A few years ago, I was talking about how you can actually calculate the suction power of vacuum cleaners. In that post, I was describing why using peak HP to measure the suction of a vacuum cleaner, even a wet-dry one, isn’t the best practice. However, this method works for Shop-Vac, which uses it IMO also as a marketing gimmick. Fortunately, they also provide ratings in AWs and CFM on their site.
Shop vacs are a very special niche. They are great for gardening or car detailing. I sometimes fantasize about owning a cordless high power shop vac, but for the moment I’ll have to settle for blower/vac combos such as this Greenworks. Anyway, enough rambling; I thought I should give a chance to the Shop-Vac 5986100 8-Gallon 5.5 Peak HP Stainless Steel Wet-Dry Vacuum, which has better specks than their no. 1 selling product on Amazon, the 5986000, while having almost the same price tag. 5986100 promises to be a competent cleaning companion for homes and offices. But does it have what it takes to be a part of your home’s cleaning arsenal? I can’t give you a straight and simple answer, you’ll have to spare 2 minutes of your time to find out all there is to know about:
- its features and performance
- its PROs and CONs
- how it compares with its siblings
- where to find it on a good deal
Many think a vacuum cleaner is only as good as the motor that powers it. This particular model is rated by the producer with a peak HP of 5.5, which basically is the maximum horsepower one can get at a 8-gallon model. Although, as you see in the video review, it is still a lot of room for improvement, it is more powerful than the 5986000 and many other Shop-Vac models for that matter. This means easier pickups of heavier debris and faster liquid suction. Testing the motor in sealed suction mode raises the liquid level 59 inches. Delivering a peak air watt performance of 345 (190 CFM), the vacuum is fully capable of picking up screws, pebbles, wood shavings, and mud off different types of floor surfaces and carpet. 5986100 also delivers enough blowing performance for the unit to be used as a decent leaf blower.
The product does not come with an internal battery and thus does not support cord-free operation. The Shop-Vac 5986100 has an electrical rating of 120V~ 60Hz 11.5A, which basically means it can be used in homes and offices located in the United States and Canada. These values are standard.
This particular product has a bin capacity of 8 gallons. When used to clean average-sized homes and offices, the tank can easily store in a week’s worth of dirt. This means less frequent replacements of the disposal bag. When compared to other Shop-Vac models, the 5986100’s bin capacity lies somewhere in the middle of the 5 gallon capacity of the 5986000 and the extra-large 12-gallon bin size of the 5986200. The other 2 units, 5986300 and 5986400 have a capacity of 16 gallons, which is IMO a bit of overkill (excepting of course those of you who own a very large yard). The bin can accommodate paper bags of various sizes. Paper bags are only meant for cleaning dry floor surfaces. When vacuuming liquids, make sure you remove first the paper bag (or you’ll have to remove it wet, piece by piece).
Shop vacs are not supposed to care too much about the efficiency of their filtration. People use these in dusty environments or outdoors, for plain hard work. I e.g. usually vacuum ash, leafs, soil/mud and so on. The Shop-Vac 5986100 is fitted with a cartridge filter that delivers years of cleaning without the need of replacement. In addition, Shop-Vac also gives you disposable filter bags for easy cleaning. You should use the cartridge filter and the disposable bags together when picking fine dust such as drywall dust, cement, plaster dust, and other such materials.
Weight and Dimensions
The entire unit weighs 19.2 pounds, which means it’s quite hefty. Even though its smooth-rolling casters make it easy to move it around the house, the Shop-Vac 5986100 is by no means portable. It also occupies a space of 16.4 X 16.4 X 21.2 inches. Thanks to the significant size and weight of the product most customers prefer to store the cleaner in their garages. That being said, I find the 8-gallon unit to be the best with regards to its weight and dimensions. The 6 gallon one is too small, and the others are too bulky.
One of the advantages of the Stainless Steel line is that the manufacturer packs in all the necessary accessories. Once you spend a few minutes to set it up, you can start using the cleaning unit immediately without having to buy anything else. These are the accessories you get when you buy one of these babies:
- the Friction Fit Hose: This is the main hose that attaches to the body of the unit. The hose is 7 feet in length. Combined with the extension wands, it gives you ample reach to clean even the tallest of ceilings.
