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Quiet Shop Vacs, the Best & Quietest Shop Vacuums

A quiet shop vac is an essential part of any workshop or work area. Using the household vacuum to clean up sawdust, plaster dust, or bits and pieces of scrap material will shorten its life… and possibly your own if you get caught!

A shop vac is designed for heavier materials than its household counterpart.  It usually has a bigger hose diameter and special filters for different tasks. I’m in the process of replacing mine and figured what I found out might be helpful to you.

After completing my research, my recommendations for the best quiet shop vac are the FEIN Turbo I at 66 dB and the Festool 574930 CT at 62 dB. The best budget model is the Vacmaster VWM510 at 74 dB.


For More information on other quiet equipment, please see our articles The Best Quietest Generator of 2023 and The Best Quiet Air Compressor of 2023, and The Best Quiet Sump Pump of 2023.


Quiet shop vac


Why Are Shop Vacs so Loud?

The suction of a vacuum is based on power. Power is derived from amps and watts delivered to an electric motor that spins one or more fans to create a low-pressure space inside a canister.

This produces sealed suction or water lift based on airflow.  Every moving part creates some noise.

You may notice that horsepower isn’t in the discussion. If it were, we’d all be hooking an old V8 up to it. A vacuum’s ability to lift debris is based on its airflow and calculated in CFM.

It’s not a case of size, but of design – small motors can be more effective than large ones. The greater the airflow through a vacuum, the better it will clean.

Anything that restricts, or blocks, the airflow will cause it to work harder and make more noise. Smooth hoses are better than ribbed, just not as flexible.

The motor is one reason for the noise. Some models use AC motors which are noisier and cheaply built, and others use DC. Noise is vibration. The motor turns the fan or turbine to create the suction, which makes high-frequency sound and vibration. A sound my dog and many others don’t appreciate.

Motors have brush bearings that deliver the voltage to a motor as it turns. They also help to keep it aligned so it doesn’t rub on the stator and cause friction, which translates into heat, and the possibility of a fire.

A broken brush bearing will greatly add to the noise. They can be replaced and repaired, usually by a trained repair person.

Fine dust (like plaster dust) can get into the bearings of the motor or other moving parts of a vacuum. It will prevent the bearings from rolling correctly and create a high-frequency squeal. It can be repaired, but you may decide it’s cheaper to replace.

A dirty filter is another cause for louder vacuum noise. The motor has to work harder to move the air through to create the suction. The more it works, the louder it is.

A clogged hose or wand, or full bag or canister, will do the same. However, they are easier to fix than a bearing or motor noise.

A broken fan in a vacuum will also increase the noise, but it will also reduce the suction. The motor spins the fan to create the suction, so a broken fan impedes the generation of airflow.

The motor may work harder, plus the fan may throw rotation out of sync, causing friction and thus noise. A broken fan can be replaced.

Most vacuums have some vibration. The body will vibrate with the power of the inrush of airflow created by the motor and fans. If it becomes excessive, there may be something deflecting the centrifuge of air as it is generated, creating a more turbulent airflow. It should be an easy fix by emptying the canister.

Shop Vacuum Noise Levels

A quiet room has 40 dB of noise.

A conversation about vacuums has a noise level of 60 dB.

Turn on a TV or radio, and it bumps to about 70 dB.

Use a vacuum to clean up cracker crumbs, and the noise level shouldn’t interfere with the conversation. Unfortunately, most aren’t that quiet.

Vacuum levels range from 55db for super quiet to 65-70 dB for medium. Anything above 75 dB is loud, so if that shop vac is blaring away at 90 dB or more, I hope you have good ear protection on!

Shop vacs are usually louder than household vacuums due to size. The volume of a workshop appliance is bigger than the domestic model – the more power, the more amps, and often, the more noise. Plus, the fans need to work more to create the low-pressure zone or centrifuge to provide more suction.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) states we can tolerate 8-hours of exposure to 85 dB of sound a day; we may have no voice from shouting all day, though. Many vacuums start between 80 – 85 dB, but the noise increases after a few hours of use.

The quietest shop vac levels are in the low 60db range. Price may be inversely proportional to the sound levels too.

Types Of Vacuums

Shop vacs are available in a variety of configurations and materials. Select what will work best in your shop to meet your requirements.

