Pros / With a long hose and two extension wands, it has more than 17 feet of reach.
Cons / At 96 dB, it's one of the loudest vacuums we tested.
Verdict / The Craftsman 12004's powerful pickup and large tank makes it one of the best shop vacuums.
The Craftsman 12004 is a midsized shop vacuum that performs well without a high price tag. The wet-dry vac has an adequate 3-horsepower motor and the second largest hose of the vacuums we reviewed, despite weighing a relatively light 12.8 pounds. This manageable weight and surprising length earn the Craftsman 12004 a high ranking in our comparison.
Capacity & Power
This shop vac has a durable 6-gallon polypropylene collection tank that's easy to move around. In the vacuum test, it picked up every screw and 93 percent of the mulch on the first pass. It outperformed the majority of the wet vacuums in the suction test with a speed of 2.81 gallons per second. One concern we had was the lack of a noise diffuser, which limits the sound produced by a motor. At 96 dB, this vacuum is noticeably louder than its competitors.
The design of the Craftsman 12004 is solid and smart. The tank is dark red with a strong handle on top for moving the vacuum around. The 7-foot hose and 10-foot power cord give you room to maneuver in a large shop without having to push the tank the entire time. We'd prefer a drain port on the tank. At 6 gallons, a full tank is difficult to empty.
The filter on this shop vacuum remained relatively clean during our tests and was easy to remove and replace. The Craftsman 12004 comes with both a foam sleeve filter for wet vacuum use and a cartridge filter for dry use. If you want first-rate dust filtration, you might check the Ridgid WD1450.
The tank comes with four different attachments and a storage rack to hold them all. We like the addition of two extension wands, which provide several extra feet of reach on the hose. The machine has a long floor nozzle for vacuuming up wide spills or carpets and a crevice tool for tight spaces. Although the Craftsman 12004 can convert to a blower, it doesn't use the feature well. You can't remove the motor from the tank, and there is no attachment for concentrating the blower power.
The Craftsman 12004 holds its own against the best shop vacuums at nearly half the cost of the higher-end models. It has more than 17 feet of reach, making it a versatile machine that can clean your whole car or shop without you having to move the tank around. It has fewer attachments than other vacuums and only feels like a blower by default. However, this is a quality shop vacuum that can handle most messes without worry. Overall, it's one of the best we've seen.