- Why Are Shop Vacs so Loud?
- What is the Quietest Shop Vac?
- Festool CT 26 E HEPA Dust Extractor
- FEIN Turbo II Vacuum Cleaner
- Makita VC4710 12-Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum
- DeWALT DXV10P Quiet Poly Wet Dry Vacuum
- Nilfisk ALTO Aero 26-21 PC Wet/Dry Vacuum
- Vacmaster VWM510 5 Peak HP Remote Control Wall Mount Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum
- Craftsman CMXEVBE17595 6.5 Peak HP Wet/Dry Vac, Heavy-Duty Shop Vacuum
- Ridgid WD1450 14-Gallon 6-Horsepower Wet/Dry Vacuum
- Shop Vacuum Noise Levels
- Types Of Vacuums
- Shop-Vac Cleaning and Maintenance
A quiet shop vac is a crucial part of any workshop or work area. Using a household vacuum to clean up will shorten its lifespan. Manufacturers do not design household vacuums to pick up sawdust, plaster dust, or scrap material pieces.
Shop vacuums use heavier materials in their design compared to the lightweight counterpart for households. They also have more extensive diameter hoses and special filters for more industrial tasks.
After completing our research, we found the best quiet vac recommendations were the Festool CT 26 at 62 dB and the FEIN Turbo II at 66 dB. The best budget model at 74 dB is the Vacmaster VWM510 at 74 dB.
Why Are Shop Vacs so Loud?
The amount of suction a vacuum produces is related to its power. The electric motor obtains power from amps and watts to spin the fans creating a vacuum pressure. The impeller fan spins at an incredibly high speed of about 35,000 RPM, inducing airflow and producing the noise.
Anything that blocks or restricts the airflow will cause the motor to work harder and make more noise. The motor will also cause a vibration as it turns the fan to create suction, producing a higher frequency sound.
A dirty filter is another reason for a vacuum to have a louder noise. The motor has to work harder to push the air through to create suction. The more it works, the louder it becomes. A clogged hose or wand, a full bag or canister, will also restrict airflow.
Motors have brush bearings that deliver voltage to the motor as it turns. They also help keep it aligned, so it doesn’t rub on the stator and cause friction, which turns into heat and the possibility of a fire.
A broken brush bearing will significantly add to the noise. Fine dust can get into the motor’s bearings or other moving parts, preventing the bearings from rolling correctly and creating a high-frequency squeal. Bearings can be replaced and repaired, usually by a trained repair person.
A broken fan will also increase the vacuum noise, at the same time reducing the suction. The motor spins the fan creating suction, so a broken fan impedes airflow generation.
The motor may work harder, plus the fan may throw rotation out of sync, causing friction and noise. A trained repair person can also replace a broken fan.
What is the Quietest Shop Vac?
We found the quietest shop vacuum is the Festool CT 26 E HEPA Dust Extractor with a noise rating of 62 dB (decibel). It also has a rating of 137 (CFM) cubic feet of air moved per minute.
Festool CT 26 E HEPA Dust Extractor
The CT 26 has dual-mode power activation allowing the user to choose either a tool activated or manual start-up and stop. It has extra-large low abrasion rear tires and double swivel casters up front with a low center of gravity to quickly negotiate any obstacle.
The Festool comes with a self-cleaning bag that prevents dust particles from packing inside the bag, reducing suction. The vacuum comes with an 11-1/2 ft. anti-static hose, which is long enough for worksites and shops to clean up tasks. An integrated hose garage allows for easy hose storage.
The unit has a parking brake that the user can lock to prevent unintentional roll-off or drift. The CT has over 24 feet of 12 gauge cord with a cord wrap attached to the unit’s rear.
It will work wet or dry with no complex conversion. For wet (water) clean-up tasks, the CT will shut off automatically when full using Level Stop technology. A HEPA filter comes as standard and offers the latest in clean air and filtration.
The CT 26 can quickly and quietly remove large amounts of debris with minimal noise and is a good choice for the shop or the job site for all your power tool extraction and clean-up needs.
FEIN Turbo II Vacuum Cleaner
The Fein Turbo 2 HEPA vacuum with an 8.4-gallon tank includes an Auto-start wet dry vac and the construction accessories. HEPA level filtration will ensure you are safe for even the worst environments. A powerful 1100 watt bypass motor is ideal for a shop at the job site or DIY use.
An integrated power tool socket with an automatic start/stop function ensures that extraction starts after a power tool is connected. Once switched on, the noise is at a sound level of 66 dB.
The Airflow rate is 151 CFM, and a static water lift of 98.4″ ensures a high airflow to pick up everything. A bypass motor allows for the dirty air from the hose never to contact the motor eliminating dust blowing out from the motor when you turn the vacuum giving it a longer life.
