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7 Best Wet and Dry Vacuums (2021 Review)

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The best wet and dry vacuum should have a motor of over 1,000W to generate enough mains power and suction for general use such as vacuuming up dust, spills, cleaning carpets, tough dirt or even rubble and unblocking drains. However, the efficiency of the wet and dry vacuum also depends on important features such as hose diameter, whether the machine is bagged or bagless (bagless are obviously more convenient), and type of filter. Look for a suction hose length over 2 metres and a long power cable too so you don’t have to move the machine around too much.

Wet and dry capacity can vary quite a lot between machines – a wet capacity of 10 litres and dry capacity of 15-30 litres is typical. Look out for other handy features such as a blower function and what accessories come with the machine (e.g. a long wand if you have high ceilings).

The best wet and dry vacuums also come with an integrated socket for power tools, especially important if you are a regular power tool user and want to keep your workshop dust-free and protect your lungs from dust.

I’ve found the best vacuum cleaners to suit every budget, from whole house cleaners to cordless marvels. Here’s what I discovered…

What is the Best Wet and Dry Vacuum For You?

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Comparing the Best Wet and Dry Vacuums

Use the dropdown to sort the table by the feature that's most important to you.

  • Best For
  • Power
  • Dry Capacity
  • Bagless
  • Filter
  • Suction Hose Length
  • Blower Function
  • Weight
  • Cost
  • Our score
  •  

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In-Depth Reviews of Our Recommended Wet and Dry Vacuums

Kärcher WD5 Wet and Dry VacuumKärcher WD5 Wet and Dry Vacuum

Best for build quality and filter system

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
5
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Kärcher WD5 Wet and Dry Vacuum Review

Specifications

  • Power: Mains - 1000W
  • Dry Capacity: 25ltr
  • Bagless: Optional
  • Filter: Flat Pleated
  • Suction Hose Length: 2.2m
  • Blower Function: Yes
  • Weight: 8.2kg

Well regarded for their brilliant pressure washers, German cleaning experts Kärcher have been wiping the floor with the competition since 1935. The excellent WD5 is an industry standard wet and dry vacuum that can tackle the grimiest jobs without breaking a sweat.

Boasting a powerful 1,100 Watt motor that creates 240 Air Watts (AW) and spacious 25 litre tank capacity, this vacuum can suck up anything. From light dust to rubble as well as liquids and even sludge, it’s a formidable bit of kit. It’s ideal for using in the garage or workshop, or wherever you need to clean something up. It can even unblock sinks!

It uses a pleated filter, like one you’d find in a car, that can be easily cleaned and washed. Compared to some budget filters that need to be replaced, it’s a clever and economical system. You can use the vacuum itself to clean the filter with a press of a button. It’s a pleasant, hands-free way to clean.

The kit includes a 2.2m suction hose, 2 suction tubes, a wet/dry floor tool and a crevice tool. It’s great because you can use it with or without a bag. Although it doesn’t come with a carpet vacuuming attachment, if you get one you won’t need a separate indoor and outdoor vacuum.

Pros

  • Unbeatable build quality and filter system. This is a quality bit of kit for cleaning up dry or wet mess indoors or out.
  • You can reverse the motor and turn it into a blower for hard to reach dusty corners.
  • With 2.2m of hose to play with, it’ll get into the tightest corners and highest ceilings if you need it to.
  • You can easily stow all the accessories on the back of the vacuum. It means you’re less likely to lose them in a hurry.
  • The 4.8m power cable is generous. Unless you’re in a large area you won’t need an extension cord.

Cons

  • Some users have complained that the hose opening on the brush head isn’t big enough. Anything larger than gravel can get caught in the head.
  • The plastic extension pipe doesn’t feel robust enough. Some users have had problems with them breaking with heavy use.
  • It’s a shame that you can’t lock one of the castors. If you’re using it on a slope, it can roll away too easily.
  • You need to spend extra money if you want to run this vacuum on your carpets. It’s annoying that it doesn’t come with this capability already.
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Numatic Henry George Wet and Dry VacuumNumatic Henry George Wet and Dry Vacuum

Best for extra equipment and accessories

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.75
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Numatic Henry George Wet and Dry Vacuum Review

Specifications

  • Power: Mains - 1,060W
  • Dry Capacity: 15ltr
  • Bagless: No
  • Filter: HepaFlo
  • Suction Hose Length: 2.4m
  • Blower Function: No
  • Weight: 8.8kg

The Henry brand of vacuum cleaners must be the most recognisable in the world. The friendly face of George, their wet and dry vacuum, hides a powerful motor and unbeatable working reach.

