Does The DeWalt DCV581H Wet-Dry Vacuum Hold Up For The Price?

DEWALT DCV581H 18/20-Volt MAX Cordless/Corded Wet-Dry Vacuum

If you are looking for a compact and lightweight vacuum that can be used to clean up both wet and dry messes, the DeWalt DCV581H is one product to consider. Here are the pros and cons of the cleaner, as well as some of the specs that you might want to consider:

DeWalt DCV581H vs DCV580

The main difference between the two vacuums is that while the DCV580 runs on battery only, the DCV581H offers multiple power options. This model wil work on just AC power without the battery. It is equipped with a power cord and storage for the cord. Of course, it can also be powered by either an 18V or 20V MAX battery.

Unlike the DCV580 that uses a standard high efficiency filter, this model comes with a HEPA Filter to arrest 1 micron particles with 99.97% efficiency. The replacement filter (DCV5801H) is relatively expensive, costing around $30. That being said, it is washable/reusable that allows you to save money in the long run.

Power Options

As mentioned before, the dual power nature of this wet/dry vacuum is what makes it different with its predecessor. It can be operated on standard 120 volt household electrical power. It also works with the plug style and sliding style batteries (DEWALT 18V NiCd/NiHiD/Li-Ion battery pack and 20V Max Li-Ion battery pack). Just keep in mind that this product does not come with a battery and charger. You have to buy those items separately. Furthermore, it does not charge batteries while plugged in.

What about runtime? Based on some user reviews, a 20V MAX 4AH battery lasts about 45 minutes, good enough for quick cleanups. This vacuum machine is not a replacement for a full-sized vac for picking up screws or heavy objects. However, with the convenience and portability of the cordless design, it would be a good option for vacuuming your car, stairs or hard to reach places. Some people keep this in their boat or RV for traveling.

DEWALT DCV581H battery options


This vacuum is a wet or dry vacuum that is ideal for picking up small water spills. Changing from wet to dry, or dry to wet pick up requires no component changes. The 2 gal tank holds a fair amount. Equipped with a side exhaust port, you can also use it as a blower. It comes with three attachments, a 1-1/4″ hose, a crevice tool, and a wide mouth nozzle. Insert the hose into the side exhaust port when using it as a blower.

There is no brush attachment. However, so many customers have been pleased with the overall design of this vacuum cleaner. The power switch is right below the handle so that you can turn the cleaner on or off easily. All accessories fit somewhere on the unit, making it easy to transport. The crevice tool and the wide nozzle can be stored on board. The hose stores neatly around battery. The cord wraps around the handle.

The 1-1/4″ hose is rated for 5 feet. Some people wish this vac came with a longer hose for easier handling. However this is not a big issue for the majority. The vacuum itself measures 17.2 x 12.3 x 13.1 inches, not overly bulky for car use. Weighing 9.15 lbs, the overall unit is lightweight and easy to carry.

Plus and Minus Points

The DeWalt cordless vacuum has been reviewed by many customers on Amazon. With an average user review rating of 4.4 out of 5 at this time of writing (from over 300 user reviews), it is clear what people think of the compact vacuum cleaner.

Not everything about the DeWalt DCV581H is positive however. One of the most common complaints about this product is in regard to its sucking power. A number of customers have reported that the suction is not really strong. However, it is not supposed to be a very powerful unit. Customer feedback suggests that it gets the job done on light work. It is best if you watch the video below to see the cleaning power of this vacuum:

The cord and hose could also be a bit longer. If you are not using a battery, you may need to use an extension cord. Also keep in mind that the vac does not include batteries and charger. When it comes to sound level, reviewers have found that it is not real loud. Just do not expect it to be very quiet.

Despite the negative feedback above, most of the customer reviews for the cleaner have been positive. The fact that it takes both the 20 and 18V battery and runs on AC has pleased many reviewers. The customers have also found the filtration system to be very efficient.

Other positive comments have been made for that fact that it has a dual port. The hose can be attached to the exhaust port so that you can use it to blow also. This can be very useful when dealing with debris from behind small spaces. Some people use it more often as a blower than a vac.

The customers have also praised the build quality of the unit. Not only aesthetically pleasing, it seems to be well constructed, something that we all would expect from DeWalt. The compact, lightweight design and the on-board storage for attachments make it easy to transport.

The Verdict

If you are in the market for a super strong vacuum, then this product is not for you. This is not the tool to pick up hard core construction debris. But if you want something light and portable for smaller jobs and hard to reach areas, then the DeWalt DCV581H is worth considering. With wet/dry capability and multiple power options, it is versatile enough to handle various tasks.

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