Last updated on October 3rd, 2022
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My wife knows I like a vacuum (or five) and after recently updating my ash vacuum review, of which the Vonhaus model was pretty impressive after testing on my wood burning stove for the last couple of years.
I thought it would be a good idea to update this review on wet and dry vacuums and see which I think are the best wet and dry vacuums. I didn’t realise just how many models are now available, there is much more choice now than there was when I was in the car valeting trade years ago. Just another job I’ve done during the last 30 years.
My top recommended wet and dry vacuums after some personal testing
- Kärcher WD5 Wet & Dry Vacuum – My BEST PICK – a great high, performance affordable vacuum.
- Hyundai Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner – Great for larger commercial jobs.
- Nilfisk Multi ll 30T Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner – The best choice for workshops due to dust extraction built in for power tools.
- Numatic GVE370-2GREEN George Bagged Cylinder 3 in 1 Vacuum Cleaner – Great for indoor cleaning.
- Vacmaster Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner – Budget-friendly option for general cleaning.
First off, I want to point out that the products I am researching and testing in this review and buyer’s guide are not really designed to be used as workshop dust extractors. However, some can be hooked up to power tools to be used as dust extractors, one such example is this Nilfisk Multi ll 30T Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner.
So, the first question I asked myself before buying one was what would I personally be using a wet and dry vacuum for?
Now, for me, I like to use them for cleaning the patio and driveway before applying a weedkiller or moss killer or cleaning up after using my Karcher K5 to clean the patio because it clears up any standing water. It’s also great for doing an autumn or spring cleanup.
However, it’s worth mentioning that they’re amazing for smaller leaves, they pick them up with no problems. But, for larger leaves, I have found them to be absolutely useless, the inlet tubes are simply too small and get clogged up too easily. For large leaves, I stick to using a leaf blower vacuum or even my outdoor floor sweeper to collect and compost them.
Wet and dry vacuums are brilliant. My personal favourite, the Karcher WD5 Wet & Dry Vacuum, let me tell you, the suction on this machine is something else. It’s proved brilliant for cleaning up loose soil, dirty water, smaller stones, and moss from between flags on my patio. I’ve also found it brilliant for keeping the greenhouse floor and greenhouse workbench clean.
It’s also great for indoors, recently I had my washing machine leak onto the kitchen floor, and it sucked the water up really well before it had a chance to soak in and damage my wooden floor. When it comes to carpets, it will soak up most of the water, however, it’s no specialist carpet cleaner. It’s also worth noting that it has a blower function, but it leaves a lot to be desired, so don’t purchase it specifically for this feature as you may be disappointed, the suction, however, is amazing. It’s also great for cleaning my car, as my Dyson V10 is not really that good for this, in fact, the Karcher WD5 Wet & Dry Vacuum does a much better job.
If you are looking for a wet and dry vacuum that is also great for connecting to power tools, such as an oscillating multi-tool or a jigsaw, then this Nilfisk Multi ll 30T Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner is a much better option. I would perhaps describe it as a workshop wet and dry vacuum.
It’s slightly bigger than the Karcher WD5 at 30 litres, (5 litres larger) but where it’s a better option is that it has a power socket built into the vacuum and you can see this in the picture above. You can plug any power tool into it and use it as a dust extractor for clearing dust and debris. What I really love is that when you have it in ‘mode 2’, the vacuum automatically kicks in when you use the power tool and switches off again when you turn the power tool off.
It’s also great for building yourself a little gutter cleaner by getting some metal extension tubes and a pivoting dust head to reach down into the gutter. This would be a little DIY project to build and it doesn’t come with these, but you can get them off amazon. That being said, if you get the ladders out, you can still clean gutters that are lower down or easy to access.
If you need a more industrial wet and dry vacuum, then it is well worth taking a look at this Hyundai 3000w Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner. I have not personally used this, but my sister and brother-in-law own a gym in Manchester and this model has proved valuable and reliable for them. They also have an outdoor section for tyre flipping, so it’s great for keeping that area clean too, and it’s perfect for cleaning up drink spillages etc. It’s also large, so doesn’t need emptying every two minutes and is durable, having that steel casing and metal attachments.
Amazingly, the Karcher WD5 Wet & Dry Vacuum was also great for clearing a blockage in my drain caused when I had some repointing done. It was like a sludgy mess in the drain. It will also empty a pond to a certain extent, but it’s not a permanent replacement for a pond vacuum or dirty water pump, for that matter.
