A shop vacuum is designed to clean your garage, workshop, or job site quickly and more efficiently than a broom. A vacuum cleaner is an essential tool for any job site. They can clean sawdust, pieces of scrap, nails, metal shavings, and water – something a regular house vacuum simply can’t do.
Unfortunately, the one problem shop vacs have is that they’re incredibly noisy. Thankfully, that’s not the issue with all the models available in the market.
In this article, we’ll showcase the best quiet shop vacs you can find on the market, show you how to find the best quiet shop vac for your needs, and much more!
In A Hurry? The Best Quiet Shop Vac Is…
Fein Turbo II Wet/Dry Vacuum
- This shop vac produces only 66 dB of noise
- Provides ample suction power and water lift
- Can be used in combination with a power tool
- Large canister
- Provides you with 33 feet of reach
- HEPA filter system
Best Quiet Shop Vacs Compared
|Product||Noise Level||CFM||SP||Canister Capacity|
|66 dB||151||98.4 inches||8.4 gallons|
|~80 dB||90||n/a||10 gallons|
|64||125||84 inches||5.2 gallons|
|59 dB||132||92 inches||12 gallons|
|74 dB||81||n/a||5 gallons|
|~70 dB||31||n/a||2 gallons|
Top 6 Best Quiet Shop Vacs Reviewed
Here are our top picks for the quietest shop vac of 2021. We made sure to include all the most popular brands, as well as a couple that are not so well-known.
Of course, we also made sure to include vacuums from all price points.
Fein Turbo II Wet/Dry Vacuum – Best Quiet Shop Vac
- Features an auto-start feature
The Fein Turbo II is a German-designed shop vac manufactured in Eastern Europe. While this part of the world is known for shoddy production, this isn’t the case with this vacuum.
The Fein Turbo II features a 1.4 peak horsepower motor that’s capable of producing a flow rate of a whopping 151 CFM. This is more than enough to suck up even the biggest of debris around your shop.
The SP rating is just as amazing as the airflow rate and clocks at 98.4 inches of water lift. This means you won’t have any trouble sucking up water even from soaked-up carpets.
For additional safety, the Fein Turbo II features a by-pass motor design that ensures no dirty air from the hose gets into the sensitive parts of the vacuum.
When it comes to noise rating, this vacuum produces only 66 dB of noise. It’s quieter than a room with two people talking, which makes it one of the most silent shop vacuums on the market.
Fein Turbo II features an 8.4-gallon plastic canister that glides on swivel wheels for portability. Coupled with the 13-foot hose and a 19-foot power cord, this vacuum gives you almost 32 feet of range.
This vacuum comes with accessory storage and a rimmed flat top for even more storage. The accessories that come with it include a steel wand, elbow, a crevice tool, dust brush, and a floor tool.
When it comes to filters, it comes with a cellulose filter and a fleese filter bag. The filters are very durable, and with proper care, can last for decades to come.
Fein II comes with an auto-start feature that will turn the machine the second you turn your power tools such as a chop saw or sander.
The only thing we don’t like about this vacuum is the lack of a drain hole. If you use it to suck up water, you will have to remove the canister and spill the water out.
- Incredibly quiet
- Comes with lots of accessories
- Can be used with power tools
- Doesn’t come with a drain hole
Dewalt DXV10P Quiet Poly Wet Dry Vacuum – Most Affordable Quiet Shop Vac
- Features durable rubberized casters
- Powerful motor
- Long power cord
- Large tank capacity
Dewalt DXV10P Quiet Poly Wet Dry Vacuum is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a shop vac that’s both quiet and affordable.
Dewalt DXV10P features a quiet 2-stage 10-amp motor that’s incredibly durable. While there are no exact specs as to how much noise this vacuum produces, it’s safe to assure it’s in the 70 dB range.
This shop vac comes with a 5.5 peak horsepower motor is capable of producing an airflow of 90 CFM which is more than acceptable. Unfortunately, there is no mention of an SP rating, so avoid this shop vac if you’re planning on vacuuming water.
