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The benefits of shop vacs — such as boosted power, liquid cleaning capabilities, and durable construction — are undeniable. However, one way in which shop vacs often don’t measure up is in the noise department. Both regular vacuum cleaners and shop vacs can create quite a ruckus; the latter even more so than the former.
If your operating noise level of yours is enough to put you off cleaning (or give you a headache), you know what we mean. Luckily, there are quieter shop vacs on the market, seven of which we’ve listed below, all from top brands. Each is a full-sized model, not portable or handheld, and they are listed from the quietest to the noisiest.
Before we get into the reviews, what exactly is it that makes a shop vac quiet? Well, the quietest shop vacs are those with an operating noise level of around 60 to 70 decibels (dB). There are various ways manufacturers achieve this, including improving the motor design and soundproofing the machine.
Here Are Our Top Picks
Shop-Vac® 5-Gallon 2.0 Peak HP Wet/Dry Utility Vacuum
Model: 5982505 | Power Source: Corded | Noise level: 60 dB | Horsepower: 2 | Suction capacity: CFM | Capacity: 5 gallons | Bag type: Bagless | Warranty: Limited Lifetime
Perfect for everyday workshop cleaning tasks, and light on the wallet, the Shop-Vac® 5-Gallon 2.0 Peak HP is ideal. This affordable shop vac from their original inventors — Shop Vac — is also extremely quiet. With an operating noise level of just 60 dB, you can finally hear yourself think while you clean.
Because it’s a smaller 5-gallon model, this machine tucks neatly away in a cupboard, while still featuring enough capacity to go the distance. Another bonus feature is that it can be adapted into a blower tool, as well. Simply attach the hose to the rear port, and you’re good to go. The set comes with a variety of attachments for cleaning crevices, floors, carpets, workbenches, and more.
Additional features include a tool holder, 6-ft cord, and limited lifetime home-use warranty. While it doesn’t have HEPA filtration, the basic filter cartridge, foam sleeve, and disposable filter bag provided keep the dust at bay.
Craftsman 3.5 Peak HP Wet/Dry Vac
Model: CMXEVBE17584 | Power Source: Corded | Noise level: 65 dB | Horsepower: 3.5 | Suction capacity: 58 CFM | Capacity: 6 gallons | Bag type: Reusable bags | Warranty: Limited Lifetime
Craftsman is another top shop vac brand to watch out for. The Craftsman 3.5 Peak HP is one of their quietest shop vacs, featuring an operational noise level of 65 dB. Much like the Shop-Vac® 5-Gallon 2.0 Peak HP, it is compact with red and black accents and a low profile.
However, this model also has accessory slots on its wheel covers, and space to wrap the hose on top. So you need not worry about it dragging those around when you’re cleaning up or stowing this shop vac away. It allows you to take all of your attachments with you, as well, meaning fewer trips back.
The set contains various attachments, including utility and car nozzles perfect for any countertop, vehicle, and workshop cleaning task. With a longer-than-average, 10-ft power cord, you can also clean more floor-area without changing plug points. The swiveling wheels adapt well to various flat terrains, such as hardwood floors, tiles, and treated concrete.
Vacmaster Household Wet/Dry Vacuum
Model: VF408 | Power Source: Corded | Noise level: 72 dB | Horsepower: 5 | Suction capacity: 65 CFM | Capacity: 4 gallons | Bag type: Disposable bags | Warranty: 2 years
If you’re looking for a compact, quiet shop vac, then the Vacmaster Household wet/dry vacuum is a fitting choice. Its 2-stage motor offers increased power without extra noise output. One of the few shop vacs with a traditional wind-back cord, it’s that much easier to store. The length of the cord is also a plus, measuring in at a lengthy 18-ft.
If you have a limited number of power outlets, or simply prefer not to have to change plugs often, the extra cord certainly helps. In total, when plugged in, this shop vac has a reach of up to 25-ft, along with its hose and attachments — all of which you can store in the handy tool caddy provided.
Another bonus is this shop vac’s HEPA filter, which helps limit the dust and fine particles being released back into the air. This makes it perfect for allergy sufferers. For added convenience, you can easily store this machine – as the hose fits on the brackets located on the top of the machine – and carry it around with its conveniently-placed top handle.
Ryobi 18V ONE+ 4.75-Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum
Model: PWV201B | Power Source: Battery | Noise level: 76 dB | Horsepower: / | Suction capacity: 40 CFM | Capacity: 4.75 gallons | Bag type: Reusable bags | Warranty: 3 years
Stainless steel models are the most durable shop vacs, the Ryobi 18V ONE+ being one of them. With a full stainless-steel tank, as well as a stainless-steel, extendable wand attachment, it offers superior durability, compared to most. This shop vac is also cordless, meaning you can use it without a power outlet nearby – pretty handy if you’re on-site or experience a power out.
