Like many medium-sized remodeling companies, TDS Custom Construction performs varied scopes of work that require our tradespeople to be organized and nimble and—above all—to keep a clean jobsite. That makes vacuums and their filter assemblies an important part of our work, but not just for keeping our client’s homes clean; when used with HEPA filtration under our state’s Lead Safe guidelines, they also keep occupants and workers safe. We recently added the Milwaukee M18 Fuel 12-gallon cordless wet/dry vacuum to our stable as an option to help our M18-battery-powered carpenters maximize their existing tool kit and improve efficiency.
The 0930-22HD kit, which retails for $800, came with a dual-battery motor head, two 12-Ah M18 batteries ($500 retail value by themselves), a dual-bay rapid charger, a high-efficiency filter, the premium 12-gallon vacuum tank and matching cart with handle, and 9 feet of hose with two extensions, a crevice tool, and a floor utility nozzle. The motor head is powered by a brushless motor and produces 109 cfm and 77 inches of suction. It’s part of a modular system that includes 6- and 9-gallon canisters, as well as the 12-gallon canister fitted to our cart. Other components in the system include the company’s HEPA, high-efficiency, and wet-use filter cartridges. We also tested several of Milwaukee’s optional attachments, such as the Air-Tip dust collector, low-profile pivoting brush, and flexible crevice and magnet utility nozzles.
Power. The Milwaukee 0930-22HD is a true shop vacuum in that it is not specifically designed for attachment to power tools for use as a dust extractor. Compared with the other corded shop vacuums that we own, the Milwaukee performs well in terms of suction, though we noticed some loss of power when attempting to vacuum larger debris as the battery charge dropped. Milwaukee advertises the runtime for two 12-Ah batteries as 49 minutes for light debris and 34 minutes for heavy debris. For our typical remodeling work and our start-of-the-year shop cleanup, the vacuum performed closer to the 49-minute advertised runtime.
We also tested the dual-battery motor head on the smaller, 6-gallon tank, which, when used without the cart, reduces the vacuum to a portable unit that lends itself well to punch-list work. Milwaukee also offers a single-battery M18 motor head, which we didn’t test, and says that it plans to release a 120-volt AC motor head that will work with all parts of this system.
Dust collection. The large, 2 1/2-inch-diameter hose performed well without clogging in post-demo cleanup, and the Air-Tip dust collector attachment was a favorite among our team. This attachment uses the suction created by the vacuum to stick to a wall underneath the work area where dust is being created. Whether used for dust collection for cutting plaster with a multi-tool or drilling pilot holes for handrail brackets, this attachment has proven to be valuable in keeping finished interiors clean.
We found the filter cartridges to be easy to remove and clean out using either an air hose or the tried-and-true method of banging the filter on the side of a dumpster. Milwaukee does offer removable bags in sizes that match the tanks, but we have yet to source them locally.
At $800 for the kit, this vacuum is not targeted toward everyone; rather, this offering from Milwaukee seems to be targeted toward the professional remodeler who is already heavily invested in Milwaukee’s M18 ecosystem and values getting two 12-Ah batteries with a tool. If this sounds like you or one of your tradespeople, then this vacuum deserves a look based on its versatility and the wide range of accessories and options that Milwaukee has built into its wet/dry vacuum system. milwaukeetool.com