All Replies on Any Ridgid or other inexpensive shopvacs you can recommend?

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View Millo's profile

Any Ridgid or other inexpensive shopvacs you can recommend?

by Millo
posted 09-15-2012 04:27 AM

32 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10373 posts in 3641 days

#1 posted 09-15-2012 04:37 AM

The Kobalt wall vac is available at Lowes fro about $80 and
has 2 pliable hoses that go together for about 25’ of range, a
remote control to turn it on and off, and is a 2-stage
machine which makes it pretty good for dust collection
with orbital sanders and routers. The vacuum runs
quieter than most and doesn’t do a fast job sucking up
heavy debris or water.

The Craftsman ShopVacs are real powerful for picking
up water and nails, but they scream like banshees when
running and the 2.25” hoses they come with are pretty
stiff. They work good as dedicated chip collectors
for table saws and portable planers, which are such
loud machines you should wear ear protection anyway.

View nwbusa's profile


1021 posts in 2280 days

#2 posted 09-15-2012 04:42 AM

My feeling is unless you step up to a Fein or a Festoool, they’re all going to be comparable. I bought a Ridgid that was 50% off at HD, and it works as well as any of the Shop-Vac-esque models.

-- John, BC, Canada

View Loren's profile


10373 posts in 3641 days

#3 posted 09-15-2012 04:47 AM

A loud single stage vac collecting your sanding dust is very
fatiguing to listen to, even with ear plugs. There’s no
one perfect vac for every application.

I had a Festool dust extractor for awhile. They are nice
and the HEPA filters are great, but sanding with the
Kobalt is about 8 out of 10 compared to the Festool
experience and almost as pleasant to use in terms of

View NiteWalker's profile


2737 posts in 2570 days

#4 posted 09-15-2012 01:02 PM

I have a shop vac I bought from Lowe’s about 6+ years ago and it’s still going strong. It’s used for everything in the shop as it’s the only means of dust collection I have for now. I’d stick with the shop vac brand.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2844 days

#5 posted 09-15-2012 02:37 PM

Loren, I always appreciate your insights and experience. Helpful, realworld and clear.

I came across the Ridgid shown here under “powerful” and while it is less a banshee than the Craftsmans I have known, it is still loud.

It is powerful enough to clean out the jets of my hot tub which failed once going into winter. After I suctioned out all the lines, the tub sat all winter and there were no leaks.

My only complaint is the speed with which the filter fills up, which after all, Lee, is testimony to its ability to clean the air.

I’m wondering if this discussion will reveal any models that have some kind of baffle system or pre-filter that would take less tending than the Ridgid.

It does come apart and become a portable blower which I bring home occasionally to move the neighbor’s leaves from my yard over to the neighbor’s on the other side. Just kidding.

Final thought: Some of these are pretty amp hungry; it might take some attention to totals if your router is big and your garage wiring is minimal, Millo



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2678 days

#6 posted 09-15-2012 08:09 PM

I’ve owned them all (Craftsman, ShopVac and Ridgid)...the Ridgid with the detachable blower wins for me (it can suck a bowling ball from 20 feet). They are all loud and a pain to empty and maintain the filter.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7754 posts in 2908 days

#7 posted 09-15-2012 08:12 PM

I have had my 16gal Craftsman for ~20yr and I now have it running DC duty with a separator and Hepa filter for my MS. Still runs like a champ.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2684 days

#8 posted 09-16-2012 02:18 AM

Of all the vaccs I have owned, the 14 gal Ridgid is the best I have used (I currently have 3 of them!). I do the panty hose ‘pre-filter’ and find it works well. Just bumping the vacc against the shop floor knocks most of the dust off the panty hose and restores suction. I can’t explain why the 14 gal model sucks more than the 16 gal with the detachable blower but it does. I returned the 16 gal model the same day I bought it. Just my experience; your mileage may vary.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View cutworm's profile


1075 posts in 2787 days

#9 posted 09-16-2012 02:24 AM

HD has one on sale for about $50. Ridgid. I have one and have used it for about 6 months. Like it so far. 2 1/2” hose and a nice long cord. I think it’s 12 gallon. The top comes off and it converts to a blower. Great for blowing dust off the miter saw.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

View nwbusa's profile


1021 posts in 2280 days

#10 posted 09-16-2012 03:24 AM

Yep, that’s the same one I have cutworm. It’s a workhorse.