This vacuum cleaner can do it all. You can shampoo carpets, wash hard floors, suck up liquids and even unblock a sink. One of the things I like the most about this kit is the number of accessories you get. Extension pipes, spray nozzles, different heads for upholstery and carpets makes this a seriously versatile vacuum to own.

The dry capacity is a reliable 15 litres, and you get a respectable 9 litres wet capacity too. It’s all powered by a capable 1,060 Watt motor and kept clean with one of Henry’s HepaFlo filter bags. The suction hose is a generous 2.4m, so you can reach the ceiling when necessary.

What makes this one of the best vacuum cleaners for the workshop is the working reach. When you stretch out the power cable, hose, and extension tubes, you can reach a massive 26.8m! You won’t need to drag out an extension cord any time soon.

This is a premium vacuum cleaner kit that’s capable of tackling any mess you can throw at it. It’s not a cheap solution, but it’s probably the last vacuum cleaner you’ll ever need.

Pros

  • You can use it to clean your carpets as normal, then assemble the other equipment as and when it’s needed. You don’t need to buy lots of different cleaning machines.
  • It’s an all-inclusive cleaning kit that is surprisingly good value for money. You can clean anything inside or outside your home, garage, or car with the huge accessory kit.
  • Clean and shampoo your carpets with the spray trigger and fishtail extraction nozzle. You won’t need to rent a carpet cleaner ever again! They even throw in a bottle of shampoo.
  • The floor washing head is an excellent device for scrubbing and cleaning all types of hard floor. It’s double sided, with stiff brushes on one side and rubber squeegees on the other. It’s worth the price alone.

Cons

  • Compared with the Kärcher WD5, George’s 15 litre maximum capacity is small. If you need to pick up a large volume of wet or dry material, you’ll be emptying the bags quite often.
  • You can’t use the vacuum without a bag. You’ll need to make sure you always have spares on hand.
  • The floor and carpet cleaning functions take a fair bit of setting up before use. There are lots of parts to assemble, it’s not a case of switch on and go unfortunately.
  • There’s no way to wind the cable up between uses. There’s a significant amount of it but you can’t easily wrap it up. It’s a disappointment.
  • Unlike the Vacmaster or the Kärcher WD5, there’s no blow function to dust off tight corners.
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Vacmaster Multi 20 Wet and Dry Vacuum CleanerVacmaster Multi 20 Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner

Best for cyclone dust extraction

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.75
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Vacmaster Multi 20 Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner Review

Specifications

  • Power: Mains - 1,250W
  • Dry Capacity: 20ltr
  • Bagless: Optional
  • Filter: Cartridge
  • Suction Hose Length: 2.5m
  • Blower Function: Yes
  • Weight: 4.6kg

Cleva are known for their range of quality vacuum cleaners and outdoor power equipment. They know a thing or two about making the best wet and dry vacuum as well. The Vacmaster Multi 20 is a capable vacuum system that is ideal for a workshop thanks to its PTO system.

Looks-wise it’s not a million miles away from the Henry type of vacuum cleaner. There are four chunky castors, and they’re big enough to not get stuck on power cords or little steps. You get a few accessories to play around with, and a solid feeling floor attachment with stiff brushes and a rubber squeegee for liquids as well.

With a whopping 1,250 Watt motor that cranks out 200 AW, this compact vacuum cleaner feels like it’ll do the business. The 20 litre tank is easily stored under a workbench and can be used bagged or bagless, which is a nice touch. You can switch between a cartridge filter for dry dirt and a foam filter for wet sludge for extra hygiene if you need it.

What makes this the best wet and dry vacuum for your workshop is the power throw off, or PTO system. If you’ve ever hooked up a dust collection system to a power tool, you know how annoying it can be. Switching it off and on to work with your tool is a pain, but not with this clever bit of kit. Simply plug your sander or saw into the onboard 1,740 Watt plug, and when you switch on, the vacuum does too! I love it.

Pros

  • Weighing in at just 4.6 kg, this is an incredibly lightweight vacuum system. Compared to the Henry George it’s almost half as heavy. It’s ideal if you want to move it around a lot.
  • The PTO system elevates the Vacmaster Multi 20 from basic vacuum cleaner to indispensable workshop extraction system.
  • The 20 litre tank is compact enough to fit under a workbench. Compared to the Kärcher WD5 it’s nearly 10cm shorter and much easier to store.
  • It’s the best wet and dry vacuum cleaner to hook up to a cyclone dust extraction system. The powerful motor and PTO system make it ideal for woodworkers.
  • You can reverse the motor direction and use it to blow dust out of hard-to-reach corners.

