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Wet Dry Vacs: A Buying Guide

For some types of cleaning, you need more than a regular vacuum cleaner.

In shops, garages and workshops, messes can be both wet and dry in nature. There also tend to be heavier spillages.

This is where a wet dry vac, also known as a shop vac, comes into its own.

wet dry vacuum

Whether you need to clean up some sawdust or deal with a leak in your basement, wet dry vacs are rugged appliances worth their weight in gold.

They are much sturdier than a standard vacuum so they are better suited for dealing with this kind of mess. You will also save overloading and potentially damaging your home cleaning equipment.

Some people use wet dry vacs in the home. In general, though, the noise they kick out coupled with their bulk mean that they are not so popular inside the house.

They can be useful to keep stashed away in the garage, though. Whether it’s broken glass in the kitchen, an overflowing bathroom or a kitchen appliance that malfunctions, a solid wet dry vac is a very worthwhile investment.

Wet Dry Vacs: A Brief History

The very first iteration of a wet dry vac came onto the market in the latter half of the 1950s. This had a removable canister that you filled up with water and a cleaner before getting to work.

This had a removable canister that you filled up with water and a cleaner before getting to work. The appliance would lay down a layer of water and cleaner. You’d simply flick a button and the machine would suck this back up while steam drying the floor simultaneously. You could deal with liquid messes as well.

Many other companies started to roll out wet dry vacs over the coming years. Most major manufacturers offer one in their range of vacuum cleaners.

Wet dry vacs today do not lay down that layer of water but they are still perfectly capable of handling wet spills.

How To Choose The Best Wet Dry Vac

wet-and-dry-vacuum

As with any purchase, doing your research properly and taking your time are crucial if you want to get the best product.

Analyze your cleaning requirements honestly. Think about this in tandem with reading some honest reviews. work out your budget and draw up a shortlist. This should avoid impulse buying a vacuum which does not best fit your needs.

Ask yourself some basic questions to kick proceedings off…

  • What sort of cleaning will you do?
  • How often will you use your wet dry vacuum?
  • What size and capacity are you looking for? Think also about the future
  • Where will you store your cleaner when it’s not in use? How much space do you have?
  • Do you need any special features or attachments? If so, factor this into your research

Starting off with this information, you can immediately narrow down your search. Make things easy on yourself.

Size

There are a wide variety of sizes available. These are normally standardized as Mini, Small, Medium and Large.

As you climb the scale, you will enjoy increased capacity and performance.

Think about how you will use your wet vac and buy accordingly…

If you will only very rarely press it into action, it’s senseless buying a hulking unit that will be awkward to move about. On the other hand, if you plan to use it on a constant basis in a commerical setting, steer well clear of the smallest options. They will not be fit for purpose.

Power and Capacity

Buying the correct wet dry vacuum is a balancing act between getting one that’s powerful enough for your needs without that power going to waste by overbuying.

How would you categorize the cleaning you do? Will you be mainly tackling light, medium or heavy duties?

Light Cleaning

For small jobs and light work within the house, low capacity models are available. One that holds between 2 and 6 gallons is perfectly sufficient for these cleaning duties.

Look for 1-5 HP. Anything more is overkill.

The gain you make by sacrificing capacity and power is that the vacuum will be far lighter and easier to move around. Storage and maneuverability present no problem at all with a smaller cleaner.

Cordless models are excellent for taking out in the car.

If you live in an apartment or have a small work area, this kind of small wet dry vacuum is a step up from a household cleaner but not too bulky for the job at hand.

Medium Cleaning

Anything from the 8-14 gallon range with 5-6 HP works well for slightly more taxing duties.

Whether you want it for the house, garage or workshop, the more powerful variants take larger debris in their stride.

With highly developed suction, these cleaners also transfer well to the garden. Some have a blower function which will be a bonus after mowing. This is also a fuss-free way to inflate mattresses, air beds, balls and tires.

Heavy Cleaning

Clearly, heavy duty commercial and industrial messes need dedicated equipment.

6 HP should be your minimum power requirement and you can choose from 14 gallons and beyond in terms of capacity.

Busy garages, professional cleaning services or factories all demand a wet dry vac that will perform well and last a reasonable period of time.