Wet Dry Vacuum

A wet-dry vacuum will suck up both dry and wet debris, plus suck up water and other liquids. They have long cords and attachments for dry and wet surfaces. Most have wheels for moving around.

Wall Mountable

A wall-mounted has brackets that secure to the wall and hold the vacuum off the ground. It is more space-efficient and often has brackets for storing attachments and hoses. Cleanout requires the removal of the base to empty it.

Cordless / Portable

A cordless or portable vacuum uses an internal or external rechargeable battery for power. They are usually lightweight and have a limited run time. Most come with attachments, and some even have a spare battery.

Canister/Tank Material

  • Plastic
    Extruded plastic is an inexpensive and lightweight material for vacuum canisters or tanks. They are impervious to moisture, easy to clean, flexible, so they won’t dent or scratch when banged into machines or tools.
  • Stainless
    Stainless tanks are usually more expensive and heavier than plastic. Additionally, there is less static created inside the metal collector, so it is easier to clean. Some are rated for moisture, too but take longer to dry. Scratch and dent may pose a possible concern.

Top Quiet Shop Vacuum Brands

Some brands focus on designing quiet vacuums that have the power to produce good suction. Getting sound level and suction balanced doesn’t seem to be easy or cheap. Here are some brands that are doing it right.


Fein is a German tool manufacturing company with a line of portable shop vacs. They operate at 66 dB, airflow is between 151 and 153 CFM, and their water lift rate is 98.4” to 98.8”.

Different products offer removable filters, and some even have self-cleaning ones. All come with an accessory set of wands and brushes to attach to the 13-foot hose.


Festool is another German tool company with a line of portable dust extractors. They have a low noise level between 62 dB and 67 dB, water lift rate of 80” to 96”, and a maximum suction force between 130 and 137CFM.

Most have cleanable HEPA filters or a 1 Micron filter. Different accessory packages are available for different models, and hoses range from 11-feet to 22-feet. Easy connect system for attaching to Festool products, plus Bluetooth connect-ability.


Makita is a global tool manufacturer with manufacturing and assembly plants in the US and elsewhere. They offer a series of dust extractors and dust management options which include canister, cordless, and backpack solutions.

The water lift is 28.5” to 92”, low volume from 59 dB to 70 dB, and the suction range is 53 to 135 CFM, depending on product and model. All include attachment packages and a HEPA filter system. Some products will connect to different Makit products and offer Bluetooth connect-ability.

Considerations Before Buying a Shop Vac

Selecting a vacuum for your shop may be as easy as buying the one on sale from a flyer. Although many people shop that way, it’s better to do some research and buy the product that will do what you want. The first thing you need to decide is what the shop vac will be used for.

Types of task

  • Cleaning: walls, ceilings, floors, carpet, concrete, cars, boats, indoors, outdoors
  • Dust Collection: sawdust or plaster dust from attached tools or off floors and walls
  • Sucking up liquids: from floods, leaks, to clean ponds or boats, or transfer from A to B
  • Blowing: leaves, dust, fur, or gravel
  • Feed wires through tight spots: using suction or blowing to feed wires through conduits
  • Inflating: using the vacuum to blow air into water toys, air mattresses, rubber boats, etc.

Noise level (Low & High)

How loud is it at the low and high settings? 60dB for low and 80dB for are good guides.

Horsepower Rating, CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute), SP (Sealed Pressure)

Horsepower is the maximum power a motor is rated for with nothing attached, so it isn’t the best indicator of performance. CFM is the volume of air the vacuum will suck up in a minute; the higher, the better, especially for sawdust and finer dust.

Sealed pressure is also known as water lift and is based on how high the unit will lift a column of water in a tube; it best identifies how much suction a vacuum has. A rating of 75” or better is ideal.

Tank Size / Capacity

For small spaces and jobs, you don’t want a large canister. For sawdust and workshop, a larger canister holds more and needs emptying less debris. Remember, bigger is also heavier when it comes time to empty it.

Filters / Bags

Filters are available for different tasks. Wet use needs a foam sleeve, but remember to change it before picking up dry debris. There are filters for large, medium, and fine debris or dust. Using the correct filter keeps smaller particles from blowing out.

