The creation of dust and debris is inevitable in a workshop or craftspersons environment. Removing dust particles at the source is recommended not only for health reasons but to increase efficiency and productivity in the workspace.
Like other vacuums, Shop Vacs are prone to being loud. However in residential areas and even some dedicated work-spaces, sounds needs to be kept to a minimum.
It's not often that product descriptors like "it really sucks" are positive points in a review, however shop vacs are an exception.
Quiet Shop Vacs
1. Festool HEPA Dust Extractor
With Hepa Filtration, the Festool Dust Extractor collects not only dust, but chips, and shavings from the point of origin and recycles filtered air back into the room.
The flat filter is located in a separate compartment and not the containment area. When used in combination with Festool filter bags, this provides greater airflow and prevents unwanted clogging. Upon removal of the filter and bag, the vac becomes capable of wet cleanup. This is a fast and reliable way of safely clearing spillages. Auto-stop technology applies itself when the safe fill level is reached.
The machine is robust and compact, it has large wheels that make maneuvering in confined spaces a simple task. It is ergonomically balanced and the low center of gravity allows it to move freely.
It features SysDock, a mobile transport system that stores all of your equipment in one handy place. This makes working in a customer's home or building more efficient and prevents valuable time lost when hunting for a particular attachment. Simply pack everything into place, and use the large, convenient handle to securely pull or carry the vacuum to the next job.
There is a foot pedal for simple power operation, however, the machine senses when the tool is cycled on and auto-starts. Similarly, it shuts down when the power tool is cycled off. The parking brake is also foot-operated which prevents the vac from accidental movement during use.
With variable suction force, the user can decide the level suited to the task with the touch of a dial. This provides the optimal power in the exact place it is needed (also minimizing noise output).
There is a large boom arm to attach the hose. This raises the height of the hose and keeps the material protected. The hose is 11.5-feet long and is made from anti-static material that doesn't attract dust; it is flexible and kink-resistant. It has a large diameter which increases airflow.
The Festool Dust Extractor is compatible with all Festool power tools and the hose connection suits multiple port syles providing a secure connection with various brands. There is a tight seal that prevents any suction power loss during use.
2. FEIN TURBO II Shop Vac
Let's begin this review of the Fein Turbo dust extractor by discussing noise, or lack thereof. Noise level ratings are so low that you can comfortably hold a conversation when standing next to it, even at full power. Emitting just 66dB of sound, it is quieter than most standard household vacuums.
It is a sturdy machine that is easy to drag around a busy workshop. It weighs a bit over 20lbs and has 4-wheels, each of which rotates through 360-degrees to allow smooth, jerk-free movement in the most confined spaces. The top of the vac is flat with a deep rim, the ideal surface to securely store your tools as you work. There are various hooks and clips to store all hoses and tools onboard the machine for maximum convenience and efficiency.
The Fein is dual-purpose, not only does it feature adjustable suction to give the user ultimate control, but it also has wet vac capabilities. With a large 8.4 gallon capacity and a high-performance turbo capable of 151cfm, 71 l/s flow rate, it has 98.4" of water lift, (245 bar vacuum). If that is just a series of numbers to you, it translates to very high power and makes cleaning up spillages very light work. Sadly, the Fein vac isn't equipped with a drain so emptying it requires manually pumping or pouring.
The 1100w by-pass motor combined with the advanced cooling system greatly extends its service life. The 1-micron cellulose filter ensures that no dirty air from the hose ever comes into contact with the motor. The dust collection bag is made from a fleece fabric that ensures whatever debris is collected stays in there. Even when sanding drywall, there is no dust cloud; everything is collected at the source.
The 13ft hose and 18ft cord allow great freedom in a workspace. The hose is flexible and has a wide diameter to aid additional suction. It is compatible with most brands of power tools and with auto-start technology, once the attached tool powers on, so does the Fein Turbo vac.
3. Makita Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum Cleaner
Makita power tools are instantly recognizable with their deep green color and sturdy design. The Wet and Dry vac is no exception to the rule; the machine is incredibly robust.
It operates with a 12-amp motor that supplies 135CFM of suction power and 92” of water lift. This enables the machine to clear concrete dust and debris in minimal time.
The Hepa filtration system ensures that you remain OSHA building regulation compliant. There is an automatic filter cleaning system, whereby the airflow momentarily reverses and blasts the filter clean. This greatly increases the service life of the filter whilst not interfering with the suction ability.
The rugged connector valve allows for auto-start meaning the vacuum and the power tool operate simultaneously. Likewise, as the power is cycled off at the tool-level, within 10-seconds, the vacuum shuts down. This additional time is to ensure no debris lingers inside the hose.
The 1.25" hose is 16ft to supply maximum reach and high-powered suction, it is anti-static and repels dust to maintain a cleaner working environment. The 24.6ft long power cord to gets you exactly where you need to be without having to find an extra outlet.
