Craftsman Wet/Dry Vacuum 6-Gal

Last updated date: July 19, 2019

DWYM Score

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We looked at the top 1 Wet Dry Vacuums and dug through the reviews from 9 of the most popular review sites including Morning Chores, BestReviews, Top Ten Reviews, Woodwork Boss, The Wet Dry Vacuum, Vacuum EZ and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Wet Dry Vacuum you should buy.

Overall Take

In our analysis of 72 expert reviews, the Craftsman Craftsman Wet/Dry Vacuum 6-Gal placed 9th when we looked at the top 11 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note August 12, 2019:
Checkout The Best Wet Dry Vacuum for a detailed review of all the top wet dry vacuums.

Expert Summarized Score
9 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
18 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
One of the highlights of this super cleaning machine is that it is bagless and has a filter which minimizes any excess dust, so as well as being hygienic, the bagless function means you will save money.
- Morning Chores
Portable, stable product, from a reputable company.
- BestReviews
With a long hose and two extension wands, it has more than 17 feet of reach.
- Top Ten Reviews
January 7, 2019 | Full review
A 3-peak horsepower motor that will help in cleaning your indoor and outdoor areas powers this Craftsman model
- HouseholdMe
This Craftsman also boasted the easiest to remove filter, with a screw cap which was more intuitive than the usual twist-and-pull dance we had to deal with on other models.
- Reviewed
February 20, 2017 | Full review
Craftsman definitely took this into consideration when it added full 360-degree swiveling casters – finally, no more pulling and yanking on the hose and knocking the whole thing over when you’re twisting around trying to get into tight spots.
- The Saw Guy
February 14, 2019 | Full review
The machine has a large on/off switch which fires the motor up in seconds, and the hose is easy to remove and reattach as needed.
- Woodwork Boss
February 24, 2018 | Full review
TheCraftsman 12004 6 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum comes with a long-lasting 6-gallon polypropylene water tank that can easily be moved around.
- The Wet Dry Vacuum
The Craftsman 12004 comes with a 3 peak HP motor, which is powerful. The motor will effectively capture dirt, debris, and water around your home, in a short time.
- Vacuum EZ
What experts didn't like
Wheels don’t lock onto body.
- Morning Chores
Shorter cord and lower HP than some competitors.
- BestReviews
At 96 dB, this vacuum is noticeably louder than its competitors.
- Top Ten Reviews
January 7, 2019 | Full review
The only weak spot was the Craftsman's lack of attachments. It comes with two extension wands, a floor squeegee for wet pickup, and a utility nozzle. That covers wet and dry pretty well—but some of the competition came with more.
- Reviewed
February 20, 2017 | Full review
A bit bulky for storage, and no option for wall mount.
- The Saw Guy
February 14, 2019 | Full review
On the downside, there is no plug on the 12004, so when you vacuum water, you’ll actually need to dump this one.
- Woodwork Boss
February 24, 2018 | Full review
Power cord and hose are not very long.
- Vacuum EZ

From The Manufacturer

Overall Product Rankings

1. WORKSHOP Wet/Dry Vac 16-Gal
Overall Score: 9.4
Expert Reviews: 6
2. Vacmaster Wet/Dry Vacuum 12-Gal
Overall Score: 9.0
Expert Reviews: 8
3. Armor All Wet/Dry Vacuum 2.5 Gal
Overall Score: 8.8
Expert Reviews: 8
4. DEWALT 20-Volt MAX Wet/Dry Vacuum
Overall Score: 8.8
Expert Reviews: 9
5. Rigid 12 Gal. 5.0-Peak HP Wet/Dry Vacuum
Overall Score: 8.7
Expert Reviews: 5
6. Bissell Garage Pro Wet/Dry Vacuum
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 3
7. Shop-Vac Wet Dry Vacuum 5-Gal
Overall Score: 8.3
Expert Reviews: 4
8. Stanley Wet/Dry Vacuum 4-Gal
Overall Score: 8.1
Expert Reviews: 4
9. Craftsman Wet/Dry Vacuum 6-Gal
Overall Score: 8.1
Expert Reviews: 9
10. Shop-Vac Wet/Dry Micro Vacuum
Overall Score: 7.7
Expert Reviews: 4
11. Stanley Wet/Dry Vacuum 3-Gal
Overall Score: 7.5
Expert Reviews: 3

An Overview On Wet Dry Vacuums

What do flooded basements, messes in your workshop and the ashy aftermath of a BBQ have in common? If you’re thinking that they’re all major annoyances, you’re not wrong — but they’re also all jobs for a wet/dry vacuum. 