Many vacuums have HEPA or other filters to reduce out-blown dust further. Some models have filter bags that go over the sleeve filters to catch even more dust, extend the life of the sleeve, and make clean-up easier. Some units also offer canister bags to collect the debris and make emptying easier.

Replacement filters and bags are other considerations. A Festool HEPA is $72, Nilfisk HEPA is $125, and Ridgid is $25-30.  Bags for the same brands are $30 for 5 with Festool, Nilfisk charges $30 for 4 bags, and Rigid offers 2 bags for $12. The life of bags and filters can be extended by using a cyclone separator.

Hose length and Diameter

Hose length and diameter affect suction. Diameter impacts the size or kind of debris it is good for; 2½” is best for shops and regular clean-up including leaves, 1½” for medium size debris, and 1¼” for fine debris or cleaning the house or car.

Tank Drain

Some wet vac models have a drain at the bottom which makes it easier to empty. Moving and emptying a 15-gallon canister without a drain is a cumbersome task otherwise.

Stainless Tank vs. Plastic

Stainless is heavier than plastic and will dent and scratch but is easier to clean. Plastic is lighter and also available in a variety of colors.


Different products have different attachments available, and some have to be purchased separately. Storing the attachments and hoses are additional considerations. Some models have spots for storage; others don’t.

Cord length

Cord length is important if you have to move around, and outlet access may be difficult. The longer the cord, the further from the plug you can go, but it also has to be stored. Retractable cords are becoming more common in some brands.


Connecting the hose to the air-discharge portal turns a vacuum into a blower. Different models have a switch, so the hose doesn’t need to be moved, and others have a release that allows the motor and hose to be removed from the canister for use as a blower.


Check out the warranty information before purchasing, and read the fine print. Festool offers a 3-year warranty, Nilfisk a 2-year one, and Ridgid boasts lifetime coverage with lots of conditions – and excludes parts that wear out.


The size of the unit may also be important; some are square, round, or conical in shape. If it needs to fit under a bench or space is limited, purchase what will fit.

Other considerations when purchasing a shop vacuum are the types: wall mount, wheel based, handheld, or backpack. What meets your needs is the best. Bluetooth is one more item to think about if connecting to tools or using a long hose. It means you can turn the unit on and off at the tool, not having to go back to the switch.

The Best Quiet Shop Vacs

There are many things to consider when purchasing a shop vacuum, but suction power and noise level are the two most important to me. Sure, I could buy an inexpensive one with good pull and lift, but if it squeals like a banshee, I won’t use it.

A quiet tool will cost more but usually has the drawing power and a good warranty. Here are some suggestions.

Quietest Shop Vacuums

1. FEIN Turbo I

Best quiet shop vac for dust collection
The Fein Turbo I is a German designed vacuum manufactured in Eastern Europe. The 1100 watt motor produces 66 dB of sound, 98.4” of water lift, and a flow rate of 151 CFM. The motor is a by-pass design that ensures no dirty air from the hose can get into the motor.

The 8.4-gallon canister glides on large casters that swivel 360° for ease of movement. Couple the 13-foot hose with the 19-foot power cord, and you have more than 32-feet of reach from the outlet.

The Turbo II has onboard storage for accessories, plus a rimmed flat top for extra storage. The accessory package includes two steel wand sections, elbow, a crevice tool, dust brush, and a floor (combination) tool with an exchangeable brush or rubber squeegee.

The Fein comes with a cellulose filter and a fleece filter bag. If properly maintained and cleaned, they should last decades. If sucking up water, remove the filters to avoid damaging them.

Also, be aware there is no drain plug, so if you have to lift it, don’t fill it full. A HEPA filter and kit are available to meet OSHA standards and should be added if sanding lead paint.

For dust collection with power tools, there is an integrated power tool autostart 15 AMP outlet that will start the vacuum up after the chop saw, sander, or other tool starts. The function will shut the dust collector off 15 seconds after the power tool stops. The hose will fit tools by other manufacturers, so autostart can still be used.

There is a 1-year warranty, which can be extended to 3 or 4 years by going to the Fein website and registering within 6-weeks of the sale.


