5 Best Shop Vacs For Drywall Dust

A shop vacuum during drywall installation is a must, but which is the best Shop-Vac for drywall dust? When cutting, hanging, and sanding drywall, you are going to kick up a ton of very fine drywall dust particles. The dust is so fine, and there is so much of it in the air and falling on surfaces that you can’t use any old vacuum – the vacuum motor will quickly burn out or spew dust back in the air.

At the top of this list is the Porter-Cable PCX18301-4B 4 Gallon 4 HP Wet/Dry Vacuum because it’s a great vacuum at an affordable price. It’s got a moderate capacity and moves around quickly. It’s got efficient suction power, great for tough drywall dust jobs and quick cleaning. 

This article will cover other great drywall shop vacs on the market and the benefits of several different models. 

What Makes A Good Drywall Shop Vac

The right shop vac when installing drywall makes the task much more manageable. It keeps your workspace safer and easier to maneuver. The dust in the gypsum drywall core isn’t toxic, but once you start sanding, you’ll be kicking up joint compound dust, some of which can contain silica harmful to breathe. Any type of dust can irritate your eyes and lungs, so the less you have floating around in the air and flying up from the surface while you work, the much safer for everyone in the area. 

Drywall dust is very fine, and not every vacuum is up to the task. A regular vacuum cleaner will quickly burn out if you try to use it to suck up drywall dust. Even standard wet/dry vacuums call for at least special filters, collection bags, and attachments to handle drywall dust. Here are a few things to consider:


This is much a matter of personal preference – larger drums will hold more dust and go longer without being changed. With a larger vacuum, you’ll sacrifice ease-of-use – larger vacuums are harder to take to your job site and pull around your space. It’s also harder to find a battery-powered vacuum with a very high capacity. You’ll also pay more for collection bags if you’re using them. 


For the most part, more suction is better. The majority of these vacuums have a way to mitigate airflow so you can take the vacuum to more delicate tasks. More power sometimes means a shorter runtime, and your workshop will have to be able to handle multiple power tools if you’re using this in conjunction with another high-powered product. Suction in shop vacs is measured in CFM or cubic feet per minute. That’s the amount of air flowing through the system. You might see horsepower or’ peak horsepower’ referenced as a measure of power, but this rating is nearly meaningless. It has to do with how fast the motor will spin freely before it burns out and doesn’t tell you much about the vacuum’s actual cleaning or sucking power. 


The easier your vacuum is to haul around, the quicker the job and clean up. This includes how long the hose attachments are, how long the power cord is and how it moves on its wheels. Some shop vacs are built like little carts that only move forwards and backward, and some are the more traditional bucket-looking models on swiveling wheels. The larger the vacuum, the harder it will be to move, especially when the drum is full. 

Wet Vac and Dry Vac

Not every vacuum labeled as a shop vac can handle wet messes. Some of them need to be modified, and some are just better left to your dry messes. It’s something to consider if you’re planning on using this vacuum long-term. You’ll likely run into a wet mess eventually, and it’s nice to have a multi-functional tool in your shop/home. 

Water Lift

Also called sealed suction, this is the measurement of the vacuum’s ability to pick up dirt and debris when it encounters resistance. This is important for drywall shop vacs that will probably run through a filter and when the drum begins to reach capacity. Water lift is the inches a vacuum will vertically lift a one-inch column of water: the more water lift, the better. 

Corded Vs. Battery

Yes, there are battery-powered, cordless shop vacs. If you don’t need a ton of power and you value the ability to move your vacuum easily, transport it and store it hassle-free, you might consider looking at battery-powered vacuums. These tend to be smaller and quieter and more suited to occasional use. 

Built-in filtration

Not all vacuums come with a suitable filter for drywall dust. It probably won’t make or break your decision, but some of the higher-end models include HEPA or other filters. Always clean your filters regularly for optimal suction and performance. 


If you are cleaning a large project, like a whole house, you might consider just how comfortable your shop vac is to use. Dust is no joke, and you will likely have to make several passes through the entire construction area before it is dust-free. Dust settles on hardwood floors and high up near ceilings- you want attachments that are comfortable and reach where you need to vacuum. Luckily, most commercial dry/wet vacs have ports that will accept various hoses and vacuum attachments. 

What other dust reduction tools do you have? Plenty of other dust mitigation tools exist. For drywall, dustless sanders are nearly ubiquitous. If you are using power tools in conjunction with your vacuum, it’s nice to have an auto-off feature.

Related: Best drywall sanders.

The Best Reviewed Shop Vacs For Drywall

Let’s look at some of the best shop vacs for cleaning drywall dust on the market. You’ll find a wide range of price points and capabilities. 

