Sawing, sanding, and staining are surely a few of your favorite things since you’re here right now. The endless possibilities of woodworking come with endless possibilities for messes. What’s the best all-in-one cleaning tool for the job? The answer is the best shop vacuum for woodworking.
In this guide, we put our suction power & shop expertise to work to create the ultimate list of woodworking shop vacs for you to choose from. Compared to choosing a standard wet/dry vac for home use, you must take a little extra care when selecting a model for woodworking.
Particularly, since sanding and sawing create fine dust – and a lot of it – that can quickly clog a standard shop vac filter. Additionally, you don’t want to be kicking up dust everywhere while you work, though, as you already know it’s important to wear the appropriate safety gear including safety glasses, gloves, and hearing protection.
Below, you’ll find our current top vacuum picks along with tips on how to choose the best shop vac filter for woodworking.
Woodworking Shop Vac Reviews
In each review, we include the most important features to consider for each model and the pros & cons to consider before choosing which model is best for your shop. Now, let’s get started with our top pick.
#1) FEIN 92036236990 Turbo II HEPA Shop Vac
Of the models in this guide, Fein’s Turbo II is the best shop vac for woodworking dust collection that has plenty of features to love. Let’s start with power. At 151 CFM with a 98.4″ water lift, this is one of the highest CFM shop vacs on the market. In other words, you’ll have no problems with picking up sawdust, wood chips, and any other debris this beast comes into contact with.
Next, we really like several touches offered on this vac that you simply won’t find on a budget model. First, you get an anti-static function to avoid annoying shocks that can happen when flicking the on/off switch. Second, you get suction power control which is another plus for woodworking. Third, this unit offers one of the longest ranges you’ll find with its 13′ hose and 18′ power cord combo.
The final highlight we want to point out is the efficiency the Turbo II offers for trapping dust and protecting its motor. The magic lies in the bypass motor that prevents dirty air from contacting the motor while ensuring that everything that goes into the canister stays in the canister. Overall, this is a top-notch shop vac with ample capacity and everything you need for a woodworking shop.
- The most powerful suction offered in this guide at 151 cfm
- Anti-static feature to prevent shocks
- Quiet 66 dB operation
- Auto-start function compatible with woodworking power tools (e.g. sanders, track saws, etc.)
- HEPA filtration
- Tool coupling with suction control
- Large 8.4-gallon capacity
- 3-year warranty with online registration
- 1 3/8″ diameter hose
- Small workshops may experience a rise in temperature when it runs for hours
- Finding replacement bags & parts
#2) Vacmaster Professional VK811PH 8-Gallon HEPA-Certified Wet/Dry Vac
Next up, we have a model by one of our favorite brands, Vacmaster. All things considered, this model gives you the most power and value for the money of the vacs featured in our guide. Compared to the Fein model above, this vac isn’t too far behind in the CFM department at 125 CFM with a 78″ water lift.
A couple of features we like more on this model are the 1 1/2″ hose diameter – which is more common in the US – and the longer 30′ power cord. When combined with the 10′ hose, you get a 40′ total reach. Plus, the large non-marring rear wheels & locking casters are a nice touch for easy rolling around your shop and staying in place when you need them to.
Lastly, let’s discuss the onboard filtration offered by this model. The base package includes a 4-stage filtration system consisting of a HEPA microfiber pre-filter, HEPA cartridge filter, fine dust filter bag, and HEPA-material exhaust filter. Also, we appreciate Vacmaster’s transparency, as the company shares its lab test results that found its filtration removed 99.996% of particles in the .3-micron range in accordance with the EPA HEPA standard for vacuums.
- A good budget alternative to Fein’s HEPA vac
- 1 1/2″ hose diameter for a wider compatibility range with attachments and nozzles
- Powerful 125 CFM suction power
- Meets EPA HEPA standard for vacuums under the Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) Rule
- The long 10′ hose is longer than the 7′ hose offered by most shop vacs
- Traps sawdust and fine drywall dust quite well
- Collection bag upkeep
- Prone to tipping
- Not great to use as a wet vac because of the filtration system
#3) DeWalt DCV581H 18/20V MAX Cordless/Corded Wet-Dry Vacuum
If you came here today looking for a small woodworking shop vac, this is this one. DeWalt’s versatile DCV581H is good for using at your home workshop and bringing with you anytime you need a portable shop vac. Also, the fact that it’s made for use as both a corded and cordless model is a luxury.