2. Festool CT 26 HEPA Dust Extractor

Ultra quiet shop vac
Festool is a German manufacturer of tools and dust collection systems. Festool CT 26 has variable speed motor that draws 350 to 1200 Watts.  It has an airflow of 137 CFM and a water lift f 96”. The noise levels produced range from 62 dB for low to 71 dB at high settings.

With a capacity of 6.9 gallons, the low profile rectangular canister rolls on 2 large fixed rear wheels and 360° front casters with a brake to prevent movement. The 24½ -foot 12 gauge power cord adds to the 11½ – foot anti-static hose for more than 36 feet of reach.

The 1-1/8” diameter hose handles dust from saws and chips from planers. A 2½” diameter hose is available.

A large 3.29sq ft HEPA filter, coupled with a self-cleaning filter bag, reduces irritating dust exhaust and complies with OSHA standards. The self-cleaning bag expands and contracts during vacuuming preventing dust build-up and reduction of suction. Remove the filters during wet-vac operation, and rely on the level stop technology to shut the unit off when full of water.

The CT 26 is equipped with auto start tool-trigger and a built-in receptacle for connecting tools, so the vacuum cycles on and off with the tool operation. It will work with most tool brands.

There is also a variable suction force control to adjust the pull when required. The dust extractor is designed with an onboard garage for storage and is compatible with the Systainer storage system.

Festool carries a 3-year all-inclusive service warranty, plus a 30-day money-back guarantee.


3. CRAFTSMAN 17612 4 Gallon 5.0 Peak HP Wet/Dry Vac

The CRAFTSMAN 17612 4 Gallon 5.0 Peak HP Wet/Dry Vac is powered by a 7.5 AMP motor that’s quieter than similar models thanks to the unique shape. Sound absorbing material in the motor compartment reduces the sound level to an easy on your ears to about half of other shop vacs. A soft-start draws fewer amps when powering up, and it has a variable speed-dial for suction control on different tasks.

The Craftsman 4 Gallon Wet/Dry Vac is ideal for auto detailing, job site detail cleaning, and house repair and restoration, as well as serving as a useful garage tool. This 4-gallon shop vacuum has the power of a vacuum three times its size, making it a portable solution that packs a punch. On this vacuum, the built-in tool storage system keeps everything in one accessible location. With a 20-foot rope and 7-foot hose, you’ll have plenty of area to maneuver, plus a set of two extension wands and a 10-inch combo brush, you’ll be prepared for any job. The vac’s swivel casters make it easy to move about, and the rear wheels keep it upright on hard surfaces.

It also has a removable accessory tray plus onboard storage for accessories. It comes with a crevice tool, cuff adapter, and one disposal bag. An 8 piece accessory pack is available if required.

Makita has a 30-day return guarantee with its one-year limited warranty. A list of limitations and exclusions is available if you feel like reading the fine print.


4. Nilfisk ALTO Aero Wet/Dry

The Nilfisk ALTO Aero Wet/Dryis a German-designed and engineered dust extractor. The maximum noise level the ALTO reaches is a quieter too than other options. It has 120 volts and it’s bagged. 

The 6.6-gallon blue plastic canister has two large fixed rear wheels and two small fronts 360° casters. It has an 11½’ hose that is 1¼” diameter for good reach.

The canister is easy to separate from the power unit for emptying. However, there is no drain plug if using for wet applications.

The 21 comes with a HEPA filter and a washable PET fleece filter bag. It has a semi-automatic filter clean system with a push and clean function.  The operator decides when clean the filter and follows the easy step process to clean the filter.

The ALTO has an auto-start receptacle for coupling with tools from most brands. It will start and stop with the power tools use, reducing steps and noise.

Included with the vacuum are a tool holder, aluminum extension wand, Wet-Dry floor nozzle, suction brush, tool adapter, crevice tool, universal nozzle, and a dust bag.

The Nilfisk comes with a 2-year limited warranty.


Relatively Quiet Vacs

5. DEWALT DXV10P Quiet Poly Wet Dry

quiet wet dry vac
DEWALT DXV10P features a QUIET 2-stage 10 AMP motor for longer motor life. It claims to be up to 50% quieter operation but doesn’t identify noise level in decibels.

The 5.5 horsepower motor moves an acceptable 90 CFM of air. However, there’s no mention of sealed suction water lift strength. It does have a built-in portable blower, though, for ease of clearing leaves or sawdust.