Nearly forget, wet and dry vacuums are also great for helping to empty a garden swimming pool of water because mine usually leaves about 100 litres of water in the bottom after removing the drainage plug. Basically, I have to empty it 3-4 times, but it leaves it nice and clean ready to refill.
So what do I look for in a good wet and dry vacuum?
Well, the more suction power, the better, but this generally correlates to more wattage and more power. So 1100W or higher seems to be a good choice. Next, I need a long suction tube, 2.2 metres seems to be about as long as most models come with, again longer is better, but 2.2m is a decent length to work with. Finally, you don’t want it to be too flimsy but bear in mind that steel models are much heavier. As long as it’s made from durable strong plastic, for general use, they are usually more than durable enough. Then, I like to see places for all the accessories to be stored as well as the power cable which also needs to be long, but you can also get an extension lead for extra reach.
Top 6 Wet and Dry Vacuum Reviews
1. Kärcher WD5 Wet & Dry Vacuum
This Kärcher WD5 Wet & Dry Vacuum is probably the wet and dry vacuum I would recommend to most people for general cleaning. It’s a close tie between this and the Nilfisk Multi ll 30T Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner.
If you intend to connect it up to power tools as a dust extractor, as I do, the Nilfisk wins because this Karcher is not really set up for this and you will also need to get a Festool Dust Extractor that’s 3 times the price. Trust me, get the Nilfisk, when I last checked, it was even the same price, and the performance was very similar. If not, I would probably go with this Karcher WD5 model for the features it comes with, including a blower, auto filter cleaning, ease of use etc. It’s just a right good wet and dry vacuum.
It has such great suction thanks to the powerful 1100W motor, and it has a large 25-litre collection tank. For me, this is the perfect size to have at home, not much bigger than a Dyson ball. It’s also easy to move around thanks to the caster wheels, even when it gets heavy, which it does when the tank is filled with water.
So being a wet and dry vacuum, you have the option to use a bag when using it as a dry vacuum or remove the bag and it’s ready to use as a wet vacuum. Personally, I don’t use a bag and just use it for wet and dry at the same time. However, something you will notice is that you need to clean the filter more often if you don’t use the bag.
Talking of filters, one of the features I think is brilliant is that it has a semi-cleaning feature, this thing really does make a difference. However, the Nilfisk vacuum also has a similar feature too. What I think this feature is actually doing is blowing air from inside the filter in bursts to help clear dust, but this works brilliantly when used in wet mode as it helps keep the filter clear. You basically put the hose on the top and press the large button on the top 3 times, and this blasts air from inside the filter to clear any dust clogging up the outside of the filter.
It’s also worth noting that the filter system uses flat-pleated filters. These are also easy to remove and clean (or replace) by removing the filter casing from the front and then the filter simply drops out. Takes a few seconds, and your hands don’t even need to touch the dirty filter!
All the accessories can be easily stored on the vacuum, which is handy and well thought out. It comes with a crevice nozzle to get into the hard-to-reach places and the corners, and then it comes with the main cleaning tool. This tool can easily switch for cleaning wet or dry floors with a rubber squeegee or brush by pressing the large button on the tool head.
One other feature it also has is a blower function, but it’s not great, at least not as a leaf blower. I would say it’s about half the power of the suction, so will blow dust and leaves when dry. It’s more for blowing dust and debris, perhaps for cleaning off workbenches etc. Karcher advertises it as a way to dry things, but it doesn’t work very well for this.
Access to the bin is also straightforward, you simply pull the main handle down and then you can lift the lid off to empty the bin. Finally, it comes with a 2.2 metre hose, which is longer than the hoses found on most other models that are around 1.9m to 2m long, and the power cable is about 5 metres, which is pretty standard.
- A wet and dry vacuum cleaner with a 1100W motor.
- The capacity is a 25L canister.
- The filter is easily removed without touching the dirt.
- Easily clean the filter at the press of a button to improve suction.
- Comes with a crevice nozzle.
- The suction hose is 2.2m in length, and the power cable is 5m.
- All parts are stored on the canister for easy storage.
- Can be used with bags or without.
- Two-year guarantee for full peace of mind.
- Doesn’t work with power tools unless you rig up some connectors.
The Kärcher WD5 Wet & Dry Vacuum is my Best Pick in this review and probably the model I would recommend to most people. That being said, I’m a bit of a fan of Karcher, so maybe I’m a little biased but they just make such good tools, and this wet and dry vacuum is a good example of this.
