What does a wet & dry vacuum cleaner do?

wet/dry vacuum cleaner
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

When it comes to cleaning our homes, floor care is of the utmost importance. Alongside having the best vacuum cleaners and best robot vacuums to take care of daily chores, the wet & dry vacuum cleaner has gained recent popularity for handling both indoor and outdoor tasks. 

If you’re after power and versatility, the wet & dry vacuum cleaner certainly offers that. Not only can it tackle debris, dust and liquid spillages with ease, but can also clear snow off your doorstep, or even blow garden leaves into neat piles to dispose of. Making it an essential tool to use around the home and garage.

Originally used for heavy duty, construction jobs, the wet & dry vacuum has now become more accessible to domestic households. And as compact or portable models become more available, the handy wet & dry vacuum has revolutionized home care. 

If you’re keen to learn more, we take a look at how wet & dry vacuum cleaners work and why you should consider one for your home.

 How does a wet & dry vacuum cleaner work?  

As the name suggests, a wet & dry vacuum sucks up heavy, solid dirt or debris as well as liquid messes or sludge. These are significantly more powerful than standard vacuum cleaners, and have a separate motor from its airflow. This eliminates any electrical faults when cleaning up gallons of water, especially for households prone to flooding. Generally, most people only require a 3.5 to 5 peak horsepower motor for their wet & dry vacuum. In addition, some models convert into a handy blower which expels air at a fast rate, making an ideal leaf blower during fall and winter. 

Instead of using a vacuum bag or canister, a wet & dry vacuum uses a bucket system. Similar to standard vacuum cleaners, most wet & dry vacuums come with a locking hose, extension wands, and various attachments to suit your task. 

The wet & dry vacuum is easy to use, allowing you to suck up both wet and dry debris without having to change any settings. However, it’s important to always empty out the water bucket/collection immediately after use to keep your vacuum in good condition.  

What else can a wet & dry vacuum do?   

roaring fireplace with white mantle

roaring fireplace with white mantle (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Wet/dry vacuum cleaners are known to be incredibly versatile, and can do a number of other tasks. These include unblocking clogged sink drains, cleaning the cold ashes from fireplaces, clearing snow and leaves, cleaning carpets, buffing floorboards and emptying out water mattresses.  

Who can benefit from using a wet & dry vacuum cleaner?

The wet & dry vacuum is a great, all-round cleaner for any homeowner. In addition, those who take on home improvement tasks or DIY projects would benefit from a wet & dry vacuum to quickly clean up debris, dirt, sawdust, or paint spillages. While families with small children can clean up messes and any bathroom splashes with ease.

In addition, households prone to flooding or burst water pipes can also benefit from a wet & dry vacuum, as they suck up gallons of water in no time. Wet & dry vacuum cleaners tend to range in size from 6 to 12 gallons/capacity to suit your needs and space, but should always be stored in the garage. 

Tom's Guide Staff

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