Working in your workshop or garage can be a messy affair — especially if you’re making something with wood and there’s sawdust all over the place, or you’re simply bringing in dirt on your car tires. Of course, while a mess is sometimes necessary, you want to leave your space clean of debris and dirt once you’re done.
Sure, you can try doing it with a regular vacuum cleaner — but in most cases, it just won’t cut it in a workshop or a garage. You’ll need suction power that regular household vacuum cleaners can’t provide — which is why you’ll start looking for a shop vac.
Shop vacs are the ideal choice here because they can handle larger debris — and many models can handle liquids as well as dry debris. Plus, if you’re using it in your garage, you’ll also be able to clean your car interior with it and remove crumbs and dust.
Unfortunately, while shop vacs provide a lot more power and versatility, even the quietest shop vac is pretty loud. Fear not, though — we’ve tested a bunch of the more popular models, and we’re here to answer the following question in-depth: what’s a decent quiet shop vac in 2022?
If you ask us, the DEWALT DXV06P is the all-around best choice — but there are plenty of other great options as well!
Top 3 Quiet Shop Vacs
We’ve tested a variety of shop vacs in a busy workshop that has plenty of debris — all in an effort to recommend the ultimate quiet shop vac to you. Our top three picks are:
- DEWALT DXV06P — Top Pick
- Craftsman CMXEVBE17595 — Premium Choice
- Stanley Wet Dry Vacuum — Editor’s Choice
DEWALT DXV06P — Top Pick
- Durable and robust
- Works great for wet and dry debris
- Enough capacity for most homeowners
- Short cord
- Dust bag required for dry debris
DEWALT DXV06P Review
We’ve examined about half a dozen vacuum cleaners in search of the best quiet shop vac you can buy in 2022 — and we’re going to say it right away, the DXV06P is our all-around best choice.
More specifically, we tested out the 6-gallon version from DeWalt. And while there are more powerful models out there, we haven’t found one that strikes the right balance between affordability, noiselessness, and effectiveness quite like this model.
Like most other users, we’ve found that it does a great job with both dry and wet vacuuming — though, you may not like the fact that you’ll need replaceable bags for proper dry vacuuming, which can be expensive over time.
On paper, this is a less durable shop vac compared to the models made out of metal — this DeWalt shop vac is made purely from polypropylene plastic. However, in practice, we’ve found it robust and durable enough to withstand a solid amount of abuse over its lifespan.
And, most importantly — it’s quiet and powerful. And that means you’ll have no trouble using it in a store, office, or even a home workshop. The 75 dB noise level is just about right for a decently quiet shop vac. Plus, it does an objectively great job at picking up tons of debris.
We’ve found that the hose is wide enough to deal with sawdust and even small wood pieces without any choking — though, as great as it is, there are a couple of caveats.
First of all, dry vacuuming bags are a chore to replace, and you’ll need a steady supply of them. Otherwise, dust might start flying out of the exhaust after prolonged use. And the 10-foot-long cord isn’t ideal, because you’ll have to get an extension cord for bigger areas.
However, if you’re going to use this in a workshop or garage, that might not be necessary — 10 feet is sufficient for such areas. So, despite a couple of small nitpicks, the DXV06P remains our top choice among quiet shop vacs. It’s versatile, user-friendly, robust, and not too noisy — and you get a lot of value for a modest price.
Craftsman CMXEVBE17595 — Premium Choice
- Drain for emptying out liquids
- Made by a reputable manufacturer
- The quietest model on the list while also among the most powerful
- Quite bulky
- Most expensive on our list
Craftsman CMXEVBE17595 Review
So, we’ve shown you what our all-around top pick was — but while we loved the DXV06P from DeWalt, that doesn’t mean this was the best possible quiet shop vac you could get for your money.
If you’re not worried about budgeting and you can pretty much afford to spend as much money on this appliance as you’d like — you’ll be better served with the most premium choice currently available, the Craftsman CMXEVBE17595.
Before we get into our experience with this shop vac model itself, it’s important to note why this vacuum cleaner is so much more expensive compared to the others on our list.
When you’re buying a Craftsman model, you’re paying a lot for brand value. After all, the company’s been an authentic American business icon for almost a century. They’ve made all kinds of tools and accessories for home builders, homeowners, and auto mechanics.
But the fact that the brand value is reflected in the price doesn’t mean that you’re overpaying. It’s important to note that all Craftsman stuff is made in the USA, with globally sourced parts — and quality and durability are an important part of their brand value.
Okay, so all of that stuff about the wider company aside — how does this particular shop vac model actually fare compared to the rest?
Well, simply put, it may be bulky, but it’s the best.
