Ridgid Cordless Wet/Dry Vac Review – Vacs Without Borders

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ridgid cordless wet/dry vac

What's This?This post is sponsored by The Home Depot. When cleanup time rolls around, most of us want to get it wrapped up asap and move on to more enjoyable endeavors – getting a root canal, for instance. Wet/dry vacs are the tool of choice for most job site and shop clean-up chores, and many of these vacs are orange, and say “Ridgid” somewhere on them. Ridgid makes a variety of vacs, in various sizes and configurations, most of which do a great job of expediting the unpleasant but necessary task of tidying up. We recently received one of their newest offerings, the Ridgid Cordless Wet/Dry Vac, aka the Ridgid HD0918. I was particularly eager to try it out because of a feature it DOESN’T have: A cord. We’ll take a look at how it fares when it’s time to do your dirty work.

Similar in appearance to its full-sized corded brethren, the Ridgid Cordless Wet/Dry Vac has a nine-gallon capacity, as opposed to the 12 – 16 gallon capacity of the big boys. Unless you’ve got a really big mess to deal with, the smaller vac has plenty of capacity to handle most clean-up tasks. It also has a lot of benefits when compared to the full-size corded vacs.

The most obvious benefit is the absence of the word “corded” in its description. No more unsnarling the power cord, which always seems to be about 3’ too short, and searching for an available outlet. No more worries about tripping over that cord, or snagging it on that project you just finished, which then goes crashing to the floor.

No cord wrap needed on the Ridgid Cordless Wet/Dry vac.

With the Ridgid Cordless Wet/Dry Vac, you can get right to work sucking up the crud. Slide in a battery or two, hit the switch and go. Room to room, up or down stairs, wherever the spirit – or the dirt – takes you. And no stopping to search for a new power source every ten feet. Here’s the list of features from Ridgid, followed by a quick but cleansing video:

• Powerful 18-Volt motor provides pickup and capacity of a corded wet/dry vac
• Traditional 9 Gal. drum size holds more mess and is more durable than other cordless units
• Can run using 1 battery but accepts 2 for longer runtimes
• Large carry handle adds cordless freedom
• On-board hose and accessory storage makes the vacuum easy to carry, transport and stow
• Compatible with RIDGID 18-Volt battery models R840083, R840085, R840086, R840087, R840088, R840089, R8400806, R8400809 (sold separately)
• Includes 1-7/8 in. x 7 ft. tug-a-long locking hose with Dual-Flex, 3 extension wands, utility nozzle, a car nozzle, wet nozzle and standard filter
• Accepts RIDGID filter VF4000 and size B VF3503 dust collection bags
• Full lifetime warranty against material defects and workmanship
• Gallons indicated reflect drum volume, not necessarily collection capacity, actual capacity dependent upon type of debris collected, condition of filter and other factors

Getting Ready To Clean Up Your Act

Assembling the Ridgid Cordless Wet/Dry Vac is fast and easy. First, pop off the top and turn the drum upside-down. Next, slide the four “feet” into place, drop the casters into their holes, and press them firmly into place. The filter is already installed; just make sure it’s secure, and then replace the top. All that’s left to do is slide the accessories into their storage nooks on top of the feet.

Slide in the feet, pop in the casters, and assembly is complete!
The large, clean (temporarily) filter came pre-installed.

The vac comes with a good assortment of accessories to tackle your cleanup chores. Three 14” extension wands make it easy to adjust the length to suit different users, or to get more distance between you and the filth. Also included are a wet nozzle, a utility nozzle, and a car nozzle. The only missing item is a crevice nozzle, which can be purchased separately.

ridgid cordless wet/dry vac
The vac’s hose and accessories can all be stowed onboard.

The hose on the Ridgid Cordless Wet/Dry Vac is seven feet long, and has quite an impressive title: The Tug-A-Long Positive Locking Hose with Dual-Flex. Wow! Actually, the Tug-A-Long Positive Locking feature is very useful. When the hose is connected to the vac, and attachments are connected to the hose, they clip together automatically.

Tug-A-Long clips quickly lock the hose and accessories together.

As you mosey through the debris field, you no longer have to worry about re-inserting a friction-fit hose that has come loose. When it’s time to tear it all down, just press in on the edge of the connector, and everything comes apart quickly.

The “Dual-Flex” portion of the title refers to extra-flexible sections of hose at each end. Much less rigid than the rest of the hose, they can be bent in a very tight arc, making it much less likely they’ll get kinked or dented.

The “Dual-Flex” hose ends should help the hose live long and prosper…

Bringing The Power

The Ridgid Cordless Wet/Dry Vac needs only one 18V battery to operate. For extended run time, though, two batteries can be mounted at the same time. The battery mounting slots are on opposite sides of the power head, to keep everything nicely balanced. Although the vac will operate on any Ridgid 18V battery, Ridgid thinks you’ll be happiest using at least a 4.0 Ah battery.

ridgid cordless wet/dry vac
Any combination of Ridgid 18V batteries will power the beast…

Not only will the vac run on any Ridgid 18V battery, if you’re installing two, feel free to mix and match ‘em. I did just that, installing the big boss 9.0 Ah Octane battery on one side, and a 5.0 Ah battery on the other. The Ridgid cordless shop vac apparently draws down both batteries simultaneously. Both batteries started out fully charged, and when I checked a couple of times while using the vac, they both showed the same number of bars remaining on the built-in meters.

