A crackling fire adds a certain coziness to a home. Whether you use a fireplace or wood stove for ambience or warmth, ash cleanup is a necessary and usually unpleasant chore. An evening fire turns into an unsanitary and unsightly pile of cold ash and dust in the morning. Traditional hearth cleanup involves a broom, a dustpan, and an accumulation of unhealthy and unpleasant ash particles floating through the air.
Ash vacuums ease the process of post-fire cleanup by drawing up the ashes and sealing them in a canister for easy disposal. You can reduce the hassle of a fireplace while maximizing enjoyment by investing in an ash vacuum with the desired level of power, capacity, weight, noise level, and portability. Keep reading to learn about some of the best options and important features to consider when shopping for a new ash vacuum.
- BEST OVERALL: Vacmaster – Ash Vacuum 6 Gallon 8 Amp
- BEST SEALING TECHNOLOGY: PowerSmith PAVC101 10 Amp Ash Vacuum
- BEST LIGHTWEIGHT: Snow Joe ASHJ201 4.8 Gallon 4 Amp Ash Vacuum
- BEST MULTIFUNCTION: Vacmaster VBV1210, 12-Gallon 5 Peak HP Wet/Dry Shop
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Ash Vacuum
When searching for the best ash vacuum, consider each unit’s capacity, portability, power, weight, and other important features to help determine which ash vacuum is best. Read on to learn about their various features before selecting the best ash vacuum.
Before shopping for an ash vacuum, consider the size of the fireplace and its frequency of use. If the fireplace produces a lot of waste because it’s used regularly or is especially large, look for an ash vacuum with a larger capacity.
Ash vacuums range in size from small handheld models to larger shop vacuum-style pull-around cleaners. The storage canisters range in size from 3 to 8 gallons. Many of the best ash vacuums have sealed canisters that not only contain the ashes but also their smell.
Frequent fireplace or wood stove users who enjoy regular fires or who use it for warmth may want to invest in a powerful, large-capacity ash vacuum to reduce the necessity of emptying it often. Casual fireplace users may be happy with a small handheld model with reduced volume capacity.
You may need the ability to move your ash vacuum around your house. Ash vacuums look rather utilitarian and can clutter up a decorative hearth, while homes with multiple hearths may require an easily transported ash vacuum.
Many ash vacuums offer some type of rudimentary handle, but powerful models can be heavy and unwieldy. Consider the distance from the storage space to the fireplace. If there are any stairs between the hearths or it’s a trek to an outdoor trash can, a lighter weight vacuum may work better.
Hose and Cord Length
Since most ash vacuums require external power, hose and cord length go hand-in-hand with portability. The distance between the nearest outlet and the fireplace may make the difference between easy cleaning and barely reaching. Access to the hearth or stove also is critical. Longer cords and hoses offer easier options for cleaning every inch of the fireplace.
Some handheld ash vacuums are applied directly to the ash. Be sure to check the length of the hose before purchase. If the fireplace is vast or a wood stove is hard to access, a long hose may be necessary. Though not all models have them, many hoses range between 3 and 10 feet long.
Similarly, the length of the electric cord, which can range between 6 and 16 feet, is essential. Like a traditional vacuum cleaner, some movement may be required to achieve an immaculate fireplace. Some models offer retractable cords and incorporated tube management systems for organizational purposes.
The higher the motor strength, the more powerful the suction of the vacuum. Power for an ash vacuum is rated in amps or watts. A higher wattage or amperage translates to an ash vacuum capable of drawing in the densest pile of ash.
Most manufacturers list the amperage and wattage of the motor in their specifications. The majority of ash vacuums plug easily into household outlets, while smaller models may be battery powered.
Noise is another important factor in choosing the best ash vacuum. A jet engine clocks in at 140 A-weighted decibels (dBA), while a household refrigerator produces about 55 dBA. Traditional vacuum cleaners generate an average of 75 dBA, so they do create noticeable noise levels.
Not all manufacturers include decibel ratings in their product specifications, but most high-powered vacuums are louder than low-powered models. Most ash vacuums operate in the 79- to 90-decibel range. The minimal variance between high and low decibel ranges means noise may be a secondary factor when choosing the best ash vacuum for your home.
Our Top Picks
Not all ash vacuums achieve maximum scores in these characteristics. To find the best ash vacuum for your needs, determine which features are most important to you. Check out this list of some of the best ash vacuums on the market.
This Vacmaster has a 6-gallon container powered by an 8-amp motor with strong suction. This vacuum also includes a set of wheels and a handle for easy transportation and storage.
At 8 feet, the cord on this vacuum is a moderate length. The hose is 4 feet long, and both the hose and cord can be stored onboard the vacuum. At 12.3 pounds, the vacuum has some heft, but it’s relatively easy to move around. The vacuum is built to resist warm ashes.
This powerful 10-amp ash vacuum by PowerSmith comes equipped with a 16-foot cord and 50-inch hose that provides a wide range. The canister has a 3-gallon capacity, and it’s mounted on a set of wheels for easy transportation.
This ash vacuum runs at about 79 dBA, which is about as much as a standard vacuum cleaner. Its all-metal construction makes it suitable to clean up warm ashes. Multiple extensions and nozzles that facilitate ash cleanup are included.
The PowerSmith offers a replaceable fire-resistant filter system, which contains even the finest particles of ash or dust within the canister for proper disposal.
This Snow Joe ash vacuum uses a 4-amp electric motor to pull ash into a 4.8-gallon canister. Moderate in both size and power, this vacuum is a good choice for those who don’t use their hearth often.
This vacuum is designed for cold ashes only; in fact, warm ashes may cause fire hazards. The dual filtration system keeps cool ash dust at bay. Though this model does not have wheels, it does include a carrying handle that makes it easy to tote. The cord is 8½ feet long.
Not all shop vacuums are capable of cleaning warm ash, but most can accommodate cold ash with ease. Those in need of a good overall shop vacuum that also can clean up ash may want to check out the multifunction Vacmaster VBV1210.
Including cord and hose, this Vacmaster boasts a combined 19-foot cleaning reach. The package includes a 7-foot hose with multiple attachments.
FAQs About Ash Vacuums
To get a quick start on a cleaner fireplace, keep reading for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about ash vacuums.
Q. What are ash vacuums best for?
Ash vacuums are best used for cleaning up the remains of a fire from woodburning stoves and fireplaces.
Q. Can the collected ash be used for anything useful?
Fireplace ash has been used as a resource for centuries. From cleaning up stains in the driveway to making soap, your fireplace ash has many secondary uses.
Q. How do you clean an ash vacuum filter?
Clearing out an ash filter can be a messy business, so it’s best to do it in the garage or yard. Filters with multiple uses usually must be cleaned with soap and water and left to dry before being used again.