Cons

  • It’s a good thing that the PTO turns the vacuum off when it’s not in use, because this is a loud machine.
  • Even though it’s got a bigger motor, compared with the Kärcher WD5 it puts out 40 less AW. It’s obviously not quite as efficient.
  • The accessories aren’t made from the best quality plastics. They feel flimsy and might not last for as long as the tough ones included with the Henry George.
  • With a maximum working reach of just 7.5m, you’ll be getting the extension cord out quite often. Compared with the enormous reach of the Henry George, it’s not impressive.
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VonHaus 3 in 1 Wet and Dry Bagless Vacuum CleanerVonHaus 3 in 1 Wet and Dry Bagless Vacuum Cleaner

Best for large capacity

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4
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VonHaus 3 in 1 Wet and Dry Bagless Vacuum Cleaner Review

Specifications

  • Power: Mains - 1,250W
  • Dry Capacity: 30ltr
  • Bagless: Yes
  • Filter: Hepa
  • Suction Hose Length: 1.5m
  • Blower Function: Yes
  • Weight: 7.86kg

Manchester-based VonHaus are one of the better budget tool brands out there. Their take on the best wet and dry vacuum is the enormous 30 litre 3 in 1 bagless. It’s a serious bit of kit.

Making the use of a large 1,250 Watt motor, this vacuum cleaner creates up to 160 AW. It’s not quite as efficient as some of the vacuum systems on my list. The real advantage comes from the huge 30 litre tank capacity. That’s 50% larger than the Henry George! You won’t need to empty the cannister too often.

I’m always a fan of bagless vacuum systems for use in a workshop or garage. It doesn’t mean there’s no filtration though. It comes supplied with a large HEPA filter and sponge filter for wet or dry work.  There’s an excellent 6m power cable included, so it should reach most of the spots you need it to.

It’s not the most robust and heavy duty vacuum cleaner on my list, but for the price it’s got a whole lot of power.

Pros

  • If you’re tired of changing the cannister too often, buy this vacuum cleaner. The 30 litre capacity is unbeatable in this price range.
  • Users have complimented the suction power on this machine. It makes short work of fine dust up to gravel and large bits of dirt.
  • Switching the vacuum system to blower mode is easy. You can use the powerful motor to blast dirt and dust out of the tightest crevices.
  • So long as you keep the HEPA filter clean, there’s little loss of suction over time.

Cons

  • Users have complained that the hose is not flexible enough. It will crimp if you twist it, which isn’t ideal for a vacuum system.
  • The castors are only held on by one screw each. I can’t see them lasting in a tough environment. Compared to the strong ones on the Kärcher WD5 they’re incredibly flimsy.
  • The suction hose is only 1.5m long. That’s just not enough for a versatile shop vacuum system.
  • It’s a big vacuum cleaner. It’s not the sort of thing you can hide under a workbench like the Vacmaster Multi 20. It takes up a lot of room.
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Bosch UniversalVac 15 Wet and Dry Vacuum CleanerBosch UniversalVac 15 Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner

Best for powerful blower

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.75
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Bosch UniversalVac 15 Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner Review

Specifications

  • Power: Mains - 1,000W
  • Dry Capacity: 15ltr
  • Bagless: Optional
  • Filter: Cartridge
  • Suction Hose Length: 2.2m
  • Blower Function: Yes
  • Weight: 6.9kg

If you’re looking for a wet and dry vacuum cleaner from one of the best names in the tool world, here’s the Bosch UniversalVac 15. It makes up part of Bosch’s “green” line of quality DIY tools, and the hose will fit almost any Bosch power tool you already have.

The 1,000 Watt motor might be smaller than the big 1,250 Watt beasts on my list, but it’s certainly powerful. With an incredible suction power of 250 AW it blows, or sucks, the competition out of the water. Not bad for a slimline and compact vacuum system.

The cannister capacity is 15 litres, which should be enough for most jobs. It’s not the biggest capacity but it’s not the smallest either! It comes with a few handy accessories that are of a decent quality plastic. They all stow away in their own place on the vacuum system as well, which is nice.

You can choose whether you want to use a bag or run the vacuum bagless. The only gripe I have is that Bosch make a big deal about connecting it to your power tools. However, this model doesn’t have a PTO function. You’re stuck switching it on and off all the time with your power tools.

