Whether you’re shopping for a new Shop VAC or replacing an existing one, the hose that comes with it will have a significant impact on its overall performance. You may have noticed that different vacuum cleaners come with hoses of varying sizes.
Some vacuums even include two different-sized hoses as well as an adaptor. Is it possible to interchange these hoses? What difference does it make which hose you use?
While these hoses are interchangeable, each diameter of vacuum hose has advantages and disadvantages. So, if your vacuum isn’t operating as well as it could, the hose could be the cause.
In our guide, we’ll take a deeper look at the most common sizes, their compatibility, and the influence they have on vacuum performance because Shop VAC hose sizing may be a bit of a tricky subject.
By the end, you’ll see that even though there aren’t too many size variations of vacuum hose diameter, there is enough that it is easy to pick the wrong one for capturing dust effectively. (Read Our Hose Clamp Sizes Chart)
Common Shop Vac Hose Diameters
That there are so many sizes of ShopVAC hose size contributes to the complexity of sizing. You’ll most likely encounter three different hose widths: 2 1/2-inch, 1 7/5-inch, and 1 1/4-inch. You may also come across 1 1/2-inch hose, which will usually come with adapters to allow it to fit on more common vacuum ports.
Metric vs. Standard
If you look at many different brands of Shop vacuums, you’ll see several strange sizes that don’t fit with the ones we’ve already discussed. Hoses from companies like Festool vacs, for example, are measured in metric units.
These vacuums come in various sizes, including 27mm (approximately 1 inch) and 50mm (just shy of 2 inches).
Metric and standard hoses and machines, unfortunately, are not compatible. In addition, adapters to swap between the sizes aren’t widely available.
Most Shop VACs in the United States come with hoses measured in imperial dimensions. However, if you acquire a vacuum that employs metric measurements, you’ll need to seek metric hoses as well, or at least ones that are compatible.
Are Bigger Hoses Better?
Many individuals believe that connecting a larger hose to a vacuum will allow them to suction more significant messes and dirt more effortlessly. However, this is only partially correct.
A vacuum hose with a larger diameter will fit larger things. However, a larger hose will not produce the same suction as a smaller one.
Let’s look at the differences between two common sizes: 1-1/4-inch and 2-1/2-inch. The 2-1/2-inch pipe is precisely twice the smaller hose diameter in this situation.
However, this implies the cross-sectional area is four times bigger, resulting in a significant reduction in air velocity. Essentially, the larger diameter hose pulls a larger volume of air but at a lower pressure.
In use, this means your vacuum won’t take up those larger chunks since it lacks the essential suction. It may still pick up sawdust and small debris, but with the reduced suction provided by the larger hose, picking up chunks of drywall or wood may be beyond its capabilities.
However, if we use an adapter to connect a small 1 1/4-inch hose to a vacuum with a 2 1/2-inch outlet, we’ll see a significant increase in the vacuum’s suction velocity. Of course, a smaller diameter hose won’t be able to suck up the huge material you’ll frequently encounter.
How Does length Affect suction?
Only the diameter of your shop vac hose size has been covered; length is also vital. A longer hose allows for more air space, lowering the overall pressure. Using a larger diameter hose has a similar effect, although less so. Extending your pipe loses less suction than switching to a broader hose. (Read Sae To Metric Conversion Chart)
But you don’t want a hose that’s too short. A short hose won’t lose pressure, but it won’t reach far. Unless you want to move your vacuum constantly, a lengthy hose will allow you to keep the vacuum static and only move the hose.
So how long is too long? Many Shop VAC hoses are 20-30 feet long, compromising reach and pressure. The pressure will drop significantly if you use hoses longer than 30 feet. With 20 feet of length, you’ll obtain good suction pressure without continually moving your vacuum.
An 8-foot hose gives you more reach, but the suction is more vital than reach in a workshop.
When You Need Different Sized Wet/Dry Vacuum Hose
While the hose that came with your Shop VAC is undoubtedly adequate for most of your basic cleaning needs, the differences in hose sizes make each size more suited to specific tasks.
