Best Cordless Shop Vac 2018 – Buyer’s Guide

Best Cordless Shop Vac

Cutting the cord from your vacuum cleaner offers a huge amount of freedom. Without a cord, you can reach more areas and not worry about things being knocked over. Most cordless vacuums are lighter and smaller than ones with cords, so they are easier to grab when there is a quick spill. Even without a cord, the larger cordless models are almost as powerful as their corded counterparts.

Finding the best cordless shop vac could help you keep your home clean more easily, but there are some features and qualities that you should consider before buying a cordless vacuum. Let’s look at five of the best cordless vacuums available, so you can find the one that is right for you.

Our pick

Armor All 2.5 Gallon Utility Vacuum

Armor All 2.5 Gallon Utility Vacuum

This cordless vac is great for cleaning at both dry and wet debris. The storage tank is a massive 2.5 gallons, which means that you can clean up even large messes before having to empty the container. This model has a two horsepower motor, so there is no need to worry about having to go over the same area multiple times to pick up the debris.


Check price


Why you need a cordless shop vac?

The main advantage of cordless vacuum cleaners is that they are lighter than many upright vacuums. The average cordless vacuum weighs 3kg, when a standard vacuum’s weight is around 7kg. They are also easier to move around, because there is no cord, or having to stay near a plug. Many cordless vacuums come with a wall mount, so they are easy to store. This means you can just grab them and go clean up.

This is why a cordless vacuum is ideal for small cleaning jobs, including picking up crumbs in the kitchen or removing glass from the carpet. While there are some models that are designed just for cleaning carpets, there are many models that come with accessories to make regular cleaning easier. This means that you can use these vacuums both in your house and in your car.

Top 5 Cordless Shop Vacs

Brand Gallon Price
Armor All 2.5 Gallon Utility Vacuum 2.5 $$
Dewalt DCV581H 2 $$
Shop-Vac 2036000 2.5 $
RIDGID VAC3000 3 $$$

Armor All 2.5 Gallon Utility Vacuum

Armor All 2.5 Gallon Utility VacuumThis cordless vacuum is reasonably priced and powerful. It is great for cleaning at both dry and wet debris. The storage tank is a massive 2.5 gallons, which means that you can clean up even large messes before having to empty the container. This model has a two horsepower motor, so there is no need to worry about having to go over the same area multiple times to pick up the debris.

This model also comes with a six-foot hose and a 10-foot long power cord. The hose and the power cord length makes it great for small and medium sized rooms. The auto-shut off feature is great because it will stop the vacuum before it overflows and causes a bigger mess.

This model is a very compact vacuum that comes with on-board storage. The on-board storage makes it easy to carry all the attachments, hose, and cord easily. The built-in sound reduction is also a big plus. It is large enough for even big cleaning jobs, but it is very lightweight for easy moving.

This vacuum really does suck, but in a good way because this little thing is super powerful. I brought this to keep the sawdust from getting all over my house. It sits nicely on the floor and does not fall over on its own.

The six-foot hose is a good length and it comes with numerous attachments to make clean ups easier. I can also use many of the attachments with my upright vacuum. There is no collection bag, so there is only a small filter that covers the motor. It is very easy to clean because you just need to open the top and dump the dirt put.

Top-notch Features

  • Picks up wet and dry debris
  • 2.5 gallon storage tank and 2 horsepower motor
  • Includes 6-foot hose and 10-foot cord


  • Large 2.5-gallon vacuum for big cleaning jobs
  • Lightweight and portable for easy storage and cleaning of your garage, shop, or car
  • Includes on-board storage so that you can carry everything that your vacuum has, right on the vacuum
  • Built-in muffler for serious noise reduction
  • 10-foot power cord and six-foot hose
  • Auto shut-off feature to prevent overloading the vacuum


  • Not great for picking up hair on carpet
  • You may want to get an extension cable because the power cord isn’t very long


Read customer reviews


Dewalt DCV581H Cordless Vac

Dewalt DCV581H Cordless VacThis is another highly reliable, portable cordless vacuum. This vacuum can quickly pick up both dry and wet debris. The best part about this vacuum is that it does not need to be plugged into a power outlet to use it.

It can be used both with a power cord, or you can use it cordless. You will need to an 18 or 20-volt battery, which you need to buy separately from the vacuum. There is a HEPA rated filter in the vacuum that captures up to 99.7% of dirt and dust, which helps you not miss a thing.

The filter in this vacuum is both washable and reusable. It comes with a five-foot hose that is crush-resistant, which stores easily on the vacuum. It is easy to transport, so it is great if you need to use it regularly.


