Durability of Shop Vacs

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For as long as these Shop Vacs have been around, I would have thought that they would be more user-friendly by now. I have year-old 6.0 hp model that I just despise. While it does suck up dust and whatever, there are jet engines that make less noise. The casters are cheap and seem to hang up when dragging the unit around and the electric cord might as well be made of spring steel. Rather than a supple rubber-covered cable, they have used some rigid plastic. Moreover, it cleats used to hold the cord are too small and rotate as one tries to coil it for storage and/or transport. The coiled cord also fouls the lid when one tries to replace the top after one empties the unit. Why couldn't Shop Vac provide a reel like one finds in a domestic vac? I don't believe that Shop Vac's designers ever use their products. If they did they'd recognize that the device is nothing more than a cheap plastic tank with a noisy motor attached. In short, I will probably look to one of the European vacs in the future.
About two months ago, I sent virtually the same comments to Shop Vac, but they never responded to my points.

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Part of my job responsibilities is the design of cordage for my employers products. You simply cannot believe how hard it is to get a cord that will last long enough and pass UL testing, never mind usability. These things are sometimes like a Manhattan project.
The rigid plastic you mention it being made from is most likely PVC. Cheap, easy to get. Given the cost issues involved, I think it unlikely the manufacturer will want to spring for a rubber jacketed cord. And then there's the issue of the conductors inside which play the biggest role in flexibility.
Other issues like storage are separate from flexibility, approval and longevity. They're more a matter of what marketing likes for unit appearance.
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Isn't that kind of a duh? It costs money to use a quiet brushless motor My Craftsman16 gallon that is nearly 20 years old is noisy as can be. I replaced the bearings once. It actually uses sealed roller bearings. My little Dirt Devil with a 6 inch beater bar is loud as can be. It has a brush type motor spinning some fast speed. If it had a universal brushless motor it would be much quieter. They can also knock down the noise by using more solid materials that have some mass, using foam like they do in the modern diesel cars and tractors and other acoustic tricks. That would take a little more money that joe blow tight wad wants to spend. Joe blow not such a tightwad buys a Fein.
I bet the ShopVac people said duh to your letter. They are fullly aware they make a noisy piece of junk that works but that is what most Amercans want. Look at all the people that are getting excited over Harbor Freight coming to their neighborhood. There are some great deals there but most of their stuff is pretty crummy knock offs. I bought a blasting cabinet from them. I went to my father-in-laws house and looked at his blasting cabinet. His was made in Ohio and for a few bucks more it was so much nice than my third world cabinet. Had I seen his cabinet first I would have ordered one of them. I have bought clamps and other generic stuff. Now if folks want to get excited they should do so when the equivelant of a Highland Hardware shows up in their city. That is a real cool store.

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I have a Sears vaccum that is very noisy. I built a box in the shape of a cube out of plywood, put a door on the cube and put the vaccum inside the cube. The noise went away! I can talk or listen to the radio while the vaccum is on. I suggest you try this. It works remarkeably well.

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Not a bad idea. I seem to recall a guy who had his under a cardboard box, probably for the same reason.

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I did that at the wood shop because the cyclone vacuun system was so loud. A big plywood box to encase the filter bags lined with 2" of fiberglass ceiling batts attached to the plywood.

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On Sat, 18 Sep 2004 17:44:46 -0500, "Matthew"

In 14 years, I am on my third shop vac. The first was a small model (3-4 gallons?). It was too small and not very useful. Then a 13 gallon model that was excessively noisy. Uses: cleaning up the shop & sucking up water when the greenhouse watering tanks overflowed. I also use a Lee Valley cyclone lid garbage can cover <http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.asp?page0282&category=1,42401&ccurrency=1&SID=> most off the time, as well as a filter bag inside and the corrugated cartridge filters. The smoke that keeps the motor running escaped about a year ago. I was not unhappy about that. I now have Shop-Vac Ultra 18-gallon Wet/Dry Vac from Canadian Tire. It's a lot more quiet, but earmuffs are still indicated. Don't know how durable it will be, but it does suck.
However, the durability of ShopVacs does not seem to be all that great, judging by the number of replacements. So the more expensive, bigger shopvacs prolly aren't that more durable.
Luigi Replace "nonet" with "yukonomics" for real email address www.yukonomics.ca/wooddorking/antifaq.html www.yukonomics.ca/wooddorking/humour.html
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wrote:

