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View Full Version : Why are ShopVac cord so bloody short?



banquo's_bumble_puppy
2009-Jan-07, 12:15 PM
Why are ShopVac cords so bloody short?.....and I might add ---- grrrr.....is it a safety thingee?

captain swoop
2009-Jan-07, 12:26 PM
what's a ShopVac?

darkhunter
2009-Jan-07, 12:33 PM
[non expert opinion from thin air with no basis in realility (I hope)]

Brother-in-law effect: one of the guys that designed it had a brother-in-law that works in the extension cord industy and is sending business his way :)

[/non expert opinion from thin air with no basis in realility (I hope)]

Good questions--same question applies to most of my power tools...


Captain Swoop: a shop vac is a vaccuum cleaner made for working in a workshop/maintenance shop environment. It may or may not be able to suck up liquids, and is generally desigigned to be more rugged and suck up larger peices than the tuypical home vaccuum cleaner.

NEOWatcher
2009-Jan-07, 01:08 PM
I believe it's a safety thing (translation: legal thing).

Since those vacs are usually in high risk areas, it's better to blow an extension cord than to blow the actual cord. People tend to just wrap a bit of masking tape around bad cords for some reason, or even don't care and leave it bare. This shifts the burden to the extension cord manufacturer.

Another factor is that in some tools, there never seems to be enough length on a cord, so you end up using an extension anyway. So; why spend money incorporating a long cord?

All of my electric garden tools have cords that are less than a foot long (some are just plugs embedded in the housing). I believe that is because of the latter comment. But; I wouldn't rule out the first one since each of those tools is designed to quickly cut through things.

geonuc
2009-Jan-07, 01:13 PM
I don't think it's a safety (or legal) thing. I think it's a practicality thing. Shop tools, including a ShopVac, are mobile tools and the distance from the power outlet to the place where it's being used will vary widely. To avoid having a permanent long cord attached, which would be cumbersome if the distance is small, the tools are meant to be used with an appropriate extension cord.

closetgeek
2009-Jan-07, 01:17 PM
Yeah but what's annoying about the whole thing is trying to move it around a space that isn't that big to begin with. It's even more cumbersome with a 40ft extention cord. Why not make it like my floor vac? It has a little button that winds the cord back up inside.

eric_marsh
2009-Jan-07, 01:36 PM
I'd guess that the bean counters are to blame. Probably increases profit $.025 a unit.

captain swoop
2009-Jan-07, 01:43 PM
When I visit the DIY place it seems the cheap tools have short cables. I use al DeWalt myself.

tdvance
2009-Jan-07, 03:05 PM
I figured it was because shops always have a plethora of extension cords. Why do shops have a plethora of extension cords? Because of all the stuff that comes with a short cord....

Ara Pacis
2009-Jan-07, 03:14 PM
I agree, it's probably a practical as well as legal thing. If it's short, then the onus is on the operator to choose a practical cable length and if they choose improperly, then any hazard that results is not the fault of the manufacturer.

Nick Theodorakis
2009-Jan-07, 03:35 PM
FWIW, my ShopVac has a long cord.

Nick

Gigabyte
2009-Jan-07, 03:45 PM
One of mine does, the other doesn't.

novaderrik
2009-Jan-07, 06:19 PM
my shop vac has a 12 foot cord- but the motor went out last winter, so the length of the cord is kind of a moot point.
personally, i prefer shorter cords. i'm probably gonna be using an extension cord anyways to allow the cord to take a more out of the way scenic route to wherever i'm working- this makes it less likely to be pulled out of the wall when moving the tool around or tripped over when moving about the shop. as long as the cord on the tool is long enough to reach the floor to take the weight of the plug off the tool, then i'm good with it.
what really bugs me is cheap cords- in the dead of a MN winter, a rock hard extension cord is a really annoying thing. good cords stay more flexible in cold weather.

mugaliens
2009-Jan-07, 06:23 PM
what's a ShopVac?

Wow. You're kidding, right? If not, here you go (http://www.shopvac.com/). Competitors abound, some of which are much better, but these were the first with to market under that name. The design, however, has been around for ages, and is more commonly called a "Wet/Dry Vacuum (http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Navigation?Ntk=AllProps&N=10000003+90401+524502&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053&langId=-1)." I own a Rigid, myself, and it's quite handy at keeping things clean with my powered saws, router, and sanders.

Short cords... The reason is two-fold:

1. Safety. Many w/d vacs are designed to be used with various tooling, such as table saws, mitres, routers, etc., sucking up the sawdust before it settles all over your garage. As such, they're used in hazardous areas/situations. Short cords are safeter, particularly when many such units now include a powered receptable which will enable the vac when the unit is powered. If the user wants to use an extension cord, then the liability rests with the user, not the vac company.

2. Cost. Copper costs money! It's quite expensive, these days. Thus, shorter cords mean less cost which means more profit.

Fazor
2009-Jan-07, 06:24 PM
Well, if you're working with multiple tools, and swapping 'em out, it's more conveniant to have a short cord attached to an extension chord. That way, anytime you change tools, you don't have to go back to the outlet, rather just unplug and plug in the next thing.

Any PR firms hiring, btw? :)

NEOWatcher
2009-Jan-07, 06:28 PM
... it's more conveniant to have a short cord attached to an extension chord....
I've always wondered how a C becomes a Cmaj7. :lol:

Fazor
2009-Jan-07, 06:30 PM
lol not my fault. I've been messing around in PowerTab all morning.

tdvance
2009-Jan-07, 06:38 PM
Bees can cause that to happen.

hhEb09'1
2009-Jan-07, 07:32 PM
2. Cost. Copper costs money! It's quite expensive, these days. Thus, shorter cords mean less cost which means more profit.That's it. Heavier motors require heavier cords. Ordinary lamp cord is not going to cut it. :)

Ara Pacis
2009-Jan-07, 09:30 PM
Yeah, I got me one of 'em orange chords, has a lot of power, but without the problems of the brown note.

mugaliens
2009-Jan-08, 01:56 AM
That's it. Heavier motors require heavier cords. Ordinary lamp cord is not going to cut it. :)

Yep. Typically they use 16 gauge for shop vacs, but I've seen 14 gauge on the bigger ones, such as on the ones I used at the wood hobby shops.

Gigabyte
2009-Jan-08, 03:28 AM
A real shop vac uses 220.

:D

HenrikOlsen
2009-Jan-08, 04:21 AM
Nah, 400, all three phases:)

Gigabyte
2009-Jan-08, 04:23 AM
I demand evidence!!

PetersCreek
2009-Jan-08, 07:26 AM
A real ShopVac uses the prevailing voltage in the shop. A 220VAC model in mine isn't a real ShopVac...it's a door stop. :lol:

My 18-gallon model has a an 18-foot cord (I think). My 2.5-gallon model has a 6-foot cord. My shop/garage has a 25-foot automatic cord reel.

mugaliens
2009-Jan-08, 06:42 PM
220, 400, 18-gal - You call those shop-vacs?

I call them pipsqueaks! Now here's a real shop-vac (http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/constellation/orion/vacuum_chamber.html), all 100' x 122' of it.

NEOWatcher
2009-Jan-08, 06:51 PM
I call them pipsqueaks!
There's at least one pictured in your link too. :whistle:
Actually; I have had conversations with two of them, and one of them probably might even know me.

PetersCreek
2009-Jan-08, 06:53 PM
Now here's a real shop-vac[/URL], all 100' x 122' of it.

Yeah...but how long is the cord? Does it come with attachments? And how much am I gonna pay for a bag and filter?

Ara Pacis
2009-Jan-08, 06:54 PM
Can it be a shop-VAC if it operates on direct current?

NEOWatcher
2009-Jan-08, 06:59 PM
Yeah...but how long is the cord? Does it come with attachments? And how much am I gonna pay for a bag and filter?

It's got some amazing attachments, and it's bagless.
The problem is that it's not that portable and it's not a wet/dry vac.

On the other hand, it doesn't need to be a wet vac. I don't think wet is possible inside of it.

PetersCreek
2009-Jan-08, 07:13 PM
Hmmmm...a sublimation/evaporation-vac. Now, there's an idea...