Dust is annoying and a pain to clean up especially in your woodworking shop.
Unfortunately, dust is unavoidable in your DIY home or small woodworking shop. Sometimes, on the small occasional job, you can get by just wearing a dust mask or respirator. When woodworking more often it’s nice to set up a dust collecting system of some sort.
This is where dust collectors come in. A dust collector in my opinion is a must if you do a fair amount of woodworking. Dust collectors make working on projects more enjoyable because you don’t have to spend as much time cleaning up when done with a project.
Here are the best dust collectors to suit every workshop space.
The Top 10 Best Dust Collectors
Our op Pick Dust Collector
Oneida Air Systems Dust Separator
There is only so much a vacuum cleaner can do. This dust separator connects to a regular vacuum and protects the vacuum’s filter from dust particles and large chips. Not only is this beneficial for collecting dust particles that you won’t even see, but it will save money on buying replacement filters for your vacuum cleaner.
This dust separator is compatible with any vacuum model or make. It works to collect a range of materials, including wood dust, concrete dust, grass, pet hair, metal shavings, water, and drywall dust. The bucket or waste container must be bought separately, and it is recommended to be a minimum of 90mm thick if using a 5-gallon bucket.
Oneida Air Systems PROS
- Compatible with all vacuum cleaners
- Protects vacuum’s filter from debris and dust, which saves money on replacements
- Can collect anything from dust particles to pet hair, making it versatile
Oneida Air Systems CONS
- Waste container bucket must be purchased separately
Runner-Up Dust Collector
WEN 3401 Dust Collector
If you’re wanting a dust collector that really sucks (in the best way), look no further. The WEN 3401 features a 5.7-amp motor that can collect dust and debris at over 660 cubic feet of air per minute. The 12-gallon waste container means you don’t have to worry about emptying or cleaning the collector for a long time, so you can focus on what really matters.
The standout feature is that it can either be used on wheels for easy transportation, or it can be mounted on a wall. Both are accessible ways of collecting dust without the fuss. It also comes with a 4-inch dust port that can connect to all woodworking tools.
WEN 3401 PROS
- Wall-mounting and floor options for easy accessibility
- A 12-gallon waste container can hold large amounts of debris and dust
- Powerful amp collects dust and debris quickly
WEN 3401 CONS
- The collection bag doesn’t come with a zipper, so emptying can be fiddly at first
The Rest of the Best Shop Dust Collectors
Shop Fox W1727 Dust Collector
This is an ideal dust collector for those who just want an easily transportable machine. This machine stands upright and takes up little space in a workshop, and is fitted with four wheels and a handle to smoothly move it around.
This dust collector doesn’t require a separate fitted system, which can be a huge money and time saver. With a 120V motor, it can suck anything from shavings to dust within 800 cubic feet per minute. As the waste container is made of plastic, this dust collector is not suitable for metal grinding as it may be a fire hazard.
Shop Fox W1727 PROS
- No separate fitted system required for easy assembly
- Powerful motor to collect dust and debris quickly
- Vertical design takes up minimal space
- Wheels and handle for easy transportability
Shop Fox W1727 CONS
- Plastic waste bag not appropriate for metal grinding
Shop Fox W1685 Dust Collector
Some dust collectors may only have weak plastic collector bags, which isn’t appropriate for metal grinding and anything potentially flammable. This dust collector, however, features a heavy and durable filter and collection bag that is appropriate for collecting a variety of materials.
The design of this collector is tall, slim, and comes with wheels for easy portability. It features a 110V motor and can collect dust and debris of up to 1280 CFM. Made of a steel impeller and powder-coated paint, this is a durable dust collector for a range of materials.
Shop Fox W1685 PROS
- Slim and vertical design with wheels for space-saving and portability
- Powerful motor can collect dust and debris at 1280 CFM for quick collection
- Made of durable materials to handle wood and metal materials alike
Shop Fox W1685 CONS
- Powerful intake could be a safety issue if the safety key is not in use
Shop Fox W1826 Wall Dust Collector
Some woodworkers may prefer a wall-mounted dust collector to save space on the floor or surface. This Shop Fox product is designed to fit on a wall above a working space to collect the dust or debris directly from the source. It includes a wall-mount bracket and locking screw system for easy installation.