There is a filter guard for the flat fold filter, so if the filter is dirty, you can tap the dirt out of the filter cassette without any filter damage. The protective filter cassette means there is no need to replace the cellulose filter for wet extraction. The hose is a Long 13′ ft. and an 18′ ft. cord for extended reach, which allows you to be 54′ ft. from the outlet.
Makita VC4710 12-Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum
The Makita Xtract Vac VC4710 has an extensive range of features. It is a top performer in the job site vacuum category. The VC4710 is powered by a 12 AMP motor that generates 135 CFM of suction power and 92” of water lift to take on the most challenging applications.
Makita has constructed the vacuum to combine power with less noise and less weight using a small footprint, especially for indoor and room-to-room applications. The vacuum motor chamber is made of quality sound-absorbing materials, delivering an operating sound level of only 59 dB.
The VC4710 uses precision lightweight motor components and more efficient air ducting to reduce its weight to only 27 lbs. A wide-set urethane rear wheels and enlarged steel caster front wheels create a lower center of gravity for improved stability and effortless movement.
The VC4710 additionally features an Automatic Filter Cleaning System with a blow-back feature, timed at set intervals to maintain filter performance.
Nano filters maximize the container volume and improve efficiency while capturing 99.95% of particles size 2 microns and larger. Makita also provides an optional Certified HEPA main filter that captures 99.97% of particle size 0.3 microns and larger.
An on-board tool-activated outlet provides the ability to start and stop the vacuum with power tool usage. Included as standard is a 1-3/8” x 16’ Anti-Static Hose, ideal for woodworkers in a shop environment.
DeWALT DXV10P Quiet Poly Wet Dry Vacuum
The DeWALT is a sturdy 10-gallon dual-stage wet/dry vacuum at less than 73db with a 10Amp motor for 50% longer life and a quieter operation for cleanup applications giving two times longer life.
A powerful 5.5 peak horsepower motor pushes a good 90 CFM of air suction needed for whatever cleanup job. It also has a built-in portable blower for efficiency clearing leaves or sawdust.
The DeWalt trademark yellow plastic canister moves quickly on four ultra-durable rubberized swiveling casters, and a built-in tank drain makes emptying easy. A 7-foot hose with a 1-7/8” diameter combines with the 20-foot wrap-around power cord for almost 30-feet of reach from the outlet.
The vacuum is not HEPA-equipped but does come with a washable cartridge filter and dust bag, but it isn’t HEPA-equipped. The DeWalt has two extension tubes, a floor nozzle, crevice tool, and utility nozzle, plus a built-in accessory storage bag conveniently attached to the backside of the vac to keep all accessories neatly organized.
Nilfisk ALTO Aero 26-21 PC Wet/Dry Vacuum
The AERO 26 is a reliable and compact vacuum developed with focus on various applications and specifically end-user needs within the automotive, building, and construction industries.
It is a robust and lightweight machine with an ergonomic design, semi-automatic filter cleaning, and convenient storage solutions. A Power socket with auto on/off activates the device when the power tool operates, providing efficient dust extraction from the power tool.
The AERO 26 features a semi-automatic filter cleaning, is robust, and can easily be transported to any location. After finishing your job, the container can quickly be emptied by disposing of the standard fleece filter bag or tipping the container by the lifting handle.
Nilfisk has introduced a Push & Clean filter cleaning system which prevents loss of performance and increases cleaning task productivity. There are several positions on the canister to store the suction hose, nozzles, and power cord. The Aero 26 is equipped with a power take-off socket for use with power tools.
Vacmaster VWM510 5 Peak HP Remote Control Wall Mount Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum
The Vacmaster VWM510 is a 5-gallon wall mount wet/dry vacuum that is the perfect combination of performance and convenience. The two-stage ultra-quiet 74 dB motor is powerful enough to handle any job the home, garage, or shop can throw at you.
This vac features an easy-to-use remote control setting that allows the user to turn the vac on and off from the contoured handle’s end. The 21-foot hose system and 20-foot power cord help reach the furthest of distances, so you’re not constantly hunting for power outlets.
The VWM510 can be stored neatly on the wall and becomes portable with the quick pull of a lever. This wet/dry vac comes standard with an array of attachments, including an 11-feet crush-proof hose, air/noise diffuser. All can be stored on-board so that you will be prepared for any task.
Craftsman CMXEVBE17595 6.5 Peak HP Wet/Dry Vac, Heavy-Duty Shop Vacuum
The Craftsman shop vacuum has a powerful 6.5 peak HP motor, making it the ideal solution for tackling large cleanup projects. Whether it is in the garage or on the job site, any large-scale renovations, building work, or floods are an easy task for this large shop vacuum.
