Which shop vac?

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I'm about to buy a shop vac. I do a little woodworking, but I do not foresee a time when I'd need a serious dust control system, which I understand some vacs can become a part of. Mostly just basement dust, cobwebs, cleaning the car & garage. The ex-wife got my 10 year old Sears 12-gallon unit, which served me quite well. Are these still any good, or is there another brand worth considering?
Most importantly: If you've owned one that you hated, I'd like to know about it. :-)
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I've had wonderful results from a Ridgid 16 gal wet/dry vac, great volume/suction.
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I will second the Rigid suggestion. On top of its good performance, it is pretty quiet.
Dick Durbin
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Does it allow you to attach a hose to the exhaust, in case you don't want the outbound air blowing around the dust you haven't gotten to yet?
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Doug Kanter wrote:

Many things to consider with canister vac I have learned two things. 1) Upgrade to best filter available (pleated Gor-Tex type) they filter smaller and are easier to clean. 2) Always use disposable filter bag for dry pickup. Vac will operate at higher efficiency for longer period of time.
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Well I hate my Craftsman and most shop vacs of this type because of the absurdly loud noise. If you can afford to want to spend a little more money for a much better unit and MUCH QUIETER, 72 db, consider a FESTOOL vac. They start out at $275 and go up to $480. 3 year warranty and 30 day money back guarantee.
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Noted, but that's a bit much for my budget. I can use hearing protection instead.
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If you don't need wet/dry, that is easy. The GUV. It is reasonably quiet, very powerful, and easy to clean.
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So I had a Craftsman for quite a long time. It worked but certainly wasn't great. Noisy and didn't filter worth a crap. I just finished chipping out a bunch of concrete floor and needless to say, there's dust everywhere. I broke down and bought a new Vac. I ended up at Home Depot and was pretty impressed with the Ridgid line so I got their 2 in 1 Wet/Dry (16 gal?)....basically you can detach the motor and use it as a leaf blower hence the 2 in 1. My initial impressions are that it's a fine vacuum and honestly isn't very loud at all. Certainly not like my old screaming one. I still wear hearing protection but probably wouldn't need to. It sucks like there's no tomorrow and cleaned up my concrete chippings and dust with no issues. Time will tell if it's a quality tool but it seems to be one at the moment. Cheers, cc
ps. Lifetime warranty.....but you know how that goes!
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I have the 9-gal Ridgid, and it works well with the nice (HEPA) filter, but it is definitely loud, and there is not a way to redirect the exhaust so it's not blowing straight up at you. The "muffler" helps a little but not much. I'm thinking of building a 1/4" hardboard or plywood box around it to tame the noise, but for now, I just use hearing protection. The Ridgid 12-gal model advertises it's 20% quieter than the 9-gal - I might go with this one if I were doing it again. The whine really penetrates. I did quite a bit of looking before I bought this one last year, and as I understand it, the Ridgid and Craftsman vacs are all made be the same company now. Shop-vac is the other big brand for consumer-grade vacs, and they advertise some of their line as "quiet" models, and though I haven't used one, I've heard (maybe from Amazon.com reviews?) that they're actually better in terms of noise. Hope this helps, Andy
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Doug Kanter wrote:

Doug:
Here's what I wrote about the Fein Turbo III I purchased on Amazon. Price has gone up about $50 since I bought it, but still no regrets.
~Mark.
After reading the review of shop vacuums in Fine Woodworking, I narrowed my search down to the Fein and Porter Cable. After checking them out at a local woodworker's shop, the decision was easy.
The Fein is far and away the quietest shop vac available. Its 2.25" diameter hose makes it far less likely to clog with large shavings from your planer or jointer. This coupled with its 15 gallon capacity and auto-on feature make it a great addition to my shop. I get absolutely *no* dust when using a 4" ROS.
A number of people have complained about the expensive attachments, but I found inexpensive ones at Home Depot, targeted for their line of Ridgid vacuums.
It's expensive, but if you buy the best, you only cry once.
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Related to all this, I see that LV sells a 'kit' for using a shop-vac as a (small) shop DC system. Anyone have any experience with such a setup?
http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&p0042&cat=1,42401&ap=1
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I agree. I have the TURBO II.
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One that accomodates the larger hose size (~2") and can use Gore-Tex filter.
Among Shop-Vacs of recent years, some are very well silenced at the exhaust, whereas some simply have a discharge hole that you can put a ~2" hose into, to use as a blower.
The latter are noisy, untill you pop in one of the simple plastic silencers available.
I've both the above, and they suck great. Sometimes I use both simultaneously with router-table. One on the DW621 router, and one connected behind the fence.
J
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Recently bought an 18 gallon Shop Vac, Thought my LOUD Craftsman was on it's last legs. The Shop Vac is soooo quiet, takes a bag insert if you wish for a neater clean up. Shop Vac gets my recommendation way over another Craftsman. Costs a bit more, still less then the Fein and worth every extra penny. YMMV.
David
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Doug Kanter wrote:

I buy the smallest Rigid unit when they have a special sale.
Usually get about 18-24 months life since fiberglass dust is very abrasive.
Lew
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I'll add my nod to the litany of Ridgid recommendations. Cleans the heck out of a rug in my basement that gets lots of dog hair and dirt.
Good luck!
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I have the Fein Mini Turbo (their smallest model) and I am very happy with it. It is extremely quiet and works great. One thing it doesn't have is a feature that the larger Fein models have: an electrical outlet you plug a tool into that will detect when you power up the tool and turn on the vac. However, I understand Fein is discontinuing the current Mini Turbo models in order to replace them with ones that do have this feature.
Lee
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I have a slightly older Rigid (16 gal) and can not recommend. They do not have a paper filter bag so performance rapidly drops off with use. You have to continually stop to bang the side of the vac to dislodge some of the crud. Rigid used to market poly drum liner bags which made disposal a breeze but they have discontinued these. I have tried other bags but they need to be an exact fit or else they get sucked onto the filter. For filter replacements and accessories you are stuck with what HD has on offer at whatever price HD wants for them.
If I were to buy again I think I would go with a Shop Vac brand. At least parts and accessories are widely available from multiple sources.
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Hmmm. See...that's why I liked the Sears unit. The plastic liners fit perfectly. And, the filter was tough enough that I could use my other vacuum to clean the lint out of the folds. The filters lasted quite a while. And, the machine survived a lot of plaster dust while I worked on 4 rooms.
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