FEIN Turbo

Fein Turbo I Wet/Dry Vacuum Cleaner with Dust Extractor - 6 Gallon, 151 CFM Suction Capacity, 98 PSI...
  • Outstanding Performance - The dust extractor is very effective at dust collection when attached to power woodworking tools or used for car vacuum detailing or even to keep your carpet or upholstery cleaner. Ideal for industrial job site or DIY use.
  • Further Reach - The Turbo II has a large range due to its 19 ft power cord, 13 ft long reach vacuum hose, and 360
  • Industry Made - It has an autostart outlet with power-on delay to prevent current spikes, anti-static function against electrostatic charging, and tool coupling with suction control for easy control of suction power.

This is a professional shop vac for dry and wet pickup. It’s also incredibly quiet at just 66 decibels for such a powerful vacuum. It features onboard storage for the hose and brushes, but you can remove the onboard storage if you like and carry accessories in your toolbox. Its stock filter is rated to one micron, but you’ll probably want a HEPA filter for drywall dust, so you don’t experience dust flying out the blow port. It’s also got an auto-start feature when you’re using it along with a drywall sander or other power tool. The flat-top design is also nice as a mobile workstation you can pull around the site with you. 

The Fein is an expensive vacuum, but you’re paying for quality. Users noted that unlike some of the older Fein models, this vacuum had a flimsy hose, and many people use hoses from the old models. If you find that the hose is stiff and making your vacuum hard to maneuver, you can always buy an aftermarket hose. 

This is a great shop vacuum for large jobs and professional-level results. If you need something you’ll use all the time with power tools or around the job site, the Fein is an excellent investment. 


  • 5.8 Gallon Capacity
  • 26.3 pounds
  • 66 Decibels
  • Auto-Start Vacuum
  • 98.4″ of static water lift.
  • Onboard Storage
  • 13 Foot Hose
  • 18 Foot Cord 
  • By-pass Cooling
  • 1-Year Warranty

Hoover ONEPWR 20V Utility 6 Gallon Cordless Vacuum

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This vacuum has decent suction power for a smaller and cordless vacuum. The parent company of Hoover also owns several other power tool brands (including Milwaukee), so if you’ve got batteries from the same series, you can easily swap them out and carry an extra charged one. It’s going to work for all your basic vacuuming needs. It’s also got plenty of hose accessories, making it great for everyday cleaning as well. 

What you’re giving up with battery-powered shop vacuums is less power. This Hoover has a modest 65 CFM of suction, which is going to work for most of your vacuuming needs. 

Get this shop vac if you need something highly portable and easy to whip out for small jobs. This will also be great for vacuuming around the house. If you’re mostly doing patch jobs, this is the shop vac for you. 


  • 18.4 pounds
  • 3-year Limited Warranty.
  • Wet/Dry Vacuum
  • Up To 65 CFM.
  •  6 gal/22L Dry capacity.
  • No-Tip Wheel Design with 360-degree mobility.
  • Includes Multi-Purpose Tool Kit.
  • Battery-Powered

Vacmaster Pro 8 gallon Certified Hepa Filtration Wet/Dry Vac

Vacmaster 4 Peak HP 8 Gallon Wet Dry Vacuum Cleaner Lightweight Powerful Suction Shop Vacuum with...
  • (Complete Vac Organization) The on-board hose, cord, and accessory storage allows you to keep all of the attachments organized and in one place
  • International products have separate terms, are sold from abroad and may differ from local products, including fit, age ratings, and language of product, labeling or instructions
  • [Complete Vac Organization] The on-board hose, cord, and accessory storage allows you to keep all of the attachments organized and in one place

This powerful vacuum was built for dust mitigation. It has four levels of filtration and HEPA rated and is loaded with some amazing features. A bunch of reusable filters, decent capacity, and tons of accessories and attachments for easy cleanup. It’s got a classic design and is easy to wheel around your workspace, with a long power cord and ten-foot hose. It’s also got just about every hose accessory you could want for thorough cleaning. 

As a drywall vacuum cleaner, this is top-notch. That said, its price might put it out of reach for all but professional contractors. However, if you’ve got other tasks for cleaning up potentially hazardous dust and small debris, this vacuum is the best. 


