Kobalt 24V Max 3-Gallon Shop Vacuum Cordless Vacuum Reviews

Cordless Vacuums

Pro Rating
Final Thoughts

Overall, the Kobalt 24V Max 3-gallon shop vacuum is a good addition to the Kobalt line up, with only minor trade-offs. While it could benefit from a brushless motor, it doesn't really need one to compete with other cordless vacs around the $100 price point.

Overall Score 4 Pro Review

Kobalt 24V Max 3-Gallon Shop Vacuum Review KMDV 0124B-03


Kobalt 24V Max 3-Gallon Shop Vacuum Makes Hose and Accessory Management Simple

As Kobalt expands the versatility of their 24V Max lineup, adding a wet/dry shop vacuum is a logical move. There are others on the market to benchmark against, and I’ve used several to help gauge where the Kobalt 24V Max 3-gallon shop vacuum fits.

Pros

  • Under $100
  • Excellent hose and accessory storage
  • Easy to store and stack
  • Good build quality
  • HEPA filter included

Cons

  • ~ 4 mins/Ah efficiency is a little lower than the competition
  • I’d like to see the power switch move to the opposite side

Recommendation

Buy it if you’re looking for a cordless vacuum to help with quick cleanup around your shop or jobsite. Pass and go with a corded option if you’re looking for a primary dust collector for power tools. 

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Kobalt 24V Max 3-Gallon Shop Vacuum Basics

Form

The Kobalt 24V Max 3-gallon shop vacuum has some advantages when it comes to its form. The lack of external hoses or attachments helps build an aesthetically appealing look. The rectangular shape and flat surfaces allow for easy storage or stacking.

However, this shop vac appears a bit large, coming in at 17.5 x 10.5 x 13 inches, which is bigger than some other 3-gallon varieties, like the Ryobi P3240.

Kobalt 24V Max 3-Gallon Shop Vacuum

Under the Hood

Although you could open the top section expecting some cold brewskis, what you would find is everything tucked away neatly under the hood. The battery slot, hose, floor attachment, and crevice nozzle are all hidden inside the top portion.

While storing everything internally does make the vacuum larger, it offers excellent hose management, and less chance of losing the attachments by being external, like the Makita XCV11.

Kobalt 24V Max 3-Gallon Shop Vacuum

Build

The materials used to make this shop vac feel high quality, most notably in the 1-1/4-inch hose. This is not one of those cheap hoses that might rip if you pull it to the advertised 7 feet. There is a rigidness to the hose, but it still stretches and moves smoothly. There is also a twist lock to secure the hose in the inlet or outlet (for blowing mode). Even the attachments seem like high-quality plastic. No complaints here.

How Much Power Does It Have?

You might be wondering, does it suck? Absolutely!

Kobalt 24V Max 3-Gallon Shop Vacuum

Although not brushless, this Kobalt cordless vacuum boasts suction up to 50 CFM and water lift to 38 inches. These specs are a little stronger than some of its competitors, but there’s a trade-off between CFM and water lift.

The dry-only vacs can reach higher CFM, like the Hilti VC 75-1-A22, but for a vac that can do both wet and dry, these numbers are notable, providing enough suction force to draw in debris from several inches away from the nozzle. It only takes about 20 seconds to fill the 3-gallon canister with water.

How Long Will It Run?

All that suction power eats through batteries, though! This vacuum does not have variable power settings, so it is either off or full power. With a 4Ah battery, it only lasts 16 minutes. Unless you’re using it as a dust collector for a lot of cuts, this is usually plenty of time to clean up a mess. The 2Ah lasts 7 – 8 minutes, so you can expect roughly 4 minutes of runtime per amp hour.

How Loud Is It?

Even with that kind of suction, the Kobalt 24V Max 3-gallon shop vacuum keeps the noise at a level consistent with the competition. From about 3 feet away, I measured 75-77 dB(A). The result is that you would need to talk a little louder than normal to have a conversation, but not yelling.

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What Else Should I Know?

HEPA Filter

The washable H13 HEPA is very handy also. It’s easy to twist off and prepare for cleaning. There are only 2 latches between you and the debris/water canister, so cleaning and dumping is not a chore.

Kobalt 24V Max 3-Gallon Shop Vacuum

However, when you’re dumping the bottom debris canister, the top section has to sit upside down because of the filter. This causes the handle area to get dirty and scratched up, which may not a big deal to some, but something you may want to know about ahead of time.

Capacity + Storage

With a 3-gallon capacity, this vacuum can hold many small jobs before you need to dump it. Weighing in at 10 pounds, this Kobalt cordless vacuum is easy to carry around, and although it’s a bit large, it’s not uncomfortably heavy.

Kobalt 24V Max 3-Gallon Shop Vacuum

Because of the space in the bottom canister, I keep other attachments, extra batteries, and a charger in the lower section between uses or when traveling to different jobs. It makes for a handy little storage bin.

Switch Placement

My biggest complaint about the Kobalt 24V Max 3-gallon shop vacuum concerns the power switch. With a couple of extension wands and a wider floor attachment, this vacuum has replaced my broom around the shop. For carrying this vacuum, the power switch is on the wrong side for your thumb to flick it easily, so you must either carry it with the hose coming out of the rear or set it down to turn it on or off.

If you’re using the vacuum stationary as a dust collector, on the floor or workbench while you vacuum, or detailing a car, it’s not a big deal.

How Much Does it Cost?

Kobalt’s price of $99 is a decent deal compared to higher-tier brands and performance. It comes with a HEPA filter, 7′ hose, crevice tool, and floor tool.

A brushless motor at that price point would have made this a great deal, but that’s not something common in the sub-$100 class of cordless vacuums.

Its relatively short run time is something to keep in mind, so having extra batteries, or higher capacity batteries, will help keep this thing suckin’ if you have more than just a few minutes of cleanup.

Kobalt’s 24V Max batteries are among the better values you can get right now. Here’s the cost breakdown:

  • 2.0Ah: $29.98
  • 4.0Ah: $59.98 ($99.00 for a 2-pack)
  • 6.0Ah: $99.00

 

Final Thoughts

Overall, the Kobalt 24V Max 3-gallon shop vacuum is a good addition to the Kobalt line up, with only minor trade-offs. While it could benefit from a brushless motor, it doesn’t really need one to compete with other cordless vacs around the $100 price point.

Buy it if you’re looking for a cordless vacuum to help with quick cleanup around your shop or jobsite. Pass and go with a corded option if you’re looking for a primary dust collector for power tools.

Kobalt 24V Max 3-Gallon Shop Vacuum Specifications

  • Model: Kobalt KMDV 124B-03
  • Power Source: Kobalt 24V Max battery
  • Hose: 1-1/4″ x 7′
  • Canister Size: 3 gallons
  • Air Flow: 50 CFM
  • Water Lift: 38″
  • Weight: 10 pounds
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • Price: $99.00 at Lowe’s
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