The Best Shop Vacuum For Car Detailing – 2021 (Review & Guide)

best shop vacuum

What’s the best shop vac to detail your car ?

You’re probably a vehicle owner who likes to keep their car, truck or SUV clean and tidy.

You could take your car or truck to a professional detailer every time it’s looking shabby and needs a clean-up.

But that would break the bank.

So doing the detailing yourself is important if you want to save some bucks.

There are many different shop vacs on the market and it’s important that you get one that will work well for your job. Do you need a 10 ft cord, or a 30 ft cord?

How much suction do you need? Wet, dry, small or large job.

These shop vacuums work best for detailing your car and have been designed specifically for the car aficionado.



At A Glance: Top 6 Shop Vacuums

Vacmaster Wet / Dry Vacuum
– 5-gallon tank
– 5.5 HP
– HEPA filter
– Integrated hose storage
Vacmaster 6 gallons Wet / Dry
– 6-gallon tank
– 3 HP
– Easily converts to a blower
Armor All AA255
– 2.5 gallon
– 2 HP
– 10 Ft. cord
– Easily converts to a blower
DEWALT Wet / Dry Vacuum with charger & bag
– Operates by battery (incl.) or AC outlet
– 2-gallon tank
– Battery and charger included
– HEPA filter with 99.9% efficiency
Bissell Garage Pro Wall-Mounted Wet / Dry
– 4-gallon tank
– Wall mount
– Extra-long hose, reaches 32 Ft
– Converts to blower
Vacmaster VWM510 Wet / Dry
– 5 gallon
– 74 dB
– 41 ft cleaning reach

Stanley SL18910P-3 Wet/Dry Portable Vacuum

  • Weight: 8.65 lbs.
  • Tank size: 2.9-gallon
  • Hose Length: 4 ft hose
  • Cord Length: 6 ft cord
  • Motor: 3 Peak HP

What We Like

  • Powerful and sufficient suction
  • Easy to store
  • Portable
  • Wet/dry vac

What We Don’t Like

  • The power cord could be longer

Summary: The Stanley SL18910P-3 is a quality and reliable shop vac that comes with innovative features.

With a powerful 3 HP motor, the Stanley SL18910P-3 provides maximum suction power for any cleanup job in your car.

This wet and dry vacuum unit is easy to use, and there’s no assembling required.

It’s equipped with two kinds of nozzles to fit different needs. The 4-inch ultra-flexible hose and 6-ft power cord provide up to 10 ft reach when washing the car. 

The package also includes a washable foam filter for small, dry, and wet debris. The sturdy handle makes it convenient to carry the shop vac around.

A large on/off switch with a water-resistant design will also impress you as it allows you to safely and quickly access the vac. And while a shop vac is great for cleaning the interior, don’t forget about detailing the exterior.

ArmorAll AA255

  • Weight: 7lbs.
  • Tank size: 2.5-gallon tank
  • Hose length: 6 ft hose
  • Power cord length: 10 ft  
  • Motor: 2 Peak HP motor

What We Like

  • Affordable
  • Built-in air and noise diffuser for less noise
  • No assembly required
  • Auto shut-off function
  • Easy conversion between a shop vac and blower
  • Small, compact and lightweight

What We Don’t Like

  • Small tank
  • Short hose

Summary: The ArmorAll AA255 is an affordable and lightweight utility shop vac. It comes with quite a small tank capacity of 2.5 gallons that results in a compact design for easy portability.

This shop vac is designed with a 2.0 peak horsepower motor with strong suction power. You can easily convert it into a blower.

The ArmorAll AA255 has an in-built noise diffuser that ensures efficient and quiet running.

One of the best features is that it has an auto shut-off function that detects if the tank is full and powers it off to prevent overflow and wastage.

Other fantastic features include a 6-foot hose, 10-foot power cord, crevice tool, 2 in 1 utility nozzle, and a blower nozzle. It also has a reusable cloth filter and foam sleeve for dry vacuuming.

Tons of features at a great price making this a fantastic choice. And have a look here if you want to know what products will help clean or condition your car interior.