Read customer reviews


Shop-Vac 2036000 Cordless Vac

Shop-Vac 2036000 Cordless VacThis is a 2.5 gallon cordless vacuum that has a 2.5 horsepower motor. This vacuum has great suction and is very compact. There is a collapsible handle on the top. The hose is four-feet long and is stored on the vacuum. It also comes with a gulper nozzle and a crevice tool.

The filters are reusable discs that are very easy to clean. There is also a foam sleeve to filter the dust and debris from the motor. This cordless vacuum is easy to store with its wall mountable unit. It can be stored in the house or in your garage without taking up too much space.


Read customer reviews


WORKSHOP WS0400VA Cordless Vac

WORKSHOP WS0400VA Cordless VacThis cordless vacuum is from Workshop and is a great reliable vacuum that offers a lot of length. The power cord is 20-feet long, which helps it reach many areas. The quick-release hose lock is reliable since it will stay in place when in use, but will detach for storage.

The filtering system makes it easy to switch between dry and wet vacuum filters. There is also an auto-shutoff mechanism, so it will stop before the vacuum overflows. It is on the large side, but it is still light enough to carry around with you. It is made from polymer, which is resistant to rust, cracks, dents and most other types of damage.


Read customer reviews


RIDGID VAC3000 Cordless Vac

RIDGID VAC3000 Cordless VacThe RIDGID VAC3000 is the last reliable wet/dry vacuum cleaner that will pick up a huge variety of messes. This is a smaller vacuum, but it holds up to three gallons of debris and waste before it needs to be emptied.

RIDGID VAC3000 motor offers three horsepower of cleaning power, which makes it easy to clean up even the toughest messes. The on-board storage is great, and the hose easily collapses for storage on the vacuum cleaner. Great vac for its price.


Read customer reviews


Budget pick

Shop-Vac 5872510

Shop-Vac 5872510

It is very easy to use and carry around, thanks to the compact design. The power cord and the hose are long enough to allow for reasonable movement around your house and workshop. While it only has a stage filtration system, it still handles dirt and dust very well.


Check price


Best Cordless Shop Vac

Buyer’s Guide

With all the benefits, there are many downsides of going cordless. First, you are on a timer. Many cordless vacuum’s batteries will last about 15 to 40 minutes for cleaning up. Some come with replaceable batteries, while others have longer lasting batteries. However, these features will cost you more. If you have a lot of cleaning to do or are cleaning up heavier items, the battery time could be shorter than what is on the box.

The second issue is the dust capacity. The smaller size of the vacuum cleaner means that it can only hold a small amount of dirt. Most cordless models hold up to 0.6 litres, which is tiny compared to the average 2 to 3 litres that standard vacuums can hold.

This means that you are going to need to clean out the vacuum more regularly. You will also need to clean or replace the filter more often. A clogged filter makes the vacuum less effective, which could make cleaning jobs harder. If you have allergies, the regular contact with dust is a major downside of using a cordless vacuum. However, there are some models that limit your dust exposure.

Pros of cordless vacuum cleaners

  • Lighter than most standard vacuums
  • Not restricted by cord length or power plugs
  • Can be used as a hand held cordless vacuum for awkward and smaller jobs
  • Smaller, lighter and easier to store

Cons of cordless vacuum cleaners

  • Short battery life
  • Small dust capacity
  • More maintenance needed
  • Storage may need a wall mount / accessible plug point for charging

Best Cordless Shop Vac

How to Choose The Best Cordless Shop Vac

There are some basic features that you should be looking for when you are planning to buy a cordless vacuum cleaner. We have done our research to find the most important factors and features that you should consider when you are shopping for a cordless vacuum. The most important feature for you will depend on your personal preference and what you need to clean.


This is one of the most important features on a cordless vacuum cleaner. A good cordless vacuum will effectively suck up debris and dirt around the house. The amount of suction that a vacuum has will depend on the horsepower or HP. Most cordless vacuums will have between 2 and 5 HP. This does not mean that ones with lower horsepower will not work, they will just need a longer amount of time to work.

Length of the hose and cord

The hose and cord will determine the reach that you have. A long cord means that you can move around without needing to move the vacuum or switch to another plug. The best option is to find a model that has a hose that is 7 to 10 feet long and a cord that is at least 10 feet long. This will help you reach most cleaning areas with ease.