The 10 Gallon yellow plastic canister moves easily on four 360° casters. It has a drain on the lower edge for ease of emptying. The 7-foot hose with a 1-7/8” diameter combines with the 20-foot wrap-around power cord for almost 30-feet of reach from the plug-in site.

The vacuum comes with a washable cartridge filter and dust bag but isn’t HEPA-equipped. Included with the DeWalt are two extension tubes, a floor nozzle, crevice tool, and utility nozzle, plus an attachable accessory bag.

The DXV10P is covered by the manufacturer’s one-year warranty.


6. Shop-Vac 5989400 Stainless

quiet wet dry vacuum

Shop-Vac 5989400 Stainless has a 6.0 horsepower, 350 air watts, 12 Amp motor for quieter operation and longer motor life. It produces 200 CFM of airflow and 54” of water lift. Unfortunately, the decibel noise level isn’t available.

The 12-gallon stainless steel canister wet-dry vacuum thankfully has a drain for ease of emptying. There is a handle for ease of movement, coupled with four small wheels that swivel for better maneuverability due to the easy roll casters.

The model also is equipped with an 7-foot 1.25” diameter hose and an 18-foot power cord for 25 feet of reach.

The Shop-Vac isn’t HEPA approved but has a U cartridge filter and Type R foam sleeve with a Type G filter bag. The unit has built-in storage for accessories and comes with 3 extension wands, a gulper nozzle, a crevice attachment, and a 10-inch wet-dry tool.

The Shop-Vac ‎5986200carries a 4-year manufacturer’s warranty.


7. Ridgid WD1450 Wet/Dry

Ridgid WD1450 is manufactured in Mexico, has a 6 peak horsepower, 11 AMP motor that produces 150 CFM of airflow. The water lift test was unavailable, but it does run between 85 dB and 87 dB of sound.

It has a patented scroll noise reduction feature to control the airflow for quieter operation. There is also a blower feature for cleaning dust and debris away.

The two-piece plastic canister holds 14 gallons of debris. It has a built-in handle to easily move it around on its four 360° casters.

If the handle isn’t convenient, the tug-a-lug feature allows it to be pulled around by the 7-foot, 2½” diameter lock-in-place hose. The 20-foot wrap-around cord extends the unit reaches to almost 30-feet.

The WD1450 isn’t equipped with a HEPA system. However, the fine dust cartridge filter has 3-layers and will even capture drywall dust.

The model has a bag for accessory storage with an easy release, so emptying the canister is easier. Included with the unit are 2 extension wands, a utility nozzle, car nozzle, and a wet nozzle.

Ridgid backs the WD1450 Wet/Dry with a lifetime warranty.


8. Vacmaster Wall Mountable and with Remote Control

shop-vac super quiet series
Vacmaster vacuum has 5 peak horsepower, 10 AMP 2-stage motor that moves 81 CFM of air and produces a super quiet 74 dB of noise. Aside from the suction power, it also has a blower function for dust and debris.

The unit comes with an On/Off remote control that works up to 40-feet away, so you don’t have to power on or off at the switch.

The 5 Gallon blue plastic wet-dry vac is wall mountable and portable with large handle for carrying. The wall mount frame is easy to install on one stud, and the unit will attach and remove quickly and easily.

With more than 30-feet of reach provided by the 10-foot 1-7/8” diameter flex hose and a 20-foot cord with Cord Wrap, it’ll reach most tasks.

The VWM510 model comes with a washable cartridge filter and foam sleeve filter but isn’t set up for a HEPA system.  The Vacmaster comes with a good range of accessories for its onboard storage and accessory caddy.

Included are 2 plastic wands, a floor nozzle with a removable brush, round brush nozzle, car tool, crevice tool, air/noise diffuser, plus an extra 11-foot crushproof hose.

The vacuum is covered by Vacmaster’s 2-year manufacturer’s warranty.



9. Festool CT SYS Mobile HEPA Dust Extractor

silent shop vac
German designed and built Festool CT SYS is powered by a 1000 watt motor that creates 106 CFM of airflow and an impressive 80” of water lift. The unit only creates 67 dB of noise, making it a quiet work partner. It also has the tool-triggered on/off switch receptacle for use with compatible tools.