Vacmaster Professional Wet/Dry Vac

  • Weight: 13.5 lbs.
  • Tank size: 5-gallon tank
  • Hose length: 7 ft hose
  • Power cord length: 18 ft power cord
  • Motor: 5.5 Peak HP motor

What We Like

  • Comes with the accessory needed
  • Powerful suction force
  • Top-notch performance
  • Easily converts to a blower

What We Don’t Like

  • Not very durable

Summary: The Vacmaster Professional Wet/Dry Vac is a powerful high-performance vac that’s designed to handle even the toughest cleanup projects.

Most people prefer this professional vac for cleaning a jobsite, around the shop, or in the garage.

It comes with an onboard accessory, and power cord storage that eliminates the unnecessary hassle and reduces the total storage space needed.

With over 25-ft of cleaning reach, Vacmaster Professional Vac this shop vac allows you to reach farther while cleaning your car without having to unplug the unit.

A large dust-sealed on/off switch lets you quickly control the unit with ease. This vac also includes all the accessories you need for cleaning virtually any task.

Vacmaster VQ607SFD Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum

  • Weight: 12.9 lbs
  • Tank size: 6-gallon
  • Hose length: 7 ft
  • Power cord length: 12 ft
  • Motor: 3 Peak HP

What We Like

  • Dust sealed switch for quick control
  • Stainless generous tank
  • Versatile
  • Perfect top handle design

What We Don’t Like

  • Curved handle not great for everyone

Summary: If you are looking for a lightweight yet powerful shop vac for your car, garage, or office cleanup, Vacmaster VQ607SFD is for you.

The Vacmaster VQ607SFD is an ultra-lightweight and portable shop vac that’s powerful enough to help you with all your car cleaning tasks.

It comes with a 6-gallon stainless tank that offers a more professional look to the shop vac.

With a powerful 3 Peak HP motor, the Vacmaster VQ607SFD delivers the suction you need for all your cleanup projects. It also includes all the accessories you need for cleaning your car.

Stanley SL18116 Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum

Weight: 15.4 lbs

Tank size: 6-gallon

Hose length: 6 ft hose

Power cord length: 10 ft

Motor: 4 Peak HP

What We Like

  • Large tank capacity
  • Powerful suction
  • Versatile
  • Sturdy top handle
  • Wheels for easy portability

What We Don’t Like

  • No remote control

Summary: The Stanley SL18116 is an easy-to-use shop vac designed with a large tank capacity to let you use clean up for a longer time without having to clean the trash inside.

It’s 4 Peak HP motor makes it easy to suck all kinds of wet and dry debris and dirty water into the tank.

With over 16 ft of cleaning reach, the Stanley SL18116 allows you to clean your car effectively without unplugging the vac.

This shop vac is built for a long life-cycle and can continuously work for over 300 hours. It comes with various accessories needed, including a gulper nozzle, reusable dry filter, extension wands, and more.

BISSEL Garage Pro Wall-Mounted Wet/Dry Car Vacuum

  • Weight: 33.2 lbs
  • Tank size: 4-gallon tank
  • Hose length: 32-foot hose
  • Motor: 12 Amp

What We Like

  • Excellent suction power
  • Long hose
  • Wall mountable
  • Very convenient

What We Don’t Like

  • The hose is a bit narrow

Summary: The BISSEL Garage Pro is a convenient shop vac as it allows for wall mounting to free-up floor space.

Once you mount it, you won’t have to lug this shop vac around because its 32-foot hose will reach in and around your car.

The BISSEL Garage Pro is easily converted between wet/dry vac to a blower that helps in clearing debris from the car or for blowing leaves.

After you’re done cleaning, you can conveniently store your shop vac in the accessory bag included in the package.

Its suction power is unmatched, making it a perfect option for professional vacuuming.

Vacmaster VWM510 Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum

  • Weight: 25.1 lbs
  • Tank size: 5-gallon tank
  • Cord length: 20-foot cord
  • Hose length: 11-foot hose
  • Motor: 5 Peak HP motor

What We Like

  • Runs very quietly
  • Remote control on/off switch
  • Powerful industrial stage motor
  • Can be used for both wet and dry vacuuming

What We Don’t Like

  • Doesn’t include a fine dust filter
  • Quite heavy

Summary: If you’re looking for a powerful but quiet shop vac for your car, you can’t go wrong with this unit.

The Vacmaster VMW510 is a top-rated shop vac due to its powerful dual-turbo 2-stage industrial motor that provides a powerful suction force.

