VacMaster makes some really cost-effective, powerful and highly-rated vacuum cleaners. This contest compares the VacMaster models to one another. I scored each contestant on eight features I want in my garage vacuum cleaner. The winner achieved an almost perfect score. With a cost-effective wheel kit add-on, I found the garage vacuum cleaner winner in the VacMaster VWMB5080101. It’s cheap, powerful, and has every feature I want in a garage vacuum.
Feb. 2020 Update: the original winner was the VWM510, and is now called VWMB5080101.
This is the garage vacuum contest article 1 of 2. View 2 of 2 here.
VacMaster has a good reputation with a whole lot of vacuum cleaner choices. They have three product lines: Household, Specialty and “The Beast” Professional. I was thinking, well, if you want “the best,” just go with “the beast,” right? Turned out that was true for construction and allergy cleanup, but not for my garage.
The VacMaster VWMB5080101 has the best combination of features for garage use. It has a foam filter for wet vacuuming. It’s a blower as well as a sucker. It comes with a wall mount, hose storage and cord storage. It has two attachable hoses; one is 10 ft. and the other 11 ft. for a total of 21 ft.
The VWMB5080101 has a power switch on the attachment end, so you don’t have to walk the whole 21 ft. back to the motor to turn it on and off. The only “must-have” it doesn’t have is wheels, but I can buy those separately and still come out with a great price for the total package.
Comparing VacMaster Models
In evaluating the VacMaster line for my garage vacuum, I found some really nice features in their other VacMaster vacuums. The VBVA1010PF has a 240 MPH blower that justifies the (pretty low) price. Even if this blower weren’t part of a vacuum cleaner, it’d still be a good deal. And the Beast Professional VK811PH is a monster vacuum cleaner perfect allergies and remodeling.
Feb 2020 Update: Alert! This is a huge article detailing the vacuum feature comparisons. For individual vacuum cleaner profiles, view these links:
Amazon Link: VWM510 Wheel Kit
The Right Vacuum Features for Your Garage
Vacuum cleaners are your garage’s best friend, but sometimes they’re a pain in the neck.
You have to figure out the right features you need for your situation. That’s what I want to help you to do here.
The right vacuum allows you to keep your garage mostly free of dust, buggy stuff and leaves. The wrong vacuum hits you in the ankle, trips you up, and annoys you while it fails to pick up the mess.
The wrong vacuum hits you in the ankle, trips you up, and annoys you while it fails to pick up the mess.
Before spending money on the wrong garage vacuum, understand the vacuum cleaner features that will help you.
I’m going to show you what’s important to me in a vacuum cleaner for my garage. I’m also going to make it easy for you to switch that up for your needs, and still find the exact right vacuum cleaner for you and for your garage.
How I Scored Each Vacuum Cleaner and Its Features for My Garage
First I’ll list what I see as must-have features for my garage vacuum cleaner. Then I’ll show you how I ranked each feature. You can use my ranking scores. Or you can change out your feature rankings to reflect your favorite vacuum features. We’ll add up the vacuum cleaner scores to find the absolute best vacuum cleaner for your garage. Here are my must-have garage vacuum cleaner features.
A Blower Function
Did you know how much easier it is to blow out the garage than it is to vacuum it? Sometimes I blow all of the crud and dust toward the edges and outside. At least the middle of the garage is clean. Then I can vacuum the edges in short order.
For this contest, the vacuum cleaner must have a blower function, or it gets eliminated from the competition.
Each vacuum gets a Blower Function score as follows:
I prefer a retractable cord storage feature. Retractable cord devices hide the cord up into the belly of the machine, completely out of my way. The problem is that very few garage vacuums offer retractable cords. I’ll happily settle for a rack to wrap the cord around. What I can’t deal with is a vacuum with no cord storage at all. That’s messy, and it’s going to trip someone. For this competition, the cord storage scoring is as follows:
Variable Hose Length
A really long vacuum cleaner hose is both the best and worst idea for a garage vacuum cleaner.
It’s the best idea because I don’t want to drag the vacuum cleaner motor around with me if I can just carry the hose instead.
It’s the worst idea because the longer the hose, the less suction I have.
I want the OPTION of a long hose, without forcing a long hose onto every vacuuming situation.
I am not eliminating vacuum cleaners with short hoses. I just need to get an extra long hose in addition to the one that comes with the vacuum cleaner.
