8 Best Cordless Shop Vacs 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks
Cordless shop vacs are arguably the most convenient vacuum cleaners for workshops and other areas that require heavy-duty vacuuming. They are lighter than the standard vacuum cleaner, and yes, they do not need to be plugged into a wall socket to work.
However, different cordless shop vac models vary significantly in quality and practicality. Therefore, it is important to research the different products on the market so you can make an informed choice when you decide to purchase.
To save you all that hassle, we have compared the different cordless shop vac models on the market to bring you reviews of the best cordless shop vacs of the year.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2024
|Makita Brushless Cordless Wet/Dry Vacuum
|Milwaukee Cordless Wet/Dry Vacuum
|DeWalt DCV581H Max Vacuum
|DeWalt Cordless Wet/Dry Portable Vacuum
|Ryobi 18-Volt Cordless Wet/Dry Vacuum
The 8 Best Cordless Shop Vacs
1. Makita XCV11Z Brushless Cordless Wet/Dry Vacuum – Best Overall
Thanks to their quality offerings, Makita is one of the most recognizable brands in the vacuum cleaners market. The Makita XCV11Z is an incredibly efficient vacuum cleaner with a powerful motor that achieves an airflow rate of 57 cubic feet per minute (CFM) and 27 inches of water lift.
This unit also comes with a HEPA filter to ensure your workspace environment is devoid of pollutants. It uses an 18V lithium-ion battery to power its operations. On a full charge, it can operate for up to an hour before it requires recharging. Moreover, it is fitted with an LED indicator to tell you when it’s almost time for a recharge.
Portability is not an issue with this cleaner as it only weighs 10 pounds and has ergonomic handles. One thing that you might not like about the Makita is that the manufacturer sells the battery separately, which belies the actual cost of this unit. Nonetheless, thanks to its power, efficiency, and ease of use, the Makita is arguably the best overall cordless shop vac on the market today.
2. Milwaukee 0880-20 Cordless Wet/Dry Vacuum – Best Value
The Milwaukee 0880-20 is another unit you should consider when looking for a cordless shop vac. With its exceptional suction power, it picks up all the debris in your shop with incredible efficiency. Moreover, its design allows it to maintain constant airflow, thus ensuring that it does not lose suction at any moment.
The Milwaukee 0880-20 is quite versatile as well. It comes with a blower port that allows you to use the machine as a blower. It utilizes an 18V slide-on lithium-ion battery to power its operations. However, it can accept any 18V Milwaukee or Ni-Cad batteries. On a full charge, you will get 60 minutes of runtime.
Another feature of the Milwaukee 0880 that you will appreciate is the reusable filter. Once it gets dirty, you wash it and reinstall it in the shop vac. Transporting this unit is relatively easy, thanks to its toolbox design. It also comes with handles to enhance its portability. The 0880-20’s hose is short compared to other vacuum cleaners.
Additionally, the manufacturer sells the battery separately. Despite those drawbacks, however, the competitive pricing on this high-quality wet/dry vacuum makes the Milwaukee 0880-20 one of the best cordless shop vacs for the money.
3. DeWalt DCV581H Max Vacuum – Premium Choice
DeWalt tools are renowned for their high quality, and this cordless shop vac is no different. The DeWalt DCV581H’s design allows it to be used in heavy-duty worksites. First, it comes with a crush-resistant hose to withstand damage from the myriad of potential accidents at a worksite. Additionally, it uses batteries from the DeWalt 20V battery line.
As long as you have a tool that uses batteries from that line, you can use them in this shop vac. Don’t worry about allergens in your worksite because this vacuum has a reusable HEPA filter. The 2-gallon tank on this unit allows you to clean up large areas before you have to empty it. And thanks to its ergonomic design, transporting the DCV581H is a breeze.
