You can have ash in and around your home for many reasons, but how do you clean it up? Barbeques, fireplaces and pellet stoves are amazing comforts, but maintenance can be a pain. Did you know that you can use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of the ash they collect?
We’ve found what we think are the best ash vacuums for you. Our recommendations are sure to pique your interest and make your life a little easier.
Not all vacuums are worthy when it comes to ash, though. Before you go shopping for one, consider some of the factors we discuss below.
What Is an Ash Vacuum?
There’s no doubt that standard vacuums have made our lives easier and our homes cleaner. However, one flaw they have is how limited they are. A domestic vacuum will suck up anything you place in front of it, but this can be extremely dangerous — especially with the wrong temperature involved.
Ash is one of the lesser-known examples of such situations. We were stunned to learn that ash can take days to cool down. Plus, if left unattended, ashes could reignite the fire that created them. It’s such a serious problem that multiple house fires are caused by improper disposal or neglect of “cold” ash (1).
For this reason, you should never use a standard vacuum — even a multi-purpose one — to clean ash. They’re not built to take in warm waste. If you attempt this, you could destroy your machine, hurt yourself or accidentally set your home on fire.
Ash vacuums are designed differently to domestic models. While the latter typically have plastic or paper dust containers, ash vacuums are made of metal (2). They’re intended for ash only, to prevent other dust or debris from setting alight.
Why Should You Buy an Ash Vacuum?
Since these are single-purpose machines, you may be uncertain as to whether or not they’re worth investing in. Beyond the fact that an ordinary vacuum just won’t cut it, here are some additional reasons to consider.
1. Safety First
A specialized vacuum will eliminate the possibility of accidents that standard vacuums can’t. But, they do more than that. An ash vacuum will also decrease or remove the risk of stray ash starting fires in your home or yard.
Ash is messy because it spreads so easily. So if it’s still warm and it’s disturbed, it could settle on spots that can catch fire. You don’t want to become a statistic in this, so it’s better to manage your ash safely.
Investing in an appropriate cleaner is a necessary precaution. Your need for one also increases if you have a fireplace, pellet oven or workshop that hosts open fires.
2. Less Effort
A benefit to ash vacuums is that they’ll save you so much time and energy in ash disposal. You can’t use domestic vacuums to clean ash, so if you don’t have one, your only other option is to clean ash up manually. It’s a hassle because it takes ages to do, gets your hands dirty, and sends ash into the air.
Though they’re specialized machines, ash-suitable models function the same way all other vacuums do. They suck waste and debris in, drastically cutting your cleaning time and effort.
3. Value for Money
An ash vacuum won’t break the bank, and their market prices are justifiable. Models are also typically compact for easy maneuverability around stoves, grills or fireplaces. Plus, if you compare our top picks below to standard vacuum specs, you’ll see that they typically have higher capacities too.
What’s more, metal canisters will adequately handle ash, making it easy to clean and dispose of. Because of their build and design, vacuums for ash are easy to dismantle and maintain for more efficiency.
Some models will come with handy extras too. For instance, some have a HEPA filter which clears allergens and other pollutants from the air around you. Whereas, others boast an indicator light which alerts you when your canister is full.
How to Choose the Best Ash Vacuum
All the models are similar in form and function, but that doesn’t mean that you should settle for the first one you find. They differ in capabilities, so understanding what an ash vacuum can do could make or break your decision to buy one. Keep the following in mind when you go shopping.
1. Type of Ash
Make sure that your vacuum can handle warm ash. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to suck up hot coals with any vacuum, but some have warm ash capacity. This is important if you need a heavy-duty machine.
On top of this, some ash vacuums can clean wet ash too, though it’s an uncommon feature. Check your machine’s specs to make sure it can meet your needs.
2. Ease of Use
They’re not the most flexible of all machines, so check for some handy features. Long power cords and hoses are favorites as they give you more reach and are easier to work with.
If you can, choose a model that has wheels for even more versatility. Crevice tools (make sure they’re aluminum) come in handy for those corners that are hard to clean.
Then, if you want to go all out, look out for extras like indicators, adjustable wands and specialized or reusable filters.
