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DeWalt’s DC500 looks like a bright yellow shop vacuum if you don’t have any context for size, but it’s really a 2 Gallon Cordless / Corded Wet Dry Vacuum. So which is it? A very small shop vacuum, or an industrial cordless handheld? Let’s find out.
You’ve actually got three choices when it comes to power for the DC500 – you can buy 12 or 18 volt battery packs, or plug in a cord if you happen to have a wall socket available. Obviously, the cord will net you the most power, but both 12 and 18 volts are great for a handheld vacuum.
This vacuum combines great suction with a 1.25”x5’ rubber hose – it’s strong enough to clean liquids, woodchips, and even suck up small rocks. A blower function – which you wouldn’t really expect for any handheld – turns that power around and can clean a space quickly if you need to just sweep it out.
Ease of Use
To make the DC500 easier to use, DeWalt made sure to put in a port for draining liquids (extremely helpful considering you could hypothetically clean up to two gallons). They also designed the cord and hose to be able to be easily wrapped up around the vacuum so you can store it without them flopping around or getting tangled.
Battery Life and Charging Time
Here’s a kicker: the batteries and charger are not included with the DC500. Of course, there is the cord, but if you want to use it as a cordless and get the 12V battery pack, you’ll get about ten minutes of runtime. The more powerful 18V will give you about 15 minutes, and remember, since both are NiCad, they’ll take a good few hours to charge.
The DC500 does resemble a shop vac in another way besides its appearance: it’s heavy. At 9.7 pounds, it’s the heaviest I’ve seen for a handheld vacuum…but, that said, if you’re using it with the cord and it doesn’t have a battery pack in, it’s much lighter.
DeWalt did go for a high-end filter for this vacuum. A Gore HEPA wet/dry filter that doesn’t need changing out between wet and dry messes and is washable? It doesn’t get much better than that, if it does at all.
While this is the heaviest handheld vacuum I’ve encountered, it also has the most capacity at two gallons. You could probably go for weeks with most dry messes, and tackle much bigger wet messes than any other handheld, too.
A crevice tool and a wider nozzle that’s useful for upholstery and certain kinds of finer debris are included, and both work great with the DC500’s power.
This vacuum is not even remotely fragile in any way. Besides a heavy-duty rubber hose, if you drop it, it is more likely the floor will be damaged before the vacuum is. And even if the battery did stop charging, which is unlikely, you could always switch to the cord.
With a three year limited warranty and a one year service contract, DeWalt seems to be marketing this to contractors who’ll really push this vacuum to its limits – the advantage goes to the regular consumer, then, who also buys it.
This is the one point about this vacuum that made me cringe – it’s pretty expensive for a handheld… and that’s before you buy a battery pack and a charger, which are almost as expensive themselves.
- wet/dry with 2 gallon capacity
- cord and cordless versatility
- great suction
- Gore HEPA wet/dry filter
- blower function
- cord is only 5 feet long
- very expensive
So, the DC500 is a handheld, if a quite large one, but it also does have some of the better qualities of a shop vac. It also has a very high quality filter and handheld-style accessories, so it’s getting the best of both worlds – it’s perfect for, say, small handiwork like the dust from drilling holes for pictures. That said, given the short length of its cord and it being so expensive to get along with a battery and charger, you’d do best to get this vacuum if you already have DeWalt batteries from other tools.