Best Cordless Shop Vac

A regular vacuum cleaner cannot pick up dried-on debris on your floors. And if a regular vacuum cleaner is all you have to hand to clean your floors, then you will have to get on your hands and knees to get it off. And this isn’t great if you’re getting in age and have bad knees.

Luckily, however, there’s an easy solution. Shop vacs offer much more suction power. And if you decide to go for a cordless shop vac, you can get around the building much more quickly and easily without posing the risk of a trip hazard.

We’ve been checking out and testing some of the best cordless shop vacs on the market at the moment.

And after much deliberation we were able to put together a shortlist of our top 5 favorites to review for you. Our reviews on these cordless shop vacs are unbiased and feature both pros and cons.

But we get that choosing one can be tricky, which is why we’ve also put together a handy buying guide that will walk you through the key points to consider before you buy. It is a great starting point for determining the best cordless shop vac for your needs.

Then, we’re going to top that off by answering some of your most frequently asked questions on the subject of cordless shop vacs.

Read on to find the best cordless shop vac for your needs.

OUR TOP PICK

Ryobi 18 Volt ONE+ 6 Gal. Cordless Wet/Dry Vacuum (Tool Only) (Non-Retail Packaging)

Ryobi 18-Volt Wet/Dry

EDITORS CHOICE

Makita XCV11Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 2 Gallon HEPA Filter Portable Wet/Dry Dust Extractor/Vacuum, Tool Only

Makita XCV11Z Portable

BEST VALUE

Milwaukee 0880-20 18-Volt Cordless Wet/Dry Vacuum, Red

Milwaukee 0880-20 1

OUR TOP PICK

Ryobi 18-Volt Wet/Dry

Ryobi 18 Volt ONE+ 6 Gal. Cordless Wet/Dry Vacuum (Tool Only) (Non-Retail Packaging)

When we saw that is little cordless shop vac was on large wheels and didn’t necessarily have to be picked up and carried everywhere, we knew we had to check it out.

It turns out that it has an incredibly powerful suction, coming in at 80 CFM, this is by far the most powerful shop vac on our list, comparable to big corded shop vacs.

As a wet dry vacuum, it can handle any kind of spill, whether wet or dry.

But despite its very compact size and easy portability, it has an incredibly large capacity, coming in at 6 gallons, which is more than double the capacity of most of the other cordless shop vacs on our shortlist. This means you won’t have to empty it as frequently.

It comes with a crevice tool and floor nozzle, and there’s convenient on-board accessory storage and a no-mess hose storage dock.

We expected such a big and powerful shop vac to be considerably more expensive than the others that made our shortlist, but strangely, we found that it was even more reasonably priced.

So, there was no doubt that this was going to be our number one pick, even if it did have less sales than other shop vacs in our shortlist.

Our Personal Experience Testing The Shop Vac

We found that this shop vac is more stable than it looks, and you don’t have to worry about it tipping over. The large wheels easily glided over our thick carpets and rugs. But what really impressed us was the suction power.

Pros

  • Incredibly powerful suction at 80 CFM
  • It can handle any kind of spill, whether wet or dry
  • It has an incredibly large capacity, at 6 gallons
  • There’s convenient on-board accessory storage
  • It has large wheels for easy maneuverability

Cons

  • There’s no HEPA filter installed
  • It is, understandably, heavier than other cordless shop vacs in our shortlist, coming in at 20.1 pounds

Also Available To Buy At:

EDITORS CHOICE

Makita XCV11Z Portable Wet/Dry

Makita XCV11Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 2 Gallon HEPA Filter Portable Wet/Dry Dust Extractor/Vacuum, Tool Only

This Makita cordless vacuum is s prominent bestseller with the leading online retailers in the category of wet/dry shop vacs, and has been met with excellent customer ratings and reviews. And we can see why!

It has a powerful brushless motor that can deliver up to 57 CFM of suction power. And an efficient HEPA filter that can extract more than 99% of dust particulates.

And it is no ordinary shop vac – it is a cordless wet dry vacuum, which means that in addition to picking up dry dirt and debris, it can also pick up wet messes too – perfect for clearing up spilled lattes.

But the star feature of this particular cordless shop vac has to be it’s portability. It is very small, compact and lightweight, coming in at just 10.1 pounds. Lightweight enough, in fact, to be carried over your shoulder if you buy the compatible shoulder strap.

Being so compact make is easy to store away, and this is further helped by the on-board accessory storage, and on-board hose.

