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Getting The Job Done Right
By: Darion Robinson
We all know there’s nothing joyous than working till the wee hours of the night on that masterpiece in your woodwork shop. While you can tolerate the fatigue, the one thing that you should never tolerate in your woodwork shop is dust build-up.
Apart from being toxic to your health, dust generally just messes up your workspace. That makes having dust collectors more of a necessity in a woodwork shop.
However, all dust collectors were not made equal, as your choice would depend on the kind of wood workshop you have and how much dust you need to collect. Below, we review seven dust collectors that you should consider buying.
One of the few great dust collectors you are bound to find out there will probably be the Jet DC 1100VX-5M dust collector. Weighing in at just 8.4 lbs. and packed with a 1.5HP motor, it is ideal for anyone with a small woodshop and is conveniently easy to use.
When compared to what other competitors are offering, the Jet DC 1100VX-5M is somewhat more compact as well. Its adaptability coupled with the convenience it offers makes it a favorite among many woodworkers. However, as design, adaptability, and ease of use don’t necessarily make a dust collector the best, let’s dive into a few features to find out more.
First things first, the Jet DC 1100VX-5M is a single-stage dust collector, and this already outlines what you can and cannot do with this dust collector. For one, you will notice that the Jet DC 1100VX-5M is quiet and economical. In addition, it is also worth mentioning the dual 4-inch dust ports which allow you to connect two machines at the same time. This can increase the efficiency of the dust collection.
If you’ve owned a dust collector before, you’d know that filter clogging is one of the worst things that could ever happen to your dust collector. Why? Because when the filter is clogged up, then the efficiency of the dust collector goes down too. With the Jet DC 1100VX-5M’s vortex cone technology, such clogs are minimized, and the overall performance of the dust collector remains high.
The dust collector uses a 5-micron bag filter kit and this means a lot for you. For one, a 5-micron bag filter kit captures up to 98% of the dust particles that are 5 microns thick as well as 74% of dust particles that are a micron thick. This will not only ensure that your workshop remains tidy, but it will also ensure that your health is not affected because of the dust.
The Powermatic PM1300EX-CK is a step above the Jet DC 1100VX-5M if motor power is what means a lot to you in a dust collector. With a 1.75HP motor powering the Powermatic PM1300EX-CK, you can bet that it will hardly ever fail you when it comes to reliability.
Compared to the Jet DC, this dust collector also has more slightly innovative features. The turbo cone technology, for instance works to increase the overall efficiency of the dust collector. All these factors and more combined have made the guys behind the Powermatic PM1300EX-CK confident that it can filter more than six times the surface area other bags can deal with.
The title may sound futuristic, but a remote-controlled digital timer ideally controls when the machine should be switched off. It is worth mentioning that the digital timer is programmable, and you can thus choose when the machine should be switched off. This is only really useful if you occasionally forget to switch off the Powermatic PM1300EX-CK.
The Powermatic PM1300EX-CK’s turbo cone technology, on the other hand, helps you empty the dust bag less. This is because it offers improved chip separation and increases the dust collector’s backpacking efficiency.
Unlike other dust collectors, the Powermatic PM1300EX-CK also uses canister filters instead of standard bags to filter out the dust. The thing about canister filters on this dust collector is that it offers up to six times more filtering surface area. This means that you will equally get ultra-fine dust particles being trapped by the dust collector rather than having these particles making your workspace untidy or ending up in your lungs.
This is simply the equivalent of the vortex cone technology that was earlier highlighted on the Jet DC dust collector. Ideally, it works in a similar fashion, but when combined with canister filtering, the Powermatic PM1300EX-CK may seem to have the upper hand.
Worried about the space in your workshop that you can dedicate towards a dust collector? With the Shop Fox W1685, that will be less of a worry as it is perfect for small workshops. This is because it extends to a mere 44 inches after you have inflated the bag.
The Shop Fox W1685 uses a 2.5-micron bag that is capable of carrying up to 5.4 cubic feet of dust. It also includes a neat zipper at the bottom of the bag that you can use to easily empty the contents of the bag without a lot of hassle.
