"Darren, I am confused about buying the right detailing vacuum. I see these other guys with mongo-sized shop vacs for detailing and think that maybe I need the same; can you help?"
I am surprised how often I am asked about finding the right vacuum for detailing. Whether a person is detailing their own cars or looking to start out in the business, it is an area that is often over-thought, but is actually an area of detailing that can be more simple than all the online "gurus" might suggest.
After I had been in professional detailing for awhile, I began to notice a theme with the other mobile detailers I came across.
They all seemed to be using these massive Shop Vacs!
There I was using a much smaller detailing vacuum that seemed to perform just fine.
Being the critical thinker I have always been, I quickly decided that these over-sized Shop Vacs might have a poor ROI (return on investment) and all these other detailers were simply playing "follow the followers".
One of my least favorite strategies in life.
Since every other detailer had an over-sized Shop Vac, then surely I must have one also. After all, if they are doing it then it must be the "right way".
But it's not....
Ridgid WD4070 4 Gallon Portable Vacuum
Darren's Professional Tips: Most guys think they need to go level 10 when it comes to choosing the right vacuum for detailing. I have found this simply to be unnecessary. Not only will you spend more on a larger vacuum, but it will also become an added burden to not only haul the vacuum around if you plan on being mobile, but working with it will also become problematic.
Mr. Nozzle - 100-DB-25830 M-100-DB Wet/Dry Vac Tool Kit
Darren's Professional Tips: The stock vacuum hose and accessories that come with the Ridgid detail vacuum will certainly get the job done (but honestly, suck), but just like every where else in life, the right tool (or accessory in this case) can really make a huge difference. This hose will make your new Ridgid vacuum a dream to work with and far exceed the performance of the stock pieces that come with the vacuum.
If you are just starting a detailing business and are choosing and guying your start-up equipment, you will read this page and very quickly decide that I am attempting to get you to buy more stuff, not less stuff.
Any "mechanic" (yes, you as a detailer will be a form of mechanic) will know that tools matter. And more specifically, the right tool really matters.
While all these extra accessories are not a requirement since the Ridgid detailing vacuum comes with everything needed, the reality s that the other accessories I recommend here are not only what will make your job easier (the right tools), but are the exact accessories I have used professionally for decades now.
And the reason is simple: because they work and provide a much better user experience when performing a detailing task that is already difficult enough.
Flexaust 611S Tuec High Impact Polystyrene Vacuum Cleaning Crevice Tool, Angle, 11" Length, 1.5" Neck Size, Gray
Darren's Tip: As I have stated, I do think the this Ridgid is the best shop vac for car detailing. But with that said, the stock Ridgid detailing vacuum does come with the necessary hose and attachments to fulfill most of your vacuuming needs while detailing a car, but the stock hose and accessories are far from perfect and certainly not what I would label as professional duty. If you are on a very tight budget then I get it; you may not have a choice. But don't underestimate the user experience. If the user experience of the stock hose really does suck (and it does), then you will be working that much harder, with more frustration, doing a job that is already labor intensive. I want to prevent this from happening to you.