My 15 year old Craftsman 16 gal. Vac w/ detachable blower died a couple of weeks ago in the middle of a job and I needed a replacement immediately. I did a quick comparison of various brands that had comparable features and price. ********** had their Ridgid vac with the same features across the board on sale for $15.00 less than this vac, and, since there was a HD store closer to me than a Sears store, I bought the Ridgid. As soon as I took it out of the box, I could tell I had made a mistake. The build quality was flimsy and just felt cheap. As soon as I got it assembled and turned it on, it wss obvious it was not going to cut it as my daily-use vac. I'm a detailer and I use my vac every day for both wet and dry jobs. For my purposes, the vac has to be sturdy and built well, it has to have outstanding suction and superior blowing, and its attachments must be built to last. The Ridgid lacked all of these requirements. This vac surpassed all of my expectations! The 15 year old vac I replaced was starting to get tired and you could hear it in the motor every time it was used. But, it still ran and had good suction and all of the attachments still fit tight. Why I even gave the Ridgid a second thought I'll never know. The design of this vac is excellent with one exception: the cord coming out the side rather than the rear of the motor/vac head. It's annoying and tends to be a hindrance in some situations but it's not enough of an issue to lower its rating in my opinion. It's much quieter than my old vac, that was a welcome feature. The larger drain is nice too. It drains much faster than the older model. The fitment is excellent all around. The attachments fit nice and snug, the hose attaches and stays attached even when I'm pulling the vac around half full by the hose! The most important feature of a vac is its suction and this one's got incredible suction. I usually have two and sometimes three hoses connected together and even with that length there is no noticeable loss of suction. You won't find a vac with comparable motor specs that has better suction. Period! As a blower, it exceeded my expectations. It does a great job blowing out the dust and debris in my shop. I especially like the ability to connect the hose to the blower port. After washing a vehicle, I go around and blow the water out of all the crevices and other places water likes to hide and slowly drip out. I much prefer only having to support a hose with an attachment than carrying the whole vac head around. The hose and nozzle is much easier to maneuver. Hopefully, I won't still be detailing 15 years from now but if this vac is built as well as its predecessor, it'll still be going strong if I am. Whether it's for the occasional wet/dry mess or heavy daily use,I can't recommend this vac highly enough.
The older shop vacs were much, much better.... this is the second new one of this model that has died in a very short time due to motor brushes arching and melting plastic motor parts. Replacement brushes not available and a replacement motor costs more than buying a new unit. Craftsman quality has diminished!
I picked up this shop vac last September and in less than 9 months of very light use, the motor smells like it's burning, making a strange noise and slows down after a minute of use.