Shop vacs used to be big, noisy things that you could only use in a shop, and only with hearing protection. Dragging a wet/dry shop vac into the house was a last resort. Nowadays people are using wet/dry vacs for just about everything. Anything that your grandmother would pull out the mop or broom for, we’re just dragging out the wet/dry vac.
So you’d expect that makers of the smaller capacity vacs, knowing that people only use the larger machines as dedicated shop vacs, would take this into account and do their best to provide quieter, more user-friendly machines.
The Shop-Vac 9254010 10-Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum is an all-around good vacuum. It’s a jack of all trades, but there’s nothing that it’s particularly good at doing. It’s not super-quiet, like the Fein Turbo series, and it doesn’t have the range of accessories that some others have. It’s not a bad little vac, but Shop-Vac just makes it really hard for you to choose their vacuum out of a line-up. Still, if you need a machine for general use, a little lightweight stuff, a little heavy-duty stuff, you’ll be OK with this machine.
It’s a runner-up in every category
Now just because there’s nothing this vacuum is really good at doesn’t mean there’s anything that it’s really bad at. It doesn’t have any glaring design flaws or malfunctions that a lot of customers complain about. In each of these categories, the Shop-Vac 9254010 Right Stuff Vacuum is Ok:
- Accessories and compatibility
- Ease of use
- Comfort and convenience
At 4 HP and with a large 2 1/2″ hose, this vacuum has good suction power and volume. It cleans up water, sawdust, sand, leaves, medium-sized debris, and probably metal objects like screws and nails depending on the attachment you’re using. For around-the-house use, it might be a little too powerful if you haven’t picked up all the toys first, but that’s not really a complaint. It’s great with water, and if you use it for dust collection, it’ll do that pretty well too. If you’re doing a lot of shop work, get the Gore CleanStream HEPA filter to save your lungs. And get ear protection too – it’s a little quieter than the older models, but not much.
Good range of accessories
The Shop-Vac 9254101 Right Stuff comes with a decent selection of accessories. There’s a 6′ hose, a crevice and a gulper tool, extension wands, and a floor nozzle with a squeegee. That squeegee really comes in handy if you’re cleaning up spills on a hard surface. By the time you’re done vacuuming, your surface will be almost completely dry. Plus this vacuum comes with a built-in bucket for storing tools, something that’s missing on some of the other brands.
One rather odd design decision was in the hose size. The hose on this machine is 2 1/2″, which is nice for picking up large volumes. It’s not nice, however, when you realize that all the accessories for your other machine were 1 1/4″, and unlike other brands, these guys didn’t include a converter. Do yourself a favor and buy one at the same time that you buy the Shop-Vac. If you plan to use this vac in your car – which you probably will, seeing as you’re looking at a 10-gallon model and not a larger one – check out the detail kit as well. The tools that come with this vac just aren’t suitable for small spaces.
Pretty easy to use
The Shop-Vac 9254101 Wet/Dry is a cinch to use. This is both good and bad. If you’re just vacuuming, all you want is an on/off switch. That’s what this machine has. There have been complaints about the switch breaking early on, though, so watch yours carefully. The bad part about this is that if you do want to use this machine as a dust collection unit, it doesn’t have the beautiful automatic on switch that the Fein Turbo III has. If you happen to have a table with dual outlets connected to the switch, great! If not, you’ll have to keep this vac out from under the table and within easy reach.
As for filters and bags and whatnot, this design is pretty straightforward. Neither the bags nor the filters are particularly hard to replace. Bags are kind of expensive, and in a lot of shop vacs you can do without them and just dump the canister, but unfortunately this particular vac can’t be cleaned out so easily without bags, and the filters tend to need the extra help anyway. So stock up on bags when you place your order. There’s a nice, fast tank drain if you’re vacuuming liquids, but make sure you’ve got the right filter first.
A bit uncomfortable and inconvenient
Here’s where you’ll wish they’d taken a little more time to think about what this vacuum would be used for. The Shop-Vac 9254010, despite having a large non-shop customer base, seems to have been physically designed just for shops in that it’s difficult to move around. As a dust collector, there are no problems. If you need to move it, however, it’s rather frustrating. There are only three casters, which make it a little unstable and easy to tip over if you yank it too hard. That’s if the hose even stays connected.
The wheels are small and can’t be dragged over the cord easily. That’s OK if you only vacuum large, square, empty rooms. It also wouldn’t be such an annoyance if the hose was longer and you could just park the unit somewhere… but the hose is only 6 feet long, which is really quite short compared to other vacs on the market, and it kinks easily. The hose was designed for the unit to be dragged around, but the unit wasn’t. At least the cord is pretty long – 18 feet.
Not a bad vacuum
The Shop-Vac 9254010 is a nice, solid B student. Power’s pretty good, accessories are all right, it’s a little grumpy to move around, and the noise level is decent. All in all, it’s a good deal for the price. Other customers think so too:
- “While this vac is fairly loud when it is on, it is also extremely powerful.”
- “This is a good product for the price.”
- “Vacuum is powerful and was easy to assemble.”
- “It picks up everything, a plus. Some poor design makes it a pain.”
- “Overall this is a good buy. My only complaint is something I have found with other shop vacs as well- the hoses have no locking mechanisms and the attachments come off rather easily.”
One thing that you get with Shop-Vac that you don’t always get with other companies is really great customer service. If you’re prone to destroying things, the fact that they’ll send you replacement parts quickly should be a factor in your decision
Where to find it
Since this is an older model, it’s cheaper, but it’s also a little more difficult to find. Parts are still available. Amazon’s got the machine for one of the cheapest prices around, and with a few different shipping options.
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!