Compatible with most power tools including sanders, routers, jig, miter, and track saws, the Makita vac effectively cleans up drilling, chipping, surfacing, and cutting debris. Quietly. The chamber surrounding the motor is constructed of sound-absorbing materials that allow it to emit just 59dB of noise. That is slightly less than the decibel rating of normal conversation.
The machine has a relatively small footprint; it requires little storage space. Weighing just 27lbs and with a large sturdy handle, it is light enough to carry around. When in use, the combination of the 2-wheel styles ensures that moving it around is simple.
4. Nilfisk ALTO Aero Wet/Dry Shop Vac
If you're looking for a compact and lightweight dust extraction vacuum, the Nilfisk Alto is worthy of serious consideration. Weighing only 9kg, yet with a powerful 1500w motor, it is the ideal machine to transport from one site to the next.
It emits very low-level noise, approximately 64dB, which shouldn't elicit any complaints from neighbors or homeowners when working in a customer's home.
It is suited for both wet and dry cleaning and is armed with 127 CFM, and 84" water lift in a 6.6-gallon capacity unit. It is Hepa certified and supplied with 1-filter that utilizes a Push and Clean system. This uses a blast of air to clean the filter cartridge to prevent performance loss, increase productivity, and to extend the life of the filter.
Dust collection occurs in a fleece bag that captures all particles. Depending on the contents, this can either be disposed of and replaced after use, otherwise, it is machine-washable. Liner bags protect the unit and motor by preventing particles from settling, therefore increasing life-expectancy.
The 1.25” diameter hose is 11.5ft long; it is flexible and has an anti-static coating. Some users might prefer a wider hose, the machine can be adapted to fit various widths. There is an additional extension tube and suction brush included, along with a convenient tool holder and top space to rest any power tools.
Connecting drilling, sanding, and cutting tools via the onboard socket and the rubber nozzles provides a secure connection. The auto-start function ensures the Nilfisk quiet vac activates as soon as the tool powers up. It has the power to spare; it cleans the air and all of the surroundings of all harmful particles whilst maintaining a clean, dust-free workspace at the source.
5. Ridgid Wet/Dry Shop Vac
The Ridgid wet/dry vacuum is a multi-functional tool that no home or workshop environment should be without.
The 2.5" wide hose is flexible and offers exceptional suction provided by the 6 peak hp motor. It is capable of picking up dust and debris utilizing the triple-layer, fine dust filter that ensures all drywall dust is collected with ease. It can also be used to suck up small amounts of water, which is easily drained via the inbuilt plug in the base of the unit.
When the exhaust airstream is set to blow, a powerful air jet is created, strong enough to not only clean shavings and dust from a surface, but to clear a driveway of dry leaves.
Transporting the vacuum couldn't be easier, the hose clips securely into place with a Tug-A-Long feature that ensures wherever you go, the vac follows closely behind. Each of the 4 casters spin through 360-degrees allowing free movement and the tall, slim design enable the vac to slip through doorways and narrow spaces unhindered.
Scroll noise reduction technology provides precision-controlled airflow through the vacuum. Not only does this increase performance, but it also ensures little noise is emitted for quiet performance.
The shop vac has a 14-gallon capacity and can be used with or without a bag. With – emptying is easier, without – zero power loss produces powerful performance.
It weighs just 25lbs and has a handy centralized pulling handle. Two further side handles enable the user to lift the vacuum comfortably.
Why Choose a Quiet Shop Vac?
By nature shop vacs are loud, and annoyingly so. The noise is caused by high-powered electric motors in order to support increased suction powered. Fans spin and create low-pressure space inside a compartment which, in turn, produces strong airflow for water lift or sealed suction.
Every part that moves in the shop-vac creates some level of noise. This can often go unnoticed by lone shop workers who are used to working with earplugs or defenders.
In places of multiple employers, noise nuisance can create an issue with loss of concentration, motivation, and sometimes leave lasting damage to hearing.
Quiet shop vacs employ controlled airflow techniques and sound absorbant materials in motor chambers to reduce the noise to a comfortable level.
Commercial shop vacs operate at decibel levels above 85dB, equivalent to heavy traffic noise or a power lawnmower.
Quiet vacs operate in the range of 50-70 decibels, similar to the sound of regular conversation.
For the tradesperson working on-site in a customer's home, this is very advantageous.
Types of Shop Vacs
Shop vacs are designed with the tradesperson in mind but often have multiple other functions to widen and diversify their uses.
Usually supplied with a basic set of attachment nozzles that suck up all kinds of debris and wet waste. Wet and dry vacs can tackle dirt, dust, and spillages in awkward and hard to reach areas that other cleaning tools might struggle to reach. They usually have extra-long power cords and include precise instructions for filter and bag removal when used for liquid suction.
Wall Mountable Vacs
Ideal for areas where space is at a premium where work takes place in a specific area. They are bracketed to a wall with additional brackets for hoses and accessories. Emptying occurs via a release valve in the base. This is efficient and organized but prevents the vacuum from being transported.
Powered by an internal or external battery that needs to be regularly recharged. The user isn't limited by cord length enabling them to get into awkward, confined spaces. Ensuring the battery is always charged is a nuisance though.
