Pellethead Pro Ash Vacuum – Full Review
The Pellethead Pro is one of the best ash vacuums on the market today. It has a good reputation for its suction power in a product category notorious for bad suction. There is clearly attention-to-detail and user experience put into the intuitive design. Overall, it’s one of our favorite corded ash vacuums for the domestic market today.
When it comes to portability, we usually look at the wheels / dolly for moving the vacuum around, and the length of the vacuum’s cord.
The wheels on this model are great. The vacuum comes with a detachable wheel dolly, meaning you can carry it without the wheels if you want. But we’d prefer to keep the wheels connected at all times. The additional great part about this dolly is that it has dedicated holders for storing the accessories (discussed later).
But, the cord length is just 10 feet, which is about the middle of the pack. You can get hoses up to 15 feet (such as in the Powersmith model), but you can also get much shorter ones – down to 5 feet. So overall, we’re not incredibly impressed by the cord length. You might need an extension cord if your stove, fire pit or fireplace is too far from a power outlet.
So, overall, we give the Pellethead Pro ash vacuum mid-range marks for portability.
The filtration system for this vacuum is strong. The vacuum uses a HEPA filter designed to catch extremely fine particles – including ash! (HEPA filters are used in many commercial systems, like airline air conditioners and can even catch many viruses in their filters).
While the HEPA filter is the key filter for stopping ash, a ‘pre-filter’ is also used to catch larger particles. This is the larger filter you’ll see inside the canister that sits on the canister’s rim. The pre-filter saves the HEPA filter from having to deal with larger particles, allowing it to be more effective and have a prolonged lifespan.
Suction & Ash Collection
The downside of a HEPA filter is that it causes significant drag on the motor and reduces suction. This is an unfortunate but unavoidable consequence of having the ability to catch ash in the filters.
In other words: ash vacuums have notoriously weak suction!
But here’s the good news: The Pellethead ash vac is one of the best in class for suction. The 10 Amp motor appears to do very well under pressure. Of all the crowdsourced online reviews we could find, the only negative review mentioning suction was accompanied by the complaint: “I had to clean the filter before use”. Sorry to tell you this, but that’s pretty standard. HEPA filters need to be cleaned very regularly.
(We discuss cleaning procedures later in this piece).
The 5 gallon cannister is about average for this category. There are some significantly smaller cannisters (such as KIKO’s 3.5 Gallon cannister) and a few larger options, too. But overall 5 gallons is the middle of the pack, and seems sufficient for residential purposes. Unless you’re going through a hotel and vacuuming out 10 – 15 fireplaces a day, 5 Gallons is plenty.
Note that ash vacuums don’t have dust collection bags. The ash will end up right inside the metal cannister, allowing you to just tip it out as compost on the garden or straight into the trash (but make sure it’s cool!)
Warm Ash Protection
Hot ash can damage the filters in ash vacuums. This is universal for all ash vacuums, and no matter the brand you get, you’ll face this issue. However, the pre-filter in the Pellethead (as well as most other ash vacuums) is fire retardant, allowing you to vacuum ash up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit without causing damage to the the filters.
But we’d strongly recommend only vacuuming ash that is cool to the touch. Excessive vacuuming of warm ash will over time burn holes in the pre-filter, rendering it mute.
The inside of the hose is also metal lined to further protect the product from damage from heat. This can at times decrease the flexibility of the hoses, but for this model that doesn’t seem to be an issue.
Accessories and Blower Settings
The four accessories included are: a brush attachment, crevice tool, aluminum hose extension and a cuff link adaptor (which can help to fit other aftermarket tool attachments).
The crevice tool helps to get in between tough spots such as under a fireplace grate or into deep corners of the fireplace. The brush attachment allows you to get into corners and other uneven surfaces where ash accumulates. Lastly, the aluminum hose is often used when the ash is still warm. It helps to protect the end of the hose. This model’s aluminum hose doesn’t thin out like others (i.e. it’s not a crevice tool), so it has a much wider mouth for getting larger chunks of charcoal. We’d use it to break up the charcoal before suction as the smaller the particles going in through that hose the better.
Comparison with Major Competitors
|1. Pellethead Ash Vacuum Pro||5 Gallons||10 Feet||Yes|
|2. PowerSmith PAVC101 All-In-One Ash Vacuum||5 Gallons||16 Feet||Yes|
|3. Bacoeng Advanced Ash Vac||5.3 Gallons||15 Feet||Yes|
|4. KIMO Cordless Ash Vacuum||3.5 Gallons||Cordless||Yes|
|5. Shop-Vac 4041300 Ash Vacuum||5 Gallons||6 Feet||No|
|6. Snow Joe ASHJ201 Ash Vacuum||4.8 Gallons||5 Feet||No|
|7. Vacmaster Ash Vacuum||6 Gallons||12 Feet||No|
Frequently Asked Questions
Can it Clean Ash from a Fireplace or Pellet Stove?
Yes. This residential ash vacuum is designed for fireplaces and pellet stoves. It can also work for cleaning grills and pizza ovens. With a 5 Gallon cannister, it’s got enough dust storage space to clean out any residential fireplace or grill.
Does it Overheat?
It appears there are not systemic overheating issues with this model as there are with other models in this category. We have not seen evidence of overheating from the collective online reviews, which are the best indication of whether there are widespread issues of overheating of a product.
But with that said, there are chances of overheating for ash vacuums. If it has overheated, the
How Often do you Need to Clean the Filter?
HEPA filters need very regular cleaning. They catch even the finest of particles so they get clogged up with dust and ash very quickly. They’re not like your regular vacuum – you need to take care of them.
As a HEPA filter gets clogged, the suction power of the vacuum decreases and the chances of the motor overheating increase. So it’s important to stay on top of cleaning the filters.
We would lean toward cleaning the filter after every use. This helps ensure maximum suction at all times and minimizes chances of the motor overheating.
How to Clean Ash Vacuum HEPA Filters
HEPA filters are fragile and need to be handled with care. They should not be washed with wet sponges or hoses. Instead, use a soft brush such as a dry paint brush, soft toothbrush or compressed air.
Overall, we think this is an impressive ash vacuum because of its quality user experience. It’s one of the more powerful domestic ash vacs on the market today. The mid-length cord is not our favorite; but the quality wheel kit and reputation for power and longevity make up for this. Lastly, we like that you can buy replacement filters easily from the manufacturer’s website.
To get the Pellethead Ash Vacuum, check it out on Amazon.