Do Shop Vacs Require A Bag??? [NO!]

A shop vacuum is a powerful cleaning tool that can be used to suck up both dry and wet messes.

Typically, these vacuums are larger and more powerful than standard household vacuums, making them ideal for heavy-duty cleaning jobs.

One of the most common questions about shop vacuums is whether you need to use a bag like you would with other vacuum cleaners? Let’s go over why you don’t and when you should need one.

No Bag Needed For Shop Vacuums

A shop vacuum does not require a bag in most cases, especially if you’re sucking up water.

Using a bag in your shop vacuum is great when you’re sucking up dusty or extra dirty materials. Some examples include saw dust, dirt, rocks, or any dry material that can get into the air.

The bag also acts as a filter to keep the finer dust out of the air, so not to over work your main filter.

While using a bag is not required, it can be beneficial in certain situations.

Replacement Bag Intervals

If you do choose to use a bag, it’s important to know how often to replace it.

In general, you should replace the bag when it becomes full or when suction starts to decline.

You may notice suction decline when the bag is only halfway full, this is one of the drawbacks of using vacuum bags.

Use A Trash Bag Instead!

You can use trash bags in your shop vacuum with a few modifications, as talked about in this guide here.

I use a trash bag in my shop vacuum when cleaning my gutters as it makes a big wet mess, which regular vacuum bags can’t handle. This is not the natural state of my shop vacuum, as I rather run it bagless or trash bagless for most messes.

Remove Bag When Sucking Up Water

You need to avoid having a bag in your shop vacuum if you’re sucking up water or any wet messes.

The bag won’t hold any water, and it will only make a mess.

In fact, the bags will get destroyed as the fabric itself is meant to be a filter and water will only clog and rip the bag. So don’t have the bag in your shop vacuum if you’re sucking up water or any wet messes.

To see how to suck up water with a shop vacuum, check out this post here.

Do You Need The Filter In Your Shop Vacuum When Sucking Up Water?

If you’re sucking up water in your shop vacuum, you need to avoid having the paper filter on your shop vac.

Your shop vacuum should come with a foam filter, and that is the filter you use to suck up water and other wet messes.

Using the white paper filter will only work for a short time until it gets too wet and suction stops. The paper filter will also get destroyed in the process, only use the paper filter for dry messes.

Do You Get Better Suction From Your Shop Vac If You Don’t Use A Bag?

You will get better suction from your shop vac if you don’t use a bag.

Bags can reduce suction power, and they also need to be replaced more often than the filter.

If you’re only using your shop vacuum for wet messes, then you don’t need to worry about the bags at all. Just make sure you have the foam filter in place, and you’re good to go.

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