Our Personal Experience Testing The Shop Vac

We loved just how easy this shop vac was to carry around and were impressed with it’s performance with both wet and dry materials. Our only complaint was that we wished it had a longer battery life, but I guess 60 minutes isn’t that bad.

Pros

  • Has a powerful brushless motor
  • Delivers up to 57 CFM of suction power
  • It has a very efficient HEPA filter
  • It can suck up both wet and dry materials
  • Incredibly compact, lightweight and portable

Cons

  • Compatible batteries are sold separately

Also Available To Buy At:

BEST VALUE

Milwaukee 0880-20 1 Wet/Dry

Milwaukee 0880-20 18-Volt Cordless Wet/Dry Vacuum, Red

When we saw the customer ratings and reviews on this beauty, we knew we just had to check it out. Very few products manage to maintain an average Amazon customer rating of a full 5 stars, especially with well over 2,000 individual customer ratings.

Customers gave it high ratings for a number of specific features, including suction power, ease of use, and portability.

It provides a very high level of suction power, and as a wet and dry vacuum, it has dual clean up modes and can handle both wet and dry materials with ease.

We’re also pleased to report that it features a certified HEPA filter, for efficient filtering of fine dust particles.

It comes in an easy to store box-like shape, and comes with a crevice tool and utility nozzle, and with room for accessory storage, for added convenience.

But I think what impressed us the most with this shop vac was the length of the warranty, which comes in at a whopping 5 years, and is very reassuring.

Our Personal Experience Testing The Shop Vac

While we were very happy with the suction power of the shop vac, and it’s ability to handle wet messes, we felt it could have done with more run time.

However, you can use either Li-ion or NiCd, and it may just be that we should have used a more powerful battery.

Pros

  • Phenomenal customer ratings and reviews
  • It has a very high level of suction power
  • It can handle both wet and dry materials
  • It features a certified HEPA filter for fine dust
  • It comes backed by a lengthy 5-year warranty

Cons

  • The run time is a quite short for cleaning large areas, but it’s great for small spills

Also Available To Buy At:

RUNNER UP

DEWALT DCV581H Wet/Dry

DEWALT 20V MAX Vacuum, Wet/Dry, Tool Only (DCV581H)

Now, the beauty of this shop vac, besides coming from a top brand and having excellent customer ratings, is that it can either be used cordless, with an 18 or 20 volt battery, or you can use the accompanying cord for even greater suction power of up to 31 CFM.

It also features an efficient certified HEPA filter, designed to filter out over 99% of dust particles. Moreover, this filter can be removed, washed and reused as required.

What’s more it’s a wet dry vacuum, which means that it has dual clean up modes, and can clean up wet messes and spills just as easily as regular dry debris.

It features a good hose length, coming in at 5 feet, and the hose is both flexible and crush resistant, which is good to know.

It has a large 2 gallon capacity, so it can pick up quite a lot of dirt and debris before it has to be emptied.

It comes with all the bits and pieces you need, and there’s convenient accessory storage on-board for easy carrying and transport.

And if all that’s not enough, it also comes backed by a 3-year warranty.

Our Personal Experience Testing The Shop Vac

We found the shop vac easy enough to use and carry around, but we noticed that it didn’t have quite as much suction power as some of the other shop vacs that made our shortlist.

Pros

  • Can be used either corded or cordless
  • It can handle both wet and dry materials
  • It features a certified HEPA filter for fine dust
  • It has a large 2 gallon capacity for less emptying
  • There’s convenient accessory storage on-board
  • It comes backed by a lengthy 3-year warranty

Cons

  • The suction power could be better

Also Available To Buy At:

RUNNER UP

WORX WX030L

WORX WX030L 20V Power Share Cordless Cube Vac Compact Vacuum, Black

If you’re looking for bargain, this could be the one for you. When this article was written, this shop vac was going for less than $100! And what’s more, that’s with the battery included in the price.

But despite the low price tag, it’s a pretty powerful machine, with two speeds. One for everyday mess and a stronger speed for messes that require more suction power.

It’s also incredibly portable and lightweight, coming in at a mere 3 pounds. And it’s super compact too, you could even fit it in a desk drawer or backpack.

It features a certified HEPA filter that can remove allergen particles from the floors or anywhere else you vacuum.

It features a retractable hose that can extend to give you a hose length of up to 4 feet, so you can reach cobwebs on the ceiling. It also comes with a very handy crevice nozzle, for getting into all those awkward nooks and crannies.

