If you haven’t had the chance yet, go ahead and check out our best shop vac reviews article, where we look at a bunch of the available professional-level shop vacuums on the market today. There’s a little something for everyone in that article, but if value and suction are first and foremost on your list of must-haves for a shop vacuum, you ought to check out the Ridgid 16-Gallon Wet/Dry Vac. This adult-sized vacuum sports some serious suction, and it does it at a price that leaves no room to doubt why Pros tend to love this model.
16-Gallon Canister: 16 gallons is close to the top of what you can get from a wet/dry vacuum and still call it “portable”. There are some 20-gallon models running around, but 16 should take care of nearly everything you come across in your shop or garage.
Blower: This feature actually isn’t all that special in terms of uniqueness, but we’d be disappointed if it wasn’t present on this (or any other) model. The conversion process requires you to move the hose from the vac intake port to the exhaust port. It’ll take care of basic cleaning, though it won’t have the same sort of oomph as a dedicated blower.
Mobility: The Ridgid 16-Gallon Wet/Dry Vac uses the typical combination of two front swiveling casters and two larger back wheels. The back wheels will allow you to roll over extension cords and other debris that caster-only models tend to stick on. While these wheels are acceptable in their ease of rolling, you’ll find brands with higher quality sets.
Hose And Cord Management: On the one hand, the Ridgid 16-Gallon Wet/Dry Vac has adequate cord management. The tabs could stand to be wider, but it works. On the other hand, the hose management system at play here is pretty much non-existent. Like others that struggle in hose management, you’re best off just storing it in the canister.
Accessory Storage: Rather than dedicating a spot on the vacuum’s housing or base, Ridgid includes a storage pouch that hangs from the handle. It might not be quite as organized as the more traditional approach to accessory storage, but these accessories store together and out of the way. I’m not OCD enough to worry about everything having an exact spot and this design is effective, so it’s a check in the win column.
Drain Spigot: 16 gallons worth of water weight can be difficult to lift and dump, and a drain spout helps out in that department. Every model of this size should have one and Ridgid does.
Included in Kit
- 2 wands
- Utility nozzle
- Car nozzle
- Wet nozzle
- Crevice tool
- Accessory bag
The Ridgid 16-Gallon Wet/Dry Vac features a 6.5 Hp motor – the same as most in this size class. It what you do with that motor that makes the difference and Ridgid leans heavily on the CFM side of things. With its 2-1/2″ diameter hose, expect to pull a massive 203 CFM through it. In other words, airborne particles have zero chance of escaping.
Water lift is another matter. With 4-1/2 pounds of suction force, it’s a pretty ho-hum rating. Where the high CFM ensures moving debris continues to move, water lift (suction force) is what it takes to get things going. The higher the force, the heavier the object it can pull. With the 4 models we tested, Ridgid comes in the lowest in this category.
What sets the Ridgid 16-Gallon Wet/Dry Vac apart from its competition is its incredible CFM rating and value proposition. At $159, it’s about the best price you can hope for in its class and also leads the pack in the CFM department. In other categories, it’s fairly average. However, if you’re looking to collect dust and smaller debris to keep your workspace clean, Ridgid lands its punches where they count the most.
Ridgid 16-Gallon Wet/Dry Vac Features
- 6.5 peak HP motor provides powerful suction for heavy-duty cleanups
- 20 ft. cord provides extensive reach
- 3-stage filter for maximum filtration
- Noise muffler for quiet operation
- Quick-release handle for easy emptying
- Removable accessory storage bag for easy drum cleanup
- Full lifetime warranty against material defects and workmanship
Ridgid 16-Gallon Wet/Dry Vac Specs
- Model: Ridgid WD1851
- Motor: 6.5 HP
- Canister Size: 16-Gallon
- Hose Diameter: 2-1/2″
- Hose Length: 7′
- CFM: 203
- Water Lift: Not available
- Warranty: Limited lifetime
- Price: $159