What an ash vacuum is capable of
An ash vacuum is much like other vacuums. They have a tank that collects the ashes, dust, and other debris, with a long hose to suck it all up. They also include regular vacuum features, like varying nozzles, attachments, handles, and wheels.
The difference is that these vacuums are built a little stronger than your average home vacuum. This includes metal nozzles, hoses, and tanks that can handle a bit more heat than your regular vacuums can. Even the filters are heat-resistant, just in case of any warm ashes get sucked up into them.
Some of the best vacuum models or fireplace ash, pellet ash, or barbecues are even good for both cold and warm ash, like the PowerSmith PAVC101, so you don’t need to wait for the ashes to cool down completely before cleaning them out.
Ash vacuums also lock the ashes away inside, so they don`t get into the air around you. This means you won`t breathe them in, which is much healthier for your lungs. They clean up the ashes quickly, too, so you can get back to doing the things you love.
Features to consider while choosing an ash vacuum
When choosing the best ash vacuum cleaner for your home, there are a few features you may want to check out before buying one. This will ensure you have the exact model you need for the type of ash you’re going to be cleaning, especially if you’re using it for more than one area in your home or backyard.
When it comes to the motor, the bigger it is, the more powerful it will be. This increases the power of the suction, allowing you to clean a little deeper than you would with a small motor model. Smaller jobs may not need so much power, though, so if you only need to clean up the ashes in your fireplace, fire pit, or barbecue once in a while, a smaller motor, like the 500-watt one on the Snow Joe ASHJ201, may be fine for the job.
A stove or fireplace that you use regularly for heating your home during the colder months may need a bit more power to take care of the ashes daily, so the 5.5 HP motor of the DEWALT DXV10P may be a better option for these big jobs. This will ensure you have the power needed to clean up every speck of ash and any debris as well, leaving your heating area clean and ready for the next fire.
The capacity of the tank is quite important, especially if you’re using your ash vacuum regularly. If you’ve had a fire going all day long, there will be a large amount of ash collected in your fire pit or stove.
A small tank may not be able to clean out the entire ash pile all at once, requiring you to stop and empty it once or twice before you can finish the job. If you have to clean out a few areas, like a fireplace and a barbecue, the larger tanks on models like the DEWALT DXV10P may be able to get both jobs done before needing to be emptied.
The small capacity tanks do have their uses, though. Pellets create smaller amounts of ash, which is finer than regular wood ash, so the smaller tanks can usually handle it without needing to be emptied every few minutes.
Hose and cord length
The hose length of an ash vacuum is pretty important since it determines how far you can reach into your stove, furnace, fire pit, or barbecue. A cord that is too short may not allow you to reach as far as you’d like, limiting how well you can clean out the ashes in your heating system or cooking area.
The cord length is also something to look at. The vacuum won’t run without power, so you need to be able to plug it in near to where you plan on using it. That’s why so many ash vacuums include an extra-long cord that will allow you to plug it into an outlet that’s a bit farther away. Of course, if the cord is a bit too short, you could always use an extension cord to give you a bit more room, though this will add an extra cost to the ash vacuum.
It doesn’t matter what type of vacuum you use, they are all going to make some noise. They don’t have to be so loud that they drown out everything around you, though. Luckily, many of the ash vacuums available have motors that run quieter than your average vacuum.
Models like the Vacmaster VQ607SFD aren’t as loud as other vacuums, so you can still talk to those around you, listen to music, or just get the job done without the excessive noise. This is also a bit safer for your ears since noises that are too loud can actually cause damage, especially if you’re using them regularly. Those cleaning out their fireplaces or stoves daily can protect their hearing by getting a much quieter fireplace vacuum.
If it’s for cold ashes only
It’s never a good idea to try to vacuum out the ashes right after the fire goes out. This is because there may still be some burning embers in there that can cause some damage to the internal parts of the vacuum, such as the filter. Though some models are built to handle some warm ash, the majority of the ash vacuum models out there are designed for cold ashes only. This means you need to wait an appropriate amount of time to let the ashes cool off before you can pull out your ash vacuum and suck them all up.
Of course, even if they are only for cold ashes, this doesn’t mean the occasional warm ash will automatically destroy your vacuum. Most of the models available include features like metal nozzles, hoses, and tanks, which will be able to withstand a bit of heat. The filters may not, though, so unless it is stated that the filter is heat- or fire-resistant, it is best to ensure that the embers have gone out and that the ashes have cooled completely before you try to vacuum them up.
Dimensions and weight
Working with limited space means you don’t have much room for bulky tools to work with. Stoves and fireplaces are no exception. If you don’t have much room, you’ll want a compact ash vacuum to fit in the area you have available, such as the Snow Joe ASHJ201. Smaller models still have good motors and a decent capacity, so you’ll have no trouble getting all the ashes out of your fireplace, barbecue, or anything else you need to clean out.
You’ll also want to consider storage when it comes to the size of your ash vac. Limited storage space means a large model won’t fit well or will take up space you may have designated for something else. So, be sure you have somewhere to put your ash vacuum that won’t leave your other belongings displaced.
The weight of your ash vacuum is also important, especially if it doesn’t include castors on the bottom to make it easier to move it around. The heavier it is, the harder it will be to carry around. Also, if it is heavy empty, it will weigh that much more when you have it full of ashes, so you may need to empty it more often to keep the weight down. A lighter model is much easier to maneuver, with or without the ashes inside.
The warranty of your ash vacuum is quite important, especially if it isn’t working as it’s supposed to. The TACKLIFE PVC03A only has a 30-day money back guarantee, which means that you only have 30 days to try out the ash vacuum before deciding if you want to keep it or send it back. This is fine if any issues show up right away but if the vacuum fails after this, you’ll be on the hook for the repairs or replacement costs.
The majority of the models we’ve reviewed above have a two-year limited warranty, which covers you for any issues caused by defects or poor workmanship. The DEWALT DXV10P has the best warranty of all the products on our list, offering a three-year limited warranty that gives you plenty of time to search out the kinks in your new ash vacuum.
Though the main features of an ash vacuum are more than enough to handle the dirty job of cleaning out your stove, fireplace, smoker, or fire pit, a few extras can make them worthwhile. One thing you may want to look for is casters on the bottom, which help you move the ash vacuum around easily and take some of the strain off your back that would result from carrying a tank full of ashes.
Another thing you may want to look at is accessories. This could include extra nozzles, crevice tools, or brushes to make sure you get every little bit of ash there is. This also helps add to the versatility of your vacuum, allowing you to use it around your home or workshop as well as cleaning out the ash in your heating systems.
Included filters are a must with your ash vacuum, to keep the dust inside the vacuum where it belongs. These should be easy to clean and reuse to keep your costs down, plus have replacement options available in case the one included wears out over time.
Cord and hose wraps are also handy, keeping your hose and cord wrapped up tightly for easy storage. A carry handle is a must, especially if there are no casters on the bottom. The tank should be easy to empty, too, otherwise, you’ll have ashes everywhere that will need to be vacuumed up a second time.
How to maintain an ash vacuum
If you’re going to spend your money on the best ash vacuum available, you will likely want to take care of it, so it will last for at least a few years. The following tips can help keep it in perfect working order:
- Empty the tank regularly to keep the suction power at its optimal level.
- Clean the filter after every use to keep it from clogging and reducing the suction.
- Do not suction any embers, as these could create sparks inside, burning the filter in the process.
- If the nozzle clogs, tap it on the side of the fireplace or stove to loosen up the ashes inside.
- Do not use your fingers to clear out clogs, in case of warm embers that could cause burns.