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I'm looking at buying a wet/dry vacuum. So far I favor the plastic-body variety, because I'll be able to bang it a little while dragging it around through its wheels, without constantly worrying that the body is getting dented.

I also favor the smaller capacity ones, because I'm expecting that a pump labeled "peak 2 HP" will have more than enough power for my applications: cleaning the garage floor and the inside of the car.

Yet I'm concerned about the noise. I hate that the Hoover-branded one I use at home is awfully loud. Does a plastic body (instead of stainless steel) mean more noise in a wet/dry vac?

What about the volume? One reviewer writes that the larger the capacity, the lower the noise. That doesn't make sense to me. Could larger-capacity wet/dry vacuum indeed be less loud than smaller ones?

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  • I've generally found that plastic bodied vacs are not as loud as metal, but I don't think it means plastic is quieter. I think a quieter motor would make the biggest difference. Also, the size could affect the pitch, just like the size of a drum. Larger has a lower pitch, smaller has a higher pitch. – Ben Welborn Jun 9 '16 at 21:05
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Not really. In my experience, fan design and exhaust muffling are the primary factors. Since most of the noise occurs at the fan motor, the vacuum collector doesn't have much to do with noise volume.

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  • Scary expensive ones are quiet. Fein, Festool, Nilfisk, Bosch, ... but you can buy a lot of earplugs for the money you'd save buying something moderately priced. – Aloysius Defenestrate Jun 11 '16 at 4:35
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    You can't buy friendly neighbors, though. That's what a quiet vacuum gets you. :) – isherwood Jun 12 '16 at 15:38

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