My wife and I recently purchased a rural property that’s a fair distance from anywhere. One of the most enticing features was a bonus cabin well back on the property at the edge of the woods. Sort of a place to get away from the place you were in to get away from it all. Being a half mile off the road, it lacks electricity. Even more distressing, being located in upstate New York, was the fact that there was no heat. The sensible solution was a wood stove, and the cordless tools available these days were more than adequate to tackle the job of installing the chimney. All the drilling and cutting raised a fair bit of chips and sawdust that pretty much got everywhere in the small space. We swept a most of it up, but there was still plenty remaining that defied our best efforts. What we really needed was small vacuum. Being the thoroughly modern man that I am, I had one of my kids show me how to do a search on my phone for a small cordless vac and up popped the DEWALT DCV517B 20V MAX Cordless 1/2 gallon Wet/Dry Portable Vac. Join me for the review!
Perfect, I thought, as I was already a fan and owner of a number of the DeWalt 20v tools. With the assistance of the aforementioned offspring, the tool showed up two days later. DeWalt describes the tools and features of the DeWalt DCV517B Baretool 20V MAX Cordless 1/2 gallon Wet/Dry Portable Vac Kit:
“The DEWALT DCV517B 20V MAX* Cordless 1/2 gal Wet/Dry Portable Vac – Bare tool is great for general jobsite cleanup, with a HEPA system allows fine dust clean up like drywall and masonry. The HEPA wet/dry filter traps 99.97% of dust at 0.3 microns. This is a washable filter that can be cleaned with a tap water rinse to clean. It has dual clean-up modes which allow for debris removal with either the front utility nozzle or with an extendable heavy duty rubber hose that provides durability and flexibility. The 1/2 gallon tank with heavy-duty latch is easy to empty and clean.
Dual Clean-Up Modes
Built to make clean up quick and easy, the DEWALT 20-Volt MAX* Wet/Dry Vac goes wherever your work takes you with its cordless design and 1/2-gallon tank. A heavy-duty latch secures the tank when the vacuum is in use, and is easy to release when it’s time to empty and clean out the tank.
Washable HEPA 0.3-Micron Filter
At the heart of this Vac’s performance is a GORE HEPA wet/dry filter that’s rated at 0.3 microns and traps 99.97 percent of dust particles. This capture rate helps to keep work sites looking their best and helps to keep the air you breathe cleaner and safer.”
I installed a battery fresh out of one of my chargers into the DeWalt DCV517B vac and hiked up to the cabin to give it try. Even with the battery in place the tool was light and well balanced. The battery mounts under the handle and provides a nice counterweight to the motor.
There was quite a bit of fine dust left behind from our project, especially along the edges by the wall. I vacuumed all the debris that was left from the chimney penetration.
The angled head of the DeWalt DCV517B vac worked great at guiding it along baseboards and the flexible hose with the angled nozzle pops out and took care of the harder to reach areas. Thinking initially that this might be a throwback to the old “dustbuster” my mother used to have, which was really only useful for pushing the dirt out into a larger area, I was impressed by the power. It pulled everything in its path and left a clean swath. It was the equal to my much larger corded ShopVac in terms of how thoroughly it cleared away all the debris.
Clean up is simple, when the ½ gallon sized compartment is full you just unclip it from the tool and empty it. The filter twists off and can be cleared by gently knocking it against the inside of you garbage bin to clear the pleated surface. The whole works goes back together just as easily and then it’s on to the next mess.
There were a couple of minor things I think would have improved the overall functionality of the DeWalt DCV517B. First, the flexible hose can be a little tricky to free up from the fixed body. The first time I reset the hose into the body of the tool I pushed it in a little too snugly and struggled to get it back out. I was more careful about seating it too tightly after that, but a couple of small wings on either side would help facilitate removal. I also would have liked to see an accessory kit, a small brush, crevice tool and wider nozzle offered with the vac would have been a nice addition. The 1 1/4” size made it easy enough to find a kit on Amazon, which is currently on its way.
I haven’t had occasion to check the wet function on this vac yet, but given the power it demonstrated I have no doubt this would be a go to in the event of spills that are more than paper towel sized. If you’re already geared up with DeWalt chargers and 20v Max batteries and you need a small vac for quick cleanups, the DeWalt DCV517B Cordless Wet/Dry Portable Vac might be just what you need to tidy up with minimal hassle.
You can buy the bare tool DeWalt DCV517B Cordless Wet/Dry Portable Vac for under $100: