I’m the Appliance Hunter and my most recent mission has been finding all the best wet and dry vacuums. I came back to update it in 2022 to make sure these are all the latest and greatest products currently available.
Turns out there are some really great ones you can buy and I’ve got a summary of all the best ones reviewed below.
Just click the name in the list below or the Price & Review buttons and you’ll be taken to Amazon where you can order yours.
Top 5 Best Wet Dry Vacuum Cleaners
- Top Choice – Kärcher WD5 Indoor and Outdoor Wet & Dry Vacuum
- Best For Car – Draper Handheld Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner
- Best For Carpet – Henry Charles Wet and Dry Bagged Vacuum Cleaner
- Best For Garage/workshop – Vacmaster Power Wet & Dry Vacuum Cleaner (bagged or bagless, and dust extractor)
- Best Budget – VonHaus Wet Dry Vacuum Cleaner for Indoor or Outdoor Use
1. Top Choice – Kärcher WD5 Indoor and Outdoor Wet & Dry Vacuum
- 1100W motor to handle outdoor and indoor mess
- Auto filter cleaning
- Large 25L capacity
- Excellent on hard floors & carpet
- Good indoor on carpet
- Built-in plug and power tool dust extractor
- More expensive
- Better as a vacuum than a blower
You couldn’t ask for better functionality from a wet and dry vacuum cleaner than what you get from the Karcher WD5.
First off, it has changeable heads, one is your standard dust pick up that does a pretty good job on carpets and a great job on hard floors. Then you can change to the wet head that’s essentially two squeegee blades that wipe up liquid to where it can be vacuumed up.
But what’s cool is that the Karcher has got a power socket on the front making it an extension socket that you can plug power tool into and then you can connect the vacuum nozzle to it so if you’ve connected a sander to it it will vacuum up the dust as it’s created, pretty cool right? Similar to the Vacmaster I talk about later.
The filter needs to be removed before you do any wet vacuuming, otherwise, the filter will just clog, if it does get wet it’s easy to remove and you just soak it in warm water to clean it and leave it to dry.
But, it’s also got an auto-clean action to the filter to get any clogs out that have happened mid-job. It still needs to be cleaned semi-regularly.
It’s a large 25L stainless steel body that’s heavy-duty to survive any construction mess that you could be dealing with. Also all the tools store on the back for easy transport.
You really can’t ask for better from a wet and dry vacuum.
2. Best For Car – Draper Handheld Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner
- Lightweight at 3.8 kg
- Powerful 1000 watt motor
- Includes many accessories for cleaning after a pet
- Washable filter
- 10-litre capacity
- 1.5-meter hose
- Convenient shoulder strap
- Needs to be opened and filters switched to go from wet vac to dry
- No blower function
Your car goes through a lot and sometimes you need something more heavy-duty than a regular handheld vacuum, you need a wet and dry vacuum that can get in and deep clean your car.
Because you aren’t trying to replace your regular vacuum, this doesn’t need to be an all in one tool like the Karcher above. It does, however, have so many uses beyond cleaning in your car and after your pet that it will pay for itself many times over.
The Draper is compact, yet powerful. Small enough to fit in the back of a closet, yet strong enough suction to remove even the biggest accident your pet could surprise you with. The 1000 watt motor on such a compact vacuum means you can get a professional clean up in your car. It only weighs 3.8 kg so you can carry it around anywhere.
As for accessories, you have pretty much everything you will need and all kept on an onboard tool holder. It comes equipped with a crevice nozzle, an upholstery nozzle (perfect for stains on your furniture or car), a mini cleaning kit and a brush. Basically everything you would need to clean up the inside of a car.
The filters are foam and washable to save you money on replacements. And the suction is strong enough to even handle wet dog hair.
As is the case with other wet and dry vacuums, to switch from wet to dry or vice versa means opening up the unit and switching the filters.
Using a wet and dry vacuum to clean up after a pet is ideal as it prevents the stain from penetrating the upholstery or carpet. When you rub the mess off, you are really actually rubbing it in. With a wet vac, you can soak the mess with water and hoover it right up before it has a chance to get absorbed.
3. Best For Carpet – Charles Wet and Dry Bagged Vacuum Cleaner
- Lightweight at 7.1 kg
- Very quiet 72dB
- Wet/dry/blower functions
- Traditional accessories like a crevice tool and brush attachment
- HEPA anti-allergen filter
- Compact size
- Tool cleaner attachment
- Switching from wet to dry requires opening the body and switching filters
Before I get into all the details about this wet dry vac, let me point out that I’m talking about the best wet dry vac for household needs. That is a lot different than professional needs. Yes, there are more powerful wet dry vacs out there, but for household needs the Charles is ideal.
He may look silly, but Charles manages to get the job done.
It probably comes as no surprise that Charles would get a top place in a “Best of” vacuum review, but how many expected it to be a wet-dry vacuum?
As is the case with his famous brother, Henry, there aren’t too many frills with this wet dry vacuum, but its performance is what counts.
15 litres dry and 9 wet, Charles is a nice medium-sized wet-dry vacuum. It also has a blower function.
The cleaning wand is made out of rustproof aluminium and is lightweight. The hose itself is very sturdy and locks tightly to the body. Charles comes with two-floor head attachments. One for wet and one for dry. The dry attachment looks like your typical floor head for a traditional vacuum and works on any surface, floor or carpet.
You’ll also have a brush attachment for delicate surfaces and a crevice tool for the edges and hard to reach areas.
At only 7.1 kg, this Henry hoover is lighter than most upright vacuums and even some cylinder vacuums. It is very manoeuvrable, as most dry vacs are, by way of castor wheels. Unless you are seriously deep pile rug, then the Charles glides over most surfaces.
It’s even quieter than most vacuums. You won’t feel like you are in a workshop with a roaring vacuum since it is only a 72dB vacuum.
The suction is the real star, however. It boasts a 1200 watt twin flow motor and can handle just about anything you throw at him. A nice addition is the HEPA filter to remove a lot of the dust that could end up back in circulation after hoovering.
The only downside is that to switch from wet to dry requires a bit of a process by opening up the body and switching the filters around. It only takes less than a minute, but a toggle would have been preferred.
You may like more accessories and bells and whistles from your household hoover, but you will get more use out of the Numatic Charles as an everyday vacuum. It won’t sit in the basement waiting for the call up to handle a heavy-duty operation like unblocking a clogged drain. It will be available for most jobs since it will likely be stored in a closet for easy access.
4. Best For Garage/workshop – Vacmaster Power Wet & Dry Vacuum Cleaner (bagged or bagless, and dust extractor)
- 39 liter capacity
- Onboard tool storage
- Powerful suction excellent as a shop vac
- Blower function
- Can be used as adust extractor
- On board power socket
- Accessories could be higher quality
- Replacement bags are a little pricey
The Vacmaster Power is the ideal choice of wet and dry vacuum for a garage or a workshop, it’s got an onboard power socket for plugging tools into and you can connect it up as a dust extractor.
Plus it doubles as a blower so you can use it to clean up leaves in the garden!
You can use it as bagged or unbagged when you’re dealing with dry dust, I prefer using a bag as it stops any leftover liquid from the wet vacuuming from turning it all into a paste that’s hard to clean up. Plus it’s hard to turn upside down over the bin.
But you can use it unbagged if you don’t want to buy more bags.
Now as a wet vacuum it’s ideal because it’s got a stopper cap on the back which you unscrew and all the water drains out where you want it too so you can quickly clean up even large quantities of liquid because it’s got a 30-litre capacity.
The only thing I wouldn’t touch is paint because it will dry along the inside and block the whole thing up.
Anf finally all the accessories store on the machine itself so you can save yourself the hassle of finding a drawer to lose them in, they aren’t the best but they do come in handy.
All in all, a superb choice of wet and dry vacuum for your garage.
5. Best Budget – VonHaus Wet Dry Vacuum Cleaner for Indoor or Outdoor Use
Brand: Von Haus
- Cap on the bottom for easy empty
- Large 30L canister
- Crevice nozzle and extension tube included
- 2-year warranty
- Short 1.5m hose
- Cheaper quality parts
When you go for a cheap option you need to remember that’s what you’re going to get, a cheap option. So it doesn’t work quite as well, there aren’t as many accessories and all the fittings seem cheap.
