RIDGID 16 gallon Stainless Steel Shop Vac Review

The Ridgid stainlesss steel shop vac covered in drywall dust.

The Ridgid 16 gallon 6.5 HP shop vac comes in two versions: the stainless model WD1956 and the plastic model WD1851. Which is best? Let’s take a look.


  • Ridgid stainless and plastic shop vacs side by side
  • ridgid stainless steel shop vac being weighed at 30.8 pounds with accessories

Believe it or not, the stainless model is a half pound lighter than the plastic version coming in at only 27.8 lbs without accessories. Scroll the next photo to see the weight with accessories.


Ridgid stainless steel shop vac valve draining water.

Both models have large back wheels, but the stainless has taller front casters giving it more ground clearance. This lets the drain plug sit higher allowing for more knuckle clearance when draining or attaching a pump.


Shop vac hose wand sucking up rocks.

At 6.5 HP the these vacs have plenty of suction. Both have a 20′ cord, the same 16 gal. capacity, and come with the same accessories. Although, the plastic model comes with a rear air diffuser, which you can buy separately for the stainless. I didn’t.


Shop vac being washed down with water on sidewalk.

Some “people” have reported rust issues with the stainless, which is not covered under Ridgid’s warranty. However, after six years of sucking water, rocks, and mud mine is still rust free.

(Update – Nov 10 2021 – Hey folks, it’s going on 10 years and I’m still on this same RIDGID stainless vacuum. Love this thing!)


Man changing hose between large and small shop vac outdoors.

The 16 gallon’s, tough as heck, 2.5” pull-hose works across models down to Ridgid’s 4 Gal, 5 HP shop-vac shown above. Just thought I’d thrown in that fact. I was really excited when I figured that out. #toolnerd


Two shop vacs side by side.

In the photo above notice the larger storage bag on the stainless. Within the large bag I carry the wands, attachments, a dust pan and a dust broom. During cleanup I use the storage bag to hold trash too big for the hose. I even coil up the 20′ cord and throw it in the bag.

The small bag on the plastic model does not hold the wands securely. Nor do the rear wheel mounts hold the wands very well, which is how they are shown in the adverts.

Bottom Line

Ridgid’s stainless steel 16gal wet/dry vacuum is taller, lighter, and has better storage than the 16 gallon plastic model. If you don’t care about the tool storage bag the plastic model is cheaper, dent resistant, smaller, and will never rust.

If you get one these shop vacs I hope you enjoy it. Please share any thoughts or questions in the comments below, and I”ll talk to you later.

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Alex Broadwell
Hey, I'm Alex and I love tools. Having worked in carpentry and as a painting contractor I have a great appreciation for tool innovation. The freedom of cordless is amazing. These days, when not traveling with my wife Zhou, I remodel houses and write tool reviews. Enjoy the website. :)
ridgid-16-gallon-stainless-steel-shop-vac-reviewAfter six years of heavy use I can attest to the tough build quality of this shop vac. It is well featured, has plenty of power, and stores neatly away. I paid $179 for mine, which I consider high value for money. At the time of this writing Home Depot has it listed for $159. Nice!


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