Are you tired of dragging around corded tools in your workshop? You would not be alone that’s for sure. That is why so many professionals and do-it-yourselfers are using more and more cordless tools. The nice thing is you do not even have to pull out a corded tool for cleanup anymore. That’s because even shop vacs are now being made in cordless versions. Cleaning up your workshop, job site or anyplace for that matter has never been easier.
How can the best cordless shop vacuum help you? There are many ways besides not having to pull out a cord and find a plug for it. You don’t have a cord to get in the way as you are using them and they are easier to empty too. Not to mention they are much safer than dragging around corded shop vac cords when there is standing water present.
In this article, we will do several cordless shop vacuum reviews. We will also tell you much useful information about buying a portable shop vac less the power cord. By the time you are done reading this article, you should be able to pick out a cordless shop vacuum that perfectly meets your work area cleanup needs.
Best Cordless Shop Vacuum Comparison Table
1. DEWALT DCV581H Cordless/Corded Wet-Dry Vacuum
** Editor’s Choice – Best Cordless Shop Vacuum**
Want to clean up the mess you make from working or doing a hobby in your workshop? Then this handy hybrid shop vac may be perfect for you. It can be used as either a cordless shop vac for quick cleanups or a corded vac when the need for a longer run time is necessary.
This compact size hybrid shop vac has many nice features too. It has small particle filtering HEPA filtration. That means the dust does not fly everywhere as you vacuum up a mess. This filter can also be removed and cleaned to extend its useful life.
There is a built-in sturdy plastic carrying handle also. That makes it easier to move around whether you are in your workshop or at a job site. You don’t have to worry about how to carry the extra attachments that come with this shop vacuum either. They store right in this hybrid vacuums body.
One of the best things about this DEWALT product is how the company stands behind it. This corded/cordless shop vac is backed up by a very good 3-year warranty. That is higher than the industry standard for these types of power tools.
We had just a few concerns with this product. One is that it’s not great for cleaning up large spills. That’s because it only has a 2-gallon storage capacity. That means a lot of emptying if you use it on big water spills. Make sure to note also that it does not come with its own battery and charger.
- Hybrid shop vac – can be used as a corded or cordless shop vac
- HEPA filtration
- Easy to store
- Crush resistant 5’ hose
- On-board tool storage/Built-in carrying handle
- 3-year warranty
- Small capacity
- Battery and charger sold separately
2. DEWALT DCV517B Cordless Wet/Dry Portable Vac
** Best Budget Cordless Shop Vacuum **
This is a very simple but effective cordless shop vacuum. DEWALT designed it to be the go-to solution for small cleanups at home or where you work. It much closer resembles a hand vacuum than it does even a small size shop vac. Despite that fact it can still hold up to ½ gallon of water.
This cordless shop vac is very lightweight. T weighs less than 5 pounds empty. It can conveniently pick up debris or water using its attached front nozzle or the included hose attachment.
It also has an advanced HEPA filter built into it to filter out over 99% of the particles in the air that enters into it. That means if you are cleaning up such things as plaster dust it will get caught by the HEPA filter and not end up all over where you are working.
One of the drawbacks is the fact it’s a little bulky when using the front attached nozzle for suction. Many users thought it was noisy when running too.
DEWALT stands behind this product for a period of 3-years. That is a very acceptable warranty in our eyes.
- Compact and lightweight
- Advanced HEPA filter
- Holds up to ½ gallon of water
- Weighs only 4 ½ pounds
- Cleans using a hose or front suction nozzle
- Great for quick small cleanup jobs
- Slightly bulky when using it with front nozzle suction
- It’s a little to the noisy side
3. Milwaukee 0880-20 Cordless Wet/Dry Vacuum
There are not many better manufacturers of cordless tools than Milwaukee. That is why we get excited each time they introduce something new. We really like this cordless shop vacuum from them. It’s very affordable, compact and lightweight. It is perfect for light cleaning around the shop or as a travel vacuum.
If you did not know better, you would think this cordless vacuum was a toolbox. That is exactly what it looks like. That makes it easy to take with you and also easy to store. Even the top lifts like a toolbox lid to put the different accessories in. This unit weighs just 12 pounds too which only adds to its portability.
This cordless vacuum has surprisingly good suction for a small vac too. It fits any 18V battery that is used to power Milwaukee tools. It even has a special port that allows it to double as a blower. That makes it convenient to take with you to your cottage or cabin to blow some fallen leaves away.
The Milwaukee 0880-20 18-Volt Cordless Wet/Dry Vacuum also comes with a full range of tools. There are many added attachments such as a crevice tool and wide utility nozzle. Milwaukee gives you an incredible warranty on this purchase too. It comes with a full 5-year warranty from the date of purchase.