For starters, it’s the quietest shop vac on this list, at just 72 dB. When we tested it out, it wasn’t any louder than our washing machine or dishwasher — which means it worked just fine without us or anyone in our surroundings.
On the other hand, we also appreciated how powerful it was. The 6.5-horsepower motor packed a decent punch, and we found it was equally great at cleaning up both wet messes and dry debris. Plus, it comes with three different attachments — a car nozzle, a wet mess nozzle, and a utility nozzle.
The last of them wasn’t that great at reaching crevices in practice, but the first two worked just fine. We managed to get all of the crumbs and dirt out of an old, long-used sedan pretty easily. And in terms of wet masses, the extra-large drain makes it very practical for emptying out.
Of course, the 16-gallon tank and the powerful motor were bound to result in one thing — and that’s bulkiness. Sure, there’s a long cord that allows you to use it easily around any kind of room or area — but moving this Craftsman shop vac was definitely not a breeze.
Still, the power, quietness, tank capacity, and a handy blower feature for leaves and other lawn junk all amount to an excellent premium-level product — and one that more than makes up for its hefty price.
And other people seem to share our conclusion as well — it’s one of the most popular shop vacs on Amazon, despite being almost three times more expensive compared to the average model!
Stanley Wet Dry Vacuum — Editor’s Choice
- Easy to move around
- Extremely durable stainless steel tank
- Not particularly powerful suction
Stanley Wet Dry Vacuum Review
Our third choice is a smaller, less powerful shop vac — but one that’s definitely going to be a great choice for homeowners.
Naturally, people who intend to use this sort of shop vac in a woodworking workshop or a messy garage will likely want something more powerful. However, there are plenty of homeowners out there that are simply looking for a wet dry vacuum cleaner that packs a decent punch compared to the regular residential vacuums you can find on the market.
If you don’t want something insanely powerful or extremely expensive, this Stanley SL18115 Wet and Dry Vacuum is definitely going to be a decent fit for you.
Now, we’ll put this out there right away — when tested in extremely messy conditions, the Craftsman and DeWalt models reviewed above blow it out of the water easily. However, when we simply used the Stanley model instead of a regular household vacuum — it turns out that this is precisely its perfect niche.
A regular vacuum cleaner can’t deal with wet messes in the kitchen, making them a huge chore to clean up.
However, we’ve spilled a ton of stuff on kitchen tiles and hardwood floors and tested this wet and dry vacuum on it — and it definitely performed great! We wouldn’t exactly use it to clean up a carwash or a muddy garage — but it does a wonderful job in household conditions.
Also, it’s got something that we appreciate in any small household appliance — extreme durability. These days, most of the plastic-manufactured stuff we buy can be broken beyond repair quite easily — especially when it comes to vacuums that we keep lugging around the house all the time.
However, this Stanley model was made from pure stainless steel! We’ve stress-tested the tank (basically just hit it with stuff) and found that it’s just as durable as you’d expect from such a sturdy material. This vastly extends the lifespan of the vacuum, making it a cheap long-term investment for any household.
It does have a small, 4-gallon tank that’s pretty much the tiniest on our list. But as we’ve said, it’s meant to be used in homes, not warehouses or workshops.
As it stands, it’s perfect for an apartment or a house — despite stainless steel being heavier than plastic, we’ve found it easy to carry around due to its small size.
In terms of accessories and quality-of-life stuff, the thing we appreciated the most was the reusable filter bag — one less chore for a busy household. And of course, there are a bunch of cloth filters, foam filters, extensions, and a flexible hose.
Naturally, there’s no getting around the fact that this is far from the most powerful quiet shop vac we’ve tested. The 4.0 PHP motor makes it good enough, but nothing to write home about. Still, as a heavy-duty home vacuum that can also quickly clean up a wet mess — it’s a great choice.
- A long, three-year warranty
- Wall-mount for easy storage
- An accessory kit with eight different extensions
- Reputable brand
- Not particularly durable plastic body
- Small tank and weak motor compared to the rest
Shop-Vac 5895200 Review
Now, we couldn’t really write an in-depth guide on the best quiet shop vacs without including an actual Shop Vac model, right? With that in mind, we’re going to take a look at the Shop-Vac 5895200.
Ironically, this is far from an industrial or commercial-grade shop vac that’s capable of taking care of large messes or keeping a tidy workshop.
Rather, it’s a beefed-up residential vacuum cleaner — but if you think of it as such, it’s definitely a neat, affordable addition to any household; especially because it does both wet and dry suction.
One of the most attractive things about this vacuum doesn’t have much to do with the model itself — it’s the price and the warranty. For such a brand name, it’s quite an affordable model, and you get a three-year manufacturer warranty with it. Yep, it’s certainly a sweet deal; but how does it actually perform?
