A vacuum comes in handy when you want to rid your house or garage of dust and debris that gathers up over time. You can keep your air clean and fresh by vacuuming regularly. Why let some dust mess up the hygiene of your home when you can do something about it? Of course, not.
There are many different types of products available in the market, with a plethora of features. But we do not need all that, do we? When it comes to vacuuming, the rules are simple. Your place gets dusty, vacuum it up.
You can use a regular vacuum for cleaning dust and debris, but when it comes to ash or major works, you need to use a special one. The same vacuum you use for regular cleaning might not live up to the task when it comes to some major clean up.
Same goes for when you need to clean up some leftover ashes from your stove or fireplace. You want a specific product for these purposes.
For those tasks, you have two handy devices; Ash-vacuum and Shop-Vacuum. Before we go into all the details, let us get some fundamental insights into what they are and what is their actual purpose.
What is Ash Vacuum?
If you are one of those people who own a fireplace in the living room or maybe have a woodstove; chances are you already know of this device. An ash vacuum is specially designed to safely suck up the ash and ash dust leftover from the burning coal or wood.
You must be wondering what a little ash could do to your device. You might even be inclined to take your regular vacuum and use it to suck up the leftover ash from the fireplace or woodstove. This decision would be your first step at reducing the lifespan of your equipment that eventually will lead you to burnt motors and a lot of regrets.
The primary reason why you should use a special vacuum for cleaning ash is the safety of both your device and for yourself. Regular vacuums are not designed to handle the heat and cleaning a fireplace using them poses a massive fire hazard. Ash vacuums can handle high temperatures and do not overheat or explode.
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What is Shop Vacuum?
While the ash vacuum is a household device, this one, however, is for professionals. Construction or woodshop workers mostly use shop vacuums. This particular device can make short work of high amounts of dirt or debris that would generally overheat the motors of a regular vacuum.
Shop vacuums or shop vacs come with a high suction capability and large canisters for debris collection. On top of that, they have a sturdy hose and wheeled bucket like collection ports that can navigate large compounds without effort.
Much like ash vacuums, these are made to handle tasks that a regular vacuum just cannot cut.
Your household vacuum, no matter how expensive it may be, cannot handle the hardcore work that this beastly machine can do. With a powerful motor and sturdy construction, these types of devices are made to be handled by professionals.
Difference Between Ash Vacuum and Shop Vacuum
So, what makes these two types so unique?
More importantly, if both of them come with sturdy construction, what makes them so different from each other? Let us look at the various aspects of these devices and find out.
Structure and Design
For one thing, they differ in their structure vastly. When it comes to ash vacuums, they are specially designed to handle hot materials. It comes with a heat-resistant thermal hose with a rubber coating to tackle hot residues. Since the nozzle is usually made of metal, you can use it in a cooling fireplace or stove.
The shape of the device also allows thorough cleaning of your furnace. However, this is not advisable at all. We recommend never vacuuming your oven until it has cooled down thoroughly.
Shop vacuums, on the other hand, are built like a tank and super durable. They have a powerful suction system that can take in anything from nails to screws.
Their primary purpose is to clean up massive debris and clear up your workspace. They come with bigger hoses that can take sharp and chunky objects easily.
Shop vacuums come with a powerful motor that can suck up big, heavy objects with relative ease. Furthermore, most vacuums of this type do not come with filters which allow bigger debris to pass through. Generally, they have a big tube with a wide opening instead of a hose.
Filters are an essential part of the vacuum as it primarily operates through suction. Since it brings in unfiltered air, it must come out. The job of the filter is to trap the microscopic dust particles that escape the dust cap.
As we have already established; ash vacuums suck up specks of ash. However, ash has a weird tendency to get caught up in the motor. Ash vacuums deal with it by installing a special filter that can not only handle the hot ember but also protect the engine.
Shop vacuums do not come with any filter. They are beastly machines designed to devour everything in their crosshair, and a screen just gets in the way.
A big metal hose and immensely powerful suction capability are all you get with this device. So, whatever you do, do not think to use shop vacs as a replacement for an ash vacuum.
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Size and Dimensions
To be honest, the optimal size of any product depends on the intent of the user and his requirements. Bigger is not always better, and smaller does not always mean the most convenient.
That being said, ash vacuums mostly come in a very compact and portable form factor. They are also pretty easy to use and can be stored anywhere in the house to bring out in a jiffy. Since they are part of the household group of vacuums, this small size is handy to get a fast cleaning chore done.
But shop vacuums have no point in being small. They come with a much larger body that is proper for construction use.
Practically speaking, you are never going to use this product for your household cleaning activities. The bulky size radiates power which is precisely what you expect from a unit of this caliber.
The usability of a product depends on what is the actual goal of the user. You cannot just take a horse to a car race. Everything has its purpose, and everything has its limitations.
The purpose of the ash vacuum is to clean up ash, plain and simple. It cannot and does not aim to compete with the high suction power of a shop vac. But when it comes to ridding all the nooks and crannies of your fireplace or stove of ash, you cannot get anything better than an ash vacuum.
Similarly, a shop vacuum is big and bulky. It is made for heavy-duty uses, and that is where it shines. If you want to use a shop vacuum for cleaning your fireplace, that would be a recipe for disaster.
Its place is in a big workshop or construction site. Of course, there is no problem in using this type of device to clean your garage or backyard.
As with any products, price is a deciding factor. Since both of the products in question differ vastly in both use and structural design, the price difference is quite huge.
Ash vacuums are pretty affordable and do not cost you a kidney to find a decent one with excellent features. Yes, there are expensive models out there, but you should be able to find a very well-made ash vacuum at a highly reasonable price.
Shop vacuums are quite expensive since they are made for professional uses. They also have more a lot more versatility when compared to an ash vacuum. This quality more than makes up for the higher price.
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So, where does it leave us? Which one is the better device of the two? Well, the answer is not that simple. What you need to understand is both units have their place, and neither can substitute each other.
To put things simply; if you want to tackle hot ashes after a barbeque party or something similar, ash-vacuum should be your go-to-choice. A shop-vacuum will cause you nothing but trouble in this situation.
And if you need something to take care of a big mess regularly, your choice should be a shop vacuum. If you want something that deals with both of the scenarios, you are slightly out of luck.
We hope this article brings the debate to a conclusion. Hopefully, this discussion will help put your mind at rest, and you can get back to what is the most important part of a vacuuming; keeping your air smelling fresh and your home dust-free.
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