Skip to navigationSkip to main content

Imperial Dade Insights

Stay Informed With Helpful Information From Our Experts

3 Best Wet/Dry Vacs of 2024: How to Choose the Right One For Your Business

In facilities such as commercial kitchens, construction sites, and warehouses, commercial wet/dry vacs prove essential for efficient and thorough cleaning. 

These vacuums are designed to handle wet and dry materials, making them indispensable in environments where spills, leaks, and debris are common.

But are all commercial wet/dry vacs the same? Of course not! So, how do you decide which one is best for your business?

There are some key features you should know about that will help inform your decision. These features include tank capacity, water lift, airflow, cleaning path, and more. 

Below, we’ll break down each one so you can better understand each one.

Let’s look at which key features you need to consider before buying the best wet/dry vac for your facility’s needs.

  1. Tank Capacity
  2. Tank Material
  3. Front-Mounted Squeegee and Wand Tool
  4. Cord Length
  5. Water Lift
  6. Airflow
  7. Weight

The cleaning capacity refers to how much wet or dry debris the tank can hold before changing. 

The larger the tank, the longer the staff can vacuum without emptying or draining it. This is ideal for large facilities because a smaller tank would require staff to stop and empty it more often, reducing the amount they can get done in one shift. 

Smaller tanks are ideal for smaller facilities because they have fewer expansive areas that require cleaning. They also generally lead to more mobile vacuums, creating a more productive cleaning session. 

You have three options for tank material: polyethylene (poly), aluminum, or stainless steel. 

Poly tanks are affordable and lightweight but have been known to retain odors when dealing with wet pickup. This is ideal if you’re looking for a more affordable tank material. 

Meanwhile, aluminum and stainless steel tanks are stronger and more durable but are also heavier and less affordable. This is an ideal option for cleaning tasks with large, bulky debris. It’s also ideal for use in environments where you might expect the tank to get dinged, like a construction site.

The size of the squeegee or wand is what determines the cleaning path. The larger the cleaning path, the more area a wet/dry vacuum can cover on each pass. 

Bigger doesn’t always mean better, though, as smaller cleaning paths mean better maneuverability and the ability to fit in tight spaces. 

When considering the cleaning path of a wet/dry vac’s front-mounted squeegee and wand tool, consider what your cleaning still will value more; better maneuverability or the ability to clean an area in fewer passes. 

Cord-electric machines allow the user to clean for extended periods because they are not limited by the life of a battery. 

However, the operator must manage the power cord throughout the cleaning procedure, ensuring they are always within reach of an outlet. A longer power cord means you have access to greater distances for cleaning. This makes longer power cords ideal for situations where a large, expansive area needs to be cleaned. 

If your facility deals more in small or confined areas, like an office building, cord length may not be as important. 

Water lift is what gives the vacuum the power to lift liquid debris. The higher the water lift, the easier it is for the vacuum to lift up thick liquid debris from the carpet or floor.

Water lift is typically between 60 and 100 inches for wet/dry vacs. 

Airflow is commonly listed as CFM or cubic feet per minute. CFM measures the air the vacuum takes through the hose per minute. 

This feature moves the dirt and soil through the vacuum hose to the tank. Airflow on wet/dry vacs generally ranges between 95 and 150 CFM. 

It’s important to know the machine’s weight because this feature can significantly affect someone’s ability to maneuver it. Heavier machines can be tiresome and more difficult to move around, while the opposite can be true of lighter machines.

To answer the question, “What are the best wet/dry vacs of 2023?” Let’s look at our top three picks in no particular order:

  1. IPC Eagle GS178
  2. Clarke® Summit Pro® 18SQ
  3. Tennant® V-WD-24
IPC Eagle GS178Clarke® Summit Pro® 18SQTennant® V-WD-24
Tank Capacity20 gal.18 gal.24 gal.
Tank MaterialSteelPoly.Poly.
Cleaning PathOptional Squeegee 24 in.Wand Tool 15.5 in. Squeegee 24 in.Wand Tool 15 in.Optional Squeegee 24 in.Wand Tool 15.5 in.
Cord Length25 ft.50 ft.40 ft.
Water Lift87”110”100”
Airflow101 cfm.95 cfm.119 cfm.
Weight50 lbs60 lbs42 lbs

The GS178 is one of the year’s best wet/dry vacs because of its durability, power, and disposal system. 

Crafted with a hardened steel tank, the GS178 is built to withstand the toughest cleaning tasks. The vacuum’s “rugged” and “built to last” attributes are further enhanced by its double motors, which provide a powerful pickup for thorough cleaning. As an added bonus, the GS178 features a tip-and-pour design, facilitating easy debris disposal. 

It is our list’s only wet/dry vac with a steel tank.

A 20-gallon tank makes this commercial wet/dry vac perfect for medium-large size cleaning tasks. 

The GS178 boasts a high-quality, chromed steel tank. Steel tanks are more durable, enabling this vacuum to handle tough debris and rough job sites. 

This commercial wet/dry vac comes with a 15.5-inch wand tool. You also have the option to include a 24-inch front-mounted squeegee for additional cleaning capacity. 

The cord length for this commercial wet/dry vac is 25 feet long, making it the shortest cord on this list. Short cords are ideal for cleaning small areas, as the additional reach of longer cords is unnecessary. 