- the Extension Wands: You get 3 standard size extension wands. Much like any other vacuum cleaner, the ends of the wands can be easily coupled together to create a longer extension.
- the Wet-Dry Nozzle: You also get a 10-inch nozzle to pick up both liquid and dry substances. The tapered end of the nozzle amplifies the suction power and thus can be used to suck in heavy materials. Made from high-quality polypro material, this attachment is suited to clean both upholstery and floors.
- the Crevice Tool: As the name suggests, this attachment is meant to find its way in crevices, corners and hard to reach areas.
- the Gulper Nozzle: Ideal for cleaning car interiors and furniture, this attachment is meant to tackle large areas with each move. The broad opening makes it great at cleaning soft surfaces such as upholstery.
Apart from offering everything a vacuum cleaner unit should, the Shop-Vac 5986100 does come with some pretty unique features:
- Auto Suction Shut-Off: This is a neat feature that automatically shuts off the suction once the level of liquid inside the tank reaches a certain level. This safety feature saves the motor from the overflowing liquid.
- Tank Drain: This model comes with a tank drain outlet which allows you to easily pour out the dirty liquid content and empty the tank. All Stainless Steel models have this feature except the 5986000 one.
- Smart Tool Holder: The body of the cleaner unit comes fitted with a special tool holder. This can be used to neatly store the accessories when not in use.
Combining the power cord length of 12 feet and the 7-feet hose, the Shop-Vac gives you a reach of 19 feet from the nearest power outlet without the extension wands attached. The tool storage allows you to keep all the attachments neatly in position. The cleaner unit sits on top of a dolly with rolling caster wheels. The 4 caster wheels swivel 360 degrees to offer a smooth glide. The blower feature and the easy assembly come to complete the high level of usability.
All Shop-Vac products comes with a 3-year warranty and this model makes no exception. However, if the product is rented out or used for commercial purposes then the company offers a limited 90-days warranty. The warranty only applies to the main unit. This means that if the accessories are damaged during usage, the customer would have to replace them at their own cost. It’s also important to note that the warranty is only valid if the customer uses recommended Shop-Vac filters and accessories. Shop-Vac’s 3-year coverage is pretty good considering that companies such as Makita and Bosch only offer a 1-year warranty on similar products.
The 5986100 is just a few bucks more expensive than the 5986000, costing less than $70. The other 3 models increase in price gradually, reaching almost $200 (for the 5986400).
Shop-Vac 5986000 vs 5986100 vs 5986200 vs 5986300 vs 5986400
Here’s a comparison table with all the 5 models from the 5986000 series:
|Shop-Vac 5986000||Shop-Vac 5986100||Shop-Vac 5986200||Shop-Vac 5986300||Shop-Vac 5986400|
|Type of filter|
|Wet/dry floor nozzle width|
|Power cord length|
|Tank Drain feature|
|8 inch rear wheels|
Overall, the Shop-Vac 5986100 8-Gallon 5.5 Peak HP Stainless Steel is a dependable machine. Sure, the hose could be longer and the suction may not seem powerful enough all the time, not to mention that sometimes the top of unit may come off when picked up by the handle (if it’s not properly secured). But all-in-all, the Shop-Vac 5986100 does exactly what it promises. It’s a relatively compact unit that’s tough enough to tackle any kind of cleaning situation. It’s also very well-priced as it undercuts most of its competition. Here’s the VGMuv:
VGM table for Shop-Vac 5986100
|Weight and Dimensions||10|
(VacuumsGuide.com Mark for utility vacuums)
What do you think about this Shop-Vac? Would you buy this tool? Have one and care to share some insights?
Latest posts by Jason Roberts (see all)
- Do Window Vacuums Work? - July 19, 2020
- Best Way To Clean The Movie Room - July 2, 2020
- Does A Dehumidifier Reduce The Amount Of Dust In Your Home? - June 17, 2020