OT: Shop Vac Question

I have decided that I have to break down and buy some kind of wet/dry shop type vacuum. Trouble is in figuring out how much of one I should get. I was
at Lowes recently and they have a full line up of them from pretty dinky to pretty huge. The question is how much of a vac does one need most of the time? I don't want a huge one that takes up half a garage but I don't want a useless pee wee either. Anybody have any recommendations on how big should one go on one of these and how much should one spend? Opinions requested / brands / price / best place to buy etc.
Hawke
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Shop Vac brand is the best we've found of the non-industrial type vacuums. We use them in the plant for vacuuming up aluminum chips and localized coolant spills/leaks. Won't help much with the lake formed when the coolant fill person forgets to turn off the hose to the 200 gallon mobile tank, but for the 5-10 gal spills or occasional hose breaks, it works great. The plastic seems to take the chips better than other brands. Sears brand doesn't stand up to the chips long at all, and the suction is weak. The Shop Vac has a LOT of suction for it's size.
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Anthony

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I second the motion. Shop Vac [large] is the best one for the money that I have tried. Bugs
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Anthony wrote:

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I got the ShopVac with the stainless steel bucket.
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snipped-for-privacy@sny.der.on.ca wrote in

Ya, we have some of those, but the chips still eat up the hose and the elbows, (especially elbows). Take note, these are used on a very-high volume manufacturing production floor. These things go through some serious use.
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Anthony

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I'll n revision of the Shop Vac. I have the Stainless version - and that baby sucks up 1/2" circle blanks of 3/8 steel. I got a hepa filter for mine and will replace it with one.
Martin Martin Eastburn @ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net NRA LOH, NRA Life NRA Second Amendment Task Force Charter Founder
Anthony wrote:

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I have 3 vacuums. A big noisy Shop-Vac, a 5 gallon Ridged quiet model and a Fein. The Fein is outrageously expensive but it gets used the most. Very nice for attaching to the dust outlet of power tools and clearing the bench of chips and sawdust. The Ridged is not quite as powerful or quiet as the Fein but is easy to carry around so it does general clean up in the nooks and crannies and is used to clean up inside the boat. The Shop Vac stays close to the lathe and mill for sucking up chips and occasionally does the major shop floor vacuuming but it makes to much noise and is just to big to maneuver around a crowded shop so it is used the least.
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Glenn Ashmore

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I bought one of the larger (diameter) models from Lowes last Thanksgiving.... half price. It has good suction, but I hate the size. Knowing what I do now, I'd spend more money and get something tall and skinny. It would be much handier to move around. FS
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Whatever type you buy, it is really nice to have an outlet port you can hitch a hose to to blow instead of suck. For vacuuming major spills I have a 5-gal plastic bucket set up as a water trap; it's very easy to empty.
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Seconded. I have a ShopVac "QSP", which does seem to be slightly quieter than my old non-QSP one. The one I have came with the 1-1/4 hose, and I picked up the 2" hose as an option. I chose NOT to get the style they have with the threaded on hose and attachments. With the smaller hose when it clogs, I pull the hose off the suction port, point the pickup end into the suction port to keep from spraying stuff everywhere, and plug the end I just unplugged into the blower port. Usually does the trick. With the 2" hose, I just swap ends (which is why I didn't get the threaded style). You get more airflow but less suction with the larger hose, so it works better for large stuff like wood planer chips, but the smaller hose seems to work better for smaller stuff like sawdust from the tablesaw, so having both is a bonus.
YMMV, --Glenn Lyford
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I have been eyeing the ShopVac model that hangs on the wall. I think one of those mounted between lathe and mill might be just the ticket.
Right now I pull my older small cheapie from under the bench and clean up, then forget to put it back until I trip over it. - - Rex Burkheimer
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Another point, some of the wet/dry vacs have a paper filter not unlike a car air cleaner. If you suck up water and leave it in the vac the paper filter will grow mildew and simply fall apart next time you use it.
Don't ask me how I know!
I have two different ones, "Shop-vac Pro 18, 1000 watts" which has about 2" diameter hose, and the other a small one with about 1" diameter hose. The larger one has heaps of grunt, but the 2" hose is hard to manoeuvre around the floor so I connect bits of both hoses together picking up with a 1" handle and then into the 2" hose.
The small one now has an old cut down pillowslip as a filter and it is great, easy to wash out and put back together.
Hope this helps, Peter
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I like my setup, using a generic shop-vac (Craftsman units really do have suction, but tend to burn out fairly fast).
I've got the Vac unit outside the shop, under shelter. I've piped it into my three work areas, and fabricated sliding blast gates with microswitches that sense when a gate is open.
The microswitches control a low-voltage relay that turns on the vac on demand. Just plug in a hose anywhere, slide open the blast gate, and the unit comes on.
It's QUIET (shhhhhhhh!). All you hear is the chips flying up the hose.
Common plumbing PVC fittings can be lathe modified to fit vacuum hose fittings. Use long sweeps on turns and tees. (like the guy before, don't ask me how I know... but socks are involved <G>)
LLoyd
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wrote:

I bought a Shop Vac Pro a few months ago. It has the fake HP ratings like all the consumer models do. I wonder when the vacuum folks are gonna get sued like the compressor folks. Anyway, it's pretty large diameter and squat. Harder to tip over but also hard to move around in my crowded shop. However, it not only has plenty of suction, it's QUIET. My employee and I were discussing the size vs noise issue. And even though the size makes it awkward to move around the lower noise level is worth it. Everybody who has heard it comments on how quiet it is. I would for sure buy another one. ERS
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wrote:

I forgot to mention that it has a cap that unscrews at the bottom that makes it real easy to drain. ERS
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I just received a small shop vac for my birthday. I really like it. the suction is better than I have on my vacuum cleaners and it is great for cleaning out the car. It depends on the size of Shop Vac you need. My little one was around $20-$25. good luck in you quest.
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I have an older Craftsman that already has a new armature. Fried the first one nicely. I use it on the exhaust end of the 6x48 belt sander, plus general cleanup on remodeling projects. One use is to vacumn out the bits of concrete or plaster when blasting holes in walls. It takes out all the dust, most of the pebble sided chunks, leaves the big pieces easy to get out. But this takes a full 2" hose and plenty of suction to work right.
Hawke wrote:

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wrote:

One thing: if you ever think you will use it as a "wet vac", make sure you get a model with a drain plug at the bottom of the tank. Many don't have this, which makes emptying them a lot more hassle.
Doug White
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If you plan to use it as a wet vac, don't buy one bigger than 10 gallons. They get very unweildy when nearly full of liquid. It's OK if you are rolling it around, but difficult to manage on stairs. Dropping a vac full of dirty water at the top of a flight of stairs makes a helluva mess. Don't ask me how I know....SWMBO was not impressed by the indoor waterfall nor the lake in her kitchen.
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Ron DeBlock N2JSO
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