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Ryobi 3 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum Review

Ryobi 18V ONE+ LINK™ 3 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum (#PCL734K)

If you own a car and a house, you probably also own—or want to own–a wet/dry vacuum, too.  A wet/dry vacuum is almost a prerequisite tool to have in your home to clean up the heavy-duty messes that a typical household vacuum is no match for.  While electric wet/dry models can certainly do the job, they are inconvenient since they need to be plugged in and often require an extension cord to reach big messes.  If you are looking for a compact, powerful, and highly mobile wet/dry vacuum, the Ryobi 18V ONE+ LINK™ 3 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum (#PCL734K) could be what you are looking for.


Out Of The Box

The Ryobi 3 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum arrives entirely assembled.  Upon removing it from the box, I appreciated its compact form factor.  Everything you need is attached to the vacuum’s body and with a lift of the sturdy handle, you are off to your job site.  The Wet/Dry Vacuum is 11 inches in height, 10.75 inches in width, and 17.5 inches in length.  It weighs approximately 12 pounds with an 18V 4Ah battery attached.  This vacuum doesn’t have any wheels to pull it across your garage floor.  Instead, it is meant to be a “pick up and go” vacuum.  In that regard, the Ryobi 3 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum really shines and it should appeal to anyone looking to tackle quick clean-ups in and around the house.

The bottom section of the Wet/Dry Vacuum is dedicated to holding the dirt and liquid you are collecting, as well as storing the utility nozzle on the outside of the body.  The top section houses the 6-foot house, the crevice tool, and the battery.  The power rocker switch for the unit is on top of the unit and it includes a high speed and a low speed setting.  Also atop the vacuum is a very robust handle that gracefully folds down and out of place.  When the handle is folded down, the top of the unit is completely flat, allowing you to stack lightweight things atop it.  When you lift the rubberized handle, it very securely locks into place, allowing you to carry it with confidence.

The rugged metal latches on the sides of the vacuum that keep the top and bottom sections attached require substantial effort to unlock because they are so secure.  I liked the metal latches since they inspire confidence that the two pieces won’t come apart when you have added a significant amount of water to the collection container.

A Quality Hose Is Included

Ryobi includes a well-designed flexible hose that can extend to 6-feet long, but also shrink back down to a size that can secure atop the vacuum.  The integrated storage keeps the hose and nozzle attachments attached to the unit.  The hose never came off or got in the way when I was carrying the vacuum.  One end of the hose attaches to a durable plastic port that twists 180-degrees.  The 6-foot hose is secured to this durable plastic port with a twist of the hose, which enables the knobs on the hose to seat themselves inside the grooves on the port.  The hose then lays inside the groove along the back of the cover and finally turns the corner to secure to the clip on the right side of the vacuum.

The plastic hose is 23.5 inches in length when attached to the vacuum.  However, you can extend it up to 6-feet in length to reach dirty corners.  If you let go of the hose, it will very quickly snap back to its original length, so be careful.  While replacement hoses can be purchased online, the hose itself is a very durable plastic that looks like it should last for a long time.  The hose is 1.25 inches in diameter and I never had any issue with debris clogging the hose since the power was strong enough to suck all of the dirt and debris into the container.

Two Handy Collection Nozzles

Ryobi includes two collection nozzles with the 3 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum.  The mouth on the wide utility nozzle is almost 4 inches in length and 1 inch wide.  There is a large notch at the bottom of the utility nozzle to facilitate air intake when sucking up debris.  The nozzle does fasten well on the end of the hose, but there were times that I was too aggressive perhaps and the nozzle came off when vacuuming the car seats.  The wide nature of this nozzle was really helpful when removing beach sand from our car since one pass over the floor of the car was enough to grab most of the sand.  This utility nozzle is attached to the front of the 3 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum inside the cut-out area they designed.  Once placed inside this storage area, it never fell out by accident.

Ryobi also included a crevice tool nozzle.  This crevice tool is stored underneath the hose along the backside of the vacuum’s cover.  It was a great idea to include this out of the way place to store it since the crevice tool will always be nearby when you need it.  The entire crevice tool is 7.75 inches in length and the actual opening is 1 inch by .25 inches.  I really found the crevice tool to be ideal in so many situations.  It fit perfectly between my car seats and underneath them, as well.  When I needed to get into tight corners, the crevice tool reached them easily.  The crevice tool also allowed me to gain extra height to reach overhead cobwebs in the basement.  A quality crevice tool is a must for every wet/dry vacuum.

There is also a small circular cut-out on top of the vacuum that will fit the base of either nozzle.  Being able to store a nozzle atop the vacuum was very convenient when I wanted to switch between nozzles quickly.

I do wish Ryobi had also included a nozzle with nylon bristles on the end.  I find a brush on the end of a nozzle attachment to be very helpful to loosen dirt on surfaces when the suction alone won’t dislodge and remove the dirt.