3. Heat Resistance
The single most important trait that your ash vacuum needs is a metal canister. If it’s built from anything else, it won’t be able to withstand warm ash. Remember that even if ash looks cooled, it may not be, so heat resistance is non-negotiable.
Never use a vacuum with plastic components, for cleaning up ash. The main reason for this is that most plastics are thermal insulators (5). If your vacuum comes with any attachments, also make sure that they’re heat resistant too.
4. Consider the Capacity
Approach your ash vacuum as you would a standard vacuum: by checking out the rest of its specs. Capacity is an important one because it affects how often you have to maintain your vacuum, and also how heavy it can become.
Larger capacity is excellent if you want to save time, but not so convenient if your vacuum becomes too full to lift. An oversized machine isn’t necessary if you just need one for your grill, but a bigger model is better for fireplaces and pellet stoves.
Ultimately, what matters is that you’ll be able to use your vacuum with as little fuss or strain as possible.
The Best Ash Vacuum Reviews of 2020
Ash vacuums can be difficult to wrap your head around because they’re complex in their simplicity. So, we took some time out to research what the market and experts say. As a result, our picks are based on their effect, specs, and customer satisfaction.
1. PowerSmith 3-In-1 Ash Vacuum
This model from PowerSmith triples as a utility vacuum and blower on top of its ash clearing ability. It’s an excellent choice if you need an ash vacuum for your workshop or studio.
PowerSmith’s vacuum can handle ash as hot as 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The canister, hose and wands are all made of metal, and so are heat-resistant. Additionally, the washable and reusable filter is heat-resistant, too.
We like that this product is so versatile and maneuverable. It rolls on casters and has a convenient carry handle on top.
Of final note is that two extension wands and two handy extras are included. These are a turbo nozzle and a brush nozzle.
Why We Love It
It’s great that this vacuum functions as a blower too. You can use it in your workshop, studio, home and yard, on ash, debris and dirt.
If you need a multi-purpose utility vacuum, this is an affordable alternative to pricier brands. It also eliminates the need for multiple machines, which saves you money and time.
Ash vacuums are often basic, so this one has added value for money because of its extras. You get a range of cool accessories and tools. These include two extension wands, a heat-resistant filter, brush nozzle and turbo nozzle.
You can use these accessories for extra reach and power. Stubborn and hard to reach ash won’t be a problem, and you’ll save energy and time.
Warm Ash Capacity
If you need to clean warm or hot ash, give this one a try. Its capacity for warm ash is impressive at 140 degrees. It takes care of cold ash just as effectively, and we recommend it as an all-rounder.
Remember, though, that even though ash vacuums are designed to handle heat, not all of them have hot ash capacity. This one stands out because you can use it in a fix.
Keep In Mind
We like what we see, but this model — and brand — is not as established as others. More time is needed to gauge how it holds up over time. However, so far, so good, as customer feedback is almost exclusively positive.
There are very few complaints regarding this model, and regardless of criticisms, customers are satisfied. We think this product has huge potential, and expect it to grow in popularity.
It’s lovely that you get several versatile attachments, but buyers say that the hose on this machine could be longer. This isn’t a deal-breaker though, as customers are highly satisfied with the results. All it means is that you are sacrificing a little bit of reach.
The vacuum comes with a 16-foot power cord and a 4-foot hose. This is sufficient in a small space, but customers feel it lacks around stoves or fireplaces.
|Warm ash?||Yes, up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit|
|Special features?||3-in-1 ash vacuum, utility vacuum and blower, wheeled base, onboard accessory storage, carry handle, washable filter|
|Accessories||Brush nozzle, turbo nozzle, two extension wands, heat-resistant filter|
2. Craftsman Ash Vacuum
Here’s a model for your consideration if you don’t need an ash vacuum for commercial or industrial reasons. It’s intended for use around the home and is perfect for clearing your grill, stove or fireplace of cold, dry ash.
At 5 gallons, this has a large capacity for household use. So you can expect reduced maintenance time and effort, for one.
You’ll also enjoy the extra features of this heavy-duty machine. It has an LED light on its hose for ease of use. And it’s allergy-friendly, thanks to the addition of a HEPA filter. Included are a 3-foot locking hose, wand and metal crevice tool.
Why We Love It
Ash is a frustrating irritant that can quickly aggravate sensitivities or allergies (6). So the addition of a HEPA filter makes this model a safer choice in your home. We recommend it if you have a fireplace or pellet stove that could contaminate your home’s air.
Nifty Special Feature
Beyond the HEPA filter, you also get a useful LED light for the dark spots around your ovens, pits or fireplaces. It’s a simple tool that makes a world of difference in how you clean. We like it and think that other manufacturers should follow suit.
For a domestic ash vacuum, this one has a fantastic capacity. It can hold up to 5 gallons of ash and dirt, so you’ll save a lot of time on maintenance. This is a great choice if you have to clean ash regularly.
We love that you don’t need to worry about the weight of this device. Although it has a high capacity, customers say that this vacuum is lightweight. So it’s easy to lift while cleaning.
Keep In Mind
Cold Ash Only
Unfortunately, this product won’t be able to tackle warm or wet ash.
Despite the above downside, the vacuum is made from aluminum. Therefore, if any stray heat makes it into the machine, you’ll be safe. Treat it as you would your standard vacuum, and you won’t run into any trouble with this one.
It’s Not Maneuverable
One flaw is that this vacuum lacks casters. There is a carry handle to compensate, but customers note that although it’s light, wheels would have been a nice addition.
A few users also mention that the hose is quite short. So maneuvering this machine takes some patience and practice.
|Special features?||HEPA filter, LED hose light, locking hose|
3. Vacmaster Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum
This is a shop vacuum, but you can use it to clean ash under certain conditions. It’s made for industrial work and will tackle ash with no problem. However, it’s important to note that it has a plastic hose, so only cold ash is acceptable.
Customers use this shop vacuum for their fireplaces and barbeques with no ill effect. It has a massive capacity at 6 gallons, and a stainless steel frame for heavy-duty safety.
Included are similar features that you’d get with a shop vacuum. It has wet/dry capacity, a multi-floor nozzle and blower functionality.
Why We Love It
Since this isn’t a true ash vacuum, you can use it all around your home. It’s suitable for use in workshops, studios and garages. And, thanks to its multi-floor attachment, it will work on your carpets too.
It has wet/dry capacity for spills or deep cleaning, and it functions as a blower. This one takes the cake in multi-tasking.
You’ll save money if you choose this model. It’s more affordable than most ash vacuums and has a higher value for money. If you’re not keen on buying a single purpose ash vacuum, we recommend this one as an alternative.
It’s also a great idea to buy this shop vacuum instead if your ash disposal demand is low. Ash vacuums can cost a pretty penny. But this model has got what it takes, for so much less.
Don’t let this model’s shop status deter you. It’s a lightweight option weighing in at 14 pounds, which is far lighter than others of its kind. And, it comes with handy onboard storage for its accessories.
Keep In Mind
We must emphasize that this is not a true ash vacuum, so don’t use it as one. It’s perfectly capable of collecting ash, but must be cold and fully extinguished. This vacuum has a plastic hose, and heat might damage it.
So take extra care to cool any ash you need to clean, and don’t use this vacuum on it if you’re unsure. It’s also better to use this product on dry ash only, as wet ash may cause clogging.
No Fine Dust Filter
Customers are adamant that this vacuum has no trouble picking up cold, dry ash. But we recommend that you buy and install a fine dust filter as a precaution. It’s a little extra money that will protect your vacuum significantly.
Installing a fine dust filter means that your motor will be protected from ash that the standard filter can’t stop. You could preserve the lifespan of this vacuum with this simple, affordable step.
|Special features?||Wet/dry, blower, multi-floor, contour handle, onboard accessory storage|
|Accessories||Multi-floor nozzle, two extension wands|
4. Shop-Vac Corded Ash Vacuum Cleaner
This Shop-Vac product has all the necessary features to keep it in the running against competitors. It’s a 5-gallon vacuum with thermal protection for its motor. Though it’s meant for cold, dry ash only, the stainless steel build is an extra precaution against heat.
It features a HEPA filter, so it’s an excellent choice if you have allergies. Intended for use around pellet stoves, fireplaces, grills and even coal stoves, it’s a favorite in households.
To emphasize its domestic use, you’ll receive a pellet stove cleaning kit as a bonus. Extras also include a metal intake nozzle and a metal crevice nozzle.