The good news is that vacuum cleaner hoses come in standard sizes. You can always buy an extender hose.
Each vacuum cleaner in this competition gets a hose score as follows:
A Hose Rack
An unwrapped vacuum hose is a backwards constrictor snake. It unwinds itself to knock stuff off of your workbench and get under your foot just as you take a step.
An unwrapped vacuum hose is a backwards constrictor snake. It unwinds itself to knock stuff off of your workbench and get under your foot just as you take a step.
Any hose rack is better than none.
If a vacuum cleaner doesn’t come with hose storage, I plan to make your own, or I won’t buy that vacuum.
In this competition, the hose storage scores are as follows:
In my world, the vacuum’s wall-mount is as important as the long hose.
I don’t want to tug the vacuum around if I don’t have to. I want to carry the hose to the area I want to clean. The motor tends to hit me in the ankles. If I can avoid tugging the motor around, I can avoid heel bruises.
The thing is, I found some nice vacuum cleaners that do not come with a wall mount. I could build my own, but I probably won’t want to. So I’m subtracting a point for any model that doesn’t come with a wall mount.
The wall-mount competition scores work as follows:
I use the wet-vacuum feature in my current garage vacuum. I want that feature in my next machine. I can’t fake a wet-vac function with a bungee cord or an extra hose. So a vacuum cleaner without a wet-vac function is a deal-breaker.
Wet-Vac scoring includes:
Why do I need wheels if my garage vacuum will be wall-mounted? Two reasons.
First, some jobs need high suction. Long hoses lose suction, so I’ll use a short hose. If I use a short hose, I want to bring the vacuum cleaner to the job. To do that, I need wheels!
Second, it’s a wet vac, and water is heavy. Water weights 9 lb. per gallon. If you were to vacuum up 4 gallons of water, you’d add 36 lb. to the tank. The water weight plus the motor is too much to carry around.
You know what will help? Wheels!
So I see wheels as a “must-have.” Lack of wheels is a deal-breaker.
Wheel scores are as follows:
A High Amazon Rating
Did you know that it’s impossible to give an “unbiased” review in exchange for a free product? We humans have built-in, unconscious rules about receiving gifts. The rules go deep into our DNA. When we receive something, we have an instant, strong impulse to give something back in return. It’s called “the law of reciprocity.” It helps keep human society together, so it’s a hard rule to break. (More info on reciprocity on Wikipedia.)
Amazon no longer allows vendors to give customers free products in exchange for reviews. Some of the older “gift” reviews on Amazon are grandfathered in. They’re still part of the product’s reputation. Sometimes these reviews are labeled. Sometimes you have to figure out if they’re authentic on your own.
To find paid reviews, you have to ask some questions. Does this review include personal experiences? Does this reviewer have any history on Amazon? Or is the review just a bunch of adjectives? “It’s great! I love it!”
I like when products have hundreds of reviews. Even if some reviews are fake, they’re a small percentage of the whole. Most of these reviews are authentic.
What about negative reviews? What if 500 people like a vacuum cleaner, but 10 say it doesn’t suck?
You have to figure what could account for the opposite opinions and experiences. Did the negative reviewers get lemons? Were there shipping issues? Are these customers just angry in general?
If 500 people say the product is excellent, and 10 say it isn’t, then something went wrong for those 10 people. There’s a chance that this might go wrong for you too. But it’s not the typical result people have when buying this vacuum cleaner.
I’ve evaluated scores of Amazon product reviews. My system has yielded better results for me than Consumer Reports does. I don’t know why, but that magazine just doesn’t give me quality recommendations anymore. But my Amazon system almost always weeds out the bad products. When my system has failed me, I’ve adjusted my formula accordingly.
The garage vacuum cleaner scores for the Amazon Ratings include these values:
Reminder: This Evaluation is for Garage Vacuums
Each vacuum is scored on its garage-y-ness. It might be a great vacuum cleaner, but the score is only for garage features. Low scores don’t mean a bad vacuum cleaner. They mean “not suited for my garage.”
VacMaster Household Series Contestants
None of the VacMaster Household Series vacuum cleaners made the cut.
Only one Household series vacuum cleaner ranked on the scoreboard, but it had to be eliminated. Three had deal-breaker issues.
The steel canister vacuum would have been perfect, but it rusts.
Here’s how the VacMaster Household Series models compared.