This wet dry shop vac includes a utility nozzle, wet nozzle, and car nozzle. The hose is a large 2-1/2 in. diameter with added Dual-Flex that provides resistance to kinks and crushing.
The Craftsman has a Qwik Lock Filter Fastening System that allows for quick and easy wet dry vacuum filter changes. The on-board hose storage plus accessory and power cord organizers help tidy up hassle-free and reduce overall storage space.
The Craftsman is well equipped with an extra-large drain. The tank empties liquids quickly and easily. The blowing port directs high-speed exhaust air through the hose giving you the ability to clean up from a renovation or blasting yard waste from the deck.
Ridgid WD1450 14-Gallon 6-Horsepower Wet/Dry Vacuum
Ridgid 18718 WD1450 14-gallon high-performance set wet/dry vacuum has a 6.0 peak horsepower motor that delivers powerful suction to handle tough job site clean-ups.
The Rigid comes with Scroll noise reduction, a patented feature that provides quiet operation by precisely controlling airflow through the vac. The 11 AMP motor produces 150 CFM of airflow and runs between 85 dB and 87 dB of sound.
The Rigid has four swivel casters that provide easy 360-degree mobility. It also features a quick-release accessory storage bag that keeps accessories close at hand. The bag is quickly removable to make emptying debris from the drum quick and easy.
The Ridgid WD1450 2-piece drum provides a rugged construction to meet the job site’s higher demands. The 3-layer Fine Dust Filter captures dust particles such as drywall dust. A locking hose designed to Tug-A-Long won’t pull loose during use. The large carry handle allows easy lifting of vac into a service vehicle.
The Ridgid WD1450 has a convenient long 20-foot cord that wraps neatly around the carry handle. The WD1450 is equipped with a powerful exhaust airstream directed through the vac hose to blow debris from garages, decks, and sidewalks.
The Ridgid includes a 2-1/2-inch-by-7-foot tug-A-long locking hose, two extension wands, utility nozzle, car nozzle, wet nozzle, and a 3-layer fine dust filter.
Shop Vacuum Noise Levels
The measurement used for describing the loudness of a sound is called decibels (dB). Normal conversation is about 60 dB, a lawnmower is about 90 dB, and a loud rock concert is about 120 dB. Sounds above 85 dB can be harmful and depends on how often the exposure and whether you wear hearing protection, such as earmuffs or earplugs.
When using a vacuum to clean, the noise level should not interfere with conversation. Unfortunately, not all vacuum cleaners are quiet. The range that exists can be from the super quiet 55 dB to slightly noisier 70 dB, with anything above 75 DB being loud. If your vacuum is blaring away at 90 dB or more, you should be wearing good ear protection!
Due to shop vacuums’ size and power, they tend to be slightly louder than domestic ones. Plus, the fans need to work harder to create the low-pressure zone or centrifuge to provide more suction.
Many vacuums start between 80–85 dB; however, the noise increases after a few hours of use. The quietest shop vacuum levels are in the low 60db range. Prices may be inversely proportional to the sound levels too, but it worth the extra expense if you can protect your hearing.
Types Of Vacuums
Shop vacs come in a variety of configurations and materials. Based on the details below, you will need to decide which will work best in your shop and meet your cleaning requirements.
Wet Dry Vacuum
A wet-dry vacuum will suck up both wet and dry debris, including water and other liquids. They come with the attachments needed for wet and dry surfaces. They have wheels for maneuverability and long cords to help reach extended distances from outlets.
A wall-mounted vacuum has brackets that secure onto the wall and hold the vacuum off the ground. It is more space-efficient and often has brackets for storing attachments and hoses. Cleaning it out requires removing the base to empty it.
Cordless / Portable
A cordless or portable vacuum uses a rechargeable battery for power. These vacuums are generally lightweight and have a limited power time.
- Plastic is rigid and lightweight, and inexpensive making them an ideal material choice for vacuum canisters or tanks. They are easy to clean, impervious to moisture, and won’t dent or scratch when banged into walls, machines, or tools.
- Stainless tanks are heavier than plastic and tend to be more expensive. They generate less static inside the metal canister, making it easier to clean. Some are rated for moisture but take longer to dry. Scratches and dents are easier to encounter and may act as a potential concern.
Shop-Vac Cleaning and Maintenance
If properly maintained as per the manufacturer’s instructions and cleaned, a shop vacuum should last for decades.
Suction tends to drop, and noise begins to rise when the filter is blocking the airflow. There are different types of filters, so follow the instructions when cleaning. Some need to be shaken, brushed, or blown clean, while others you can rinse with water.
Make sure they are completely dry after being washed otherwise, dust will stick and clog them and shorten the filter’s life-span and even the vacuum if it’s constantly trying to work harder with restricted airflow.
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