I have this really bad habit of procrastinating. Why do now what I can put off for another couple of weeks? It’s nice to get things cleared from the personal agenda, but if that thing will take real effort, I’d just as soon not worry about it until it really needs doing. Take cleaning out the truck, for instance. Weeks’ worth of dirt, leaves, old bank statements, empty water bottles, and candy wrappers all pile up. I’ll think about cleaning it out, but, meh, it can wait. Eventually, I’ll start to realize that I’ve effectively converted my truck into a roving trashcan, and I’ll scare up $1.50 in quarters and spend the next ten minutes at the gas station vacuum. It’s not the worst system in the world, but for two out of every three months, I’m not chomping at the bit to drive anyone else around.
What’s my point? I’ve highlighted this one semi-embarrassing bit of my psyche because, as I’ve found, there might be a better way to go about my habits. Or, at least the ones that revolve around much-needed auto detailing work. This, of course, is where the Vacmaster Beast 5-Gallon Wet/Dry Vac comes into play. It’s small, it’s portable, and there’s not a ton of mussing and fussing about when I need to drag it out to the car for the dreaded cleaning mission. Though it definitely has the capability of working outside of this application, it does a pretty admirable job at this one in particular. So much so, in fact, that we awarded it “Best For Vehicle Cleanup” in our recent Best Shop Vac reviews article.
5.5 HP Motor: The Vacmaster Beast 5-Gallon Wet/Dry Vac comes with a punchy little 5.5 HP motor. It settles in the middle nicely between the 5 and 6 HP motors we see in other models. Of course, it’s how Vacmaster applies the power to CFM and water lift that will tell the whole story.
5 Gallon Capacity: Obviously, the canister on this model isn’t the biggest on the market, but that’s really not the intention. Part of the beauty of this model focuses on the small size; Vacmaster clearly designed this model so that you can pick it up and carry it around. To that end, a 5-gallon canister feels just right.
Blower Function: We didn’t look at a shop vacuum that didn’t include this feature, but its inclusion does merit a mention. We might be more surprised if it didn’t include a blowing feature, to be honest.
Integrated Hose, Cord, And Accessory Storage: This category presents a sort of “mixed bag” for the Vacmaster. On the one hand, this model features a solid cord wrap system. It uses pivoting cord wrap tabs that keep out of the way while you’re using the vacuum, and twist out to contain the 18′ cord when you’re not using it.
On the other hand, the hose holder design could use some work. The rungs don’t feel like they’re necessarily permanently attached. Likewise, the accessory storage needs a little fine-tuning as well. While the Vacmaster Beast 5-Gallon Wet/Dry Vac comes with a good amount of accessories, there’s really not a viable place onboard to store all of them securely.
Filters: Vacmaster included two different types of filters for this model. One, the fine dust cartridge filter, works well for dry vacuuming applications. One the wet side of things, the Vacmaster Beast 5-Gallon Wet/Dry Vac includes a foam filter.
- 1 extension wand
- Fine dust cartridge filter
- Foam wet filter
- Crevice tool
- Car, utility nozzles
- Air/Noise diffuser
With 102 CFM and 82.6″ of water lift, the Vacmaster Beast 5-Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum boasts impressive numbers for this low-capacity class. Obviously, you’ll get more as you go bigger. But when the goal is to stick with a highly portable unit, the trade-off is power.
In our testing, this model (can I call it the Mini Beast? Probably not.) gives us 4.9 pounds of pull force, besting several of the mid-size capacity models that we tested. In giving making part of the Beast series, Vacmaster sets a pretty high expectation. Given what we’ve seen on the performance side, it delivers.
Pricing And Value
The Vacmaster Beast 5-Gallon Wet/Dry Vac retails for around $88. While definitely not the cheapest of the shop vacuums we looked at, you can still pick it up for less than a hundred bucks. For its class, it’s got some of the best performance available, and it comes in a fairly compact and portable package.
The Vacmaster Beast 5-gallon model is a big win in performance if you’re looking for something on the small capacity side. It’s particularly helpful as a shop vac to store in the garage for vehicle cleanup. Its downside is that it has a hard time storing all the accessories and keeping the hose under complete control. This is one that you might want to keep the box for storage so everything stays together.
Vacmaster Beast 5-Gallon Wet/Dry Vac Features
- Best-in-class suction power and airflow easily tackles tough jobs around the jobsite, shop or in the garage (320 air watts, 102 CFM and 82.6 in. water lift)
- Integrated hose, accessory and power cord organization provide space saving, convenient and hassle-free storage
- Includes 7 ft. x 1-7/8 in. kink resistant premium hose, utility nozzle, crevice tool, car nozzle, (1) extension wand, fine dust cartridge filter, foam wet filter and air and noise diffuser
- Integrated hose storage for hassle-free storage when not in use
- On-board accessory storage – accessories are easily accessible when needed and stowed when not in use
- Integrated power cord wrap with quick release for easy access when needed
- Over 25 ft. of cleaning reach (7′ hose and 18′ power cord) allows you to reach farther without unplugging the unit
- Easily converts to blower quick conversion to clear away debris
- Large dust sealed on/off switch for easy control and balanced top handle design for improved comfort
Vacmaster Beast 5-Gallon Wet/Dry Vac Specs
- Model: Vacmaster VFB511B 0201
- Motor: 5.5 HP
- Canister Size: 5-Gallon
- Hose Diameter: 1-7/8 in.
- Hose Length: 7 ft.
- CFM: 102
- Water Lift: 82.6 in.
- Warranty: 5 years limited
- Price: $88