I have a theory about this, Weegie.
I've owned two Craftsman shop vacs and one "Shop Vac" shop vac in thirty some years.
I still have one Craftsman and the "Shop Vac".
The "Shop Vac" shop vac will live forever because I bought it to take to customer's houses (because it was quiet and the nice metal canister cleaned up so purty), and I don't got no more customers, and the Craftsman shop vac will live forever because...
Here's where the theory comes in:
"Because it's so damned noisy that nobody can stand to have the sumbitch on for longer than is absolutely necessary, so the actual runtime on a twelve year old vac is about two hours."
This leaves the original Craftsman shop vac...
Which died one cold morning when I was working under the extra burden of a particulary bad hangover (hell, I was still in my twenties).
The helper claims that I was aiming at him...
But all the buckshot went straight into the Craftsman.
Nice tight pattern.
No pain.
(Note: This may only have been a dream, because most of the seventies was passed in that sorta state, don'tchaknow.)
(btw - where the hell you been, dood?)
Regards, Tom.
Thomas J.Watson - Cabinetmaker (ret.) tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email) http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1
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I didn't read all the other posts but I also had 2 shop vacs and they both died very fast. I just sucked up regular garage dust with it and some other crap like construction stuff. Nothing special but they both died after a long squeal.
Got fed up and decided I was too poor to afford some crappy shop vacs. So I got the smaller FEIN unit. Can't love it more. Very quiet, sucks up like hell and very easy to maintain. Fortunately, I know the sales representative so I got it for the same price that the tool stores are paying.
Hope this helps,
Wally
On Sat, 18 Sep 2004 17:44:46 -0500, "Matthew"

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On Sat, 18 Sep 2004 17:44:46 -0500, "Matthew"

I'd recommend them in a minute!
My wife was trying to get me to replace it for a newer one a few months ago, because I needed a new hose and it was $20... said I'd be better off applying the money towards a new vac that had a new hose... changed her mind the following weekend when she was helping me clean my bench and sucked 2 3/4" bench dogs up and had to open the vac and dig them out of the sawdust.. lmao
never used it outdoors.. interesting idea, though..
I have one of those craftsman leaf blowers with the vac bag and all.. damn thing will sick the bowling ball out of your closet... well, maybe not, but it's like 200 mph or something and mulches what it vacs.. (already replaced mulcher blade, they have trouble mulching sheet rock screws from the shop floor) Mac 03 Tahoe Widelite 26GT Travel Trailer replaced 1958 Hilite tent trailer 99 Dodge Ram QQ 2wd - 5.9L, auto, 3:55 gears
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I use mine to blow out my sprinkler lines each fall.
djb
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On Mon, 20 Sep 2004 14:02:35 -0600, Dave Balderstone

Good idea! Too bad my ShopVac doesn't blow, it only sucks.
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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That air has to come out somewhere...
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On Mon, 20 Sep 2004 15:54:54 -0600, Dave Balderstone

A series of vents all around the motor. It actually helps keep it a bit quieter, but you can't put a hose on it.
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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wrote:

contractor's vac I wanted in a dumpster I couldn't resist. That was a few years ago, and it wasn't too new even then. The motor worked, but it sounded like a cat caught under a rocking chair. When I took the thing apart I found the fan blade had parted company with the shaft. I taught myself to braze on that thing. For about three years it's worked great suckin' dust from the TS and etc.(right now it's catchin' lead-paint chips from a second story gable while sittin' on the ground attached to about 30' of hose and pipe), it's quieter than I ever expected, AND I have a cool metalworking skill ta' boot.
Welding's next, but I don't think I'll find that utility trailer I need in a dumpster. :)
Dan
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RE: The Subject
The life of my Shop vac is absolutely brutal.
Fiberglass dust and fairing compound dust are both VERY abrasive.
Such is the life of the boat builder.
If I get a year of service, I consider it a winner.
My current choice is the $40, Ridgid unit simply because of the filter design.
HTH
Lew
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