But you get left with more money at the end, and considering the low price, this still does a pretty good job.
It’s got an extra-large 30L tank that can handle even large spills and its suction power of 160 air watts is still enough to get all the leaves and other bits that end up all over your garage.
The power cord is 6m long which is OK and the hose is 1.5m which is on the shorter side but still enough for a general room by room clean when used with the floor brush head.
What I do like is the dry filter is a HEPA filter to trap any and all dust and allergens that pass through leaving you with fresher air coming out the back of it.
It’s a bagless model for dry cleaning and the stainless steel tank is resistant for any stones or other hard objects that might get thrown into it.
Overall, Not nearly as good as the Karcher but at half the price it’s great for smaller home projects.
What is a Wet Dry Vacuum?
Also commonly referred to as a shop vac, a wet-dry vacuum is a bucket vacuum that can handle cleaning up water just as easily as dry debris.
Their power and versatility make them indispensable in a worksite where your debris is much more extreme than what you normally find in a home.
Because they have such heavy-duty capabilities, they are often overlooked when buying a vacuum for home use. But, after reading this article, I believe you will find that there are many good reasons to keep a wet-dry vacuum for home in your cleaning arsenal.
How Does a Wet Dry Vacuum Work?
A wet-dry vacuum is very similar to cylinder vacuums that you pull around, rather than upright vacuums.
The concept is very similar except that the cylinder is a bucket. Instead of using a vacuum bag, the wet and dry cleaner usually uses a two bucket system that separates the liquids from the solids into two different chambers.
When the debris or water enters the cylinder, the airflow slows down and lets gravity handle the rest. Heavy liquid falls out from the slow-moving air into the wet bucket, and lighter debris continues onto the dry bucket.
Air that flows through the filter and out of the vacuum is usually cleaner than many domestic vacuums permit since the dirt and dust get absorbed by the water. After a thorough cleaning of a workshop, the air may actually be cleaner than in your home!
Some wet dry vacs also have a blower option to blow air out rather than suck it in. This is helpful if you want to clear an area outside of leaves or debris. Where it comes in handy, however, is to unblock clogged drains as I mentioned.
The blower function also comes in handy when inflating balls or rafts or other things like that.
How to Maintain a Wet Dry Vacuum
A vacuum that is exposed to the rigours of an industrial site needs a little more maintenance than your typical home vacuum.
Regular maintenance will keep your vacuum in good working order. Don’t be scared off, I am only talking about taking a few minutes occasionally. It’s all very simple, really.
- Clean filters after every use. The owner’s manual will give you specific directions for your model. Keeping your filters clean will keep fine dust away from the motor extending the life of your vacuum considerably.
- Replace filters as needed. Again, refer to your owners manual about the frequency necessary to replace them.
- Always empty the bucket after every use, especially true when you vacuumed anything wet. Clean with soapy water after every 5 or so uses to prevent bacteria.
- Disconnect the hose from the body when not in use to prevent the hose from cracking at the connecting point.
What to Look for in a Wet Dry Vacuum
Professional shop vacs can be very basic without any frills or accessories. When buying a wet-dry vacuum for your home, your needs may be a little more refined, so here are a few things to consider when you are looking for a good wet-dry vac.
A crevice tool is indispensable in your home. If you don’t have one with your wet vacuum you may find yourself missing one. Spills are not always in wide-open areas. A crevice tool can make sure you covered all of your ground.
A brush tool for more delicate surfaces might not seem like it would belong, but let’s not forget, the wet-dry vacuum for your home will need to do many of the things that your regular vacuum does. Including removing cobwebs from your ceiling or dusty surfaces on cupboards.
Car nozzles also come in handy, though they aren’t often included and must be purchased separately.
Wet dry vacs can range in size from the large industrial ones to small handheld ones. What size you need depends on how often you will need to bring out the big guns.
For most households, the medium size one will fit most needs. These are easier to store so you will be more likely to use it often. Large ones that are kept in a basement will likely only be used in an emergency.
Then there are the small handheld ones that are only meant to handle small cleanups that you wouldn’t want to use your traditional vacuum for.
Most shop vacs will come with filters to get you started, but if you use your vacuum often for big jobs, you will need replacements.
