This article was archived on September 11, 2020. It is not being updated
The VacMaster VWMB5080101 scored almost perfect in the VacMaster model cotest. Now we’re comparing that winner to a Bissell, a Stanley, a GarageVac, a DeWalt, a VacuMaid, a Hoover, four Shop-Vacs, two Workshops and two Ridgids. In terms of features and reputation, the VWMB5080101 won this contest too.
Skip the details and go straight to the winners
View the Reboot My Garage article about the first place winner: the VacMaster VWMB5080101.
This is the garage vacuum contest article 2 of 2. View 1 of 2 here.
Updated February 23, 2020: This article was updated with new links and model names. The winning VacMaster VWm510 is now called the VWMB5080101. They have the same features.
Updated January 7, 2019: I stated that the DeWalt DXV06P didn’t have wheels. The DeWalt DXV06p does come with wheels. In fact, if you buy our winner VacMaster VWMB5080101 , you need to buy the wheels separately. But the wheels come standard with the DeWalt. It was not the wheels that disqualified the DeWalt from first place, it was the hose length, which is only 7 ft.
How I Rated the Vacuum Cleaners for Garage Use
I rated each vacuum cleaner on the features that make for a good garage machine.
I scored each vacuum cleaner on the following features:
- A Blower Function
- Cord Storage
- Variable Hose Length
- A Hose Rack
- A Wall Mount
- A Wet Vac Function
- A High Amazon Rating
I am using the same feature set in this contest comparing the VacMaster to Bissell, Shop-Vac and others.
To understand how I scored each vacuum cleaner’s features, read the section: How I Scored Each Vacuum Cleaner and Its Features for My Garage
The VacMaster VWMB5080101 Remote Power Switch
The VacMaster VWMB5080101 has a remote power switch near the accessory attachment. This is my new “must-have” garage vacuum cleaner feature. You no longer have to walk 20 ft. to turn the power on and off. It’s so simple, yet so powerful.
The VWMB5080101 is the only garage vacuum cleaner that has it. So if the remote power is your must-have, stop reading now and buy the VWMB5080101.
Not only is the VWMB5080101 the contest winner, it’s the only vacuum cleaner that has the remote power switch.
Check out the winning vacuum cleaner on Amazon.
Rounds One and Two: The Blower and the Wet-Vac Functions
I have wiggle room for certain missing features, but not for the blower or the wet-vac function. Because you can’t fake these. If a vacuum doesn’t have wheels, I could put some on a platform and glue it to the bottom of the vacuum. If it doesn’t have a wall-mount, I could put it on a shelf and strap it in place. But there’s no faking a blower or wet-vac function.
I eliminated these vacuum cleaners for not having a blower function: The Stanley SL18133, the GarageVac GH-120, the Hoover GUV, the Shop-Vac 3942300, the Shop-Vac 3940100, the Shop-Vac 3942010, and the Shop-Vac 5895200.
I eliminated these vacuum cleaners for not having a wet-vac function: The GarageVac GH-120, the VacuMaid GV50PRO, and the Hoover GUV L2310.
Rounds Three and Four: Cord Storage and Hose Storage
Did you know? Each year (in the U.S.), 433,000 people die from falling. And, using a statistic I just made up, 85% of those fatal falls involved vacuum cleaner hoses.
I’ve almost broken my ankle a few times tripping over the Shop Vac hose. We should outlaw vacuum hoses. They are sneaky and dangerous.
I’ve almost broken my ankle a few times tripping over the Shop Vac hose. We should outlaw vacuum hoses. They are sneaky and dangerous.
Until then, we need to find a way to tame these things.
I eliminated three vacuums that did not have hose storage: The Stanley SL18133, the Workshop WS0301VA, and the Ridgid WD4070.
I eliminated three vacuums that did not have electrical cord storage: The Stanley SL18133, the GarageVac GH-120, and the Shop-Vac 5895200
Round Five: Hose Length
The shorter the hose, the more suction the machine has. The longer the hose, the better reach it has. To get the best of both worlds, I want a garage vac with two hoses that fit together. This way I can have both a short hose or a long hose.
The contest winner (VWMB5080101) and the first runner up (Ridgid VAC5000) offer two hoses that link together to form a larger hose.
Round Six: Wall-Mount
Getting things off of the floor is the holy grail of rebooting your garage. I like wall-mounted vacuums. The wall mount gets the entire pile of vacuum, hose, cord and accessories off of the garage floor.
