I wouldn’t have thought that a shop vac would get me excited. After all, they are nothing new and have been helping do-it-yourselfers and professionals clean up jobsites for years. But, winter is here and I find myself engaging in a lot of clean-up around the house lately. After using a traditional shop vac for several years and suffering the poor ergonomic design of the vacuums in general, I was excited to see a new form factor hit the market. The shop vac genre has quite possibly been redesigned with the Ridgid SmartCart vacuum that offers, among other things, complete accessory storage and increased maneuverability. This is a very new kind of shop vac – and it’s broken the mold with a redesigned shape, accessory storage, and a squared-off design that gives the tool a much different appearance from its canister-shaped brethren.
Ridgid SmartCart Vacuum Build Quality
The first thing you’ll note about the Ridgid WD7000 Smart Cart is its rectangular shape. The new shape gives it several advantages. For one, all of the accessories store neatly either on, or inside of the Smart Cart. Yes, ALL the accessories. No more will you be tripping over an exposed hose, or dropping a nozzle as you wheel the vacuum from one location to another. The Smart Cart is made up of 4 distinct sections. On top is the hose storage, which is accessible by pulling out a drawer or opening up the hinged lid. It completely houses the included 8’x1-7/8″ Tug-A-Long 4x Pro hose. Under that is the accessory storage drawer which lets you access and store the included utility nozzle, claw nozzle, wet nozzle, crevice tool, and dusting brush. Just below is the housing for the 6.5HP motor and at bottom is the 11 gallon waste container. The vac has four wheels. The front wheels rotate for easy maneuverability and the larger rear wheels can be easily locked down to prevent the vacuum from rolling away on unlevel surfaces.
The included 3-layer fine dust filter fits easily into the rectangular 11-gallon drum and ensures that the particles enter, but even minute dust doesn’t escape into the air while you are using the Smart Cart. The 11-gallon drum sits on guide rollers and pulls out easily, allowing an almost effortless removal of debris. We did notice that the foam seal around the filter started coming up due to friction when removing the tank only a few times. Expect to possibly have to replace this seal over time (a rubber gasket would be a better design). Since the air evacuation is located outside the top of the drum, you can fill the Smart Cart almost to capacity before having to empty it. Just keep tabs on the suction to see when it’s taken on too much and needs to be cleared out.
While it looks larger than a standard shop vacuum, we compared it side by side with an 18 gallon Shop Vac brand model. While at first the Smart Cart looked obviously bigger, we quickly discovered this was not the case. The Shop Vac’s center handle is the same height as the Smart Cart’s deck lid (30.5″) and they both had push handles that are 36″ in height. The 18 gallon Shop Vac is 20″ wide while the Smart Cart is just 19″ wide. In terms of depth, our current Shop Vac measured 28.5″ and if you factor in the bend of the hose (which typically remains attached to the vacuum), the Smart Cart came in 1/2 inch less at 28″. After we added it all up, the Smart Cart is quite simply a better design. We felt that the reduced capacity (11 gallons as opposed to 18 gallons) is well worth the increased mobility and the added benefit of having a vacuum that can have things placed on top of it. Debris removal is also much more ergonomic with the pull-out tank as opposed to having to up-end an entire 18 gallon vac – wheels and all.
Ridgid SmartCart Vacuum Accessories
The Ridgid SmartCart vacuum comes with a 1-7/8” x 8′ “Tug-A-Long” locking Pro Hose, 2 extension wands, a utility nozzle, claw nozzle, wet nozzle, crevice tool, and dusting brush. As we alluded to above, there is a 3-Layer Fine Dust filter installed into the plastic tank and of course they include an owner’s manual to help with assembly and maintenance. We liked how the accessories locked onto the extension wands, allowing them to rotate, but not fall off when you pulled back while sucking up dirt.
Both the accessories and the extension wands allow 360 degrees of rotation and we found the hose to be flexible enough to allow us to reach into just about any area with the wands and attachments. The extension wands attach to the back of the Smart Cart and the extra-long 20′ extension cord can be looped around the cord wrap on the back and fastened to itself.
The Ridgid SmartCart vacuum is something that most shop vacuum systems aren’t: original. It’s ergonomic design, thoughtful layout and accessory storage system makes this a no-brainer in the world of shop vacs. After using this, I don’t believe I could ever go back to the old form factor and be satisfied carting around a beastly round vacuum with no proper place to store all of my attachments. This is the future – and we hopefully expect more and more manufacturers to jump on board with this design in the near future. Its only downfall is that as of this writing it is only available (from what we can tell) at Home Depot, making this a tool that may be tough to acquire for those not near this particular home improvement store. With a price tag under $200 you should put this at the top of your Spring and Summer cleaning shopping list.