in the shop, enabling you to pick up messes without having to change the power outlet that the device is connected to. Also, it comes with an 8-foot long hose that enhances the vacuum’s reach, making it easy for you to reach all the corners and tight spaces where debris has landed after a work day.

Proof of its high-quality performance is the 210 MPH blowing speed and the 175 CFM air volume that ensure the vacuum will handle any type of mess without flinching. It is capable of picking up dry as well as wet messes, so even if you happen to spill a liquid on the floor, you can use the vac to clean up the shop’s surface. It comes with caster wheels that allow you to maneuver it with ease when cleaning the area where you worked. Additionally, it features onboard storage where you can neatly keep all of the accessories that it comes with, having them in your reach for a more convenient experience.



18-foot cord length allows freedom of movement around the shop Some customers have reported that it has trouble picking up sand
Doubles as a 210 MPH blower
60-inch sealed pressure
Top handle design enhances portability
Sturdy and inexpensive


As aforementioned, this is an inexpensive vacuum which, despite the low asking price, actually delivers a hard to top performance. Not only does it effortlessly clean up wet and dry messes, but it can be used as a blower too. Thus, versatility in use is definitely one of its strong points.

4. Shop-Vac 5986000

One of the quietest entries in our top, the 5986000 is another top of the line vacuum specially designed for cleaning up messes that traditional vacuums would not be able to handle. It produces only 75 dB when operating, so there are slim chances that someone sitting in the next room will hear you clean up the place with it. The 5-gallon tank capacity ensures that you can perform a full cleanup of the shop without having to empty it as it can fit a lot of debris in it. When needed, it can be easily converted to a blower, so you can get more than one chore done with it. To ensure durability, it features a 100% stainless steel construction of the tank.

Although the vacuum’s cord measures only 6 feet in length, this won’t stop you from moving freely through the shop when cleaning. The length of the hose is 7 feet, so it aids in improving your reach when using it. Just like all the other entries in our top, it can clean dry as well as wet messes. Thus, you do not have to worry about its usability and versatility in use as you can clean any type of mess with it with ease. It can tackle any type of surface that you confront it with, so regardless of the area where you plan on using it, the vacuum will be up to the task. In addition, it comes with plentiful accessories that make it easier and more convenient to use.



5-gallon capacity is large enough to ensure you won’t have to empty it too often Power cord measures only 6 feet in length
Powerful suction enables you to pick up debris in a single pass
Air flow automatically turns off when it is tipped over
High 320-watts air watt rating
Can be used as a blower for removing leaves off of the driveway


Regardless of the cleaning task you are dealing with, whether it is blowing the leaves that have settled on the driveway or picking up a liquid mess in the garage, this Shop-Vac is the right tool to use. Moreover, it comes at a very affordable price, so any downfall it does inevitably have, like the short power cord, for example, can be overlook due to its inexpensiveness.

5. ArmorAll AA255

Our number 5 entry comes from ArmorAll, a serious and respected manufacturer of shop vacuums. The reliability and enhanced performance of the AA255 are what recommend it among the best releases on this market despite the fact that it is inferior in some aspects to the aforementioned models. The 10-foot long cord and the 6-foot long hose guarantee convenience in use at its finest, enabling you to freely walk around the shop and clean the surfaces with it. Unfortunately, the motor that it features has a humble 2 HP peak horsepower, but this does not mean that the vacuum won’t effectively and professionally handle picking up the debris encountered on the floor.

It produces 95 dB when it operates, meaning that it is one of the relatively quiet vacuums on the market. Thus, when you will be using it, you won’t wake up the entire house in case you will clean the garage, for example. The 2.5-gallon capacity of the tank might be smaller than what other better-ranked models offer, but it still enables you to clean all the surfaces without worrying about emptying the tank too often. It weighs only 7 pounds, meaning that it is light enough to make it easy for you to move it around the shop or garage. Additionally, it features a convenient top handle that allows you to pull it out of storage and maneuver it with ease.



Variety of attachments it is accompanied by allow you to use it even when cleaning the car’s interior Some customers report that it performs better when tackling wet debris as opposed to dry debris
Produces only 95 dB when it vacuums surfaces
Automatically shuts off if it is tipped over
Features a useful air/noise diffuser to ensure a convenient operation
Great price to quality ratio – quite affordable


Unparalleled from many points of view when it comes to its cleaning performance, what makes this ArmorAll vac even more tempting as a purchase is the cheap asking price. Furthermore, considering the fact that it comes with plentiful accessories and attachments, there is no limit to how you can use it.

