It used to be that shop vacuums were like the Marines: called
in to clean up after the mess was made. But these days, many
woodworkers also use a vacuum to collect debris directly from
dust-producing tools, saving cleanup time. So, we examined five
popular models that are not sweeping the nation.
Unless you have some unique requirements,
you don't have to spend more than $150 to get a shop vacuum that
will handle all common workshop chores.
Since our last test (WOOD® magazine #78), shop-vacuum
mufflers-to reduce the ear-ringing effects of using a vacuum-have become
more widely available.
If you're buying a
vacuum only for gobbling dust from portable power tools, consider
instead a so-called "tool vac." Priced
about the same as the larger-capacity models in our test,
these small-tank vacuums offer tool-triggered convenience.
How we chose
the five vacuums in our test
You can buy a full-blown dust collector these days for $200-300,
so we don't believe you should pay more than $150 for a vacuum.
With that in mind, we selected five popular models at or below
that price point for our test: the Craftsman 17026, Fein Mini-Turbo,
Genie PRO16-6026QH, Ridgid WD1660, and the Shop-Vac QSP 925-33.
Most of the models offer 16- or 18-gallon tanks, designed
for holding the wet or dry materials you vacuum up. The Fein
has a 5-gallon tank.
The suction tests: Getting dirt into the
With shop vacuums, you can forget about horsepower ratings
and motor amperage ratings. Neither of those numbers tells
well a vacuum will suck up shop waste. So to find out how
much suctioning capacity our five test machines had, we ran
a water-lift test and a dry-materials suction test. Learn
the results of those tests and more in the December
WOOD magazine, and turning to page 66.
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