Think You’ve Got No Use for a Shop Vac? Think Again.

A moist/dry vac is a deceptively easy machine. Many fashions—just like the one I exploit, our high choose, the Ridgid 12-Gallon NXT Wet/Dry Vac HD1200—seem like an enormous, lidded bucket on wheels. A motor and a filter are constructed into that lid, and the bucket has two holes on reverse sides: One sucks air into the bucket, and the opposite blows air out. You connect the vac’s hose to both gap relying on whether or not you need to use it as a vacuum or a blower. To convert a moist/dry vac from dry vacuuming to moist vacuuming, you merely take away its filter.

The HD1200 is designed to be wheeled round, however its bulk could make it cumbersome to navigate by way of slim door frames or to haul up and down stairways. There’s additionally no choice to function it cordlessly, which may restrict its vary of movement for those who want extra slack than its 15-foot twine gives.

If you assume you’ll primarily use a moist/dry vac for small jobs, otherwise you hate futzing with cords, a cordless possibility we suggest (which I’ve personally examined and like for fast pickups) is the Greenworks 40V 3-Gallon Wet/Dry Cordless Vac. Keep in thoughts, although, that transportable vacs have a lot much less energy and capability and are designed to be carried through a deal with relatively than rolled on casters, so they might show uncomfortable to lug round. (The two we suggest, the Greenworks vac and the DeWalt DCV581H 20V 2-Gallon Cordless/Corded Wet/Dry Vac, every weigh about 17 kilos.)

Also nice

Greenworks 40V 3-Gallon Wet/Dry Cordless Vac

A bigger, extra highly effective cordless vac

The Greenworks vac is bigger and extra highly effective than our also-great choose from DeWalt, however it doesn’t have a corded possibility.

Buying Options

You know that expression, “You can have it good, you’ll be able to have it quick, you’ll be able to have it low-cost—choose two”? In my expertise, a moist/dry vac offers you all three. It cuts down on the time wanted to finish onerous around-the-house chores whereas additionally doing a greater job than for those who’d used much less highly effective instruments or completed the work by hand. Plus, you should purchase a moist/dry vac for beneath $100 and keep away from the necessity to buy different, more-specialized items of apparatus.

Here are the methods I exploit my moist/dry vac most frequently and the way it saves me time, cash, and frustration.

The driver’s-side floorboard of my automobile, earlier than and after vacuuming it with the Ridgid 12-Gallon NXT Wet/Dry Vac for about 30 seconds. Photo: Rose Lorre

Littered with snack crumbs, pet hair, straw wrappers, tiny pebbles, and teeny clumps of dust, my automobile is, frankly, disgusting. But that doesn’t imply I want a devoted automobile vacuum to maintain it neat. Both of the Ridgid moist/dry vacs we suggest include a automobile nozzle, an angled hose attachment that may suck up garbage to revive a automobile’s inside to a a lot more energizing state.

I’ve examined my Ridgid HD1200 side-by-side in opposition to my years-old Dyson V8 Animal—a discontinued mannequin much like the Dyson V8 Absolute, which we cite as one other good possibility in our cordless stick vac information. The HD1200’s pickup skills surpass the Dyson’s on my automobile’s upholstery, permitting me to scrub the inside in much less time and with much less effort.

Because the HD1200 is corded, and since my home isn’t outfitted with any exterior electrical shops, the preliminary setup to make use of it outdoor generally is a ache. Not solely do I’ve to lug it up from the basement and out the entrance door, however I’ve to then depart the door cracked open with an extension twine snaking by way of it. Once it’s able to go, although, I discover the HD1200 simple to maneuver. Despite the truth that the moist/dry vac appears like a hulking behemoth in contrast with my compact Dyson handheld, rolling it from one facet of the automobile to the opposite on its swiveling casters may be completed with a mild push, and its hose and attachments are all very light-weight.

With its angled head, the automobile nozzle works particularly nicely as a crevice device for getting all of the gunk out from deep inside the seats. And even after I can’t stretch the hose (or my very own physique) far sufficient to achieve each nook and cranny alongside the floorboards, the machine’s suction is robust sufficient that it picks up particles from an inch or so away, with no need to really make contact with surfaces—a feat my Dyson vacuum has not been capable of obtain. (Another technique to clear hard-to-reach locations with the HD1200 is to make use of one or each of its included extension wands.)

However, relying on how stubbornly your pet’s hair clings to your automobile’s upholstery, you might discover that you simply favor a machine with grippier, motorized brushes, just like the Black+Decker 20V Max Dustbuster SuperiorClean+ Cordless Pet Hand Vacuum HHVK515JP07, which we suggest for choosing up fur.

What can occur for those who don’t maintain your dryer’s lint lure and vent clear? At greatest, your dryer will work much less effectively, which might imply it’ll take longer to totally dry your garments and value you extra power to run. At worst, you might inadvertently begin a hearth. Emptying the lint from my dryer vent is one other family process that I belief to my moist/dry vac, which saves me from springing for a dryer cleansing equipment or paying knowledgeable.

While a dryer’s lint display screen ought to be cleaned after each laundry cycle, the exhaust hose (the versatile duct that runs from the again of the dryer to a gap within the wall, the place it shoots lint and moisture outdoors) solely must be cleaned every year. To do that, I first detach the exhaust hose from the inside wall; then I stick my moist/dry vac’s dampen the dryer’s exhaust hose and transfer it round to suck up no matter lint is inside. I additionally vacuum the in-wall ducting (the precise gap within the wall) from the skin after eradicating the duct cowl, as this Today’s Homeowner video illustrates. The entire course of takes beneath 10 minutes.