There were a couple of disappointments with this model cordless shop vac. Like with all cordless shop vacuums it seems they have very little storage capacity. It’s great for portability but bad for such things as cleaning up big messes and large amounts of standing water. Please also take note that the battery and charger are not included with this purchase.
- As easy to carry as a toolbox
- Doubles as a blower
- Fits all Milwaukee 18V batteries
- Weighs only 12 pounds
- On-board tool storage
- 5-year warranty
- No HEPA filtration
- Battery Pack & Charger NOT INCLUDED
4. Makita XCV05ZX Brushless Cordless Shop Vacuum
Here is a very creative cordless shop vacuum design from the reputable power tool manufacturer Makita. It is a backpack style cordless shop vacuum. That makes it more portable and convenient to use than any other cordless shop vac on our top review list.
Another unique feature it has is its 36V suction power. It uses two Makita 18V cordless batteries to accomplish this. That is some very good suction power for a cordless shop vacuum. It can use any 18V battery from Makita’s super-large collection of these cordless power tools. It is very quiet when running too unlike ordinary shop vacs.
This backpack style cordless shop vac weighs less than ten pounds too. That makes it even more portable. It also features two-stage HEPA filtration. The air that comes out of this cordless shop vac is nearly 100% Allergan free and much cleaner than when it entered into the unit.
We found a couple of drawbacks with this model cordless vacuum. The first as it has a very small capacity. If you are sucking up water with it, this cordless shop vacuum will only hold a ½ gallon. Many users also found the harness difficult to set up and felt it had durability issues too.
Makita backs this product up with a full 3-year limited warranty.
- Carries as a backpack
- Powerful 36V suction (18V x 2)
- Uses batteries from Makita’s huge selection of 18V tools
- Weighs less than 10 pounds
- Quiet operation
- Two-stage HEPA filtration
- Very small capacity – holds only ½ gallon of water
- The harness setup needs improvement
5. ProTeam ProGuard LI 3 Cordless Wet-Dry Vacuum
This is not a big name in power tools like some other cordless shop vacuums on our top review list but don’t let that fool you. It’s a pretty decent cordless shop vacuum in its own right. It is great for making small cleanup jobs go fast and easy.
The ProTeam ProGuard LI 3 is the ONLY cordless shop vacuum on our top review list that includes a battery and charger. It uses a long-lasting Lithium-ion battery. It’s also a lightweight and compact cordless shop vac. This is despite the fact it has a larger 3-gallon storage capacity
The 2’ to 7’ stretch hose on it is very unique. Surprisingly it will not kink as you use it. ProTeam was very creative here. There are also many different attachments that come with this cordless machine.
There were some drawbacks we found with this model cordless shop vacuum too. For one it can get very heavy when its storage tank is filled to its 3-gallon capacity. The included filter takes care of fine dust, but it’s not as high a quality as a true HEPA filter.
ProTeam backs this product up with a very good 3-year warranty from the date of purchase.
- Tool-less fine particle filter changes
- 2-foot to 7-foot stretch hose
- Holds up to 3 gallons of water
- Weighs less than 11 pounds
- 18-volt Lithium-Ion battery and charger included
- Many accessories included
- No HEPA filtration
- Heavy when its filled with 3 gallons of water
Corded Versus Cordless Shop Vacs
Ok, so you know you need a new shop vac. The big question is, do you choose a corded or cordless model? That is a question that many people wonder about when going to make a new shop vac purchase. Here is a comparison of these two different types of shop vac.
1. Corded/Full Size Shop Vacuums
- Can handle large amounts of debris and water – many full-size shop vacuums hold 5 gallons or more.
- Have very strong suction – most full-size shop vacs have powerful suction. They even make short work of sucking up heavy water.
- Easy to move around – often corded shop vacuums will be on wheels, so they are easy to move.
- They never run out of power – unlike cordless shop vacs the power supply is endless with these machines.
- Big and bulky – these things are not easy to move around and even harder to store.
- Tedious to set up and take down – it will take you a few minutes to both setup and put away a corded shop vac in most cases.
- Hard to empty – good luck if these are full of water or debris. It may take two people to carry them.
2. Cordless Shop vacuums
- Extremely portable – you can easily take them and store them just about anywhere.
- Easy to set up – often in less than a minute these will be set up and running.
- No cords to get in the way when using it – a no-brainer here but worth mentioning since we are comparing.
- Simple to empty – they usually hold less than two gallons of water, so they are very easy to empty.
- Won’t handle big cleanup jobs – cleaning large amounts of debris or large amounts of standing water will be a chore with one of these.
