Do you know what the most dangerous part of a woodworker job is? It’s not that they’ll end up cutting themselves – as there are all sorts of safety procedures they can adopt. Instead, it’s the dust particles that go into the air and continue to linger there, which pose the most serious (and invisible) health hazard.
You don’t have to take our word to believe in this fact. There are who have written volumes about the short and long term effects of dust inhalation. It is their meticulous research which warns us that having dust in our lungs increases the risk of cancer.
To save you from such an unfortunate scenario, we decided to come up with this article of the best dust collectors that are currently available on the market. Containing dust collector reviews and buying guide, it will help you in selecting the best product for your needs.
Best Dust Collectors
1. Jet JCDC-1.5 HP Cyclone Dust Collector
Apart from its astronomical price tag – which it justifies by offering several high-end features, we didn’t find much wrong about this unit. It comes with a directly mounted filter that removes the inefficiencies that other dust collectors suffer due to rigid-flex housing and bends.
Furthermore, in addition to boasting a huge capacity of 20gallons, its debris collection drums are easy to empty as well. Once you see that the debris is overflowing, all you’d have to do is to simply press its quick-release levers. They will bring gravity into play and the unit will be empty within seconds.
On top of everything else, this unit provides constant suction thanks to its debris collection mechanism. It ensures that by not allowing the debris particles to come into contact with the filter. Also, it has a built-in pleated material that captures the finest dirt particles down to 1 micron.
2. Festool 575267 CT MIDI Dust Collector
Surprisingly for a dust collector, the Festool 575267 is a smart device. You can control its operations either via its Bluetooth battery pack or by the remote control on its suction hose. Also, since it has a built-in HEPA filter, you can count on this machine to capture 99.99% of 0.03 microns particles.
Unlike most dust collectors on the market, this machine comes with variable power control. It has a power control dial which lets you decide how much suction you want for the task at hand. Perhaps that’s why its noise level rarely exceeded 72 decibels (a safe limit) when we were using it.
Lastly, while its 3.9-gallon dust capacity is relatively small, the 575267 more than makes up for this shortcoming with its ease of emptying and ultra-maneuverability. While the former feature makes emptying the bin a cinch, its two wheels help this unit glide seamlessly across surfaces.
3. Grizzly G1028Z2 1-1/2 HP Dust Collector
Although it resembles an age-old water pump in design, the Grizzly G102hZ2 has all the features to tidy up your workspace. Its built-in filter removes particles up to 2.5microns from your indoor air, thereby making it safe to breathe. The green powder-coated paint, meanwhile, empowers it against rust.
Moreover, thanks to its 1300CFM flowrate and 1 ½ HP power, you can easily clean heavily-dirty workstations using this model. All the captured dirt would then go to its plastic collection bag whose quick-release clamp makes emptying it a cinch.
Equally impressive is the attention the manufacturer of this unit has given to its safety and maneuverability. To ensure the former, it comes with a paddle safety switch which you can easily turn off in an emergency. And for the latter, its casters ensure that this unit remains mobile in all conditions.
4. Prolux CV12000 Central Vacuum
How am I going to carry this mighty-looking unit? If that’s the question that troubled you the most on seeing this machine, there’s no need to worry. That’s because it comes with a thirty-five – yes, THIRTY-FIVE – feet long hose. That means that you can carry around the house while keeping the system intact.
As difficult as it might be for you to believe, the massive length of its hose isn’t this unit’s most impressive feature. That award goes to its massive, power-oozing dual-stage motor. Its massive 150CFM rating means that you can clean up to 12,000 sq. feet of storage space in one go.
Lastly, to prevent the flare-ups of allergies and asthma attacks in your space, this unit has a three-stage filtration system. It comes with a washable HEPA filter, washable micron pre-filter, and the bagless dirt chamber. Oh, and its package also included lots of accessories plus a wall-mounting bracket.
5. Oneida Molded Deluxe Dust Deputy Kit
First things first, corners haven’t been cut to keep this model’s asking price low. It is equipped with Neutral Vane Technology which uses cyclones to separate 99% of dust particles. This arrangement makes sure that the filter doesn’t get clogged and the suction remains uniform.
