How to Make a Shop-Vac Quieter (5 Easy Hacks)

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A Shop-Vac is loud and noisy. That’s a fact. Whether you use a Shop-Vac inside the garage or at a workshop, the noise of the machine is well-documented. But are there simple hacks to make a Shop-Vac quieter?

You can wear noise-reducing earmuffs or install a diffuser into the exhaust port of your Shop-Vac, but the best way to make a Shop-Vac quieter is to make a special muffler box. The muffler box should make your Shop-Vac quieter by a significant margin. It may not be silent—but it should be much quieter.

You can also invest in a quieter Shop-Vac like the CRAFTSMAN 2.5 Gallon 1.75 Peak HP  Wet/Dry Vac at only 69 dB(A) it is one of the quietest vacuums on the market. In this article, you will learn the 5 methods to make a Shop-Vac quieter. 

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5 Ways to Make a Shop-Vac Quieter

If you are annoyed and frustrated by the sheer noise level of your Shop-Vac, there is no need to fret. Here are 5 simple hacks you can do to reduce the noise of your Shop-Vac and make it quieter:

1. Keep the filter clean and clog-free

Before you try anything to make your Shop-Vac quieter, you should make sure that the filter is clean and clog-free. Indeed, a Shop-Vac that has a dirty filter filled with caked debris is more likely to become noisy.

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When the filter is dirty, the air cannot flow through, causing the Shop-Vac to produce a weak suction power. As a result, the machine has to work extra just to deliver the same suction power, producing more noise.

A dirty filter restricts the airflow and reduces the Shop-Vac's power.

A Shop-Vac is loud. There’s no going around it. However, keeping the filter clean and clog-free is the simplest thing you can do to keep your Shop-Vac’s noise at a reasonable level.

Remember, any built-up air, debris, and dirt can cause air and dirt to remain lodged inside the filter and cause overheating and engine burning. If you let this continue to happen, not only will your Shop-Vac produce more noise, but it can also cause your Shop-Vac to break down quicker and have a lower lifespan.

2. Install a Shop-Vac Diffuser

The easiest thing you can do to make your Shop-Vac slightly quieter is to install a diffuser attachment. It connects seamlessly into the exhaust port of any Shop-Vac with a 2-½ inch diameter.

However, a Shop-Vac diffuser is only meant to “muffle” the exhaust port. Will it make your Shop-Vac quieter? Yes, but not by much. The diffuser will not “turn down the volume” so to speak, at least not noticeably. The motor is loud and nothing will ever change that.

A Shop-Vac diffuser prevents the Shop-Vac from blowing out dust everywhere.

A Shop-Vac diffuser, on the other hand, works best to diffuse the exhaust port so your Shop-Vac does not blow out dust everywhere. Using the diffuser, my Shop-Vac exhaust port went from emitting a powerful force of air into a gentle emission, without noticeably sacrificing the machine’s power.

If you buy the diffuser expecting the attachment to make your Shop-Vac completely silent, you will be disappointed. However, if you buy the diffuser so the exhaust port does not blow dust everywhere, while also getting the benefits of making your Shop-Vac a few decibels quieter, you will be happy.

3. Wear noise reduction safety earmuffs

A hassle-free solution to reduce the noise of your Shop-Vac is to wear a pair of safety earmuffs. While the earmuffs don’t necessarily make a Shop-Vac quieter, it does help reduce the noise you hear.

Wearing a pair of noise reducing safety earmuffs is effective if you plan on using your Shop-Vac for a prolonged period of time. The only downside to wearing earmuffs is that only you can enjoy the benefit of noise reduction, not the people around you. Unless you buy a pair for everyone. 🙂

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When using your Shop-Vac, you don’t have to buy fancy noise-canceling headphones. A simple pair of earmuffs designed for industrial use is affordable and works just fine. They will not completely eliminate the noise of your Shop-Vac, but they do a great job of making the noise more bearable. 

4. Invest in a quieter Shop-Vac

Most Shop-Vacs are loud. There’s no denying that fact. If the noise level is unbearable, then your best option is to buy a new Shop-Vac, one that is quieter and designed with a lower noise level. 

The quietest Shop-Vac on the market is the CRAFTSMAN 2.5 Gallon 1.75 Peak HP  Wet/Dry Vac  At only 69 dB(A) it is one of the quietest vacuums on the market. 

CRAFTSMAN CMXEVBE17250 2.5 Gallon...
  • PORTABLE: Lightweight, 2.5-gallon wet dry vac offers unparalleled mobility
  • IDEAL FOR SMALL MESSES: Perfect for the home, garage, cars, trucks and vans
  • EASY TO STORE: Compact size, carry handle and cord wrap feature allow for easy storage

So, if you care about filtration, durability, and repairability, Numatic vacuums (Henry) are the correct choice for you. On top of that, they’re made in the UK and have superb build quality. It's basically a Shop-Vac but does everything a lot better. You’ll be impressed at how silent but powerful it is.

5. Make a muffler box for your Shop-Vac

If you don’t like the idea of spending more money on a quieter Shop-Vac, then the next best thing is to make a special muffler box for your existing Shop-Vac. This is the most complex solution so pay attention.

Keep in mind that a muffler box is best if your Shop-Vac sits in one place, like a garage or a workshop. If you use your Shop-Vac as a portable vacuum cleaner, then this project is not for you.

The idea behind this project is to make a soundproof box (made of plywood covered with mineral wool on the insides) to dampen the noise your Shop-Vac would make. This project requires some woodworking. If you are interested in starting this project, go ahead to this website for the complete guide.

Also, you should make sure your Shop-Vac does not overheat. I recommend using your Shop-Vac for 15 minutes. I would not want to let it run for an hour as wet/dry vacuums should not run continuously.

Final Thoughts

A Shop-Vac is noisy. Very noisy. Luckily, you’ve learned how to make a Shop-Vac quieter. Start with keeping the filter clean or installing a diffuser. Both methods should reduce the noise by a few decibels.

If you’re still not satisfied, buy a pair of noise reduction safety earmuffs or invest in a quieter Shop-Vac. However, if you are not interested in buying a new Shop-Vac, making a special muffler box is the way to go.

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Ryan O'Connor

I write about house cleaning and vacuum cleaners. For me, nothing is more important than a clean environment to ensure both a healthy and happy life. Learn more.