One of the drawbacks of full-size shop vacs is the need to drag around the canister. With this vac, you have the option to pick it up and get into all those nooks and crannies throughout your shop and around your tools. Next, this 2-gallon vac features a Gore wet/dry HEPA filter for efficiently trapping dust & debris down to .3 microns.
Three limitations to consider when choosing this model are the 5′ hose length, 1 1/4″ hose diameter, and 31 CFM suction power. Compared to the first two models, this little guy doesn’t match their power. Plus, there’s a blower function, though, it’s hard to expect it to tackle much more than blowing dust.
- Picks up sawdust and wood shavings well
- HEPA filtration traps dust
- Convenient corded/cordless use
- The most lightweight model in this guide for handheld and portable uses
- Easily get to hard-to-reach spots and crevices
- Connects to sanders
- 31 CFM suction
- The hose can twist since it doesn’t rotate
#4) Stanley SL18116P 6-Gallon 4 Max HP Pro Vacuum
This model by Stanley is our top workhorse pick for picking up larger debris and sawdust. Overall, this model is a no-frills shop vac that’s built to take a beating. Key features to consider are 85 CFM suction power, a durable 6-gallon poly container, 4 peak HP, and a rear blower port.
The base package includes a basic set of attachments including a crevice nozzle, utility nozzle, and two extension wands. Additionally, unlike the first three models, this model does not feature HEPA filtration for trapping dust. For this reason, it’s more affordable and better for general cleaning in a workshop. Instead of HEPA filtration, it uses a foam filter with optional dust or cloth bag use.
Two features we don’t like are the short 10′ power cord and 6′ hose. Chances are you’ll want to use an extension cord or use the included extension wands to extend your reach depending on the size of your shop. Finally, this vac offers wet/dry functionality and has 4 swiveling casters.
- Good suction for the money
- Smooth-rolling wheels
- Convenient top carry handle
- Great for general shop cleaning and larger debris
- The hose locks into place
- Wet/dry with blower port
- No HEPA filtration for trapping dust
- Rather short power cord and hose
- 1-year limited warranty is shorter than competitors
#5) TACKLIFE PVC01A 5-Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum
Now, it’s time to unveil our top budget shop vacuum for woodworking. At the time of this writing, this model costs a good chunk less than all of the models that came before it. Because of this, we like this model for general clean-up and for taking on large messes. At 5.5 peak HP, this model is no slouch and actually more powerful than the preceding Stanley model.
While this budget vac doesn’t feature HEPA filtration, it does have 4-stage filtration with a thick dust filter to grab finer dust particles while you work. As far as equipment, this model comes with a 7′ hose, which is one foot longer than the Stanley hose. Plus, there are two extension wands, a flat nozzle, a furniture nozzle, and a floor brush attachment.
One drawback is that it also has a 10′ power cord like the Stanley vacuum above, though, it’s hard to ask for the world in this price range. All in all, this vac gives you the most suction power for the money, and the 5-gallon canister with optional bag use is built for cleaning up almost anything you throw at it.
- 5.5 peak HP
- The most affordable model in this guide at the time of this writing
- Longer hose than the Stanley model above
- Great for picking up sawdust
- Lightweight and easy to maneuver
- Good 4-stage filtration for trapping dust
- Nice large on/off button
- 10º turn to lock the hose
- Better for finer debris than large
- The blower function could be better
When selecting the best woodworking shop vac for your space, it’s important to consider your needs. Do you want a vacuum that works as both a vacuum and dust extractor? If the answer is yes, then Fein’s vacuum is your best bet. After that, Vacmaster’s pro HEPA vac will get you closer to that goal, though, you may find that you still want a dust extractor.
For general cleanup & as part of a collection of tools, general shop vacs with good filtration and suction power will get the job done. We carefully selected each model in this guide to cover everyone’s needs and to fit every budget. We feel as though Stanley and Tacklife both deliver the greatest value for the money.