Overall, it does a great job at clearing dirt, liquids, dust, and pretty much anything that will fit down its suction tubes. The blower is not great, and it’s a little plastically, but it still feels very durable and has proved reliable. The only exception for me is if you want to also use it with power tools for dust extraction. If you do, then go for the Nilfisk Multi ll 30T Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner instead for similar money.
2. Hyundai 3000W 100L Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner
Best Professional Pick
As previously mentioned, my sister actually uses this powerful and large wet and dry vacuum in her busy gym and has been very impressed with it. This 100L Hyundai Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner is an industrial-strength vacuum cleaner. It’s designed for cleaning a large area without having to stop frequently during the process. With 3000W of power from a triple-cooled motor, it’s capable of handling demanding cleaning jobs, think garages, workshops or more commercial use.
This is a heavy wet and dry vacuum in more ways than one. It weighs 24.5kg, but it stands on a trolley with wheels on which you move it around. The handle to direct it with is on the back side of the canister. And speaking of the canister, this one is made of stainless steel and holds an amazing 100L of wet and dry messes. Even full, it glides across the floor with ease, and it can weigh over 100KG when full.
A feature that is very useful is that the canister tips up for you to empty it. Just use the click-release clips to open it, and it tips backwards. If you’ve been using this model to suck up liquids, empty the canister by using the drainage plug in the bottom of the unit, another well-designed feature.
The HEPA filter (dry vacuuming) is interchangeable with the sponge filter (for wet vacuuming). The HEPA filter traps contaminants in the air in a woven web and is a feature many wet and dry vacuums don’t have. This is another level of cleaning the room as it removes around 99.97% of particles (dust, mould, pollen etc.) from the air. You do need to change filters going from wet to dry and vice versa.
There’s an antistatic system so that you don’t get zinged with any static charge in using this vacuum cleaner with it being metal. Basically, there is a small chain that touches the floor that prevents static. Simple, yet very effective.
- Wet/Dry vacuum cleaner with a triple-cooled motor.
- Industrial and professional features.
- The stainless steel canister has a 100L capacity.
- Design with ergonomic handle and four easily manoeuvred wheels.
- Comes with a 5m power cord that winds up on top of the canister.
- Quick-release clips for ease of emptying.
- Anti-static prevention system.
- Interchangeable HEPA and sponge filter.
- Comes with wet and dry floor brushes, a crevice nozzle and a round brush.
- Control buttons on top of the unit.
- Handle to move the unit on the back of it.
- Canister stands on the trolley (included).
- Three-year Hyundai platinum warranty; one-year commercial warranty.
- No blower function.
The Hyundai Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner is an industrial-strength vacuum cleaner with all the features that such a unit needs. It’s powerful at 3000W, way more powerful than most other models and the collection canister (stainless steel) holds 100L of wet and dry debris and liquids. The HEPA filter cleans 99.97% of particles out of the air, leaving it much cleaner than usual for a wet and dry vacuum.
The Hyundai Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner is my Best Professional Pick from the vacuum cleaners in this review. It’s a monster of wet and dry vacuum, and I suppose it is also a great option for professional car cleaning too.
3. Nilfisk Multi ll 30T Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner
The Nilfisk Multi ll 30T Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner comes with a 1400W motor that supports a variety of functions and is probably the model I would recommend instead of the Karcher WD5. The two models are very similar in performance in the real world and not just on paper. Actually, on paper, this model wins on power and features as it also doubles as a dust extractor for power tools, making it the best choice for a workshop.
Whether you are cleaning indoors or outdoors, this vacuum cleaner provides adequate room for dirt collection with a large 30 litre bin.
As well as performing the wet/dry vacuum function, this model is also a leaf blower like the Karcher model, however, it won’t replace a dedicated leaf blower because it just doesn’t have the power. A feature it does have is that it can be an air pump for your mattress or blow up an inflatable garden swimming pool. If you don’t already have one, this handy feature saves you from having another appliance on hand for blowing tasks.
This model can also be used as a bagless vacuum or used with a vacuum bag. It’s easier to remove the dirt from the vacuum cleaner when it’s in a bag, but you do need to change the bag more often than you would need to empty it using the cleaner bagless.
In addition, the Nilfisk Multi ll 30T vacuum cleaner has a filter that prevents dirt from clogging up the motor and causing an obstruction while you’re working. You don’t even have to keep an eye on the filter as the vacuum cleaner has an indicator that alerts you when the filter needs to be cleaned, and it is semi cleaning too.
