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Best Cordless Wet Dry Vacuum of 2021

Light and compact, this vac makes hard to clean areas a breeze to tidy...
Credit: Laura Casner
By Nick Miley and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Jun 11, 2021
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We purchased the 9 most promising cordless wet dry vacuums available and exhaustively tested them side-by-side in our lab. We evaluated their vacuum power on materials ranging from nuts and bolts to sawdust to puddles of water, and more. We tested batteries, measured hose lengths, and took weights. We scrutinized attachments, measured suction, and evaluated the ease of use.

Top 9 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 9
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Awards Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price $120 List$120 List$100 List$99 List$100 List
Overall Score Sort Icon
71
68
67
67
64
Star Rating
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Pros Long runtime, HEPA filter, blower optionGood hose design, powerful motor, great storagePowerful suction, relatively lightweight, HEPA filterGreat for hard surfaces, great with heavy/dense debris, compactLong runtime, excellent hose reach, lightweight
Cons Awkward hose storage, narrow end of hose diameter, no tool adapterHeavy, filter isn't washable, shorter runtime, mediocre puddle clean upShort and narrow hose, heavy, relatively noisyLacks HEPA filter, limited runtime, whiny motorWeird shape, short crevice tool, lacks HEPA filter
Bottom Line This do-it-all vacuum excels in wet work and battery lifeA well designed, toolbox-style vacuum that offers convenience and performanceThis inexpensive machine performs at the highest level in all areas excluding battery lifeAn economical machine that's incredibly capable of handling both wet and dry debrisA lightweight vac that combines decent power and ample battery life for a long runtime
Rating Categories Craftsman CMCV002B Milwaukee M18... Kobalt KWDV 0124B-03 Ryobi P3240 PORTER-CABLE...
Dry Work (40%)
7
9
9
8
6
Wet Work (30%)
7
6
6
7
6
Battery Life (20%)
8
4
4
4
8
Convenience (10%)
6
6
5
6
6
Specs Craftsman CMCV002B Milwaukee M18... Kobalt KWDV 0124B-03 Ryobi P3240 PORTER-CABLE...
Measured height x width x depth (inches) 13" x 18 3/4" x 10 1/2" 12" x 16 3/4" x 8 1/2" 13" x 17 1/2" x 10 3/4" 9 1/2" x 18 1/2" x 12" 13" x 18 3/4" x 10 1/2"
Measured weight (w/o battery) 7 pounds, 8 ounces 10 pounds, 2 ounces 10 pounds,12 ounces 8 pounds, 6 ounces 7 pounds, 3 ounces
Measured runtime (minutes) 34 min 23 min 20 min 19 min 34 min
Measured hose length min/ max (inches) 26" - 94" 24" - 90 1/2" 24" - 96" 20 1/4" - 84" 26" - 94"
Attachments crevice nozzle, wide nozzle crevice nozzle, floor nozzle crevice nozzle, floor nozzle utility nozzle, crevice tool crevice nozzle, wide nozzle
End of hose diameter (inches) 1" 1" 1 1/16" 1" 1"
HEPA rated filter Yes Yes Yes Yes N/A
Canister volume (gallons) 2 gal 2 gal 3 gal 3 gal 2 gal
Washable filter Yes Yes (dry only) Yes Yes Yes
Battery (volts) 20v 18v 24v 18v 20v
Measured suction (inches of water lift) 19" 25" 22" 22" 20"
Battery life inicator on machine On select batteries On select batteries On select batteries On select batteries On select batteries
Blower feature Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tool connection adaptor No Yes (sold seperately) No No No
Auxiiary power cord No No No No No
Dry sawdust clean-up (seconds) 15 sec 13 sec 13 sec 15 sec 14 sec
Wet sawdust clean-up (seconds) 42 sec 36 sec 51 sec 42 sec 50 sec

Best All-Around Wet Dry Vacuum


Craftsman CMCV002B


71
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Dry Work 7
  • Wet Work 7
  • Battery Life 8
  • Convenience 6
Runtime: 34 min | Canister Volume: 2 gal
Lightweight
Excels at wet work
HEPA filter
Struggles with large debris
Poor hose storage

With the suction power to move two gallons of water in just 9 seconds and the airflow to suck up heaps of sawdust, the Craftsman CMCV002B is a true wet dry vacuum. Though smaller in size, the 2-gallon canister still offers more than enough space for most non-professional applications. The unit runs on a 4 Ah battery (not included), which boasts a relatively long 34 minutes of runtime. Due to spring-like coils that lay flat when weighted, the hose is crush-resistant, and it provides self-retracting elongation from 26 to 94 inches.

