Craftsman - 8 Gal 4hp (peak) Stainless Steel Wet/Dry Vac (Rating: 4)

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  1. Update 2/3/13- Still like the product. Sears sells tons of accessories at reasonable prices. I still haven't found any downside to the vacuum. Highly rocommend##

About 4 years ago, I bought a Shopvac from Lowes. I cant remember the specs, but it was 10 gallons or so and supposedly 4-5 HP. They were selling them on Black Friday for $40. I actually like the vacuum pretty well and felt it was a good value. So when Lowes had the same vac on sale the following year, I bought a second. One lived in the garage, the other lived in my utility room. I'd describe my usage as med-heavy non-commercial use (if that makes sense). The garage vac cleaned-up whatever sawdust my DC didn't get, and also was used to vacuum out the cars. The other vac did everything else around the house with the exception of carpets/upholstry.
Well about a year ago, the first vac died. The second died last week. Apparently these vacuums have a three-year lifespan :LOL:. For the price paid, I don't feel bitter. But I did decide to move up a notch and get a new vac with better features and (hopefully) better longevity.
I decided to get the Craftsman Stainless Steel VQ810SIWD SC. The local Sears had it on sale for $75.99. I looked at other makes and models to include Ridgid and Shopvac, but from the displays I looked at, this model seemed to be the best blend of quality and features (in the $100ish dollar price range). I might have found a better deal online, but I needed the vac near-immediately, so I only shopped local B&M stores.
I've had a few opportunities to use the vac since purchase, and their are some definite upgrades over the shopvacs it replaced. A brief comparison:
-Suction is adequate enough. About on par with my old vacs. Nothing great or terrible about it. Does what I need it to do.
-Noise level is MUCH better with the craftsman. Maybe the shopvacs were extraordinarily loud, but the difference is night/day. This will be nice when vacuuming the cars. Listening to the shopvacs for prolonged periods was not fun…...for me or my neighbors. Regardless less noise is always a good thing.
- The craftsman has a nice integrated system for storing accessories. See pics. Lots of slots for various attachments. The storage on my shopvacs was pathetic.
- Capacity. I use a DC for heavy dust collection, so I don't need a vac with a huge collection tank. 8 gallons is fine.
- Fit/Finish. Stainless steel was not a selling point for me, but it wasn't a deterrent either. I guess it looks nicer than plastic, but I certainly wasn't hosting a beauty show. Overall it seems to be well built. Everything fits well and all hardware, casters, and accessories are good.
-Cord. Comes with a 12ft cord. My old vacs had 6 ft cords. I had to buy a dedicated 8ft ext cord since 6ft never seemed to EVER be long enough. 12ft will be long enough 90% of the time.
-Accessories. See pic. Includes everything I need with the exception of a carpet brush attachment. Sears carries tons of attachments, so I grabbed one for $5. The included hose is 7-8ft. I wish it was 10-12ft.

Bottom line is its a good vac that suits my needs well. I considered getting a larger, commercial style unit, but wanted to maintain a smaller footprint. 4 "peak" hp seems to be adequate for my needs. The low noise level is probably my favorite feature.