Dewalt DXV10P comes with a 10-gallon plastic canister that’s supported with swivel wheels for easy maneuverability. What’s more, it also comes with a tank drain hole for easy emptying.
We especially love the inclusion of a carrying handle on the motor. This handle allows you to carry the shop vac around with incredible ease.
The 7-foot anti-static hose with a 1 7/8-inch diameter combined with a 20-foot power cord provides you with 30-feet of reach from the plug. The cord is not retractable rather you have to wrap it around the top of the shop vac.
Dewalt DXV10P wet/dry vacuum comes with a washable cartridge filter and a dust bag but doesn’t come with a HEPA filter. So if you need your workplace to be OSHA compliant, you will have to buy HEPA filters additionally.
When it comes to accessories, the Dewalt DXV10P wet/dry vacuum comes with extension wands, a floor nozzle, a crevice tool, and a utility nozzle.
There is no dedicated accessory storage. Thankfully, this quiet shop vac comes with an accessory bag you can attach to the side of the canister.
Although this quiet shop vac is quite affordable, it comes with a blower port. All you have to do is attach the hose to the port and turn the vacuum on.
- Powerful and durable motor
- Large canister capacity
- The cartridge filter is easy to maintain
- Doesn’t come with HEPA filters
Nilfisk Alto Aero – Best Stainless Steel Tank Quiet Shop Vac
- Durable Stainless Steel Tank
- Low noise pollution
- Superb suction power
Nilfisk Alto Aero Wet Dry Vacuum is another product hailing from Germany. If you’re looking for an ultra-quiet shop vac with a stainless steel canister, you should consider buying one.
Nilfisk Alto Aero Wet/Dry Vacuum comes with a 1.3 peak horsepower motor that pulls 13 amps and can produce 125 CFM of suction. This is more than enough suction force for even the largest debris.
The motor is also incredibly silent and produces only 64 dB of noise. You don’t have to wear any ear protection while handling this quiet shop vac!
And since this is a wet/dry vacuum it provides up to 84 inches of water lift. This makes it an excellent choice for those that are operating a car wash or need a shop vac to suck up large quantities of water from the floor.
Nilfisk Alto Aaero comes with a 5.2-gallon wet dry vacuum canister built out of stainless steel. The canister is kink-resistant to minimize the risk of shock hazards.
The tank on this quiet shop vac doesn’t come with a drain plug. Thankfully, the canister is pretty easy to detach and takes only a couple of seconds.
When it comes to filters, the Nilfisk Alto Aero Wet Dry Vacuum comes with a HEPA filter and a washable PET fleece filter bag. On top of that, it features a semi-automatic filter cleaning system.
If you’re looking for a quiet shop vac you can use with your power tools, the Nilfisk comes with a power tool receptacle. It will start and stop with the power tools you use.
When it comes to accessories, this quiet shop vac comes with extension wands, a wet/dry floor nozzle, a suction brush, a crevice tool, a universal nozzle, a dust bag, and a tool adapter.
- Coomes with a powerful 13-amp motor
- Produces only 66 dB of noise
- Can be used in combination with a power tool
Makita VC4710X1 12 gallon Wet/Dry Xtract Vac Vacuum – Best High-End Quiet Shop Vac
- Built out of high-quality materials
- Very lightweight
- Comes with lots of accessories
- Automatic filter cleaning system with a blow-back feature
If you’re looking for a high-end quiet shop vac, then look no further than the Makita VC471X1 Xtract Vac Wet/Dry Vacuum! This vacuum is specially designed to produce as little noise as possible, and also comes with a whole slew of other features.
Makita Xtract Vac shop vac comes with a 1.2 peak hp motor that can produce 135 CFM of suction power. For such an underpowered motor, this is just amazing.
When it comes to water suction, Xtract Vac can produce up to 92-inches of water lift. Whether you’re planning on using this vacuum as a dust extractor or for water extraction, it’s more than capable of doing that.
On top of that, this shop vac produces only 59 dB of noise!
The plastic canister has a 12-gallon of dry capacity and 8 gallons of wet capacity. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a drain, so you’ll have to disconnect the motor from the canister to empty it.
The canister is supported by two large fixed wheels and two smaller swivel wheels. This configuration gives you excellent maneuverability, especially over rough floors littered with debris.
Xtract Vac features a 24 1/2-foot power cord and a 16-foot 1 3/8-inch diameter anti-static hose. Combined, these two give you a reach of 40 feet, which is simply amazing. On top of that, the anti-static hose ensures no dust debris will get stuck in it, reducing the vacuum’s efficiency.
This shop vac features a self-cleaning filter bag and air filter. The dust filter can block particles as small as 2-microns as well as the Nano filter bag.
Makita also accepts a HEPA filter. It also comes with a rocker valve that prevents a decrease in suction power during reverse airflow while the machine cleans the filters after a set amount of time.
You can use the Xtract Vac as a dust extractor thanks to its tool-activated receptacle.
When it comes to accessories, this shop vac comes with an accessory tray, a crevice tool, a cuff adapter, and a disposable dust bag.
- Superb tank capacity
- Self-cleaning dust filter
- Incredibly silent
- Very expensive
Vacmaster VWM510 5-Gallon Wet Dry Vacuum – Best Wall-Mounted Quiet Shop Vac
- Large Range
- 5 peak hp motor
The Vacmaster VWM510 isn’t just a quiet wet/dry vac, it’s also portable. This vacuum is an excellent choice for anyone that doesn’t have a lot of room in their workshop or workplace.
Vacmaster comes with a 2-stage 5 peak hp motor that can produce up to 81 CFM of suction power. While this isn’t much, keep in mind that this vacuum is incredibly compact.
Although this shop vac has a powerful motor, it’s incredibly quiet. It produces only 74 dB of noise. While this isn’t as silent as other vacuums in this list, it’s still pretty impressive when you factor in its low price.
The plastic wet and dry canister offers 5-gallons of the collection area and comes with wall mounting hooks and a carrying handle for when you need to carry it around. The wall mount frame is incredibly easy to install, and the unit will attach and remove quickly and easily.
This shop vac comes with a 10-foot 1 7/8-inch diameter hose and a 20-foot cord. Combined, the hose and the cord provide you with 30 feet of reach, which is quite amazing for such a compact machine. The cord isn’t retractable, unfortunately, and you’ll have to wrap it around the motor.
The VWM510 features a washable cartridge filter and a foam sleeve filet. Unfortunately, this vacuum is not set up for a HEPA filter system, so if you need your workspace to be OSHA compliant, you better avoid buying this vac.
When it comes to accessories, the VWM510 comes with 2 plastic wands, a floor nozzle, a car tool, a crevice tool, an air/noise diffuser, and an 11-foot crushproof hose.
If only this vacuum vas compatible with a HEPA filter, we would recommend it to anyone. As things stand, this vacuum is an excellent choice for those that don’t have to abide by OSHA and EPA standards.
- Very compact
- Excellent range
- Comes with lots of accessory items
- Underwhelming suction
- Not compatible with HEPA systems
DEWALT 20V MAX Vacuum – Best Portable Quiet Shop Vac
- Cordless and corded operation
- Decent tank capacity
Keeping up with the theme of portability, the last place in our list goes to one of the best portable quiet shop vacs you can buy, the Dewalt 20V Max Vacuum.
This compact shop vac can be both AC or powered by a MAX 18v/20v battery. This makes it excellent for jobs that are off the grid or when the power is unreliable.