These more substantial models have wheels or sometimes even come mounted on a cart.

For heavy, professional jobs, a large wet dry vac is a must.

Wet Dry Vacs: The Benefits

Filters

  • Without filters, the dirt, dust and debris would be expelled straight back out into the air, defeating the very purpose of vacuuming. Most wet dry vacs come with HEPA filter technology. If you suffer from asthma or any kind of allergy, pay attention and seek out a wet dry vac with this style of filtration

Quiet In Use

  • As motor technology has progressed, wey dry vacs no longer have you reaching for the ear protectors. You get powerful suction and great airflow without the deafening noise that plagued older models. For this reason, shop vacs are increasingly entering the home

Portability

  • If you opt for a smaller capacity unit boasting a potent motor, you can enjoy all the results without being encumbered by a hulking piece of kit. If you only plan to perform light cleaning duties, make this the core of your hunt for the best wet dry vac

Storage

  • Linked closely to portability is the issue of storage. Many wet dry vacs now come with handy wall mounts so you can place your cleaner out of sight without squandering too much precious space

Keep Tools Onboard

  • A compartment or holders helps you to keep all your accessories and attachments on the vacuum itself. Not only does this prevent you from losing them as easily, they are perfectly placed when you need them mid-cleaning

Cleanup

  • The purpose of your wet dry is to clean mess up so make sure you do not get a model that is too messy itself. Make sure it’s easy to empty the liquid and check out models which come with a handy pump

Hoses and Wands

  • Small hoses on your vac will lead to potential clogging. The wider the hose, the less likely this will blight you. Wands are attachments that will stop you from needing to bend down as often. They make cleaning awkward areas a lot less stressful and strain-free.

Safety With Your Wet Dry Vac

You should exercise caution with any electrical tools. A wet dry vac is no exception.

Do not allow children to use these appliances unsupervised.

What’s Safe To Pick Up?

  • Dust
  • Sawdust
  • Wet messes
  • Plaster

What’s Not Safe To Pick Up?

  • Hot ashes
  • Gasoline
  • Natural gas
  • Solvent
  • Lit matches

Small pieces of glass are fine. Avoid sucking up larger chunks of glass. You could easily damage the hose on your vacuum.

Maintenance

Abide by the conditions of the warranty and make sure you use an authorized repair service.

If you experience any problems, stop and check things out. Do not keep using your wet dry at the risk of more serious problems.

Do not use a wet dry with a frayed or exposed cord.

Store your cleaner where it is safe from damp or rodents nibbling at it.

Conclusion

Purchasing a wet dry vacuum need not be expensive. It is a definite addition to your cleaning arsenal and if you deal with wet spills on a regular basis, almost essential.

Think carefully about the above pointers.

Get in touch if you have any queries and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

2

Shark Navigator vs Rotator vs Rocket

Are you wondering which is the best call between the Shark Navigator, Shark Rotator and Shark Rocket?

If so, this honest three-way review should help you choose.

We will run down the main features and compare them so that you can make the best decision based on your precise needs.

Shark-Navigator-vs-Rotator-vs-Rocket

NameCorded/
Cordless
Bagged/
Bagless
WeightPricePowerOverall Rating (1-5)
Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional (NV356E)Corded
30 feet
Bagless13.7 pounds4.54.5Editor's Choice
#1
Shark Navigator Lift-Away Vacuum (NV352)Corded
25 feet
Bagless12.5 pounds4.54.5#2
Shark Rotator Professional Lift-Away (NV501)Corded
30 feet
Bagless15.5 pounds45#3
Shark Rocket Ultra-Light Upright Vacuum (HV302)Corded
25 feet
Bagless7.6 pounds4.54#4
Shark Navigator Deluxe (NV42)Corded
30 feet
Bagless15 pounds45#5

Similarities

The Navigator, Rotator and Rocket are all Shark products so they have some common features.

First of all, they all include a detachable canister vacuum. This feature makes them extremely versatile. This removable canister makes it easier to clean areas like stairs which require detailed and deep cleaning. You no longer have to carry the whole vacuum with you. All three models are great at cleaning hard-to-reach places like corners, furniture, ceiling fans, exhaust vents and blinds.

Each of the three models is roughly similar price-wise and they represent fantastic value for money.

These three top-rated vacuums all come with a sealed HEPA allergy system. This means that fine dust particles, pollen, mold, pet dander and any other allergens are removed from the air. In addition, they are all bagless and have washable filters. This saves you from spending more money on extras.

The overall dimensions of the three models are similar. The Rotator is about 2” taller than its siblings.

Last but not least, these three best-rated models come with the same 5-year warranty.

The differences

Specifications

In term of specifications, the Shark Rocket is lighter in terms of weight and includes a cleaning path which is measured 11”, a bit lighter than the Rotator (11.5”), but in general, it is considerably heavier than the Navigator, which is measured just only 9.5. It can be inferred that in case of the Navigator, you’ll have to make some additional swipes through your hardwood floor or carpet to make sure that the room is completely cleaned.

The most noticeable difference concerns the dust container’s capacity. The Rocket needs frequent emptying with 40% reduced capacity. Both the Navigator and Rotator measure up at 3.1 dry quarts while the Rocket only 1.8 dry quarts.

Power

The Navigator and Rotator have 1200 watt motors while the Rocket's is only 700 watts. The Rocket offers less suction for this reason.

The Rocket's cord is 5” shorter than that of the other two models at 30". The Rotator and Rocket have headlights but the Shark Navigator does not.

Portability

portalbility

This is one of the most pressing issues when it comes to choosing a unit. Nobody wants to move a hefty, awkward machine around their house while cleaning.

All three models are highly portable with the brilliantly designed Lift-Away pod. The Navigator and Rotator are around 14 lbs with their built-in canister weighing around a half the full vacuums. The Rocket is only 7.5 pounds. As such, it's the easiest to shift around.

Usability

The Shark Navigator and Rotator both come with a lengthy 30 ft cord. This makes for easy cleaning, even in very large and high areas. You won’t have to bend down to plug and unplug the item when cleaning big or hard-to-reach places.

The body section of the Navigator is designed with very lightweight materials. This means less wear-and-tear. A very big dust cup is also included making emptying easy and effortless. The Rotator is similar to the Navigator as it is lightweight and easy to move about. The Rotator scores with its headlights placed on the machine’s base. This function is great for vacuuming dark spots.

The Rocket is also very easy to use, right from the beginning with its assembly. It's good to go out of the box within minutes and without the need of any tools or complicated guides. The built-in swivel steering makes it easier to maneuver the machine around corners, below tight spaces and all through hard-to-reach places.

Movement

These three models almost comparable for movement.

They come with high-quality swivel steering which makes for seamless operation. The Navigator has a big cup and the Rotator's is very well-designed. The small difference is that while the Rotator has a digital display which allows you to pick from surface types to clean, the Navigator doesn’t. Think about your precise requirements.

Attachments and Accessories

Both the Navigator and the Rotator have a crevice tool for special areas like baseboards or anywhere that requires detailed and exact movements. These two models also come with a great dusting broom which is capable of extending out to picking up crumbs or pet dander.

The Navigator includes a nice pet power brush as well as an attachment head to deal with hard surfaces. In addition, it has two microfiber pads so the machine performs better in areas requiring polished, detailed work.

In this sense, The Rotator offers the upper hand as it comes with a lot of other useful accessories. It offers a multi-angled dusting brush, a direct suction nozzle, a canister caddy and a home detail kit with a variety of cleaning heads.

And The Rocket? You'll get a pet power brush, an appliance wand to reach areas under appliances, an extra-long crevice tool and a multi angle dusting brush as well.

Wrap-Up

In general, these three best selling vacuums are all highly appreciated among vacuum users. But in some details, the Rotator is said to be better compared to the others. While it comes with the same suction power as the Navigator, it is better at cleaning edges. It also has headlights, boosted swivel steering and more available tools.

The Navigator and Rocket are also strong models so your decision should really depend on your needs.

If you just want a smaller item without all the power and a big dirt container, the Rocket is for you.

Think also about reading some reviews from real users, think carefully about your own demands and budget then come to a final decision and buy with confidence online or in the store.

