Wet/Dry Shop Vacs: Horsepower and Capacity, Plastic or Stainless Steel

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Plastic or Stainless Steel?

You may wonder, as you’re shopping for a Shop Vac, whether plastic or stainless steel is better for the tank. Lots of people prefer stainless steel because it’s easier to clean. Plastic sometimes creates static electricity, which makes debris stick to it more stubbornly.

On the other hand, the plastic in wet/dry vacuums is usually of durable, rugged material, and it will never rust. Plastic is also usually less expensive. Ultimately, the overall quality of construction and design matters more than just materials alone.

Horsepower and Capacity Chart

Here is a chart showing the optimal horsepower and capacity for wet/dry vacuums depending on the size of the cleaning task.

Task Capacity (Gallons) Horsepower Duties
Light 2-6 Up to 4.5 Light cleaning around home
Handles debris too big for regular vacuums
Medium 8-14 5 to 6 Cleaning around workshop, garden, or garage
Handles fine dust and bulky debris
Heavy Up to 18/td>

Over 6 Commercial cleaning
Handles lots of dust and heavy debris

Brittany Rowland Brittany Rowland researches new developments in Appliances, Kitchen and CE products features with a vigor to which few would aspire… but someone has to do it. See more about Brittany

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