TESTED: Ridgid vs Shop-Vac vs Armor All vs VacMaster
We tested each vacuums suction and their airflow at both the base and at the end of the hose. We added up all three numbers and got these results, and you can see that the Stanley was the most powerful with the Shop-Vac All Around EZ coming in second.
The water test pretty much mirrored these results, with the only anomaly being that the Shop-Vac was slightly slower than the others despite having better power than most, and the Armor All had a better showing that I was expecting.
The embedded sand test also bore out the power tests with the Stanley coming in first and the Shop-Vac All Around EZ second.
Some of the other issues important for car detailing is the hose and cord length.
Here the Shop-Vac All Around EZ was far and away better than the others with a much longer power cord and a longer hose, with the Armor All coming in second.
With attachments, the Vacmaster and the Stanley were not that great; only having a couple of attachments that really aren’t even that helpful for auto detailing. The Armor All was really good with several smaller attachments and a really nice auto detailing attachment, though in practice the Armor all detailing attachment wasn’t that great.
But the Shop-Vac was the best, with not only all the tools you would need for car detailing but also two extension wands and a pretty nice floor head which is adjustable for carpets and hard floors.
For build quality again the Shop-Vac and the Armor all were the best, with the Stanley and Vacmaster seeming pretty cheaply made.
So when you factor all that in and score it, the Shop-Vac All Around EZ comes out on top with the Armor All coming in right behind it in 2nd place.
I should mention that if you do go with the Shop-Vac EZ I would also recommend buying the dry filters separately. It comes with a wet filter for water vacuuming and a bag for dry vacuuming, but if you don’t want to use the bag you will need the dry filters which I will link along with the Shop-Vac below.
Ok so now the premium vacuums, which aren’t all that much more expensive than the Budget vacuums, but they are more powerful and slightly bigger but still portable.
We tested the Ridgid 4 gallon 5 Hp 50313 which seems to be the exact same as the WD4070 except for the color and attachments. The Vacmaster 5 Gallon Beast Series and the Shop-Vac All Around Plus which is the larger version of the winner of the budget competition.
So with the suction and airflow test, I was blown away, these airflow numbers are super high, like higher than any regular vacuum cleaner on the market high, but I suppose that is par for the course with premium Shop-Vacs. But they do require some explanation.
The Ridgid had higher airflow at the base with the Vacmaster Beast coming in 2nd.
But the Vacmaster had higher numbers at the hose which is probably just due to the ridged having a longer hose, and thus a longer distance for the air to travel. But the Vacmaster has quite a lot more suction at 88 inches of water lift, and suction is much more important with wet dry vacs than it is with regular vacuums.
So when you add it all together The Vacmaster Beast is the most powerful, which also was evident from the water test where it got the fastest time of all the vacuums at 1 gallon in 1.16 seconds. It was also seen in the embedded sand test where it did better than all the others we tested.
With cord and hose length the Ridgid won having the longest cord a 20′ and the longest hose at 8′ Though the Vacmaster and Shop-Vac were right behind it, so it was close.
As far as build quality the Ridgid again won by a nose, even though the Vacmaster was also very well built, it was mainly because the hose on the Ridgid is built like a tank, though to be fair the Vacmaster had a pretty good hose too just not as good as the Ridgid.
So factoring in current list prices and scoring all these results. The Vacmaster wins the best vacuum for car detailing competition.
- Related: Which Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum is Best?
Best Car Detailing Vacuum Overall
- Vacmaster Beast: https://amzn.to/2DCR6Df
- Ridgid: https://amzn.to/2W9c4kn
- Ridgid Auto Detailing Vacuum Hose Accessory Kit: https://amzn.to/2UVV6tp