Pros

  • You get Bosch’s excellent build quality in the vacuum itself and on the accessories. There’s no cheap plastic here compared to the VonHaus 3 in 1.
  • Bosch have managed to create an enormously powerful vacuum cleaner with a relatively small motor. You get a massive 250 AW from just 1,000 Watts of power.
  • The blower function is seriously powerful. You won’t need to buy a leaf blower to clean up your garden now!
  • The large wheels on the rear of the vacuum cleaner make it easy to drag around by the hose. Compared with the Vacmaster Multi 20 you can take it anywhere you need it.

Cons

  • If you want a Bosch wet and dry vacuum cleaner with a PTO system, you need to spend more money. It’s great that it connects to your tools, but it can’t power them.
  • Like a lot of wet and dry vacuum cleaners, there’s no good place to hide the power cord. You can only pile it on top and hope it doesn’t get too tangled.
  • Bosch’s dust bags are expensive compared to the bargain Numatic bags on the Henry George. It’s a good thing you can use it without them.
  • Some users have complained about the fiddly filter cleaning process. It’s nowhere near as straightforward compared to the Kärcher WD5.
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Nilfisk Buddy II Wet and Dry Vacuum CleanerNilfisk Buddy II Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner

Best budget wet and dry vacuum

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.25
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Nilfisk Buddy II Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner Review

Specifications

  • Power: Mains - 1,200W
  • Dry Capacity: 12ltr
  • Bagless: Optional
  • Filter: Cartridge
  • Suction Hose Length: Unknown
  • Blower Function: Yes
  • Weight: 4.4kg

Danish cleaning experts Nilfisk have more than 110 years of experience making the best wet and dry vacuum cleaners. I got hold of their 12 litre Buddy II vacuum cleaner and think it’s one of the best budget options available right now.

For the money you get a powerful but compact little wet and dry vacuum cleaner that seriously punches above its weight. The huge 1,200 Watt motor puts out a class leading 250 AW. That’s more than the premium Kärcher WD5 in a much smaller package.

It’s lightweight and easy to carry around thanks to the solid handle on the top. I like the big rear wheels as well; it makes it more capable at crossing obstacles than the all-castor machines. In fact, it’s the lightest corded vacuum cleaner on my list at just 4.4kg.

You don’t get many accessories, just a floor nozzle and crevice nozzle, and they don’t feel like the best quality. The only other thing that lets the Buddy II down is the small tank size. If you’re planning on doing a lot of wet vacuuming, then be prepared to empty the cannister often.

Pros

  • It’s lightweight, but powerful. It has the best power to weight ratio on my list. You can pick up anything you like and not break a sweat carrying it around.
  • Switch the motor into reverse and you have a powerful blower. Blast away leaves or even blow up an inflatable mattress!
  • The car cleaning accessory kit is a great way to turn this into a one stop valeting system.
  • It’s a brilliant budget option from one of the more professional cleaning brands out there.

Cons

  • 12 litre is not a large capacity compared with the 25 litre Kärcher WD5. It’s lightweight and compact, but you’ll be changing the cannister more often.
  • The footprint of this vacuum is small, but it’s probably too tall to fit under a workbench.
  • Users have noted the quality of the accessories. They feel a bit flimsy for a hard working bit of kit. You might want to upgrade to metal extension poles for the long term.
  • The power cable is on the short side. At just 4m, it’s not going to reach across the garden without an extension cord.
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Makita DVC750LZ 18V LXT Brushless Wet and Dry Vacuum CleanerMakita DVC750LZ 18V LXT Brushless Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner

Best cordless wet and dry vacuum

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.5
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Makita DVC750LZ 18V LXT Brushless Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner Review

Specifications

  • Power: Battery - 18V
  • Dry Capacity: 4.5ltr
  • Bagless: Optional
  • Filter: Hepa
  • Suction Hose Length: 1.0m
  • Blower Function: Yes
  • Weight: 4.6kg (incl battery)

One of the most trusted names in tools, Makita, have an unbeatable range of handy vacuum cleaners too. Their DCV750LZ 18V cordless wet and dry vacuum cleaner is ideal for site use and “off grid” cleaning jobs.

This is a different beast altogether compared with the high capacity wet and dry vacuum cleaners on the rest of my list. This is much more suited to being thrown in a van and taken with you, or when you can’t rely on mains power. It takes one of Makita’s excellent LXT batteries for wet and dry vacuuming wherever you need it.

It’s compact and makes use of clever design to stow away all the accessories. The hose might look short, but it can stretch out to over 1 metre. I like the little battery charge display on the side of the unit, just press it and you can see how much juice is left.

It’s light enough to carry around with the dedicated handle on top, but there are no castors to help it roll. The included HEPA filter looks like it’s sturdy and made to last a long time. Just make sure to take it out before wet vacuuming jobs.

