The Perfect Vacuum for the Shop?


My first order of business with this and every product review is a disclaimer: I am not a professional contractor. I am a farmer and a fine furniture maker. When it comes to construction and renovation projects, I’m a DIYer and weekend warrior. That said, I doubt many professional contractors will be reading my tool reviews. My goal in reviewing tools and products is to provide honest feedback based on my own use and experience with these tools to other regular folks like me- wanting to get their hands dirty, try new things, and get the best value for their hard earned dollars.

Let’s talk about the Ridgid 16 GAL 6.5 Peak HP NXT Vacuum/Blower


 I’ll be honest, when I first unboxed this tool, I was a little skeptical about the usefulness of a detachable blower (or any blower, for that matter, that came with a cord). That, of course, is because I only had the farm on my brain. For most tools I’m using around the homestead, I need gas or battery power or I’d be stringing 20 extension cords together just to turn them on. But then, I started power carving in my woodshop, and suddenly this vacuum (and the detachable blower) earned a very special place in my heart and shop. I can’t use a gas powered blower indoors, and the enormous accumulation of fine dust that covered everything I owned with three back-to-back power carving projects (the alpaca sculpture, the sculpted table for the tiny house and the sculpted Bed-tray) simply had to go.

The vacuum bags for this vacuum are easy to find and affordably priced, at $9 each The filters are also easy to replace, and are thick enough that you can wash them out and reuse them a few times before needing to replace them.  

For a vacuum this size, this tool offers more power than you’d ever need. The tool storage being on the vacuum is an awesome feature, because accessories don’t go missing easily. The wheels need a few blows with a plastic mallet to fully seat during the first installation, but once they’re on there, the vacuum rolls around really nicely. And speaking of rolling, I’m notorious for pulling vacuums around by their hoses, so the new locking feature on the hose clips has been a really satisfying improvement for me. The only time they get a little annoying is when I’m trying to change accessories in a hurry, sometimes the plastic lock gets a tad cumbersome and is in the way when you forget which end of the hose goes to the vacuum and which goes with the accessory, but the lessened frustration of leaving the vacuum behind when I pull on the hose is totally worth that inconvenience.


The blower is great for indoor sawdust, drywall, or hardwood floor cleanup. It’s super easy to detach and reattach and is lightweight for comfortable use. The wet/dry feature of the vacuum has also come in really handy since we’ve had some flooding issues, and the bag and filter can get removed, the water sucked up and dumped into a 5 gallon bucket over and over, and then the filter and bag can be put back in and used dry and the tool is no worse for the wear. At $119, I think this is a fantastic all around vacuum for any small-medium sized garage or workshop, and I’d happily buy it again should the need arise.

Posted on January 24, 2019 .