Major messes call for serious vacuum power. You need a strong vacuum that can take care of any job whether you have a puddle or a pile of dirt on your hands. The best tool to fit that bill is a wet and dry vacuum.
With the right wet-dry vac, you’ll be ready to tackle indoor and outdoor cleaning jobs with ease, and our list of the best wet and dry vacuums will make your perfect pick a whole lot easier.
1. WD5 Karcher Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner
Made for tough jobs, the Gold Award winning Karcher WD 5 generates 240 air watts of suction power to pick up sawdust, broken glass, spilled drinks and more. With a 25-liter storage container, you can count on there being plenty of room for all the debris in your life.
Plus, this unit has plenty of built-in convenience features. First of all, there’s a carrying handle so you can tote the vacuum from the house to the garage and back again. It offers electrostatic protection so you don’t have to worry about getting shocked if you pick the vacuum up while it’s plugged in. (FYI, the power cord is 5 meters long, so you can maneuver the unit around quite a bit.)
The vacuum’s 2.2-meter hose allows you to reach under car seats and into corners. With just a few clicks, you can switch from one hose nozzle to another. The unit comes with a crevice nozzle, a brush nozzle and a rubber strip nozzle. Additional attachments and hose extensions are available separately. So you’ll always have the piece you need at your fingertips, accessories can be stored right on the vacuum.
Some messes need to be dislodged from their space before you can suck them up. For that, this vacuum has a blower feature.
When you’re finished vacuuming, cleaning the unit is a snap. With a blast of pulsed air, you can shoot dirt from the flat pleated filter into the dirt canister. That will automatically restore strong suction power to your unit. Plus, the filter removes easily, and the canister or optional fleece filter can be emptied without sticking your hands in the dirt.
By the way, the flat filter works for both wet and dry messes. That’s just one more reason that you can count on the Karcher WD 5 to be a convenient tool for all your cleaning needs.
2. Draper 13785 Wet and Dry
As soon as you take a look at the Draper 13785, you’ll notice a feature that sets it apart from other wet and dry vacuums: its stainless steel body. Right away, you’ll know that this 1,250-watt unit means business.
The sturdy steel canister on this Draper vacuum holds 20 liters of waste, which makes it one of the larger vacuums on this list. You can fill the tank with wet or dry materials, and there’s an optional paper bag attachment that you can use for easy disposal of vacuumed debris.
The vacuum comes with two filters. There’s a cloth one to use when vacuuming dry messes and a foam one that goes in for sucking up wet spills.
It also comes with a few different attachments for cleaning versatility. There’s a flexible built-in hose that’s 1.5 meters long. It has a hand grip for easy holding. You’ll want to add the brush end to the hose when you’re sweeping the rug, or you can swap it out for the narrow nozzle when you need to get into tight corners. Three different extension tubes increase this machine’s reach.
Compared to other wet-dry vacuums, the Draper unit does have a rather short cord. It’s only 3.5 meters long, which may limit how far you can move it around if your home and garage don’t have many power outlets. It does have a carrying handle and wheels though, so as long as you have enough outlets, you can unplug the vacuum and guide it to the next spot on your cleaning list.
3. Henry George Wet & Dry Vacuum Review
If you’re looking for a wet and dry vacuum with personality, the George model from Henry simply can’t be outdone. This cheerful green vacuum sports a smiling face with charming eyes.
Of course, George has more than good looks to offer. Unlike most wet-dry vacs, this one also functions as a carpet cleaner. When you’re ready to shampoo your floors, just pop on the wash kit attachment.
You can depend on George to handle other messes too. Whether you’re dealing with drywall dust, sofa crumbs or a leak under the sink, this 100-watt vacuum has the gumption to get your home back to normal. It can hold 15 liters of dry debris or 9 liters of liquid.
For dry cleaning, all dirt runs through a multi-layer filter and gets trapped in a disposable bag. Since the bag is self-sealing, your hands won’t ever touch the mess.
The George vacuum comes with several tools. There are pieces for dusting, reaching in tight spaces, scrubbing carpet, vacuuming hard surfaces and freshening up upholstery. Each tool has a storage spot right on the unit. Additional upgrade sets, such as a kit for vacuuming up pet hair, are available separately.
