At Home
Best Wet Dry Vac For Flooded Basement

Did you know that up to 98% of all basements in the USA will see some form of water damage during their lifespans? Every year, approximately 14,000 basements suffer from flooding and water damage, both at home and at work, with another 14.6 million homes being at risk of flooding.

On average, you can expect to spend $4,300 on repairs and renovations after a basement flood, with some homeowners shelling out up to $50,000 for severe flood damage. Depending on the severity of the flood, it can take mere hours or even minutes for that water to cause untold damage to your basement, the foundation, and more.

This means that every minute counts, making water removal from a basement the top priority once a flood happens. One of the fastest and simplest ways to drain a flooded basement is by using a wet dry vacuum, otherwise known as a shop vac. These are powerful vacuums with large capacities, designed to suck up both dry and wet materials alike.

If you’re in a pinch, having a dependable wet dry vac in your arsenal can make the difference between a quick cleanup and being forced to make costly repairs. Let’s do a deep dive and determine what the best wet dry vac for a flooded basement is. Keep in mind that for a flooded yard, you’ll want a good water pump.  

Key Takeaways

  • Assess the Severity of Potential Flooding: Understand the typical severity of flooding in your area to choose a vac with the appropriate capacity.
  • Power Matters: A higher horsepower vac can handle larger debris and more water, but consider your energy needs and storage capabilities.
  • Balance is Key: Look for a wet/dry vac that offers a good balance between tank capacity and ease of movement, ensuring it can be easily maneuvered in a potentially cluttered basement. 

Choosing the Right Capacity and Power for Your Needs

Before we take a look at the various shop vacs that we’ve reviewed below, there are four main figures or factors that you need to keep in mind when making a choice. These include peak horsepower, capacity, CFM, and lift height.

Peak Horsepower

The first figure that requires consideration is peak horsepower, which is the maximum amount of power that the motor can generate. This directly affects the overall suction power of the shop vac. In general, you can expect small and lower-end shop vacuums to feature peak horsepower between 1 and 4.5, with higher-end models may have up to 10 horsepower.

Capacity

The second figure that requires consideration is tank capacity. This defines how much the vacuum can hold before it needs to be emptied. As you’ll see below, some shop vacuums can hold as little as a few gallons, whereas others can hold 15 gallons or more. The bigger the flood, the higher the capacity should be, although there is a certain tradeoff with portability that you need to keep in mind.

CFM

The third important figure is CFM or cubic feet per minute. This is a rating of the suction power of a vacuum. A wet dry vac should have at least 50 CFM, with anything over that being better. The higher this number, the more suction power you get.

Lift Height

The lift height of a shop vac defines how deep into a water column the vacuum can reach. For instance, some lower-end models may only have 20 or 30 inches of lift power, whereas others may have 60 inches or more. The bigger the flood, the more you’ll need. To deal with severe floods as they occur, a top-notch flood sensor might be a good investment to make. 

Craftsman 16 Gallon Heavy-Duty Shop Vac

Last updated on April 12, 2024 2:38 pm

The Craftsman 16 Gallon Heavy-Duty Shop Vac is one of the top contenders for dealing with flooded basements, as it comes with a high-power and high-capacity design, along with plenty of other useful features. It even has a three-year warranty, which is about as good as can be expected.

Performance and Power

There’s no doubt that the Craftsman Heavy-Duty Shop Vac is designed for heavy use, with 6.5 peak horsepower, which is more than suitable for most needs, including sucking up great quantities of water with speed and efficiency.

For the record, 6.5 horsepower for a wet dry vacuum is certainly on the higher end of the spectrum, making this one of the more powerful units out there. It can produce roughly 60 inches of water lift in a flooding situation, which is nothing short of impressive. Most others don’t come anywhere close to that. All you’ll need after is a decent dehumidifier to get rid of any remaining moisture.

Capacity and Portability

The Craftsman Features a 16-gallon holding tank, which also happens to be on the higher end of the spectrum as far as shop vacuums are concerned. It’s one of the largest models available on the market for consumer use, and certainly the largest one on our list today.

A 16 gallon holding tank means that you have to make fewer trips to empty the vacuum, although thanks to the  powerful motor, the holding tank fills up really quickly for efficient use.

This high capacity does come with a trade off, which is that this vacuum weighs 26 pounds when empty, and comes in at roughly 21 by 23 by 26 inches.

It’s quite large and heavy, reducing its overall portability, although it does come with durable wheels to make it easy to roll around. Dealing with a set of stairs on the other hand, particularly when it’s full, is a different story. There is a cord wrap and carrying handle to make things easier however.