I subtracted a point from each of these vacuums that did not have wall mounts: he DeWalt DXV06P, the Workshop WS0301VA, and the Ridgid WD4070
Roud Seven: Wheels
If you have a wall-mount, you might not care about wheels. I want both a wall-mount and wheels.
When vacuuming in my garage, I will leave the machine on the wall. For other jobs and for using the wet-vac, I’ll use the vacuum on the floor.
You have to decide if wheels are a deal-breaker for you or not. The Bissell Garage Pro’s only bad mark was for not having wheels. You might like that vacuum. And you might not care it doesn’t have wheels. In this case, change the “X” (deal breaker) at “Wheels” to a “0” (zero). This changes the Bissell’s score changes to a very healthy 7.
I eliminated these vacuum cleaners for not having wheels:
- the Bissell Garage Pro 18P03
- the Stanley SL18133
- the GarageVac GH-120
- the VacuMaid GV50Pro
- the Hoover Guv L2310
- the Shop-Vac 3942300
- the Shop-Vac 3940100
- the Shop-Vac 3942010
- the Workshop WS0301VA
- the Workshop WS0500WM
- the Ridgid VAC5000
Two Wheel-less Good Vacuums You Might Consider: Two vacuum cleaners would have made the cut if they had wheels. If you don’t care about wheels, then you might like the Bissell Garage Pro 18P03 and the Ridgid VAC5000
Round Eight: Amazon Reviews
Amazon reviews affect the vacuum cleaner score. I discount negative reviews if they appear to be statistically unlikely to happen again. For instance, if one customer in 200 reports shipping damage, I don’t count that against the vacuum cleaner. I also discount unlikely positive reviews. These are obvious shill and paid reviews.
The VacMaster VWMB5080101 emerged a clear winner in the all-VacMaster competition. This is the one to beat. In this article,
I’ll compare the VWMB5080101 to Bissell, Hoover, DeWalt, Stanley, GarageVac, VacuMaid, Shop-Vac, Workshop and Ridgid.
#1 IN VACMASTER CONTEST
NOW COMPETING AGAINST BISSELL, HOOVER, DEWALT, STANLEY, GARAGEVAC, VACUMAID, SHOP-VAC, WORKSHOP, RIDGID CONTEST
Vacuum Cleaner Contestants
Remember, these ratings are for my ideal garage vacuum. They’re not ratings for household floor and carpeting vacuums.
If you disagree with a score, swap it out with your own. This scoring system will allow you to narrow down the vacuum cleaner you want for garage.
Be consistent in your scoring to find the right vacuum for you. I’ll bet you a nickel that you won’t find one better than the VacMaster VWMB5080101, but you can do your own scoring to find out.
Bissell Garage Pro 18P03
he Bissell could have been a contender. I suspect that Bissell does not have its corporate act together. It looks like a good vacuum, but there’s no way for it to beat the VacMaster VWMB5080101. The negative reviews tell the story. Bissell changed the vacuum accessories and hose. They didn’t change the Amazon product description. This amounts to “bait and switch,” if not fraud.
The Bissell has a score of 6XX (6 positives, 2 deal breakers).
The first deal-breaker is the lack of wheels.
The second deal-breaker is too heavy to overcome. Bissell sent customers a different accessory and hose set than those promised in the product description. One customer said that Bissell customer service told them: “too bad.”
If you forgive the lack of wheels, the score goes to 7X (7 points one deal-breaker).
But there are some angry Amazon customers who bought this vacuum, so I wouldn’t bother.
There’s not a lot of good to report here. The Stanley SL18133 is not a great garage vacuum cleaner. It doesn’t have a blower. It doesn’t have cord or hose storage. It doesn’t have wheels. It has the lowest Amazon rating of this entire contest.
The Stanley does have a wall mount and a wet vac. These are not enough to overcome the score. The Stanley SL18133 scores a 2XXXX (2 positives, deal-breakers). The Stanley SL18133 comes in dead last in this competition.
The GarageVac GH-120 is a perfect example of why you want to see at least 10 reviews on a product. All 100% of the reviewers gave this vacuum a good score. All three of them.
There are too few participants for us to know if these are valid reviews. When reviews get up into the 50’s and 100’s, it’s much harder to sweeten the pot with fake reviews.
