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If you do a lot of woodworking projects or have a workshop, you know how sawdust can easily spread everywhere after you’re done operating a sander or a saw.
This sawdust doesn’t only cause a mess, but it’s also a serious health hazard for the lungs and shortens the lifespans of valuable machines you have. For that reason, it’s quite essential that you have a dust collector to collect this sawdust for safe disposal.
Finding a reliable dust collector can be a noticeably daunting task with all the models and products that are available on the market, and that’s where this article hops in for the rescue!
In today’s article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know in order to find the best dust collector for your needs. So without further ado, let’s dive right in!
- Our Dust Collector Reviews
- Best Overall Dust Collector: Shop Fox W1685 Dust Collector
- Best Dust Collector for the Money: Grizzly Industrial G8027 Dust Collector
- Best Cheap Dust Collector: WEN 3401 Dust Collector
- Best Wall Mounted Dust Collector: POWERTEC DC5370 Dust Collector
- Best Dust Collector for Large Workshops: JET JCDC-2 Cyclone Dust Collector
- Best Dust Extractor: Festool CT 15 HEPA Dust Extractor
- Best Dust Separator: Dust Right Dust Separator
- Dust Collection System Considerations
- Final Thoughts
Our Dust Collector Reviews
We’ve scoured the market looking for the best dust collector models out there to save you the time and hassle of checking each one on your own.
In this section, we’ll provide you with a brief overview of each one of these dust collectors and see what they have got to offer:
Best Overall Dust Collector: Shop Fox W1685 Dust Collector
Kicking off the list with one of the overall best dust collectors on the market. The Shop Fox W1685 Dust Collector is an excellent option because it combines some of the greatest options that you might need in a dust collector despite being a little pricier than other options out there.
The Shop Fox W1685 is equipped with a 12 amp, 1.5 HP, single-phase motor along with a 12 inch steel impeller with incredible efficiency.
This motor is capable of working at a rate of 3,450 rounds per minute, which allows it to offer a suction power of 1,280 CFM, which is one of the highest in the industry when compared to the machine’s size.
Additionally, the machine is available with a 2 HP motor version that extends the suction capacity to up to 1,550 CFM.
The machine’s body is quite impressive too because it has a powder coated finish that protects the machine from signs of wear as well as chips and scratches. Moreover, the machine is covered with a 2 year warranty for added value and guaranteed quality.
The dust collectors also feature a 2.5 micron filter bag, which is small enough for sawdust and other woodworking debris.
Although most dust collectors are stationary, this one comes with wheels in the base to make the dust collector portable. It has a wide inlet of 6 inches with a removable Y-shaped connector to work with multiple machines at a time.
All in all, this device is perfect for the majority of woodworkers who are looking for a powerful and capable dust collector and they don’t mind spending a little more to get the best quality.
- High suction power
- Durable construction with industry-standard measurements
- Equipped with wheel for extra portability
- A bit pricey
- Powder coated paint
- Bag volume: 5.4 cubic feet
- Static pressure: 10.1-Inch. Interior Hose Diameter (In.) - 6
- Air suction capacity: Approximately 1,280 CFM
Best Dust Collector for the Money: Grizzly Industrial G8027 Dust Collector
The Grizzly Industrial G8027 is another excellent dust collector that is slightly less expensive than the Shop Fox. Yet, it offers an excellent set of specifications and a performance that will give the high end options a good run for their money!
The dust collector is equipped with a 110 V, single phase motor with a power of about 1 HP and an amp draw of about 8 amps with a 9 inch steel impeller. The motor allows the dust collector to move up to 500 cubic feet of dust-filled air per minute.
This might be less than what the Shop Fox offers. However, this should be good enough to keep a small to medium sized workshop clean and dust-free, all the while saving you a lot of money.
The dust collector has a bag that is 2 cubic feet with a filtration capacity of 30 microns, which is also suitable for woodworking. The size of the bag is decent, although it fills up pretty quickly when compared to the Shop Fox.
The dust collector features a special platform with wheels that also allow you to move it around the workshop for more efficiency.
Ideally, such a dust collector is excellent for those who are looking for the most essential features in a dust collector without costing them a premium price tag.
