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Cleaning the floors of your home, garage, and car can be a costly hassle — who’s got a regular budget for steam cleaning? — but not if you have one of the the best wet/dry vacuums on the market. Helpful for everything from regular wear and tear to oversized messes, a wet/dry vacuum can mean the difference between a cleaning disaster and a crisis averted. While you may expect these little miracle machines to come with a hefty price tag, we’re here to tell you that there are plenty of affordable options out there that can handle just about any job you throw at them with ease. In fact, we’ve rounded up nine options priced at $100 or less! Read on to find out where to get them.
How to Use a Wet Dry Vac
Even if you already own a vacuum for dirty floors and one for water, i.e. a pool vacuum, there should be room in your cleaning arsenal for a wet/dry vacuum. This particularly machine fills a specific void, as it allows you to change its function with the touch of a button — an unmatched feature when it comes to home maintenance. Just like that, you can go from sucking up Fido’s hair to sopping up your dog’s accidental carpet messes. What’s not to love?
While you can vacuum as you normally would while using a wet/dry vac, the way the machine sucks up debris is slightly different from your standard Hoover. Instead of being filtered into one single vacuum bag, contents are separated out into two respective buckets — one for solids and one for liquids.
It’s important to remember that filters need to be changed when switching between the wet and dry modes. You’ll want to use a paper filter when picking up trash, dust and other debris. Alternately, a foam filter is recommended when sucking up water and other liquids.
After you vacuum up a liquid, empty the bucket immediately to prevent stagnant water buildup. You should always empty the inner bucket and hose to ensure that it’s clean and ready for your next cleaning mishap.
What is the best wet dry vac?
In addition to considering your own personal needs (What do you want to use it for? How often will you use it? Where do you plan to store it?) there are several key features about these machines that you’ll need to take into account. Peak horsepower (PHP), for instance, is a term used in the wet/dry vacuum industry that describes the “nominal output” of the motor. Tank capacity, meanwhile, refers to the actual tank volume of a wet/dry vac. More important than these elements, however, are the attributes listed below.
Vacuum size and build: Wet/dry vacs come in a range of sizes and powers, from handheld 1-gallon models to industrial-grade machines that hold up to 20 gallons. Bigger may seem better, but you probably won’t need anything larger than 12 gallons for household cleanups. Keep in mind, the larger your vacuum of choice, the more difficult it will be to lift and dump it when it’s full of water. That’s also true of materials. Stainless steel is very durable, but is far heavier than its plastic counterparts. And while taller wet/dry vacs may offer you greater capacity, these top-heavy devices also tip more easily.
Hose size: Hose size is important. A longer hose affords you you the freedom of being able to vacuum at greater distances. However, a longer hose can also lead to reduced suction, so take your space into account when seeking your perfect wet/dry vac match.
Cord length: When it comes to cord length, a model that includes a built-in cord reel is better. A short cord will force you to use an extension cord, which is inconvenient and can be a a potential tripping safety hazard.
Tool storage: On-board storage is another convenience worth keeping in mind. Having all your vacuum accessories, such as a crevice tool, extension nozzle, or floor sweep, within arm’s reach ensures you’ll have everything right when you need it.
Whether you have a leaky basement that gathers puddles of water after each and every rainstorm, a messy pet that tracks in dirt, leaves, and grass, or children who leave trails of spills in their wake, cleaning up is much easier when you have one of the best wet/dry vacuum cleaners at your disposal. We’ve rounded up nine models that will get the job done for $100 or less. Keep scrolling to see our list of the best picks under $100 on the market today.
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Best Wet Dry Vac
Best Overall Wet Dry Vac — Craftsman 9-Gallon
Where to buy: $86.49 Amazon
This 9-gallon Craftsman shop vacuum is a versatile wonder for cleanup around the home, garage, and work site. With a rear exhaust port for blowing debris out of the way, an oversized drain for easy liquid disposal, and an easy filter replacement system for quick swaps, there's a lot to love about this machine. It comes complete with a lengthy 7-foot hose, two extension wands, and utility, wet, and car nozzles,
Best Wet And Dry Vacuum Cleaner For Home
Best Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner for Home — ABN Electric
Where to buy: $42.99 (Originally $49.44), Amazon
Spills and dirt don’t stand a chance against this electric wet dry shop vacuum from ABN. Featuring a 5-gallon tank, a four horsepower motor, a 12-foot (!) power cord, and a hose that measures nearly 6 feet, this vacuum is equipped to handle just about anything you throw at it. It's also a great pick for the home since it's lightweight and portable, weighing in at just 12 pounds (16 to 19 is typical).
