A filter is a filter, is a filter, right? Not exactly. A shop vacuum filter can vary in a number of aspects, and knowing which filters are right for you and your needs can be difficult or confusing. Below we address each element of a filter, and how Qwik Lock matters. This will help provide a guide to get the most out of your vacuum filters.

What are Qwik Lock Filters?

Qwik Lock is a patented fastening system used by WORKSHOP vacuums.

What does that mean to you? 

It means faster and easier filter changes without tools or parts.

The fastening system that a vacuum uses is an important element when it comes to reducing the steps and time required to replace or change your filters. On some shop vacs a filter is held on with a cap that screws into place, or a plate and nut. These extra components make the process take longer. It can create a larger mess with these extra parts and pieces which also have a good chance of being lost. Additional to these issues some other brands of wet/dry vacuums have filters that are held on with friction which can fall off, and create a large mess.

How does it work?

The filter slides down over a filter cage on the vacuum. This cage gives support to the filter. A stud, referred to as a Qwik Lock stud in the manual, pops through the center of the filter's flexible cap, holding the filter in place.       


How To Change/Replace Wet/Dry Vacuum Filter


Material in a Shop Vacuum Filter

What does that mean to you?

Primarily, the more surface area available to filter the air the slower a filter becomes clogged with debris.

Why does that matter?

Two reasons:

1. When your filter clogs you reduce the performance by reducing the airflow. In other words your vacuum will not suck as well.

2. If your filter is clogged then your shop vacuum motor has to work harder to pull the air. Any time a motor has to work harder it typically can shorten its life.


Pleats in Shop Vacuum Filters

What is with the pleats? 

WORKSHOP vacuum cartridge filters use an accordion style pleating method to allow for increased filter material in a reduced amount of space. Additionally, a pleat design can help reduce how fast the filter surface is filled with debris.


Size of a Shop Vacuum Filter

How do I know what size of shop vacuum filter I need?

Visit our Multi-Fit shop vac filters section to find one that fits other brands of wet/dry vacs.

If you own a WORKSHOP Wet/Dry Vac there are only 2 sizes to consider:

• Small: Fits 3 - 4.5 gal and WS0500VA

• Large: Fits 5 - 20 gal, except WS0500VA

Smaller filters are for compact vacuums, while the large size filter works with larger vacuums and provides all the advantages of more filter material. Dust Collection Bag sizing is addressed below.

Colors / Levels of Filtration

Qwik Lock vacuum filters come in 3 levels of filtration for different applications, and each material is colored differently to help quickly identify this difference even when there is no packaging to reference.

What is "Level of Filtration?" 

A shop vacuum filter can be made from many types and grades of material. These materials effect how how well, or how small the debris is that it will capture. This is measured by an efficiency of the media. 
For example standard media captures particles down to 5 microns in size at 95% efficiency while a fine dust media can capture particles down to 1 micron at 99% efficiency, and HEPA media captures particles down to an incredible 0.3 microns at 99.97% efficiency.

What difference does that make? 

The size of debris you want to capture may depend on your application or your needs. For instance, if you need to capture dry wall dust or fine powder you will need a Fine Dust or HEPA Material filter, otherwise this dust will go through the filter and back into the air. Below is a chart to help describe what the filter is ideally used for:

How does the filter material capture debris? 

Pleated paper media filters such as Qwik Lock Cartridge filters are considered "mechanical filters." As air is pulled through a media particles are trapped by 4 different methods (which can effectively happen all at the same time). This is by Diffusion, Interception, Impingement, and Straining. The finer the media the smaller the particle it is able to capture.


Cleaning Your Shop Vacuum Filter

Can the wet/dry vac filters be cleaned?

Yes. Following the instructions found in the owner's manual you can tap the dirt out of the filter in a well ventilated area, and you can spray the filter off with your hose as long as you allow it to properly dry. If there are any rips, tears, or weak places in the filter you will need to replace the filter.


How To Clean & Maintain Your Wet/Dry Vac Filter


Shop Vacuum Bags / Dust Collection Bags

Do I have to use a bag?

No. Dust collection bags for WORKSHOP shop vacuums are completely optional. Where available we include the first one so that users can determine if they are the best option for their needs. These bags help keep your shop vac clean, and make disposal of collected debris much cleaner and easier. It is recommended that when you do use a bag continue to your Qwik Lock filter to protect your vacuum. Find the right bag for your WORKSHOP Wet/Dry Vacuum.


Wet/Dry Vac Dust Collection Bags

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