Knowledge Base

How Many Watts Does a Shop Vac Use? (Power Consumption Test)

By:Michael Johns

shop vac power header

On this page, you will find out how many watts a shop vac draws.

There’s something incredibly satisfying about vacuum cleaning, especially after a well completed job. Firing up the shop vac and sucking up anything in its pass is almost therapeutic. I’m always surprised at what it can tackle around a workshop, wet or dry. So this got me thinking about the power consumption.

Below we will discuss and test shop vac wattage, explain how to work it out for yourself, and calculate the total electricity required.

How Many Watts is a Shop Vac?

The average shop vac uses between 800 and 1200 watts.

The exact number depends on the size and model of your shop vac. You will find that the larger the machine the higher the power consumption. For example, a 20 liter vacuum runs at 1000W or less, while larger 30+ liter appliances draw 1200W or more.

This is not a strict rule, as there are many factors that go into the electrical wattage. The amount of suction and airflow generated by the internal components are key factors. This means you should check the specification of your particular devices.

How to Find Out Your Shop Vac Wattage

There are 3 ways you can work out the wattage of a shop vac.

  1. Check Product Specification

The quickest way is to look at the shop vac’s specification. The watts (W) is usually written on a sticker on the base of the appliance. If not, you can check the user manual or the manufacturer’s website for technical details.

shop vac power spec
  1. Use a Wattmeter

A wattmeter is brilliant for getting a live wattage reading and tracking total energy usage of any appliance. You can simply plug it into your shop vac to get instant information. 

I used one to test a shop vac which gave a live reading of 1286W.

shop vac watt test showing 1286W
  1. Wattage Formula or Calculator

If you know the amperage and voltage of your shop vac you can use this to find the maximum watt rating. Simply use the formula Amps x Volts = Watts. Or you can head over to the ‘Watt Calculator’ to work this out.

Shop Vac Wattage Examples

Let’s take a look at specific examples of how many watts a shop vac draws. Below is a collection of modern shop vacs with their listed power ratings.

Shop Vac ModelPower Rating (Watts)
Shop-Vac 5989300 5-Gallon1188
Stanley – SL18116P Wet/Dry Vacuum1200
Craftsman – CMXEVBE175941260

As you can see, the power ratings vary between different shop vacs. So you should take the time to check your own appliance.

How Much Electricity Does a Shop Vac Use?

You can use shop vac wattage to work out how much electricity it uses. Plus this can be useful in understanding how much it costs to run your shop vac.

A watt (W) is a measurement of power at a single point in time. A watt-hour (Wh) is the total amount of electricity used in an hour. For example, a shop vac drawing 1200W would use 1200Wh when running for an hour.

Happily, electricity bills are recorded in kilowatt-hours (kWh). A kilowatt is simply 1000 watts. So a 1200W shop vac running for 1 hour uses 1.2kWh.

Let’s say you use your vacuum for 30 minutes a week. This means a 1200W shop vac uses about 600Wh or 0.6kWh electricity a week. That’s 2.58kWh a month and 31kWh a year. 

That’s a rough electricity cost of $0.38 a month or $4.65 a year to vacuum with a shop vac for 30 minutes every week.

Using a Shop Vac Off-Grid

If you’re planning to use your shop vac in an off-grid situation like a power outage, or remote location, the information above is important. Understanding the electricity draw enables you to install the correct power supply and know how long it can run.

You can either use a power inverter, portable power station, or generator to generate AC electricity. 

To make sure everything runs smoothly you should check two things on this equipment – wattage capacity and total energy capacity. 

Your power source, like an inverter, should have a wattage capacity of at least 20% more than your shop vac. This ensures it will be able to deliver enough power as they are never 100% efficient. To wet and dry vacuum, it is best to have 1500W power capacity. This will be enough to run most appliances without overloading your equipment. 

Secondly, you need to ensure your energy source, like a battery, has enough energy to run the shop vac for the required amount of time. As we already know, it will use about 600Wh electricity for 30 minutes vacuuming. This is the equivalent to 50Ah on a 12V battery.

How Many Watts Does a Shop Vac Use Summary

I hope you now clearly understand how many watts a shop vac uses.

It’s no surprise that these appliances can pull well over 1000W, especially in larger sizes. You can hear and feel the work that goes into creating the strong suction. If you’re running off-grid then make sure you have a heavy duty inverter or generator. Plus be ready with plenty of energy/fuel to ensure you have decent runtime.