What Makes Atelier Vacs Special?

Atelier vacs, as opposed to their traditional counterparts, are multipurpose tools that can handle even the toughest of messes around the house, shop, or garage. Most of these vacuums offer wet/dry performance, meaning that they are able to clean liquid spills just as easily as solid messes. This makes them ideal for use in harsh environments like wood shops, garages and even flooded basements.

Most of these vacuums come with a blowing feature that allows you to clear the leaves that gather on your driveway when autumn comes and the weather changes, or for other similar tasks and chores around the house. Another trait of shop vacuums is the fact that they boast an impressive power and capacity.

The bigger their capacity is the better as it shows that you will not have to waste time too often emptying the tank. Thus, you will have more time to tend to your chores and other affairs. High-end models even allow a high degree of mobility, letting you freely walk across the room when using them so that you will not have to change the power outlet as the cord length does not allow you to reach certain corners anymore.

Relatively compact and easy to work with, vacuums specially designed for use in shops are the right investment for those who usually have big messes to deal with. Although their performance makes them clearly outweigh traditional units, know that their pricing does not differ all that much. Thus, there are only benefits to reap without there being financial or any other sort of consequences to the investment.

Shop vs. Traditional Vacuum Cleaner

How does an atelier vac actually differ from a vacuum cleaner? Is the difference in pricing – where there is one to begin with – worth the money? We will answer these questions immediately by showing you how the two devices differ in various performance aspects, pinning them side by side to underline what type is better, why, and under what circumstances.

  • Power: Generally more powerful than vacuum cleaners, shop cleaners have the unique capability of handling heavy-duty cleaning tasks. Unlike them, regular vacs solely stick to a peak performance when used in normal household messes. This makes them improper choices for those who work on woodworking projects in the garage or do similar messy projects at home or at their workplace. Powerful and capable of confronting large debris with ease, atelier vacuums are must-have cleaning tools for hard-working men and women who get their hands dirty as well as the environment they work in.
  • Capacity: Their capacity is another point where these two types of vacuums differ greatly. As opposed to atelier vacuums, traditional cleaners feature small bags where debris and dirt are trapped. On the opposite side, we have shop models that boast generous tank capacities, enabling you to pick up a wide load of dirt, debris, and liquids, all without having to empty them in the middle of the operation.
  • Cleaning performance: Shop vacs are known under the name of dry/wet vacuums as well. The reasoning for this alternative naming is quite obvious as they can be used to pick up dry as well as wet messes. Thus, when there is a large liquid spill, the shop cleaner can be used to clean it up fast. This is a capability that regular vacuum cleaners do not have, thus being limited in their usability.
  • Surface performance: When it comes to the types of surfaces that atelier vacuums can be used on, you will be glad to know that there is no actual limitation. As opposed to them, vacuum cleaners are intended for use indoors, on carpets and laminate floors usually. Allowing you to pick up dirt that lays on leather, vinyl, upholstery, concrete floors, bare floors, and vehicle interiors, dry/wet vacuums boast the highest functionality and versatility in use.
  • Design: Designed with a higher degree of maneuverability in mind, wet/dry vacuums are specially created to allow ease of use in harsh, dirty environments that span over a large area. Their power cords, as well as their hoses, are longer than what traditional vacuums have accustomed us to, thus allowing a wider reach to get the job done faster.

Why Should You Use It in a Shop/Atelier?

Whether you plan on using the vacuum at home, in the garage where you work on woodworking projects, at your workplace where there is usually a huge mess at the end of the day, or anywhere else for that matter, it is important to clearly understand why the atelier vac is the best choice to go with. Find out the advantages that the design and construction of these vacuums deliver to those who use them by checking out this section of the article.

  • Ability to Tackle Wet Messes

  • Unlike vacuum cleaners that are quite limited in their cleaning performance, there is nothing that you cannot do with a wet/dry vacuum as it is not only capable of tackling normal, solid messes but liquid ones as well. For those who plan on using the vacuums is their work environments, this is a major plus as spills can always occur, spills that do not have to be problematic to clean up anymore as the vacuums just suck the liquid in them. Also, this capability of picking up wet messes makes the vacuums perfect for use in flooded basements.

