Craftsman 12004 Review

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Craftsman 12004 Review

Craftsman tools have been a mainstay in American households since the early late 1920s. While they got their start producing hand tools, they have moved into other areas over the years and produce hundreds of electrical tools today.

You don’t have to look hard to find a Craftsman nailer or cordless drill, but we’re going to focus on the Craftsman 12004. It’s a shop vac built to take some abuse, and it carries a price tag that will make your bank account very happy.

Tech Specs

  • 3 Peak HP motor
  • 6-gallon tank
  • Blower feature
  • 16 pounds
  • 10-foot power cord

Who is it for?

This shop vac is built for people that need something stronger than an upright vacuum, but don’t want to step up to a Pro class shop vac.

The Craftsman 12004 is smaller than many vacs in this class and doesn’t have as much power. That means it can deal with dirt, grime, and gunk around your home, but it’s not something you would want to take on the job with you.

Due to its size, it’s also a good choice for crafters and folks that enjoy DIY projects. If you have a piece of equipment that needs a vacuum for dust collection, you have a great option in the 12004.


On average, shop vacs are around 5HP if you want something that can deal with almost any type of debris. At 3 HP, this one is a bit underpowered when compared to models like the Vacmaster VBV1210, but will perform admirably around the house.

When you need to blow instead of vacuum, this model quickly converts into a blower. Again, it’s not on par with a real leaf blower although it will push a pile of leaves and help you clean up your property fairly quickly.

If you have a big yard, just keep the cord length in mind and proceed with caution if you’re doing gutters.


This shop vac isn’t built for hard labor so you can’t expect it to withstand an extreme amount of abuse like a more industrial model.

It is made primarily from plastic, but it’s thick where it counts, and we like the fact the power button is sealed against dust. The pods that hold the wheels in place are sturdy although we can’t say the same for the wheels.

While they are caster wheels and spin as needed, they aren’t nearly as thick and sturdy as the wheels you’ll find on more expensive models.

The attachments are all solid, and the hose is better than average as well. At 1 7/8” it is not thick enough to be cumbersome, but just about right in terms of heft and length at a full 7 feet.

Ease of Use

Shop vacs aren’t hard to use by any means, but the Craftsman 12004 is especially easy for beginners to use.

The machine has a large on/off switch which fires the motor up in seconds, and the hose is easy to remove and reattach as needed. The top is held in place with a couple of clips built into the handles on each side, and there are plenty of slots for the accessories.

If you’re dealing with liquids on a regular basis, you will appreciate the collection tank on this model. It’s large at 6 gallons and made from polypropylene.

In a nutshell, it’s slick and smooth so dirt, grime and dust won’t be able to find its way into any nooks or crannies. Your tub will not turn into a container for bacteria will be very easy to wipe down and clean.

On the downside, there is no plug on the 12004, so when you vacuum water, you’ll actually need to dump this one.


The Craftsman 12004 takes the usual filters with a cartridge or foam filter for liquid. You get one of each out of the box, and there are a variety of specialty filters available if you need something different or want to stock up on extras.

Need a filter to capture fine particulates or sawdust from your band saw? They have a filter available for that, and HEPA filters are available as well.


When it comes to accessories, the usual suspects are included with two extension poles and a couple of vacuum heads. The main one has brushes across the bottom for use on carpet while the other is ideal for hardwood floors or solid surfaces.

There are no real extras to note, but you will get everything you need out of the box with this shop vac.

Any downsides?

Anytime you are dealing with a budget-friendly device; there are going to be some shortcomings. With the Craftsman 12004, there are quite a few, unfortunately.

Having a 3 HP motor is a bit of a downside, but not a deal-breaker by any means. It just limits where and how you can use this shop vac, so it’s just something you have to keep in mind.

The biggest downside in our eyes is the fact there is no drain valve on this machine.

That means you have to remove the motor, pick it up, and dump the water out of the collection tank. While it’s quicker than a plug, a 6-gallon tank full of water isn’t going to be something everyone can deal with.

The cord is also a negative considering it’s only 10-feet which is shorter than many vacuum cleaners. If you plan on using it in more than one room, you will need an extension cord.


If you can get around the Craftsman 12004 not having a plug and don’t need a heavy-duty machine, this one is well worth a look.

The price is nice, and it has enough power to handle any spills around the household. It also won’t take up much space when it’s not in use and the blower feature is the icing on the cake. While the cord is short, you can still get a 17-foot cleaning radius with the hose and more when you add an extension.

You can check our other reviews for Vacmaster or Ridgid vacs and find the right one for you.

Click here to read user reviews on Amazon.