The main pitfalls with this machine relate to its external design. Unlike the toolbox-esque models that store hose, attachments, and battery internally, Craftsman attaches all these items to the outside. Additionally, the handle sits proudly on the lid of the canister. These design features make it difficult to stack this vac on a shelf. Still, the HEPA filter that comes standard and the float ball shut-off make this a premium machine in the class, and it's our favorite overall.

Read Full Review: Craftsman CMCV002B

Best Toolbox-Style Wet Dry Vacuum


Milwaukee M18 0880-20


68
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Dry Work 9
  • Wet Work 6
  • Battery Life 4
  • Convenience 6
Runtime: 23 min | Canister Volume: 2 gal
Powerful motor
Convenient storage
Easily moves heavy debris
Struggles with puddles
Mediocre water lift

The Milwaukee M18 is a slick little cordless wet dry vacuum. Its two-gallon canister is shaped like a toolbox, and its tube and all the attachments are stored neatly in the lid. Not only is this machine designed well, but it's also a beast at sucking up all types of debris, from nuts and bolts to buckets of water to sawdust. This machine also has one of the longer tubes of the models we tested, and it self-retracts like a spring, so it's long when you need it and short when you don't.

While the M18 is indeed a great cordless wet dry vacuum, it does have a few downsides. At just over 10 lbs, it's on the heavier side. It's also one of the noisier models we tested. And despite its 5 amp-hour battery, a fully charged cell would only power the machine for 23 minutes — not particularly impressive. That said, the conveniences that this machine offers overshadow its performance shortfalls.

Read Full Review: Milwaukee M18

A Great Value


Ryobi P3240


67
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Dry Work 8
  • Wet Work 7
  • Battery Life 4
  • Convenience 6
Runtime: 19 min | Canister Volume: 3 gal
Good with heavy debris
Compact
Robust motor
Filter not HEPA rated
Short hose

The Ryobi P3240 is a high-performance cordless wet dry vacuum at a reasonable price. It picks up wet and dry materials like a boss. It is also relatively lightweight, and its self-retracting hose and effective attachments store on the outside of the machine in convenient in-line slots.

While this model's self-retracting hose design makes for easy storage, the hose is among the shortest of those tested. Additionally, the hose diameter poses some problems when attempting to pick up larger, rigid materials. However, some may see these negatives in a positive light — with the short and narrow hose, there was an improved ability to move smaller heavy objects. We think this compact cordless wet dry vacuum will satisfy most people's needs and budgets.

Read Full Review: Ryobi P3240

Best Bang for the Buck


Kobalt KWDV 0124B-03


67
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Dry Work 9
  • Wet Work 6
  • Battery Life 4
  • Convenience 5
Runtime: 20 min | Canister Volume: 3 gal
Heavy debris destroyer
Crevice crusher
HEPA rate filter
Heavy
Loud

The economical Kobalt is a thoughtfully designed, toolbox-shaped machine. The hose stores in the lid, along with the attachments, making it fuss-free. It includes a HEPA-rated filter, and the hose is among the longest of the models we tested. It's also self-retracting, so you don't pay a storage penalty for the extra reach. Perhaps most importantly, this machine really sucks (in the good sense of the word!) Both wet and dry materials are drawn up like they've been taken by a twister.

We don't like the fact that it has a shorter runtime compared to other models. Additionally, the Kobalt is not great at pulling liquids off hard surfaces, and its suction rating leaves something to be desired. Nonetheless, this machine performs at a level superior to many of its higher-priced peers, making it more than worth the money spent.

Read Full Review: Kobalt KWDV 0124B-03

Best for Battery Life


PORTER-CABLE PCC795BR


64
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Dry Work 6
  • Wet Work 6
  • Battery Life 8
  • Convenience 6
Runtime: 34 min | Canister Volume: 2 gal
Long runtime
Long, self-retracting hose
Quiet
Lacks internal storage of hose/ attachments
Lackluster water lift rating

While the PORTER-CABLE has an appealing price, the bigger draw is its superior battery life. Battery performance aside, though, this machine has average scores in all other categories and will tackle most tasks without much fuss. We were particularly impressed with this vac's performance with heavy debris.

There were trouble spots in the PORTER-CABLE's performance, however. First off, the motor lacks the power to move water at a high rate. Also, the handle of the unit is neither folding nor inset. As a result, the toolbox design is compromised, and storage can be a challenge. The crevice tool is shorter than some, making deep penetrations challenging, and the filter does not meet the HEPA standard. Despite these drawbacks, we believe that this machine's performance and cost warrant recognition.

Read Full Review: PORTER-CABLE PCC795B

Best for Dust Collection


Ridgid WD0319


60
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Dry Work 7
  • Wet Work 7
  • Battery Life 3
  • Convenience 5
Runtime: 15 min | Canister Volume: 3 gal
Mega suction power
Large diameter hose
Dust busting beast
Poor floor attachment
Struggles with small, heavy debris

The Ridgid WD0319's large hose diameter makes this model unique and provides both positive and negative attributes, depending on the type of work you're doing. The hose dimensions are great for picking up both wet and dry sawdust, and it can also accommodate large debris. So, this machine will be useful in a shop or on smaller construction jobs.