What Factors Make a Shop Vac Quiet?
With each model comes a varying set of features that claim to make it the best vacuum of its kind. Researching and comparing each criterion will result in finding the model most suited to your needs.
The noise emitted by a shop vac is measured in decibels. Regular vacuums have 90dB+ ratings and are considered deafening, particularly when operated for long periods.
Quiet shop vacs that have dedicated controlled airflow and sound-absorbing materials, sit in the very comfortable region of 60-70dB. This is no louder than regular conversation levels.
Any vacuum that emits less than 60dB is considered super quiet.
The main body/canister of the vacuum is made from one of two materials;
- Plastic canisters made from extruded plastic are cheap, lightweight, and moisture-resistant. They are durable and can survive being dragged around a busy workshop without fear of being scratched or dented.
- Stainless steel canisters are more expensive and usually the heavier of the two. However, they are easier to clean and extremely durable.
Most often measured in Horsepower, CFM, or Waterlift.
Horsepower isn't the most reliable rating of the suction power of a vacuum as it measures the power output of a motor with no attachment.
CFM stands for Cubic Feet per Minute and relates to the volume of air that a vacuum can suck up in 1-minute. It is displayed as a number, for example, 127 CFM. The higher the number is the greater the suction power the vacuum possesses.
Waterlift is the common term for Sealed Pressure and denotes the height a vacuum can lift a tube filled with water. The figure is shown in inches and anything with an SP of 75”+ is classed as good.
The style of the filter differs between machines, some are flat and others are cylindrical.
HEPA filters are desirable as they capture 99.99% of particles and microrganisms from the air, improving the overall air quality. Some worksites will only allow HEPA-certified on their grounds.
1-micron filters are supplied as stock in several shop vacs; they are also very effective.
Filters will need to be replaced periodically at further expense. Consider a style of shop vac that supplies washable filters or where the machine has a filter cleaning function that extends the filter life.
Not all quiet shop vacs require collection bags, where they are required, collection and disposal are much easier.
The filter bag also acts as a barrier that prevents any dust particles from entering the motor and causing damage.
Longer hoses make reaching great distances easier without having to move the vacuum closer. Some models come with a boom, an arm to which the hose secures to prevent it from coming into contact with the working surface.
The diameter of the hose is important. It affects the suction power of the vacuum and allows free passage of debris. Narrow hoses get blocked by large wood shavings culminating in a loss of suction and much wasted time clearing the blockage.
Larger capacity tanks are heavier as they hold more. They can be more difficult to maneuver but will need to be emptied less frequently.
The size of the shop vac and its footprint are a further consideration if there is limited storage space or narrow channels it will have to pass through. Many tradespeople will need to be able to transport the vacuum regularly and so it should be compact and portable.
Some of our featured vacuums can turn into blowers at the flick of a switch, ideal for blowing the leaves from driveways or the dust and wood shavings into a pile.
Other models require the user to connect the hose to the exhaust unit to supply the outgoing air jet.
Other Considerations When Choosing a Quiet Shop Vac
Although the machines are known as shop vacs, they are also handy tools to have around the house. They are capable of doing multiple indoor and outdoor tasks to make life easier.
Not only are they suited to dust and debris collection, but with the appropriate attachments, they are great for cleaning many surfaces, including walls, floors, ceilings, carpets, and outdoor spaces.
Many models are capable of quickly sucking up spillages before permanent staining occurs.
We have already seen how some models can be transformed into garden blowers for leaves, dust, or gravel, but did you know they are ideal tools for inflating airbeds, dinghies, and kids toys.
Shop vacs differ in the attachments that they provide with their product. A wide range of extension poles and nozzles are required to experience the vacuum at its most versatile.
Storage space for the accessories is an advantage, enabling an organized workspace can only increase efficiency.
With most machines have extra-long power cords, automatic coil rewind is beneficial.
Still Struggling With a Noisy Shop Vac?
There are a few inexpensive but simple ways to reduce the noise output of your vacuum.
- If the machine is on a hard floor, consider placing some soft material beneath it to absorb some of the sounds. A cork mat or a roll of foam should make a noticeable difference.
- A longer hose attachment not only moves the user further away from the noisy motor, but it also makes requires the sound to travel and dissipate.
- Keep the air filters and hoses clean. Any kind of blockage that stops or reduces airflow requires the motor to work harder. When this happens excess noise is created by the motor and the cooling fans. Most noise or suction issues usually start with a dirty fan.
- Mufflers are available to sit over the exhaust and drastically reduce noise. They are safe and relatively inexpensive.
A quiet shop vac is an essential piece of equipment in every busy workshop. Removing almost all of dust and debris at the moment it is created frees up time that can be spent doing anything other tasks.
Maintained well, there is no reason why your quiet shop vac can't last for very many years providing a safe and clean environment for all, in peace and tranquility.
Snoringsource.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for website owners to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon(.com, .co.uk, .ca etc) and any other website that may be affiliated with Amazon Service LLC Associates Program.