Whilst some wall-mounted dust collectors make emptying the waste container difficult, this bag filter comes with a window and a zip. The window indicates when the bag is full, and the zip makes for straightforward emptying. With a wireless remote to control the 110V motor, this unit is all about convenience.
Shop Fox W1826 PROS
- Wall-mounted unit for space-saving
- Collection bag comes with window and zip for easy emptying
- Wireless remote for convenient adjustments
Shop Fox W1826 CONS
- 537CFM sucking capacity is less powerful than other dust collectors
Bucktool Wall-Mount Dust Collector
Another wall-mount dust collector, this unit is designed to sit near a workspace to collect dust and debris straight from the source. It features a 13-gallon capacity dust bag to hold a large amount of debris and dust at a time, as well as a 120V motor for powerful sucking.
The dust bag comes with a zipper to easily remove the bag to empty the insides. It is made of cloth, so can be used over and over again – handy for saving money on bag replacements! What’s more, the unit is quiet enough that you don’t have to wear ear protection.
- Zipped dust bag for easily emptying
- Wall-mounted unit is a space-saver and collects debris and dust directly from the workspace
- Quiet unit for a peaceful workspace
- Large unit will need the appropriate wall space
Duststopper Dust Separator
This dust separator is a great option for those who prefer to use their vacuum cleaner for collecting dust and debris. With the ability to stop 99% of dust before it hits the filter, this unit can be a huge money-saver by protecting the quality of your vacuum cleaner.
This product has the easiest installation on our list. Assembled in less than a minute, it simply connects to your vacuum and lets you focus on your work! As it is so lightweight, users may need to weigh it down if they intend to move the vacuum around.
- Fast assembly to increase productivity
- Stops 99% of dust entering the filter
- Deposits dust and debris into a bucket for easy emptying
- Lightweight unit may need weights when moving the vacuum around
POWERTEC DC5370 Wall-Mounted Dust Collector
Another wall-mounted product, this POWERTEC unit is a uniquely compact dust collector that is most ideal for small workshops. It features a 1HP electric motor with an airflow capacity of 537 CFM, so whilst it isn’t the largest dust collector, it can still collect debris and dust efficiently.
The 2.5-micron filter bag is reusable and comes with a window to see how much dust or debris is in the bag. It also is equipped with a zipper for easy emptying. If you’re looking for a compact unit that sucks up dust well without breaking the bank or buying something too chunky, this is an ideal product.
POWERTEC DC5370 PROS
- Compact, wall-mounted design is a space-saver
- A strong motor for its size sucks up dust efficiently
- Micron filter bag comes with zipper for easy emptying
POWERTEC DC5370 CONS
- Little but fierce with fairly high noise levels
Oneida Air Systems Dust Separator
This dust separator is ideal for those who prefer to utilize their vacuum cleaners without damaging the vacuum filter. Compatible with any vacuum cleaner design and model, this separator works to prevent fine dust and debris from entering and damaging the vacuum filter. Longer service life for the vacuum, and more time to focus on productivity!
With the waste container included, this unit can hold up to 5 gallons of dust and debris. It also comes with wheels for easy portability.
Oneida Air Systems PROS
- Compatible with all wet and dry vacuums
- Protects vacuum filter from dust and debris to prevent costly replacements
- Wheels included for convenient portability
Oneida Air Systems CONS
- Plastic material won’t last long when dragged around, so it’s worth buying or making a cart
Milescraft 1500 Dust Collector
This dust collector works best with sawdust and fits most table saws up to 17” in diameter. This product has a sturdy design with four legs – whilst it’s not easily portable without wheels, a user can have peace knowing the structure isn’t fragile.
The four-legged design also means nothing needs to be removed to empty. Simply put the waste collector underneath the filter bag, open the zip, and it will empty right into the bucket! Though this unit connects to a table saw with velcro that could wear out in time, it can be amended with customized magnets.
