The Best Ash Vacuums of 2022

A cold, smelly fireplace can take the charm and fun out of a cozy fire. Ease your cleanup with an ash vacuum to do the dirty work.

By Mike Bruton | Updated Jan 25, 2022 10:50 AM

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The Best Ash Vacuum Options

Photo: amazon.com

A crackling fire adds a certain coziness to a home, and ash cleanup is a necessary and usually unpleasant chore. Traditional hearth cleanup involves a broom, a dustpan, and an accumulation of unhealthy and unpleasant ash particles floating through the air.

Ash vacuums draw up ashes and seal them in a canister for easy disposal. An ash vacuum with the desired level of power, capacity, weight, noise level, and portability can make clean-up quick and easy. Keep reading to learn about some of the best options and important features to consider when shopping for a new ash vacuum.

  1. BEST OVERALL: PowerSmith PAVC101 10 Amp Ash Vacuum
  2. BEST BUDGET: Snow Joe ASHJ201 4.8 Gallon 4 Amp Ash Vacuum
  3. BEST VALUE: Vacmaster VBV1210, 12-Gallon 5 Peak HP Wet/Dry Vacuum
  4. BEST LIGHT DUTY: DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Wet-Dry Vacuum
  5. BEST HEAVY DUTY: Craftsman 16 Gallon 6.5 Peak HP Wet/Dry Vac
  6. BEST FOR AIR QUALITY: Vacmaster Pro 8 Gallon Certified Hepa Wet/Dry Vac
  7. BEST PORTABLE: RIDGID 4 Gal. 5.0-Peak HP Portable Wet/Dry Vacuum
The Best Ash Vacuum Options

Photo: amazon.com

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.

Capacity/Storage 

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.

Portability

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.

Power

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 Level

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.

Best Overall

The Best Ash Vacuum Option:: PowerSmith PAVC101 10 Amp Ash Vacuum
Photo: amazon.com

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, producing mid-range noise for a wet/dry model. 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.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Wet/dry vacuum
  • Suitable for: Hot and cold ash
  • Capacity: 3 gallons
  • Noise Level: 79 decibels
  • Weight: 13 pounds

Pros

  • Long cord and hose offer flexible range
  • Made of durable heat-resistant metal
  • Fire-resistant filter system catches fine particles and dust
  • Includes multiple extensions and nozzles
  • Wheeled design is easy to maneuver

Cons

  • Louder than some wet/dry vacuums, though average for this type

Best Budget

The Best Ash Vacuum Option: Snow Joe ASHJ201 4.8 Gallon 4 Amp Ash Vacuum
Photo: amazon.com

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 8.8-pound 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 on this Snow Joe ash vacuum is 8½ feet long while the hose has a length of 3.9 feet and an 11.8-inch nozzle.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Standard vacuum
  • Suitable for: Cold ash
  • Capacity: 4.8 gallons
  • Noise Level: Not listed
  • Weight: 8.8 pounds

Pros

  • Affordable for its capacity and features
  • Lightweight and portable; includes a carrying handle
  • Great for light maintenance and small fireplaces
  • Effective dual filtration system

Cons

  • No wheels included
  • Not meant for warm ash cleanup; may present a fire hazard

Best Value

The Best Ash Vacuum Option: Vacmaster VBV1210, 12-Gallon 5 Peak HP Wet Dry Shop
Photo: amazon.com

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 can also clean up ash may want to check out the multifunction Vacmaster VBV1210.

Factoring in the cord and hose, this Vacmaster has an impressive 19-foot cleaning reach with the help of its 10.5-amp motor. Made for indoor or outdoor use and wet and dry conditions, this Vacmaster comes with a 7-foot hose and multiple attachments, including a crevice tool, utility nozzle, extension wands, and other accessories.

For easy post-use cleanup, this vacuum has a drainage port to empty the 12-gallon tank. Plus, this model has a one-hand-release detachable blower with a 210 MPH blowing speed that can be used for leaves or sawdust.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Wet/dry vacuum
  • Suitable for: Warm and cold ash
  • Capacity: 12 gallons
  • Noise Level: Not listed
  • Weight: 23.9 pounds

Pros

  • Large-capacity tank
  • Extensive cleaning reach
  • Comes with multiple accessories
  • Detachable blower with one-hand release
  • Drainage port for easy cleaning and emptying

Cons

  • Large and heavy; may be difficult to maneuver
  • Heavy-duty design and motor power make it louder than other vacuums

Best Light Duty

The Best Ash Vacuum Option: DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Wet-Dry Vacuum
Photo: amazon.com

Those looking for a compact, cordless option should consider this DEWALT ash vacuum for quick cleanups. Weighing in at just 8 pounds, this wet/dry vacuum is lightweight enough to carry around with ease, and there’s no power cord to inhibit movement.