Depending on the test, the battery on this vac can last anywhere between 20 and 30 minutes. This is why we recommend you pack a replacement if you’re planning on using it extensively/
Devalwt Max vacuum can produce 31 CFM of suction. While this is;t enough suction to pick up large debris like nails and screws, it’s perfect for fine debris like sawdust or plaster. On top of that, you can also use this vacuum as a fume extractor.
Although, it’s portable, Dewalt Max is also capable of sucking up liquids. While there are no water suction specs available, we’re pretty sure they’re not too amazing. Still, it’s good to see a portable shop vac that can suck up water.
This vacuum comes with a 2-gallon capacity canister and a 5-foot crush-resistant 1 1/4-inch hose. We can forgive the short hose length since this is a portable vac, but we wish the canister was a bit bigger.
This vac also comes with a 5-foot power cord, so you can use it even when the battery is empty. Combined with the hose, you get around 10 feet of reach, which is quite impressive for such a small machine.
Dewalt Max Vacuum comes with a HEPA cartridge filter that’s rated for dry/wet use. It can capture particles as small as 0.3 micros and it’s completely washable. With proper care, the filter will last you for years.
This vacuum is covered by Dewalt’s 3-year manufacturer’s warranty and it’s also covered by a 12-month free service.
- Incredibly compact
- Comes with a HEPA filter
- Subpar suction
- Small tank capacity
Why Are Shop Vacs So Loud?
The suction of a shop vac is based on its power. Power is derived from amps and watts that are delivered to an electric motor which spins the fan (or fans) to create a low-pressure space inside the tank. This low-pressure space produces sealed suction or water lift based on airflow – each causing some level of noise.
So far, you might’ve noticed we haven’t mentioned horsepower. This is because a vacuum’s noise level has nothing to do with the amount of power it can generate.
A shop vac’s ability to lift dirt and debris off the ground is based on its airflow and is calculated in CFM (cubic feet per minute).
The level of noise a vacuum cleaner produces is not tied to the case size, but to the design. Vacuums with smaller motors can be just as noisy as vacuums with large motors.
Anything that restricts or blocks the airflow through the machine will cause it to work harder and produce more noise.
Here are a couple of reasons why your shop vacuum cleaner may be so noisy.
The motor is the most common reason for the noise. Some shop vacs use AC motors which are noisier but are cheaper to produce. If you want a quiet shop vac, you should look for one that utilizes a DC motor. Just keep in mind that will cost you more.
AC motors vibrate more, which produces more noise.
Shop vac motors use brush bearings to deliver the voltage to a motor as it turns.
Brush bearings also help keep the motor aligned so it doesn’t rub on the stator and cause friction, which can cause high heat.
Fine dust can get into the bearings and other moving parts of the vacuum and prevent them from rolling correctly. This, in turn, produces a high-frequency squeal that can get annoying pretty fast.
Broken or worn-out bearings will greatly contribute to the noise level the vacuum cleaner produces. Thankfully, if this is the issue, one trip to a qualified repair shop for a replacement will fix it.
Another reason why your shop vacuum cleaner is noisy is due to a clogged up or dirty HEPA filter. This is because the motor has to work harder to create suction. The more the motor struggles, the more noise it produces.
A clogged hose or floor nozzle, a full filter bag or canister, will do the same. Thankfully, this issue is much easier to fix than broken bearings.
A broken fan can cause the vacuum cleaner to become incredibly loud. On top of that, it will also reduce the vacuum’s suction power since it impedes the generation of airflow.
The motor has to work harder, plus the fan may put the rotation out of sync causing friction, thus creating noise. A broken fan can be easily fixed by a trained technician in a repair shop.
All vacuum cleaners vibrate. The body of the shop vac will vibrate with the power of the inrush of the air created by the motor and the fans.
If the vibration becomes excessive, there may be something deflecting the centrifuge of the air while it’s generated. This is usually caused by a full filter bag or canister. Emptying it will usually fix the issue.
Shop Vacuum Noise Levels
Before we get into the meat of the matter, let’s cover some basics.
A quiet room usually has 40 dB of noise.