VACMASTER HOUSEHOLD SERIES VACUUM CLEANERS
The VF409 has awesome cord storage (retractable!!). But it doesn’t have a blower, and the Amazon reviews didn’t meet the cut-off.
The VOM205P does have a blower, but no wheels, and only a 76% approval rating.
The VOC507PF-SZ also fell under the Amazon review cut-off.
The VQ607SFD would have made the cut, except for something I read in the reviews. This vacuum has a steel canister. Steel is not cheap, and this vacuum is sold at a pretty low price. So what gives? Rust, that’s what gives. One of the reviewers reported rust in the canister. Given that so many high-quality vacuums are made out of rust free plastic, why make a steel canister that can rust? So I eliminated the VQ607SFD from the contest.
VacMaster Beast Professional Series Contestants
Three of the Beast Professional vacuums scored high.
One scored the lowest on the Garage Vacuum Cleaner Scoreboard.
The VK811PH is the VacMaster vacuum cleaner least likely to work in the garage. But it is my absolute favorite for allergies and remodeling/ construction. See Rises from the Ashes: The VK811PH for Construction and Allergies below for more on the VK811PH.
The VK811PH is the VacMaster vacuum cleaner least likely to work in the garage. But it is my absolute favorite for allergies and remodeling/ construction.
This model is a steal in the HEPA vacuum cleaner space, but it’s not the right feature set for teh garage.
The VK811PH has three garage vacuum cleaner deal-breakers, and a total score of 3XXX (three points and three deal-breakers).
It doesn’t have a blower. It’s not a wet vac.
While its Amazon positive reviews are too low, its Beast brothers scored very high. This leads me to wonder if the reviews are an accurate reflection. I think this machine is probably better than the reviews for it indicate. It’s odd for one model in a series to stand out significantly from the other models in that series.
The VFB511B0201 has a blower, cord storage, a wall mount, a wet vac and 89% positive Amazon reviews. It just needs wheels, but you can buy them at a good price. VacMaster sells casters for this model. They’re out of stock as I write this. I’ll update the article as soon as I see them. This vacuum scored a 5. Update Feb. 24 2020: You can no longer get wheels for the VBVA1010PF!
The VJH1211PF and the VJH1612PF both scored 6, with the exact same features making the cut. They both have a blower, cord storage, a hose rack, a wet vac, wheels and positive Amazon reviews. They’re not wall-mounted. The difference is only size (and weight), which you do want to think about when considering making your own wall mounts. The alternative to the wall mount is to bungee cord the vacuum motor in place while venturing out with the hose alone. Both Beasts are candidates for garage vacuums.
The VacMaster Specialty Series Contestants
Both VBVA1010PF and VWMB5080101 came through without deal-breakers. The VBVA1010PF has a blower, cord storage, a wet vac, wheels and 88% positive ratings out of 1029 reviews. It doesn’t have a hose rack or a wall mount. It comes with a short hose.
VWMB5080101 is looking like a winner (spoiler alert: it wins!). This vacuum cleaner has a blower, cord storage, two hoses totaling 21 ft., a hose rack, a wall mount, and a wet vac. It doesn’t have wheels, but there is a wheel kit specifically for this model (the VWMD).
The VWMB5080101 also has the highest rating of all of the VacMaster cleaners I’m rating in this article. It has a 91% 4-star and 5-star rating out of 372 reviews. This is the vacuum cleaner to buy for your garage. The price on Amazon is really good. The machine and the wheel kit combined are still cheaper than the Shop-Vac I’m throwing giving away. This the VWMB5080101 vacuum cleaner and the VWMD wheel kit I’m buying for my garage. Update Feb. 24 2020: View the unboxing
VacMaster Garage Vacuum Cleaner Contest Scores
The winner is the VWMB5080101, with a close-to-perfect score.
I ran every VacMaster vacuum cleaner against this scoring system to find the perfect garage vacuum cleaner. Five vacuum cleaners made the cut with scores ranging from four to eight. If the runners up weren’t best for my garage, what was their claim to fame? This is what I found out.
Blew Your House Down: The VBVA1010PF
True, VBVA1010PF doesn’t have a hose rack and it’s not wall-mounted. Do you know what you get in return? Just a 240 MPH blower. Now I want to see if I can blow out my car rather than vacuum it. What a monster! I will bet that it’s quieter than my DR Power gasoline-powered leaf blower! I love the idea of such an easy-access blower, but I also have to recognize that the VBVA1010PF has a 12 gallon tank. My Shop Vac is 12 gallons, and it’s kind of big. Still. I really like this machine; I’ve never seen such a cool transformation from vacuum cleaner to blower.
