The DeWalt DCV581H features cordless or corded operation and is the only shop vacuum we reviewed with a rechargeable battery. The motor lacks power at only 2 horsepower, but it's also very quiet. Our sound test recorded 81 dB, which is the lowest of the shop vacs we tested by over 10 dB. This wet-dry vacuum is meant to be portable and can be converted to a blower, meaning you can carry it around with you in the yard to blow leaves without needing an extension cord.
We like the design of the DeWalt. It's compact and can fit well in your trunk or toolbox. The shop vac is made to take with you to a job site, but it lacks the power and capacity for heavier tasks. We tested the vacuum with a mix of six screws and 2 ounces of mulch. It picked up all the screws easily, but it cleaned only about 58 percent of the mulch in one pass.
It's also the slowest at wet cleanup. It took the DeWalt over 12 seconds to suction 2 gallons of water. That was the worst of those we tested. This means if you have a basement flood, you'd be better off finding a larger tank or faster shop vacuum. For faster cleaning, check out the Craftsman 12004.
Although this wet-dry vacuum is meant to be small, it lacks the length of other portable vacuums. The hose is 5 feet long, and the power cord is also 5 feet. One standout feature, though, is its rechargeable battery. This means you don't have to be near a power source to use the vacuum.
The tank comes with two attachments, a crevice tool and a car tool. The filter got very dirty after our tests, so you'll need to clean it often.
The DeWalt DCV581H is a unique shop vacuum. Its battery makes it handy and convenient, but it doesn't make up for its lack of power. It could use a better filter, and it lacks the attachments of the best shop vacuums. This is a good vacuum if your main goal is bringing it places without a power source, but there are better vacuums for cleaning up both wet and dry messes.
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