A medium-diameter hose will suffice for most activities, but the ability to switch between all three will make it easy to adjust your vacuum to different tasks.
The smaller diameter hose is the ideal choice when you require a lot of suction. When you’re working with tiny power equipment that produces a lot of dust, a small hose comes in handy.
A small-diameter hose is suitable for jigsaws, sanders, circular saws, and any other small instrument with a dust port that does not produce significant bits of debris.
Medium Shop VAC Hose:
Medium-diameter shop VACs of around (1½-inch to 1⅞-inch)are the most versatile for a new user. Because they have strong suction and a large enough diameter for more significant bits, they are ideal for general cleanup.
They also work well with larger chippers like routers or something like a Makita track saw. (Read Nutsert Drill Size Chart)
Large Shop VAC Hose:
The bigger diameter hoses (2 ½-inch or 50mm) are ideal for sucking up huge material. Large bits of debris can be sucked up if your vacuum has enough suction. They also work well with big dust ports on tools like table saws and planers.
The hosing industry (hydraulics) has devised a measuring technique known as Dash Numbers to indicate hose and coupler size. The dash size is the number before the hose or coupler description (table below). In half-inch sizes, the industry-standard number signifies hose ID.
Here you can find our vacuum hose size chart:
How Do You Measure The Diameter Of A Shop Vac Hose?
How should vacuum attachments be attached? First, make sure the hoses at the accessory end are open.
Hoses for a Shop-Vac should be typically sized to accommodate vacs with several sizes of diameter that match the tools to maintain suction.
- Remove all of your hose’s attachments.
- Insert one end of an index card into the open end of the hose and roll it into a tube-like straw.
- Allow about half of the tube to slide into the hose.
- Allow the tube to open until the edges are flush with the hose’s inside edges.
- Make the tube the same size as the tube on the inside of the garden hose by adjusting the end.
- Tape the paper tube’s edges together to form a cylinder.
- Remove the paper tube from the hose, taking care not to let it slip open while you do so.
- Secure the tube with more tape.
- With a ruler, measure the distance across the opening of your paper tube. The interior diameter of your hose is equivalent to this measurement.
If you were extending your hose, the card you use to measure is how an adaptor would combine the two hose lengths. With this method, the flow of air would be the same.
When you have a hose that is a big one to a smaller one, the flow and degree of suction change.
In addition, each foot of hose length added reduces your working airflow at the end of the line.
Vacuum hoses come in a variety of sizes and are frequently considered when acquiring a new wet/dry or shop vacuum.
Smaller vacuum hoses are lighter, more maneuverable, more flexible, with performance advantages in some applications.
Larger diameter hoses pick up bigger debris and fend off clogging. However, on large vacuums, you can find them on wheels, and sometimes the hoses are aluminum rather than the regular materials.
It can be challenging to choose between vacuums because each manufacturer may offer a different hose diameter for different activities.
With smaller portable power tools like sanders, jigsaws, and circular saws, a smaller diameter hose, such as 1-1/4′′ or 27mm, will frequently work better for dust collection.
Tools produce a lot of chips and dust, and there is more to it than pure dust collection. For example, smaller hoses can clog, and thus you need a medium diameter hose, such as 1-1/2′′, 1-7/8′′, or 36mm.
Often you find these on different vacuums and may be made where the difference in air volume is enough to use the many accessories, and there is sufficient air volume to suck up large pieces of debris.
For general cleaning and connecting to instruments with similar-sized dust ports, a hose with a larger diameter, such as 2-1/2′′ or 50mm, is appropriate. You should avoid utilizing a step-down adapter if at all possible.
When using a little hose to clean some areas, you’ll spend a lot of time sweeping and then cleaning out the blockages. When cleaning fine dust or water with a long hose, you risk losing enough airflow velocity to cause difficulties.
Metric hose sizes are determined by measuring the inner diameter of all the hoses that are readily available.
In contrast, inch-sized hoses are measured in their outer diameter and accessory connector size. A Festool 50mm vacuum hose and a Shop-Vac 2-1/2′′ vacuum hose, both are measuring 2.4′′.