You discussing with your friends which is the most silent shop vac on the market will produce around 60 dB of noise.
If you turn on the TV, that will bump up the noise level to around 70 dB.
When it comes to workshop vac noise levels, they range from 55 dB up to 90 dB and more.
A vacuum that produces 55 dB of noise can be classified as ultra-quiet.
A vacuum cleaner that produces 65 to 70 dB can be considered a medium noise model. Anything above 75 dB can be considered loud.
Shop vacuum cleaners are usually louder than their household counterparts because they’re bigger.
The sheer volume of shop vacs is larger than their household contemporaries – they produce more power, amps, and more noise. On top of that, shop vacuum cleaners need to work more to create a low-pressure zone to provide more suction force.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health states a person can tolerate up to eight hours of exposure to 85 dB of noise a day.
Most workshop vacuum cleaners produce between 80 and 85 dB when they’re new – the noise level will increase the longer you use them.
The quietest shop vac noise level is between 60 and 80 dB.
Types Of Shop Vacs
Workshop vacuums are available in a wide variety of configurations and materials. Before you head out and buy one, consider what type will work best for you.
Wet Dry Shop Vacs
A wet-dry vacuum cleaner can suck up both dry and wet debris. On top of that, you can use it to suck up water and other liquids.
A wet dry vac has a long cord and comes with attachments for dry and wet surfaces. They also utilize swivel wheels for easier moving around the workshop.
Wall Mountable Shop Vacs
A wall-mounted workshop vacuum cleaner features brackets that secure it to the wall and hold it off the ground. This type of shop vac is more space-efficient and often comes with storing attachments and hoses.
To clean up a wall-mounted vacuum, you just have to remove the base and empty the canister.
Cordless and Portable Shop Vacs
Cordless/Portable vacuums feature an internal or external rechargeable battery. They are commonly very light and have a limited run time. Most come with attachments and a spare battery.
Shop Vac Canister Material
When choosing an ideal workshop vacuum, you must consider the canister material. The canisters come in two flavors:
Plastic is a cheap and lightweight material for vacuum canisters. They are waterproof, easy to clean, flexible, and won’t scratch when you bang them into machines or tools around your workshop. However, since they’re more flexible, they vibrate more – producing more noise.
Stainless steel canisters are more expensive and heavy than their plastic counterparts. However, a stainless steel tank produces less static charge, which means it’s easier to clean.
Some stainless steel canisters are waterproof but take very long to dry. If you scratch or dent them, you might have a problem. Still, since they’re less flexible, they produce less noise.
What Are Best Quiet Shop Vac Most Popular Brands?
If you’re looking for a quiet shop vac, you want to pay attention to the following brands.
Fein is a company based in Germany that specializes in manufacturing all kinds of tools, including portable shop vacs.
Their vacuums produce around 66 dB of noise and have an airflow rate between 151 and 153 CDM. The water lift they can produce is around 98”.
Their wet and dry vacuums come with removable filters, and some models even feature self-cleaning ones. All their vacuums come with an accessory set of wands and brushes that attach to a 13-foot hose.
Festool is also a Germany-based company that produces a line of portable shop vacs. They produce very little noise – between 62 and 67 dB.
The water lift Festool shop vacs can produce varies between 80” and 96” depending on the model.
Most of the Festool vacuum cleaners feature HEPA filters or come with a 1-micron filter.
Depending on the model, you get different accessories. The same goes for the hose length – some come with an 11-foot hose and some with a 22-foot hose.
Makita is a world-renowned tool manufacturer with manufacturing and assembly plants all over the world.
Makita offers a wide range of sho vacs for all kinds of purposes. They offer both corded and corded shop vacs, as well as a couple of backpack-style models.
Makita shop vacs are capable of producing water lift between 28 and 92” depending on the model. All of their vacuums are incredibly silent producing anywhere between 49 and 70 dB with a suction rate between 53 and 135 CFM.