Durability and Construction

In line with its heavy-duty functionality, the vacuum itself is also designed to be extremely durable. Although it may be relatively big and heavy, which reduces its overall portability, a part of that weight is due to the thick walls and solid components that this unit is built with.

For the relatively reasonable price of this shop vac, which is currently at roughly $115.00, it’s more than can be expected in terms of overall durability. It’s the kind of thing that can certainly handle a bit of impact.

Ease of Use and Features

Thanks to the high capacity and high-powered nature of this shop vac, it’s quite easy to use as it’s very efficient at sucking up water. However, it also has some other nifty features, such as the built in blower port that allows you to quickly clean up grass and leaves when working outdoors.

Another nifty feature is the oversized drain, which allows you to empty this shop vac in a matter of seconds. The fact that the hose locks into place and can be easily removed is yet another bonus, as it allows for easy cleaning.

Accessories and Flexibility

The Craftsman also comes with a range of accessories, including a general-purpose filter, a dust collection bag, a locking hose that is 7 feet long, a utility nozzle, a car nozzle, and a wet nozzle.

Also worth noting is that the hose is 2.5 inches in diameter (as big as it gets), features 180-degree mobility, and dual-flex technology so you can easily bend it and get into tight areas. It also features a storage caddy to hold on to all of the included accessories.

RIDGID 12 Gallon Wet Dry Shop Vac

Last updated on April 12, 2024 2:38 pm

If you need a wet dry vac that features a good mix of power, capacity, portability, and ease of use, then the RIDGID Wet Dry Vac is a great option to consider. Let’s take a closer look at all of its main features.

Performance and Power

In terms of its power, here you get 5 peak horsepower, which is still on the higher end of the spectrum. On that note, there are plenty of shop vacs that have far less than 5 horsepower, and many of these are even suitable for sucking up large quantities of water.

This means that it is very quick and efficient at sucking up water. Furthermore, thanks to its power level, it should be able to produce around 50 inches of water lift, give or take, certainly more than enough for an average flooded basement. Something else worth noting is the noise reduction technology that keeps the noise to a minimum.

Capacity and Portability

The RIDGID Features a 12-gallon tank, which in the grand scheme of things is still on the larger end of the spectrum. Many home wet dry vacuums come in at well under 10 gallons, making this one of the larger ones out there.

As for its weight, when empty, it weighs just over 18 pounds, which is moderate considering its large size. Yes, it features solid casters for easy rolling, as well as a handle for carrying, but when it’s full, this unit will weigh a great deal.

It is portable so long as it’s on a flat surface, but carrying it up a set of stairs when it’s full of water will be a great challenge. As for its size, it comes in at roughly 17 by 17 by 24 inches, which is quite larger.

Durability and Construction

The overall construction of this wet dry vacuum is very solid. It’s made out of heavy-duty plastic, which is designed with great impact resistance in mind. Many of the components here are also made out of high quality resin, allowing for great durability and waterproofing features.

Ease of Use and Features

As far as ease of use is concerned, the RIDGID is up there with the best of them. It comes with a  1-7/8 inch diameter hose that locks into place. This diameter allows the vacuum to suck up debris of considerable size.

What’s convenient is the blowing port that allows you to reverse the airflow, so you can blow leaves and other debris away from job sites and your property.

Another great feature is the patented Qwik Lock Filter Fastening System that allows you to easily install and remove filters, all without any tools.

Accessories and Flexibility

The RIDGID comes with an 8 foot hose, dual hose extensions, three heads, and a filter, along with storage space on the casters for those accessories. The hose is also designed with great flexibility in mind, so you can get to those nooks and crannies with ease.

Vacmaster 5 Gallon Wet Dry Vacuum

Last updated on April 12, 2024 2:38 pm

Going down in size, power, and price yet again, here we have a fantastic wet dry vacuum that is ideal for small and moderate floods, and other basic purposes. If you’re looking to save a bit of money, but still want something worth the cost, the Vacmaster is worth considering.

Performance and Power

Overall, the Vacmaster performs well for light and moderate applications. It features 3 peak horsepower, which is on the lower end of the spectrum, although for the $60.00 price tag that this unit comes to us at, it’s still a good amount of power.

The suction level on this vacuum is also quite good, with 65 CFM (cubic feet per minute), and a maximum water lift of 56 inches.

You might be surprised that this vacuum has so much lift potential in spite of its relatively low power level, but this is due to its hose, which is narrower than the others that we’ve looked at so far, just 1/1-4 inches. Of course, the narrower the hose, the higher the suction power will be, comparatively speaking.

