Why Plan Shop Vac-Usage Before Buying?

Have you ever burned out the motor of your Shop Vac?  I have done this twice.  The first time I was using my 2.5 HP Shop-Vac to sand drywall as I finished our basement.  The second time I was using a 2.5 HP Shop-Vac to pick up water from a failed 40 gallon water heater.  Finally, I have learned that I must plan how I will use a Shop-Vac and buy one that has enough HP/AMPS for the job for which I intend to use it for.  I don't want you to experience what happened to me.  So I  am writing this article to help you understand what a Shop-Vac is, what it can do, and what you can add to make it more versatile, so you will make a better decision when buying.  

Take the time to plan how you might use a Shop-Vac before you buy.  You will be glad you did.

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What is a Shop-Vac?

Shop-Vac is a vacuum cleaner, but is different than your standard household vacuum cleaner. The Shop-Vac has a powerful motor that sucks up things through a large sized hose into a large canister. It has no belts or rotating brushes that get entangled with carpet strands. The Shop-Vac picks up dry and wet materials. It is designed to suck up both fine dust and larger items such as nails and screws. The more horse power the more intense the suction is. This technology has been around 40 years. The Shop-Vac is unique and will do things your standard household vacuum cleaner will not.


Shop-Vac Practical Uses

Here are some practical uses for the Shop-Vac:

  • Removes excess moisture from your carpets after shampooing.
  • Sucks up sawdust and wood shavings, ashes in the fireplace, and drywall dust as you sand.
  • Eases the frustration of picking up spilled objects like nails, screws, paper clips. If you clean the canister before sucking the objects into the canister you can easily scoop them up from the canister into a storage container.
  • Sucks up water if a water pipe or water heater should leak.
  • Unclogs drains.
  • Has a powerful blower for removing debris from hard to reach areas.
  • Cleans up Christmas tree needles and trimmings.
  • Sucks up cat litter.
  • Cleans up dirt from spilled flower pots.
  • Sucks up leaves and converts them into mulch.
  • Cleans up grass trimmings from a mower deck.
All homes will find a Shop-Vac to be very handy.  It can be used in so many ways and certainly makes life easier when an emergency water event occurs.

How Do You Want To Use a Shop-Vac?

If you are planning any major remodeling jobs for your home, consider what is needed for the job. 

  • Does the project require any sanding and cutting of wood which would create dust?
  • Are you going to mulch leaves from your yard?
  • Are you going to remodel your basement and do the drywall sanding? 
If you answered yes, you will need to purchase the appropriate Shop-Vac.  The more suction required for the job the more Horse Power you need.  Also the kits listed below do not fit all Shop-Vacs models.

What Is Purchased As An Accessory or Kit?
  • The drywall sanding kit.  This accessory does not come with the Shop-Vac.  It must be purchased separately. I highly recommend purchasing the Marshalltown VS792 sander. It picks up over 99% of the drywall dust. This item is pictured below.  It fits most vacs, but one with a 5.5 HP or greater brings best results.  Make sure the micro cartridges for drywall sanding will fit your model.
  • The mulch kit.  It will mulch the leaves in your yard by raking them into the special receptacle that comes with the kit. It decreases the leaf size by 15 times.  This kit fits Shop-Vac's that are 12 gallon size or larger.
  • The Pump. Certain models of Shop-Vacs come with a built-in pump which uses an ordinary garden hose to drain the water. this will pump out the water instead of having to dump the Shop-Vac to empty it.
  • The crevice tool. It can be used to get into tight corners or under furniture or appliances. Most of the time it does not come with the Shop-vac.
  • The floor brush. It is an attachment that fits on the end of the wan. It can be used to clean hardood floors or carpet. Generally it does not come with the standard Shop-Vac.

How Many Shop-Vacs Should Be Purchased?

If you plan ahead, you can prevent the need to buy multiple Shop-Vacs.  Buy one that will allow you to utilize all of the above kits.

In case you don't want to pull a big Shop-Vac around to vacuum the upholstery in your car or your home, smaller vacs are available for those purposes.


My Experience With Low Horsepower Shop-Vacs

I used a 5 gallon 2.5 HP Shop-Vac for my drywall sanding project and burned out the motor. I had to pick up water because my water heater leaked.  I burned out the motor using a 2.5 gallon Shop-Vac. I would buy a Shop-Vac which will handle all types of jobs that may come up. Selecting a Shop-Vac with the right horsepower and size will be your most important decision to make. I would recommend purchasing 12 gallon 5.5 horsepower model or better. These models will be able to handle sanding, mulching and sucking up water very well.

How Do Costs Compare?

As with any appliance, costs vary depending upon which model is purchased. Generally, the higher the horsepower and size in gallons, the more expensive they are. Shop-Vacs vary in costs from below $50 to over $200 for home use. Shop-Vacs used for commercial or industrial use are more expensive.

Ready To Buy? Check Shop-Vacs Out Now!

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