With an in-built noise diffuser that cancels most of the noise produced, this shop vac operates quietly, leaving only 74 decibels output.

It includes a remote on/off switch for extra convenience and ease of use. The package also includes a 10-foot flex hose which is long enough to get all the corners of your car clean.

This shop vac comes with a 20-foot power cord, 11-foot standard hose, a crevice tool, and two extension wands.

Vacmaster VMW510 is a versatile unit as you can easily switch it from dry to wet vacuum. You just have to attach a cartridge filter for dry vacuuming and switch to a foam filter for wet vacuuming.

However, the cleaner doesn’t include a fine for picking fine dust, and so you have to buy it separately.

VacuMaid GV50 Pro Wall Mounted Shop Vacuum

  • Weight: 30 lbs.
  • Gallon size: 7-gallon tank
  • Hose length: 50 ft hose and tools

What We Like

  • Strong, long-lasting shop vac
  • Long 50-foot hose and tools
  • Quieter operation
  • Durable construction

What We Don’t Like

  • Not efficient for picking up liquids
  • Expensive

Summary: If you want a quality shop vac that delivers top-notch performance and you don’t mind the high price, VacuMaid GV50Pro is for you.

This is one of the most expensive shop vacs, but it’s a very efficient cleaner. It’s designed to satisfy all your car vacuuming needs effectively.

The VacuMaid GV50Pro comes in a cylindrical shape which easily mounts on to the wall. It weighs about 30 lbs. and has a compact design.

With a unique all grey container, VacuMaid GV50Pro includes a plethora of tools and accessories that make it a perfect cleaner for detailing your car.

DEWALT DCV581H Cordless/Corded Wet/Dry Vacuum

  • Weight: 11 lbs.
  • Tank size: 2-gallon
  • Hose length: 5-ft
  • Motor: 2.6 A

What We Like

  • Portable
  • Washable and reusable HEPA rated wet/dry filter
  • Heavy-duty, fully integrated hose
  • Can use battery power or AC
  • Onboard storage keeps attachments within close reach
  • Versatile

What We Don’t Like

  • Small tank capacity
  • Does not include the battery or charger

Summary: If you’re after a portable and flexible shop vac cleaner for your car, the Dewalt DCV581 is the perfect match for your needs.

It’s a powerful utility vacuum that comes with a HEPA filter for trapping dust particles.

And it can operate with an 18 volt or 20-volt max battery, allowing you to move virtually anywhere when doing your cleaning tasks. The battery and charger are sold separately.

If you want, you can hook it up to the mains as it has an AC option. This feature makes it one of the most flexible and portable shop vacs for cars you can find in the market.

The HEPA rated filter traps dust with a precision of 99.97%, leaving your car sparkling clean.

The package also includes a washable and reusable HEPA rated wet/dry filter, making the shop vac to be a versatile unit.

The DEWALT DCV581H features a heavy-duty crush-resistant 5-foot hose that is fully integrated, 2-gallon tank, crevice, tool, wide nozzle, onboard storage, and blower conversion.

Vacmaster 5 Gallon (VWM510)

  • Weight: 11 lbs.
  • Tank size: 2-gallon
  • Hose length: 5-ft
  • Motor: 2.6 A

What We Like

  • Wall mountable
  • Includes a remote control
  • 74 dB for super-quiet operation
  • Includes: 10 ft flex hose, 11 ft standard hose, 20 ft cord
  • Onboard storage keeps attachments within close reach
  • Versatile

What We Don’t Like

  • Small tank capacity
  • Does not include the battery or charger

Summary: Everything you need in a shop vac. Long flex hose makes it really, really simple to clean up messes whether in your car, truck or on the garage floor. And if you need to move it around, you can easily take it off the wall mount for great portability. And the 74 dB rating means that it’s not nearly as loud as some of the other shop vacs on the market

3 Benefits of Using a Shop Vacuum

best shop vac
  1. Versatility: Shop vacs are highly versatile cleaners, and they can be used for virtually any cleaning task. These cleaners are more convenient and powerful than most traditional cleaning tools.
  2. Tackle Wet Messes Efficiently: A shop vac can help you clean wet mess without having to wait for them to dry. With a wet-dry vacuum, you can clean the wet and sticky mess from the floor effortlessly.
  3. Easy and Effective Cleaning: Shop vacs can pick up all types of debris in your car without blocking the filter. They help you clean away spillages quickly.