DIYers will like that this Nilfisk model attaches to a power tool. With this arrangement, there’s a soft start so that the vacuum doesn’t go full blast all at once. And the variable suction power lets you use the unit gently if you’re only, say, drilling wood rather than sanding it. There’s a plug for electric tools on the vacuum cleaner itself, so you don’t have power cords running all over the workbench. Now, a feature that I really like is that if you select ‘mode 2’ and plug a power tool into the socket on the vacuum. The vacuum only fires up when the power tool is being used. This is very neat.
This model is accompanied by a two-year warranty.
- Wet/dry vacuum cleaners with a blower function.
- Durable wheels and a comfortable handle for easy transportation.
- The filter keeps dirt from obstructing, creating optimal performance.
- Filter cleaning indicator to alert the user that the filter needs cleaning.
- Attaches to a power tool.
- Includes a 5m power cable and a 4m hose.
- Two-year warranty for peace of mind.
- Would benefit from better assembly instructions.
The Nilfisk Multi ll 30T Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner is a multipurpose machine that is a wet and dry vacuum but also a workshop dust extractor. As well as the wet and dry functions, it hooks up to power tools to clean the debris caused by them directly. It also has a blow function for outdoor cleaning purposes such as leaf blowing, but it is not a replacement for a leaf blower. This is a model that works well in domestic and home workshop settings. Overall, a great wet and dry vacuum.
4. Numatic GVE370-2GREEN George Bagged Cylinder 3 in 1 Vacuum Cleaner
The Numatic GVE370-2GREEN George Bagged Cylinder 3 in 1 Vacuum Cleaner is affectionately known as “George”. The whimsical face on the front of this bright green cleaner may make you smile as you go about your cleaning tasks.
George is literally an all-in-one multipurpose vacuum cleaner. It has five cleaning options namely dry, wet, scrubbing and drying hard floors, cleaning carpets and cleaning upholstery. It can deep clean a carpet brilliantly and unblock a sink just as fast, making it a very versatile vacuum for the home.
George embraces technology by having a TwinFlo bypass vacuum motor and a Powerflo pump system that works to professional cleaning standards. Its ergonomic design ensures you can use it for long hours without discomfort.
All this combined with the HepaFlo dust bag makes George such a lovely and effective machine. Dust can be vacuumed with a refined floor nozzle up to 99.97%. The vacuum cleaner has 15 litres of solid dirt capacity and 9 litres of liquid waste capacity. With 1200W of power, this unit has a 28.6m cleaning range with a long hose and cable.
Its dimensions are 35.5 X 35.5 X 51.0cm with a weight of 8.8kg, making it seem like George is a wonderful little addition to the family. It comes with a two-stage design that improves performance, and durability and ensures that it’s quiet.
George optionally comes with a kit of professional brushes for specialist jobs such as carpet cleaning, hard-flooring cleaning and dealing with pet hair.
- A multipurpose wet and dry vacuum cleaner for vacuuming, scrubbing, and cleaning carpets and upholstery.
- The Twinflo and Powerflo systems give you professional cleaning quality.
- Ergonomic design that’s comfortable while you use it.
- The HepaFlo technology vacuums 99.97% of dust particles making it very efficient.
- Capacities are 15L for solid dirt and 9L of liquids.
- Shampoo function for use with the deep cleaning of carpets and upholstery.
- Flimsy plastic hook for cable storage.
- Not suitable for workshops or connecting to power tools.
The Numatic GVE370-2GREEN George Bagged Cylinder 3 in 1 Vacuum Cleaner – George- is a great choice for someone looking for a wet and dry vacuum for use around their home or office. Its capacities for dust and liquids are generous for a domestic environment, and it very efficiently hoovers up dust particles. Plus it’s so cute even the kids may want to use it.
5. Vacmaster Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner
The Vacmaster Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner has 1250W of power to clean up your dry and wet messes. It’s suitable for your workshop as well as your home as it hooks up to your power tools to directly suck up the dust and other debris they cause. In this situation, you can remotely operate the vacuum cleaner from your power tool. You don’t have to keep bending down to turn it off and on.
This model comes with the option to be used bagged or bagless. The dust bags are for when you’re dealing with finer dirt and dust so that it’s easier to remove them from the vacuum cleaner. Use this model without a bag when you’re sucking up larger debris or liquids into the 20L capacity tank. You can also use this wet and dry vacuum cleaner as a blower. Think of all the leaves you usually sweep up in the autumn, you can now just blow them into piles.
Weighing just 6kg, this Vacmaster vacuum is lightweight and small enough to get into all the awkward corners and bits of your home and workspace. Its four wheels let you direct where to go. When you need to pick it up to move it, the built-in handle on the top of the canister makes this an easy task.
