I initially purchased this model Shop-Vac in 2001 to pick-up stuff that I didn't want to clog my normal vacuum cleaner. Over my eight years of ownership, I have been very impressed with the power, portability, and durability of this little vacuum. My main uses included picking up cat litter, and removing pet hair that would clog my upright vacuum, but I have used my Shop-Vac for countless other spills and cleanup jobs – from picking up five pounds of uncooked rice to removing water when a pipe froze in my house. The Shop-Vac has had plenty of power for every task I've asked of it. The vacuum is fairly quiet compared to other Shop-Vac's I've used. The latches that secure the top hold strongly, which is important because the vacuum can, and likely will, tip over if pulled by the hose. This Shop-Vac includes an assortment of accessories, my favorite are the extension wands. Any 1.25” accessory should fit the hose. My crevice tool and brushes from my upright vacuum work with this Shop-Vac. Many accessories are also available from Walmart and shopvac-dot-com. I purchased the filter bags, which I highly recommend because they really help to keep the interior clean. I believe it is also worth mentioning that this Shop-Vac is assembled in the USA, and has a two-year warranty. I do not know where the plastic parts are made, but many of the motors are manufactured in the USA as well. A few caveats to consider before purchasing this vacuum:
1) Determine your intended use. This is a light-duty, consumer-grade Shop-Vac designed for home-use. The pick-up hose is only 1.25” in diameter, which is about the size of a golf ball. If your needs require picking-up larger items and extended run-times (several hours continuous), consider a larger, heavy-duty Shop-Vac.
2) The wheels need to be attached to the base of the vacuum. Once the wheels snap into place, they will be secure – but it takes a surprising amount of force before you will hear the positive engagement “click.” If the wheels are not completely secured, they will fall out.
3) This model Shop-Vac cannot use special cartridge filters such as the HEPA filter to reduce allergens. Also, you will need to be sure the foam/paper disk filters are properly installed or vacuumed dust will blow out from the back of the unit.
4) The 5 Gallon rated capacity is not accurate. The bottom-half of the Shop-Vac may hold five gallons of fluid without the top on, but once assembled for use, the actual fluid capacity is approximately 2.5 gallons. If you vacuum more than 2.5 gallons at a time, the liquids begin to exit from the exhaust ports – which cannot be good for the motor. Some maintenance tips to keep your vacuum running in top condition:
A) Read the owners manual. Learn the right and wrong way to use you vac.
B) Always make sure the foam filter is installed and tightly covered with a re-usable paper disk filter installed. (dry-pick up only, for wet-pick up use the foam filter alone)
C) Clean/change you filters often. The filters are the main protection for the motor bearings. Those that experienced early motor failures likely didn't read the manual and had improperly installed filters.
D) Don't let wet messes sit in the vacuum. Things get moldy quickly.
E) Be realistic with expectations. If the vacuum doesn't seem up to a task, it probably isn't. Remember, it's a light-duty home-use product. In summary, this Shop-Vac has far exceeded my expectations. If you decide to purchase this vacuum, I hope your experience will be as positive as mine. With proper care, the vacuum should last for years. I've recently given this Shop-Vac to my sister because I've upgraded to a newer model that is working wonderfully, the Shop-Vac Brute 5 Gallon available from Walmart. I hope my review has helped you with your purchase decision, and thanks for reading!
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