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Best Garage Vacuums: Our 2017 Guide and Reviews

Your garage is home to your car and tools, among other things, so it’s only natural that dirt and grime accumulates. Sweeping the floor isn’t enough though, and you will need the best garage vacuum if you want to keep the place tidy. No problem though, as we have reviewed the best garage vacuum cleaners available.

Quick Look: Our Top Picks

Garage Vacuum NameQualityPriceRating
Armor All 2.5 Gallon, 2 Peak HP, Utility Wet/Dry VacuumA+$
Shop-Vac 5986000 5-Gallon Wet Dry VacuumA$
Vacmaster 12 Gallon 5 Peak HP Wet Dry VacuumA+$$
Shop-Vac 1032000 Mighty Mini Air MoverA+$$
Shop-Vac 2030100 1.5-Gallon Wet Dry VacuumA$

Features to look for in a garage vacuum cleaner

Size

Vacuum cleaners vary in size, from the 1-gallon capacity to those over 20 gallons. For most garages, a 2-gallon vacuum cleaner is sufficient, but get a bigger vacuum cleaner if you’re going to do any kind of renovation work.

Hose

Vacuum cleaner hoses vary in diameter and length, and the dimensions depend on the capacity and power you’re looking for. A longer hose gives you greater flexibility, but the length cuts down its suction power.

Tank hose connection

You should look for a vacuum cleaner that uses a locking mechanism or screw-on so it doesn’t get loose if you pull the hose. Some of these vacuum cleaners function as a pump and can be connected to a garden hose.

Sound

Vacuum cleaners make a lot of noise, and some are louder than others. Look for one with a sound muffler to keep the noise level down. If necessary, you should wear ear protection.

Filters

All vacuum cleaners have a filter of some sort, with most using HEPA or similar to prevent dust and other particles from scattering. You should look for a vacuum cleaner that traps dust and other particles, and a filter bag is also recommended. With a filter bag, you’re assured dust won’t spread in your garage during cleanup.

Safety features

The vacuum cleaner should have safety features to prevent overheating. There should also be a switch or trigger which turns the vacuum off when the storage is filled.

Tank

The bigger the tank, the more dust and dirt it can store. This is the general rule, but if the tank is filled with water, it’s going to take some time to empty it. While a 2-gallon capacity is suitable for small garages, you will need a bigger one if you are going to use the vacuum cleaner to clean a large garage or your house.

Tank material

Plastic tanks are more affordable, but stainless steel is stronger. You also have to consider the weight of the unit when it is filled up.

Balance and Usability

The larger the capacity, the heavier the vacuum is, so you have to strike a balance between the two. You should also consider the physical dimensions of the vacuum cleaner, especially if there is limited space available.

You should also avoid tall vacuums because they are vulnerable to tipping over. A low-profile vacuum cleaner is more stable, but its capacity is lower.

Wheels

Portable vacuum cleaners don’t need any wheels; you just lift the unit and take it anywhere in the garage. However, wheels will be necessary if you are using a large vacuum cleaner. Three wheels are adequate, but four wheels are better as there is greater stability.

If you’re going to work with a wheeled vacuum cleaner, make sure that there is a clear path ahead so the unit doesn’t stumble over. You should also make certain the cord doesn’t get tangled up while you use it,

Attachments

You can attach different types of nozzles to a vacuum cleaner, such as an upholstery tool, crevice tool, floor sweep tool, and so on. It is easy to get caught up with buying vacuum attachments, so purchase only those that you will need for your garage.

