Ridgid 16 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum WD1851
- Powerful Suction
- Decently Quiet
- Large Power Button
- Easy to Use Canister Clasps
- 20 ft. Power Cord
- Tool Basket When Emptying Canister
- No Auto On/Off (Red Herring)
This is a large, powerful and quiet vacuum. I highly recommend this vacuum as an alternative to expensive dust collection systems in one-man shops.
- 2 Wands
- Utility nozzle
- Car nozzle
- Wet nozzle
- Crevice tool
- Accessory bag
- 3 Stage Filter – VF5000
- 203 CFM
- 12 Amps
- 6.5 hp
- 16 gallon canister
- 7 ft. hose
- 2.5 inch diameter hose
- 20 ft. power cord
Spending $160 on a vacuum is a little painful, but it is in line with the competition. Shop Vac makes a number of comparable vacuums including a slightly smaller less powerful 181 CFM 5.5 hp 14 Gallon vac for $120, a similar 210 CFM 6.5 hp 16 Gallon vac for $145, and a top of the line Stainless Steel 210 CFM 6.5 hp 16 Gallon vac for $200. All of that said, you can also go with the Festool 137 CFM 13 Gallon vac for $750 if you like spending money on a vacuum with a non-standard hose size and less airflow.
In summary, the Ridgid Wet/Dry Vacuum isn’t a rip-off and it isn’t a steal.
Ease of Use
For the most part, the vacuum is a vacuum, you turn it on, via the easy to use large power button, and it sucks. The vac is quiet by my standards, but is nowhere near as quiet as a large dust collector. I am impressed with both the storage capacity and the airflow of the vac. I am able to connect this to my Dewalt planer without issue. I can generally run the planer flat our for 20-30 minutes before I need to empty the canister.
The diffuser can be used to prevent kicking up more dust. I don’t use it because I have little need for it and it seems to make the vac slightly louder. The long power cord and vacuum cord make it really easy to vacuum around my shop. I also really enjoy the large clasps that hold the canister to the motor.
However, this vac has a few limitations and lacks some features of the high end varieties.
My number one gripe is that the tool caddy makes it difficult to empty the canister. This is because the tool caddy is attached to the canister and not the motor. As a result, it is awkward to tip the canister over to empty it because the long tool caddy always hits something. Additionally, all of your tools will fall out. There is a release mechanism for the entire metal bar, but it is rather annoying to remove it every time you empty the vac.
My second gripe is static. Since the entire vacuum is made out of plastic, it is very easy for static to build up. There is NO risk of the static rapidly discharging and causing a fire. However, the static is annoying because it causes dirt and debris to adhere to the outside of the vacuum and hose.
The vacuum also lack an automatic on feature. This feature is available on the expensive Festool vacuums. Basically it allows you to plug a hand tool into the vacuum so that the when the vacuum sees a current draw, it turns on. Now there is no doubt that this is a handy feature, in theory. The problem is that the Festool accessory port only allows a 3.7 amp tool. This means you get automatic starting for a drill or a light sander, but not the track saw, router, or Domino XL. I chalked this up as a red herring, I could setup a remote start for less than the $600 markup that Festool charges that would handle more than 3.7 amps.
I have little concern about the durability of the body or tools. The plastic on all of them seems very strong. My only concern, is that the motor could burn out. I admit this concern is a bit unfair, as it is mostly tied to the brand name without anything else to support it. Ridgid does have the Lifetime Service Agreement, however, my closest repair location for this vacuum is over 200 miles away.
This category doesn’t work well with vacuums.
The vac is extremely useful. I would go so far as saying in a one man shop it can be used in place of a formal dust collector. The high air flow rate, 203 CFM, is more than able to keep up with my 13 inch planer as well as my table saw. The vac makes quick work of normal floor vacuuming tasks and is more than capable of sucking up metal objects such as screws and nails. The only thing that would make me consider a formal dust collection system at this point is a further decrease in noise.
In conclusion, I highly recommend this vacuum.