Apart from that, since this model comes with tapered ports, you can connect it to most shop vacuums. You might also find it good to know that it has the ability to work with both dry and wet vacs. Plus, with its anti-static resin cyclone, you won’t have to be worried about your safety while using this machine.
Finally, its waste disposal is yet another area where this model really shines. Despite having a 10-gallon tank, it won’t force you to get your hands dirty to remove the collected debris. All it would require you to do is to detach the hose, and overturn bucket’s contents into the trash can.
6. DeWalt 16 Gallon Poly Wet/Dry Vac
Three specific features of the DeWalt 16 Gallon Dry/Wet Vac increase its utility for most users. First, its package includes 3 disposal filter bags which are to be used for small, dry, and wet debris, respectively. That its meager asking price didn’t stop DeWalt from including the filters is a commendable feat.
Secondly, in contrast to your average dry/wet vac, this unit won’t wake up the whole neighborhood with its noise. Wonder why that’s the case? Because its package includes a silencing muffler to tone down the noise. And thirdly, it comes with a car nozzle to let you clean those nooks and crannies in your vehicle.
As for its performance, veteran woodworkers will know that its 6.5hp motor will provide enough suction for most cleaning tasks. Underneath the unit are caster wheels that ensure maneuverability, whereas its rear side contains an attached accessory storage bag. What more can you ask for!
7. POWERTEC DC5370 Wall Mounted Dust Collector
For those of you who came here looking for a reliable and affordable option, the Powertec DC5370 is one of the best dust collectors for your money. This model has a streamlined design that makes it incredibly easy for you to carry it around or mount it.
Equally useful is its 2.5-micron dust bag. On the one end, its filtration capacity allows this bag to eliminate extremely fine dust particles from your indoors. On the other end, its capacity is large enough to save you from the trouble of repeated dirt emptying.
Furthermore, since the dirt bag has a built-in window, you won’t have to open it to monitor the dust level. And when the time will arrive for dumping, its convenient zipper will come to your aid. Also, since the unit has a 4-inch inlet port, you can connect it to most machines on the market.
8. Bosch GAS18V-3N 18V Dust Collector
Starting with the best this model has to offer, and the fact that it has a cordless design means you won’t have to keep watching out for the wires. Also, since it runs on a single Bosch 18V battery, its addition won’t add many pounds to this unit’s weight.
However, the fact that it has a cordless operation doesn’t mean this unit’s suction dwarves in comparison to cord-carrying models. Instead, thanks to its 51CFM flow rate, special design, and Rotational airflow technology, it effortlessly picks up both dry and wet debris.
To further sweeten the deal, Bosch has included several useful accessories in this model package. Apart from two nozzles (crevice, floor), you get three extension tubes, a bare-tool kit, and a washable HEPA filter. And to prevent the misplacing of all these items, you also get on-board attachment storage facility.
9. WEN 3410 3-Speed Remote-Controlled Air Filtration System
Of the many features that this dust collector has to offer, our favorite is its remote control. With a range of up to 26 feet, you can use it to set the exact time after which the system should stop working. There are also the buttons using which you can increase/decrease the speed of this model.
You can count on this model to eliminate both large as well as small dirt particles. That’s because it comes with two filters – 5-micron pre-filter and 1-micron inner filter. While the former will keep larger dirt particles from entering the system, the latter would separate the fine dust from the incoming air.
Furthermore, if you are always moving between jobs, you can easily carry this model with its easy-grip handle. Conversely, if you are staying put at a specific site for some time, its mounting hooks and hanging chains let you connect this unit to the ceiling.
10. Milwaukee M18 2 Gal. 18-Volt Dust Collector
The Milwaukee M18 Dry/Wet Vac is built for those of you who are always on the move. We can say that because while other units provide a tool-box in their package, this unit comes in the shape of a tool-box. Hence the reason why you won’t have any problems carrying this from one location to the other.
Apart from its extreme portability, another feature of this model that impressed us was its suction. Its 2.8amp motor equips this unit with enough power that it can effortlessly handle the finest of dust particles. Plus, thanks to its dedicated tools, you can also use it for cleaning up liquid messes.
