Quietest Shop Vac: Cost-Efficient Wet Dry Vacuums With Powerful Performance & Less Sound

orange and white shop vacuum on a garage

Last Updated: June 21, 2021

Shop vacuums are not only great for cleaning up workshop and site mess, but also for homeowners.

But:

Noisy models can be a pain in the back indoors.

So, if you're in search of the quietest shop vac models online, you've landed in the right place. In our quiet shop vacuum review, we researched and compiled a list of the top five models.

Our standout product is the Makita VC4210L 11 gallon vacuum. This shop vac is one of the quietest, has 148 CFM airflow and 98" suction force, and uses a self-cleaning HEPA filter. 

Top 5 Quietest Shop Vacuum Reviewed

1. Makita VC4210L - Best Overall

Makita VC4210L 11-Gallon Wet Dry HEPA VacuumThe Makita VC4210L, with a noise level of only 60 decibels (dB), is one of the quietest shop vacs you'll encounter. Moreso, it doesn't spare anything when it comes to performance and durability.

Makita offers an abundance of power on this one model with its 12 amp motor. It generates an impressive commercial-grade 148 CFM airflow and 92-inch water lift for suction.

In simple terms, it has no issues picking up wood and metal debris - not just dust.

Besides, it will dry a floor that ordinarily would've required a million towels for wet applications. But you're restricted to 11 gallons at a sweep.

As you'd expect for a shop vac in its price range, it uses an authentic HEPA filter. It captures dust and other airborne particles completely, unlike cheaper models.

Plus, the filter cleans automatically, requiring little maintenance, and is cost-efficient in the long run.

However, the auto-clean function gives off a loud thud periodically. If the sound bugs you, you can switch to auto-mode.

The VC2410L is particularly advanced technologically. Aside from the advanced filter, it has variable speed control, power tool triggered to start, and a soft start function to draw lower amperage. The latter ensures it won't heat up fast.

With a robust design, durable wheels, and weighing only 35 pounds, this quiet shop vac is easy to move around. Also, the front wheels lock the unit in place during operation. Things only get better with its 24-feet long cord and a 13-feet hose for longer reach and suction. 

Pros

  • Impressive airflow and suction force is powered by a strong motor
  • Robust build 
  • Auto-cleaning HEPA filter
  • Variable speed
  • Lightweight and mobile with locking wheels 
  • Useful accessories, including a diffuser for dampening noise

Cons

  • Incorrigible user manual

Takeaway

The Makita VC2410L is the perfect shop vac for those who want a shop vac that does it all. It's quiet, powerful, mobile, and equipped with the best features you can expect. And it's matched with an equally competitive price.

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2. Fein Turbo 1 Vacuum Cleaner - Portable Choice

Fein Turbo 1 5.8-Gallon Vacuum CleanerFein Power Tools fails to disappoint when they embodied a quiet, portable, and forceful commercial-grade suction in the Turbo One. The Turbo 1 is a mid-level wet/dry shop vac with features and a price tag that will make you smile.

For one, it has a suction strength that's of industry standard. It has a skyrocketing 151 CFM flow rate and a suction lift of 98.4 inches (higher than Makita's).

And it operates at 66 dB, which I use indoors without ear protection.

Technically, suction power might drop as the flow rate increases since it's not two-phased, but this doesn't manifest in the performance of the Turbo 1. So its 9.7 amp by-pass motor is a keeper.

What I like about this vacuum cleaner particularly is its portability. It's equipped with caster wheels and weighs only 17 pounds. Plus, with the 19-feet long power cable, and far-reaching 13-feet hose, you probably wouldn't need to move it around the shop or basement often.

However, the extra-long hose was the only real frustration I had with the Turbo 1.

The hose is too stiff to be coiled, and even then, there's no room to store it all on the vac. So, a portion is left hanging out of the L-shaped arms. 

Pros

  • Less noisy operation
  • Super-lightweight 
  • Extra lengthy power cord 
  • Works with power tools

Cons

  • Flimsy accessory holders 
  • Poor cord storage

Takeaway

Fein Turbo 1 is ideal for anyone looking for a quiet and portable shop vac, with powerful suction for professional or DIY use.

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3. Festool 574930 CT 26 - Deluxe Choice

Festool 574930 CT 26 E HEPA Dust Extractor The Festool shop vacs are the Mercedes Benz of shop vacs. The 574930 CT 26 HEPA dust extractor is just a typical example.

Model 574930 starts up automatically with any connected power tool or manually as you wish. This shop vac is well suited for home and professional use (if you don't mind using a 7-gallon canister on the job).

It uses a reliable multi-phase 10 amp motor. The motor supports a true suction power of 137 CFM airflow and 96 inches of suction force while only working at 62 to 72 decibels. These make it more adept at picking up large debris than the other vacs.