Milescraft 1500 PROS
- Designed specifically for fine sawdust
- The sturdy four-legged design provides a strong and durable structure
- No removal for emptying the dust
Milescraft 1500 CONS
- Velcro connection to table saws won’t be durable enough
What to Consider Before Buying a Dust Collector
A dust collector is vital for a woodworker who is in a workshop often, so it’s important to understand exactly what factors to consider when looking for one. Each dust collector works differently, i.e. stationary or portable, shop size (space), materials, you use and how many pieces of equipment you need it for.
Before you do anything, consider how much space you can afford to lose in your workshop. Some spaces are much bigger than others, so it won’t matter if you buy a portable product or a large collector. However, if spare space isn’t on your side, it might be worth considering a wall-mounted dust collector. These are the least invasive but cost more money and take more time to install.
If you do have a large space, this will be more air for the collector to work with. You need to look for a dust collector with a large airflow rate (measured in CFM) so it can prevent accumulated dust in a larger area.
Dust Separator vs Collector
As both terms tend to be thrown around, here’s some clarification.
A separator connects to the vacuum hose and acts as a pre-filter or container/separator to protect the main vacuum impeller from heavy chips or other heavier debris like nails. The separator will only allow fine particles through which will save time for easier disposal and money from heavier debris causing possible damage. This makes clean up easy and saves money.
The size of the motor will indicate how powerful a unit is at collecting dust. We recommend anything with a 1 HP motor for those in a medium to small-sized workshop. This is a good size for a smaller area, but won’t be enough for a larger one.
A larger workshop requires more power as there is more space for dust particles to fly around. Look for anything over 1.5 HP, as this is preferred by many hobbyists as well as experts.
Stationary vs Portable
If you have a smaller shop I wouldn’t even worry about a stationary unit as it will be more expensive and time-consuming to install. You could just move the vacuum to an unused corner of the shop and pull the hose where it is needed.
It boils down to your overall budget, size of shop and your equipment. I would say if you dont spend a ton of time in the shop a smaller portable system should suit you just fine.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much CFM do I need for a dust collector?
CFM stands for cubic feet per minute and indicates how much air a dust collector can go through to collect dust particles and debris. The larger the figure, the more powerful it is! We recommend looking for a dust collector with a minimum of 300 CFM. This won’t be the most powerful collector but would be ideal for smaller workshops.
Some dust collectors have an airflow capacity of over 1000 CFM, which is generally recommended for experts and those in large workshops. This is because large spaces offer more air for particles to fly around, so a higher CFM rate is needed for the dust collector to work efficiently.
How do I choose a dust collector?
It is most important to consider the size of your workspace. A smaller workshop is more likely to offer less floor space for a dust collector to reside, which is why wall-mounted dust collectors are generally so favored. The amount of air in a smaller space will also be less than a larger space, so the strength of the motor and airflow doesn’t have to be as high as some collectors.
Likewise, a larger room will be better suited for large and portable dust collectors. However, these will require a more powerful motor and CFM airflow rate as there is more air for the collector to work with.
It’s also worth considering how you intend to connect a dust collector. If you want to utilize your vacuum cleaner, opting for a dust separator is a good option!
Can you vacuum sawdust?
Sawdust will clog up a vacuum cleaner’s filter. This is because sawdust particles are must larger than regular dust particles and come in excessive clusters of dust, which is too much for a vacuum cleaner filter to handle.
If you wish to use your vacuum cleaner instead of investing in a dust collector, we recommend looking into dust separators. These will protect your vacuum and increase its service life.
What should you not vacuum?
A vacuum cleaner can handle normal dust, but the filters cannot suck up larger particles including sawdust, wooden chips, ashes, or metal grindings amongst other materials. Anything too thick will clog up a vacuum cleaner, which will lead to costly replacements or irreparable damage
Do I need a dust collector?
If you have a workshop or work in woodworking, a dust collector is a vital investment. Exposure to dust can lead to health issues including occupational asthma, nasal and sinus issues, eye problems, and even lung cancer. To protect your health and maintain a clean working space, a dust collector is needed.