Capacity and Portability

Besides the somewhat limited power, another reason why we say this unit is ideal for light and moderate needs, is because the capacity is just 5 gallons. A 5-gallon capacity means that if you have a severely flooded basement, you’ll be making a lot of trips back and forth to empty it.

On the other hand, this does increase its overall portability level, as it weighs just 13 pounds, with dimensions of 18 by 15 by 28 inches.

It’s quite lightweight and compact, making it maneuverable and possible to carry up a set of stairs, if needed. Of course, it also comes with casters for rolling, and a handle for easy carrying.

Durability and Construction

Overall, the Vacmaster is quite durable, as the tank is made with polypropylene, which is a very rugged type of plastic. It’s more than durable enough to withstand some impacts, yet also lightweight enough to remain maneuverable and portable. Although it might not be the number one most long-lasting or durable shop vacuum in the world, you really can’t complain for just $60.00.

Ease of Use and Features

One thing that certainly stands out about this wet dry vacuum is its ease of use. It has a locking hose that prevents it from being pulled out of the unit while in use, and a simple on/off switch for operation.

It also has the ability to monitor how full the tank is, and will automatically shut off when full. What’s neat is that this vacuum can also be used as a blower, thanks to the reversible air flow feature.

Accessories and Flexibility

In terms of accessories, what you get here is a hose, a cartridge filter for dry use, a foam filter for wet use, a floor nozzle, utility nozzle, and three extension wands. With the extension wands, you get well over 15 feet of cleaning reach, with the hose itself being moderately flexible, although not overly so. It’s not the number one most flexible unit in the world, but it works just fine for emptying flooded basements.

Shop-Vac 5 Gallon Portable Vacuum

Here we have a wet dry vacuum from the official Shop-Vac brand name, and it looks kind of like a space-age piece of technology, which is mainly thanks to the stainless steel tank. Let’s take a closer look at all of its main features.

Performance and Power

Overall, the performance of this unit is fantastic. It features 4.5 peak horsepower, along with 60 CFM of suction power. 60 CFM is up there with the best of them as far as suction power is concerned, allowing you to fill the tank in just a couple of minutes. Thanks to its relatively wide-diameter hose, it’s also able to suck up a great deal of water at once, and it can handle some fairly large debris as well.

Capacity and Portability

This shop vacuum features a 5-gallon capacity, complete with a stainless steel collection tank for the ultimate in durability. 5 gallons may not be all that much in the grand scheme of things, especially if you have a large basement flooded with plenty of water. However, the tradeoff is of course increased portability.

The unit itself weighs just under 15 pounds, and comes in at roughly 13 by 13 by 20 inches. Its compact and relatively lightweight nature make it highly portable, and only holding 5 gallons means that you should be able to carry it up a set of stairs if required. That said, you’ll have to empty it fairly often. The wheels and carrying handle do make this a bit easier.

Durability and Construction

The Shop-Vac is extremely durable, and the reason for this is the stainless steel collection tank, as well as the high quality plastic base and casters, and other components. In fact, this is one of the only shop backs on the list today that has a metal canister.

Stainless steel, while it does scratch easily, is more durable than plastic in the grand scheme of things, and it shouldn’t rust either. We think that this is one of the most durable shop vacs on the list today.

Ease of Use and Features

This Shop-Vac Is exceedingly simple to use. It has an on and off switch, a locking hose, and a top-collapsible handle. Thanks to the 1-1/4 hose diameter, it should be able to suck up most debris in your basement. Like most other models out there, it also has an air blower so you can blow dirt, clippings, and leaves around as needed.

Accessories and Flexibility

Included with your purchase is a 7-foot hose, three separate extension wands, a wet dry nozzle, crevice tool, around brush, a gulper nozzle, a disposable filter bag, foam sleeve, and a standard cartridge filter. It’s more accessories than most other units come with, which for the price of $131.00 plus tax, isn’t too shabby at all.

SIPPON Wet-Dry Vacuum

If you need something extremely small, portable, and ideal for small spaces, something that you can even carry with a single hand, the SIPPON Wet-Dry Vacuum is a prime option to consider.

Performance and Power

The SIPPON Has 4 peak horsepower, which is so far the lowest powered shop back on the list today. It should be enough for relatively small jobs that don’t require all that much suction power.

Yes, it still has more than enough suction to lift water well over a foot, if not more, but it’s not nearly as powerful as anything else we’ve looked at so far today. As long as you’re not sucking up massive quantities of water, it should work fine.

Capacity and Portability

The SIPPON Has a capacity of 2.6 gallons, also making it the smallest unit on the list so far. Yes, this means that you’ll have to empty it quite often as you drain your basement, but the bonus is its portability and ease of maneuverability.