On top of everything else, you don’t have to deal with any cords while operating this machine. All it takes is a couple of Li-ion batteries (easily available in the market) to power this powerhouse. Plus, since its runtime is close to half-an-hour on one charge, you won’t have to take any mid-work recharging stops.
11. Makita XLC02R1B 18V LXT Dust Collector
This unit is equipped with a 2-stage cloth filtration system that not only deals effectively with both large and fine dust particles but is equally easy to clean. It weighs only 2.7pounds and comes with a 3-year warranty on the whole product and a 1-year warranty on the battery.
Moreover, while its 15-minutes of battery timing is modest, to put it mildly, this unit makes up for this shortcoming. It comes with a built-in fan that cools down the battery to increase its shelf life. Another built-in mechanism (Star Protection Computer Controls), saves the batteries from overheating.
Finally, you can rely on this unit to do all your cleaning chores. That is, because, it comes with three attachments in its package. The first of the attachments, known as ‘floor tool’, does exactly what its name implies. The other two attachments (crevice tool and extension wand) come handy on cleaning nooks & crannies and off-the-ground items, respectively.
12. DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Vacuum Kit DCV517B
To justify its reputation as one of the best dust collectors on the market, the DCV517B offers oodles of useful features. It is equipped with dual clean-up modes, which means you can either use its front utility nozzle to clean dry messes or the heavy-duty rubber hose to take care of wet ones.
With its angled head coming to our aid, we had little problem guiding this powerhouse along baseboards. Equally impressive was the performance of its angle nozzle which took care of nooks and crannies. Also, since the battery is installed underneath the handle, it serves as a good counterweight to the motor.
Apart from trapping 99.97% of dust particles, its HEPA filter is washable. All it would take you to rid it of dirt is a simple rinse with tap water. The dust separated by the filter goes into the ½ gallon dirt tank which is a cinch to clean. All you’d have to do is to simply unclip and empty it.
Dust Collector Buying Guide
Having gone through the dust collector reviews, it’s time we turn our attention to the features which separate the best dirt collectors from the riffraff.
What to Consider When Buying a Dust Collector
The following are the factors you need to consider before purchasing a dust collector.
Number of Stages
All the dust collectors that you see in this review have a filtration system, dust collection bag, and intake ports. Where they do differ, however, is the number of stages that each model may have. For instance:
Single Stage Dust Collector
The reason why they’re called single stage is that these units circulate air only once before using it to create vacuum. As a result, you can rely on them to only collect small amounts of dirt.
On the plus side, the compactness of these units allows you to connect them to your power tools. Also, as they produce relatively less volume of air, the power consumption of these models is also relatively low.
Dual Stage Dust Collector
In contrast to the single-stage models which only contain a dust filter, the dual-stage dust collectors also have a separator. It’s there that they separate dust particles before sending the smaller ones to the filter.
Consequently, with not many larger dust particles making their way to it, the filter doesn’t get clogged that often. That, in turn, increases the suction power of the whole model, thereby increasing its performance.
Fixed Vs. Portable Dust Collector
Depending on the size of your workplace, you might need a fixed or portable dust collector.
Fixed Dust Collector
As common sense tells us, fixed dust collectors aren’t designed for woodworkers who don’t have a specific workstation. They have a bulky size and might also require professional installation.
Having said that, you might need these models if your workplace produces huge amounts of dirt. They are extremely powerful machines and can make short work of clouds of dust.
Portable Dust Collector
In contrast to their fixed counterparts, portable dust collectors are for small-sized workshops. They are available at a budget price range and are therefore suitable for beginners.
On the flip side, they won’t come handy in large workplaces which produces huge amounts of dirt. So those of you who earn a living from woodworking might not find them hugely useful.
Motor Power and Filter Size
Once you’ve decided between a single-stage and dual-stage model – and answered the question whether you’re going to fix your unit in one place or would want to carry them along – you should then divert your attention to these two.
As you might already know, the power of the motor has the most important bearing on your unit’s performance. Greater the power, the better your collector will perform and more dust it will collect.