At any rate, this is not the garage vacuum cleaner I want.
It does not have a blower or cord storage. It’s not a wet vac and it doesn’t have wheels.
The GarageVac has the essence of being a good garage vacuum without actually being one.
The 40 ft. hose (yay) and the wall mount (yay) just aren’t going to make up for the features that are missing.
The GarageVac GH-120 scored a 4XXXX (4 points and four deal-breakers).
I couldn’t find the hose diameter. I decided to cut my losses on the research, because the GarageVac GH-120 is not a good vacuum for my garage.
Update: The DeWalt does come with wheels. My mistake knocked points off the DXV06P when it should have stayed in the race. This is a really good vacuum cleaner and the only competitor to the VWMB5080101 I ended up recommending!
I’m a sucker for bright yellow polypropylene. I like yellow cars and bright yellow tools. The bright yellow DeWalt came this close to making the “best garage vacuum cleaner” cut. If you don’t care about wheels, then the DeWalt is a solid winner. And it’s bright yellow. Which I like.
The two downsides are hose length and wall-mounting. I could get an extra hose and make a wall mount. In the end, it’s still not a VacMaster VWMB5080101. But it is bright yellow.
The DeWalt DXV06P looks solid. It’s got a broad handle. It has a blower. I can add a hose to stretch out the tiny little 7 ft. hose. Cord storage is on-board and there’s a place to put the hose. It is a wet vac and it does have wheels. It doesn’t have a wall-mount, but I could put it on a shelf and bungee cord it down.
You’re going to have to ignore the missing wheels to keep the DeWalt in this competition. Strap this puppy to a shelf. Don’t expect to drag it around on the floor. If you give the DeWalt this leeway, it is a solid runner-up to the VacMaster VWMB5080101.
The VacuMaid GV50PRO
The VacuMaid GV50PRO is a commercial-level quality machine that comes with a massive 50 ft. hose. It’s missing only the wheels to make it a garage vac, so long as you supplement it with the wet pickup accessory kit.
The VacuMaid GV50PRO feels like a whole-house vacuum. Lindsay Mfg. makes this VacuMaid. They also make whole-house vacuums.
Most reviewers call it “powerful.” If yours is anything less than a monster sucker, get customer support to fix it for you. The VacuMaid is spendier than the VacMaster, but it’s practically industrial quality steel. If you want a system that bags the dirt for you, the VacuMaid is the one to get.
The Hoover GUV L2310
The Hoover Guv L2310 desperately wants to be the VacuMaid GV50PRO. But it lost its way, and in the process, lost its blower and quality control.
It has almost everything you want. Cord storage, a 30 ft. hose, a hose rack, a wall mount, a wet function and wheels.
So why did only 82% of the massive 587 reviewers give it 4 or 5 stars? Lack of suction. Poor customer service. Died after 10 months. Died after 45 days.
Sometimes I want to give a poor score a pass. I see a good vacuum, so I want to bend the scoring to keep it in the race. I want to do the exact opposite with the Hoover Guv. It is SO close to matching the VacMaster score. There are just too many negative reviews to save the Guv.
The Hoover Guv is a brilliant design with bad execution. For this contest, it’s a “Don’t Buy.”
IF YOU DON’T CARE ABOUT WHEELS, THE DEWALT DXV06P IS A WORTHY GARAGE VACUUM. CHECK IT OUT ON AMAZON
THE DEWALT 9 GAL. DXV90P HAS DRAIN PORT AND JUST MISSES THE AMAZON REVIEW CUT OFF WITH 86% 4-STAR AND 5-STAR REVIEWS.
TO SCORE A 7, YOU HAVE TO GET THE WET ACCESSORY KIT, AND THERE STILL WON’T BE ANY WHEELS.
IF YOU’RE WILLING TO DO WITHOUT A WET VAC AND WHEELS, THIS IS A NICE VACUUM FOR THE GARAGE. IT’S GOT HUGE HOSE AND A HIGH-QUALITY BUILD.
*FROM THEIR PAGE:
**THE GARAGE VAC IS NOT INTENDED TO PICK UP LIQUID OF ANY KIND.**
**May be used with a wet pick up accessory kit if you need to vacuum any liquid.**
Four Shop-Vac Vacuums that Failed to Make the Cut
What good things can I say about the four Shop-Vac competitors?
Only the model 3942300 squeaked above the 88% Amazon positive review cut-off. The other three Shop-Vac cleaners failed to make the cut.