Wet/dry vacs, or shop vacs, are common accessories in woodshops, but they can also help out with lots of different messes. These versatile appliances have more powerful suction, plus tougher filters and sturdier canisters than a standard vacuum. They can pick up debris like nails and screws, and you can use them to clean up wet messes. Puddles from a leaky dishwasher or water basins that need emptying don’t stand a chance against a wet/dry vac. 

Standard vacuums operate using a relatively simple process. Once you turn them on, the motor receives electricity that drives the fan and the brush roll (that spiky part that goes deep into your carpet and gets tangled with hair). After the motor starts running, it creates an area of low pressure behind the fan, which generates the suction you need to chase down those dust bunnies. Your messes move into the vacuum’s removable dust bag or canister, and poof! You’ve got a clean floor. 

Shop vacs rely on the same low pressure and suction to clean up, but they have larger and tougher canisters, motors and hoses. For example, the WORKSHOP Wet/Dry Vac has a 16-gallon canister. The Vacmaster Wet/Dry Vacuum’s powerful suction roars at up to 5 horsepower to grab every last nail or drop of water in its path, and the Armor All Wet/Dry Vacuum’s hose is an impressive 1.25 inches in diameter. 

Another difference between wet/dry vacuums and standard vacuums is the motor placement. Instead of sitting inside of the vacuum’s canister, a wet/dry vac’s motor sits on top of the canister. This design allows anything that you suck up through the hose to go directly into the canister, instead of passing over the motor. It’s the reason that wet/dry vacs can safely pick up water — if the water was moving through electrical or mechanical parts, it could create a dangerous electrical shock. 

Some wet/dry vac models also vent air through an opening in the canister. With the help of a few accessories, you can turn this opening into a blower on many shop vacs. The WORKSHOP Wet/Dry Vac easily converts into a blower that’ll make your autumn leaf chores much easier. 

We’ve covered the wet/dry vacuum basics, but make sure to check out our Tips & Advice to find the perfect choice for your needs. 

DYWM Fun Fact

The history of vacuums might sound boring, but trust us — it doesn’t suck. Windy City resident Ives McGaffey patented the precursor to the modern vacuum on a warm summer day in 1869. It was called a “sweeping machine,” and it was designed to clean rugs. 

The sweeping machine was a far cry from our modern wet/dry vacuums, but Ohio janitor James Spangler brought us one step closer in 1907. He realized that his carpet sweeper was kicking up dust and causing his chronic coughing fits, so he put his Midwestern work ethic to work and created an alternative. Spangler stapled a soap box to a broom handle, tacked on an old fan motor and added a pillowcase as a dust collector. His cough disappeared, and he received his patent in 1908. 

After World War II, a new vacuum arrived on the scene. The first wet/dry vacuums were enormous metal appliances, and they were mostly used in industrial and woodshop settings. It took a while, but engineers finally developed smaller units for residential areas. The trickiest part was muffling the loud “screaming” noise the wet/dry vacuums made when they turned on! 

Today’s wet/dry vacs aren’t the quietest appliance around, but they definitely don’t sound like a low-budget horror movie.