Its 18V battery lasts around 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the power settings and how often you switch it off. Simply plug it in to charge once the power is back on or its battery runs out. Speaking of the shop vac and battery, both form part of the tool-only, ONE+ Tools range, which allows you to swap batteries between tools.
Depending on your application, you can also swap the internal wet and dry filters. On its top, this shop vac features a carry handle and attachment holders — even for the vacuum wand, so you can store it upright on the vacuum to save space between cleans.
DeWalt 10 Gallon, 5.5 HP 2-Stage QUIET Wet/Dry Vacuum
Model: DXV10P | Power Source: Corded | Noise level: 80 dB | Horsepower: 5.5 | Suction capacity: 90 CFM | Capacity: 10 gallons | Bag type: Disposable bags | Warranty: 3 years
On the higher-capacity end of this spectrum, the DeWalt 5.5 HP 2-Stage QUIET wet/dry vacuum is a top choice. With its 10-gallon tank, expect to clean more — particularly liquid spills, which take up more of the tank — without heading back to empty it.
It also features a 2-stage motor, which reduces its overall operational noise output level by up to 50%. At around 80 dB, it may be on the higher end of the spectrum, but that’s still a considerable decrease in volume compared to other similarly-sized industrial shop vacs.
This model is built to work; it is particularly suited to renovation sites, workshops, and industrial locations. With an onboard accessory bag and blower tool, expect to get the job done in one go. No need to head back for whichever accessories or additional cleaning products you need. The swiveling caster wheels and built-in tank drain are even more welcome additions.
Stanley 5-gal 4 Peak MAX HP Pro Stainless Steel Wet/Dry Vacuum
Model: SL18115 | Power Source: Corded | Noise level: 80 dB | Horsepower: 5.5 | Suction capacity: 85 CFM | Capacity: 5 gallons | Bag type: Disposable bags | Warranty: 1 year
The Stanley 4 Peak MAX HP Pro Stainless Steel vacuum has to be one of the best compact, wet/dry shop vacs on the market. With a low profile, durable full stainless-steel tank, and easy-to-navigate interface, it’s a top choice for smaller jobs. Think cleaning desks and workbenches, and between stairs, woodwork, and masonry.
With a very light build and easily-accessible top carry handle, it’s easy enough to port around on multi-level properties. It also features an easily-removable top cover with an on/off switch, and both front vacuum and back blower tools. Use it to vacuum or blow out hard-to-reach dirt, dust, and debris first, and then vacuum.
This model also has accessory ports on its wheels, where you can store attachments and the end of its hose. Place them here while cleaning to keep them on hand, or to keep them organized in one place when you store this shop vac. For liquid clean-ups, its tank drain is another plus, letting you empty it without as much effort or mess.
Ridgid 6 Gallon Wet/Dry Vac
Model: WD0670 | Power Source: Corded | Noise level: 87 dB | Horsepower: 3.5 | Suction capacity: 44 CFM | Capacity: 6 gallons | Bag type: Disposable bags | Warranty: Limited Lifetime
If you prefer full plastic tank, quiet shop vacs, the compact Ridgid 6-gallon wet/dry vacuum will suit your needs. With an average-sized 6-gallon tank, a low-profile build, and a durable design, it’s ideal for basic cleaning tasks like vacuuming cars and workspaces.
The machine has multiple conveniently-placed accessory ports on the tops of its wheels that save you time. Here, you can place the various attachments it comes with, so you don’t have to go back for them mid-cleaning or risk misplacing them. This model is also very customizable, and adaptable to different uses with the use of additional parts.
You can buy a variety of accessories, attachments, and parts for this vacuum, such as filters, accessory packs, individual special-purpose attachments, hoses, adapters, and more, separately. The top-located carry handle is easy to grab and utilize when moving the machine from room to room or floor to floor. It also helps that it’s lightweight, making cleaning up less strenuous on your back and muscles.
What to Know Before Buying a Quiet Wet/Dry Shop Vac
When buying any appliance, including a shop vac, it’s a good idea to do your research first. Features and capabilities vary per model and make, some of which may be unknown to you, and could result in you buying a shop vac you don’t enjoy using. Consult our standalone buying guide for wet/dry shop vacs to find out more, and ensure you choose the right model.