Can I Use a Wet Vac to Clean Pool? Find Out!

Can I Use a Wet Vac to Clean Pool? A wet vac is nothing like your regular vacuum cleaner. These heavy-duty machines are designed to be used to suck up both wet and dry messes without hassles. If for some reason you need extra help around your pool, you’re probably wondering if you can use a wet vac to remove the last 2 inches of water or use it as a regular pool vacuum. We’ve answered that question for you in this post; keep reading. 

You can use a wet vac to clean a pool. Their ability to work with wet messes makes them ideal for small routine work around the pool. They can suck up puddles, standing water, and spills wherever they shouldn’t be. However, most wet vacs come with different filters for wet and dry wastes. Ensure that you adjust the vacuum for wet waste before you begin using it. 

Regardless, you cannot replace your pool pump with a wet vac. For one, most wet vacs have a capacity of about 5 gallons – not nearly enough to store all the water you need to vacuum to waste. Hence, if you decide to use it as a pool vacuum, you would need manufacturers to pause the cleaning to empty the canister every time it fills up. This process can be slow, grueling, and better left to the more specialized pool vacuum. 

What Is a Wet Vac Used For? 

A wet vac also referred to as a wet/dry vacuum, is a kind of vacuum cleaner designed to suck up fluids and wet messes, while being completely capable of handling dry dirt and dust. For this purpose, the wet vac comes equipped with a two-bucket configuration that helps it to differentiate solid waste from the liquid. Hence, a wet vac is useful for both indoor uses and heavy-duty work outdoors. 

If you have kids at home, then you probably need a wet vac handy; they are useful for sucking up water from a carpet in the event of a spill. Around the pool, a wet vac can be used to remove water from unwanted places. The powerful suction these units can develop makes them ideal for clearing clogged sinks and cleaning hot tubs. You only need to set the unit to ‘blower’ mode and let it do the heavy lifting. 

Speaking of blowing, you can set your wet vac to blower mode to blow the leaves off your sidewalks. If you need to dry a few things around the house faster, turn on blower mode and be about it – useful for when you need to dry your carpet faster after vacuuming a spill. The possibilities a wet vac offers are endless, letting you perform tasks that would otherwise overwhelm a regular vacuum. 

How Do I Get the Last Two Inches of Water Out Of My Pool? 

It’s not every time you see people drain a pool completely. But for maintenance purposes, completely draining the swimming pool may become necessary. You can easily use your pool’s pump to draw out most of the water, but that’s about all you’ll be able to get out – ‘most’ of it. Because no matter how efficient your pump is, there will still be a few inches of water left that it cannot reach. So how do you get the remaining water out of the pool? 

A wet vac is perfectly suited for this kind of situation. Since you’re not dealing with a lot of water, you can easily use a wet vac to remove the last of it. It is faster and more efficient than trying to scoop out the remnants from the pool; you would need to empty the canister as it fills up, but that’s a much easier task. Although, you should always remember to take out the cartridge filter(for dry waste) before using it to clear liquid spills. 

Does a Wet/Dry Vac Need a Filter For Water? 

Wet vacs may be built for heavy-duty vacuum cleaning, but you risk ruining them if you don’t set them up the right way. With so many settings and two or more filters to deal with, it’s easy to get confused. Wet vacs generally have two filters: one for dry dust and dirt; the other is a foam filter useful for suck up wet waste. You must ensure that you use the right filter for  to achieve the right results. However, some wet/dry vacs may have only one filter for wet and dry waste. 

If you wish to use your vac to vacuum standing water in your pool, change to the wet filter before you proceed. When you’re done, make sure that the wet vac is completely dry before you replace the wet filter with the dry filter. Otherwise, the filter will get wet from the remnant water and clog easily, making it difficult to vacuum dry waste. 

If you value the service of your wet vac, it’s good practice to maintain the filters occasionally. Check the foam and cartridge filters for damage or signs of it. If you notice some issues with your wet/dry vac like excessive dust when you vacuum, look out for small tears or holes in the cartridge filter. Replace damaged filters immediately when you notice them. 

Can I Use a Wet Vac as a Water Pump?

A shop vac is a jack of many trades, able to suck up water, clean dust, or blow leaves off a walkway. If you own a shop vac, you don’t need another machine for cleaning up small puddles, but can they be used as a water pump? That’s obviously a different ball game. But we will answer that question in this section. 

Many wet/dry vac manufacturers don’t explicitly state that you can use their product as a water pump, but some of them can develop the power necessary for pumping water out of, say, a flooded basement. Regardless, you need to take a few things into consideration if you’re looking to use your shop vac as a water pump. 

The wet/dry vac is also made for dry dirt. Before you proceed, remove the cartridge filter and all the components not meant for water so they don’t get damaged. Next, you need to know how much power your wet vac can generate if you’re looking to lift water through a height. There’s a positive correlation between your unit’s horsepower and how high it can lift. If you’re having trouble lifting water, your wet vac is probably not powerful enough. 

Many wet/dry vac owners have found success using their units to pump the last few inches of water out of their pools, but that doesn’t mean that all shop vacs can deliver in the same way. Check your user manual to see the extent of your unit’s power before you attempt to use it as a pool pump. If your wet is between 4-5 HP, you won’t have any issues pumping water with it. 

Can I Use a Wet Vac as a Regular Vacuum? 

To start, a shop vac is a special kind of vacuum designed for heavy cleaning; the kind of cleaning that’s required by construction, woodworking, or fabrication shop/work area. Having one of these guarantees that even chunky debris(such as nails) are sucked up into the vacuum- something a regular vacuum can’t do without consequences. 