Festool imbibes plenty of innovation into the 574930 CT 26 (for 26 liters). First, a compartment on the top stores its lengthy hose and cord discreetly. Secondly, the wheels have a parking brake that comes in handy when you want to work on uneven floors.

Another innovative feature is its auto-cleaning HEPA filter. The dust extractor is also HEPA certified.

In other words, the whole unit is designed to supply clean air and keep pollutants in.

If you take out the filter to suck water, the cleaner shuts off automatically when the barrel is full. All thanks to Festool's Level Stop Technology.

With all the above features (and more I can't begin to list here) embodied in a 28-pound vacuum cleaner, Festool 574930 is the perfect quiet shop vac for personal use. 

Pros

  • Tool-powered start with variable speed
  • Self-cleaning HEPA filter 
  • Large and durable castor wheels with a parking brake
  • Discrete hose and cable storage
  • Can be customized with Bluetooth and compressed air
  • Auto-shutoff on a full tank

Cons

  • Expensive 

Takeaway

If you are ready to pay top dollar for a superb quiet shop vac from arguably the best brand in the business, the Festool 574930 won't disappoint.

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4. Dewalt DXV10P - Best Budget Quiet Vac

DeWALT DXV10P 10 gallon Quiet Poly Wet Dry Vacuum Yellow The Dewalt DXV10P is an affordable powerhouse without the bells and whistles of the top products mentioned earlier in this quiet shop vacuum review.

It uses a two-stage motor, which not only makes it run quieter but also lasts longer.

The 5.5 horsepower motor generates impressive suction force and airflow without running hot. This is almost unheard of in its price range.

Cleaning the filter is a breeze since it's washable. But you don't get the self-cleaning capabilities or HEPA filter of top-of-the-line shop vacs. To compensate, dismantling the filter for cleaning is pretty straightforward.

The 10-gallon barrel can be easily moved around on its castor wheels. But be careful not to bump your feet into the extended wheels. Since it weighs only 22 pounds, you can also lift the cleaner easily using one hand, and I'm not ripped or close to fit.

Although its 10ft long power cord and 7ft hose are relatively short compared to other products in this review, they do get the job done for most people. You also get accessories such as extension wands, crevice nozzle, utility nozzle, and a floor nozzle to meet various cleaning needs.

The accessory bag is quite useful, but you can always take it off otherwise. 

Pros

  • Long-lasting 5 horsepower two-stage motor
  • Powerful suction
  • Affordable
  • Easy maintenance
  • Detachable storage bag

Cons

  • Some cheaply made parts
  • Only a little less noisy than regular shop vacs

Takeaway

The Dewalt DXV10P is a gem among the quiet wet dry vac model - and an affordable one at that.

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5. Ridgid WD1670 Shop Vac - Largest Tank

Ridgid WD1670 16-Gallon Shop VacRidgid are industry leaders who produce exceptional tools at great prices. Model WD1670 is one of their mid-range shop vacs but a noticeable upgrade to the Dewalt DXV10P previously discussed.

The Ridgid WD1670 also has the largest waste capacity in this review, sporting a 16-gallon canister. Despite this, it weighs only about 26 pounds, which isn't a bother for any handyman.

It uses Scroll Noise Reduction technology to reduce noise levels by controlling airflow. While its decibels aren't specified, I can assure you it's a tad less noisy than regular shop vacs.

Also, the Ridgid WD1670 is a powerful vacuum that uses a 6.5 horsepower power motor that produces an airflow of 153 CFM. Its suction power performs well to clean up building and workshop sites, clean a car, and blow debris in the yard when you convert it into a blower.

Fortunately, Ridgid also supplies you with all the necessary attachments you'll need for these basic operations, including a blower wand. You can store them in hangers built on the back of its canister.

Furthermore, the filter - which does an excellent job of trapping dust - lasts about three washes before it needs replacement.

Finally, its 20ft cord and 7ft hose are sufficient for convenient operation and easy to deal with. The cord unwraps at once with the pull of a lever, so you don't waste time untangling before use.   

Pros

  • Good bang for your buck
  • Powerful and reliable suction
  • Built-in attachment storage on the barrel
  • Quick conversion between a vac and blower

Cons

  • No handle for pushing around

Takeaway

If you want a quiet vacuum cleaner that can handle a lot more waste at once, the Ridgid WD1670 is your go-to. Its size doesn't compromise mobility, and it uses Scroll Noise Reduction tech for quieter operation.

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What Makes a Shop-Vac so Loud?

A shop vacuum works by producing and dispelling air at a force of up to 200 miles per hour or more. As a result, most of the noise from the vacuum cleaner is generated from its fan.

Needless to say, a shop vac shouldn't be so loud that it drowns a normal conversation in its wake. Well, not unless you're using one with industrial specs.

A noise level might double or triple if the filter is dirty. Sometimes a clogged hose also spikes noise level, but that's easy to tell.