The Ridgid Cordless Wet/Dry Vac Goes To Work

The vac got its first taste of debris on a small mud room addition. It easily handled the usual mix of sawdust, splinters, dropped fasteners and small bits of insulation. Since there was no power in the room yet, the cordless vac made it easy and fast to swoop in, do a quick clean up, and get on with the job.

The Ridgid Cordless Wet/Dry vac had great suction for cleaning the floor…
And inhaled sawdust and splinters from all the nooks and crannies.

Once the Ridgid Cordless Wet/Dry Vac had tasted a bit of standard construction debris, I decided to see how it would hold up in a more challenging situation. To correct the “character” of a current project, I had to plane down several 2x4s from 1-1/2” to just over an inch thick. I have no dust-extraction system, and my full-sized shop vac – NOT orange in color – had recently bit the dust, so to speak, so I’d been doing my planing with no dust collection.

If you’ve ever used a bench-top planer, you know they generate an incredible amount of wood shavings. They also project these shavings with an incredible amount of enthusiasm, covering everything within 15’ in a layer of tiny wood curls. Before these shavings got too deep to wade through, Job One was to clean up the existing mess.

ridgid cordless wet/dry vac
The aftermath of planing without dust collection…

Thanks to the excellent suction of the Ridgid Cordless Wet/Dry Vac, the utility nozzle made quick work of getting the floor cleaned up. Switching to the car nozzle, I removed the layer of sawdust from the walls. And my workbenches. And everywhere else the dust had landed.

The vac did a great job prettying up the floor…
And all the various other dust-coated surfaces.

The Ridgid Cordless Wet/Dry Vac – Just Plane Useful

Since vacuuming, even cordless vacuuming, isn’t high on my list of fun ways to spend the day, I decided to connect the Ridgid Cordless Wet/Dry Vac to the planer’s output port before doing any more planing. Since the 1-7/8” diameter hose was smaller than the exhaust port, I used my universal adapter kit, aka duct tape, to make the connection.

Even with my low-budget adapter, the vac kept right up with the planer’s spewage…

I fired up the planer, switched on the Ridgid Cordless Wet/Dry Vac, and resumed feeding 2x4s, two at a time, through the planer. The vac kept up with the planer very nicely for several passes, then suddenly I started getting some blowback out of the rear of the planer. I shut everything down to investigate.

ridgid cordless wet/dry vac
Taking full advantage of the vac’s capacity before its first emptying…

On pulling the power head off the vac, the cause of the blowback was pretty obvious. The canister on the Ridgid Cordless Wet/Dry Vac was completely full, and the filter was totally encased in sawdust. After emptying the drum and tapping the filter clean, I resumed planing, and the vac resumed corralling almost every speck of sawdust. Although this is clearly not what the 18V vac is intended for, it did a helluva good job as a dust-collecting stand-in. Assuming you empty it occasionally.

A Hairy Situation

Every few months, I drag a vacuum cleaner out to my truck to remove the copious amounts of crud that have accumulated since the last purge. Since the truck is used for work, and our farm is on a dirt road, the truck gets pretty dirty, inside and out. The arrival of the Ridgid Cordless Wet/Dry Vac seemed an opportune time to get the periodic cleansing accomplished.

OK, fine, I should clean it more often. Hey, it’s a work truck.

To make it more challenging, our resident Husky mix, Nanuq, agreed to shed profusely and grind the hair into all the rear-seat carpeting. He’s very unselfish in that regard, and has more hair than seems physically possible, even when he’s regularly brushed.

The carpet was embedded with a large quantity of test hair…
Hair samples compliments of this guy, who is almost as smart as he is hairy…

I slapped in a couple of batteries, and headed out to the truck. It’s VERY handy not to have to park near an outlet, and deal with a cord the whole time you’re cleaning. I’m guessing car detailing will be a very popular use for the Ridgid Cordless Wet/Dry Vac.

ridgid cordless wet/dry vac
The Ridgid Cordless wet/dry vac again had great suction – and I sure didn’t miss the cord.

I started in the front, and worked my way around. The vac did a very good job schlurping up all the dirt, wrappers, sawdust, splinters and other miscellaneous debris from the entire truck. More importantly, the car nozzle did a great job of extracting the copious quantity of dog hair from the carpet. I have a Super Crew truck, so there’s a lot of area to clean, and when I was finished, both batteries had two bars remaining.

ridgid cordless wet/dry vac
A hairless carpet – ready for a fresh infusion of grey hair.
Time to put a filter bag on my shopping list…

The Ridgid Cordless Wet/Dry Vac: Ready To Do Your Wet Work

Although it’s very good at picking up sawdust, dog hair, and other miscellaneous debris, its full name – the Ridgid Cordless Wet/Dry Vac – implies it isn’t scared of a little water. Unlike most wet/dry vacs, this vac gives you the option to leave the filter cartridge in place if you’re schlurping up 2” or less of water. It’s probably not a bad idea to pop it out anyway; it only takes a few seconds, and if the filter does get wet, you have to make sure it gets dried out thoroughly.