While we like the large hose for picking up piles of sawdust, it definitely struggles with liquids and small, heavy items. The vac picked up large washers without a problem but struggled with small screws. As an additional gripe, this machine lacks a storage system for the hose and attachments. As it is, the hose just hangs out there, and one of its attachments is stored on the end of the hose. That said, for moving big piles of debris, this tool really shines.

Read Full Review: Ridgid WD0319

A More Traditional Shop Vacuum


Bosch GAS18V-3


53
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Dry Work 6
  • Wet Work 5
  • Battery Life 4
  • Convenience 6
Runtime: 18 min | Canister Volume: 2.6 gal
Rigid extension tubes
Fixed hose length
Transparent canister
Poor floor attachment
Hard to store

The Bosch GAS 18V-3 has features akin to traditional plug-in shop vacuums. It has a rigid hose with extension tubes that make it possible to stand up while using the tool. The hose is also quite sturdy and can hold its shape while bearing the full weight of the user. Additionally, you never have to fight the spring-like action of a self-retracting hose.

Some of the Bosch's strengths can also be seen as weaknesses. The hose and extension tubes are stored on the outside of the machine, making the unit a bit cumbersome. Also, the hose is always 72 inches long, preventing the increase in airflow that other models benefit from when their hoses are retracted. That said, in the right scenario, this is an excellent machine.

Read Full Review: Bosch GAS18V-3

Compare Products

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Score Product Price Our Take
71
$120
Editors' Choice Award
This machine performed well across the board but particularly in wet clean-up and runtime
68
$120
Editors' Choice Award
A compact, powerful tool that can handle just about anything
67
$100
Best Buy Award
This competitively priced vacuum is powerful and efficient but lacks in battery life
67
$99
Best Buy Award
An affordable vacuum that is tough on wet and dry messes
64
$100
Top Pick Award
Long runtime and adequate power in a oddly designed package
60
$100
Top Pick Award
For capturing loose debris, this machine is a boss
53
$140
Top Pick Award
A traditional shop vacuum in a compact, cordless adaptation
50
$160
A compact, easy to operate vacuum that's short on suction, and heavy on price
49
$160
A well-designed vacuum except for the fact that it has poor suction and airflow

We look at every aspect of vacuum use, including the ease of storage.
We look at every aspect of vacuum use, including the ease of storage.
Credit: Laura Casner

Why You Should Trust Us?


Our expert review team is comprised of Senior Research Analyst Austin Palmer and Senior Review Editor Nick Miley. These two bring to bear more than 15 years of combined experience in the trades (heavy equipment maintenance and custom carpentry).

We pulled 16 gallons of water through these machines and took dozens of water lift measurements. We sucked up heaping piles of wet and dry sawdust as well as an array of heavy hardware items. We also tested the runtimes on each battery cell. Additionally, we measured and cataloged 18 unique features on these machines relevant to convenience, ease of use, and general performance.

Related: How We Tested Cordless Wet/Dry Vacuums

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Analysis and Test Results


These metrics are weighted proportionally to their impact on the overall performance of the tool. The final score for each product ranges from 1-100 points. The metrics and their contribution to the overall score are as follows: dry work (40%), wet work (30%), battery life (20%), and convenience (10%).

Related: Buying Advice for Cordless Wet/Dry Vacuums


Value


If a model costs the same amount as other products in the class but performs better, it is considered a value product. Also, if a less expensive product performs at the same level as more expensive machines, it is also considered to have value.

The Kobalt and Ryobi models perform at the highest level in both wet and dry work, yet they ring up for significantly less than the average price for these tools, making them both a great value.

Sucking up 9 cups of dry sawdust is a critical aspect of our dry...
Sucking up 9 cups of dry sawdust is a critical aspect of our dry work analysis.
Credit: Laura Casner

Dry Work


We focused a good deal of our effort on the dry work evaluation. The evaluation consists of three sub-metrics of dry suction power: heavy debris (i.e., washers, nuts, bolts, screws, and 100-gram cylindrical weight); large sawdust pile (9 cups); and crevice cleaning. The first two do not use attachments on the end of the hose, while the crevice test uses the crevice attachment to pick up rice from a narrow slot.


The Kobalt and Ryobi models thrived in the heavy debris assessments. They both feature a highly effective combination of narrow hoses diameters, high airflow, and decent suction. In the timed sawdust pickup, the Ridgid inhaled the pile in only eight seconds, closely followed by the Kobalt and the Milwaukee M18 at 13 seconds. As was confirmed in the wet sawdust tests (discussed below), the Ridgid's wide diameter hose (combined with the lack of an elbow at the connection point with the canister) played a big part in this machine's success.