Being cordless and portable means that these vacuum cleaners are lighter, so weight is not a huge factor. Many reviews talk about weight as one of the main pros of the vacuum cleaner. This may be relative to different people, but you should be able to carry the vacuum comfortably.

You should also think about how much that the vacuum is going to weigh when it is full because they can weigh more than you think when they are completely full.

Battery life

Many of the best cordless vacuums have a strong and long battery life that will give you more than enough time to clean up before needing to recharge them. Depending on the suction, a good cordless vacuum will last up to 30 minutes.

It could be an advantage to buy a cordless vacuum that comes with a power cord, which allows you to use the vacuum if the battery is dead. It is very important to note the number of charges that the battery can handle before it needs to be replaced. Lithium batteries have the longest life spans, so they are highly recommended.


When you are looking to buy a portable vacuum, it is easy to only look at the suction. However, you should also consider the vacuum’s capacity because you most likely do not want to have to empty the vacuum every few minutes.

Most options on this list hold between 2 and 4 gallons of debris. The size of the tank can affect the portability, so picking the largest tank may not be the best option for you. So, you should pick a size that you are comfortable with.

Best Cordless Shop Vac

Helpful Tips

Cordless vacuums need to be able to handle just about any job and all types of debris. Here are a few things that you should consider before buying a cordless vacuum.

1. Ensure the hose is very strong and won’t collapse.
2. How big of vacuum do you need?
3. Does it have a bag/ removable or reusable filter?

How to Optimize a Cordless Vacuum’s Battery Life

Cordless vacuums can be a great option for cleaning up smaller spills or be used in areas where power is limited. Optimizing battery life is something you may want to look into, but it’s not as simple as it sounds.

Standard Battery Packs

If your vacuum uses a standard battery, the only way to extend the battery life is to make sure that there is not a standby function. All you really need is an on/off switch.

Trying to save money by buying cheaper will end up costing you more in the long run. They are more likely to discharge faster, so you will need to recharge or replace them sooner. Instead, you should use batteries that are designed for heavy-duty use.

Most standard batteries will last longer when they are not in use, especially if you store them outside of the equipment when not in use. The best option is to store the batteries in a box near the vacuum if you need to regularly use the vacuum.

Unless the instructions advise against using rechargeable batteries, it is recommended that you use high-power rechargeable batteries in cordless vacuums.

Rechargeable Batteries

Most cordless vacuums will run on rechargeable batteries that are designed to be stored on a battery charger. This makes sure that the vacuum’s batteries are completely charged.

There are some rechargeable batteries, especially those that are high demand batteries, which have liquid cores. Liquid core batteries should be fully discharged before they are recharged. While these batteries are less common today, there are some batteries that seem to remember the charge that they last received. This means that these batteries will only take a small amount charge, even if it has been completely discharged.

Switching on and off

Depending on the circuitry, it may be beneficial to leave the vacuum running once it has been turned on. If you have one of these vacuums, you should try to clean as many areas at the same time. The demand on the battery to turn off the vacuum could damage the battery, so letting it run out on its own could be the best option. This information should be covered in the owner’s hand book, so you should check before turning on the vacuum.

Freezing Conditions

Many batteries do not work as well in freezing conditions, which is why you should store your vacuum’s batteries in a cool area rather than a cold location. The best option is to store a vacuum’s batteries in a room that is regularly used.

When a battery is frozen, it is likely that it is going to be damaged. Before using a frozen battery, you should check and test the batteries before using them. You should look for any damage or leaks before using or recharging a battery.

Sensible Use

When you are using a cordless vacuum, you should remember that it only uses battery power. Instead of trying to collect as much as possible in a short amount of time, you should work to gradually clean the area to not put a huge amount of strain on the motor. Slow and steady could mean the difference between cleaning everything or running out of battery power before you are finished cleaning.


If your vacuuming involves regularly moving around and cleaning up small messes, or cleaning a vehicle, a cordless vacuum could be a great tool for you. Cordless vacuums make it easy to clean up many kinds of messes. The best cordless shop vac will depend on the person, and what they are planning to use the vacuum for.

This is why we have recommended a variety of vacuums. Each of the vacuums on this list has good suction, which can help keep your home dirt free. So basically, any of the options below could meet your needs. Our list makes it easy to compare the top cordless vacuums, so you can find the one that will fit your needs.

Armor All 2.5 Gallon Utility Vacuum

Armor All 2.5 Gallon Utility Vacuum

The Best Cordless Shop Vac


Check price



View all posts

Why trust us?

We love products we recommend and select each pick with you in mind, relying on expert opinion, research, and testing.