Shark vs Dyson – Which Vacuum Is Best?

Choosing a really good vacuum for your house cleaning can be hard work because there are currently a wide range of models on the market which can appear to be very similar. This can lead to confusion.

In this handy Shark vs Dyson comparison article, we will help to narrow your choices between the two most highly recommended vacuum brands, Shark and Dyson.

We will look at some of the similarities and differences.

Hopefully, if you are properly informed you can buy the best vacuum for your needs.

Shark vs Dyson: Two Leading Vacuum Companies

Both Shark and Dyson are well respected companies with great marketing campaigns.

They both consistently offer superb products which represent real value for money.

How Do They Compare?

Quality

Both Shark and Dyson vacuums contain some plastic parts, normally the primary parts.

Dyson edges ahead in terms of overall quality and the designs are truly innovative. Although both Shark and Dyson have cyclonic suction to remove clogged filters, Dyson perform better. The Dyson ergonomics are also superior.

Professional Use

Dyson is ideal to clean large spaces without too many obstacles. The suction power is great. The dust bin is large enough for you to finish cleaning a large surface without having to stop to empty it.

What about Shark? Shark is a perfect choice for housewives who often have to clean houses full of furniture or toys. The vacuums are built to easily access tough spots and they are remarkably maneuverable.

Pet Hair

For picking up pet hair, both companies boast bagless vacuums of amazing power. There are further tools available targeted specifically at dealing with the mess left behind by animals.

Dyson released the Dyson Animal series of vacuums which are tailor-made for pet hair. Two of the stronger models are the DC41 Animal and DC39 Animal.

The Navigator Bagless 2V22L or Rotator Professional Lift-Away are both sound options from Shark if you have pets at home.

Cleaning Surfaces

Both brands produce vacuums easily able to deal with carpeted and non-carpeted floors, so whether you have thick carpets, thin rugs or tile floors, there’s a Shark or Dyson for the job.

Also, unlike many vacuums which are designed with a traditional bag, Shark and Dyson come with a clear, plastic dust container. This makes it possible for you to vacuum constantly until the dust bin gets filled. Amazingly, no matter how large the surface and how frequently you use the machines, they will never lose their suction or develop clogging.

Durability

Dyson vacuums tend to be more durable than Shark. They have a longer warranty. Shark warranties are sometime limited to cover certain parts only.

Cost

Shark ace this category by some distance.

Their vacuums are roughly half the cost of the pricier and flashier Dyson equivalents.

Power

Dyson are more powerful than Shark.

Shark sticks to a similar cyclonic suction with every product whereas Dyson constantly improves and its suction systems are getting better and better. They offer stronger overall suction while maintaining airflow and filtering health as well. Dyson conduct lab tests to demonstrate their claim to “the best suction ever”.

Shark are still fairly powerful but it is the lesser cyclonic system that causes them to lose out.

Ease Of Use

In term of ease of use, both Shark and Dyson are easy to use but this can depend on the surface they are going to clean.

Shark is especially easy to use when you need to vacuum a house which has a lot of obstacles to work around.

Dyson, on the other hand, are great for vacuuming large, clear surfaces. They are bulkier and tougher to move around.

Key Products

Both Shark and Dyson have a number of amazing units including the following stars…

  • Upright vacuums: Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away (NV652), Dyson DC65, Dyson Cinetic Big Ball
  • Cordless & lightweight vacuums:  Shark Rocket TruePet, Shark Rotator (SV1107), Dyson DC59 Motorhead
  • Canister vacuums: Shark Rotator Powered Lift-Away (NR96), Dyson DC47, Dyson Cinetic.
  • Handy vacuums: Shark Cordless Pet Perfect II, Dyson Dc58

Customer Service

This has been an issue with Shark but they have improved over the years.

Dyson is the opposite… their reputation was first-rate but increasingly there are complaints about worsening levels of customer care.

Final Words

It’s time to wrap up this Shark vs Dyson comparison article.

You can see that each brand has its own benefits and drawbacks so consider things carefully and check some more Shark vacuum reviews if necessary to ensure you end up with the best vacuum for your requirements.