- Suction is not super – these types of shop vacuums typically do not have big motors. Suction power and motor size go hand in hand, unfortunately.
- Battery power is not unlimited – you will always have limits to how long you can run a cordless shop vac.
Can we give you some advice? You can see that each of these types of shop vacuums has its good and bad points. Maybe if you have the budget for it, you should get one of each type of shop vac. Get a cordless shop vacuum to keep with you as a portable mess cleaner and a keep a more powerful corded shop vac handy for big spills and big messes.
The Best Uses for a Cordless Shop Vac
Here are some comments and anecdotes regarding the best uses for a cordless shop vacuum. Some of them are obvious, and some of them are pretty creative.
Here they are:
- Cat litter box cleanup – One woman told us that she had a really messy cat when it goes to use its litter box. Anyone who has ever cleaned up cat litter knows it’s not easy because it’s so light. Well, having a cordless shop vacuum stored in the bathroom closet quickly takes care of this problem.
- A service pros best friend – plumbers, electricians, carpenters and other service pros often make small messes when they work. It is a real pain for them to get out a full-size shop vac, unwind the cord and find a plug, clean up the mess, then reverse the process. Imagine how much easier this is with a portable cordless shop vac that is ready to use in seconds.
- Wooden floor cleanup – trying to clean dog hair, dust and other dirt off wooden floors is often a chore because they blow around so easily. If you had a cordless shop vacuum, you could easily reverse that trend with suction of your own. The best cordless shop vacuum makes wooden floor cleanup very simple.
- Small water cleanup – full-size shop vacs are greater for cleaning up large amounts of standing water. On the other hand, they are complete overkill for cleaning up small water spills or emptying small amounts of water out of something. With a cordless shop vacuum, you can empty out a plugged up shower basin, clean the water up from under a leaky sink or change the water in your bird feeder without risking breaking it by turning it on its side.
- A craftsman’s best friend – often when building something as a hobby or a craft it leaves behind just a small mess. Why get out that full-size shop vacuum to clean up a tiny mess when you can do it much easier with a cordless shop vac. Cordless shop vacuums require little setup time, so your mess is cleaned up in less than a minute many times.
Cordless Shop Vacuum FAQ’s
Here are some of the most common questions we get about cordless shop vacuums:
Question: How long does the battery on a cordless shop vacuum last?
Answer: This is not an easy question to answer because all cordless shop vacuum batteries are not the same. These days most cordless shop vacuums are powered by 18V or 24V Lithium-Ion batteries. This type of battery holds a charge for a long time and tends to be lighter in weight. Typical cordless shop vacuum run time off of these batteries is 20 to 45 minutes of continuous use.
Question: What are the most important things to consider when looking to purchase a cordless shop vacuum?
Answer: Great question. Here is a list of the things that we would look at closely if searching for a new cordless shop vacuum to buy:
- Battery Voltage – this is directly related to how much suction power a cordless vacuum has.
- Capacity – you will need to know how much debris or water it can pick up before it needs to be emptied.
- Types of batteries it uses/Manufacturers of current cordless power tools you own – most manufacturers of cordless tools make several different types of cordless tool batteries. Make sure the ones of the cordless tools you already own will fit the cordless shop vac you want to buy too. Most cordless shop vacuums do not come with battery and charger.
- Size and weight – with cordless power tools it’s all about convenience. You want them to be very easy to transport and set up.
A Few Final Thoughts on Cordless Shop Vacuums
There certainly are many situations where a portable shop vac less power cord is highly beneficial to have. The hard part is finding one that adequately meets your needs. You simply can’t go wrong with purchasing any of the models we did cordless shop vacuum reviews on. The other information in this article should be a big help with your cordless shop vacuum buying decision too.
Maybe you are wondering which cordless shop vacuum is the best deal for the money? That would have to be the DEWALT DCV517B Cordless Wet/Dry Portable Vac. It’s inexpensive, lightweight and is ready to use in seconds. It will quickly clean up spills and messes as large as a ½ gallon in size.
Which model cordless vacuum did we like best? It would have to be the DEWALT DCV581H Cordless/Corded Wet-Dry Vacuum. We really liked the fact that is a hybrid cordless shop vac that can run off of standard electric power too. We also like that it had a HEPA filter, so it didn’t blow dust around as you use it. Everything about this cordless shop vacuum from DEWALT is smartly designed.
Resources familyhandyman.com : Using a Shop Vacuum for Dust Collection
 bobvila.com : Keeping Your Workshop Clean
 lifehacker.com : Keep Your Shop and Lungs Clean with a Dust Collection System