I Never Realized How Much it Sucks to be a Woodworker – Ridgid 16 Gallon 6.5 hp Wet/Dry Vacuum Review – THD Prospective Season 2

 In Tool Reviews

We all envy the amazing medical grade looking cabinet saws, monster truck tire size band saw wheels, and we get a little tingle looking at an old grimey 30” planer.  Fully knowing that none of these tools would ever fit into our small garage workshops…  The one thing we all fail to realize, is how much it SUCKS to be a woodworker.  I mean it’s really fun , and creative, and glamorous, its amazing.

But, do we really need so many vacuums?  

I mean, I have my 2 hp dust collector, my ¾ hp dust collector, I have a small shop vacuum, I have a dust extractor (the janitorial scientist of vacuums.) You never realized going into this craft how many vacuums would be involved. I’m still get excited though, and today I am reviewing the latest offering from team orange, the Ridgid 16 Gallon 6.5 hp Wet/Dry Vacuum with SNR.  Which may have just become the thing I will most often trip over in my shop.


Getting around the shop

ridgid shop vacuum review

Monster truck tires on the Ridgid 16 gallon wet and dry vac help it clear obtacles and uneven floors.


My garage pad was poured in 1927 or thereabouts and doesn’t remember what flat and smooth look like.  All of these vacuums with their adorable little 2” wheels don’t last a minute in my shop. The monster truck tires on the Ridgid 16 Gallon vacuum cruise over even the widest gorge.  The vacuum also has a very convenient handle to prop it up like a moving dolly to get it around. The base is nice and wide and even with the huge motor, the center of gravity is low to prevent tipping.  This is both a strength and a weakness as the design around the low center of gravity also causes the Ridgid vac to take up more square footage than I might like.  The Ridgid 16 Gallon wet/dry vacuum gets the job done, and everything about the design is well thought out.  Even the locking hoses, feel free to yank it around by the hose.




In the kit as I have it the Ridgid 16 gallon wet/dry vacuum with SNR comes with some pretty nice 2 ½ inch locking hose.  It is a little bit rigid (no pun intended) but you can get the 10 ft pro-grade kit as a nice upgrade for the vacuum connoisseurs among us.  The 2 ½ “ wand and crevice tools are already very “pro-grade” heavy duty plastic with wide mouths to handle all kinds of job site debris.  Ridgid also offers 4 different levels of filter from a crude job-site debris filter all the way up to a full on HEPA filter for indoor use in customer homes.  Those fine dust particles can be a killer! In the box in comes with the step below the HEPA filter, but all of the filters are available at Home Depot. This unit has a 20 ft power cord, which is pretty standard for a decent job site vacuum, but still good stuff.


This review unit was also sent with a really cool innovation that is available exclusively at The Home Depot called The Dustopper.  It is a SUPER simple one piece cyclone similar to a Fein baffle but with no assembly required. You literally just snap it onto any 5 gallon bucket, connect the hose and you are ready to go.  The Dusttopper does a fantastic job separating chips and dust (I did a quick little demo in my Instagram stories if you want to check it out.) These things are made for each other!  I made this little rig to keep them attached to make my life easier and I now rarely have to empty the vac, just the bucket.  Honestly, this thing was probably even more impressive than the vacuum, best 40$ you’ll spend for your shop.

dust topper ridgid 16 gallon shop vac

Ridgid’s wet/dry vacuum featuring monster truck tires is a perfect match for the dusttopper for chip seperation.


But…Does it Suck

16 gallon ridgid wet dry vacuum with snr

With a muffler and available HEPA filtration the Ridgid 16 gallon wet/dry vacuum with SNR can even be used inside customer homes.

Well yes and no…this unit has a TON of suction power.  These X.X peak horsepower numbers are so arbitrary on shop vacuums anymore.  The Ridgid 16 gallon wet dry vacuum with SNR is certainly my most powerful non-2HP–dust-collector in the shop right now, and I even have the green one.  It isn’t a “smart” vacuum with remote triggering or anything like that.  It doesn’t have a true “pro-grade” hose included in the box. What it does do though, it does very well. The Ridgid 16 gallon wet/dry vacuum with SNR is a work-horse vacuum, it is rugged, portable, and has huge suction.  Although I imagine this will be the vacuum a lot of carpenters will use in a house before the drywall goes up or tossed into the back of a truck.  With the ability to hook it up with the HEPA filter, scroll noise reduction (SNR), and noise muffler this unit EASILY plays inside as well.  The Ridgid 16 gallon 6.5 hp wet/dry vacuum with SNR will now live with me in the shop full time, I will let you know if my opinions change.






By: Rick LaFaver







This post is part of a paid partnership with The Home Depot as part of the THD Prospective.  All thought and impressions expressed in this article are my own.

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