How to Reduce the Noise Level of Your Shop Vac

Accept Some Level of Noise

If you're not going to be using the shop vac indoors all of the time, then you should prepare to live with some noise when it's cleaning time. Even the quietest shop vac would make as much noise as quiet air compressors, an alarm clock,  or a flushing toilet while in operation.

The four walls of a garage or any small space amplify the sound of the vacuum cleaner.

Build A Soundproof Wheeler

Say you intend to use the shop vac frequently, the noise level can become unbearable.

Then building a soundproof box on wheels for your unit can drop noise levels by almost half! It requires you to be something of a handyman and costs only a token, but it works.

If soundproofing is that important, you can ask a woodworker friend or pay a pro to help you with the construction.

What you'll need for this little project:

  • Wood
  • Latch and hinges
  • Soundproof foam or soundboard
  • Ceiling register (optional) and 
  • Wheels

This video illustrates a finished soundproofed box and its result with a noisy shop vac placed in it.

Add Necessary Attachments

Some brands like Ridgid and Dewalt sell muffler attachments that instantly cut down noise levels. The muffler usually connects to the blowing port of the shop vac and reduces sound by 5 decibels or more (dB).

Also, using a longer hose attachment works in a way. You get to work farther away from the source of noise—the shop vacuum itself.

To paint a picture, a double hose setup could give you 2-3 times extra reach.

Using the two attachments above alone can transform a noisy shop vac tremendously. And all without spending a fortune on getting a quiet unit. Of course, quiet shop vacs hold the upper hand. 

Clean the Filter

Last but not least, clean the filter or swap it out periodically. Most times, when a quiet shop vacuum suddenly becomes lousy, it's because the filter has gone filthy.

A dirty filter puts more stress on the motor to continue working, which not only cranks up the decibels but will lead to overheating.

What To Look For In The Best Quiet Shop Vac?

Type

man standing beside a blue shop vac

Shop vacuum cleaners come in different shapes, designs, and sizes. They can be portable and cordless or wall mountable, but we'll focus on the wet/dry ones for this review.

Wet or dry shop vacuums offer versatility, power, and comfort.

A decent wet/dry shop vac can be used to extract dust and chunks of dirt or suck water from floors into its large basin with its remarkable suction power. 

Suction Power

The ability of a shop vac is literally tied to its suction power and airflow rate. If your vacuum cleaner isn't strong enough to pick up the kind of dirt you'll be using it for, it'll be pretty much useless.

While a high motor rating and suction power are important, they could also mean a noisier operation.

Inexpensive shop vacs that boast of high airflow of 100 to 150 CFM mostly run at a higher speed. The result is a drop in suction power as the airflow increases.

On the other hand, experts say two-stage vacuums or brushless deliver equal or better performance silently and last longer.  

Filters

The better the filter of your shop vac, the less dust is emitted while it's in operation. And with a cleaner filter, you'll enjoy the quiet running of the vacuum for a long time.

HEPA filters are the best in the game at the moment. They suck up 99.7% of particles down to .3 microns and only need to be cleaned from time to time.

But beware of wannabe brands selling cheap units with HEPA-style or HEPA-type shop vacs. It's only a play on words to get you to buy. 

FAQs About Quiet Shop Vacuums

How can I Make My Shop Vac Quieter?

The easiest way to make it quieter is to use a muffler attachment during operation.

Another option is to couple another hose to the existing one. It moves you a little farther from the raging fan in the vacuum cleaner. Also, clean or change filters if your shop vac suddenly runs noisier. 

What is the Quietest Shop Vac?

The best you can find at the time of this writing is the Makita VC4210L HEPA Dust Extractor. It has an impressively low noise level of 60 decibels (dB).

The Makita VC4210L is considerably lightweight as well and is powerful enough for home or professional use. But it comes bearing a hefty price tag. 

What are the Technologies Used in Quiet Shop Vacs to Reduce Sound?

Quiet vacs are usually powered by motors with variable speed. At the lowest setting, the vac runs more quietly. Also, an ultra-quiet shop vac like the Makita 4210L houses its motor in a soundproofed chamber.   

What to Consider When Shopping for the Best Quiet Shop Vac? 

Many factors are crucial if you are looking to pick the quietest shop vacuum you can find. The most important of them all is price. More expensive wet/dry vacuums have a higher chance they'd operate at a quieter noise level than inexpensive ones.

Consider other things like the availability of a noise muffler, hose length, and power of the vacuum cleaner can go a long way.

It's not often you'd see manufacturers listing the decibel rating of the shop vacs, so keep an eye out for these factors. 

Wrapping Up

No doubt you now have your sight set on a shop vac that best suits your needs.

Be sure to check if warranty coverage and if the brand has any dealers near you. Just in case you need to return one from a factory defect.

As a reminder, our overall best pick is the Makita VC4210L shop vac with an auto-cleaning HEPA filter and variable speed.

If you're on a tight budget, go for the Dewalt DXVIOP.

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