If you’ll be able to’t attain components of your exhaust hose or in-wall ducting together with your moist/dry vac, nonetheless, it’s best to have the duct professionally cleaned.

A sooty mess isn’t any match for a moist/dry vac. My HD1200 has sucked up each free and caked-on sediment from a charcoal grill with ease, saving me from hand-scrubbing all that crusty ash from the grill’s inside. Home Depot recommends utilizing a moist/dry vac for a similar function and in the identical method when cleansing a pellet grill.

I’ve additionally used each the Ridgid and Greenworks moist/dry vacs to simply clear up the ash that accumulates on the ground of my wood-burning fire. However, this could show harmful for those who do it proper after you’ve loved a hearth, as glowing embers would possibly nonetheless be buried within the soot. To keep away from a hearth hazard, I solely vacuum the hearth after it’s been dormant for at the very least a number of days. (Really, I solely do it a pair occasions a 12 months.)

The nooks and crannies round my deck field are like a magnet for lifeless leaves. A moist/dry vac removes all that particles a lot simpler than raking or sweeping by hand. Photo: Rose Lorre

The downside: Your patio, walkways, decking, and different out of doors surfaces are riddled with nature’s leftovers—assume acorns, lifeless leaves, pine cones, and no matter else would possibly fall from close by bushes or be shuttled onto your property by the wind. All that ugly detritus has one way or the other wedged its method into each nook and cranny, making your out of doors area seem like a large number.

The resolution: Why rake when you’ll be able to suck?

As wacky because it sounds, my favourite method to make use of my moist/dry vac might be as a hardscaping cleaner-upper. Not solely is it a lot quicker and fewer annoying than sweeping, shoveling, or raking all these crunchy bits (a rake on a stone patio, in any case, appears like nails on a chalkboard), however I additionally favor it to utilizing a leaf blower. I discover that the stuff that will get caught within the dips and grooves of paved surfaces, like tiny pebbles, is eliminated quicker by sucking than blowing. Plus, when you’re completed, all that litter is neatly contained for you contained in the vac’s inside. (Since I’m coping with natural waste on this state of affairs, I dump all of it into my compost bin.)

In my expertise, a bigger moist/dry vac such because the HD1200 is best for this process than a conveyable vac, as a result of its wider hose prevents bigger objects like leaves or pine cones from getting caught. If you do use a conveyable vac for this job, a number of faucets on the mouth of the hose ought to dislodge any clogs you encounter alongside the best way.

Though I usually clear the concrete flooring of my unfinished basement with the HD1200, I don’t have a tendency to interrupt it out for on a regular basis flooring care. Not solely is it extra annoying to deliver up from the basement than my cordless stick vac, however I fear that its hard-edge hose attachments would possibly depart scratch or scuff marks on my hardwood surfaces.

When a rug wants an occasional deeper clear, although, I’ve sworn off renting cumbersome carpet-cleaning tools due to my moist/dry vac. The utility nozzle attachment creates impressively forceful suction in opposition to a rug’s pile—sufficient pulling energy that I can routinely suck a rug proper off the ground. (PSA: Rugs are surprisingly heavy! This deep clear can really feel like an upper-body exercise.)

In normal, the upper a vacuum’s wattage, the extra it sucks (in a great way). The strongest vacuum cleaner we suggest, the SEBO Felix Premium, contains a 1000-watt suction motor, however the HD1200 boasts “5.0 peak horsepower,” which is almost 4 occasions extra highly effective.

However, needless to say this suggestion ought to solely apply to low-pile, heavy-duty flooring coverings, like wall-to-wall carpet, indoor/out of doors rugs, or these constituted of less-precious supplies like cotton, acrylic, or polypropylene.

As our in-house floor-care group notes, a moist/dry vac’s uncooked suction might doubtlessly injury high-pile or shag rugs, in addition to these which can be hand-knotted or constituted of delicate textiles like silk or high-quality wool. For these, we suggest an upright or canister vac that’s designed with agitating brush rolls and adjustable suction (all of our picks have each) to forestall clogging, which might trigger a rug’s fibers to get torn out.

Do not be afraid of your moist/dry vac’s most superior superpower: Saving you from calling a plumber. A moist/dry vac’s suction can usually unclog a sink in lower than a minute.

I’ve used mine to repair a sluggish drain in my toilet self-importance—one which my husband initially tried to unclog with a sink plunger, which solely barely and quickly improved the drainage.

To do that, I first eliminated the moist/dry vac’s paper filter. Then, whereas the sink already had some standing water in it, I positioned the mouth of the moist/dry vac’s hose over the drain (no must take away the stopper, however be sure it’s within the open place), held it in place, and turned the vac on. I let it run for 30 seconds, turned the vac off, and my sink began draining pretty much as good as new once more. The small quantity of watery gunk that obtained sucked into my moist/dry vac’s bucket then obtained poured down the (wider) bathroom drain.

Important: I then instantly reattached the filter as soon as I used to be completed. Most of the issues I do with a moist/dry vac contain dry vacuuming, and belief me, you don’t want to hoover up something dry with out the filter connected. If you overlook, you’ll rapidly be reminded when the vac unleashes a mud cloud throughout you.

Plenty of tutorials on-line declare you can even use a moist/dry vac to unclog a bathroom. That might technically be true, however we don’t suggest it, if for no different motive than sanitizing your vac afterwards can be an enormous ache.

Stick to a tried-and-true device for that one: a superb, old school bathroom plunger.

This article was edited by Alexander Aciman and Catherine Kast.

  1. Although generally used generically, Shop-Vac is a model title. Read about it in our information to moist dry vacs.

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