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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
Replace "nonet" with "yukonomics" for real email address
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.
(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?)
Thomas J.Watson - Cabinetmaker (ret.)
tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email)
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
Hope this helps,
On Sat, 18 Sep 2004 17:44:46 -0500, "Matthew"
I'm still using a 15 year old sears shop vac.. unless they got worse,
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)
03 Tahoe Widelite 26GT Travel Trailer
replaced 1958 Hilite tent trailer
99 Dodge Ram QQ 2wd - 5.9L, auto, 3:55 gears
I'm a pretty cheap old fart, so when I found the shiny silver
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. :)
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
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