Construction Monsters: The VJH1211PF and VJH1612PF
Coming in tied for 2nd place, the VJH1211PF and VJH1612PF scored each scored a 6. There’s a reason they call this series “the Beast Professional.” These vacuums are perfect for cleaning up remodeling and construction dust up to twenty-seven feet from the power outlet. Their hoses are only 7 ft., but their cords are 20 ft. long.
Rises from the Ashes: The VK811PH for Construction and Allergies
But if I were doing construction or had allergies, the VK811PH is the vacuum I’d buy.
The VK811PH is an EPA certified HEPA vacuum, meaning it never blows dust back out into the room.
At this price, this HEPA vac is a treasure.
But do be on alert: This vacuum did fail the Amazon review test for the Garage Vacuum Contest, so you have to be an alert consumer, and I’ll show you how.
I liked this vacuum so much for allergies that I went back to analyze the negative reviews. There were shipping and quality control issues with this model.
So there are going to be a couple of things you’re going to need to do to protect yourself in order to get this bargain.
First, unbox the vacuum right away. If there is shipping damage, exchange it (Amazon will pay for the shipping).
Run the vacuum when you get it. Break it in. Make sure it operates as you would expect it to.
This is an excellent allergy vacuum, and it’s a bargain.
Here She Is, VWMB5080101, the Miss VacMaster Garage Vacuum!
I’m thrilled to say that the garage vacuum cleaner winner is also the vacuum VacMaster wants us to buy for our garage.
The reason this makes me so happy?
Because with all the bad engineering and design out there in Vacuum Cleaner Land, the VWMB5080101 model gives me faith that VacMaster listens to its customers’ needs.
The only thing missing on the VWMB5080101 is standard-issue wheels. But I can get them for a small extra charge! And for a bonus, this vacuum has a feature that I didn’t know I needed until I sorted out the scores and declared it the winner. Something I hadn’t even included in the scoring turns out to be the thing I now want the most! The VWMB5080101 has a remote control switch on the accessory end of the hose. So when you and your vacuum hose are 21 ft. away from the power source, you don’t have to walk all the way back to switch the power button. Thanks VacMaster! I see you’re thinking of my garage vacuum cleaner needs before I do!
I also like that this vac has a 5 gallon tank. It’s big enough for a typical mess, but not so big it’s going to be annoying (ahem 12 gallon Shop-Vac on its way out…). The wall-mount rack comes standard, along with both a 10 ft. and an 11 ft. hose. So if you want to go short (which will give you more suction), just use one hose. If you want to go long (which will give you more flexibility), use both hoses together.
The VWMB5080101 would have gotten a perfect score if it came with wheels. But for the ridiculously low price this monster goes for on Amazon, I just can’t get mad about buying the wheels separately. Combined, the whole thing is going to cost me less than the Shop-Vac I’m throwing giving away before I trip over it again.
What Else Can the VacMaster Vacuum Cleaners Do?
Now you see the features I’ve used to score my best VacMaster garage vacuum choice. I didn’t include every feature because I’m willing to accept the warranty and noise level I get with my set of perfect-for-the-garage vacuum features. If you want to make your own scoreboard, here are the other vacuum cleaner features I collected.
All of the VacMaster vacuums in this contest have some sort of accessory storage. If that weren’t the case, I would have included this feature in the contest. Accessory storage is as important as hose storage. When you don’t have it, it makes the vacuum an annoyance rather than a helper. Always look for hanging bags, caddies or on-board slots for your vacuum cleaner accessories.
The Comprehensive VacMaster Filter and Bag Tables
After I culled out my “must-have” vacuum features, I still had a table of important features that weren’t required in my garage vacuum.
I wanted to know which filters and bags each vacuum used. I ended up making a table of all of the available filters and bags for each VacMaster vacuum cleaner.
If you find this table of VacMaster bags and filters useful, please use the links below to get your VacMaster supplies. I might get a small commission, at no cost to you. This free blog is supported by advertising and affiliate links. Thanks in advance, and I hope this article helped you decide which vacuum cleaner to buy for your garage, and maybe for other parts of your house as well.