Weighing in at slightly more than 15-pounds, the lightweight plastic systainer (rectangular and stackable) model isn’t much bigger than a toolbox. It measures 15-5/8″ x 11-5/8″ x 10-5/8″ and has a shoulder strap or handle for carrying.

The smooth, 9.8-foot flexible hose doesn’t catch on anything and has a diameter of 1-1/16”. Combined with the built-in 16.25-foot power cord and it can reach almost 30-feet.

The 575280 CT is HEPA certified with a HEPA filter and filter bag. The debris/filter bag fits into a 6″x10″x4″ space and is disposable. A 0.92-gallon reusable bag is available. The model is ideal for small clean-ups, the car, cabinet installers, or sanding jobs.

The compact powerhouse has an integrated hose, power cord, and nozzle store in the unit, keeping everything together. It comes with hose, dust bag, shoulder strap, crevice nozzle, and small upholstery brush. Wheels can be attached using the optional Sys-Roll attachable dolly.

A 3-year all-inclusive Festool service warranty, plus a 30-day money-back guarantee, complete the package.


10. DEWALT DCV580H 18/20-Volt MAX Cordless/Corded Wet-Dry

The compact DEWALT DCV580H is AC or powered by a MAX 18v or 20v battery. It produces 31 CFM of airflow and will clean up sawdust and plaster but leave screws and nails behind. Depending on the task, it will last between 20 and 30 minutes with a 3 AMP 20v battery.

Weighing in at 10.8 pounds, it has a 2-gallon capacity. The 5-foot crush-resistant integrated 1¼” diameter hose with the 5-foot power cord gives it a short 10+ foot range from an outlet or just switch to a battery, and up the scaffold, you go. The hose and power cord are stored on the unit housing.

The model comes with a HEPA filter rated for wet/dry use and is good to 0.3 microns of particulate. The washable and reusable filter is easily accessible, and most dust can be tapped out into disposal can, so it’s ready to go again.

The vacuum is covered by DeWalt’s 3-year manufacturer’s warranty, including 12-months of free service.


How to Make a Shop Vac Quieter

Get a Longer Hose Attachment
Some of the noise is generated by the turbulent air blowing out the discharge or exhaust port. Attaching a spare length of vacuum hose to the port and moving the end further away will decrease some of the sounds.

Clean the Air Filter Regularly
Ensuring the filter(s) are clean will the motor doesn’t have to work harder to move air, reducing motor sound.

Use Shop-Vac Muffler
Purchasing or making a muffler for your vacuum will decrease the noise, plus do away with the long hose sticking out the exhaust port.

Build Shop-Vac Sound Enclosure
Build an insulated cabinet for the vacuum will considerably quiet the noise. Remember it needs air to operate and cool. Also, don’t try to pull your vacuum around by the hose unless the box is on wheels too.

Put your vacuum outside of the working area
If you have an outdoor utility room or can build a box outside to house the unit, the noise and mess are moved out of the building. An indoor or remote switch can easily be installed too. However, it still needs to be emptied and have ventilation for cooling and air intake.

Use Variable Fan/Router Speed Controller
The controller reduces the power draw, lowering the sound. It also decreases suction. However, depending on the task at hand, it does the same as a variable speed control installed on some vacuum models.

Use Personal hearing protection
There are so many noise-canceling ear protection devices available on the market that they should be standard in all shops. Get a set that is comfortable and cuts most of the noise. Some sound is good, so we know what is still turned on! Remember, they should be worn regardless of how quiet the vacuum is.


Shop-Vac Silencers

Silencers for shop vacuums install in the exhaust port of the unit. They cut the discharge noise and often even stop escaping particulate. They should be cleaned regularly.

CRAFTSMAN 38660 2-1/2-inch Muffler Diffuser

Shop vacuum mufflers
The muffler easily connects to the 2½” exhaust port for quieter operation. It works in wet and dry use models. According to the manufacturer, it will lessen the noise by about 10%.

Even at 3.36 oz., it still delivers heavy-weight results. Remember, 10% of 86 dB is a pleasant decrease.


WORKSHOP Wet Dry Vacuum Muffler Diffuser WS25025A

Vacuum Muffler Diffuser
It fits most 2½” discharge ports of wet/dry vacs and has a locking tab to hold it in place. It reduces some air noise and catches exhaust dust and debris.