Well, in one word: okay.
First of all, it’s definitely quiet — more quiet than any other model on this list, in fact. But that’s got more to do with its tiny 2.5 PHP engine than with any kind of design ingenuity.
With such a small peak horsepower, it’s bound to be quieter than the monstrosities from Craftsman and the like.
However, when we compared this to ordinary household vacuums — it was leaps and bounds better, not in the least because it does wet pickup as well.
It won’t do you much good with a huge mess, but it’s ideal for small jobs around the house. The small tank is easy to carry around and store.
Still, we found its suction to be a lot weaker compared to bigger shop vacs. But if you just want to clean up a tiny bit of carving debris around your worktable, you can do it with this without busting out the huge shop vacs.
Though, kitchen spills or dog grooming debris is more its speed.
Quiet Shop Vac Buying Guide
So, you’ve got some of the quietest shop vacs in front of you — but you want to browse some other models as well, and you’re not sure of what stuff you need to consider before choosing the best one.
Don’t worry — we’ve prepared a buying guide for these types of vacuum cleaners right here! Here are some of the most important factors to keep in mind.
Before you decide to buy a quiet shop vac, you need to consider one of its most essential features — motor power. After all, you want to be certain that, apart from being quiet, your new shop vac will actually be capable of doing a good job of cleaning stuff up.
So, how is the suction power of a shop vac measured? Well, for one, there’s the PHP value — Peak Horsepower of the motor that your vacuum cleaner runs on. And if you’re looking for some context here, 5 is a decent PHP rating for a shop vacuum.
The other important part is the air power rating, which is more directly tied to the suction power. The higher this value is, the better your shop vacuum will be at picking up objects.
Of course, people looking for a quiet, yet powerful vacuum cleaner for their workplace or garage will want something that isn’t too noisy.
And as you probably know already, traditional shop vacuum cleaners that pack a decent punch are pretty loud — due to their design and the power of the motors these models run on.
Naturally, long exposure to loud noise isn’t only bad for you — it’s just plain old annoying. And it’s just as unpleasant for your immediate environment and the people within it. So, always check the dB (decibel) ratings for any shop vac if they’re advertised. Generally, anything under 75 can be considered a quiet shop vac.
The next feature to consider is the tank capacity of your quiet shop vac. Now, this varies a lot depending on your needs — if you’re cleaning up a small space, or you don’t expect a lot of debris, you may not require the largest tank capacities.
Still, you can’t always predict what kind of mess you might make in the future — so finding a vacuum cleaner with a decent tank capacity is always a good idea.
Plus, that will reduce the number of times you need to empty it out before continuing your work.
Depending on the specific model and type, your shop vac may come with a variety of filters including the Hepa filter. However, most of them have a single primary filter that you reuse and wash from time to time.
Also, most models these days have secondary filters — like a foam sleeve filter for wet debris or felt that restricts smaller particles of dry debris for cleaner suction. An automatic filter cleaning system is a useful addition in this department.
Every quiet shop vac has a bunch of different accessories you can use for different types of cleaning.
For instance, some models come with extension wands for hard-to-reach places, crevice tools, carpet cleaning tools, car nozzles, round brush nozzles, floor nozzle, or longer hose attachments.
And while this may not be the most important thing to consider when deciding which model to buy, checking out which small perks and quality-of-life features you get is always a good idea.
Like with any other purchase, buying a quiet shop vacuum also involves finding the best possible price. And sure — that doesn’t necessarily mean buying the cheapest possible vacuum cleaner.
But even if money is not an issue, you should still set some sort of budget for this purchase instead of spending money willy-nilly. With that in mind, checking out the prices for different shop vac models is always a vital purchasing factor.
In most cases, the best course of action is to go with a mid-range model. That way, you won’t have to worry about overpaying, but you won’t be getting a cheaply made model that won’t work properly either.
When examining different models, you’ll find that many of them have different weights and dimensions. The weight mostly depends on the materials they were made from — for instance, metal shop vacs tend to be heavier than their plastic counterparts, but the former is also sturdier.
The dimensions of the shop vac largely depend on the tank capacity and the volume of debris and liquid it can sweep up in one go. Naturally, larger-capacity vacuum cleaners are also going to be heavier.
In practical terms, the tank capacity you should be looking for largely depends on the size of the space you’ll be cleaning on a regular basis — as well as the amount of debris you expect to be dealing with regularly.
Hose size is another important dimension that varies depending on your make and model.
Your main concern here is to ensure that the hose diameter is large enough for the specific accessories you’ll be using — and that the hose is flexible and long enough so you can freely move around without it getting in your way.