-- John, BC, Canada

View Millo's profile


543 posts in 3043 days

#11 posted 09-16-2012 03:31 AM

Wow, guys, thanks so much for your recommendations. I’ll check out those models online.

View Stephenw's profile


273 posts in 2379 days

#12 posted 09-16-2012 01:13 PM

My last vacuum was a Shop-Vac brand that lasted about 12 years. When it died, I ended up getting another Shop-Vac. I’ve been using it for a year now and it has worked well. I wish it had a place to store the attachments. Another minor issue is that there is nothing to fix the position of the lid to the can. The lid will rotate a bit on the can during use.

I wrote a review on my blog when I first purchased it…

View TheBoxStoreCraftsman's profile


37 posts in 2134 days

#13 posted 09-16-2012 09:48 PM

Have had Rigid shop vacs the last few years and like them very well, if they died today I would probably replace them with the same.

-- The project is never finished until the workbench is full of tools!"

View Millo's profile


543 posts in 3043 days

#14 posted 09-19-2012 05:57 PM

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2684 days

#15 posted 09-20-2012 02:19 AM

HD periodically has a special on Ridgid vaccs that are made in Mexico and are NOT the same as their other Ridgid vaccs (1 1/2” hose vs 2 1/2”, etc). I would stay away from those.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View derosa's profile


1577 posts in 2829 days

#16 posted 09-20-2012 03:01 AM

I’ve got the 14g version and really like it. Not certain what the scroll noise reduction really is but I have the 5g 2.5hp version as well and it hurts my ears after 10min of use; the 14g is so much quieter by comparison. I spent the extra cash on the hepa filter about 2 years ago and hose it out every couple of months, although I’m sure it has lost a bit of its efficiency it still doesn’t seem to let a lot of dust flow through. Worth the extra cost IMHO.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View Richard's profile


400 posts in 2685 days

#17 posted 09-20-2012 03:28 AM

I have read some complaints about the stainless steel version developing rust on the interior. And what are you really getting besides a reflective surface for $20?

I have an older 16 gallon version with the removable motor/blower combo and it’s a winner, I abuse it regularly and it keeps on going.

If you have time, watch CL, I see used Ridgid vacs on there regularly.

-- "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

View Kelby's profile


134 posts in 2404 days

#18 posted 09-20-2012 04:51 AM

I’ve had a ShopVac for the past 15 years or so, and it is still going strong. I just replaced the casters and hose, and we’ll see how many more years I get out of it.

I keep a HEPA filter in mine. The filters are a hassle to keep clean, and the vac is loud. But it’s a good vac.

I have a couple tools for which it is my dust collector—primarily smaller benchtop tools with 2-1/2” ports that I haven’t yet hooked up to my cyclone duct lines. It does the job OK, but not the way the cyclone does.

One caution as you shop is that some models in each brand have had switch problems. Read the reviews carefully to avoid those models.

-- Kelby

View Millo's profile


543 posts in 3043 days

#19 posted 09-20-2012 02:26 PM

Very cool, I’ll check the pros and cons on the 14 gal vs the plastic 16 gal, and decided on that. Danke!

View Brickman's profile


51 posts in 2365 days

#20 posted 09-21-2012 03:57 PM

I have the WD1851 which is the second link you have posted. It is much quieter than the Craftsman we have and is even quieter than the Hoover we use in the house. It has actually been getting more use in the house as we have tile floors throughout and it does a much better job of cleaning them than the Hoover and is much quieter to use. Noise wise it is the same as my HF dust collector. So far I have been happy with it.

We do use the bags in it to make the filter last longer. They add to the expense but will be worth it once we upgrade to the HEPA filter.

-- Mark - Pueblo, Colorado

View Jeff's profile


433 posts in 3188 days

#21 posted 09-21-2012 04:25 PM

I’ve had the 14 gal Ridgid for more than ten years and it’s still going strong. Last year I finally got fed up with emptying and cleaning out the filter so I built a cart with a Dust Deputy. If it’ll fit in your budget definitely get one. Otherwise you can’t really go wrong with the Ridgid.

View ruel24's profile


79 posts in 2287 days

#22 posted 09-22-2012 01:03 AM

Am I mistaken, or isn’t all the usual suspects (Craftsman, Ridgid, Kobalt) all made by Shop Vac and rebranded?

