Shop Vacuum Testing is time consuming for the small business person and even more problematic is there are so many to choose from. Most retailers will not allow you to test them in the store before purchasing, but if you pick the wrong one you will be sorry.
After testing the off the shelf shop vacuums available to the public, we have some recommendations. If you are to buy a shop vac off the shelf from a major retailer rather buying an industrial shop vac such as a quiet and powerful Karcher or WAP, then these are the results you need to know. First we tested many things. Suction of sawdust from a five-gallon bucket. Sucking up steel washers of different sizes, Sucking up water from a five gallon bucket and then we measured the decibels while doing so. We tested the Craftsman 5.5 Hp-16 gallon vacuum. The Genie 6.0 hp vacuum with 16 gallons. The Ridgid vacuum 6.0 hp and the Shop-Vac six hp 16-gallon shop vacuum.
Here are the results. The vacuuming of wood chips was won by the Shop-Vac Vacuum, which took only 11.4 seconds. Second was the Ridgid at 12.4 seconds. Last the Craftsman at 14.1 seconds. For the water test the winner was the Genie with the five gallon bucket of water gone in 7.3 seconds, Craftsman second at 9.4 and the Ridgid and Shop-Vac tied for last at 9.6 seconds to empty the five gallon bucket of water. The noise factor is of importance too. The decibel rating for Shop Vac was lowest at 81 dB at a five-foot distance. The Craftsman was at 86 dB and the Ridgid was 88 dB. Last and noisiest was the Genie with 90 dB. We think the Genie was worst due to the high pitch of the motor while under higher demands for suction. But it did suck the water faster while making this noise. It won the water-sucking test.
We may also recommend the Muffler, which is available through Craftsman or Ridgid as an accessory. With a little Teflon tape it can be made to fit both the Genie and the Shop Vac without any loss of suction. It is a simple baffle system, which breaks up the airflow and quiets the noise and high-pitched shrill sounds. It will lower the vacuums by 5-7 decibels. If you stick it into the exhaust port of your vacuum for a blower, it will work and costs $ 10.00.
You can order it from the Kmart-Sears Catalog or buy the ridgid model off the shelf at a Home Depot. Another great attachment to be added to your arsenal is the rain gutter attachment for about $ 7.00, which is also made available through Craftsman or Ridgid. It is a molded piece of bended plastic able to help you clean rain gutters. Here are the web sites we found to help you learn more about Shop Vacs.
It requires approximately 6 amps of you 36 amp generator during run time and spike is 12 amps and a full power. Average retail costs are between $ 78.00-99.00, available in yellow with black top.
Ridgid WD-1660 with blower, [http://www.ridgidwoodworking.com]
It needs 6.25 amps to run and spike peak is 12 amps. The price is about $ 129.00 but we have seen them on sale sometimes for $ 99.00 at Home Depot a couple of times per year. The color is gray and red top, does not come in yellow. 1-800-474-3443. It has a twenty-foot cord which is good.
Craftsman 113.177370 Usually sells for $ 99.00 sometimes higher but looks to be perpetually on sale. Demands 5.5 amps to run and spikes at 11.4 as per the manual, but we got it to 13.8 amps sucking water. Also realize that Craftsman filed bankruptcies, but the good news is that they are still operating and Craftsman has a 1 year warranty and if bought on the Sears card you can get a 3 year add on warranty for $ 15.00, we recommend this. 1-800-377-7414. Available in Red and black top only. Most popular and long made brand of shop vacuums.
Genie PRO 600Q. 6 amps running, 12 at peak.
Comes in yellow with black top. Usually prices under $ 100.00, Normally on sale at $ 89.00 and off sale is about $ 95.00 at Home depot, Target, Loews, Home depot and Wal * Mart.
After all these tests our research has concluded that due to color of unit, noise, and performance of all four of these top selling shop vacuums, we like the Shop-Vac Model, with the attachments for the muffler at Home Depot from Ridgid wrapped with three layers of one inch wide Teflon tape and stuck into the exhaust of the vacuum to quiet it a little.
Here are some other reasons for picking this unit over the others; Genie was too loud for use at office parks near customers, but we liked the color. Craftsman was good but we felt that the color red and the noise were an issue and also the lid falls off too easy when trying to move it around, we did not like the latches or the cradle used to maneuver it, it took up too much space in the shop. Ridgid has a yucky color and the same large cradle as the Craftsman. We liked the blower idea, but not powerful enough for blowing water off cars and no real attachment available for blowing out door jams. So that feature is not needed and probably the reason for the higher price.
Shop-Vac has a ridge on the inside of the bucket so to empty you have to completely turn the vac upside down, which was a pain. But in the end the quietness and fit ability of the Ridgid attachment to make it even quieter put us down to 75 Decibels, which is more than acceptable in office parks. Enough to let people know you are there, but not enough to be bothersome or interfere with their phone calls, conferences, meetings or conversations.
Also you can communicate with your employees while working as long as you are up to 10 feet from it. Also nice is when we stuck a 30 foot pool hose up to it, the Shop-Vac was still able to get adequate suction to pick up the water from a floor mat which was pressure washed to remove stains to make it dry. Other good things which we feel would increase longevity to these units was the fact that Shop-Vac had an option of filter Bags, and Dry Pick-up Cartridges either one or two stage pleated and a foam filter for picking up water or a filter cover over option. Like wise most of these had Drum Liners
Consumer reports had an article in their magazine, which rated the unit high but got the winning seal of approval to Craftsman. Other reports have been divided. Now realize that we do prefer the WAP, Blue bucket, black top unit to these off the shelf units and they are much quieter by 25 decibels or more. The WAP with a thirty-foot vacuum hose draws much better airflow than any of these and is about 20% more powerful. It uses the same amps more or less.