However, if your house is not extremely dirty and in need of heavy cleaning, you’re not likely to need a wet/dry vac. On the other hand, you may need a shop vac if you want to rid your driveway, garage, porch, or veranda of numerous chunky debris. In general, your regular vacuum cleaner is more appropriate for typical home vacuuming. 

Nevertheless, it all depends on your needs. If you’re someone that likes to get things done around the house, you will likely leave a trail of debris in your wake. You should consider getting your hands on a shop vac; they’re durable and powerful enough to handle larger debris. If you know what you’re doing, they should complement(not replace) your regular vacuum cleaner. 

Does HP Matter When Choosing A Wet/Dry Vac? 

When choosing a shop vacuum, horsepower is a major factor to consider. This is the maximum output of the motor and is not necessarily the only factor to consider. Brushless motors are more energy-efficient and generate more performance than conventional motors. Depending on the model, they can produce up to 110 CFM and 125 inches of suction. It is also important to ask about the filtration system. 

The higher the horsepower, the more powerful the unit will be. When choosing a shop vac, it is important to know the amount of suction that the motor can produce. If you’re looking to clean your pool with it, then you need more power, choose a model with a larger horsepower. Between 3-5 HP is perfect for pool cleaning. 

What Is the Best Shop Vac For Water Extraction?

If you’re looking to purchase a wet vac for pool maintenance, you need to choose one that ticks all the boxes. Since it would be dealing with a lot of water, it needs to have a fairly large capacity. Some wet vacs are hefty enough to hold up to 18 gallons at a time before you need to empty them to waste.  Also, you need a lot of power for lifting water. Other important factors to look out for are built-in cord and hose management handles, wall-mount ability, hose and cord length, etc. 

The recommended wet vacs below tick all the necessary boxes. So if you’re looking for the best wet vacs for work around your swimming pool, look no further than these: 

DeWALT 12 Gallon Poly Wet/Dry Vac 12-Gallon, 5.5HP

DeWALT 12-gallon poly wet/dry vac is versatile and suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. If you’re cleaning your pool with it, it can hold 12 gallons of water before it needs to be emptied. Its powerful 5.5 HP motor ensures that you encounter no difficulty on the job and is suitable for draining the last few inches of water from the pool during a routine maintenance. 

The DeWALT 12-gallon poly wet/dry vac also comes with a 7 foot flexible suction hose, 20 foot power cord, and four wheel to ensure that nowhere is out of reach. It also comes with different nozzle accessories for every job, you can be sure that you’re getting the best wet vac for your needs. 


  • Powerful suction
  • Efficient handle for hose and cord management
  • Inbuilt storage pouch


  • Initial set up may take some time. 

Vacmaster VBV1210, 12-Gallon 5 HP Wet/Dry Vac

If you’re looking for high performance with a competitive price, look no further than the Vacmaster VBV1210 wet/dry vacuum. It has a medium 12 gallon storage and 5 HP motor for heavy duty work. Its four wheels, 7 foot flexible vacuum hose, and 12 foot long power cord allows it to access everywhere around your work area, leaving it squeaky clean. 

This vac unit also doubles as a blower, suitable for removing dust, and blowing leaves away from your walkway. It comes with useful nozzles for a variety of job types. 


  • Great value for the money
  • Great power to weight ratio
  • Can operate as a blower


  • No HEPA filter in the box. 

WORKSHOP High Capacity Wet Dry Vacuum Cleaner 16 Gallons, 6.5 HP

If you’re looking for the hardest worker, look no further than WORKSHOP High Capacity Wet Dry Vacuum Cleaner. It has an impressive storage of 16 gallons, letting you conveniently hold more water as you go about your task. It’s powerful motor is rated 6.5 HP and comes with a copolymer canister that’s crack resistance. 

This vac unnit features a built-in auto-shut off float that automatically turns off the motor when it senses high liquid level in the canister. This protective measure safeguards the unit against floats that could otherwise interfere with normal working. It also doubles as a blower, has a car nozzles, a wet nozzle, a utility nozzle, and two wand extensions.


  • Powerful motor
  • Large capacity
  • Drain port for ease of emptying waste water


  • Doesn’t come with HEPA filter

Can I Use a Wet Vac Without a Bag? 

A vacuum bag is a necessity. It helps to collect all the dust which the vacuum cleaner takes in. After years of use, the vacuum bag may fall apart and getting replacement bags may be difficult(or expensive). What happens if I use a wet vac without a bag? We hear you ask. 

A shop vac will work without a shop vac. But if you’re looking to do a neat job, it is recommended that you do not use them without the bag in place. For one, the bag helps to collect fine dust as you vacuum. Alternatively, you can use the waste vac bin. In that case, you would have to overhaul the whole unit to clean it out. If you’re willing to sacrifice the  convenience of simply removing a bag to empty its contents then it wouldn’t be a problem.

Moreover, a vacuum bag helps to capture most of the dust and fine particles so that the filters don’t get overworked. When absent, however, the filter will be overwhelmed and clog easily. Larger particles may rupture and ruin the filter, damaging them. When this happens, your wet vac’s suction will reduce along with its overall efficiency this is why shouldn’t you use a wet vac without the bag.

Closing Remark on Can I Use a Wet Vac to Clean Pool?

A wet vac is a versatile machine. It can venture into territories that a regular vacuum wouldn’t dare step foot. With the right setup, you can use your wet vac for maintenance around your pool. You could even draw out the last few inches of water from your pool after the pool pump can’t drain water further. These units are rugged and durable, but not invincible. Using them according to manufacturers recommendations will ensure that you use them for a very long time without hassles. 

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