- Ideal for medium and small workshops
- Comes at a relatively decent price with multiple standard features
- Easy to use and move around
- The filter fills up pretty quickly
- Motor: 1 HP, 110V, single phase
- Motor Amp Draw: 8A
- Number of 4" Intake Holes: 1
- Portable Base Size: 15" x 25-1/2"
Best Cheap Dust Collector: WEN 3401 Dust Collector
The WEN 3401 Dust Collector is known for being one of the most affordable options on the market when compared to other standard single phase dust collectors.
The dust collector is also noticeably small in size and weight. It weighs about 18.5 lbs and has a length of 34.25 inches, a width of 13 inches, and a height of 14.2 inches, making it one of the most compact options that the market has to offer.
For that reason, it becomes an extremely practical solution if your workshop has a space problem.
The device features a brushed motor that draws about 5.7 amps along with a 6 inch steel impeller. Despite being a noticeably small motor, the high efficiency of the motor allows it to draw up to 660 CFM, which is an excellent rate for how compact this dust collector is.
In addition to carrying handles, it also comes with wheels, so you can move it around easily. Moreover, it has a 4 inches dusting port, which is large enough to prevent clogging and allows for smooth dust collection.
If you’re on a strict budget and looking for a decent alternative that isn’t too expensive and still gets the job done, this one will fit the bill.
- Ideal for buyers on a limited budget and small workshop owners
- Ultra compact and portable option with carrying handles and wheels
- Decently high suction power for its size
- The machine is a bit loud
- 5.7-amp brushed motor combined with the 6-inch impeller moves over 660 cubic feet of air per minute
- 4-inch dust port allows for connection to your favorite woodworking tools
- Compact design includes an onboard carrying handle for easy storage and transportation
- Features lockable swivel casters, an optional wall mount, and a 12-gallon zippered collection bag
Best Wall Mounted Dust Collector: POWERTEC DC5370 Dust Collector
In that case, the best option to consider is a wall-mounted option, such as the POWERTEC DC5370.
If you don’t have enough horizontal space in your workshop to install a dust collector, you can always benefit from the vertical one to keep the air in the workshop dust-free.
What we like about this one is that it didn’t compromise on specifications to make the dust collector a wall mounted one. This fairly priced dust collector is equipped with a powerful 1 HP motor that is capable of drawing 7 amps at 110 V and 3.5 220 V.
With such power, the motor is capable of making 3,450 RPM and up to 537 CFM, so it can keep a small to medium-sized woodworking workshop dust-free.
The machine has a standard 4 inch hose inlet that prevents clogging as well as a 2.5 micron filter bag with a capacity of about 15 gallons.
The best part about this wall mounted dust collector is that it comes with all the accessories needed to install the device, so you don’t have to buy it separately.
- Excellent choice for workshops with limited floor space
- Excellent filtration rate
- Comes with its own mounting brackets that are easy to install
- Not suitable for larger workshops with multiple machines
- Includes: (1) wall hanging dust collector with mounting bracket and (1) 2. 5 micron dust collector...
- Reusable micron bag: ensures optimal air quality, free from harmful pollutants and fine dust...
- Compact size is ideal for small Pro or hobby shop
- "Power specs: features 1 HP electric motor with dual voltages 120V/240V | 7 amp at 120V, 3. 5 amp at...
Best Dust Collector for Large Workshops: JET JCDC-2 Cyclone Dust Collector
If you have a large workshop that requires an incredibly powerful dust collecting unit no matter how expensive it can be, you should consider a cyclone dust collector like the JET JCDC-2.
This one has a 2 HP motor that is capable of producing a suction power of about 1,538 CFM, which is extremely high and with enough capacity to keep a large workshop dust-free.
The machine also uses an efficient filter as well as a cyclone system that provides extra suction and purification powers to the machine.
This combined system allows the machine to filter particles that are as small as 1 micron or less with incredible efficiency. Moreover, it has a huge collecting drum that takes a long time to fill up.
Since the dust collector is designed for huge workshops, it comes with a remote control with a timer feature to save you the hassle of going back and forth to turn the machine on and off.
- Excellent for large workshops with plenty of space for dust collector
- Can be operated using a remote control
- Unmatched power and filtration capacity
- Premium price tag
- CONSTANT SUCTION: Heavy debris is pulled down to collection drum before debris stream reaches the...