Our Personal Experience Testing The Shop Vac

Now, this shop vac was an absolute breeze to carry around – it weighs less than a laptop. And given that it’s so small we were quite surprised at just how powerful the suction was on high speed.

Pros

  • Comes with a bargain, affordable price tag
  • Surprisingly powerful suction & air flow
  • Very portable, lightweight and compact
  • It features a certified HEPA filter for dust
  • It features a retractable 4 foot long hose
  • It comes with a very handy crevice nozzle

Cons

  • It’s only designed to suck up dry debris only and cannot handle wet spills

Also Available To Buy At:

Buying Guide

As promised, here’s your guide to buying a cordless shop vac. Here are the key points to consider.

Best Cordless Shop Vac

Vacuum Performance

A shop vac’s performance comes largely down to its suction power, and also to battery power and a good powerful motor.

The key spec to look out for here is CFM, which stands for Cubic Feet per Minute, and it describes how much pair is sucked through the vacuum hose every minute. The greater the CFM, the more powerful the suction.

The cordless vacuum that has the most suction power in our shortlist is our number one pick, the Ryobi 18-Volt Wet/Dry Cordless Shop Vac.

Wet Dry Vacuum

Any shop vac can pick up dry debris on the floor, but when it comes to wet messes such as spilled milk, you’ll need a shop vac that’s up to the task, and that means a wet dry vacuum.

Most of the shop vacs that made our shortlist are wet dry vacuums.

Certified HEPA Filter

Most cordless shop vacs these days feature a certified HEPA filter. A certified HEPA filter is basically a highly efficient mechanical filter designed to force air through a fine mesh that traps harmful particles.

Including the likes of dust mites, pollen, pet dander, and tobacco smoke. This freshens up the area and bodes well for those with allergies.

Most of the shop vacs that made our shortlist feature a certified HEPA filter.

Battery And Run Time

Different cordless shop vacs require different sizes of battery. And which voltage of battery you use will ultimately determine the shop vac’s run time.

As a general rule, the greater the voltage of the shop vac’s battery the more use you will get out of it, which can be handy if you’ve got a particularly large area to clean.

Capacity

The bigger the capacity of your cordless shop vac, the more dirt and debris it can contain, and the less often you will have to empty it out.

If this is important to you, we’d recommend our number one pick, the Ryobi 18-Volt Wet/Dry Cordless Shop Vac.

Portability

One of the main reasons people choose a cordless shop vac if for easier portability and maneuverability.

And being cordless certainly helps in this regard, but it is also worth looking out for shop vacs that are relatively small and lightweight, and feature the likes of handles, or even wheels.

If you’d be interested in a shop vac you can carry on your shoulder, we would recommend our number 2 pick, the Makita XCV11Z Portable Cordless Shop Vac.

Alternatively, if you want a shop vac on large wheels, we would recommend our number 1 pick, the Ryobi 18-Volt Wet/Dry Cordless Shop Vac.

Manufacturer’s Warranty

Any good quality cordless shop vac should come with a manufacturer’s warranty. A lengthy warranty is often a good sign that the product will have a good lifespan.

If this is of particular importance to you, then we would recommend our number 3 pick, the Milwaukee 0880-20 1 Cordless Wet/Dry Shop Vac, which has a 5-year warranty.

Value For Money

Cordless shop vacs typically vary in price between just under $100 to just over $200. We don’t include prices in our reviews in case they change.

But if you click on “Check price” as you go along, you’ll be presented with the current prices, and from there you can decide what your budget should be.

For the particularly budget conscious among you, the most affordable cordless shop vac in our list is our number 5 pick, the WORX WX030L Power Share Cordless Shop Vac.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Best Cordless Shop Vac? 

We would argue that the best cordless shop vac around is our number one pick, the Ryobi 18-Volt Wet/Dry Cordless Shop Vac.

We feel it is the best because it has significantly more suction power, a significantly larger capacity than other shop vacs of its ilk, and yet at the same time, it is very portable and easy to maneuver, and is available at a bargain, affordable price point.

Who Makes The Best Cordless Wet/Dry Vac?

Apologies for sounding like a broken record here, but again we would argue that the best cordless wet/dry vac is the one we made our number one pick, the Ryobi 18-Volt Wet/Dry Cordless Shop Vac. It has everything you could ask for and is well priced to boot.

Wrap Up

Now that you’ve read the article, you should now be in a position to pick out the best cordless shop vac for your needs. Our favorite one is the Ryobi 18-Volt Wet/Dry Cordless Shop Vac, but to be honest, any one of the 5 that made our shortlist would make a good choice.