Luckily for you, you don’t have to spend much time noting and comparing the HP ratings of different models. That’s because there’s a consensus among woodworkers that 1.5HP motors are suitable for both hobbyists and professionals.
Assuming that the air pollution in your area might have forced you to know more about filter sizes, you might already be aware that they are measured in microns. That doesn’t mean, however, that the micron size of your face mask and dust collector should be the same.
If you can afford to break the bank, you might get models with 0.5 microns filters. The budget-minded consumer would do well to get anything close to 10microns as these filters effectively remove most dust particles.
Workplace Size and Volume of Dust
Since both these factors have a direct impact on the size of the model you’re going to buy, we decided to group them in the same heading.
Provided you have a relatively modest workplace that doesn’t produce inordinate amounts of dirt, you’d be going for an overkill if you end up selecting anything besides the single-stage dust collector.
Conversely, if your workplace does produce huge amounts of dirt, never settle on model with less dirt capacity. Provided you make that mistake, you’d spend as much time cleaning the dust bag as cleaning your space.
Volume of Dust
As you might guess, the volume of dust in your workplace directly impacts whether you’d do well with a single or dual-stage model. Though the number of stages isn’t the only factor which is affected by dust volume.
Rather, if you feel like drowning in the dust at times, you might want your ideal dust collector to have a bigger dust bin. Only then you can rely on it to tidy up your workplace.
Features and Specs
Provided you can afford to blow a hole in your pocket, the following are some of the features you may want in your model.
- Rollers/Wheels: To make your dust collector ultra-portable.
- Long hose: For maneuverability and ease of movement.
- Metal body: To allow the model to withstand years of abuse.
- HEPA Filters: Prevent flare-ups of dust allergies and asthma attacks.
- Noise-canceling: To make sure that your work doesn’t aware of the whole neighborhood.
- Remote control: For added convenience and hands-free setup
- High Flowrate/CFM: For faster and easier dust collection
Cyclone Vs Bag Dust Collector
You might need to know that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with cyclone or bag dust collectors. It is what you want your dust collector to do which makes one of them better than the other.
Cyclone Dust Collectors
Cyclone dust collectors work by creating high volumes of air to remove dust and debris. They use centrifugal force to separate large dust particles from the smaller ones. As a result, you would find the majority of these devices have two-stages. The first stage separates heavier chips and debris from the air whereas the second collects fine particulate matter.
- Longer filter life
- Relatively easy to maintain
- Relatively less efficient
Bag Dust Collectors
Although they cost more and require more space, bag dust collectors are the more efficient of the two. More importantly, in addition to taking care of finer dust particles, bag dust collectors can also handle slightly sticky substances. Provided you can keep them well-maintained, they’d provide extra-clean air after ridding it of dust and debris.
- More efficient
- Can handle sticky substances
- Able to suck in heavy loads
- Costly and require more maintenance
What is an Industrial Dust Collector?
As their name implies, the industrial dust collectors remove airborne dust particles from industrial and commercial areas. These are standalone devices that are capable of handling heavy volumes of dirt. Industries, where the innate work involves dust, are mandated under law to have these devices installed or face penalties for risking the safety and health of their workers.
Parts of Industrial Dust Collector
Without going into technicalities, the following system constitutes an industrial dust collector:
- Dust collector system: Powered by an impeller, the dust collection system works by capturing dust and moving it through the ductwork of the system to a collection area.
- Dust removal system: The only function of this part is to separate the incoming air from its innate dust particles.
- Filter cleaning system: It makes sure that the dust particles removed from air do not end up clogging the filter.
What is a Cyclonic Dust Collector?
These units are ideal for operations which involve a large dust load, huge product recovery, and high temperatures. They use one or all the following forces of centrifugal, inertial, and gravitational to rid the airstream of dust. Once they succeed in separating the dust, they then make use of gravity to unload the dust into a temporary storage area, i.e. hopper.
How Cyclonic Dust Collectors Work?
The cyclonic dust collectors work by using centrifugal force to separate dust from the incoming dust particles. After drawing in air from the outside, they move it inside the collector at an angle before the air hits the helix-shaped baffle.