The heavy debris sub-metric tests an vac&#039;s suction, airflow and hose...
The heavy debris sub-metric tests an vac's suction, airflow and hose diameter; the combination of which produces vacuum power.
Credit: Laura Casner

The crevice test assesses both the crevice tool itself and the reach of the suction produced by the vacuum motor. Here too, the Milwaukee, Ryobi, and Kobalt proved themselves to be top-notch. Their attachments all penetrated 8 or more inches, and at least another half-inch of suction reach. Overall, the Kobalt and Milwaukee lead the class in dry work.

The wet sawdust test uses 9 cups of sawdust mixed with 6 cups of...
The wet sawdust test uses 9 cups of sawdust mixed with 6 cups of water. Along with suction, airflow and hose diameter, this analysis tests the internal characteristics of the hose and the likelihood of wet clogs.
Credit: Laura Casner

Wet Work


We began with a water drawing test, removing the filter and sucking two gallons of water from a height of 14 ½ inches — the height of a five-gallon bucket. Having replaced the filter, we then ran a wet sawdust pickup evaluation that is identical to the dry sawdust test with the addition of six cups of water mixed in. Next was the hard surface puddle test, where we employed the floor attachment to slurp up three cups of water off a linoleum floor. Of course, no wet work assessment would be complete without sucking water out of a carpet. We dumped two cups of water onto a floorboard mat, allowed it to soak in, and measured how much we could pull back out. Finally, we measured each unit's suction with a water lift gauge.


We were surprised at the degree of variability in these machines' performances across the tests. The Craftsman, Ryobi, and Ridgid were the best. However, none of these machines excelled in every category. In the water drawing evaluation, the Craftsman and Ryobi came out on top by moving two gallons of water in just 9 seconds. As for the wet sawdust assessment, the Ridgid led the class at 15 seconds, and the Bosch a distant second at 31 seconds.

The puddle test illustrates the diverse tasks that these machines...
The puddle test illustrates the diverse tasks that these machines can tackle. As it turns out, the design of the floor attachment has more to do with success than suction. Those attachments with channels on the contact surface allow air to flow and messes to disappear.
Credit: Laura Casner

The puddle tests proved to be a measure of the floor attachment design. Because they allow air to flow continuously, attachments with channels through the contact surface did best. The Ryobi and Craftsman came in at 25 and 27 seconds, respectively. In the wet carpet test, the Makita finally got into the fray, as did the PORTER-CABLE, Ryobi, and Craftsman, with all four of these models basically sucking the carpet dry. Lastly, the water lift/suction test registered the Ridgid at 29 inches of lift, Bosch at 28, and Milwaukee at 25.

The Makita XCV11Z is one of just a few machines that have a battery...
The Makita XCV11Z is one of just a few machines that have a battery life indicator on the unit.
Credit: Laura Casner

Battery Life




The DEWALT, operating with a 5 amp-hour cell, had the most impressive runtime of the group — just under 40 minutes. The Makita, also working with a 5 amp-hour cell, clocked in at 33 minutes 45 sec. Similarly, the PORTER-CABLE and the Craftsman ran for 34 minutes. Here's the twist. These last two models use 4 amp-hour batteries. So, if we look at these outcomes in terms of runtime per amp-hour, the PORTER-CABLE and the Craftsman ran for 8 mins 30 sec, whereas the DEWALT and the Makita ran for 7 min 56 sec and 6 min 33 sec, respectively.

Weight, dimensions, and hose length all play into the convenience of...
Weight, dimensions, and hose length all play into the convenience of a particular vacuum. The toolbox-shaped machines are easy to store and offer the advantage of internal hose and attachments storage.
Credit: Laura Casner

Convenience


We measure the outer dimensions of the machine, the hose length (both retracted and at its maximum stretch), the weight, and the noise level at 3 ½ feet. Finally, we look at the filters.


The Makita makes a solid effort to check all the boxes. This model's toolbox design offers compact storage and below-average weight (8 lbs, 13 oz). Its HEPA filter is washable, and there's a prefilter option available for purchase. This model is also relatively quiet, registering well below average at 74 dBa. The only ding against this machine is its below-average hose length, which is 82 inches when fully stretched. Other notable models are the PORTER-CABLE, Ryobi, Bosch, and the Milwaukee.

Conclusion


The production of this review required weeks of research and testing. We ran these machines through every conceivable test and measurement for cordless dry/wet vacuuming, battery life, and convenience. We're hoping that our research helps you to easily and confidently select the right machine for your needs.

Nick Miley and Austin Palmer