Are All Shop Vacs Wet and Dry?

You’ve gone to the store to buy a brand-new Shop Vac for your household. But there’s an issue – you’re a newbie in this department. So, how will you differentiate between Shop Vacs and their types? Are all Shop Vacs wet and dry? Let’s find out below.

Shop Vacs, or wet-dry vacuums, are vacuum cleaners that pick up dry debris and liquid spills. This makes Shop Vacs a must-have tool for all households with a garage or a basement. 

However, there’s confusion between Shop Vacs and wet-dry vacuum cleaners. You see, Shop Vac is the name of a brand, which specializes in making wet-dry vacuums, and other standard vacuum cleaners. Their popularity comes from their wet-dry vacuums – hence, every wet-dry vacuum is called a Shop Vac now.

Even the ones that the brand Shop Vac doesn’t manufacture.

Did you get the confusion? Shop Vac is a brand, while wet-dry vacuums are…well, vacuums.

If you’re still in doubt, don’t worry – I’ve got you covered since we’re just seconds away from discovering the key differences between a wet-dry and a regular vacuum cleaner. Let’s begin!

Are All Shop Vacs Wet and Dry?

Following are some of the key differences between a normal and a wet-dry vacuum cleaner:

Do all the shop vac users want to know How to use a shop vac for dry pick up?

Waterproof Container

Regular vacuum cleaners can be used to pick up dry debris, dust, and allergens – only. This means that normal vacuum cleaners cannot store watery substances in their bin compartments, and if they do so, they’ll likely become faulty and face hardware issues. 

On the other hand, wet-dry vacuums can pick up both dry debris and watery substances. Therefore, they’re equipped with a waterproof container and bin compartment. Due to this, the other hardware components are free from liquid spills. 

So, always check for the bin compartment for these waterproof containers to find out whether a vacuum cleaner is wet-dry or normal.

Motor Protection 

Ordinary vacuum cleaners don’t use any sort of covering or ‘extra’ protection for their motors since their task is irrelevant to any watery waste. 

Are all shop vacs wet and dry?

However, wet-dry vacuum cleaners do contain this special protection for their motor since they can work on water and dry waste. Wet-dry vacuum includes a casing that helps protect the motor from any liquid spill, ensuring proper functioning.

Wet-dry vacuum cleaners also possess a mechanism that can power off the vacuum cleaner in case the motor gets wet. That’s a rare case, but you know what they say – prevention is better than cure!

User Manual

Suppose you bought a ShopVac branded vacuum cleaner and are still determining whether the vacuum is wet-dry. Well, you can either check the two differences I mentioned above – or just read out the user manual to eliminate hassle. 

The user manual contains all the details about your electronic device and will tell you whether it can be used on damp surfaces.

One Key Factor to Consider Before Buying a Wet-Dry Vacuum

If you’ve identified whether the vacuum cleaner is wet-dry, then the tank capacity is one of the most important things to look at. You see, wet-dry vacuum cleaners come in different tank capacities.

Where some contain a few liters, others can go up to as much as  10 to 15 liters. Therefore, it is vital to pick a wet-dry vacuum cleaner with a tank capacity – suitable for your cleaning needs. However, the greater the tank capacity, the heavier your wet-dry vacuum can get during cleaning.

One Key Factor to Consider Before Buying a Wet-Dry Vacuum

I’ve also got a bonus tip for you. Once you’ve purchased your wet-dry vacuum cleaner, buy a disinfectant.

Wet-dry vacuum cleaners can store vast amounts of liquid waste, and these wastes tend to leave a foul odor around their surroundings. Therefore, using a disinfectant, the bad smells will go away, and an air of freshness will make its way!

You will be interested in knowing How to use a wet-dry vacuum for water pick up. 


Wet-dry vacuum cleaners are a handy tool for any household with a garage or a basement. The most famous wet-dry vacuums belong to a company called Shop Vac. However, not all Shop Vacs are wet-dry.

People confuse the term Shop Vac with a wet-dry vacuum cleaner since Shop Vac is just a brand name, while wet-dry vacuum cleaners are the real deal. 

If you’re a newbie in the cleaning world and have doubts about using your vacuum cleaner on water, then look at the above article as we discuss this topic in-depth, along with key differences.

These differences include waterproof containers and motor protection. However, you can also refer to your vacuum’s user manual to prevent the hassle.

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