If you do pop off the filter, you’ll notice a float inside the filter cage. It rises as the tank fills, and shuts off the suction before the impeller can suck water into the motor. When you hear the tone change to a high-pitched whine, that’s your cue to shut down the power and empty the tank before you can continue.

I yanked the filter, and filled a five-gallon bucket with fresh, tasty Pittsburgh water. To check whether the vac had the oomph to draw the water upwards, I attached a couple of the wand extensions, and stuck the end into the bucket. After hitting the power switch, I watched the water level drop quickly, until the bucket was completely drained. From start to finish, it took about 12 seconds; not bad for a comparatively narrow hose.

ridgid cordless wet/dry vac
The Ridgid vac, ready for its five-gallon thirst quencher…

When I lifted the power head off, the water no longer looked quite as fresh and tasty, having mixed with a bit of dirt and dog hair left in the tank. The water level was just below the intake port, so it’s unlikely the vac could have accommodated more than another gallon or so before the float kicked in. There’s no drain on the Ridgid Cordless Wet/Dry Vac, so I just used the hose to tug it over to a convenient bush, and gave it a drink.

12 seconds later, time to water the bushes.

Tidying Up The Final Details

Lean and mean is status quo for the Ridgid Cordless Wet/Dry Vac. It’s very light, even with two largish batteries installed. The vac is also nicely balanced, and its large handle makes it easy to pick up and schlep around in areas where you can’t take advantage of its Tug-A-Long feature.

ridgid cordless wet/dry vac
The vac is light, well-balanced, and easy to lug around.

The Ridgid Cordless Wet/Dry Vac has great suction and very good capacity. It should fill the bill at almost any job site, and would be especially useful on remote or new construction, where power availability is limited. It would also be a handy addition to any shop or garage, and to the arsenal of anyone who has ever had to vacuum a car out in the driveway or street.

If you’d rather relocate your debris than vacuum it up, the vac can also be used as a light-to-medium duty blower. Just plug the hose into the port on the power head, and fire it up. Use it to do a quick cleanup in the garage, or to clear those pesky leaves and acorns off of your driveway or sidewalk. Not quite as elegant as a hand-held blower, but it gets the job done.

ridgid cordless wet/dry vac
Don’t feel like vacuuming? Blow your debris away.

The Ridgid HD0918 Cordless Wet/Dry Vac worked great for us, with one anomaly: After about a week of use, it suddenly developed a quirk with one of the battery slots. As soon as a battery was inserted, the vac would start vaccing, regardless of the position of the power switch. The battery on the other side worked perfectly, and if a battery was inserted only on the other side, the vac worked fine and obeyed the commands of the power switch. We got a replacement vac, and it has been operating perfectly. We haven’t heard of any other instances of this, and if you happen to get a renegade vac, the lifetime warranty and return policy will help restore order.

Ridgid offers a variety of replacement parts for its lineup of wet/dry vacs, including original replacement filters, dust bags, and wet-use filters.

A handy decal lists replacement filter info.

The vac is only available as a bare tool. If you have any Ridgid 18V battery and charger, you’re ready to roll. If not, there are plenty of options available, and often you can find a kit that includes a tool, battery and charger for not much more than you’d pay for the battery and charger alone. Ridgid backs the Ridgid Cordless Wet/Dry Vac with a limited lifetime warranty, and the Home Depot’s 90-day return policy gives you a risk-free opportunity to clean up your act – with no strings cords attached. Pick one up, and give it a tug.

ridgid cordless wet/dry vac

Buy Now - via Home Depot

I acknowledge that The Home Depot is partnering with Home Fixated in sponsored content. As a part of the sponsorship, Home Fixated is receiving compensation for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are our own words. This post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

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About Phil

Phil’s path to the pinnacle of success as HomeFixated’s Senior Writer was long and twisted. At various stages of his life, he worked as a framing carpenter, attended motorcycle mechanics school, served as an Army MP, did a hot and itchy stint installing insulation in Phoenix, owned and operated a small contracting firm doing residential renovations, and worked as an employee of a major airline (Motto: We’re not happy ‘til YOU’RE not happy). He is currently semi-retired, but continues to take on little projects, such as the total renovation of an old farmhouse. Yes, he is a slow learner. Future projects include a teardown restoration of his 1965 BMW motorcycle, and designing and building a kick-ass playhouse for his grandsons. Phil loves spending time outdoors, hanging out with family and friends, cool tools, and a cold IPA when beer o'clock rolls around.

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2 thoughts on “Ridgid Cordless Wet/Dry Vac Review – Vacs Without Borders”

    • The vac has very good suction. The hose is a bit narrower than those on a full-sized shop vac, but it had plenty of power to pick up all the crud we tested it on, including heavier stuff like screws. And it had no trouble keeping up with the output from the benchtop planer, which spews out a LOT of chips.


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