The resulting collision forces the gravity to come into action, which then forces the heavy dust particles to drop to the unit’s bottom. Light dust particles, meanwhile, are removed from the air using a smaller vortex – before the clean air is sent back into the surroundings via the outlet valve at the bottom.
Advantages of Cyclonic Dust Collectors
Following are some of the benefits of cyclonic dust collectors:
- Absence of moving parts makes them relatively easy to maintain
- Multiple cyclones can be added in parallel to remove separation efficiency
- Cost less as they do not require the installation of expensive filters
- Emptying their dust collection bag is safe as it only contains heavier debris
Limitations of Cyclonic Dust Collectors
Following are some of the limits which cyclonic dust collectors suffer from:
- Most cyclonic dust collectors cannot pick up fine particulate matter
- You can’t generally rely on them to handle tacky or sticky materials
Dust Collector Vs Shop Vac
People with small to medium woodworking operations might face difficulty when choosing between dust collectors and shop vacuums. That’s why we decided to compare both these units to make the selection easy for them.
As you might have guessed by now, dust collectors are available in all sizes. They come as handy while removing dirt from a small woodworking shop as they do for a bigger operation.
Unlike shop vacs – which only have a single compartment, dust collectors have two of them. Also, while you can use shop vacs to clean crevices and other off-the-surfaces areas as well, dust collectors are mostly built for ground cleaning.
Consisting of a tough hose that sucks in the dirt and a big canister which holds the same, shop vacs resemble a bucket with a hose attached to it.
Most of them come with wheels which makes them easy to move around. In addition to sucking up dirt, you can use them to pick up screws, nails and small metal pieces.
Tip: When choosing between a shop vac and a dust collector, look at the cubic-feet-per-minute (CFM) rating of both. The higher the CFM, the more dirt you can pick up in less time.
How Does Dust Collectors Work?
Generally speaking, most dust collector systems work according to the following principle
Working principle of dust collectors
Dust collectors create a vacuum using impellers to suck in the dirty air containing dust particles. These are fans which pull the air through the duct. As the air enters the collector, it hits a set of baffles – impediments that are lined at a specific angle to slow down the incoming air.
That is done to make sure that the air doesn’t hit the filters at maximum speed. As the speed of the air slows down, the captured dust starts to hit the bottom – the area where the dust collection drum is placed to capture particles falling due to gravity.
Afterward, once the air is free of dirt, it moves out via a duct located at the bottom of the machine. As you might guess, this air is many times (if not absolutely) cleaner than the incoming air.
Dust Collectors FAQs
Following are some of the questions people have about dust collectors:
- Q: What is a cartridge dust collector?
A: These are machines that use cartridges as filters to remove dust from the incoming air. Most industrial collectors use them because they are relatively easy to clean. That’s because as the cartridges become inundated with dust, the collector uses a pulse of air to clean them.
- Q: What is the efficiency of a dust collector?
A: Most dust collectors you see on the market are 99.9% efficient down to ten microns. However, if you can afford to pay over the odds, you can get the best dust collectors which would filter up to 1 micron.
- Q: How often should you replace the filters of your model?
A: It depends on how often you use it. Provided your system deals with a large amount of dust on a regular basis, you might want to replace its filters once every six months. Conversely, even if you use it once in a blue moon, you still should replace them per annum.
- How safe is your dust collector?
All of us know that dirt can be hazardous. Yet, ask those who work in industries where there is a lot of dirt scurrying around, and you’d realize that they have no choice but to deal with it in order to earn a living. That said, there’s a difference between ‘dealing’ with dirt and ‘inhaling’ it.
To help you deal with it safely, we have come up with ten of the best dust collectors that money can buy. From corded to cordless, dry to dry/wet and portable to wall-mounted, our collection is incredibly versatile. All you would have to do now, then, is to ask yourself what you want from your ideal model.
However, if you’re unsure of your needs, there’s no need to worry. Scroll back to the buying guide section, and it has every information you may ever need to make an informed choice. Once you have absorbed the info, go back to the dust collector reviews and make the choice.