A little bit of construction and renovation around the house can be exciting, but the drywall dust build-up lingering afterwards is anything but. The fine slippery dust can – and will – get everywhere, making it a nightmare to clean up no matter how hard you go at it with broom, bucket and mop, or even a regular vacuum cleaner. Nothing short of a shop vacuum – alternatively known as a wet/dry vacuum – is going to cut it, and that only if it meets certain specific requirements. Wet/dry vacuums pack greater power and capacity than a standard vacuum, but in order to get at drywall dust without the fine particles jamming your motor or spilling out in the recycled air, you’ll want one with additional features like filters you won’t have to clear out too often, capable of capturing the fine dust, and long enough hoses for maximum reach. Take a look at our picks for the best shop vacuums for taking down drywall dust.
The name says it all – capable of filtering out dust particles as infinitesimal as 0.5 microns, this vacuum comes with a patented two-step filtration system to completely sieve out every last particle of drywall dust, without clogging the filters up. The synthetic fabric of the filters let you throw them into the wash when you need to wash them out after a cleaning session, an agitator rod included to let you dislodge any dirt which might get stuck to the primary filter without having to detach it from the vacuum and washing it out when in use.
The certified HEPA filter contained within this vacuum is the perfect solution for hazardous material pickup, meeting both EPA RRP and OSHA laws. You can use it on various materials, including silica, asbestos, lead paint, and hexavalent chromium, with peace of mind knowing it’s certified. Each filter has been individually tested at an independent laboratory, earning a filtration rating of 99.97% at 0.3 microns. That’s pretty impressive as it can capture particles even smaller than a human hair or a red blood cell, including viruses, bacteria, pollen, and allergens.
KEN’S BUDGET PICK
Vacmaster VBV1210 Wet/Dry Vacuum with Detachable Blower
This heavy-duty giant can easily transform from a wet/dry vacuum packed with a 12 gallon tank to collect everything from the finest of dust particles to chunks of metal, to a handheld, high-powered blower you can use to clear out leaves or sawdust. Though fitted out with a standard, re-usable cartridge filter, it also works with HEPA dust filters you can purchase separately, to keep the pressure off the motor. Nonetheless, the filter included will do you just fine, remaining unclogged even after several passes of cleaning. With 8 versatile attachments from crevice and upholstery tools to extension wands that improve your reach, the 7-foot long hose and 12-foot cord allow you to move the vacuum, sitting atop durable rubber casts, to give you maximum maneuverability.
A rugged powerhouse of a machine, it also comes with a noise diffuser to muffle the otherwise jarring cacophony of a large vacuum running, as well as an extra-large drain port and foam sleeve filter to vacuum up water or spills, making it a great ‘wet’ vacuum as well.
DEWALT DCV581H Wet-Dry Vacuum
Whether you only carried out a minor renovation job, or only need a shop vacuum for a one-off occasion of a little drywall dust vacuuming, this is the option for you. A compact, portable vacuum with a capacity of two liquid gallons (roughly 1.7 dry gallons), the device comes with HEPA filtration rated at almost 99.97% efficiency in capturing even the finest of dust particles out of the air. The filter can be easily removed and washed out for re-use, with a five-inch hose and carry-handle to let you use this as a handheld shop vacuum. The vacuum is also versatile in its power usage – you can plug it into an AC outlet, or use it as a cordless device powered by a 18-20 volt battery, meaning you don’t have to be bogged down in one location when you’re vacuuming.