View Bertha's profile


13525 posts in 2687 days

#23 posted 09-22-2012 01:06 AM

This is boring, but like others, I bought the biggest shopvac at Lowes and still use it 10 years later. If I downspout mine to a small diameter, it still sucks pretty hard. I use it mostly with my drillpress. I built a little magnet thingy to keep the nozzle near the bit. Like others have said, though, it’s as loud as an F350.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View JesseTutt's profile


854 posts in 2104 days

#24 posted 09-22-2012 03:08 PM

I have owned a Craftsman for 20 years and it has always performed but is laud.

A couple of years ago Rockler had a ShopVac model on sale really cheap and I bought one. It’s filter is nothing but a piece of paper and is held in place by a plastic ring you push into place. It will pickup large shavings, but fine dust is just spit back out. One of my first projects with it was to use it to collect drywall dust as I sanded, all it did was suck up the dust and blow it back out into the room.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View Promod1385's profile


19 posts in 2067 days

#25 posted 09-22-2012 05:23 PM

I have a large (15-20 gallon?) rigid. Its a good vac, if you really want to save some money you can buy a “bucket head” vac from HD, its a lot of bang for the $20.

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2678 days

#26 posted 09-22-2012 06:15 PM

ruel…somehow I don’t think they all come from ShopVac. I built a house and the closest available was a 16 gal Shop Vac. I always thought it lacked the power of the Ridgid I had (1,000 miles away) so later I picked up another Ridgid for the shop and confirmed it.

Consumer reports (or Wood magazine…I can’t remember) did a review a few years ago on the subject and there were differences.

View Millo's profile


543 posts in 3043 days

#27 posted 10-03-2012 12:22 PM

Hi, guys! Bought the 14-gallon Ridgid Much quieteer than the thing I was using before, I think even quieter than the Dyson my wife insisted on when we moved to our new place 3 years ago. So far so good. Only have used it to suck up hand-sanded dust, althogh quite a bit of it.

Thanks for your recommendations!

View woodklutz's profile


221 posts in 2762 days

#28 posted 10-03-2012 12:58 PM

I tried the panity hose prefilter on the rigid, it was so-so, then I took an upright house vacuum bag cut off 6” from top and slid it over rigid filter. Works great, just a few taps and the dust falls off, the inner filter is virtually dust free. There is no discernable loss of suction.
The vacuum bag I use is an Oreck with a liner, however I tried a Hoover with a liner and it worked as well. I advocate this way to keep a filter clean and low cost. The bag has to be a lined bag.

-- honing my craft one mistake at a time.

View dhazelton's profile


2766 posts in 2290 days

#29 posted 10-03-2012 01:57 PM

Emerson makes both Ridgid and Craftsman (the striped filters are identical). My 15 year old Craftsman keeps trucking despite all the drywall compound dust I’ve cleaned up with it. I have a Porter Cable HEPA vac I picked up at an estate sale and it has a lot less suction than the Craftsman. But it also was designed for a different purpose.

I’m holding off on tool purchases until the period between Black Friday and Xmas – H.D. discounts tons of stuff then as door specials and I picked up a Ridgid shop vac for $29!

View dbhost's profile


5708 posts in 3226 days

#30 posted 10-03-2012 02:09 PM

I have an older (Gray) Ridgid 12 gallon vac that has been a great vac for qutie a few years now. I added the muffler thingy which really isn’t all that helpful. My only complaints so far are…

#1. The filter bags are designed for the 14 and 16 gallon vacs. Ridgid seems to think they 12 gallon doesn’t need a bag. #2. Like any other wet / dry vac, it’s LOUD. Not as loud as the old Shop Vac branded vac it replaced, but still obnoxious.

Mine was a bundle deal years ago, they bundled the vac, with the regular filter, and a HEPA filter. I tossed the regular filter. The HEPA is so beat up now I need to get a new one…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4928 posts in 3954 days

#31 posted 10-03-2012 03:29 PM

The muffler on my Ridgid is an older model hard plastic with a completely open exhaust tube (kinda like a glass pak muffler). The new models have a foam-in-cage design. The old one works very well. The new one does not.
The vac is the 16 gal. model with removable motor that doubles as a blower. I buy the good filters ($$$).
Well pleased with the setup.


View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2626 days

#32 posted 10-03-2012 08:25 PM

I like this one. Paid $80. Ample power, yet reasonably quiet.

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