  • 8 Gallon Crush Proof Polypropylene Tank
  • 19.4 Pounds
  • Cord Length: 30 Ft
  • Hose Length: 10 Ft
  • 2 Locking Steel Wands Power Tool Adapter,
  • HEPA Cartridge Filter
  • HEPA Material Exhaust Filter
  • Reusable Foam Sleeve Filter
  • High-Efficiency Fine-Dust Collection Bag
  • Round Brush with Horse Hair
  • Crevice Tool
  • 15 Inch Floor Nozzle (with 2 brushes)
  • Microfiber Pre-Filter
  • Certified HEPA System (99. 97% efficient on . 3 microns)
  • 1-Year Warranty

Porter-Cable PCX18301-4B 4 Gallon 4 HP Wet/Dry Vacuum

PORTER-CABLE Wet/Dry Vacuum 4 Gallon 4HP Stainless Steel Light Weight Portable, 3 in 1 Function with...
  • High Performance Motor Provides Strong Power For Suction And Blowing Application, Quieter Operation. 960 Watts. Specific uses: Floor
  • 4 Gallon Capacity With Sturdy Handle And Light Weight For Easy Carrying
  • Widespread Stainless Steel Base To Prevent Tipping, Built-In Storage Stage, 1-1/4” Accessories Hose Diameter

This Porter-Cable vacuum comes in four and five-gallon capacities. This is a great overall product for basic cleaning and drywall dust mitigation. It’s an excellent strong suction and is moderately priced. This one is relatively light as well – just under twelve pounds, so it’s easy to move around and transport. Three in one function make this a versatile vacuum. Use it for your drywall cleanup, wet cleanup, and as a blower for leaves and grass clippings. 

This vacuum has a few drawbacks. There is no onboard accessory storage, and the hoses will not work with other shop vacs, so if you don’t like the hose, you’re out of luck. It also doesn’t come in a very large capacity, making it less suitable for very large jobs. 

Not only is this a great shop vac for dust, but it’s a quality product you’ll use for a ton of other tasks. This is an ideal vacuum for any size product and to have around the house or shop. 


  • 4 Gallon Capacity
  • 11.8 pounds
  • Carrying Handle
  • Built-in Storage Stage,
  • 1-1/4″ Accessories Hose Diameter
  • Swiveling Casters
  • 10 Foot Power Cord 
  • Includes:3 Extension Wands, Floor Nozzle, Gulper Nozzle, Crevice Nozzle, Foam Filter, Reusable Dry Filter, and Clamp Ring, Disposable Filter Bag
  • 3-Year Limited Warranty

Stanley Wet/Dry Vacuum SL18191P

Stanley Wet/Dry Vacuum SL18191P, 10 Gallon 4 Horsepower 16 FT Clean Range Shop Vacuum, Ideal for...
  • ❤【STRONG SUCTION & LARGE CAPACITY】Durable 10-gallon collection tank keeps long cleaning time of using. It features a 4 HP motor to provide maximum power for heavy-duty pickup. The powerful rear blower port instantly converts vacuum to power blower
  • ❤【OVER 16 FEET CLEANING RANGE】10 Feet power cord, 6 feet safety cleaning hose and 2 extension wands allow for over 16 feet cleaning range, reaching wider area to help clean with 4 swiveling casters
  • ❤【MULTIPLE ACCESSORIES】Multiple accessories allow to clean the dirt of different scenarios. They're versatile enough to handle just about any task. Ideal for wet and dry pick-ups for your home, garage, upholster and laundry rooms

This is an excellent vacuum from a reputable brand. Lightweight with an ergonomic handle for easy cleaning and ease of movement. The Stanley’s max suction is 85 CFM which is great for a vacuum this size. 

You’re going to want to get a HEPA filter when you’re cleaning drywall dust. 

Get this vacuum if you’ve had trouble using other heavier shop vacs for an extended length of time. This is a versatile and easy-to-use shop vac. 


  • 300 Hours Run Time
  • 85 CFM 
  • 10 Gallon Capacity
  • 4 Horsepower
  • 1 Year Warranty

Drywall Shop Vac Tips

There are plenty of features to consider when looking for a drywall shop vacuum. There’s a pretty wide range on price and capability. Whether you’re looking for a simple wet dry vacuum cleaner for around the shop and occasional drywall dust cleanup, or you need a contractor-level vacuum with advanced features that can handle hours and hours of runtime, and there’s a shop drywall dust vacuum for you. Think about how you’ll be using it.

How big is your drywall job?

Of course, if you’ve got a big job or you need to use it for extended cleaning sessions on large amounts of dust, you’ll want a vacuum with a larger tank capacity. Now, just because a shop vac is 13 gallons doesn’t mean it can handle 13 gallons of drywall dust collection. Pay attention to how much dry debris the vacuum can handle. Some require dust filter bags which also reduces their capacity. Larger jobs will also be easier with more powerful vacuums. Peak HP is NOT a great measure of how much dust a vacuum will handle. Look for higher CFM and water lift; a powerful motor doesn’t necessarily translate to a more powerful suction. 