Other features to look for

  • Drain valve—A drain valve means you won’t have trouble emptying the tank.
  • Cord length—The longer the cord, the farther you can take the vacuum cleaner and the more maneuverable it will be. Just be careful the cord does not get entangled as you move.
  • Power—Vacuum cleaner power is measured in amps or horsepower (HP). Peak horsepower is also important and is measured in horsepower. On portable vacuum cleaners, look for those with 1 to 2 HP, while for large vacuum cleaners it should be at least 3.5 HP.
  • Brand reputation—What do people have to say about their products? Is the vacuum cleaner built for garage use?
  • Ease of use—The vacuum cleaner must be easy to use and does not require technical expertise.
  • Durability—There used to be a time when durable vacuum cleaners were only for those with a large budget, but now they are more affordable.

Clean your garage

Your garage vacuum cleaner can only do so much. For the best results, you should clean your garage before vacuuming it. By cleaning your garage, you will have an easier time vacuuming afterward.

How to use a vacuum cleaner

Never used a vacuum cleaner before? No problem! It’s easy as can be.

Best Garage Vacuums

Garage Vacuum NameQualityPriceRating
Armor All 2.5 Gallon, 2 Peak HP, Utility Wet/Dry VacuumA+$
Shop-Vac 5986000 5-Gallon Wet Dry VacuumA$
Vacmaster 12 Gallon 5 Peak HP Wet Dry VacuumA+$$
Shop-Vac 1032000 Mighty Mini Air MoverA+$$
Shop-Vac 2030100 1.5-Gallon Wet Dry VacuumA$

Armor All 2.5 Gallon, 2 Peak HP, Utility Wet/Dry Vacuum

Armor All 2.5 Gallon, 2 Peak HP, Utility Wet/Dry Vacuum

The Armor All comes with 2 peak horsepower to collect dry and wet debris in your garage and other areas around your house. The vacuum cleaner is also portable, so you won’t have trouble cleaning hard-to-reach areas. With the 6’ hose and the 10’ cord, you will be able to clean dirt more effectively than before.

The Armor All tank has a 2.5-gallon capacity, so you don’t have to do any frequent emptying. With its 2-HP motor, the vacuum cleaner removes a lot of the difficulties that come with vacuuming garages.

The Armor All also comes with an auto shutoff to ensure the vacuum cleaner doesn’t overflow. More importantly, the unit does an outstanding job of picking up debris, whether it’s liquid or solid.

Thanks to its 2.5-gallon capacity and the durable tank, you don’t have to do frequent emptying.The top handle makes the Armor All easy to carry, and a storage area is provided for the crevice tool, brush, and blower nozzle.

Pros

  • Collects dry and wet debris
  • Long cord
  • Has an auto-shutoff

Cons

Shop-Vac 5986000 5-Gallon Wet Dry Vacuum

Shop-Vac 5986000 5-Gallon Wet Dry Vacuum-5beab05b44838

The Shop-Vac has a maximum peak power of 4.5 HP, giving you the power necessary for serious garage cleaning. This capacity is greater than that found in other vacuum cleaners, and the stainless steel tank has a 5-gallon capacity, so it is going to take a while before you fill this up.

The vacuum cleaner has easy-roll casters, so it’s convenient to move around. The power cord is 6’ long, so it’s not going to leave you hanging. There is also storage for the cord and tools so you don’t have to leave any lying around.

The vacuum cleaner tank is made of stainless steel, so it is more durable than the typical tanks found on regular models. The Shop-Vac also does well when it comes to cleaning and picking up debris, whether it’s wet or dry. The portable design also makes the Shop-Vac a good choice for your garage as well as office, home, and workshop. Lastly, the ergonomic design makes this convenient to hold as well.

Pros

  • Excellent suction power
  • Comes with useful accessories
  • Can be used around the house

Cons

  • Onboard storage design could be better

BUY THIS ONE

Vacmaster 12 Gallon 5 Peak HP Wet Dry Vacuum

Vacmaster 12 Gallon 5 Peak HP Wet Dry Vacuum-5beab05b633be

With a 5 peak HP motor, the Vacmaster provides you with some serious cleaning power for your garage and the rest of your house. A 7’ hose is included so you can clean those nooks and crannies, and the 12’ cord has a cord wrap, so it’s easy to manage.