The Wet Dry Vacuum Buying Guide

  • Before you buy, think about where you’ll get the most use out of your wet/dry vacuum. If you’re buying it for heavy-duty construction projects, a large unit like the WORKSHOP Wet/Dry Vac is appropriate. A handheld vac, like the Shop-Vac Wet/Dry Micro Vac, is fine for everyday jobs like vacuuming your car or sucking up spilled liquids in your kitchen.
  • Wet/dry vacs have an unmatched level of versatility and they can pick up far more debris than a standard vacuum. However, that convenience comes at a cost. Most wet/dry vacs are much heavier and bulkier than a standard vacuum, so make sure you take a look at the unit’s weight when you purchase it. You’ll also want to account for the weight of the dust, dirt and junk you’ll be picking up. Make sure you can comfortably lift and handle that weight. You can’t do much in your sparkling clean workshop if you throw out your back when you’re cleaning it up! The WORKSHOP Wet/Dry Vac weighs over 20 pounds and has a 16-gallon capacity, while the Armor All Wet/Dry Vacuum weighs just seven pounds and picks up 2.5 gallons of mess. 
  • Check out the length of the vacuum’s hose and power cord. Unless you want to stop every few minutes and find a new power outlet, you’ll need a nice long cord for vacuuming up larger areas. The Vacmaster Wet/Dry Vacuum has a 12-foot cord for bigger rooms. The Shop-Vac Wet/Dry Micro’s six-foot cord is easy to store and makes small jobs simple and quick. 
  • Will you need a wet/dry vac with wheels? Cleaning up an entire construction area means you’ll need some help moving the vac around, but wheels can get unwieldy if you need to pick up the vac and get between seats in your car. The WORKSHOP Wet/Dry Vac has rough-and-tumble wheels to move smoothly across rough surfaces, while the Armor All Wet/Dry Vacuum is wheel-free for upholstery jobs.
  • Wet/dry vacs come with accessories galore so that you can get the most out of your investment. Check out The Armor All Wet/Dry Vacuum, which comes with a brush, a crevice tool, a detail brush and a deluxe car nozzle. It’s a great pick for cleaning out your car. The WORKSHOP Wet/Dry Vac comes with two extension wands, so it’s ideal for reaching every space in your woodshop after you finish up your latest project. 
  • A wet/dry vacuum’s design prevents water from crossing paths with the interior electrical components, but you could be in for some trouble if the external cord winds up in a puddle. Investing in a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (or GFCI) is the smartest thing you can do to stay safe while using your vacuum’s wet mode. GFCIs trip electric power in as little as 1/40 of a second, preventing shocks or reducing the shock’s damage. Three-pronged electric outlets have built-in GFCIs, but there are also portable versions that you can plug into two-pronged outlets, as well as attachment plugs that incorporate the GFCI module. Portable GFCIs and Cord-Connected GFCIs are available online or at your local hardware store.
  • Although wet/dry vacuums are designed differently than standard vacuums, they still use filters. You’ll have to swap out your filters depending on what type of job you’re doing, and you’ll need to clean the filters regularly and occasionally buy replacements. Double-check on the cost of the filter replacements before you buy your wet/dry vacuum. If you use it frequently, you’ll need to buy new ones more often.
  • Cleaning your filter is essential if you want your vacuum to function at its highest level. Wet filters are made from foam, and you’ll have to set them aside to dry after every wet mess you clean up. After they dry, give them a good shake to knock off any debris. If it’s still dirty, hold it under running water for a few minutes. Make sure you rinse from the inside of the filter to the outside. Let it sit for a long time in a room with low humidity — this prevents mold from forming.  
  • Cleaning dry filters is a bit simpler. If they’re reusable, you can knock loose any debris and call it a day. If you just finished a big job, rinse them with water on both sides and give them plenty of time to air dry. Using a disposable filter? Just toss it and start over with a new filter the next time you’re vacuuming.
  • The standard filter you’ll use for dry messes will vary depending on which wet/dry vac you choose. The Shop-Vac Wet/Dry Vac and the Vacmaster Wet/Dry Vacuum are both compatible with HEPA filters. These filters force air particles through the ultra-fine mesh, and they’re great at picking up small particles and allergens. It helps prevent dust from spreading as you’re cleaning up, making it an ideal filter for anyone with allergies or asthma. 
  • You’ll have to dump some wet/dry vacs upside down to clean out the canister, like the Shop-Vac Wet/Dry Micro Vacuum. Other models, like the Vacmaster Wet/Dry Vacuum, have dust bags that you can empty or remove instead of flipping the whole canister upside down. Make sure your wet/dry vacuum is easy for you to lift and tilt before you hand over your cash.