Best Dust Extractor for a Small Workshop (Top 4 Choices)

Woodworking shops can get messy without a good way of keeping the dust down. And a messy shop is not good for anyone.

An efficient dust extractor (basically a vacuum) can prevent your work area from becoming covered in sawdust.

Small workshops can be the biggest offenders in getting messy because there is no space for equipment and it is hard to clean the floor (stuff in the way).  These are usually garages and other tight areas where beginners have set up tools to do a little woodworking.

You may not be invested enough yet to get a full scale dust extractor.  An industrial one is probably too powerful for what you need.

And that is perfectly fine. But you still need something to keep things clean.

Below I have summarized the top choices for different categories.  Each unit also has a more in depth review of its pros and cons.

Summary

Accessories

Top Pick

My top choice for this job is to combine two different items: a regular Shop Vac and the Dust Deputy Cyclone Separator Kit.

The reason for this is twofold:

1. The Shop Vac is a versatile vacuum.  You can use it for all kinds of things: cleaning your car, house, etc.  So you really need one of these anyway (or you may already have one). And they aren’t expensive.

2. The Dust Deputy makes it work well with sawdust and debris.  It keeps your vacuum filter clean and increases the time between emptying the dust.  The suction power stays strong using this system.

My Top Dust Extractors (for a small shop)

Below I have reviewed the features and pros and cons of each piece of equipment.  Some may be a better value than others, but rest assured that they will all get the job done.

Each review is structured the same: I list the details of each unit, talk about what’s good and what’s not, then give a short summary.

If you choose not to read the full review, I have compiled each TL;DR statement here.

1. Dust Deputy Kit (w/ Shop Vac)

Last update on 2018-11-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The dust deputy is great for a small garage workshop.  You only need to set up the kit that you get with a capable shop vac.  The shop vac can be just about any brand that has a decent capacity.

I recommend going with this Shop Vac .

Many of the others will also work well.  The Dust Deputy description says it can work with pretty much any wet/dry vacuum.

Features

  • Cyclone removes dust and debris before reaching filter
  • Kit includes all necessary components
  • Easy waste disposal

What’s Good About it

It works really well.  You can have a cyclonic dust collector for a fraction of the price of the large industrial ones.

And beyond that, it is very customizable.  Just searching online and around there are many people who have built carts and stands for this unit.  You can build a portable cart that you can move between each tool.

The part that I like the best is how you can simply use a basic shop vacuum.  Some people already have one of these so it is a small step to upgrade to this.

What’s Not So Good

It may not be powerful enough to use on multiple machines, or install permanently with hoses going around the shop.

You will be better off using it with each machine individually.

Also, sometimes the different size hoses, input and output diameters can be different across different tools and vacuums.  This issue can only be solved by working on each tool as you use it.  Once you get things setup properly this will not be an issue.

TL;DR

An efficient and quick way to upgrade your shop to using a dust collector.

Buy it on Amazon 

2. Dewalt DWV010 Dust Extractor

Last update on 2018-11-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This piece of equipment is more than just a regular shop vacuum.  It can perform just as well as some permanent dust collectors.

It has some great features with just a few drawbacks.  I think it is important to realize how portable this unit is.  It is all self contained, so you can grab your tool and this vacuum and head off to a jobsite somewhere.

Features

  • Vacuum power activation with power tool
  • High, 130 CFM airflow
  • Automatic filter cleaning every 30 seconds

What’s Good About it?

It works very well for tools around the woodshop.  You will cut down on the dust dramatically, more than hooking up a regular shop vacuum.

One great feature is that you can plug your tool into this vacuum and when you start the tool the vacuum also automatically starts.

Also, the HEPA filters ensure that you are filtering out what you need to.

What’s Not So Good?

One drawback is that sometimes using the power tool activation can trip breakers if you don’t have the wiring set up to handle both tools on the same plug.

Also, the differences between hose sizes can be frustrating.  It is difficult to find the correct connections for everything.  This is always a frustrating problem.

TL;DR

A great portable vacuum with tons of suction power.

Buy it on Amazon 

3. Shop Fox 1HP Dust Collector

Last update on 2018-11-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This dust collector is meant more for the enthusiast than the part time DIYer.  It can be a more permanent fixture in your workshop.

But it is still low-scale enough that it is meant for a garage style workshop.  This is not an industrial dust collector.

It has several great features that we will get into below:

Features

  • 800 CFM
  • Works on 110/220
  • Large dust collection bag (easily removable)
  • On/Off switch with lockout

What’s Good About it?

This machine will do a great job because of how much air it can move.

Not only that can it move more air than a shop vac, but it is also quieter.  This is due to how it works with the electric motor and fan.

If you will be working in your shop frequently and don’t need much portability (you can still move this one around your shop), then you may need to upgrade to a unit like this one.

What’s Not So Good?

As with the others, finding compatible hose connections is a challenge.  This is to be expected and is unavoidable with any units.

Some of the materials may not be as high quality as found in higher end units, but few users have reported issues with this.

It is not as portable as a shop vacuum.

TL;DR

A powerful dust collector for small shop use.

Buy it on Amazon 

4. Jet DC-1100VX-CK Dust Collector

Last update on 2018-11-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This dust collector features a vortex cone design inside the unit that helps wood chips fall into the collector bag.  This is meant to increase the efficiency of the filter.

It also has a larger bag so that you can use it longer in between bag changes.

This collector is quite good for a small woodshop, maybe too good for some people.  But if you are not willing to compromise then I wouldn’t hesitate to get this one.

Features

  • Quick collection bags
  • Industrial controls
  • Vortex cone design increases filter efficiency
  • 1100 CFM

What’s Good About it?

It has very good suction power at 1100 CFM.  Also, you avoid clogging the filter as often with the special vortex design that Jet has incorporated into the unit.

It is still on portable casters so you can move it around your shop or install it permanently.

What’s Not So Good?

This unit is more expensive than the others and requires more of an investment.  It also is not a two stage cyclone collector, so you will be missing out on that aspect that is more prevalent in the higher price ranges.

One way to fix that issue is to get a Oneida air system cyclone separator (also the maker of the dust deputy kit).   I will talk about this more below.

TL;DR

A powerful dust collector meant for more continuous use.

Buy it on Amazon 

Cyclone Separator

Single stage dust collectors can be prone to getting the filter clogged with sawdust frequently.  To fix this issue you need a two stage collector.

It is possible to turn any of these dust collectors listed here into a two-stage cyclone collector.

All you need to do is buy a cyclone separator, and install it before your vacuum line gets to the main unit.

Oneida makes some high quality pieces of equipment that I recommend using. The 4″ Super Dust Deputy Deluxe is probably the best choice because it comes with its own container.

Conclusion

If you intend on doing woodworking as more than just a once every few months hobby, then you should purchase some kind of dust collection system.

It doesn’t have to be pricey – many of the options above are quite affordable.  And they don’t require you to set up some intricate system.

It will pay for itself in cleanliness and you won’t be breathing in any sawdust. Especially if you also buy an air filtration unit (even more important for small shops).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A simple guide to finding the best dust collector for your woodworking shop.  Find the top 4 options along with a great tip for making these machines work better.

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