Reviewer Sherie attested to its versatile home use, writing, "This vacuum is a great size and easy to use for my garage and car. ... I find it handy to use outdoors on my patio, very easy to move from place to place."
Best Small Wet Dry Vac Under 100
Best Small Wet Dry Vac — Shop-Vac Micro
Where to buy: $33.99, Amazon
Compact and wall-mountable, the Shop-Vac micro is the perfect pick for smaller liquid or dry messes. It has a fold-down, top-carry handle, so you can take it anywhere you choose — even the car. "This vac is tiny but mighty!" buyer JazmynMarie wrote. "Super powerful suction. I love how small it is and that it takes up no space at all in my trunk."
Backed by a two-year warranty, this powerful little machine also features a 6-foot power cord, a 4.25 inch hose, a signature "gulper" nozzle, a crevice tool, and a tool bag.
Best Handheld Wet Dry Vac Under 100
Best Handheld Wet Dry Vac — Stanley 2.5 Gallon
Where to buy: $89.99, Amazon
This 2.5 gallon, four-peak horsepower shop vacuum makes cleaning up at home, in the garage, or in the car fast and efficient. It's got plenty of accessories, (think a flexible hose, crevice nozzle, cloth filter, utility nozzle, reusable dry filter, and foam filer), and its 10-foot power cord and wrap allows for easy storage and organization.
Best Cordless Wet Dry Vac Under 100
Best Cordless Wet Dry Vac — Dr. Auto
Where to buy: $37.99, Amazon
The cordless, portable vacuum by Dr. Auto is a welcome addition to any household. Forget about tracking down an outlet or dragging around a stand-up sweeper when you encounter a major mess. This portable machine can suck out liquid, debris, and pet hair from even the most hard-to-reach areas with nary a wire in sight. It comes with three attachments (a brush suction nozzle, an extra soft tube, and a flat suction nozzle that allows you to get into tough nooks and crannies), plus a built-in LED light even allows you to clean up in the dark.
Best Car Wet Dry Vac Under 100
Best Wet Dry Vac for Car — ArmorAll 2.5 Gallon
Where to buy: $37.99, Amazon
Specifically designed to help you clean the interior of your car, ArmorAll's utility vacuum has everything you need to get your vehicle sparkling, from its automatic shut off to prevent overflow to its built-in air and noise diffuser, allowing you to tidy up in a quiet, efficient manner. Its 2.5 gallon polypropylene tank is small enough to carry, but plenty large enough to handle debris in your car. The two-horsepower motor provides ample suction power, and the top handle and accessory storage make for nice bonuses. What's more, it easily converts to a blower for motorcycles, car grills, and wheels.
Best Wet Dry Vac Detachable Blower Under 100
Best Wet/Dry Vac With Detachable Blower — Vacmaster
Where to buy: $87.62, Amazon
Versatile and powerful, this smart Vacmaster design converts from a standard wet/dry vac to a detachable blower with ease. It's got an impressive blowing speed of up to 240 mph and five-peak horsepower, making this vacuum and blower duo a must-have appliance. Two extension wands, a crevice tool, a utility nozzle, and a concentrator are included as accessories.
Best Portable Wet Dry Vac Under 100
Best Portable Wet Dry Vac — DeWALT 4-Gallon
Where to buy: $115.66, Amazon
When you're ooking for a compact wet/dry vac that can be quickly transported from one place to another, consider this DeWALT model. Though it's small and lightweight, it's also equipped with a five-peak horsepower motor that delivers the performance of a vacuum twice its size. An extra long 20-foot power cord and 7-foot-long flexible hose gives you plenty of reach, and the washable and reusable cartridge filters make cleaning up wet and dry messes a breeze. There's also toolbox-style storage for keeping attachments close.
Best Rated Wet Vac Under 100
Top Rated Wet/Dry Vac — Shop-Vac Stainless Steel 5-Gallon
Where to buy: $62.91, Amazon
Not only is this wet/dry vac from Shop-Vac one of Amazon’s choice products with a solid four-star rating from more than 700 customers, it picks up everything from water to stubborn pet hair. Touted for its powerful suction, this stainless steel device features a 7-foot hose, three extension wands, a 10-inch wet/dry nozzle, a gulper nozzle, a crevice tool, a cartridge filter, a foam sleeve, and a filter bag. It's also got a rear blower port.
Gushed one reviewer, "Is it wrong to love a vacuum? I love this little guy! He is lightweight and does an excellent job at assisting me in cleaning my house. I have a lot of pet fur, and this guy gets it right off my hardwood floors like magic. He also is able to suck it up off some of my soft chairs. ... There's no end to where this guy can go!"