- QUICK-RELEASE COLLECTION DRUM: Heavy debris is captured in a 30-gallon drum.
- REMOTE CONTROL: Included radio frequency remote control works from up to 50 feet away.
- DOUBLE-PADDLE MANUAL CLEANING SYSTEM: Quickly cleans the pleated filter.
Best Dust Extractor: Festool CT 15 HEPA Dust Extractor
The Festool CT 15 Dust Extractor is one of the most efficient filtering systems for those who are looking for a portable, powerful, and easy to use dust collector.
This one is notably small and lightweight. In fact, you’ll be capable of moving it around because it weighs as little as 29.4 lbs. It’s also very quiet when compared to some of the other options, with a rating of 60 to 70 decibels only.
The machine has a small motor with variable speed settings, which allows it to move 135 CFM, which is considered a bit low but makes it up for being concentrated, thanks to the machine’s portability.
The filter also improves the quality of the air in the workshop because it uses a HEPA filter that removes particulates that are as small as 0.3 microns, which is significantly higher than anything on the list.
We also like that the dust collector comes with various accessories and tools as well as a Y-shaped connector and a long kink-resistant hose that connects easily to the device.
- Highly portable and suitable for workshops of all sizes
- Allows you to adjust the filtration speed to save power and reduce noise
- Capable of filtering the air from dust up to 0.3 microns
- Low airflow capacity
- Festool 574831 - CLEANTEC CT 15 HEPA
- SELFCLEAN filter bag SC-FIS-CT MINI/MIDI-2
- Crevice Nozzle, D36
- Upholstery Brush
Best Dust Separator: Dust Right Dust Separator
Last but not least, if you have an old shop-vac lying around and you want to make use of it, you can attach it to a dust separator like the Dust Right and save yourself a serious amount of cash!
In fact, even if you don’t have a shop-vac, buying both devices can help you create a highly versatile dust collecting system that is cheaper than some options out there.
While the Dust Right doesn’t have a motor, it’s capable of creating a cyclonic suction system that is significantly more efficient than shop vacs alone.
The Dust Right comes with a connector hose that is about 36 inches long. This one connects the separator directly to most inlet ports of wet/dry shop vacs on the market, which is typically 2.25 inches.
- A cost-effective option for those who already have a powerful shop-vac
- The cyclonic separator is great at filtering out large chunks from small debris
- A semi-portable option for medium sized workshops
- Can be a hassle to install and take apart
- Dust Cyclone Separator: Turn any shop vacuum with a 2-1/4” ID outlet into a 2-stage dust...
- Longer Filter Life: This dust extractor for woodworking extends the life of your filter and...
- Adapting Mounting: The five-caster base of the dust collection system makes it exceptionally stable...
- Maintain Airflow: The bucket dust collector creates a cyclonic airflow that causes most wood dust...
Dust Collection System Considerations
If you want to make the most out of your dust collection system, there are some essential aspects that you need to keep in check. Here’s a quick look at each one of those points, so you can find the ideal one for your needs:
The first thing you need to know is that dust collectors aren’t all created equal. In fact, there are several types of devices that are all categorized as dust collectors.
These devices are standard dust collectors, dust extractors, and dust separators. Here’s is the difference between them:
Stationary dust collectors are the most popular types of dust filtration systems available on the market. They come in both single and double stage cyclone options.
Although double stage options are the most effective against all kinds of dust and debris, they’re extremely expensive and the price is only justifiable for large workshops with multiple operations at a time.
Single stage options, on the other hand, are much more reasonably priced and are typically ideal for small and medium-sized workshops.
These systems typically have their own motor, filter, and suction system, so they don’t need to be attached to other devices, such as shop-vacs, to operate. You can connect them to several tools, which makes them efficient for cleaning up smaller workshops.
Dust extractors are the newest additions to dust collecting systems for workshops. They operate in a similar way to standard dust collectors, but with a few differences.
For example, a dust extractor is a standalone unit that is also decently portable. This allows you to move them around your shop to pull dust and debris produced from smaller hand tools.
While both types have their own dust filters, extractors tend to have finer filters, so they can collect dust that is smaller than 0.3 micrometer, which is uncommon among standard systems. Yet, they’re much more expensive and work only almost exclusively with sawdust.