Decibel Levels

Cleaning with the Ryobi 3 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum can be a loud experience.  As you would expect, the vacuum’s motor produces a lot of noise when it’s in use.  Inside a car with one door open, the wide utility nozzle would often register 83-86 decibels when it was attached.  When I attached the crevice tool, the narrower opening on this nozzle increased the decibel level to 86-94 decibels.

In a larger, more open space like my basement, the wide nozzle registered 72-78 decibels and the crevice nozzle registered 75-83 decibels.  If you were using this vacuum for extended periods of time in a closed environment, ear protection would be helpful.  These volume levels were true for both the low speed and the high speed in each space.

Ryobi LINK Compatible

Ryobi advertises that the 18V 3 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum works with their LINK Modular Storage System (sold separately).  According to what I read on the Ryobi web site, this is the first ONE+ power tool to be fully LINK compatible.  That level of compatibility means you can secure this vacuum to a LINK Mobile Storage unit for transportation around the jobsite, or place it on a LINK Wall Rail for storage.

Both the back and the base of the vacuum have the cut-outs to attach it to the LINK Wall Rail System and the LINK Mobile Storage System.  I currently don’t own any Ryobi LINK products, but integrated and convenient transportation and storage would make this vacuum even more attractive to most home owners.


The Ryobi 18V 3 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum arrives with a cartridge filter already installed.  Compatible filters are also online for purchase: Standard Filter (A32VC05), HEPA Filter (A32RF08), and Foam Filters (A32WF03).

The paper cartridge filter secures tightly to the bottom of the top section of the vacuum.  When you want to remove the filter to clean it off or remove it for wet pick-up, all you have to do is twist it counterclockwise and pull it off.  Three latches on the filter help it attach to the vacuum.  Easy on and easy off make this a very convenient filter to use.  Even better, it was super quick cleaning it off with the hose attached to the blower port on the right side of the vacuum.

Cleaning With The Ryobi 3 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum

It should again be repeated that the hose secures to a durable plastic port that can swivel 180-degrees.  This was great because I could put the vacuum down in almost any position and rotate the pivoting port and the hose to where I needed it.  Without wheels to move the vacuum, including a pivoting port with such a large range of motion was a nice engineering design by Ryobi.  Also, the base’s wide and sturdy footprint kept the vacuum upright no matter how much I pulled it around—it never once tipped over.

Ryobi included 2 speeds in their 18V 3 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum.  The low speed is perfect for maximum runtime, while the high speed is meant for maximum power.  Having 2 speeds on a wet/dry vacuum seems like a necessity and it’s especially important when you’re using batteries so that you can choose to conserve either power or conserve battery.  After using the Vacuum for more than a month, I found on low speed, an 18V 4Ah battery would run for 38-45 minutes on average.  On high speed, an 18V 4Ah battery would run for 22-25 minutes on average. Using both the high and the low speeds, I could easily use the vacuum to clean our entire larger SUV, while also maintaining some power for our smaller cars.

The Wet/Dry Vacuum performed well in all of the cleaning applications I utilized it for.  I loved using this vacuum!!  The integrated storage and compact form made the “get up and go” nature of this vacuum so appealing to me.  Including two different nozzles gave me the flexibility to choose the best tool for the job—the hose alone, the wide nozzle, or the crevice tool.

Since it took up so little space, we packed it on family vacations where I knew it would be helpful cleaning up the sand left behind by the beach chairs.  The vacuum easily picked up the beach sand and it was always easy to empty the container afterwards, too.  The vacuum was small enough to fit inside the car when I was working, unlike my massive electric vacuum that sits outside the car.  A bonus of having a vacuum that fits inside the car is that you can clean when it’s raining outside, or even when snow and ice cover your driveway in the winter.   The compact nature of the 3 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum allowed it to fit perfectly atop my workshop table, making it immediately accessible for quick clean ups.  Whatever dry mess I threw at it, the Ryobi was ready for it and it performed impressively.

When I used the vacuum for wet pick-up, it was again a strong performer.  Removing the top section and the filter can be done in less than 10 seconds.   The hose was large enough in diameter to remove large amounts of water quickly.  The sturdy handle was very helpful as the water added weight to the vacuum.  There is a float to automatically shut off the motor when the water level reaches capacity.  The sturdy lower body didn’t leak at any point, but there is no drain plug, so you will need to take off the top to dump the water.

The Ryobi 3 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum is the perfect first step to clean up after a big spill, and then you can follow-up with the Ryobi ONE+ 18V HP SWIFTClean Mid-Size Spot Cleaner (PBLHV704) to remove any potential stubborn stains

Final Thoughts

With its sturdy handle, the Ryobi 18V ONE+ LINK™ 3 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum is ready to be taken anywhere at a moment’s notice.  Don’t let its size fool you because it is very powerful for a battery-operated vacuum.  The two nozzles and flexible 6-foot hose make it very handy in a variety of situations.  It is highly portable and highly effective, as well as a pleasure to use.  I believe any home owner would be happy to have the Ryobi 3 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum nearby when a mess happens in or around the house.


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