This light-duty, small ash vacuum has a 2-gallon collection tank and is just 17.25 inches long by 13.12 inches tall by 12.31 inches wide, so it’s possible to store it on a shelf in the garage or workshop. It comes with a 5-foot flexible hose and a top handle for carrying. Users also receive a crevice tool and wide nozzle tool attachment for cleaning messes in a variety of spots.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Wet/dry vacuum
  • Suitable for: Warm and cold ash
  • Capacity: 2 gallons
  • Noise Level: Not listed
  • Weight: 8 pounds

Pros

  • Cordless design provides flexible movement
  • Small, light-duty model is quieter than larger alternatives
  • Easy to store on a garage or workshop shelf
  • Lightweight and portable; sturdy carrying handle
  • Includes crevice tool and wide nozzle

Cons

  • Limited tank capacity

Best Heavy Duty

The Best Ash Vacuum Option: CRAFTSMAN 16 Gallon 6.5 Peak HP Wet/Dry Vac
Photo: amazon.com

The option to collect cold ash in a disposable bag is a perk with the Craftsman Wet/Dry Vac. The vacuum features a powerful 6.5-horsepower motor and a sizable 16-gallon tank that can be used with or without the collection bag (if dealing with hot ash). Buyers receive one bag, and replacement bags are sold separately.

The Craftsman comes with a 7-foot flexible hose and a long 20-foot power cord, giving the user ample reach for most cleanup situations. With 2 extension wands, a car nozzle, a crevice nozzle, a utility nozzle, and a wet nozzle, this wet/dry vac is well-suited for a variety of home uses besides ash cleanup.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Wet/dry vacuum
  • Suitable for: Warm and cold ash
  • Capacity: 16 gallons
  • Noise Level: 72.3 decibels
  • Weight: 26 pounds

Pros

  • Heavy-duty design; built for tough jobs
  • Extra-large capacity
  • Versatile applications besides ash cleanup
  • Comes with multiple extensions

Cons

  • Noisier than other options, but standard for a wet/dry vacuum
  • Large and heavy; may be difficult to maneuver

Best for Air Quality

The Best Ash Vacuum Option: Vacmaster Pro 8 Gallon Certified Hepa Wet/Dry Vac
Photo: amazon.com

For maximum ash control, check out the Vacmaster Pro Wet/Dry Vac that has two HEPA filters—a HEPA microfiber pre-filter and a HEPA cartridge filter. This vacuum is designed to clean up both wet and dry messes. The HEPA filters (used only in dry mode) will keep even tiny particles of dust and pollen from reentering the air in the room.

The Vacmaster features an 8-gallon collection capacity and comes with an extra-long 30-foot power cord and a 10-foot long flexible hose. It also comes with several accessories, including a crevice tool, two steel extension wands, a dust brush, and more. This model can be fitted with a disposable collection bag (not included), which limits dust from entering the air when dumping the bag.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Wet/dry vacuum
  • Suitable for: Warm and cold ash
  • Capacity: 8 gallons
  • Noise Level: Not listed
  • Weight: 19 pounds

Pros

  • 2 HEPA filters trap ultra-fine particles
  • Extra-long cord and hose offers a wide reach
  • Includes multiple cleaning accessories
  • Portable with a handle and wheels

Cons

  • Expensive compared to similar models

Best Portable

The Best Ash Vacuum Option: RIDGID 4 Gal. 5.0-Peak HP Portable Wet/Dry Vacuum
Photo: homedepot.com

Small but mighty, the RIDGID Portable Wet/Dry Vacuum features a compact 4-gallon tank. Surprisingly for its size, it also comes with a powerful 5-horsepower motor, making it a highly effective vacuum suitable for moving between fireplaces or transporting in a car trunk. It has a 20-foot power cord and a flexible 8-foot quick-release hose. It weighs in at 12 pounds and is 19 by 15 by 16.5 inches.

The RIDGID wet/dry vac does double-duty as a blower by removing the powerhead from the canister. It comes with a car nozzle and a diffuser for use with the blower option and it can be fitted with a filter bag (sold separately).

Product Specs 

  • Type: Wet/dry vacuum
  • Suitable for: Warm and cold ash
  • Capacity: 4 gallons
  • Noise Level: 84 decibels
  • Weight: 12 pounds

Pros

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Doubles as a blower
  • 2 attachments included

Cons

  • Louder than other wet/dry vacuums

Our Verdict

With so many ash vacuums on the market, it can be hard to know which one suits your fireplace’s size and typical ash content. One of the best options available for everyday fireplace maintenance is the PowerSmith PAVC101 with its 16-foot cord, 50-inch hose, and 3 gallon ash capacity. Alternatively, for heavy-duty clean-ups after a fire, the Vacmaster VBV1210 has a 19-foot cleaning reach and a large 12 gallon tank on 4 wheels for easy maneuvering around large fireplaces.

How We Chose the Best Ash Vacuums

The best ash vacuum cleaners are the perfect fireplace tools to prevent excess soot, dust, and burnt materials from cluttering up your flue, hearth, and its surrounding area. Selections for the best ash vacuums depended upon motor power, cord and hose length, portability, tank size, and versatility.

Each of the above picks has ample suction power for excess ash and dust with 4 to 10-amp motors. There is also an impressive range of cord and hose lengths to maneuver small or large fireplaces or spaces, most having at least 30 to 50-inches of cleaning reach. For portability and maneuvering, many of the above picks are lightweight and compact. For those that do have large, heavyweight constructions, built-in wheels and handles are included.

As for storage of the ash collected, the tank sizes of the above models range from 2-16 gallons for small or large cleaning needs. For added convenience, many of these models also double as handheld vacuums, or detachable blowers, while others have drainage ports and/or wet/dry capability to be used for sawdust, leaves, or dirt.

FAQs 

To learn how to use a new fireplace ash vacuum cleaner, keep reading for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about these products.

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.