Can The PowerSmith Ash Vacuum Tackle The Messiest Fireplaces?

Wondering how an ash vacuum handles hearth cleanup? Find out how a top-rated model fared when faced with a firebox full of ashes.
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The PowerSmith Ash Vacuum in front of a dirty fireplace full of ashes.

Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

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It’s tough to beat the radiant warmth and ambience of a real wood fire, but it can be tedious to clean up the inevitable ash residue left behind. An ash vacuum can make this process a whole lot easier. This new kid in the vacuum world is designed to suck up fine ash particles from fireplaces, pellet stoves, and barbecue grills. To put these claims to the test, I tried some ash vacuums out myself to see how well they work.

The PowerSmith ash vacuum was one of several standout models I tested as part of a more extensive review of the best ash vacuums on the market today. In that review, the PowerSmith earned the top spot on the list. That was my first experience with an ash vacuum, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the PowerSmith was a great vacuum for fine ashes. Ahead, I’ll examine the PowerSmith ash vacuum’s strengths and weaknesses in depth to help you determine whether it’s the right vacuum for your ash-cleaning chores.

PowerSmith Ash Vacuum: At a Glance

The PowerSmith Ash Vacuum in front of a dirty fireplace full of ashes.The PowerSmith Ash Vacuum in front of a dirty fireplace full of ashes.
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Rating: 8.75/10


  • Canister ash capacity: 3 gallons
  • Hose length: 50 inches
  • Noise level: 79 decibels (tested: 82.7 at 3 feet away)
  • Weight: 10.8 pounds
  • Wheels? Yes (4 caster wheels)
  • Cord length: 16 feet
  • Attachments and accessories: Metal hose, metal nozzle, 2 extension wands, brush nozzle, turbo nozzle, filter


  • Thermal-resistant hose is safe for use with both cool and warm ashes
  • Soft interior filter traps virtually all ash dust, so air in home remains clear
  • Heat-resistant filter can be washed, and replacement filters are available
  • Relatively quiet operation—doesn’t generate a lot of noise
  • Rolls easily on hard surfaces on 4 caster wheels
  • Brush nozzle lets users clean hard-to-reach crevices


  • Lid must be aligned directly over ridges on canister base for locks to seal tightly
  • Soft filter retains a good deal of ash that one must shake to remove

Get the PowerSmith ash vacuum at:

What is the PowerSmith ash vacuum?

The PowerSmith ash vacuum is a specialized tool made for cleaning fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves, and barbecue grills. It comes with a soft washable filter that keeps dust and ash particles from getting in the vacuum’s motor, and it has a canister that can hold up to 3 gallons of ash residue. It can efficiently vacuum cool and warm ashes up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Although it has a powerful 10 amp motor, the PowerSmith ash vacuum is relatively quiet. The manufacturer lists it at 79 decibels, but it measured in at 82.7 decibels in my tests. I found the noise level to be comparable to other modern vacuums, which was very tolerable.

It features onboard accessory storage and a carrying handle on its top side. It comes with a variety of accessories, including a flexible metal hose, metal nozzle, wheeled base, brush nozzle, turbo nozzle, filter, and straight extension wands.

The PowerSmith is a straightforward and functional cleaning tool, and what it does, it does well. It’s a standout in terms of quality and performance and can be a useful tool for home fireplace maintenance.

A person using the PowerSmith ash vacuum to clean a firebox.
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

How effective is the PowerSmith ash vacuum at cleaning up ash residue?

To determine this, I first burned three wood fires without cleaning up in between, after which there were enough ashes in my fireplace to put the PowerSmith to the test. When I did, I found that the PowerSmith efficiently sucked up all the fine ashes, resulting in a much cleaner fireplace hearth. However, I noticed that the narrow nozzle wasn’t very effective at vacuuming wood bits larger than a ¼ inch wide. When I removed the nozzle and used the bare end of the metal wand, the vacuum was capable of sucking up bits about 1 inch wide.

One of the PowerSmith ash vacuum’s greatest strengths is its ability to capture those pesky ashes that always seem to go airborne when swept with a broom no matter how carefully one tries to sweep them.