Included in your purchase is a range of accessories to make the clean-up process easier. You receive a crevice tool, three suction extension tubes, a universal floor head, a dusting brush and a power adaptor. The hose is 2.5M long, and the power cord is 4m long.
- Wet/dry vacuum cleaner that also has a blowing function.
- Features a strong 1250W motor that supports adequate suction.
- It can be used bagless or with a dust bag.
- All the cleaning attachments needed for a successful cleaning mission.
- A lightweight model with a top handle for easy manoeuvrability.
- Comes with a two-year warranty for quality assurance.
- The plastic attachments look flimsy.
- A bit noisy.
The Vacmaster Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner is a lightweight vacuum cleaner that also has a blowing function that you’ll be glad of come autumn. This cleaner is easily manoeuvred around your home or workspace on its four wheels and by the handle on top. Plug this into your power tools where it comes on and goes off remotely as you sand or drill.
The Vacmaster Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner is a good choice if you have a large area that you need to keep clean.
Buyer’s Guide For Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaners
Whether you’re looking for a wet and dry vacuum cleaner for home use or to use in a workshop or building site, here are the things to look for as you make your purchase decision.
Size of the unit
Size is usually in relation to power and dirt capacity. Larger models tend to be quicker, more powerful and more thorough in their cleaning. They can, however, be more bulky and difficult to transport and store. Smaller models are easier to move around and store. Nowadays, smaller models don’t necessarily lack the power and functions of the larger ones.
The vacuum’s internal capacity is measured in how much dirt or sludge it can take in before the internal float rises and further suction is blocked. It is measured in litres. Most brands usually overstate their capacity levels. Subsequently, the higher the capacity, the better the vacuum because it will hold more dirt and waste liquid before you need to empty it out. We found that 15-20 litres were a good size overall for most domestic environments.
Sound is measured in terms of decibels. The recommended level is 85 decibels before you are required to wear ear protection. These vacuums have a tendency to be loud. Check out exactly how loud each one is and consider your own hearing and that of your neighbours.
The type of dirt you are planning on collecting is crucial. If you plan on picking up large, medium, fine and wet debris, you will need a filter that has a general medium filtration level or better, a fine filtration level and for the wet part, a foam filter. A vacuum with a foam and paper filter is best. With advanced models, you will not need to switch between the two filters as it does this on its own.
There is always a delicate balance between the suction power and the length of the hose. The longer the hose, the lower the suction power. However, the shorter the hose, the more restriction you have with movement while you vacuum.
Larger debris requires wider hoses and finer debris requires a smaller hose. Vacuums that come with different hoses as accessories cover all the bases.
If you have a lot of hard-to-reach areas or you just want to get rid of the accumulating pile of leaves, a detachable blower is very handy. It is almost like buying two tools at the same time.
There is an opening on the vacuum cleaner that makes it easier to pour wet debris out of the vacuum. This is known as the tank drain. This additional feature will come in handy when using the wet feature, especially with larger vacuums.
There are two major materials used for tanks, plastic and stainless steel. Plastic tanks are lighter and dent-proof. The stainless steel tanks are more durable and easy to clean but are heavier. It is up to you to decide which kind is better for your needs.
Most models come with different types of nozzles: the utility for bulky debris, crevice for tight spots, special nozzles for car interiors and inserts for dusting brushes. Having all these accessories will maximise the use of the vacuum cleaner. If your cleaning tasks are straightforward, you can manage with just one brush.
Use with power tools
Some wet and dry vacuum cleaners can be attached to power tools for immediately collecting dust and wood chips whilst cutting. The cleaner is effectively used as a dust extractor. Some models even have a power socket on the vacuum to plug the power tool into, and the vacuum works when the power tools are switched on, automatically. A great feature for wood workshops.
A wet and dry vacuum cleaner covers all potential messes – wet and dry. Some even work as leaf blowers, corralling your fallen leaves in the autumn into nice tidy piles. Look for features such as shampooing carpets and using the vacuums as dust extractors for power tools if you have specific needs beyond regular cleaning.
The Best Pick is the Kärcher WD5 Wet & Dry Vacuum. This vacuum cleaner is great for the domestic environment and serves as a leaf blower in the autumn.
The Best Professional Pick is the Hyundai Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner, 3000W Wet Vac with 100L. This powerful and large vacuum cleaner can handle a factory, farm or large warehouse.
However, you may need a more specialist cleaning appliance than the general purpose wet/dry vacuum cleaner.
Last update on 2024-02-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API