Just like every other unit on the list today, it features casters for easy rolling, as well as a hidden handle for easy carrying.

Even when full of water, it’s more than light enough to carry up or down a set of stairs with a single hand. For the record, the starting weight is just 9 pounds, making it very lightweight, along with dimensions of 11.6 by 5 by 13.7 inches. It’s great for small spaces and it’s certainly very portable.

Durability and Construction

One of the only real downsides with this particular unit is that it’s just not the most durable. It is a relatively affordable unit coming in at roughly $50, but you often get what you pay for, and here you get somewhat limited durability. We certainly wouldn’t drop it on the ground.

Ease of Use and Features

As for ease of use, this shop vacuum is so simple that virtually anybody could use it without even knowing what a vacuum is. It has a very large power switch, it’s easy to carry around, and it works as advertised.

It comes with durable plastic clips to keep the lid attached to the body, as well as a locking hose to keep the hose in place while in use. Many people will also appreciate the blowing function, which allows you to blow away debris and large particles. It also has integrated storage.

Accessories and Flexibility

As for included accessories, besides the vacuum itself, here you get a 4-foot hose, a cloth filter, three separate plastic extension tubes, around brush, crevice nozzle, a floor brush, and a sofa brush, along with integrated storage for all of these components. Together with all of the components, you get over 16 feet of reach, although the hose itself is fairly rigid, which can cause problems in some cases.

Stanley 6 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum

$74.55
in stock
2 new from $74.55
9 used from $60.08
as of April 12, 2024 2:38 pm
Amazon.com
Last updated on April 12, 2024 2:38 pm

If you’ve got a small cleanup job, and you need a wet dry vac that isn’t too large and doesn’t cost too much money (just $65 plus tax), then this model from Stanley is worth looking into.

Performance and Power

The Stanley features 4 peak horsepower, which is admittedly on the lower end of the spectrum, although it should be more than enough to suck up a bit of water and other debris.

It comes with 50 inches of water lift power, thanks to its 85 CMF, which is more than can be expected for a shop vac that comes in at such a low price.

All in all, it should perform more than well enough for light and moderate flooding situations. The 1-¼-inch hose should be more than good enough to suck up wet and dry goods alike.

Capacity and Portability

The Stanley Shop Vac has a 6 gallon tank, which is a moderate size, although still on the lower end, and this is a relatively small model.

It comes in at 13.4 pounds, with dimensions of 13.8 by 13.8 by 20.47 inches. It is therefore more than ideal as far as portability is concerned, as it’s not too large or heavy.

Although, when filled with water, carrying it up a set of stairs can be a challenge. That said, to aid with portability, it features a solid carrying handle, as well as high grade casters.

Durability and Construction

As for overall durability, this is a brand name well known for producing high-quality items. Yes, the majority of the unit is made out of plastic and resin, but this is perfectly fine considering that these materials are both impact resistant and water resistant.

Being made out of plastic and resin also helps keep the weight down. For the low price it comes in at, you really can’t expect anymore.

Ease of Use and Features

This shop-vac is exceedingly simple to use, and all you really have to do is press the on/off switch to turn it on and off.

The hose locks into place to ensure that it doesn’t pull out during use, and it comes with 6 feet of reach, as well as three extension wands and a variety of accessories to help you get into those tight spaces.

Just like the other units we’ve looked at today, it also has a blower port so you can blow debris out of the way as required. The large drain also makes emptying it much easier and faster than with some other shop vacs out there.

Accessories and Flexibility

The number of accessories included here, including a clamp ring, three extension wands, the hose, a crevice nozzle, a gulper nozzle, a floor nozzle, a wet foam filter, a reusable filter, and a disposable filter bag. That’s more than can be expected for the price point.

VEVOR 5 Gallon Shop Vacuum

VEVOR is another trusted name in the world of shop vacuums, and what you get here is a low-priced model that comes complete with more than enough power and features to drain a basement of small or moderate quantities of water, as well as for other basic shop vacuum purposes.

Performance and Power

With 6 peak horsepower and 60 CFM of suction power, this shop vacuum is more than suitable enough for small and moderate cleanup jobs. It can easily pick up liquid, pet hair, dust, and debris of all kinds. It should be able to produce around 50 inches of lift.

The hose is just over 1-1/4 inches in diameter, so sucking up relatively large debris should not be a problem. All in all, for the price that this shop vacuum comes in at, which is about $60.00 plus tax, that level of suction power is quite respectable.