3 Different Types of Vacuums for Cars

best shop vac

1. Canister

Canister vacuum cleaners have a retractable cord and a suction hose for easy access to hidden areas. They are the best for cleaning the hard surfaces of a car.

2. Handheld Vacuum

This is a cordless battery powered cleaner used in cleaning small spills in small areas. It is lightweight, making it very portable and easy to work with.

3. Sweeper vacuum

A sweeper vacuum, although not very powerful like other cleaners, can access narrow areas that most cleaners cannot easily access.

A sweeper vacuum is used to clean the hard surfaces and narrow surfaces of a car. It’s a bit taller, and you can work with it while standing.

8 Things to Consider When Buying a Shop Vacuum for Cars

best shop vac

1. Horsepower/Size

Vacuums with very powerful engines are very efficient and are used to perform a lot of tasks for a short time. They are however expensive compared to less powerful ones.

It’s not sensible to buy a powerful and expensive vacuum meant for industries just to clean your car.

2. Ease of Use

Whether you will be moving around a lot as you clean will dictate the size and weight of the unit that you buy. If you will be moving a lot means you have to go for a cordless vacuum.

Ease of maintenance and cleaning is also an important factor to consider when buying this product.

3. Storage Capacity

The tank size will not be a problem if you have enough storage space. But if you have limited storage space or you want to store the vacuum in a closet, then you have to choose the size carefully.

Some vacuums can be mounted on the wall using rackets. They are the best if storage space is your problem.

4. Power and Hose Length

The power source is an essential determinant of the type of vacuum and length of hose you buy. For vacuums that use batteries, even a shorter hose length will be okay.

5. Power Source

Vacuums are powered in different ways. You can go for cordless ones, but you will need to charge them once they are low. Cordless vacuums over great flexibility and portability.

Additionally, there are corded vacuums that require you to have a longer cable and longer hose to work with them comfortably.

6. Tank Size

Vacuums with larger tanks are meant to work for long before they are emptied. However, the price increases as the tank size increases.

If you are buying a vacuum to perform easier tasks at home, there is no need in investing a lot of money in a very large industrial-based vacuum.

7. Noise Level

Many people don’t like noisy machines. A loud noise from a new machine can be very irritating.

Before buying a vacuum, you can check the specifications, whether it has noise diffusers. A good machine should not exceed a noise level of 70 decibels.

8. Accessories

Vacuums come with different accessories suited for specific purposes. Understanding the purpose will help you go for a vacuum with accessories that match your needs.

If you want to use the vacuum for cleaning up your, then go for the one with car cleaning accessories.

FAQs for Shop Vacuums for Cars

Are Shop Vacs Good for Cars?

Yes, shop vacs are good for cars. You can use a shop vac to clean away any spots in your car’s interior.

Wet dry vacs are well designed to pick up wet and dry debris and are excellent for cleaning wet and dry spillages in your car.

Shop vac cleaners are quiet too as they are built-in with an air and noise diffuser. They are very powerful and versatile, hence good for car cleaning.

 Is a Shop Vac More Powerful Than a Regular Vacuum

A shop vac is more powerful than the regular vacuum cleaners used in home cleaning tasks. Shop vacs feature high-powered motors and other enhanced crucial features.

Most people use shop vacs to clean their vehicles since it has a powerful suction force that removes all debris and dirt in your car’s interior clefts. It leaves your car sparkling clean.

Can I Use a Shop Vac Without a Filter?

Yes, you can use a shop vac without a filter provided your vac supports itself without a filter.

The purpose of a filter is to collect dry dust, nails, and screws in your car or home. If you decide to use your shop vac without a filter, you should use it in open areas. This will prevent the dust from blowing back into the clean areas.

Summary – Best Shop Vacuums for Car Detailing

For the cleaning enthusiast, a shop vac is an invaluable addition to the garage, whether wall mounted or stored somewhere in a corner.

A shop vacuum is your best bet for being able to do a thorough clean of your car, truck or garage. Or maybe you need to blow the leaves away before winter settles in?

Our top overall pick is a great option at a really decent price point. If you’re looking for something more portable, check this shop vac out.

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Last update on 2023-07-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API