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What Is a Wet Dry Vacuum?

Household cleaning is more comfortable and more accessible with a wet dry vacuum. The appliance can clean dirt, stains, and spills. Plus, it comes in various designs and with different attachments to suit your needs and fit your space.

Here you will learn helpful information about wet/dry vacs such as style, structure, and functions.

What is a wet-dry vacuum?

This is a vacuum cleaner designed for cleaning liquid spills and removing dirt, dust, and other solid contaminants.

The vacuum is mainly used to clean commercial buildings with large workloads and shopping mall floors. However, there are models meant for domestic environments.

The lightweight wet/dry vac is easy to use and store besides handling a variety of uses in home environments.

The most significant benefit is the capability to handle several tasks. Besides, wet-dry vacs have well-insulated electrical components preventing the risks of electric shocks when cleaning liquid spills.

Most importantly, you can use the vacuum cleaner outdoors and indoors. Wet/dry vacuums are also referred to as called shop vacs.

Design of wet dry vacuum

The vacuum cleaner has two containers, one for separating liquids and the other for separating solids.

When cleaning wet multi surfaces, the dirty liquid and debris move through the pipes into the buckets. Subsequently, the airflow gradually decreases, creating a suction that deposits the dirty liquid into the tank.

The design allows dirt to dissolve into the water in the tank, which means the air outlet has less dirt. Besides, supporting attachments such as blower function to remove leaves, a polishing accessory for wood floors, and a narrow slot attachment for cleaning tight spaces.

What are the types of wet/dry vacuum?

Shop vacs come in different sizes and capabilities to satisfy customer needs.


These vacuum cleaners are commonly used in commercial buildings because of their large capacity. Plus, they do the cleaning task more thoroughly and quickly.

They are powerful and the best equipment for handling challenging cleanups. Plus, they hold large amounts of debris and wet spills.

However, the shop vacs are heavy, bulky, and cannot handle narrow spaces.


The wet/dry vacuum has a compact design and is sensible if you want a clean job with moderate performance. It’s quite convenient to use. It offers a good balance of compactness and performance.


Small shop vacs are convenient to carry and easy to store. Plus, they handle tight spaces better. However, they have a small capacity compared to the medium and more enormous shop vacs.

They are an ideal choice if you are comfortable sacrificing capacity and performance for portability.


A mini wet dry vacuum cleaner is the most portable and easy to store. Despite all that, it has a weaker performance.

What are the benefits of using wet-dry vacs?

A shop vac is a useful tool in terms of thoroughness and quickness. The two qualities make it a suitable replacement for the traditional bucket and mop. As much as it uses the same principles, below are notable benefits you enjoy.

1. Versatile

A wet-dry vacuum is versatile to use and performs almost any cleaning task. For instance, the vacuum cleaner can inflate a mattress or pool toys and remove snow from your pathways.

It’s a handy tool to have around the home because it does the work of air pumps, brooms, mops, and spades.

2. Power

Shop vacs have powerful suction and lifting capabilities. These qualities make vacuum cleaners very effective and efficient in removing dust and liquid spills.

Besides, they come with a separate collector or tub for collected liquid spills and debris. The strong suction power makes it an efficient cleaner.

3. Moving convenience

Shop vacs are heavy-duty appliances but can be used in the household and commercial setting. Newer models are convenient to move around and handy.  The rubberized non-marking wheels facilitate easy movement around the room hassle-free.

Besides, some models have large rear wheels for easy carrying up and down the stairs. Plus, new models are handheld or cordless for additional flexibility.

4. Size

Wet dry vacuum cleaners come in different sizes from 1/2 – 15 gallon capacity. The vacuum cleaners have up to 3-stage motor capacity.

Remember, the larger the tank, the bulkier or heavier the vacuum cleaner when filled up. As much as the wheels help in movement, the bulkiness may be too much to move upstairs.

5. Waste disposal

Wet dry vacs use two main waste disposal methods. It uses drain hoses to remove liquid spills or wastes. However, you remove collected debris by lifting the top of the collector tank.

The waste disposal methods are ideal and manageable since they don’t require lifting the heavy tank to dispose of collected wastes. The vacuum cleaners are easy-to-use waste disposal units.

5 ways to use your wet dry shop vac

You can use your wet and dry vacuum cleaner to do several cleaning tasks such as:

Cleaning liquid spills

Cleaning wet spills are time-consuming if you have kids who stain your surfaces. However, the shop vac can handle wet spills, whether from tea, coffee, milk, water, etc. Wet spills on the carpet or floor are difficult to remove because of the stains.

Use the wet and dry vacuum cleaner for thorough cleaning in a short time. Clean your machine afterward to prevent mold growth.

Cleaning curtains and floors

Shop vacs are effective in cleaning dust and debris from your floors and curtains. There are also special attachments for cleaning hardwood floors, among other materials.

Cleaning your fireplace

Use the wet and dry vac to clean ashes from your fireplace and firepits. The process is seamless with no mes or leftover ash. The vacuum cleaner has a separate tank for collecting the ash from your fireplace. However, ensure the leftover ash is cold before using the shop vac.

Cleaning carpets

Wet/dry vacs thoroughly clean carpets. The appliance does a rat job in removing dust, pet dander, and debris.

Besides, using the equipment saves you energy and time while getting impeccable clean carpet by removing stains, mildew, and marks.

Unclogging hot tub and sinks

You can use the wet/dry vac to clear clogs in your kitchen sink and hot tub. The suction function is helpful in this endeavor making it a perfect appliance for the job.

Set the blower mode on, and let the vacuum cleaner do the unclogging work for you.


Which is better, battery-powered shop vac or corded?

Corded shop vacs are nice because they have more motor speed, airflow, and suction. However, they draw more electrical power.
Battery-powered shop vacs are not weak, but the second option is much better compared to the corded vacuums because of its performance.

How do you compare the performance of various wet-dry vacuum models?

Check the peak horsepower, sealed pressure, and air watts. Also, look at other performance specifications to help you choose the best one. Peak horsepower is equivalent to motor strength.
The amperage of your vacuum cleaner indicates the aunt of power it draws when operating. It’s the ideal amperage is less than 12 to avoid tripping the circuit.

The sealed pressure is a measure of water amount your vacuum cleaner can easily lift. Check the airflow and air watts to have a clear idea of the effectiveness of your wet-dry vac in suctioning fine and coarse debris.

Which is better, a shop vac with a plastic or metallic tank?

The choice depends on whether you are prioritizing durability overweight. The cleaner with a metallic tank lasts longer as it can withstand more abuse, while a plastic tank weighs less.

What attachments come with the wet-dry vacuum?

You can find standard attachments like a crevice tool, tapered nozzle, squeegee, brush nozzle, and wand. Shop vacs that function as blowers come with specialized tools for the purpose.

Final words

There are many ways to use your wet-dry vacuum to solve household problems and keep your home safe. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines before operating the vacuum cleaner. It ensures things go smoothly and you enjoy better cleaning service. Buy a suitable shop vac that suits your needs.

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