DeWalt provides a 3-year warranty on the DCV581H. A drawback of this vacuum cleaner, however, is that the battery does not charge when the machine is on cord power. However, the DeWalt DCV581H is still one of the best cordless shop vacs on the market. It is convenient since it allows you to switch between corded and cordless operations. Moreover, it is durable, easy to use, and comes with good warranty terms.
4. DeWalt DC515B Cordless Wet/Dry Portable Vacuum
The DC515B is another convenient wet/dry vacuum from DeWalt. The first thing you should know about this battery-powered shop vac is that it is small enough to be used as a handheld tool. At only 6 pounds, it allows you to use it in spots that would be hard to reach using standard shop vacs.
Another great thing about this model is its dual clean-up mode, which allows you to use its rubber hose or front utility nozzle to clean up debris. You will also love how noiseless this unit can be during operation. The DC515B also features a reusable HEPA filter with a 99.97% rating.
Nonetheless, this shop vac’s convenience comes at a cost since it has a small tank (half a gallon). Therefore, the DC515B is unsuitable for heavy-duty applications since its tank fills up quickly.
5. Ryobi 18-Volt ONE+ 6 Gal. Cordless Wet/Dry Vacuum
This unit by Ryobi is a good choice for those looking for a large and cordless wet/dry vacuum for heavy-duty vacuuming. It comes with a 6-gallon tank to allow you to go longer without emptying. Moreover, the tank’s ingenious design allows for fast and easy emptying.
While the Ryobi might be large, it is easy to maneuver, thanks to its multi-size no-tip wheel design that enhances the machine’s stability. It is also fitted with ergonomic carrying handles to enhance its portability. This shop vac features a storage area to allow you easy access to the accessories you need when cleaning up. Additionally, thanks to its compact design, the Ryobi does not take up a lot of storage space.
A significant drawback of the Ryobi is its noise, which can be quite loud during operation. Other than that, it is an excellent tool for heavy-duty use.
6. CRAFTSMAN CMCV002B Cordless Shop Vac
If you are looking for a reliable shop vac on a budget, this unit is by Craftsman is worth checking out. It uses a 20V lithium-ion battery and delivers up to 35 CFM of suction power. Like many manufacturers, CRAFTSMAN sells the battery separately. However, if you have another CRAFTSMAN power tool that uses a 20V battery, you can save on battery costs.
The 2-gallon tank on the CMCV002B is large enough to allow you to work for a reasonable period before you have to empty it. It also comes with a HEPA-rated filter to ensure that you eliminate allergens from your environment as you work. CRAFTSMAN offers a 3-year limited warranty on this product. Unfortunately, the batteries for this shop vac can be expensive.
7. PORTER-CABLE MAX Cordless Shop Vacuum
The PCC795B is a quality shop vac by Porter-Cable that can effectively meet your wet and dry vacuuming needs. If you have a 20V Porter-Cable tool, you will be pleased to learn that you can use its battery to operate this shop vac. The motor on the PCC795B allows it to achieve 34 CFM of suction to promote effective cleaning.
Additionally, it comes with a reusable HEPA-rated filter to effectively eliminate pollutants from the air. You will also love the nearly 8-ft hose on this unit that enables you to access areas that are difficult to reach. Despite the long hose, the PCC795B’s unique design allows you to wrap the hose around it, thus allowing you to squeeze this machine into tight storage spaces.
The biggest drawback of this shop vac is its limited battery life.
8. DeWalt Cordless Wet/Dry Vacuum Kit
To cap off these reviews. We bring you this tiny unit by DeWalt. The DCV517B is designed for people looking for a high-quality shop vac for light-duty purposes. The DeWalt DCV517B runs on 20V Max DeWalt batteries. You can use the batteries of any other DeWalt tool that uses the 20V Max batteries, thereby allowing you to avoid the extra cost.
This unit has a dual clean-up mode that allows you to choose between the extendable rubber hose and front utility nozzle to clean up. It comes with a reusable HEPA filter that you simply wash once it gets dirty, thus saving you replacement costs. Nonetheless, with its small ½-gallon tank, this shop vac is not meant for heavy-duty use. However, it is a good choice for anyone looking for a reliable small-duty wet/dry cordless vac.