If you need to go off grid, and you already own some Makita LXT batteries, this is a hard machine to beat. It’s a bit expensive if you need to purchase batteries and a charger as well. This is a “naked” tool after all.

Pros

  • Makita build quality and powerful cordless vacuuming abilities. Ideal for building sites or hard to reach areas.
  • It’s ridiculously light and easy to carry around with the big handle on top. Without a battery it weighs just 4.3kg.
  • You get two power levels- high and low. This is great for conserving battery life and getting that extra bit of suction when you need it.

Cons

  • The 4.5 litre capacity is small. It’s hard to compare this machine to a large, corded vacuum, but be prepared to change the cannister often.
  • I’d like this vacuum more if it had castors or wheels of some sort. Carrying it one handed is possible, but not ideal.
  • It’s an ideal machine for connecting to your Makita power tools, but you need to buy separate connectors. Compared to the Bosch UniversalVac 15, it’s a bit of a rip off.
  • I wish the hose was just a bit longer. At just over 1 m it’s hard to reach without moving the whole unit.
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Things to Know Before Buying a Wet and Dry Vacuum

The Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner is a great multi-purpose accessory tool to have around the house, workshop or work site, but before making a selection spend a little time to consider its main features that we list below.

Motor Power

In general the higher the wattage of the motor the more power and suction you will get. Anything over 1,000 watts is plenty for general use. For site work, such as vacuuming up rubble or unblocking drains , more power may be beneficial. However the efficiency of the machine also depends on other factors such as hose size, filters and whether the machine is bagged or bagless (see below).

Different Uses

Wet and dry vacuums are obviously designed to vacuum up wet and dry materials. But some are more suited for household dust, spills and cleaning carpets, while others are better at handling tough dirt and large volumes of water.

For cleaning carpets 3 in 1 machines have a mechanism that pumps clean soapy water into the carpet and sucks up the dirty water. These are ideal for domestic use and gets carpets clean and fresh. Some cleaners are also suitable for use on hard floors.

Some wet dry vacs can also be used to unclog drains or shift debris from awkward corners. Yet others can be used to blow up inflatables such as air beds.

A great feature of many wet and dry vacuums is their ability to be used in conjunction with power tools. This lets you maintain a dust-free workshop and protects your workspace and lungs from dust.

Bagged or Bagless

Some vacuums require a bag, others are bagless and some can be used with or without. The bagless version is ideal as a workshop vacuum. It can cope with anything from rubble to metal shavings to messy spills. It can be emptied easily and you don’t have to worry about replacement bags.

Hose and Cable Lengths

A long hose and cable makes vacuuming quicker and easier as you don’t have to move the machine around so much or stop to reposition the plug. A nice long wand is also great, especially if you have high ceilings.

Accessories

Most wet dry vacs come with a range of accessories including floor brushes and crevice tools. Those for indoor use often come with upholstery tools too. Not all workshop vacuums come with a head suitable for carpets, but these can be purchased separately. Accessory ranges do differ so check your machine has the required tools before you purchase.

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Wet and Dry Vacuum FAQs

What is a wet and dry vacuum cleaner used for?

A wet and dry vacuum cleaner is great for cleaning up around the home, garden and workshop. It can be used to collect dry dirt around the house such as dust, pet hair but also builder’s mess such as plaster and rubble. It can also suck up spills and leaks and even unclog drains. Most models come with a variety of accessories to make these tasks a breeze.

How does a wet and dry vacuum cleaner work?

Wet and dry vacuums don’t all have the same design and technology. Some have double tanks to separate wet and dry materials as they clean. Others allow you to switch accessories for wet or dry vacuuming or carpet cleaning.

3 in 1 vacuums have a tank for clean water to which you can add carpet shampoo. The machine sprays this carpet cleaning solution evenly over the carpet and sucks up dirty water, leaving your carpet clean and fresh.

How do I use a wet and dry vacuum cleaner?

A wet dry vacuum cleaner can be used to vacuum dry dirt and liquids. However many wet dry vacuums use different filters for the separate wet and dry functions. A paper filter is used for vacuuming dry materials and a foam filter is used when sucking up liquids. Some machines simply require a flick of a switch to change this filter.

Carpet cleaning machines use a fresh water tank for holding liquid carpet cleaner and a tube for pumping cleaning solution to a spray head.

When vacuuming liquids, spills or unblocking drains it goes without saying to empty and clean the dirty water tank immediately after use. You don’t want to end up with a tank full of dirty, stagnant water that will start to smell.

Many wet and dry vacuum cleaners have a great feature that lets you blow air out of the hose. To do this all you have to do is attach the hose to the machine’s exhaust.

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