Speaking of which — cord length is another important feature of your shop vac because it determines how long you can go without having to switch outlets.
Obviously, you want the cord to be as long and practical as possible — though, if you’re only going to use the vacuum in a smaller space, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
There are various types of blower options across different models and brands. For instance, some wet-dry shop vacs come with no blowers but they have high suction — while other, more expensive models offer both.
Generally, the blower is an extra accessory that’s not necessarily a core feature of the vacuum cleaner.
This is practicality that doesn’t have much to do with your quiet shop vac itself — but it’s an important purchasing factor.
You’ll find that different brands offer different warranty lengths. Some offer as much as 5 years, while less reputable brands only offer a couple of months.
Obviously, you want the longest possible warranty length, because it will keep you covered in case anything goes wrong.
Though, not every warranty covers every kind of damage — so read the fine print before you make a purchase.
How to Make A Shop Vac Quieter
Apart from the motor power itself, there are lots of reasons why a shop vac might make more noise than you’d like. And you can actually affect some of them!
Clean The Air Filters
After prolonged use, it’s generally advisable to wash your filters frequently. Or, if they’re not washable, simply replace them.
Even the quietest wet dry vac will easily become noisy due to dirty filters — the dirt particles prevent free airflow when you turn it on. Also, you should check the hose for any clogs that could be blocking the air passage.
Use A Muffler
If the noise from your shop vac is high by default, you could always attach a noise muffler to the vac’s exhaust port.
This will reduce the noise generated by the machine — and while you can make some kind of muffler yourself, it’s generally more advisable to simply buy one and avoid any DIY hazards.
Construct A Soundproof Box
Depending on the make and model, an exhaust muffler may not be enough to make your shop vac quieter. In that case, your last-ditch resort is to construct a soundproof box around the shop vac’s canister.
If air is escaping from somewhere other than the exhaust, this will likely solve your issue.
Use Hearing Protection
If the noise is just bothering you and no one else in your immediate vicinity, you could always just get ear mufflers and protect yourself from the noise that way instead of tampering with the shop vac itself.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is A Quiet Vacuum?
Essentially, a quiet shop vac is a shop vacuum with a low decibel rating. The rule applies for all types of vacuum cleaners, whether it’s a robot vacuum cleaner, dust collector, or any other type. This means that the vacuum cleaner when working properly produces a reasonably low level of noise.
Of course, this is beneficial if you don’t want to upset other members of your household or your workshop is near an apartment building — or, ultimately, you enjoy peace and quiet while you’re cleaning up a mess.
What Are Shop Vacs Used For?
When you spill or drop something around the house or you’re simply tidying up, a regular household vacuum cleaner will probably do just fine.
However, when we’re talking about messy garages or workshops, the amount of dirt, grit, dust and all kinds of other debris that stems from your work is a bit too much for an ordinary vacuum to handle.
That’s when you get a shop vacuum that can be used to clean cars, suck up water on boats or take care of larger messes in workshops. Shop vacs have more powerful suction, larger tanks, a better filter bag or a dust bag, a dust extractor, a dust collector, and larger motors. Of course, they’re also less portable because they’re much bulkier.
Why Should I Buy a Shop Vac?
To put it simply — because it’s extremely convenient. A wet and dry shop vac can be used to clean up pretty much any kind of mess in a kitchen, bathroom, garage, car, boat, or anywhere else. And in 2022, you can find all kinds of cost-effective models.
How do I Know if My Shop Vac is Full?
In most cases, your shop vac will turn off automatically once the tank reaches full capacity — which is great because it prevents any damage to your vacuum from extra debris. Also, if the water in the tank becomes completely dirty and murky, chances are you need to dump out the contents before continuing with your cleaning.
Which Shop Vac is Right for Me?
There are plenty of different factors that can influence what kind of shop vac would suit you best — how often you’d use it, whether you need to clean both wet and dry messes, the price, etc. And of course, there’s the level of noise it produces — which is the main focus of this article.
As you can see, the need for a strong, versatile shop vac doesn’t necessarily have to come at the expense of noisiness in 2022. There are more than a few decent shop vacs that can largely get the job done without a ton of noise.
So, if money is not an issue, the Craftsman CMXEVBE17595 is your obvious choice. However, since most people have a limited budget when it comes to shop vacs and other equipment, the DEWALT DXV06P remains our top choice for the best quiet shop vac.
Dave Pearson is a Canadian musician, sound editor, and audiophile. He is also the founder and owner of the website SoundProofGeek. On SoundProofGeek, Pearson offers advice and resources on audio equipment, including how to assess and improve audio quality, how to troubleshoot and repair audio equipment, and how to improve the music listening experience.