What is the Quietest Shop Vac?
Vacuuming isn’t fun no matter what way you look at it. Perhaps the only upside of this somewhat tedious job is the sense of satisfaction you get when the space looks sparkling clean afterwards. Apart from having to meticulously cover the space inch by inch, squeeze past various objects, and get under and behind an array of obstacles, you also have to put up with the deafening noise. We wanted to determine once and for all what is the quietest shop vac, so we went and did a bit of research.
FEIN 9-20-27 Turbo Set I
Measured at Noise Levels of only 66 Decibels!
In an effort to deliver a comprehensive review, we also used performance, durability, and ease-of-use as criteria, but our emphasis was on noise levels, as we wanted to find a quiet, top-performing vacuum cleaner.
Vacuum cleaner noise levels
Noise levels are measured in decibels. So what measurement can you expect from an average vacuum? Well, let’s look at the different measurements first:
- Less than 70 decibels: Quiet operation during which you can still have a conversation.
- 70-85 decibels: You need to raise your voice when speaking to someone.
- 85 decibels and above: You need to shout.
Most domestic vacuum cleaners fall into the 70-85 decibels group, while many commercial vacs are very noisy at 85 decibels and above.
Because low noise levels were our top priority, we went on a search for a vacuum cleaner with a decibel rating below 70. We also wanted a vacuum capable of delivering top cleaning performance, as well as all the functions you expect from a vacuum.
To make this task even harder, we decided to try and find a quiet shop vacuum cleaner with lots of extra functions and still operating at below-average noise levels.
Our extensive search brought us to the Fein 9-20-27 TURBO I SET Turbo Set, a German-manufactured commercial vacuum cleaner. You’ll be glad to hear that this shop vac comes at a noise level of just 66 decibels.
Fein has been operating in Germany since 1867 and is known for manufacturing a wide range of quality power tools and vacuum cleaners. The Fein 9-20-27 I Turbo Set is suitable for use in retail spaces and commercial units and is tough enough to handle heavy dirt and large amounts of dust. Let’s look at the main specs:
Size, design, and accessories
Like all commercial vacuums, this one is rather heavy at 29 pounds and large at 15.5” x 15” x 18.5”. Still, it maneuvers quite easily thanks to the 360° swivel wheels. The design isn’t much to write home about, but you wouldn’t buy a shop vac for its aesthetics, would you?
The hose is 13’ long and the cord 18’, providing plenty of scope to vacuum a large retail space without having to change electric outlets every few minutes. The maximum capacity is a 5.8 gallons.
On purchase, this shop vac comes with two metal extension tubes, a combination tool with interchangeable inserts, a dusting tool, a crevice tool, a filter bag, filer, tool coupling, and the hose.
Need More Capacity?
The FEIN 9-20-28 TURBO II offers 8.4 gallons vs the 5.8 gallons of storage the TURBO I model can hold. The TURBO II is slightly heavier but just as quiet. Other than size the models are identical and if you need more capacity it may be worth the slightly higher price tag.
FEIN 9-20-28 Turbo Set II
Noise Levels of only 66 Decibels & 8.4 Gallons of Storage
This is a wet and dry vacuum cleaner, while it also provides a dust extraction function.
This vacuum boasts plenty of suction power, in fact, it performs at a 151-cfm flow rate which is more than adequate for lifting dust and heavy dirt.
Thanks to the four swivel wheels and its compact shape, reaching tight spaces and getting around is easy. Regardless of the surface, be it carpet, hard flooring, or concrete floors, this vac performs well.
With the help of the crevice tool, hard-to-reach places are easy to tackle. The operation is quiet, which is precisely what we had hoped for. The combined length of the hose and cord make it possible to vacuum an entire shop floor without having to change the electric outlets in use.
We were also impressed with the filtration system. Unlike most vacs, this one doesn’t emit unpleasant smells or allow dust particles to escape, instead, leaves a fresh clean smell in the air.
The performance when wet vacuuming is just as satisfactory. This wet vacuum has a 98.4" of static water lift capacity. Using the appropriate attachment, puddles vanish and wet surfaces quickly dry once you progress across them.
Power tool dust extraction function
With the Fein 9-20-27 TURBO I SET Turbo set, you can also remove dust from power tools. Once the power tool is connected to the vacuum, it automatically switches on and begins extracting the dust from the tool. As soon as the tool is turned off, the vacuum shuts down within 5 seconds.
This shop vac delivers on all fronts and does so without producing the annoying humming noise associated with most vacuum cleaners. This means you can vacuum without disturbing anyone in your vicinity.
There’s no doubt about the power of the 1,100-watt motor in this vacuum cleaner. It boasts an air flow rate of 71 liters per second or 151 cubic feet per minute. As a result, this vac cleans with lots of suction and does so at considerable speed. The filtration system is impressive because no dusty air ever gets into the motor.
You won’t require top-level suction all the time, so the suction power adjustment button is very convenient indeed.
Even though this shop vac runs much more quietly than most, it delivers a top performance when dry or wet vacuuming or when extracting dust from power tools.
On occasion, you will need to change the filter, and you can do so by tapping it out of the filter cassette. This cassette removes the need to change the filter when wet vacuuming. Beyond that, this shop vac requires no maintenance.
Storing it is easy, as some accessories can be stashed away in the built-in compartment, while the cord, as well as the extension tubes, attach to the body of the vac.
Unfortunately, the cord doesn’t disappear into the body of the vac at the press of a button like we are accustomed to with domestic vacuum cleaners. Instead, you wind it up and hang it on the hook you’ll find on the body of the vac.
Pros and cons
This is a solid performing shop vacuum that runs much more quietly than most commercial vacs. Let’s look at the main advantages and disadvantages.
- Super-quiet operation at just 66 decibels
- Dry, wet, and dust extraction functions
- Easy to maneuver thanks to 360° swivel wheels
- Adjustable suction power
- Comes with lots of useful accessories
- Large capacity 5.8-gallon tank
- Excellent filtration stops dusty air from escaping into the environment or into the motor
- Long cord and hose facilitate easy cleaning of large retail or industrial spaces
- Heavy and a bit bulky
- The power tool dust extraction is not universal. Not all tools can be connected.
- No cord retraction function
If you are looking for what is the quietest shop vac, the Fein 9-20-27 TURBO I SET (or TURBO II SET) won’t disappoint. It’s more silent than most domestic vacuum cleaners and allows you to hold a conversation during its operation. This can prove to be a major advantage in a retail space where you do not want to disturb customers or passers-by.
The performance is more than adequate and even though, at first sight, this shop vac looks a little bulky, it’s easy to maneuver and use.
- 1 Vacuum cleaner noise levels
- 2 Fein 9-20-27 TURBO I SET Turbo Set – The Quietest Shop Vac
- 3 Size, design, and accessories
- 4 Need More Capacity?
- 5 Functions
- 6 Dry vacuuming
- 7 Wet vacuuming
- 8 Power tool dust extraction function
- 9 Performance
- 10 Maintenance
- 11 Pros and cons
- 12 Final thoughts