Thread Number: 39644  /  Tag: 80s/90s Vacuum Cleaners
Sears Craftsman Wet/Dry Vac
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Post# 420613   2/25/2020 at 21:28 (1,006 days old) by Luxkid1980 (Richmond, Virginia)        

Found a nice Craftsman 5.0hp 16 gallon wet/dry vac this past weekend at one of the thrift stores near me. Bought this to replace a small shop vac I had that was maybe 2 gallons, but was pretty underpowered and would easily tip over.

This 16 gallon Craftsman is huge compared to what I had, especially the hose size, which is 2.5 inches versus the 1.25. It was pretty dirty, when I found it in the store, but I managed to clean it up some and bought a filter for it, as it was missing. Apparently the Craftsman vac filters are not interchangeable with Shop Vac brand filters as I couldn't find one locally anywhere. Amazon to the rescue!

This thing really has great suction and will be good for cleaning out the vehicles as well as the basement sump pump. In addition to the hose, it came with the two extension wands and two floor tools. I did notice though that this particular model vac does not have the ability to use the large dust bags like some shop vacs do nowadays, but I think as long as I keep the pleated filter clean, it should work really well. My dad had a similar vac years ago that was smaller in size and it lasted for years without the use of a dust bag.

I do like the all black color more than the black/red color combo of modern shop vacs. I attached a few pictures.

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Post# 420622 , Reply# 1   2/25/2020 at 22:08 (1,006 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

lesinutah's profile picture
If you blow out filter and spray the valve clean and let it sit dry. If you do these two things it will last a long time. I have a similar vac going in 12 years.
It's like going from a scooter to a race car.

Post# 420625 , Reply# 2   2/25/2020 at 22:13 (1,006 days old) by crazykirbydude (Lexington, KY)        

crazykirbydude's profile picture
Any chance that this one was made by Emerson Electric? It looks similar to some of the older Ridgid Wet/Dry vacs.

Post# 420637 , Reply# 3   2/26/2020 at 03:19 (1,006 days old) by huskyvacs (Indiana)        

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Great find! Shop Vacs and Goodwill do not mix for me. Every time I see one there, 99.5% guarantee the motor is 5 minutes away from blowing up.

I like seeing the really early Shop Vacs that pop up on eBay off and on - they're basically someone stuck a hose and a motor onto a oil drum and decorated it. lol

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Post# 420660 , Reply# 4   2/26/2020 at 12:05 (1,005 days old) by kirbyklekter (Concord,Ca.)        
If you wanted to use it

to suck up water, would you switch to a foam filter with the ball and cage to act as a float to protect motor?

Post# 420664 , Reply# 5   2/26/2020 at 14:34 (1,005 days old) by luxkid1980 (Richmond, Virginia)        

@krazykirbydude - Yes, I think these were made by Emerson Electric, at least as far as I could tell through online research.

@kirbyklekter - Yeah, I think the foam filter is needed to pick up water, once the paper filter is removed of course.

Post# 420696 , Reply# 6   2/26/2020 at 21:03 (1,005 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

lesinutah's profile picture
If you use it for water it wears on the motor.
This week at work there is 2 shop vacs. One is a dewalt and one is a rigid. The dewalt has been used to clean up water. I try using it to clean up debris and it's worthless. The rigid gets drywall particles though the cheap filter. I have to blow it out once a week. The rigid still works. I wouldn't expect much life if you use it for water.

Post# 420701 , Reply# 7   2/26/2020 at 21:17 (1,005 days old) by crazykirbydude (Lexington, KY)        

crazykirbydude's profile picture
This Ridgid WD1200 looks almost identical to your Sears Craftsman vacuum.

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Post# 420707 , Reply# 8   2/26/2020 at 22:03 (1,005 days old) by fan-of-fans (USA)        

fan-of-fans's profile picture
Probably early/mid 90s-ish.

Craftsman had some neat shop vacs back then. There was a 6 gallon or so with a white or light gray tank and it had a cord reel.