One thing to note is that you have to switch hoses and filters to go from dry mode to wet mode. Setting the unit up for carpet cleaning requires another round of preparation.
But wherever you need to clean, the George wet-dry vacuum can be there. Use it in your car, your house or your work area. Thanks to a 10-meter power cord, you’ll have plenty of range available to you, even if there’s not an outlet right nearby.
4. Bosch Wet and Dry Vacuum: Advanced Vac 20
If you’re looking for incredible cleaning power, the AdvancedVac 20 from Bosch could be the vacuum for you. This rugged green cleaning machine draws 1,200 watts of power and produces 300 air watts of suction to take care of even the toughest spills.
Home improvement projects can be dirty. With the AdvancedVac 20 on your side, you can keep the mess under control while doing jobs around the house. This unit hooks up to power tools from the Bosch Home and Garden line to automatically suck up wood chips, dust, stones, or other debris.
This vacuum boasts multiple levels of filtration. There’s a flat filter and a round cartridge filter. The cartridge can be used for wet or dry vacuuming and is easily cleaned under running water, so no need to buy replacements.
The vacuum’s dirt container has a 20-liter capacity. When dry vacuuming, you can choose whether to use the optional paper dust sack for easy dirt disposal. Thanks to a drain hole on the side, cleaning up after wet vacuuming is easy too.
The AdvancedVac 20 comes with an assortment of accessories. There’s a crevice tool to reach in tight spots. The main floor nozzle has both brush inserts and rubber inserts so you can pick the right one for the surface you’re cleaning. The nozzles store right on the unit.
Bosch’s wet and dry vacuum also comes with a 2.2-meter antistatic hose and two 0.5-meter extraction pipes. Like the nozzles, you can tuck these away on the vacuum when not in use.
When you need to move the vacuum, a built-in handle is there to help you get the job done. For times when you’d prefer for the unit to stay in one spot, the wheels lock into place.
5. Nilfisk Buddy II 12
Small but mighty, the Nilfisk Buddy II 12 may be a good choice for those who are short on space but still want powerful cleaning power. This 1,200-watt vacuum weighs just 4.4 kilograms, so you can tote it here, there or wherever you want to go.
This small wet and dry vacuum has a 12-liter storage capacity. Using bags when collecting dry dirt is an optional way to trap fine particles and extend the life of your filter.
This unit may not be large, but there’s still onboard storage for the various accessories. That includes a narrow crevice tool and a flat floor nozzle. There’s also a rigid extension tool that can help you reach under furniture or grab cobwebs out of high corners. Additional accessories, such as car kits and power-tool adapters, are available separately.
This Nilfisk wet and dry vacuum can be used both indoors and outdoors, and you won’t need to think twice about sucking up wet messes. The unit comes with a special wet filter to protect the inner workings of this vacuum for a long time to come.
The blower function is just as handy as the unit’s vacuuming abilities. With it, you can disperse cobwebs, sweep leaves or inflate a mattress.
The Buddy II 12 has a 5-meter cord that attaches to mains power, so there’s some range when the unit is plugged in. The top handle is useful for navigating the vacuum from one spot to another, and four wheels — two small ones in front and two large ones in back — help it glide smoothly along the floor.
If you need to stop vacuuming for a moment, there’s no need to toss the hose and extension tube haphazardly on the floor. Instead, you can click it into the handy rest spot that’s built into the vacuum’s handle.
As you’re shopping, keep in mind that the Buddy II 12 is the introductory model in Nilfisk’s line of wet and dry vacuums. You’re not going to get all the bells and whistles or a large-capacity dirt container. For those who are on a budget, have a small home or don’t deal with major messes on a regular basis, purchasing a Buddy II 12 may be a smart way to cover your basic cleaning needs without breaking the bank.
6. Karcher WD 2 Wet and Dry Vacuum
The Karcher WD 5 reviewed above is a workhorse, but not everybody needs such a powerful machine. If you trust the Karcher brand but are looking for more of an everyday vacuum, check out the WD 2 instead. Although it boasts less suction power than its bigger brother, it might be just right for your home and garden needs. This one has a 1,000-watt motor and produces 180 air watts of suction power.