Replacing filters can be an unexpected expense so if you think you will be getting a lot of heavy use out of your vacuum, consider getting washable filters for wet dry vacuums. They aren’t cheap but last considerably longer than the non-washable kind.
Obviously, filters are an integral part of any vacuum, but they are essential in keeping your wet dry vacuum in working order.
The size of the hose and nozzle doesn’t need to be quite as wide as what you would need in an industrial area, but you should think about what you will be vacuuming. A too narrow hose will limit you considerably when you do find yourself needing to clean up some larger debris.
You may not need a hose that can hoover up tennis balls, but it’s better to have a big hose and not need it than need one and not have it. I won’t expand on that analogy any further, thank you.
Now that you understand more about the ins and outs of wet-dry vacuums, let’s get into what wet dry vacuums are best for you.
Other Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner Reviews
Karcher WD2 Tough Wet And Dry Vac
- Strong suction
- Very lightweight 4.2 kg
- Compact for easy storage
- 1200 watt motor
- Very loud
- Not many accessories
Another no-frills but useful wet dry vacuum for your home is the Karcher WD2, and like the Numatic Charles, gets the job done.
Though much louder than the Charles, it is still useful for your everyday household needs. It can do triple duty in the workshop, garden or dining room.
It is very compact and can be stored in most closets for easy access. It’s also lightweight at 4.2 kg. This is ideal not only for manoeuvrability around furniture but also considering how heavy it gets when full of water.
For accessories, it is very basic. A floor head, a crevice tool and the hose. You may want to add a brush tool or another floor head for use on a carpet. Though the extension tubes are longer than most so you have a large cleaning radius.
The suction is very good and the motor is a robust 1200 watts. The capacity is 12 litres.
If your home vacuuming needs are basic and you like having a jack of all trades tool, then this fits the bill. If you like a bit more refinement in your vacuuming, then definitely consider the Numatic Charles.
Dewalt Cordless Wet and Dry Vacuum
- Compact and cordless
- Lightweight at 5.5 kg
- Onboard tool holder
- Comes with crevice tool
- 2-meter length hose
- 7.5-litre capacity
- Bower function
- Not many pet accessories
Another great wet and dry vacuum for pets is the DeWalt wet dry vac. It isn’t as specialized as the Draper for pet hair and mess cleanup, but it can handle the job.
A benefit to this vacuum is the fact that it is not only lightweight but cordless. You never know where your emergency will take place, so having an option to be far from a socket is nice.
Since pets come with dander, dust mites and bacteria, the washable HEPA filter is a welcome addition. It traps 99.7% of allergens in the cylinder and out of the air.
One of the things I love best about this robust little wet dry vacuum is the fact that the filters don’t need to be swapped when switching from wet to dry. Not to mention the suction is very strong and can easily clean up wet dog hair.
And it has a blower function. This might not be used in any pet clean up, but it is a nice to have feature for other uses like unclogging a drain or blowing up inflatables.
All in all, I would consider this a handy, compact wet and dry vacuum that can also be used to clean up after pets.
Vacmaster Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner
- Drain on back to release water easily
- Bag compatible for dust vacuuming
- Blower function
- Can connect power tools
- Impact-resistant tank
- Slightly fiddly to change filters
Whatever you do make sure you put the cap back on after you’ve poured out the water! Otherwise, you’ll be vacuuming up and it’ll be pouring out behind you…
But as long as you do remember to put the cap back on this is an excellent way to empty it and much easier than trying to tip the whole thing out.
It’s got powerful suction and does a reasonably good job on carpets and rugs but is much better suited to hard surfaces in a workshop or garage. Especially because you can connect power tools to the power take-off socket and attach the vacuum to work as a dust extractor.
It’s compatible with a dust bag if you’re doing dry vacuuming and if you’re wet vacuuming you just swap out the cartridge filter for the foam filter and don’t use a bag. It’s a little fiddly to do this because you don’t want to rip it but only takes a couple of minutes max.
Unlike the Karcher, this only has one floor tool for wet and dry use which makes it slightly worse at carpet cleaning but it’s also a lot cheaper so there’s that to balance it out.
Overall, good suction power and a large canister make this an excellent cleaning solution for your home DIY projects.