Maybe your shop vac is too heavy to lug around, or maybe it’s too loud to use all day. Maybe you don’t even have a shop vac yet. There’s a good selection of small-capacity, high-utility shop vacs on the market, and sorting them all out can be a pain, especially when they’re still selling old models when new models are available.
What you probably want in a small shop vac is low volume, light weight, and ease of use. And maybe wet/dry if this is your only shop vac. What you don’t want is to have to buy a lot of extra stuff to use it – might as well just get a more expensive model from the get go – or to have to hire an engineer to figure out how to connect it to what you have.
The good news is that the Fein 9-20-24 Turbo I meets all of the “do want” requirements above. The bad news is that it also meets all of the “don’t want” requirements. This machine is perfect right out of the box for a select group of people, and if you’re in that group, great. If not, you’re going to wish you had done more research. To figure out if this machine is the exact fit for you, read on.
Does only one thing, but does it quite well
The biggest problem with the Fein 9-20-24 Turbo I is that it claims it’ll do all this stuff, and it will, only you have to drop a few extra dollars before it will. It’s a pretty pricey vacuum to begin with, so unless you have lots of extra money lying around, or unless you only need this vacuum for specific purposes, you might want to think about your options.
- Can be a wet vac if you buy the right filter
- Can be a shop vac if you buy the right filter and connections
- Can be a household vac if you buy the accessories
- Is rather small and portable but not quite convenient
Good wet vac, good dry vac
The Fein 9-20-24 Turbo I is a dry vacuum right out of the box. It comes with a 5 micron filter bag that works with ordinary household debris and dust (unless you have allergies). You shouldn’t have to use a bag for dry debris, but a filter bag is what you get, so a filter bag is what you use. The filter bag also reduces the volume a bit, so it’s not quite 6 gallons. You can get other filters without the bag, but stay away from the Fein filters, which are extraordinarily expensive. Gore CleanStream filters can fit the Fein Turbo I as long as you add an extra bolt to keep it in place.
OK, in reality you could use this as a wet vac out of the box. You don’t absolutely need a filter for wet vacuuming… but you probably want one. If you don’t, all of that stuff in your carpet or whatever you’re vacuuming up gets aerosolized and comes out with the exhaust, and whatever it is, you probably don’t want to be breathing it. So if you want to do wet vacuuming in an enclosed area or for any length of time, you need to purchase the additional foam filter.
Great dust collection
The Fein 9-20-24 Turbo I comes with a 1 1/4″ hose. Let’s assume you already have all the connectors you need to attach this to your tools because if you don’t, it’s really too difficult to explain what you need in words. Better to see it. Assuming you have the right connections, you’d still better not use this as a shop vac immediately. The included filter is a 5 micron filter, and since sawdust and all sorts of other things that you’ll be sanding are carcinogenic when inhaled, you need a HEPA filter. That is, you need to buy a HEPA filter – third-party, not Fein, because it’s much cheaper that way.
However, after you get the filters and connections and what-have-you, it’s a pretty sweet set-up as a shop vac. The great thing is the automatic on switch. You can plug your power tool into the vac, and when you turn the tool on, the vac automatically turns on as well. After you turn the tool, off, the vac will keep running for a few seconds to clear off your workspace and the hose. This is one of the features that really set it apart from other wet/dry vacs in its class.
Another outstanding feature is the noise level. It’s really the quietest wet/dry shop vac out there (at least the 6 gallon model is). It might not seem like a big deal, but a 1 or 2 dB difference can really add up if you’re in the shop all day. It’s also got five variable suction settings, so if you don’t need full power, you don’t have to listen to full power. If you can spend a little extra for a little less noise, it’s really worth the investment. Once your ears go, they never come back.
Decent household vac
With six wheels for added stability and only 25 pounds, the Fein 9-20-24 Turbo I makes for a great household vacuum… if you buy the accessory kit. Since it’s so quiet, no louder than an ordinary upright, it’s even safe for the kids to use regularly. The problem is that this machine only comes with the hose. You have to purchase all the attachments separately. (Again, don’t buy Fein – buy third-party.) There’s also an accessory basket – sold separately – that attaches to the top, but it interferes with the carrying handle. There’s nowhere to store the hose, and the cord just kind of wraps around awkwardly with no real storage solution for it either.
What does everyone else think?
In general, customers whose specific needs match what this vacuum can do out of the box are pleased, and customers who were expecting more, aren’t. On average, it earns 4 out of 5 stars. It all depends on what you need.
- “The functionality is excellent. The remote on/off from the tool is just about the best thing ever.”
- “The BIG oddity with this vac is that it comes with NO attachments. They will run you over $100 for a kit of all sorts of normally standard items.”
- “It seems to have significantly more suction than my other vac with a lot less noise – which is exactly what I wanted.”
- “No provision for cord or hose storage makes this vacuum take up way too much space in my shop.”
- “Barely five stars considering that Fein ought to include vacuum tools in the box, but this thing really delivers on quietness, on power and on convenience.”
So in short, if you need (a) a dry vac (b) for dust collection and (c) you’ve got the right connectors or are willing to search for them and (d) you value your hearing above your pocketbook, the Fein 9-20-24 Turbo I is perfect for you. If these things don’t apply to you, don’t cross it off your list yet! Just be aware that there are other makes and models that deal with these issues in a better, cheaper way.
Where can I get it?
If you’ve decided that the Fein 9-20-24 Turbo I is exactly what you need, you can get it at Amazon with free shipping, one of the lowest listed prices on the internet, and great customer service (better than the manufacturer’s apparently). If you purchase elsewhere, make sure you do not spend over $120 for this machine, shipping included!
Mike Nikko is a blogger with over 15 years of experience. I will bring you the best product reviews and other useful life experiences, tips to increase height, tips to improve health… If you have any questions, feel free to ask Mike Nikko!