Only the model 5895200 has a blower. But it doesn’t have cord storage. Well. Maybe it does. There’s no way to know. It’s not mentioned anywhere. Every single picture of this vacuum cleaner is photographed without any cord whatsoever. It’s not a battery-operated machine. They just photographed a model without a cord, probably because the real thing was not out of engineering yet.
OK there are some positive features. These vacs are all wall-mountable. They all have wet vac features.
Only the model 5895200 has wheels.
Did I mention the Amazon reviews? “Very poor suction.” “Suction has decreased.” “Dust collection is awful.” “Broke in less than 2 years.”
There aren’t enough positive Shop-Vac reviews to overcome the negative reviews. We’re scratching the whole lot of Shop-Vacs from this competition.
Workshop 3 Gal. and 5 Gal. Competitors
I had never heard of Workshop brand before this research.
The WS0301VA is not worth discussing as it doesn’t have a hose rack, a wall mount or wheels. It did just barely squeak by the Amazon review cut-off point.
Workshop designed the WS0301VA for cars. I would have liked to get its tool that fits between the seat and console. I like that tool. I’m still not buying this vacuum.
The Workshop WS0500WM has some great features but can’t surpass its reviews.
It does have a blower, cord storage, a hose rack, a wall mount and a wet vac.
It doesn’t have wheels.
If it had positive reviews, it’d be a contender. But it has lousy reviews. Only 75% of the 48 reviewers gave it 4 or 5 stars. The Workshop WS0500WM tends to die young. Owners say it’s poorly made. Accessories fall off. It wears out after 10 months of light use.
I will forgive some negative reviews amongst a mostly positive response. But neither Workshop vacuum is strong enough to overcome its shortcomings.
DO NOT BUY. AT LEAST 2 REVIEWERS SAID IT DIED AFTER ONE USE.
“LOCKING HOSE TAB”
Two Ridgid Vacuum Cleaners
The Ridgid VAC5000 is a worthy competitor. It has a blower, on board cord storage, a 21 ft. hose, a hose rack, a wall mount, a wet vac feature, and 89% positive reviews.
It doesn’t have wheels.
If you don’t care that much about the wheels, then the score goes from a 7X (7 points and one deal-breaker) to a 7. That’s tied with the VacMaster VWMB5080101.
But keep in mind, the VacMaster has wheels and a remote on-off switch, so it’s still the better machine. We’ll do a fair comparison of the contenders at the end of this article.
The Ridgid WD4070 is not a contender. It doesn’t have a hose rack or a wall mount. The Amazon reviews are just bad.
I hope the reviews for the WD4070 aren’t a signal that something is wrong at Ridgid.
Ridgid makes machines for Home Depot. Big buyers like that get less-than-stellar quality control.
Maybe the WD4070 was a Home Depot overrun that got sold on Amazon. It’s a theory.
Regardless, don’t buy this vacuum.
IF YOU DON’T CARE ABOUT WHEELS, THE RIDGID VAC5000 IS A WORTHY GARAGE VACUUM. CHECK IT OUT ON AMAZON
Racking Up the Winners
In this list, I’m going to give a leg up to the worthy competitors which failed only by not having wheels. Of all the competitors, here are the machines that made the cut. I had to grade three on a curve, or the only contender against the VacMaster would be the Ridgid VAC5000.
Our contender and runners-up are:
- VacMaster VWMB5080101
- Bissell Garage Pro 18P03
- DeWalt DXV06P
- VacuMaid GV50PRO
- Ridgid VAC5000
Let’s compare them side-by-side.
The VacMaster VWMB5080101 the Absolute Best Garage Vacuum Cleaner
If you just go by Amazon reviews, the VacMaster wins. Then this little guy exceeds our expectations with its features.
It has two hoses (10 ft. and 11 ft.). Use one for more suction, use both for greater reach.
The biggest YES is the remote power switch. I LOVE this. You know how your spouse just HAS to talk to you while you’re vacuuming. You don’t have to walk back to the base to shut the machine off. Do it right where you’re working. And then turn it on again when you’re ready to go back to work.
The VacMaster exceeds my expectations. I’m seriously thinking of getting another one for the basement as well.
Even if you just go by price (see the price on Amazon), the VacMaster still wins wins. And by the way, since the price of the VacMaster is so good, get the wheel kit too.