Capacity and Portability

The VEVOR Has a 5-gallon capacity, which should be enough for most basic needs. However, for small and moderate needs, this should be more than enough. 5 gallons is quite a bit, so you shouldn’t have to empty it all too often, especially if the flood wasn’t too severe.

Empty, this model weighs 8.89 pounds, and comes in at 23 by 15 by 18 inches, making it fairly compact. It also has rolling casters to move it around, and a handle for easy carrying. That said, it can be substantially heavy when full of water, which can be a problem for some people.

Durability and Construction

As for the construction of this shop vacuum, it’s pretty basic in the grand scheme of things. It’s made mostly out of high quality plastic components, specifically polypropylene, which is highly impact and moisture resistant.

It also has an aluminum wire motor, which is known for having great longevity. As is the running theme with many of these lower priced shop vacuums, the plastic is more than durable enough to withstand basic use, although we certainly wouldn’t drop the vacuum on the ground or be too rough with it.

Ease of Use and Features

One of the best features that you get here is the triple pack of filters. It has a wide filter for carpet debris and pet hair, a foam filter for liquids and spills, and a cylinder filter for dust and fine particles. This means that this shop vac is very versatile and can be used as a normal vacuum if needed.

It also features a locking hose to ensure that it stays in place while in use. To empty it, simply unclip the lid and dump it out. Although, one of the best features here is the waterproof switch that provides you with extra safety against water and electrical hazards.

Accessories and Flexibility

included with your purchase, you get a six foot hose, a floor brush, a T-shaped brush, a 2-in-1 crevice nozzle, three different filters, a carrying handle, and a 15-inch extension tube. It’s quite a few accessories considering the low price of roughly $60. You may also appreciate how the hose is designed to be quite flexible so you can reach tight spaces, but also more than durable enough to resist kinking and tearing.

Armor All 4 Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vac

Last updated on April 12, 2024 2:38 pm

The Armor All Wet/Dry Shop Vac comes in at just $60.00 plus tax, and is built like a tank, with durability certainly being one of the main selling points, along with some of the other features that we’re about to look at.

Performance and Power

The 3 peak horsepower motor here isn’t overly powerful, but enough for small spills and floods. As long as you don’t have more than about an inch of water on your basement floor, it should perform relatively well.

It’s certainly one of the weaker units on the list today, but should be fine for small time needs.If you have a decent flood sensor as an early warning system to inform you that a flood is in the works, this model should perform adequately.

Capacity and Portability

It has a 4-gallon tank. 4 gallons is relatively small, which means that you’ll have to empty it fairly often if you have a lot of water and debris to suck up. On the other hand, this also means that it shouldn’t be way too heavy to carry around with the included carrying handle.

As for portability, its dimensions are 12.2 by 11.8 by 17.9 inches, making it one of the more compact shop vacuums on our list. In this sense, it’s certainly quite portable.

Durability and Construction

What really shines about this particular wet dry vacuum is the fact that the tank is made out of metal, specifically stainless steel. Stainless steel isn’t too heavy, but is impact and water resistant. Not only is it extremely durable and long lasting, but it also looks rather nice. All of the other major components are made out of high quality plastic and resin.

Ease of Use and Features

Simply turn it on with the power switch and start sucking up debris. It allows you to reverse the airflow, so you can easily turn it into a blower, for additional use. It may not have a litany of special features, but it also doesn’t cost very much and is ideal for dealing with light flooding.

Accessories and Flexibility

Here you get a 6-foot hose, which isn’t overly long when compared to some of the other models on our list, although it should be enough for basic purposes, and it is designed with flexibility in mind. It also comes with three separate extension ones, a floor brush, utility nozzle, crevice tool, car nozzle, a reusable cloth filter, and a wet foam filter.

$64.99
$69.99
in stock
2 new from $64.99
7 used from $54.57
as of April 12, 2024 2:38 pm
Amazon.com
$64.99
$69.99
in stock
2 new from $64.99
4 used from $55.52
as of April 12, 2024 2:38 pm
Amazon.com
$72.99
in stock
4 used from $70.07
as of April 12, 2024 2:38 pm
Amazon.com
$74.55
in stock
2 new from $74.55
9 used from $60.08
as of April 12, 2024 2:38 pm
Amazon.com
$124.99
$150.90
in stock
15 new from $124.99
1 used from $123.74
as of April 12, 2024 2:38 pm
Amazon.com
$128.99
in stock
3 used from $102.58
as of April 12, 2024 2:38 pm
Amazon.com
$139.99
$166.65
in stock
8 new from $139.99
8 used from $93.21
as of April 12, 2024 2:38 pm
Amazon.com