It might not be the most powerful motors out there, but it powers the Shop Fox W1685 in a unique way. With its 1.5HP single phase motor, this dust collector can manage up to 3,450 RPM and generate up to 1280 CFM (cubic feet of air / minute). A powerful motor behind a dust collector means one thing – efficiency and convenience. That is exactly what you get with the Shop Fox W1685’s motor.
Whereas other dust collectors give you the smallest bags so that you can keep purchasing more products from them, you get a 5.4 cubic feet dust bag. This allows you to stay for long without having to empty it, and this gives you more time to focus on your work at hand.
Other than the large dust bag, the Shop Fox W1685 also includes a safety switch to help prevent unauthorized use of the dust collector. This is useful for those woodworkers who have setup their workshops in areas that can easily be accessed by other people. Having them being able to turn on your machines is something you would not want as accidents can easily occur. Turning off the Shop Fox W1685 also involves some process. This is because you need to bring down the paddle before turning off the power.
The one not so great thing about the Baileigh DC-1450C is that it might not be getting the attention that it deserves. Not so much is known about this dust collector, but when in its presence, it is quite easy to see just what you might have missed. Its price point equally tells you exactly what you’d be getting when you purchase this dust collector.
Not so many dust collectors in its category can filter up to five machines simultaneously for 8 hours in a day. Part of the reason it is capable of doing this lies in its smart filters which prevent dust build-up in the system. Like the Powermatic PM1300EX-CK, this dust collector can equally be controlled remotely.
If you’re already tired because of the noises from your tools, then the Baileigh DC-1450C surely won’t add to your problems. This is because it is one of the quietest dust collectors available despite being very powerful as well. A quiet dust collector is convenient in many ways as it allows you to even have conversations in your workshop without really straining.
1-micron filters are super fine, and they thus trap even the tiniest of dust particles that may or may not be from your work activities. It is these same filters which ensure that your workshop remains clean while providing you with dust-free air that is good to your health in the long run.
The Baileigh DC-1450C’s cyclone design also determines how it functions. Its cyclone design enables it to trap even finer dust than a bad-style dust collector would. This improves the efficiency of the dust collector as it purposes to get rid of dust in your workplace in more than one way. This all adds to much safer air conditions on your workplace
You get a 2HP motor delivering 1,450 CFM. This is why it is capable of servicing up to 5 machines concurrently for roughly 6-8 hours in a day.
There are times when despite knowing the right dust collector for your workshop, only its price will make you pull back and pick a cheaper one. Well, if the Powertec DC5370 Wall Dust Collector happens to fall within your range, you should definitely grab it and never look back. First off, its design speaks volumes about what it can do.
Its sleek and streamlined design usually makes it easy and comfortable to carry it around your workshop. Rather than buying a low quality and less mobile dust collector that won’t do a good job, it is far better to have the Powertec DC5370 instead. Finding another dust collector as comfortable and reliable as the Powertec DC5370 and for the same price may be a challenge.
Sure, after reading about the 1-micron bag filter in the Baileigh DC-1450C, a 2.5-micron bag may seem a little bit old-fashioned. However, since the Powertec DC5370 is smaller compared to the Baileigh dust collector, then a 2.5-micron bag is a great achievement on this dust collector. With a 2.5-micron bag, your dust collector will be able to get over 98% of the dust particles generated when you use your tools.
Once again, this is not the most powerful motor we’ve seen so far, but it stands out a lot in the Powertec DC5370. As the focus on this dust collector was more about convenience than simply bumping up to the highest achievable specifications, it was made to use two voltages – 120/240V. This makes the Powertec DC5370 compatible with the voltages of various different regions e.g. 120V for the U.S. and 240V for the U.K.
Terms such as “compact and portable” have been used with the previous dust collectors, but not so many mention that they can equally be wall mounted. If space is an issue to you, then you would see why wall mounting can be a neat feature for you. The smallest of woodwork shops can be fitted with truly compact dust collectors like the Powertec DC5370.
Equally similar to the Powertec DC5370 is the Shop Fox W1826 which becomes a great choice in case your workshop is small. In comparison to the Shop Fox W1685, this dust collector is the smaller variant of the two as the W1685 is a dual stage dust collector while the W1826 is a single stage dust collector.
Both the two use the 2.5-micron bag. This time, the W1826 comes with a 2 cubic feet dust collection bag which is still ideal in case you have a small workshop. The bag features a gauge window that you can use to assess the level of dirt before deciding to empty it.
