The Stanley Shop Vac.

Stanley shop vacs are some of the most well-respected and recognizable in the vacuum cleaner industry. Our testing team researched and put one of Stanley’s highest-rated shop vacs, the Stanley SL18116P, through its paces. We conducted a rigorous automotive detailing test as we assessed suction power, maneuverability, and versatility.

The Stanley SL18116P was our team’s choice for the Best Size car vacuum in our industry-wide review of the best shop vacs. It wins by virtue of being a 6.0 gallon wet/dry shop vac that is small enough to be light and portable, but big enough to handle most cleanup jobs that you could ask of it.

Stanley Shop Vac Overview And Features

Pros Offers three-in-one functionality Waterproof on/off switch 16.0 feet of cleaning reach
Cons Relatively short power cord

Product Specs

  • Amperage: 7.0 amps
  • Horsepower: 4.0 peak horsepower (HP)
  • Weight: 13.4 lbs.
  • Tank capacity: 6.0 gallons
  • Airflow: 85.0 cubic feet per minute (CFM)
  • Hose length: 6.0 ft.
  • Power cord length: 10.0 ft.

What’s In The Box?

If you’ve purchased the Stanley SL18116P, you can expect to receive the shop vac itself along with a number of other accessories. Customers will receive a 1.25-inch by 6.0-ft. hose, three extension wands, a gulper nozzle, crevice nozzle, floor nozzle, foam filter, disposable filter bag, clamp ring, and one reusable dry filter. Although it’s not physically included in the box, a 12-month warranty also comes with the purchase of this product.

Stanley SL18116P Testing Process

The Stanley Shop Vac being used to clean the interior of a vehicle.
Our product testing team rigorously tested the Stanley shop vac against the following criteria:

  • Suction power: The suction power of a shop vac is one of its most important traits. Testing involved seeing if the Stanley shop vac could pick up dirt, sand, pine needles, dog hair, food crumbs, sawdust, and a variety of other messes in both wet and dry conditions.
  • Maneuverability: Maneuverability is one of the main selling points of a shop vac compared to a traditional or regular vacuum cleaner. We cleaned a hatchback from front to back, noting how easy it was to move the Stanley SL18116P around our testing vehicle and its ease of access into nooks and crannies.
  • Versatility: Versatility is an often overlooked characteristic of a shop vac. We tested this by using the Stanley SL18116P on a variety of surfaces, including rubber floor mats, car carpets, and even on upholstery.

What We Like About The Stanley SL18116P

The Stanley SL18116P has a range of qualities and features that makes it a great shop vac and easy to like. First of all, the suction power of this shop vac will surprise you. Don’t let the small size and relatively small motor fool you, this shop vac is powerful. It had no problem sucking up messes from a variety of surfaces. A utility nozzle attachment by name of the gulper nozzle was particularly effective.

Lastly, the maneuverability was another thing to like about this shop vac. If you’ve used shop vacs that are several years old, then you know how important swiveling casters are. This shop vac easily rolled around our workspace as the wheels pivoted and swung freely in whichever direction we tried to move it.

What We Don’t Like About The Stanley SL18116P

While maneuverability can be considered something to like about the Stanley SL18116P, it’s also the testing criterion that this shop vac scored the lowest on. We wish this shop vac was cordless or the power cord was longer, as 10.0 ft. of power cord only gave us so much space to work in. Our team members found themselves fighting with the power cord and pulling it taught to the full extent of its reach more often than not.

The power cord length was the only major issue our team members had with this Stanley shop vac. As a minor issue, the only place for a cord wrap is around the vacuum handle.

Another gripe is while this vacuum is powerful and well-built, it may not be rugged enough for every job site. That won’t be a deal breaker for every customer, but those looking for something to survive harsh environments should consider stainless steel wet/dry vacuums.

Stanley Shop Vac Reviews

Amazon Review Score: 4.6 out of 5 based on over 8,900 reviews

Positive Stanley SL18116P Reviews

Positive customer reviews speak to the suction power and build quality of this wet/dry vac.

“This thing is incredible. I bought it to vacuum up hay and wood pellets left behind by my pets, and it works perfectly for it. It has a lot of room, so I can use it 4-5 times, sucking up tons of hay before it needs to be emptied. The suction power is fantastic…”

– Ren F. via Amazon

“Powerful enough for everything I need it for. Lowest price found. Very sturdy canister. Handle is great. Came with all attachments listed/shown. They are also very sturdy. Pieces all join securely and no leaks.”

– Sam via Amazon

Negative Stanley SL18116P Reviews

One customer who left a negative review complains that this shop vac doesn’t vacuum up water.

“I purchased this little shop vac as a back-up to my larger Wet/Dry vac for smaller spills … I had the perfect time to test it out, and it failed miserably. The vacuum couldn’t pick up any liquid at all, literally nothing…”

– Jeff S. via Amazon

Our Take On The Stanley SL18116P: 4.3 Stars

The Stanley SL18116P is a 4.0 peak HP wet/dry shop that works exceptionally well for cleaning up both wet messes and dry pickups alike. We think this shop vac works best for home improvement projects and car detailing due to its helpful crevice tool and heavy-duty suction power.

Overall Rating4.3 out of 5
Suction Power4.5 out of 5
Maneuverability4 out of 5
Versatility4.5 out of 5

In our opinion, you can’t go wrong ordering any Stanley vacuum cleaner. However, there are many different brands and models to choose from outside of the Stanley SL18116P. The VacMaster Red Edition VOM205PCraftsman CMXEVBE17594, and the Ridgid RT1400 are three shop vacs that our team also recommends with comparable suction and maneuverability to Stanley’s shop vacs.

Stanley Shop Vac: FAQ

*Data accurate at time of publication.