After checking out our best shop vac reviews, we wanted to cover this HEPA filtering model for good measure. The Vacmaster 8-Gallon HEPA Wet/Dry Vac moves toward the more industrial side of things with its HEPA filtering and metal parts. This industrial Vacmaster model flirts with becoming an all-out dust extractor, but it does it at a decent price.
8-Gallon Canister: The canister size on the Vacmaster 8-Gallon HEPA Wet/Dry Vac may seem a little underwhelming, especially considering the largest model in this price group sports a 16-gallon canister. But this is not a standard shop vac that you’re likely rolling around for everyday sawdust cleanup. When you’re collecting fine particles down to the 0.3-micron range, 8 gallons should be more than enough.
Blower: To switch to the Vacmaster’s blowing function, you’ll simply need to move the hose from the vacuum port to the exhaust port.
Mobility: The Vacmaster 8-Gallon HEPA Wet/Dry Vac features two 360° caster wheels for improved maneuverability in tighter areas and two larger fixed wheels that should allow you to hop cords and other debris. The large back wheels also make it easier to roll across carpet if you’re using it for interior cleaning.
Accessory Storage: The accessory storage on the Vacmster 8-Gallon HEPA Wet/Dry Vac is functional, but a little iffy. Each wand or attachment has its own post to store away on, but they’re a little too easy to knock around. That said, the quality of the accessories themselves is excellent, as they’re made from durable steel instead of plastic.
Included in Kit
- (2) 20″ Locking Steel Wands
- 1 Steel Elbow with Air Flow Adjuster
- Round Brush with Horse Hair
- Crevice Tool
- Power Tool Adapter
- 15″ Floor Nozzle (with 2 brushes)
- Reusable Foam Sleeve Filter
- High-Efficiency Fine-Dust Collection Bag
- Microfiber Pre-Filter
- HEPA Cartridge Filter
Hose and Cord Management: This area presents a bit of a mixed bag for Vacmaster. On the one hand, the cord management works really well; Vacmaster employs a really functional cord hang. Unfortunately, the company didn’t really bother to include any sort of hose wrap. Like some of the other models out there, you’re best bet may be to clean out the canister when you’re done and store the hose inside it.
All vacuums have a filtration system of some sort. This industrial Vacmaster is one of few in the wet/dry shop vac range that has certified HEPA filtration, which will filter out 99.97% of all contaminants down to 0.3 microns. Whether it’s collecting fine dust for allergy relief or concrete dust for avoiding silicosis, you’re going to collect much finer particles than you will on a standard shop vacuum.
HEPA filtration is great but might create some confusion, so let’s get ahead of a couple of questions here. First of all, this does cover you for RRP (renovation, repair, and repainting) applications.
What it won’t do for you is give you OSHA Table 1 compliance. The lack of a filter cleaning mechanism is one obstacle in that regard. There’s no word currently if anyone has put it through objective data testing to see if there are specific applications and methods that you can use it for in concrete.
Also, keep in mind a couple of things about HEPA filters – they lower your overall suction performance and they’re expensive to replace. So use the HEPA filter when you need it, but stick with a standard cellulose filter when you don’t.
In a case of “the horsepower number doesn’t tell you everything,” Vacmaster’s 1.23* Hp rating doesn’t sound like much. But the 2-stage motor produces 106″ of water lift and 125 CFM is an excellent balance of power.
*1.23 Hp is a number published on Home Depot’s website. Other sites claim 917.21 watts, but there is no mention of either on Vacmaster’s website or manual.
Moving on from the lab and into the shop, the Vacmaster HEPA vacuum gave us 4 pounds, 15 ounces of suction force, putting it in the upper-middle range of our vacuums. That’s with the HEPA filter, meaning you’ll get even more in those applications where you can use a standard filter. It really is impressive performance for a sub-$200 vacuum.
The Bottom Line
Not everyone needs a HEPA-certified shop vacuum. If you’re the kind of person that does, the Vacmaster 8-Gallon HEPA Wet/Dry Vac has an excellent balance of CFM and water lift to go with its price tag. Expect to pay several hundred dollars less than what you’d pay for a full job site dust extractor. From top to bottom, Vacmaster does a great job blending performance, features, and price for HEPA applications.
Vacmaster 8-Gallon HEPA Wet/Dry Vac Specs
- Model: Vacmaster VK811PH
- Motor: 1.23 HP
- Canister Size: 8-Gallon
- Hose Diameter: 1-1/2″
- Hose Length: 10′
- CFM: 125
- Water Lift: 106″
- Warranty: 1 year limited
- Price: $200
I was comparing this with several other higher-end vacuums, for general use and to attach to power tools for dust extraction. The advertised cfm and water lift (125CFM and 106”) set it ahead of almost every other dust extractor, at around half the cost (I was also looking at a Fein Turbo, which has 150CFM and 98” water lift – about almost $500 for the HEPA model). When I got the box, I noticed it had 125CFM, 78” water lift, and 220 air watts listed as its specs. I confirmed this with Vacmaster. For some reason, this 106” water lift… Read more »