I particularly appreciated the turn-out brush attached to the nozzle, which let me scrub at the crevices of my travertine stone hearth, effectively dislodging stubborn ash residue that would be hard to target otherwise. Another standout feature was the extension wands, which made it easy to reach and extract ash clinging to the inside of the chimney flue.

The brush attachment of the PowerSmith ash vacuum in front of a pile of ashes in a firebox.
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Does the ash vacuum inadvertently spew ash residue into the air?

I thought it might, but it didn’t. Positioned inside the top of the canister is a soft filter that protects the motor and keeps ash dust from spewing out of the exhaust outlet. In my tests, the expelled air from the top remained remarkably clean and clear, free from any hint of fine ash particles.

I inspected the motor after testing, and I was pleasantly surprised to find the impeller blades clear of dust residue. I wasn’t choking on clouds of dust like I typically am when I sweep the hearth. While I tested the PowerSmith on a wood-burning fireplace, it would also make an excellent ash vacuum for pellet stove use since it keeps ash dust from becoming airborne.

How does the PowerSmith ash vacuum compare to its competitors?

Having tested multiple brands, including Shop-Vac and Snow Joe, which also performed commendably, I preferred the PowerSmith ash vacuum due to some of its standout features. It was quieter than some of the others during operation, and its metal hose was more flexible. The generous 3-gallon ash capacity of its canister provided ample ash storage, so I didn’t have to dump it frequently while testing.

I also liked the user-friendly simplicity of the PowerSmith. It has a single on/off button located conveniently on the top, which eliminates the need to grapple with complex controls and settings. However, what really stood out was the PowerSmith’s premium filter, which didn’t allow any noticeable dust to escape into the air during my tests. It trapped even the finest ash particles.

Attachments for the PowerSmith ash vacuum together on cement.
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

What sort of care and maintenance is required with the ash vacuum?

Though the unit is equipped with heat-resistant components, it should not be used to vacuum hot, smoldering ashes. It’s safe to use with warm ashes up to about 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

I found that emptying the ash canister can be messy, but this is to be expected when dealing with ashes. It was best to take the vacuum outdoors before opening the canister. That way, I could carefully remove the soft filter and tap it to dislodge any fine ashes clinging to the sides. After that, I simply dumped out the canister and wiped it clean with a soft, dry cloth.

For storage purposes, the detachable hose can be neatly coiled within the canister, and the vacuum comes with onboard ports for stowing the accessories. The PowerSmith is sufficiently compact to be stored in a garage, storage shed, or basement corner without taking up a lot of space. It should not be stored outdoors or exposed to the elements.

A decibel meter showing a reading of 82.7 with the PowerSmith ash vacuum in the background.
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Should I buy the PowerSmith ash vacuum?

The PowerSmith ash vacuum’s ability to clean wood and pellet stove fires makes it a useful investment for anyone who regularly enjoys the warmth of fires at home. The vacuum’s heat-resistant properties significantly reduce the risk of potential fire hazards, making it a safer alternative to traditional wet/dry-type vacuums.

The PowerSmith can also be an asset for those seeking an efficient fireplace cleaning tool that doesn’t generate airborne dust. Instead of sweeping the hearth manually, using an ash vacuum like the PowerSmith may notably reduce airborne dust and minimize potential health risks associated with dust inhalation. This is good news for anyone, but it may be particularly beneficial for households with allergy sufferers. While shaking out the ash from the soft fabric filter may be somewhat messy, I found it a minor inconvenience compared to the health benefits of minimizing airborne dust within the household.

However, for apartment dwellers with limited storage space, the PowerSmith ash vacuum may not be the most practical option, and a traditional hearth broom might serve as a more space-efficient ash cleanup solution.

Where to Buy the PowerSmith Ash Vacuum

Get the PowerSmith ash vacuum at:

Meet the Tester

Glenda Taylor is a product tester and writer specializing in the construction, remodeling, and real estate industries. She and her husband own a general contracting company, and she is experienced in both residential and commercial building applications. She tests a wide range of power tools as well as other home improvement, household, and lawn-and-garden products.

Glenda Taylor Avatar

Glenda Taylor

Staff Writer

Glenda Taylor is a staff writer with a background in the residential remodeling, home building, and home improvement industries. She started writing for in 2016 and covers a range of topics, including construction methods, code compliance, tool use, and the latest news in the housing and real estate industries.