The WD 2’s floor nozzle is effective for picking up both wet and dry messes. Since the unit also comes with two rigid suction tubes, it’s easy to vacuum dirt off the floor from a comfortable standing position — no need to bend over or kneel on the floor while working.
There’s also a narrow crevice nozzle with this set. You might find that useful when vacuuming your car or furniture.
These accessories each have a storage spot on the device, so you won’t need to worry about losing them between cleaning sessions. Additional tools are available separately; options include car accessories, brushes and extensions for the standard 1.9-meter hose.
The WD 2 has a 12-liter container for catching debris. When dry vacuuming, you may want to use paper filter bags. These help trap fine particles and make cleanup a snap. One comes with the vacuum and extras are available separately.
The wet and dry vacuum is small in size and weighs just 4.6 kilograms. It has a 4-meter power cable and a handle for convenient transporting.
Large side latches hold the unit firmly closed while in use. When it’s time to lift the top off for emptying, you can count on Karcher’s “pull and push” system for no-hassle unlocking. Then you can dump out the contents, slide the accessories back into their storage spots and tuck the WD 5 away until it’s time for its next use.
Wet and Dry Vacuums Buying Guide
Before you fork over your hard-earned cash for a wet and dry vacuum, do a little research and compare features to decide which model is the best for you.
Size and Weight
Bigger units have more space to store water or dirt, so they don’t need to be emptied as frequently. They may produce higher suction power as well. On the other hand, they’ll take up more room in your home and may not be as easy to lift or maneuver.
Compact vacuums are easier to store, and they often cost less. While you may have to stop and empty them more often, they’re usually sufficient for casual use.
A wet-dry vacuum may use flat, cartridge or foam filters. Some use a combination of styles for extra filtration power.
Washable filters can save you money since they don’t need to be replaced nearly as often as disposable ones. On the other hand, if your recently washed filter is still wet, you’ll need to wait a while before you run the vacuum again. It may help to keep a spare on hand.
Dumping dry waste out of a vacuum’s collection container can create a cloud of dust, especially if you’ve just sucked up a lot of fine particles. If your vacuum takes fleece or paper filter bags, you can save yourself that trouble. The dirt will be trapped in the bag, and the whole thing can go in the garbage.
Of course, if you use disposable filter bags, you’ll need to buy new ones regularly. You’ll also need to remember to remove the bag for wet vacuuming.
Wet & Dry Vacuum Power
Typically, the higher a vacuum’s wattage is, the more suction power you’ll get from it. Stronger suction will help you pick up bigger particles with less effort. However, high-power units may cost you more.
If you plan to use your vacuum mostly for small indoor jobs, you might be able to get away with a less robust vacuum. Consider upgrading to a top model if you will be using the vacuum at a job site or sucking up large particles like garden mulch.
Most wet and dry vacuums come with a hose, an extension tube, a floor nozzle and a crevice nozzle. Some include extra items like brushes or rubber blades for increased versatility.
Other companies sell accessory kits separately. That way, you can save money upfront and upgrade as needed.
Keep in mind that the more accessories you have, the more you’ll need to store. Most vacuums offer at least some onboard storage, which can help tame your collection.
Getting into high corners or out-of-the-way spots requires a vacuum to have good reach. Consider the length of the flexible hose as well as any extension pieces. A long power cable can contribute to a unit’s overall reach as well.
Some wet and dry vacuums double as a carpet cleaner. If you’re in the market for a rug shampooer as well as a shop vacuum, a model like that might save you both money and space.
Others are capable of blowing air out in addition to sucking it in. A blower can come in handy when clearing leaves or inflating air mattresses.
Yet other vacuums hook up to power tools. If you spend a lot of time in your workshop, you might appreciate the ability to suck up sawdust as soon as it’s created.
Bells and whistles are fun, but no model includes every possible feature. You’ll have to decide which, if any, are most important to you.
Are Wet and Dry Vacs More Expensive?
In general, the more you spend, the more features you’re going to get. While it may be tempting to buy a top-of-the line-model, that might not be necessary for casual use. On the other hand, if you expect to run your vacuum daily or use it for commercial purposes, it might be a good idea to spend a bit more upfront. Consider setting a budget first and then selecting the top model that falls within your spending range.