  • Can Pick Up Large Debris

  • The diameter of the hose is what shows the capability of the vacuum to handle picking up large debris. Due to the fact that the Vacmaster VBV1210 has a generous 2.5-inch hose diameter, it will easily suck in larger debris as well, thus allowing an easy cleanup of your work environment. Best of all, this generous size of the hose mouth shows that you will be done with cleaning the surface in a single pass.

  • Doubles As a Blower

  • Most high-end shop cleaners allow you the capability to transform them into blowers. Thus, when leaves gather on the driveway, just take the vacuum out and deal with them. This is a convenient trait as it eliminates the need for an actual leaf blower, so no additional investments need to be done for tending to other household chores. It might come as a surprise, but vacuums that double as blowers can be used in other ingenious ways too, more precisely for inflating pool toys, inflating mattresses, removing snow off of pathways, cleaning out the fireplace, and so on.

  • Powerful Lifting and Suction

  • The superior lifting and suction performances of these vacuums make them the most efficient and effective cleaning tools when confronted with the removal of liquid or dust particles. Considering the fact that most of them are designed to have separate storage compartments for liquids and solids, maintenance work and emptying them will be a breeze.

  • Moves Easily Across the Shop/Garage

  • By definition, wet/dry vacuums are intended for use in heavy-duty circumstances. Thus, they are designed to not only perform well when confronted with big messes but they are designed to allow easy movement across the area as well. Long hoses and power cords are the two main traits that make these vacuums so convenient to work with, allowing you to finish cleaning after yourself in no time and with as little hassle as possible.

What to Look For in a Quality Vac and Why

Shop vacs might resemble traditional vacuum cleaners up to a point, but the differences between the two appliances make it mandatory that you take a deeper look into what makes a quality wet/dry vacuum before charging in to make a specific purchase. Otherwise, the risk of making the wrong choice becomes very high. Learn what you must look for when buying the right vacuum by reading this useful buying guide.

  • Hose Length

  • The longer the hose of the vacuum is, the more easily you will be able to reach into all the corners of the room, all without having to drag the cleaning device with you. High-end products, like the Shop-Vac 5870400 for example, feature an 8-foot long hose. However, you should know that there are wall-mount models that have larger extensions, reaching hose lengths of up to 20 feet. While these vacuums might be convenient to use for other reasons, their suction power is affected by the enormous hose length.

  • Hose Width

  • The hose’s width shows whether it can easily pick up large debris or not. Just like with the length of the hose, it is better for its width to be as large as possible. From this point of view, we recommend that you use a vacuum like the Vacmaster VBV1210 for example, as it features a generous 2.5-inch hose width, thus picking up large dirt and debris without a problem.

  • Power Cord Length

  • The length of the power cord shows how much movement the device will allow when using it. The longer the cord the better as you will not find yourself caught in the unpleasant situation where you will have to switch power outlets just so that you will be able to finish cleaning the entire area. We recommend that you look for a shop vacuum with a power cord length of at least 6-10 feet.

  • Tank Capacity

  • A generous tank capacity shows that you will not have to waste time emptying the vacuum too often. If your working environment usually gets very messy, this is a trait that you have to pay extra attention to. Otherwise, you risk wasting a lot of time and doing a lot of tedious and useless work, all because you did not bother to check the important tank capacity rating. We recommend that you choose a product like the Vacmaster VBV1210 as it boasts an impressive 12-gallon vacuum capacity.

  • Quiet Operation

  • Even if you plan on using the vacuum in your work environment, this does not mean that you should overlook the amount of noise that the cleaning device produces. After all, you would not want to go deaf because of cleaning the garage when you are done with your latest woodworking project, right? Also, you must consider the comfort of those around you, especially if you plan on using the vacuum in your own home. Thus, when making this investment, do not forget to check out the dB rating of the unit that you are interested in.

  • Tool Storage

  • Having a convenient place to store the many accessories that come with top of the line wet/dry vacuums is a more important element than you could imagine. Not only does the tool storage make it easier for you to set the cleaning device aside when you are done using it as you will not have to search for special places to put these accessories and nozzles, but it will make it less likely that you will lose any of them as well. Considering the fact that most accessories come at spicy prices, it is a feature that you should not overlook when making this purchase.

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