How big is your workspace?

Bigger vacuums are harder to store. If you don’t need a monster vacuum with a huge holding capacity, there are smaller capacity wet/dry shop vacuum cleaners that will get the job done without taking up a huge amount of space. Smaller vacuums are easier to use and transport, and you might find a battery-powered model is just what you need. 

What else do you need the shop vac for?

Ideally, you’d want a good, multi-purpose vacuum that will move from drywall dust collection to general cleaning to possibly blowing and cleaning wet messes. Some specialized vacuums are great for dust mitigation but heavy, clumsy, and harder to swap parts in. A lot of simple shop vacs are a 3-in-1 vacuum- that is, they can handle wet and dry suction and can be used as a blower. If you plan on using the vacuum in conjunction with a drywall sander and power tool, look for an autostart feature. This allows you to have the shop vac running only when you’re tool is. This cuts down on lots of noise and needlessly running a vacuum. 

What are you willing to spend?

This isn’t just the vacuum cost, which starts around 50 dollars for low-end models and gets up over 500 hundred dollars for large professional machines; it’s also additional costs of changing parts, accessories, filters, and repair. The more specialized the shop vac, the higher these costs are going to be. A more straightforward vacuum from a recognizable brand is going to have cheaper maintenance costs. 


Are you getting just the vacuum, or does it come with the attachments you need? If you’re cleaning drywall dust, you’ll want at least a crevice tool for edge and corners and possibly a brush attachment to get the dust off furniture and stairs. Some of these vacuums have standard hose ports, and the hoses can be swapped out with other brands and aftermarket hoses, but some have non-standard attachments, and you’re limited to the brands’ accessories. 

Drywall Dust Cleaning Tips

Clean as you go. Even with a heavy-duty filter and good vacuum, you will be well-served by cleaning along the way. Leaving all the dust to clean at once will put more strain on your shop vac, and you may have to stop and empty the drum or collection bag and clean the filter anyway. It’s hard on the motor, and it’s more likely dust will spew back into the air. Cleaning as you go creates easier cleanup and, in the end, and a safer environment while you’re working. It also mitigates the amount of dust you’ll carry out into other areas of the home (if you’re remodeling).

Change and clean your filter regularly. If you notice dust is spewing out of the port or you’re experiencing reduced sucking power, check your filter. If you’re washing reusable filters, make sure it’s dry before putting it back in your shop vac. 

Sweep first. Even if you’ve got a really powerful shop vacuum, you should sweep the majority of the drywall dust. It will be faster in the end and prolong the life of your vacuum. Sweep drywall dust into piles and dispose of the vast majority before you start running a shop vac. Shop vacuums should be used to get into corners and crevices and suck up fine layers of drywall dust – not to get rid of large piles. 

Turn of central air and cover vents. While you’re installing and sanding drywall, limit the amount of dust that leaves the area by covering vents and doors. The less dust that gets out, the less you’ll have to use the vacuum. 

Related: The best way to clean drywall dust.


What is the Best Filter for Drywall Dust?

HEPA filters are rated to filter particles .3 microns. Some of the filters that come with your shop vac will not be sufficient for drywall dust. Water filters have to be swapped out. 

Can I Use a Regular Vacuum for Drywall Dust?

No. For a large amount of drywall dust, you should use a shop vac with a HEPA filter and dust collection bag. If you’re talking about a very fine layer of drywall dust that made it out of the worksite and settled onto carpets and surfaces, then you can suck up small amounts with a regular vacuum. 

Why is my Shop-Vac Blowing out Drywall Dust?

You aren’t using a filter, or the filter isn’t fine enough for drywall dust. The particles are very fine, and it’s recommended you use a HEPA filter to prevent drywall dust from spewing back out the blow port. 

Will Drywall Dust Ruin my Shop-Vac?

Drywall dust is hard on vacuums. The particles are very fine, and even a shop vac could get clogged. That’s why you should use a HEPA filter. Some of these vacuums have filters but not fine enough filters for drywall dust. 

Do I Need a Dust Collection Bag for Drywall Dust?

It’s always recommended you use a dust collection bag when vacuuming drywall dust. This makes clean up much easier and might just save your motor. Some of the vacuum listed come with dust bags, but it’s best to get one rated drywall dust. 

Can I Make My Shop Vacuum Quieter?

For the noise-sensitive, you can buy a noise diffuser accessory. They fit over the rear blower port on most wet dry vacs and doesn’t affect suction. They cost 15-20 dollars and give a moderately quiet operation for all but the very old-style vacuums.