Shop Vacuum - how to keep from wearing out?

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Forum topic by Planeman40 posted 01-02-2011 08:55 AM 1977 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1330 posts in 2995 days

01-02-2011 08:55 AM

I’m on my third shop vacuum and it is sounding like its going to go soon.

The problem as I see it are the filters. Given a little time they seem to slip and shift inside the unit and allow dust to be routed through the motor and the motor bearings wear out.. I am talking about the ShopVac type of roll-around vacuums, not the large ones. Has anyone figured out a solution to this?


-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

18 replies so far

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Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3090 days

#1 posted 01-02-2011 09:26 AM

I use a bungee cord to hold it on

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View RogerBean's profile


1605 posts in 3188 days

#2 posted 01-02-2011 02:05 PM

I went through a couple in years past, but finally bought a Fein 5 gal and have now had it for the past 6 years or so. No problem at all and it’s really quiet. By far the best I have ever used. Wish I had figured this out earlier. Not sure this helps you any, but you can take it as a solid recommendation.

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3349 days

#3 posted 01-02-2011 02:38 PM

proppebly becourse the bearings ainĀ“t the closed type
and as you say the last filter shuold be some of the fine micron type
and if you both use it on the maschines and the floor I will recomment to sweep
the floor with a broom first

take care

View b2rtch's profile


4868 posts in 3282 days

#4 posted 01-02-2011 02:51 PM

Which kind of vacuum are you using?
I use a 16 gal Rigid which has been working like a charm for many years.
IN fact I was just on Rigid website site looking at their vacuum, they have a new one that I could be interested in as it uses a bag in addition o the filter and it is HEPA certified ( the only thing which will stop fine sanding dust), the only issue is the price almost $400.00

I also m noticed that they now sale bags to install on the HEPA filters to pre-filter so that the filter itself last longer.

Another advantage when you buy Ridgid, you get lifetime warranty, no one else offers that.

-- Bert

View iamwelty's profile


260 posts in 3350 days

#5 posted 01-02-2011 03:35 PM

I’ve hard real good luck abusing the heck out of my 10+ year old Craftsman. Not changing the filter, not cleaning it out, using it to suck up everything… drywall dust, floor sweeping, standing water when by basement floods, not following the manual… I’m sure it will crap out now, it’s actually been a great tool…

-- There is a fine line between eroticism and nausea...

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260 posts in 3350 days

#6 posted 01-02-2011 03:36 PM

double post

-- There is a fine line between eroticism and nausea...

View firecaster's profile


574 posts in 3653 days

#7 posted 01-02-2011 03:52 PM

I’ve owned the same large Shop Vac since the early ‘80s. My use would probably equal 10 years for some. The foam filter stays tight and I cover that with a paper filter with the tight fitting plastic collar. It all stays in place very well. Maybe they were made better back then.

-- Father of two sons. Both Eagle Scouts.

View D_Allen's profile


495 posts in 3018 days

#8 posted 01-02-2011 03:53 PM

I have been using a shop vac brand 6 gal for years. I too have abused this by using it for drywall dust and about everything else you can imagine. After a time the bearings begin to squeel so bad that I have to take it apart. They are sleeve bearings and need to be oiled. I’ve also had to work on the switch once but it still sticks on.
Mostly I use it with a Thien separator and use the bags in the vac. That way if I forget to empty the separator, all I have to do is change the bag. Oh, and by the way, I’m so cheap that I even open the ends of the bag to empty them and reseal it with hot-melt glue.

-- Website is finally up and

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3217 days

#9 posted 01-02-2011 04:34 PM

I’ve had my 16 gal. shop vac for years now and I use a separator with it which may be why its lasted so long. My reason for having put the separator on was because it would fill up so fast making the motor work harder and the loss of suction when it started getting full.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3319 days

#10 posted 01-02-2011 04:40 PM

Using something like the dust deputy, if I remember right there was a home made one on one of the blogs
here, or as D_Allen suggested a Thien separator (there are several free plans available) should keep most of
the dust from entering the shop vac and causing a problem.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View HorizontalMike's profile


7770 posts in 3148 days

#11 posted 01-02-2011 04:41 PM

I’ve had and used my Craftsman 16gal. wet/dry vac for at least the past +15yr and have not had any problems. The filters on these have their own rubber gaskets and the end cap screws over and tight against the filter and never had any leakage.

This year I added/upgraded to a HEPA filter and placed a 30gal. trashcan cyclone in front of the wet/dry vac. It is now my dedicated DC for my MS and it works like a champ. I suspect that when using these shop vacs for DC it would be wise to buy the “best” filter available for the brand of shop vac you are using.

The rest of my shop shares a HF DC +cyclone system from which I string flex hose. Four of my machines are within reach of a 10ft hose and the planer takes a 20ft hose to reach (though I could shorten it to ~15ft, but why bother). I never use more than one machine at a time.

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

View Jeff's profile


499 posts in 3428 days

#12 posted 01-02-2011 05:08 PM

I’ve had my 16 gal Ridgid vacuum for about 10 years now. It still runs great. My way of getting the thing to last so long is to clean the filter very often and change it out when necessary. All the fine dust collects very easily on the filter which means the motor will eventually overload. Replacements are not vey expensive and if yours is slipping it’s probably time to replace it.

View AaronK's profile


1507 posts in 3698 days

#13 posted 01-02-2011 06:09 PM

i bought a used old craftsman and after about a year the bearing gave out. are newer models of these types of vacuums made with bearings with better seals?

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5574 posts in 3897 days

#14 posted 01-02-2011 07:40 PM

I think the key is to use the Shop Vac pleated filters instead of the foam and paper.

I have a 5hp vac with a HEPA (pleated) filter that is a hooked up to an Oneida Dust Deputy. Most of the fine dust never gets to the vac (the little Dust Deputy does a great job).


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View tedth66's profile


458 posts in 3424 days

#15 posted 01-02-2011 08:48 PM

When I was using a Rigid shop vac as a dust collector I did what Gerry did but I also used a bag in my vac ~ I used a pleated filter (more surface area), Rigid vac bag, and added a Dust Deputy which captured ~98% of the dust.

I guess I should mention that before this setup I did burn up one Rigid vac (no vac bag and no Dust Deputy) and it didn’t take long. If your filter gets caked with dust (fine particles especially) your vac motor stressed and it’s only a matter of time before it burns up.

I now use a JDS DC with the cyclone technology built in. Even with my somewhat expensive DC, JDS has designed the DC to free the filter from fine particles collecting on it with the use of flappers. There’s a separate motor that drives these flappers and the motor turns on every time you turn the DC off.

-- Ted

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