The muffle will stick out on some models more than others, so keep that in mind as you spin the vacuum around the shop.


Ridgid VT2525 2.5 Inch Muffler

Shop Vac Muffler
The muffler diffuser comes with an adaptor for fitting on different models with a 2½” exhaust port. The muffler reduces discharge noise and decreases dust and material blowing out.

Another benefit is that it diffuses the turbulent air exhaust, so it doesn’t blow everything behind it around.


Shop Vac Cleaning and Maintenance

A shop vacuum should last for decades if properly maintained and cleaned. Following the manufacturer’s instructions is a good start.

The filter is often the culprit if the suction starts to drop and noise begins to rise. A dry filter is designed to be reused the best. It may be more expensive, but it’s worth it.

Follow the instructions to clean the filter. Some need to be shaken, brushed, and blown clean; others are rinsed with water until they drain clear.

If they need to be washed, make sure they are completely dry before reusing them. Otherwise, dust will stick and clog it and also mix with the moisture and stick in other parts of the machine – a quick way to shorten the life of the filter and the unit.

Always use the correct filter for the task. When picking up water, a foam sleeve is best. There are tear-resistant bags for use when cleaning up water mixed with glass or other sharp debris. Make sure to switch the filter and ensure the vacuum is dry before sucking up dry dust.

It’s a good practice to empty the canister at the end of each use (depending on size) and more often for big tasks. Check that the hoses and accessories are clear of debris or blockage, and brush or blow your air intake ports, so it’s ready for the next task.


A shop vac is an essential tool for any workshop or garage. When making a purchase, check out the Amps, CFM, dB, and sealed suction or water-lift height, then look at the price.

If you can’t find the information, check out reviews or post a question. Let me know if the article was of help to you, and pass it along if you know someone in need of a new dust collector.

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Eugene Sokol

Hi, I’m Eugene. I work with noise all day, so I enjoy any peace and quiet I can find. I began looking at ways to improve the sound quality of my home and to make a soundproof office for myself. As a DIY enthusiast, I looked for solutions I could do. I created this blog to share what I learned and to make it easier for you to improve your quiet space too.

3 thoughts on “Quiet Shop Vacs, the Best & Quietest Shop Vacuums”

  1. I live in a small apartment that has mostly carpeted floors. Having psoriasis as well as hair loss has made me think a shop vac (dry only) for inhome cleaning is what I need.
    The equipment must not be very heavy, must have wheels and attachments for various cleaning needs and be as quiet as possible.

    What do you recommend? Thank you so much.,

  2. Hello Eugene,
    Thank you for your very informative article on noise levels and shop vacs! Very helpful as I am looking into purchasing one. But I would like your advice if possible. I am looking for an outdoor yard vacuum mainly. I live in a condo and the yard maintenance folks make more of a mess than anything. I am older and am tired of sweeping and bending over to clean up leaves and grass clippings that they just blow around. Also, I’d like to just step outside and vacuum my small porch and patio. However, I also have a crabapple tree and an acorn tree that I would love to be able to suck up from the lawn when they drop their crabapples and acorns. They are aged/diseased trees as well, and they drop their leaves all season long,. I’ve looked at the combo handheld blowers/mulchers/vacuum units and I’m thinking they may be too loud and too heavy (don’t want the nosy neighbors to complain) and they may not last with munching the acorns and crabapples. So, I’m thinking a shop vac may be the better way to go, although it would not be as portable as the blower/mulcher/vacuum models. I would highly appreciate your suggestions! Thank you!

    • Hi Katherine,

      I am older than dirt and have used shop vacs for years on construction sites. The good ones will suck up almost anything so your acorns and crabs don’t stand a chance. I really think that is the way to go. Makita VC4710 is the quietest on the market only putting out 59 decibels (sound of normal conversation) with large wheels so it is easy to move around. Weighs 27 lbs. The Bosch 1.6 gallon portable is also very quiet. No wheels. Runs on battery (sold separately). Weighs about 10 lbs. Neither of these machines has a mulching option. They just pick stuff up and get it out of the way, so you will need somewhere to get rid of things.

      Hope that helps,



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