Buyer’s Guide – Picking the Best Cordless Shop Vac
The following are some of the most important factors to consider when shopping for a cordless shop vac. They will guide you to an informed decision when you decide to purchase.
Considering that one of the main reasons for using a cordless vac is its ability to operate independently, the runtime its battery provides should be one of the first things you check out. 18-volt and 20-volt batteries provide the longest runtimes, thanks to their large capacities.
Another important aspect is the time the vac’s battery takes to charge. Most cordless vac batteries take at least four hours to recharge completely.
When discussing power in cordless shop vacs, we refer to its suction pressure. This metric is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM), and it refers to the airflow that passes through the nozzle of a vacuum machine per minute. Vacs with higher CFM pick materials up faster.
Another power metric in cordless vacs is the water lift or suction power. The higher the water lift capacity a vac has, the heavier the items it can pick.
If you are sensitive to dust or are prone to allergies, it is crucial that the unit that you get comes with a filter. And make sure that it is a HEPA filter, as this is the most effective type of filter on the market today.
Since workshops can be especially prone to accidents, it is crucial that the shop vac you choose is made from sturdy materials. Most high-quality cordless vacs have a stainless steel tank and a hard plastic body.
The ideal tank size for a cordless vacuum depends on the purpose of using the machine. For example, if you do not use your workshop frequently or are not involved in heavy-duty projects, a vac with a small to medium tank should adequately meet your needs.
Vacs with larger tanks are best suited for busy workshops, as they produce a lot of debris.
While cordless vacs come with the benefit of portability, there are still areas where the unit cannot reach. This is where the length of its hose proves its value. Vacs with longer hoses can access areas that are hard to reach.
The first thing you will notice about shop vacs is that they are much louder than your average vacuum cleaner. This should not come as a surprise as they are much more powerful. Nonetheless, noisy vacs can quickly become a pain, especially if you plan to use the machine regularly.
Fortunately, some cordless vac manufacturers try to dampen the noise. Therefore, be sure to check out the loudness of a shop vac first before purchasing it, of course, unless you don’t mind burdening yourself with earplugs.
You want to have your tools within proximity when working with the vacuum machine. As such, a cordless machine with a storage compartment for your accessories is worth its weight in gold due to its convenience.
The amount of space that you have available in your workshop also plays a role in determining the size of your ideal workshop vac. If you have limited space, you should limit your options to vacs with a compact build.
Fortunately, more vacs today are equipped with features that allow you to mount the machine on a wall, eliminating the need for floor space.
What is the Difference between Cordless Shop Vacs and Regular Vacuum Cleaners?
The biggest difference between these two types of vacuum cleaners is their versatility, with the shop vac being a more versatile tool. For example, it can do wet and dry cleaning and is powerful enough to pick up larger pieces. However, shop vacs do not have motorized brushed heads like regular vacuum cleaners. As a result, shop vacs are ineffective at cleaning carpets and upholstery.
Consequently, a shop vac is not ideal for home vacuuming in the same way a standard vacuum cannot effectively meet a workshop’s needs. Nonetheless, there are some situations where you might need to use a shop vac in your house. For example, if you have a delicate floor susceptible to scratching, the brushless shop vac offers a safer alternative.
Moreover, it can also help you unclog drains by removing the excess water.
More Shop Vac Articles:
A cordless shop vac is a convenient tool that will allow you to deal with the workshop mess without hassle. After comparing the numerous cordless shop vac models on the market, we recommend the Makita XCV11Z. This machine is robust, powerful, reliable, and comes at a competitive price. At the end of the day, however, your needs will guide you to your ideal shop vac.
The combination of value and power earns the Milwaukee 0880-20 our pick for the best cordless shop vacs for the money. Its battery runtime is also among the best performers on the market.
Hopefully, you’re ready to make an informed purchase. Happy shopping!