For its size, 1HP motor gets the work done with ease especially since this dust collector only offers single stage dust collection alone. In addition to this, it is also good to note that even though the Shop Fox W1826 can work with both 120V/240V, it is primarily prewired on the 110V. So, you should be sure to check this out before plugging it in.
Compared to the W1685’s dust collection bag, a 2 cubic feet dust collection bag is both small and inconvenient to someone with a large workshop. This is why woodworkers with relatively smaller shops will benefit from the Shop Fox W1826. The bag is also fitted with a bottom zipper which you can use for easy removal of debris.
A dust collector with 537 CFM is ideal for a small workshop setting. For one, it is quiet and does has a far gentler suction than larger dust collection systems. Secondly, a lower CFM means that the dust collection bag does not have to be huge as well. This makes it complement your small workshop better. Since its height with the inflated bag is merely 44″, you have a lot of options as to where you would like to place the dust collector.
Oneida Air Systems’ the Dust Deputy is a simple and affordable dust collector that most people would easily pass by without knowing its real perks. Reliability is something that comes easy for this dust collector as it is capable of separating up to 99% of the materials that go through it before they reach the vacuum.
In this way, it keeps the filters of your dust collector in check since they will remain clean for a longer duration and you wouldn’t have to occasionally change them. The Dust Deputy also works with both wet and dry vacuums, and this increases convenience. You will thus be able to use your dust collector in any kind of environment without worrying about causing damage to it.
Its name says it all. Like the Baileigh DC-1450C, the Dust Deputy equally comes with a cyclone design which is more than helpful when it comes to removal of dust and debris. With the cyclone design, these elements get removed way before they reach the filter, and this is advantageous in different ways. For one, the lifetime of your filter will be prolonged. Secondly, it would take a while before the dust collection bag fills up.
Thanks to the Dust Deputy’s Neutral Vane Technology, its suction power is now 20% more efficient. This patented technology utilizes centrifugal force for the capture and removal of up to 99% of the dust in the dust collector’s air stream before it reaches the vacuum filter. This way, it becomes much harder to get clogged filters.
The Dust Deputy was made to use either wet or dry vacuums. However, it was also made to be more accommodative of various other devices as well. The tapered 2.0″ ports for secure fittings, for instance, can accommodate different types of dust collection hoses based on size.
Generally, choosing a dust collector does not have to be much of a big hassle especially when you know what you want for your workshop. It is good to always consider the amount of dust that you normally get on a busy day and then look for a dust collector that will be capable of handling that volume. Optionally, you could also build your own custom dust collector, but that may rob you some precious time.
There are various factors that can lead you to purchasing a particular dust collector. However, one of the worst ways would be by simply copying what you saw in another workshop. This is because not all dust collection systems are built equally, and one person’s solution might not necessarily be your solution.
First things first, though, it is essential to point out that there are two main types of dust collectors which are:
Single stage dust collectors are mostly ideal for small shops where the amount of dust is very little. On top of this, they come with an efficient filtration system. One great thing about single stage dust collectors is that they can be attached to power tools easily. They thus save you the effort of going all DIY and finding a solution that works for you.
Dual stage dust collectors, on the other hand, are at your disposal in situations where single stage dust collectors can’t handle with the rate at which you are generating dust. While both the single and dual stage dust collectors essentially use the same principle to operate, a dual stage dust collector works slightly differently. It filters larger dust particles at the bottom of the barrel while lighter dust particles settle on top.
Because of that, dual stage dust collectors are considered more advantageous as they allow you to do much more than you would have with a single stage dust collector. They are also keep your workspace tidier because of the amount of dust they can handle. While there are many other sub-types of both dual stage and single stage dust collectors, we would only like to point out to the existence of cyclone dust collectors because they are more common.
The size of your workshop will equally dictate the dust collector that would be more efficient for your case. Larger woodworks shops require more efficient dust collectors like the dual stage dust collector.
Portable collectors are great for smaller shops as they are easier to move and they also come in various sizes and at affordable prices. Fixed dust collectors are more powerful but require professional installation.
The size of the main motor determines both the performance of the dust collector and its efficiency. Dust collectors with 1.5HP, for instance, are more common among pro woodworkers.
By Darion Robinson
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