Don’t choose a shop vac based on the Horsepower rating alone. Horsepower can be gamed to sound more powerful than it is. You can only get 2HP from a normal household 110 volt outlet. The higher ratings printed on the box are for peak draw in some perfect conditions at the manufacturers facility. Make sure you compare the vacuum airflow in cubic feet per minute (CFM) and suction pressure (also known as water lift).
You’ll want to find a good balance between CFM and suction as really high CFM will not have a lot of suction. Generally look for something with 100+ CFM and 75+ inches of suction.
Additionally, to keep your filter clean and keep replacement costs down, pair the vac with a cyclone dust collector to capture the dust before it gets into the vac. Since the cyclone will be catching the dust you can get away with a smaller canister for the vacuum itself and make a rolling cart for the two.
I chose the Vacmaster Professional Beast, because it’s called the “beast”. Kidding. I bought it because it has 102 CFM and 82.6 inches of water lift / suction. I didn’t care that the box says 5.5HP I was only interested in the CFM and suction numbers. (One note, there are no wheels on the Beast, but I’m making a rolling cart for this and the Dust Deputy so that wasn’t a concern for me.)
Then I paired that with the Oneida Dust Deputy Deluxe which removes 99% of dust and debris before getting to the shop vac.
If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.