Powersmith Ash Vacuum – Full Review
The Powersmith Ash Vacuum has the great advantage of being a user-friendly ash vacuum for domestic use. It is clearly designed with user experience in mind, with a wheel dolly, long extension cord and easy to clean filter. We’ll walk through each of these points below.
Of the major models on the market today, the Powersmith Ash Vacuum is one of the more user friendly models when it comes to portability.
This model comes with wheels that need to be assembled upon delivery. The wheels are easily screwed into their respective positions without the need for tools and with no fuss. Many competitors in the Ash Vacuums category do not have wheels or a dolly, meaning you have to carry the vacuum from place to place. This gets frustrating when you’re working with heavy tools (this ash vac is 10.8 lbs, which is about average). So on this measure, we give the Powersmith Ash Vacuum a solid tick of approval.
The second key feature for portability is the length of the extension cord. This 16 foot extension cord on this model is very long – indeed it’s one of the longest cords in the category. This means the regular homeowner won’t need to worry too much about being too far from a power outlet. (The only better option would be if it were cordless!).
So, overall, we give the Powersmith ash vacuum high marks for portability.
Suction & Ash Collection
The most common criticism of ash vacuums is that their suction is weak. This is because the vacuums need to suck through the very fine filters that catch the ash. Of all the ash vacuums we’ve reviewed, this appears to be one of the better ones for suction. This may be because it doesn’t have a traditional HEPA filter like many competitors and has a respectable 10 Amp motor.
That doesn’t mean it’s perfect – no ash vacuum will have superb suction. The best way to ensure the suction remains strong is to remember to clean the filter regularly for best results. Of all the filters on ash vacuums on the market today, this one is one of the easier to clean, which is another plus for the user experience of this model in comparison to most competitors.
The cannister is large enough to contain ash coming from your regular residential fireplace. The cannister size of 5 Gallons exceeds that of several competitors. The KIMO Cordless Ash Vac, for example, is just a 3.5 Gallon model. There are some models with larger cannisters, though, such as the enormous 6 Gallon Vac Master. In general, with think a 5 Gallon cannister is more than enough for cleaning out a residential fireplace or pellet stove.
Note that ash vacuums don’t contain dust collection bags like a regular vacuum. Instead, they dump the ash into a metal cannister. You may need to give the cannister a scrub every now and then to maintain it, especially if you forget to flush it after every use.
Warm Ash Protection
Most people find they want to vacuum up ashes while they’re still warm. And remember – fireplace ash can stay warm for 24 hours after a fire has subsided. Beneath all that ash, there are often glowing embers that continue to burn low key for hours on end.
Sucking up warm ashes can cause damage to the innards of vacuums. In particular, hot ashes burn holes in the fragile filters used to trap small particles. Similarly, hot ashes can burn through plastic vacuum hoses.
To address this, Powersmith has produced an ash vac that has a metal lined hose (Hose Diameter: 1-1/8″ & Length: 50″) and a fire-resistant bag filter. They’ve gone above and beyond many competitors in this regard.
They note that the vacuum can withstand ashes up to 140F. But we’d err on the side of caution here and try to let ashes cool as much as possible before vacuuming them up.
Accessories and Blower Settings
The Powersmith ash vac comes with a good range of accessories that equals the offerings of most competitors. This includes 2x straight extension wands for getting into deep corners of a fireplace of pellet stove, a brush nozzle for getting into corners, and a turbo nozzle which is often good for doing work on the opening of the fireplace. We are also impressed that there are convenient on-board storage locations for each accessory.
We’d have liked to have seen the standard offering come with several additional filter bags for longevity’s sake. The filter is likely the first thing you’ll want to replace on this vacuum, and you’ll likely need to shop around for a new one at some point.
The one additional feature that we do like is the blower setting. In blower mode, the vacuum operates in reverse to blow air out. This can be really handy towards the end of the job when you’re trying to clear out those last ashes from the corners. The blower can unsettle these ashes so you can then collect them.
Comparison with Major Competitors
|1. PowerSmith PAVC101 All-In-One Ash Vacuum||5 Gallons||16 Feet||Yes|
|2. Bacoeng Advanced Ash Vac||5.3 Gallons||15 Feet||Yes|
|3. Pellethead Ash Vacuum Pro||5 Gallons||12 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. The Powersmith ash vac is primarily designed to clean ash from residential fireplaces and pellet stoves. Remember to allow ashes to cool before vacuuming them up, and clean the ash out regularly to prevent unsafe build-up.
Does it Overheat?
Ash vacuums are notorious for overheating. These vacuums work very hard to maintain suction through very fine filters, so it’s no wonder. This is a problem you’ll face with most ash vacuums, not just the Powersmith.
A few (but not an unreasonable mount) of online reviews have highlighted that the Powersmith does turn itself off if it gets too hot. This does not mean the motor has overheated, but rather that it has activated a safety switch to prevent overheating. Nevertheless, when this happens, you will need to walk away from the vacuum for 30 – 60 minutes to give it time to cool right down.
One way to minimize the chances of overheating is to only work on cooled ashes. Another is, of course, to only vacuum in short bursts only. This means that people who regularly maintain their fireplaces and pellet stoves (i.e. don’t allow too much ash build-up) are less likely to face overheating issues, as they will spend less time vacuuming per session.
How Often do you Need to Clean the Filter?
Every time! An ash vacuum isn’t the same as a regular vacuum. The filter is very fine and can get clogged very easily. So, it’s important to clean out the filter following the instructions in the manual provided (it’s also available on their website).
By regularly cleaning the filter, you maintain the best suction possible and reduce strain on the motor.
Overall, we think the Powersmith ash vacuum is comparable to most competitors on the market. It is affordable and delivers a good user experience. However, its filter appears a little weaker than that of some competitors. We’d think it would stand up well in a residential or domestic setting, but we’d step up to a Bacoeng or Pellethead in a commercial or hospitality setting.
To get the Powersmith Ash Vacuum, check it out on Amazon.