Reviewers agree that the 16-gallon Ridgid WD1851 shop vacuum, formerly the WD1850, is a good consumer-grade wet dry vacuum in the large size range. It carries a lifetime warranty, once the product is registered with Ridgid, and reviewers find it relatively quiet for a consumer-grade shop vacuum. The exhaust also contains less dust than might be expected. The Ridgid WD1851 shop vacuum has a sensor that tells you when the filter needs cleaning; you don't have to open the canister to check. When vacuuming liquids, another sensor shuts off the motor when the maximum level is reached. If you can live with a slightly smaller capacity, reviewers recommend the 14-gallon Ridgid WD1450 (*Est. $135), named a ConsumerSearch Best Reviewed model.
ConsumerReports.org's review of wet dry vacs puts 23 consumer-brand models through objective tests, comparing the WD1851's immediate predecessor, the 16-gallon Ridgid WD1850 shop vacuum, against four other wet dry vacs in its size range. American Woodworker magazine also tests the Ridgid WD1850 shop vacuum, comparing it with pro- and consumer-grade vacs. The editors of ToolCrib.com also include the WD1851 in their woodshop vac rankings, based on reviews and forum discussions on their website, as well as sites of competitors. HomeDepot.com publishes detailed owner reviews of the Ridgid WD1851, and at the Ridgid Tool Forum, owners compare the older Ridgid WD1850 with Craftsman shop vacuums.
ConsumerReports.org includes the Ridgid WD1850 wet dry vacuum, now offered as the WD1851, in its review of 23 consumer-brand vacs, grouped by size. In addition to an overall grade, each shop vacuum gets separate ratings for wet and dry pickup, emissions and ease of use.
Review: Wet/Dry Vacuums, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, March 2007
Editors rank nine wet dry vacs suitable for woodworking, based not only on reviews but also on different websites' forum discussions where users discuss the pros and cons of specific models. The 16-gallon Ridgid WD1851 earns top ranking here, based on 22 different forum discussions.
Review: Top 9 Woodworking Shop Vac Smack Down: Ridgid vs. Festool vs. Fein and More, Editors of ToolCrib.com, Feb. 2009
3. American Woodworker
Reviewers George Vendriska and Tony Caspar compare six shop vacuums, including the Ridgid WD1850 wet dry vacuum. Each shop vacuum is tested for pickup power and airflow. They say the Ridgid WD1850 outranks the Craftsman model only for sound level.
Review: Tool Test: Shop Vacuums, George Vendriska and Tony Caspar, Oct. 2005
More than 35 owners review the Ridgid WD1851 here, rating it an overall 4.7 out of 5 stars. A few users complain about the assembly process. However, most praise the Ridgid's excellent suction, relatively quiet operation and reliability, recommending this higher-end Ridgid for a range of household and workshop tasks.
Review: Ridgid 16-Gal. Wet/Dry Vac, Contributors to HomeDepot.com
The main focus of this discussion thread is the Ridgid WD1850, now the WD1851. It is compared with the smaller Ridgid 4550 "toolbox" shop vacuum, as well as with larger Craftsman models. Most comments are positive, but one owner says the switch on his Ridgid shop vacuum stopped working.
Review: Ridgid 16 Gallon Pro Vac Model WD1850 Reviews, Contributors to RidgidForum.com