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Whether you’re a professional drywaller or a homeowner who tackles a lot of projects, you’re probably aware of how much dust comes with drywall jobs.
And unfortunately, drywall dust not only makes a huge mess but, if left circulating in the air, can cause respiratory issues. This is why having a shop vac with a sound filtration system is so important.
If you’re in the market for the best shop vac for drywall dust, here are your best options at various price points.
Best Shop Vac for Drywall Dust
- Vacmaster Pro 8 gallon (Our Top Pick)
- Stanley Wet/Dry Vacuum, 6 Gallon (Best Budget)
- BOSCH 9 Gallon, Auto Filter Clean and HEPA Filter (Best High End)
- Makita 18V Lithium-Ion Cordless 2 Gallon Portable Wet/Dry Dust Extractor
- DEWALT 20V Wet-Dry Vacuum, Cordless
What Kind Of Vacuum Is Best For Drywall Dust?
Shop Vacs with HEPA filters are the best choice for drywall dust.
Shop Vacs have motors built explicitly for handling fine dust particles, unlike household vacuums.
Plus, Shop Vacs are on wheels making them easily portable. They also have long hoses you can run against walls and a large tank to handle big drywall jobs.
Can You Use A Shop Vac For Drywall Dust?
Yes, you can use a shop vac for drywall dust. While certain models will be better than others, any industrial shop vac will be able to pick up the tiny particles that result from finishing drywall.
Ideally, you’ll want to use a shop vac with a HEPA filter since they trap small particles, keeping them from recirculating in the air.
Other features to look for include a long hose and a long power cord. These features allow you to clean up the room without repeatedly switching plug-ins.
Benefits Of Using A Shop Vac For Drywall Dust
If you’re unsure if splurging on a shop vacuum is worth it, here are the main benefits.
Drywall dust won’t clog a shop vac. One of the primary purposes of shop vacs is to handle construction clean-up. And while you’d think that any vacuum cleaner could tackle something like drywall dust, that’s simply not true.
Drywall dust is incredibly fine and will quickly clog up the filters on standard vacuums.
Shop vacs have a large capacity tank. The dust produced from drywall installation is more than most people think. Luckily, shop vacs have large tanks, so you don’t have to worry about constantly emptying them.
Long hoses mean you can vacuum tall walls and ceilings. How difficult would it be to clean a ceiling or top of the wall with a standard vacuum? Pretty hard.
A shop vac solves this. The long hose allows users to sweep walls and ceilings with ease.
Improved air quality. Using a shop vac with a HEPA filter will trap even the smallest dust particles.
When you use a regular vacuum, the dust can stir, reducing the air quality.
Is Drywall Dust Bad For Your Vacuum?
Drywall dust is harmful to a regular vacuum cleaner. It’s so fine it quickly clogs up standard filters.
Therefore, you should avoid using an upright vacuum to clean dust from drywall installation.
What To Look For When Buying A Shop Vac For Drywall Dust
If you’re in the market for a new shop vac, here are some features you should look for.
The most important feature to look for is a HEPA filter or high-efficiency cartridge filter.
Since drywall dust particles are so small, standard filters don’t work well.
If you use a shop vac with a standard filter, any dust the filter doesn’t trap will be blown out the back of the vacuum and recirculate through the air. HEPA filters and high-efficiency cartridges are a must if you do drywall projects regularly.
If you aren’t familiar with HEPA filters, they come with Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values (MERV.) This rating determines how small of a particle the filter can trap.
The higher the rating, the better.
For drywall dust, you’ll want a HEPA filter capable of collecting particles 3 microns and below.
Suction power is needed to quickly and effectively pick up drywall dust. However, suction power isn’t the end-all, be-all.
Instead, look for a shop vac with a good combo of suction power and airflow.
To find good suction, look for a vacuum with at least five horsepower.
You’ll find airflow measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM) – good airflow will be about 125 CFM.
Water lift is another way to measure suction power. A good water lift for a shop vac is at least 80 inches.
Corded vs Battery
If you’ve done your fair share of drywall projects, you know how annoying it can be to move your shop vac only to reach the end of the power cord. This may have you considering a cordless option.
The truth is both options have their pros and cons.
With a corded vacuum, you’ll have to move your vacuum to different electrical outlets to reach where you need to. The upside is that your vacuum will always be ready for you to use.
With a cordless vac, you don’t have to worry about pausing to switch plugins or getting snagged on tools. However, most cordless vacs only have battery lives that last 30-60 minutes.
This can be incredibly inconvenient if you don’t have an extra battery and have a big job to clean up.
When doing drywall jobs, you need a hose that’s long enough to reach the top of walls and ceilings. Fortunately, most shop vacs come with a 6-30 foot hose.
If you go higher than 30 feet, you may lose suction power.
If you do large drywall jobs and don’t want to be bothered with emptying your tank, look for one with a large capacity. You can find shop-vac tanks ranging from 2-18 gallons.
Wet vs Dry Shop Vac
Lastly, you’ll need to decide between a wet and dry shop vac. If you use your shop vac for jobs other than drywall, a wet/dry option is your best bet.
Top Shop Vac For Drywall Dust: Reviews
1. Vacmaster Pro 8 gallon (Our Top Pick)
If you’re looking for the perfect shop vac for construction sites, this is our top pick.
The Vacmaster Pro is crush-proof with an 8-gallon propylene tank. It has an industrial motor with four levels of filtration.
In addition, it comes with a HEPA filter, washable foam filter, and a high-efficiency fine dust collection bag – perfect for drywall dust clean-up.
This model also comes with a 15-inch floor nozzle which makes sweeping the floor a breeze. It is corded, but the cord reaches 30 feet, giving you plenty of room to work with.
Even though this is the best vacuum for drywall dust, there are a few cons. First, the water lift is slightly low at 78 inches.
And secondly, the hose is only 10 feet.
- Four levels of filtration
- HEPA filter with high-efficiency dust collection bag
- 30-foot power cord
- Crushproof hose and tank
- Wet/Dry vac
- The hose is only 10 foot
- Slightly low water lift
Buy The Vacmaster Pro 8 gallon On Amazon
2. Stanley Wet/Dry Vacuum, 6 Gallon (Best Budget)
If you’re on a tight budget and only occasionally do drywall jobs, this vac could fit the bill.
There is a big con right off the bat, though – this shop vac does not come with a HEPA filter. So, if you’re a professional drywaller, this isn’t the model for you.
On the other hand, if you’re a homeowner who needs a good multi-purpose shop vac for less than $100, this is a solid choice.
This shop vac has powerful suction with a six-gallon tank. It’s a wet and dry vac with a 16-foot total reach – a six-foot hose and ten-foot electrical cord.
- Less than $100
- Powerful suctions
- Comes with a dustbag, a reusable filter, and several nozzles
- Excellent for homeowners/multipurpose heavy-duty shop vac
- Wet/Dry vac
- Does not have a HEPA filter
- Only has a 16-foot reach
Buy The Stanley Wet/Dry Vacuum, 6 Gallon On Amazon
3. BOSCH 9 Gallon, Auto Filter Clean and HEPA Filter (Best High End)
If you’re a professional drywaller looking for the best shop vac that will 1) do the job it’s supposed to and 2) last a long time, this one is hard to beat.
This BOSCH shop vac comes with a self-cleaning HEPA filter. As you’re using the vacuum, the filter cleans itself every 15 seconds for maximum suction.
Plus, the dust collection system on this model is OSHA compliant.
This vacuum has a large 9-gallon tank capacity, power tool activation, fleece filter bag, 9.85-foot hose, and more.
- Power tool hookup/activation
- Self-cleaning HEPA filter
- OSHA compliant
- Strong airflow and suction power
- Dry vac only
- The hose is 9.85 feet
Buy The BOSCH 9 Gallon, Auto Filter Clean and HEPA Filter On Amazon
4. Makita 18V Lithium-Ion Cordless 2 Gallon Portable Wet/Dry Dust Extractor
The Makita XCV11T is another shop vac on the higher end. However, it’s a very small, portable option.
Since this vac is so tiny, it has a lower suction and airflow than the others listed. It does, however, have a HEPA filter capable of managing particles as low as .3 microns – perfect for drywall dust.
This is a cordless vacuum and comes with two batteries and a charger. A fully-charged battery will last 60 minutes of continuous run time.
The Makita is an excellent option if you’re simply looking for a drywall vac that is small, lightweight, and easy to carry around. You can also use it as a blower.
- Compact, weighs 10 pounds
- HEPA filter
- Cordless, rechargeable batteries
- Includes nozzle attachments
- Wet/Dry vac
- Converts to a blower
- Only a 27-inch water lift
- Very small hose
Buy The Makita 18V Lithium-Ion Cordless 2 Gallon Portable Wet/Dry Dust Extractor On Amazon
5. DEWALT 20V Wet-Dry Vacuum, Cordless
The DEWALT 20V Wet-Dry Vac is a cordless option at a budget-friendly price.
It has a two-gallon tank, HEPA filter, and is crush-resistant. It has a 20v Dewalt battery.
So, if you have other 20 V Dewalt tools, you can switch out the batteries.
This shop vac is very lightweight at 8 pounds – perfect for extended use.
- Rechargeable 20V Dewalt battery
- HEPA filter
- Wet/Dry vac
- Small, 2 Gallon tank capacity
- Lower suctions and airflow than standard size shop vacs
Buy The DEWALT 20V Wet-Dry Vacuum, Cordless On Amazon
What is the best filter for drywall dust?
The best filter for drywall dust is a HEPA filter or a high-energy cartridge filter. You can find both of these with and without collection bags.
While you don’t necessarily need a collection bag for drywall dust, they do make emptying your tankless messy.
Can I use a regular vacuum for drywall dust?
You should not use a regular vacuum cleaner for drywall dust. Drywall dust is extremely fine and will clog the filter on a regular vacuum.
It can also burn out the motor.
Leave drywall dust to a shop vacuum with a HEPA filter.
Why is my Shop Vac blowing out drywall dust?
There are a couple of reasons your shop vacuum may be blowing out drywall dust. First, you aren’t using a HEPA or high-efficiency cartridge filter.
In this case, the filter you are using can’t trap the dust, so it’s blowing out the back.
The second reason is your filter has a hole in it or is clogged up. So, if you’re using a HEPA filter but see dust blowing out, it’s time to change it.
Will drywall dust ruin my Shop Vac?
If your shop vac isn’t for industrial use, drywall dust may clog the filter and ruin the motor. Your best bet is an industrial shop vacuum with a HEPA filter.
Do I need a dust collection bag for drywall dust?
No, you don’t need a dust collection bag for drywall dust. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use one, though.
Collection bags make emptying your shop vacuum tank far less messy, but they aren’t necessary.
If you’re a professional drywaller, having a quality shop vacuum is a must. Drywall dust particles are so small that the average vacuum just can’t clean them up.
When choosing a new shop vac, look for a sound filtration system. You’ll want a HEPA filter or high-efficiency cartridge.
You’ll also want a vacuum with good suction and airflow.
Other features such as hose length, corded vs. cordless, and tank capacity will depend on your individual preferences.