Dust separator systems are more like an add-on than a standalone device like dust extractors. These systems are usually attached to regular wet/dry shop vacs like Dewalt DXV06P to increase their filtration efficiency.
Most separators use the concept of cyclonic movement to separate larger chips from the finer dust that your vacuum can tolerate, hence the name.
On the upside, they’re extremely cheap and cost almost a fraction of what other options may cost you, but they require a tedious installation process that may void your shop-vac’s warranty.
The size of your workshop is a major aspect to factor in while choosing a dust collector, especially if you have limited space. After all, you don’t want to use up all the available space on a dust collector.
Ideally, you need to measure the available space in your workshop and make sure that it will fit the dust collector with ample room to spare.
A dust collector shouldn’t take up more than 3% to 5% of the available space in your shop or garage.
Like any tool that you have in your shop, the dust collector is prone to shocks and hits, especially if you’re holding a heavy object.
For that reason, it’s essential that the dust collector is equipped with a sturdy frame that is built to last and can withstand minor accidents. A quality device will have metal parts and a frame that will help it stay stable and stand the test of time.
The collection bag or canister should also be made of durable materials that protect it from any holes that will need immediate replacement.
Dust collectors come with collector bags where dust and debris are stored. The larger the bag size, the less frequent you’ll need to empty or replace it.
The capacity of the bag is measured in cubic feet, gallons, or liters, and should typically be a minimum of 1.5 cubic feet to handle daily operation.
A properly sized filter is also extremely essential for the efficiency of the filtration system. This will guarantee that the air in the workshop remains clear of suspended particulates that can cause lung problems.
Ideally, the collector should be able to filter out particles down to 30 microns or smaller to be an efficient one.
The suction power in a dust collector is usually measured in Cubic Feet per Minute or CFM. The higher the collector’s CFM, the more efficient it’ll be at clearing out the dust in a given time.
As a rule of thumb, smaller shops and workspaces need at least 500 CFM to be able to collect dust properly while you’re working.
However, for heavier duty machines and bigger projects, your dust collector might need to have a suction power of 1,000 CFM or higher in order to capture all the sawdust and debris produced while operating.
As previously discussed, dust collectors come in a variety of sizes. If you usually use your lightweight hand tools, you’ll need a portable dust collector to keep up with your situation.
In that case, dust extractors and dust separators that are installed to shop-vacs should be your best options because standard dust collectors are stationary.
A machine is always as good as you’re able to use it. In other words, if your dust collector system is packed with ultra-advanced features but you don’t know how to use it, you’ll be missing out on the dust collector’s full potential and functionality.
A dust collector becomes easier to use when it works with a push of a button and comes with various accessories and attachments that allow you to connect them directly to your heavy machinery.
If you are mainly into the woodworking business, this shouldn’t be a concern to you, as the vast majority of dust collectors on the market are designed to work with sawdust produced from almost all kinds of wood.
However, if you want to use the dust collector to filter the air from other kinds of suspended particulates, such as metal fillings or tiles, you have to get an advanced dust collector that is capable of handling rougher and statically charged debris.
Most dust collectors work by creating negative pressure that sucks the air in, which is similar to how a vacuum cleaner works, so they can be quite loud while working.
To avoid excessive noise, look for a dust collector that has a noise rating of 85 decibels or less to avoid hearing damage. Anything higher than that requires ear protection while operating the dust collector.
Lastly, you should keep in mind that dust collectors come at a wide range of prices, depending on the stage, type, and quality of the device.
Most standard dust collectors should cost you a few hundred bucks while high end and multi-stage options should cost you up to thousands.
Dust separators are usually the most affordable options but you have to factor in the costs of wet/dry shop vacs needed to operate them.
With that said, our best dust collector guide comes to an end. We hope that this guide has provided you with all the information you need to know before picking the ideal option for your needs.
If you’re looking for the best overall option on the market, you should consider the SHOP FOX W1685 Dust Collector.
This one is excellent off some of the best specifications that you need in a dust collector, such as high suction power, relative durability, and excellent filtration, although it might be slightly more expensive than others.
However, if you’re looking for a relatively affordable dust collector that will provide you with decent performance without costing you an arm or a leg, you might want to go for the WEN 3401 Dust Collector.