All Makita shop vacs come with HEPA filters, and some even feature a Bluetooth connect ability.
Best Quiet Shop Vac: A Buying Guide
Selecting the perfect shop vac for your needs is no easy task. Here are some of the considerations you need to take into account when looking for one.
What Are Shop Vacs Best Used For?
Before you even start looking for a workshop vacuum, you need to think about what are you going to use it for.
Workshop vacuums are excellent for cleaning your workplace, but they can also serve a myriad of other purposes.
Some come with the ability to suck up dangerous fumes and dust from tools. This type of vacuum is usually referred to as a dust extractor.
If you’re going to be dealing with liquids a lot, you should look for a wet and dry shop vac.
Lastly, some shop vacs feature a blower port you can attach the hose to and use the vacuum for blowing leaves or dust, and even blow up balloons and balls.
When looking for a shop vac, be sure to buy one that’s as quiet as possible.
We recommend looking for models that produce between 60 dB and 80 dB of noise pollution.
Horse Power Rating, CFM and SP
Horsepower rating or peak HP rating represents the maximum power a motor is rated for with nothing attached. This is why this is not the best metric for how powerful a model is.
Cubic Feet Per Minute or CFM rating represents the volume of air the vacuum will suck up in a minute. The higher the CFM the better, especially if you have to deal with sawdust and plaster.
Sealed pressure or SP represents the water lift a vacuum can produce and is based on how high the model will lift a column of water in a tube. If you need a good wet and dry vac, look for one that offers at least 75” CFM.
Tank Size And Capacity
Tank capacity depends on how big your workshop or workplace is and what are you mostly dealing with.
If you’re a carpenter, look for a vacuum that offers a large tank capacity.
If you’re looking for a dust extractor for fumes, look for something with a smaller tank.
Filters And Bags
Filter type depends on the type of task a vacuum is built for.
A wet and dry vacuum needs a foam sleeve filter.
What’s more, there are filters for large, medium, and fine debris and dust. Using the right filter ensures smaller particles remain in the dust bag of the vacuum.
Most vacuums come with a HEPA filter or filters to reduce out-blown dust even more.
Some vacuums even come with a self-cleaning filter bag or a cartridge filter. It all depends on the model and purpose, and you should choose accordingly.
Shop Vac Hose Diameter And Lenght
The length and diameter of the hose determine the suction power of a vacuum.
Hose diameter also affects the size and type of debris you can suck up. A 2 1/2” diameter is best for workshops that have lots of large debris.
If you’re dealing with medium and small debris, look for a hose that has a diameter between 1 1/2′ and 1 1/4”.
Shop vacuums come with all kinds of accessories – from extension wands to hose extensions. Some even come with a crevice tool.
Most high-end vacuums come with accessory storage, while lower-end models come with an accessory bag.
Cord length is critical if you want to move the vacuum around. The longer the cord, the more ground you can cover.
Thankfully, most shop vacuumss feature a power cord storage and even feature a retractable cord.
Most shop vacuums can also double as a blower. In most cases, all you have to do is connect the hose to a blower port.
Some vacuums use a switch, while others feature a release that allows you to detach the motor and the hose from the canister so you can use the vacuum as a blower.
The size of a vacuum is also critical. If you have limited space, look for a model that’s compact. Just keep in mind that the smaller the vacuum, the smaller its container capacity.
If you’re looking for a bigger shop vac and have limited space, look for one that can be wall-mounted.
Warranty is also essential. We recommend looking for vacuums that come with at least a 2-year warranty.
Here we are at the end of this amazing journey.
All that’s left is to pronounce a winner.
If you’re looking for the absolute best quiet shop vac, look no further than Fein Turbo II Wet/Dry Vacuum. Not only is this shop vac quiet, but it also produces ample suction and water lifting.
Otherwise, you can go for the Dewalt DXV10P. Its powerful motor provides ample suction and water lift, and it comes with a decently sized tank.