They also had one similar to yours with a variable speed slide control, with cord reel also.

There was even a power nozzle like attachment for them similar to a carpet sweeper with a friction powered brush.

I hadn't noticed how similar Rigids are to the Craftsman. I wonder if both are made by Emerson Electric?

Post# 420709 , Reply# 9   2/26/2020 at 22:17 (1,005 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

lesinutah's profile picture
Craftsman probably had emerson make the motors. Rigid isn't owned by home Depot. In the united states they use rigid name to home Depot for store brand vacuums.
Emerson owns rigid which you obviously know. The craftsman handvacs from the 1990s along with Kirby vacuette and 5 other vacuums all used the same motor. The motor was a lamb motor. I wouldn't have to go out on a limb to say emerson probably made shop vacs in same shop using same materials. I know emerson makes very good wet dry vacuum motors.
Nice catch on emerson i didn't realize it.

Post# 420719 , Reply# 10   2/27/2020 at 07:35 (1,004 days old) by crazykirbydude (Lexington, KY)        

crazykirbydude's profile picture
Emerson currently makes the Ridgid and Workshop brands of wet dry vacuums, along with ProTeam's wet/dry vac line and the "Stinger" and the Home Depot Bucket Head wet dry vacuums. I have a 12 Gallon Ridgid NXT wet/dry vac (bought new) and a 16 Gallon Ridgid Professional Series wet/dry vac. (trash picked)

Post# 420730 , Reply# 11   2/27/2020 at 10:38 (1,004 days old) by luxkid1980 (Richmond, Virginia)        

@Lesinutah - So, is occasional water pickup ok then? I mean, it is a wet/dry vac after all, not sure if that means small things like spills only or larger wet jobs too.

Assuming moisture still gets to the motor directly when u vacuum up water and other liquids, since all that is protecting it is a foam filter? Though I guess it is expected that most of the water collects in the bottom of the bucket (hence why the basin is so deep on these).

Post# 420731 , Reply# 12   2/27/2020 at 10:45 (1,004 days old) by crazykirbydude (Lexington, KY)        

crazykirbydude's profile picture
I once sucked water through the motor on my 12 Gallon Ridgid wet/dry vac on accident. It's no big deal, because the actual motor has it's own cooling fan and is separate from the suction fan, unlike in a regular vacuum motor where the exhaust air is blown through the motor to cool it. Sucking water through it will make a mess, but it won't kill your wet/dry vac.

Post# 420732 , Reply# 13   2/27/2020 at 11:00 (1,004 days old) by rivstg1 (colorado springs)        

rivstg1's profile picture
Do you happen to know which other handvacs use the motor that the Kirby vacuette uses? I do know Sears had one....because I need to replace mine to make my Kirby vacuette usable.


Post# 420734 , Reply# 14   2/27/2020 at 11:32 (1,004 days old) by crazykirbydude (Lexington, KY)        

crazykirbydude's profile picture
The Kirby Vacuette hand vac was made by Douglass, a sister company to Kirby. Douglass sold that vacuum under many different labels, including their own "Busy Bee" label. I know that there was a Kenmore version, a Craftsman version, a ReadiVac version (another Scott-Fetzer Company) and an Oreck version as well. I will attach a picture of the ReadiVac version.

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Post# 456790 , Reply# 15   9/15/2022 at 16:17 by rooster (usa)        

I have same wet/dry vac. bought in 90's new. cant find filter for it please tell me where and order# of the filter for it. Old filter feel apart after years of abuse. Thanks.

Post# 456795 , Reply# 16   9/15/2022 at 18:44 by repairman (Woodridge, IL)        

Give me your model number and I will find you a filter.

Post# 456796 , Reply# 17   9/15/2022 at 18:52 by repairman (Woodridge, IL)        

Your wet dry vac and the past/current Ridgid units are made by Emerson. Current Craftsman wet dry vacs are made by the same company that makes VacMaster which I believe is Cleva. Not sure when they switched OEMs but Cleva currently manufactures the canister vacuums for Kenmore and Titan.

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