Why We Love It
Efficient filtration is always an advantage, and we like that this one includes a HEPA system. It adds to how useful this model is inside your home. You can clean ash and clear the air of any lingering impurities at the same time.
Such impurities might aggravate allergies or sensitivities. So this is a wonderful feature if you have pets around your home that may be contributing to flares in allergies (7).
Bonus Cleaning Kit
We love that there’s a pellet stove cleaning kit included with this vacuum. You get six varying nozzles and brushes for precise cleaning in and around your stove. This is a wonderful courtesy from Shop-Vac, as it saves you money buying them separately.
As an extra precaution against ash spilling everywhere in your home, this hose locks onto the vacuum. It’s a small safeguard that goes a long way. You could spare yourself avoidable accidents if you utilize this feature.
Keep In Mind
A few customers say that the canister fills quickly and that clogging is expected. This shouldn’t be a problem if you don’t need heavy-duty work. You can also solve this issue with regular maintenance.
This is an excellent vacuum, but it does fall on the higher end of the budget spectrum. Remember that it comes with more extras than most other ash vacuums, so we feel that the price is justified.
|Special features?||HEPA filter, lock-on hose, thermal protection for motor|
|Accessories||Metal crevice nozzle, metal intake nozzle, pellet stove cleaning kit|
5. Snow Joe Ash Vacuum
What makes this model stand out is its dual filtration. It can tackle both coarse and fine ash, leaving your ovens, grills or pits free of ash, residue and dust. There’s also a unique safety feature: it shuts down if the filters are missing or aren’t in working order.
As for its specs, it’s a good mid-range vacuum. This product has a 4.8-gallon capacity, and its hose is just under 4 feet long. It’s a simple vacuum that we recommend for light work.
Why We Love It
You won’t only be getting fresher air from this model, but you’ll also pick up a large volume of dirt. The fine dust filter is an awesome addition that most other ash vacuums lack. As a result, this product cleans both coarse and fine ash, leaving your stoves, grills and pits cleaner.
We feel that this vacuum works best for light work. It only weighs 8.8 pounds, so carrying and lifting it won’t be a problem at all. Additionally, a carry handle is included for your convenience.
Its safety feature shuts it down if adequate filters aren’t connected. This means that you won’t risk damaging the vacuum’s motor, or disturbing ash that won’t get sucked up. It’s an underrated feature that only a few models have.
Keep In Mind
Since the vacuum shuts down when the filters are faulty, they need maintenance. A few customers note that disassembly is a hassle and takes some getting used to. Be prepared, therefore, to spend some extra time finding your way around this one.
Even though this is a lightweight machine, it still takes up a fair bit of room. The addition of wheels or casters would have made it more seamless. But unfortunately, this was an oversight by Snow Joe.
|Build||Unspecified metal canister, aluminum nozzle|
|Special features?||Dual filtration, automatic shutdown safety feature|
|Accessories||Intake nozzle, reusable cartridge filter|
Detailed Comparison Chart
|PowerSmith 3-In-1||Multi-Purpose Vacuum||3 gal.||Unspecified metal||Yes, up – 140 degrees F||Brush nozzle, turbo nozzle, two extension wands, heat-resistant filter|
|Craftsman Vacuum||Sophisticated||5 gal.||Heavy-duty aluminum||No||Crevice tool|
|Vacmaster Wet/Dry Shop||Ash Vacuum Alternative||5 gal.||Stainless steel||No||Multi-floor nozzle, two extension wands|
|Shop-Vac Corded Ash Cleaner||For Domestic Use||5 gal.||Stainless steel||No||Metal crevice nozzle, metal intake nozzle, pellet stove cleaning kit|
|Snow Joe Vacuum||For Fine Ash||4.8 gal.||Unspecified metal canister, aluminum nozzle||No||Intake nozzle, reusable cartridge filter|
Ash vacuums aren’t something you can afford to skimp on. They’re necessary for your safety, and the more ash you work with, the greater that need becomes. As you can see, most ash vacuums are affordable and hassle-free, so what’s not to love?
Which of our picks do you think is the best ash vacuum? Do you have any safety tips to share with us, when it comes to dealing with grills, stoves or fireplaces? Your comments make our day, so don’t forget to leave one for us.