How Long Do Shop Vacuums Last And What You Can Do To Extend It

You know, from what I’ve seen, a regular shop vacuum, if you look after it well, typically hangs in there for about 3 to 5 years. But hey, it’s not always a hard and fast rule. Some vacuums really surprise you and last way longer, especially if they’re not used all that heavily. Like, if you’re just using it for a quick car cleanup each month, it’ll probably keep going strong for quite a while.

But if you’re after something that can really take a beating, especially for tougher jobs, you might want to think about getting a commercial-grade shop vacuum. These are built to last and can keep up with you for years, maybe even a decade, as long as you take good care of them. Just remember, even the sturdiest vacuums have their limits, but with the right choice and some TLC, you can definitely get the most out of your investment.

What Is A Shop Vacuum Cleaner?

A shop vacuum or shop vac is a special vacuum cleaner made for tougher messes around the home, shop or garage. This type of vacuum cleaner is not like the Dyson or other household vacuum cleaners that most people are used to when cleaning the carpets in their home.

A shop vacuum has a lot more suction, can suck up things like water that would destroy a normal vacuum cleaner. A shop vacuum cleaner can take a beating, get thrown around, and take far more abuse than a regular vacuum cleaner.

While shop vacuums are tough, they don’t last forever. These vacuum cleaners take a lot of abuse and suck up all kinds of debris that can affect how long they will last. There are a few things you can do to extend their working life that we’ll cover below.

How To Extend The Life Of Your Shop Vacuum

There are a few simple things you can do to extend the life of your shop vacuum.

First, make sure you’re using the right extension cord for your vacuum.

The wire gauge should be 12 or 14 depending on the length of the cord. If you’re using a lower gauge, the vacuum cleaner won’t get enough power to it and the cord can get hot or even start a fire.

So if you’re in doubt, go with the 12 gauge extension cord (Amazon Link Ad) and AVOID 16 or higher.

Second, empty the debris tank after each use.

Allowing debris to sit in the tank for too long can damage the vacuum and make it harder to clean up later. Some of the gunk you suck up can dry like concrete and be hard to remove and even stink up the shop vacuum, which sticks up your car and home.

Finally, take the time to clean your shop vacuum regularly.

This includes cleaning the filter, hoses, and attachments. A little bit of preventative maintenance will go a long way in keeping your vacuum running like new.

The Common Reasons Shop Vacs Stop Working

While shop vacs are built to last, there are a few common reasons why they might stop working.

One of the most common reasons I see is because the filter is clogged. If the filter gets too full of debris, it can restrict the airflow and cause the vacuum to overheat. So be sure to check the filter regularly and clean it as needed. It may not be the filter, but something is blocking the filter, like having too much water in the dustbin or debris is wrapped around the filter.

Another common issue I run into is a blockage in the hose. This can happen if you try to suck up something that’s too big or if debris gets caught in the hose. Again, this can restrict the airflow and cause the vacuum to overheat. So be sure to check the hose regularly for any blockages. Also, check them for damages, as any holes in the hoses will have them lose their effectiveness.

Finally, a common issue with shop vacs is that they simply wear out over time. The motors in these vacuums are powerful and work hard, so it’s not uncommon for them to eventually give out. If your shop vacuum is more than five years old, it might be time for an upgrade.

Repairing Your Shop Vacuum

If your shop vacuum has stopped working, you might be wondering if it can be repaired?

In some cases, it’ll be possible to repair the shop vac yourself. But in other cases, it might be more cost-effective to replace the vacuum.

If your shop vacuum is under warranty, you should check with the manufacturer to see if they offer repairs or replacements.

Otherwise, you can take it to a local repair shop and see if they’re able to fix it.

Keep in mind that the cost of repairs might be more than the cost of a new vacuum, so it’s important to weigh your options before deciding.

If you decide to repair your shop vacuum yourself, be sure to check online for any recall information. Some models of shop vacuums have been recalled due to safety issues, so it’s important to make sure yours isn’t one of them.



Hello, I'm Lee from ""! Launched in 2016, my site addresses the online information gap about "robot vacuums" and "vacuum cleaners," areas where I have hands-on experience. Got questions about a post or topic? Feel free to comment or contact me (contact)!

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