The Vacmaster comes with several attachments including a crevice tool, blower, utility nozzle, a car nozzle, and extension wands. With these at your disposal, you can clean not just your garage, but your workshop and other areas around your home.

Its foam sleeve is reusable and it has a noise diffuser, so you get a more efficient performance. The blower is detachable so you can quickly use it. With a speed reaching 210 MPH, it’s got the power necessary to clean up even large garages.

The handle is well-designed and the unit is properly balanced, so it is not going to tip over easily. The instructions are easy to follow, so in just a few minutes, you will be ready to clean up your garage.

Pros

  • Detachable blower
  • Fast blowing speed
  • Sizeable drain port

Cons

Shop-Vac 1032000 Mighty Mini Air Mover

Shop-Vac 1032000 Mighty Mini Air Mover-5beab05ba9535

The Mighty Mini Air Mover is a compact but versatile vacuum cleaner designed for all-round use. With lots of power and a 10’ power cord, the Air Mover has the power required to clean garages, rooms, and other locations.

The Air Mover is stackable and has a 3-position air flow control for superior performance. There is also a cord wrap so the cord does not get in the way while you vacuum. The carry handle at the top makes the Shop-Vac convenient to carry.

Design-wise, the unit is most suited for use on garages and floors. The vacuum cleaner also sucks up dirt on carpets and rugs. With a quick adjustment, you can use the Air Mover for ceilings and drying walls. The 3-speed air flow system also comes with several outlets, so you can hook up several units.

The motor is rated for 500 CFM and it shows in the performance. The Air Mover is also a bit loud, but that is to be expected with these units. When it comes to performance, the Air Mover delivers.

Pros

  • Good suction power
  • Easy to carry
  • Comes with a cord wrap

Cons

  • Heavy power cord

BUY THIS ONE

Shop-Vac 2030100 1.5-Gallon 2.0 Peak HP Wet Dry Vacuum

Shop-Vac 2030100 1.5-Gallon 2.0 Peak HP Wet Dry Vacuum-5beab05bca07e

The Shop-Vac 2030100 is designed for those who want a portable but effective vacuum cleaner. While it is small, the 2030100 has enough power to clean an RV, a small garage, and other vehicles. Thanks to its compact size, you can easily carry this and move around your garage to do a proper cleanup.

The 2030100 is also one of the lighter vacuum cleaners today, so even in a sizable garage, you can carry it without tiring. The unit also excels in picking up wet and dry debris, and the accessories and wall mount make a lot of the work you have to do easier.

The disc filter is reusable, extending the 2030100’s lifespan, and the portability gives it an advantage over other designs. The performance is also good and cleaning up is consistent whether you use this in your garage or anywhere else in your home.

The Shop Vac 2030100 may be quite small, but it does not lack in features or capabilities. Apart from your garage, you can use this to clean up a lot of other areas in and around your property.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Removes dirt and debris well
  • Consistent results

Cons

  • Short cord

BUY THIS ONE

The Verdict

Vacuum cleaners have become mainstays in homes because of their versatility, and that is apparent from the products we have featured here. With a high-quality vacuum cleaner, you’re going to have an easier time keeping your garage clean and in order. If we had to choose a winner among the five, that would be the Shop-Vac 5986000 Vacuum Cleaner.

Its 4.5 HP peak power provides more than enough power to clean garages, and the storage tank is generously sized. Powerful motor aside, the Shop Vac 5986000 also earns high marks for its versatility. It works great in both dry and wet environments, and the compact design makes it easy to use. The durable hose and cord make the vacuum easy to use, and the auto shutoff does a good job to avoid overflowing and other problems.

There are a lot of good vacuum cleaners, but only a few have the power and capacity to be used in garages. When everything is taken into consideration, the Shop Vac is one vacuum cleaner that lives up to the promise. It is a no-nonsense performer and works exactly as it should.