The GS178 has an 87-inch water lift, which is average for a commercial wet/dry vac. This is the least powerful option of the three vacuums on this list. 

This commercial wet/dry vac has an airflow of 101 cfm., placing it firmly in the middle of our list. At 101 cfm., it’ll have no trouble cleaning up most dry debris. 

At 50 lbs, this wet dry vac is undoubtedly heavy. Luckily, the GS178 is mounted to a chassis bearing four wheels, making it easy to transport from job to job. 

The Summit Pro® 18SQ is one of the best wet/dry vacs of the year because of its versatility and ease of use.  

The Summit Pro® 18SQ’s user-friendly design makes operating easy and intuitive. Additionally, this vacuum comes with a 5-piece tool kit, including a crevice tool, dusting brush, wet and dry pick-up tools, and a 3-piece stainless steel wand.

The integrated front-mount squeegee further enhances its functionality, making the Summit Pro® 18SQ a comprehensive solution for those seeking a versatile, adaptable, and easy-to-use wet/dry vac.

It stands out on this list for its above-average water lift and the comprehensive set of tools that come stock with the machine. 

It’s also worth noting that the Summit Pro® 18WD was renamed to the Summit Pro® 18SQ, so don’t be surprised if you notice the specifications are identical. 

With an 18-gallon tank, this commercial wet/dry vac has the least capacity on our list. Even so, its size makes it ideal for efficiently taking care of many smaller cleaning tasks before emptying it. 

The Summit Pro® 18SQ has a poly tank, the most common type of tank material. The material and its smaller size make this one of the more portable vacuums on our list. 

This model has a wand tool with a 15-inch cleaning path, narrower than the other wands on this list by just half an inch. It’s also the only vacuum on the list where the 24-inch front-mounted squeegee comes stock with the machine.

This commercial wet/dry vac has a cord length of 50 feet, the longest on our list. A long cord is useful because the vacuum can be used throughout a large area without occasionally stopping and using a different outlet. 

With a water lift of 110 inches, this commercial wet/dry vac is well above average and tops our list as the most powerful model. It will have no problem picking up even the thickest sludge. 

The Summit Pro® 18SQ has an airflow of 95 cfm. This is the lowest airflow of the vacuums we’re covering. That means it will be just fine with normal dry pickup but may leave you wanting more with heavier or bigger debris. 

This commercial wet/dry vac comes in at 60 lbs even, making it the heaviest model we’re covering. While it’s definitely going to take some muscle to transport this model, the large, 10 inch wheels it’s mounted to make it easier for climbing stairs. 

The V-WD-24 is one of the year’s best wet/dry vacs because of its ergonomic design, powerful airflow, and maneuverability.

The ergonomic design of the V-WD-24 prioritizes user comfort, minimizing strain during prolonged use. Its innovative head gasket guarantees a strong seal, preventing any loss of airflow even when working with challenging substances such as oily or chemical residues. The vacuum’s easy maneuverability is facilitated by two rear wheels and two front swivel wheels, while the robust, durable, and shock-proof poly tank ensures longevity in demanding cleaning environments.

It stands out on this list for its lightweight, portable, yet durable design. 

At 24 gallons, this commercial wet/dry vac has the biggest tank capacity on our list. As such, it’s great for all cleaning jobs, from big to small. This tank is also suited for performing long cleaning tasks, as it won’t need to be emptied as often. 

This commercial wet/dry vac has a poly tank. The material helps offset some of the what from the larger tank size but also makes it prone to retaining bad odors from wet debris. 

The wand tool with the machine has a 15.5-inch cleaning path and the option to add a 24-inch front-mounted squeegee.

Front-mounted squeegees excel at wet pick up, making the optional accessory ideal if you use the wet/dry vac largely for wet pick up. 

The V-WD-24 comes with a 40-foot cord. This is longer than the average cord length, around 30 feet, and places this wet/dry vac model in the middle of the pack for this list. 

At 100 inches, this commercial wet/dry vac has excellent water lift. It’s in the middle of the pack for our list, but that doesn’t mean it can’t effectively remove whatever liquid debris you put in its path. 

With 119 cfm. of airflow, this commercial wet/dry vac tops our list. It will have no problem dealing with almost anything you might throw at it in a commercial setting. 

Despite the big tank, this vacuum only weighs 42 lbs. That makes it the lightest, most portable model we’ve covered. 

Final Thoughts 

While there are many factors to consider when choosing which commercial wet/dry vac is best for your facility, you don’t have to go through the process alone.

At Imperial Dade, we have a team of highly experienced janitorial equipment specialists available to help you.

Our Team begins by setting up a free consultation with you. Through understanding your needs and desired outcomes, they can suggest the best equipment choices for you. We guide you through the decision-making process to ensure you make the right purchase.    

If you’re unsure what you’re looking to get out of a wet/dry vac, our team can assess your facility to help determine its equipment needs.

Our team provides delivery, set-up, and in-service training after the purchase. Imperial Dade also offers customized maintenance programs to ensure you get the most out of your equipment investment. 

Reach out to an Imperial Dade facility near you and set up a free consultation today. 

Check Out These Related Articles: