Can you imagine a small, light, canister vacuum cleaner that you can take anywhere – the shop, the basement, up on the roof, on a ladder or a scaffold – that would give you tons of suction power without being tethered to a cord? That’s just what you get with DeWalt’s new DC500 cordless 2-gallon, wet/dry vacuum cleaner.

The vacuum runs on standard rechargeable DeWalt battery packs, and to add to the tool’s convenience it will work with 12-, 14.4- and 18-volt batteries, so you can mix and match with your existing DeWalt tools. The battery simply snaps into a port on the side of the vacuum, and is held firmly in place by a small door with a snap-lock catch.

With a fresh, 18-volt battery installed, the manufacturer rates the vacuum as being capable of collecting 200 pounds of drywall dust or 100 gallons of water on a single charge, and the tool has ample power to pick up fasteners, sawdust, wood chips, and other heavier debris.

If you forgot to bring along a freshly charged battery, or you have a lot of cleanup chores to take care of, the DC500 also has a power cord. Plug the 6-foot cord into any 110-volt outlet, and the vacuum automatically switches over from DC to AC current for unlimited run time. The cord can be used with the battery in or out (it doesn’t act as a recharger), and it stores conveniently by wrapping it around two cord holders on the side of the vacuum. Empty, the vacuum weighs just 7.2 pounds without the battery and less than 10 pounds with a battery in place.

As you work, debris is collected in a 2-gallon canister that is secured to the bottom of the vacuum. Two heavy duty snap latches hold it securely in place, and it pops off in seconds for emptying. If you’ve vacuumed up liquids instead of solid debris, there is also a drain port on the side of the collection canister. This is a real plus if you have a full canister of liquid to deal with, since you can avoid potential messy spills by simply unscrewing the drain port lid and emptying the canister without having to remove it.

Inside the canister is a very effective GORE filter, which was developed by the same folks that make GORE-TEX. The filter is rated for both wet and dry pickup, so there’s no need to swap filters for different vacuuming chores. The highly efficient filter will collect 99.7 percent of dust particles that are 0.3 microns or larger in size, meaning it will trap almost all of the dust you’re likely to encounter – even fine drywall dust – without allowing the particles to get back into the vacuums exhaust stream and be reintroduced into the room.

The filter is made of a non-stick material that helps keep it from clogging, so a smooth airflow is maintained to the vacuum to allow for maximum suction power. When the filter gets dirty, simply remove it and wash it out, let it dry and reinstall it.

Included with the vacuum is flexible, corrugated hose. The hose’s design is such that it remains compact while stored, but stretches out to a full 6 feet in length. The hose has a positive lock where it installs into the vacuum, and it stores right on the unit by snapping it into a couple of built-in clips. It also comes with a wide nozzle and a crevice tool, both of which also store on-board in a small, built-in tool caddy. The hose is a standard 1

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