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Need help deciding on a new shop vac.

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  • Need help deciding on a new shop vac.

    My old craftsman just crapped out after 22 years. I would buy another however the filters are hard to get and very expensive. They don't last long especially when your family borrows it and never replaces the filter they broke.
    Anyway, I really like the two top Rigid modles at Home Depot. ( 16 gal )
    They look the same, one is stainless steel and the other has a plastic drum.
    The only difference I can see is some kind of noise reduction plug on the plastic drum.

    The life time warrenty sounds good too.

    Does anyone have any expierience with the Ridgid vacs.
    I am planning on a lot of drywall installation in the next little bit. So need something that will help with that kind of dust.


  • #2
    Re: Need help deciding on a new shop vac.

    I have 2 ridgid 16 gal. vacs. They totally rock....very powerful. I particularly like the feature that tells you when the filter is getting clogged. I use one with a bag (for fine dust) and the other for the TS and TP1300 with no bag, just a filter. The TP REALLY generates alot of sawdust so you have to empty it often but until I get a shop vac system I am perfectly happy with them.

    Also, the ShopVac brand (which I first purchased) has a very narrow opening at the top.....nearly impossible to remove the full bag without tearing it open. Ridgid got this one right.


    Oh, I forgot.....the price difference between the stainless and the plastic drum does not justify the extra expense for the stainless IMHO. Same motor if I'm not mistaken.
    Last edited by zenophus; 02-08-2007, 05:59 PM.
    “Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure that there is one less scoundrel in the world.” —Thomas Carlyle


    • #3
      Re: Need help deciding on a new shop vac.

      Hi, I bought the 14 gal model to be used on my TS and J/P(sawdust & woodchips only) and have been very impressed with it. The other main reason for this purchase was because it is quieter than my 12 gal 6hp craftsman. Hope this helps and good luck
      How much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?


      • #4
        Re: Need help deciding on a new shop vac.

        If you're going to suck up drywall dust you'll need a vac with very good dirt collection bags (throw away) and a very good secondary filter. While there are special vacs (industrial grade and big $$$) that work great, there are some that aren't so costly. The Ridgid model WD1850 takes the VF3502 dirt bags and then use the VF6000 filter. That should work pretty well for you. If you really want a quality machine, I would look at the Milwaukee model 8925 which is real gem of an industral vacuum cleaner, but be warned that it costs some good $$$ and is sold as just the bare machine. You then buy the hose you want/need and then the wanted/needed attachments. To learn more about it click the link below. I've used (not mine) one and it's a great machine if you have the $$$ for it. If you're just doing drywall work around your own place and not full time of if you're buying the machine with your own money and not that of a company, then I would look harder at the Ridgid WD1850 or for that matter ShopVac has some pretty good machines in their professional-industrial line that can be used with Yellow bags that are made for drywall dust. They also have several good filter cartridges that are made for very fine dust. Dust bags catch most of the dirt-dust, but you do need a good secondary filter too. I hope this helps you out. IMO Ridgid has better motor-fans than ShopVac until you get into their top models. The Milwaukee above has a very good Lamb Electric 3 stage motor-fans assembly in it.

        (Ridgid WD1850 wet/dry vac)
        (Ridgid VF3502 bags)
        (Ridgid VF6000 filter for fine dust and general use too)

        (Milwaukee 8925)

        (Drywall Vac by ShopVac)
        (Bags & a pretty good filter for above - special deal)
        (Just the bags - pack of 5)
        (Super grade cartridge filter)

        I think you that need to think about how much you'll use it for all kinds of cleaning up, if it needs to suck up water or mud besides dry dirt or just dry, and how much you're willing to spend. If you'll really work the machine over the next several years, investing in a high quality industrial grade machine should pay off, but unless you'll really work it hard, it might very well be overkill.
        Last edited by Woussko; 02-09-2007, 02:37 PM.


        • #5
          Re: Need help deciding on a new shop vac.

          I've got the WD1660 and have been happy with it. It's kinda loud, but is strong and has detachable blower. The $10 muffler works well...but they should just include it.


          • #6
            Re: Need help deciding on a new shop vac.

            I have the 16 gallon vac and their Stinger portable vac. I have no big complaints. It's loud, but all vacs are loud. Filters are easily available and easy to change.


            • #7
              Re: Need help deciding on a new shop vac.

              I had a couple of older "70's" Craftsman shop vacs. Though they still worked well, the metal liner on the inside of the top were rather corroded. I hadn't used them in years, but when I retired I decided to get some overdue project done at the house. The high-cost of the filters just about floored me. My wife pointed out that I could buy a Ridgid Stinger for less money. So, I dumped both the craftsman and now use the containers for scrap.

              So, now I have two Stingers and two Ridgid 12 gal shop vacs. Both are quieter and work much better than the older Craftsman units. The Stingers are great for small jobs and with a longer hose, works great when attached to my sanders. Surprisingly, their bag filters do a pretty fair job of filtering drywall dust, if the project is small.

              For the bigger jobs, I use the Hepa-type filters on the 12 gal vacs. My two 12 gal vacs have great suction and have served well. While I can see that a special disposable bag filter would be an advantage, I really haven't had any problems with the hepa-type filter, and make a point of cleaning them often. Here is a chart of filter application:


              I've got to add that we're fixing up an old house and between the new kitchen, bathrooms, and the attic finishing, drywall dust would have been a major problems without a good vac. I used the VF6000 filters on both of the 12 gal vacs and it worked out great. I do take the extra care to dump the containers and clean the filters often as the projects dictate, and certainly on completion before I store the vac or move to the next project.

              I hope this helps,



              • #8
                Re: Need help deciding on a new shop vac.

                I've got the blower vac and it's great if you don't intend on using bags. Suction is amazing. I've got the fine dust filter for it (blue one) and it takes care of drywall dust and fireplace ashes, no problem at all.

                Cleaning the filter is a bit of a challenge, though this would be the case for any vac I imagine. My method probably wasn't the best... I took off the filter and then used the blower to blow off the dust from the inside out. Man... that filter holds a LOT of fireplace ash.