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Woodworking tools and machines generate large volumes of dust.
Working for extended periods in dusty environments is more than irritating.
That said, dust collectors are a must in small shop settings.
Without one of the best dust collectors, your visibility is reduced, and you are at risk for lung damage down the line.
We’ll walk you through eight of the best dust collectors today, so you can see which makes the best fit for your shop.
Here's 3 products we picked out that thought you would be interested in depending on your budget...
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The Best Small Shop Dust Collector with Reviews 2020
Here’s a list of the best small shop dust collectors we found:
1. JET DC-1100VX-CK Dust Collector
- Fan-cooled motor enclosed and lubricated for continuous action.
- Vortex cone maximizes collection capacity & effectively separates chips, so the filter doesn’t get clogged.
- Runs extremely quietly at less than 80 decibels.
- Despite the heavyweight performance, the JET weighs under 30 pounds and has four casters to enhance maneuverability.
Not so Good
- This is certainly not the cheapest dust collector, but it represents a solid investment
- Some customers reported issues with quality control, so check carefully when your package arrives
The JET DC-1100VX-CK is the ideal combination of industrially-rated performance married to relative portability.
The highly capable single-phase motor develops 1.5 HP and is designed to run all day, every day.
You’ll get robust airflow and a pioneering vortex cone on the JET. You’ll capture almost all 2-micron particles and 84% of minute debris as fine as 1 micron. The cone is designed to only let the finest particles make their way to the filter, so you’ll stay safe with less clean-up needed.
Collection bags are a cinch to snap on or remove. Bags are transparent, so you won’t end up replacing them too soon. The single-stage dust collectors make light work of separating chips while compacting debris, so you’ll fit more in the bag.
Whether in your home workshop or a commercial setting, the JET DC-1100VX-CK is expressly designed to withstand sustained punishment without letting you down.
While this is not the cheapest dust collector, you should think of it as a tool more than an accessory. Invest in yourself and your health so you can focus on your woodworking.
2. Shop Fox W1666 Dust Collector - Best Value
- Potent 2 HP motor built to run at 3450 RPM for lengthy spells
- Outstanding air suction of 1550 CFM to deal with the dustiest environments
- Filter bag for 2.5-micron particles keeps all debris tightly contained
- Pair of 4-inch inlets in a 6-inch inlet enables you to run a single machine or several machines
- 5.4 cubic feet capacity gives you plenty of mileage from your bags
- Flexibility to set up the Shop Fox as a stationary unit or wheel it around if your workshop needs a more portable dust collecting solution.
- Highly effective steel impeller breaks down larger debris and lets only small particles through.
- Removable lockout key on safety switch prevents any unwanted start-ups.
- Both the filter and collector bags are built for serious duty.
Not so Good
- Hose length and power cords are the only restrictions if you want to shift this dust collector around the shop
- The bottom bag can be challenging to install
The mid-priced Shop Fox W1666 is even stronger than the W1685 without costing too much more. For an unbeatable price to performance ratio, you’ll get power, capacity, and highly effective dust collection.
The relatively small footprint of this unit allows you to move it around the workshop as required or you can set and forget, leaving your Shop Fox in one place. You’ll need to watch out for the power cable and the hose, but you’ll otherwise get plenty of freedom of movement.
The safety switch comes equipped with a removable lockout key, so you can stay in charge of who fires up the unit.
The steel impeller will last longer than plastic. It also ensures that large chips don’t slam into the bag at terminal velocity. Instead, you’ll only get smaller debris into the filter bag.
If you kick up lots of larger debris with your tools and machinery, the Shop Fox W1666 will break down and capture almost everything letting you breathe easily.
3. Shop Fox W1727 Dust Collector - Best Budget
- Works well in confined shops, Less than 55 inches high & weighing only 50 pounds.
- The portability saves you the expense of installing a fixed dust collection system without sacrificing your safety or comfort
- The plastic bag is simple to empty directly into the trash can
- Rugged enough for extended use at an exceptional price point
Not so Good
- If you generate large volumes of dust and debris, you’ll find the capacity restrictive
- Not cut out for systematic production work
The Shop Fox W1727 might be small in stature, but it punches above its weight.
While you’re better off with something larger if you are kicking out huge amounts of dust, for home workshops or scaled-down commercial shops, the W1727 makes perfect sense. It’s only good for using a single tool at once, and the bag isn’t as large as the W1666. Then again, neither is the price tag.
If you don’t want a small and underpowered dust collector, but you still need portability, the 1 HP Shop Fox is the obvious solution. Whether you’re a home woodworker with a spacious workshop or a one-man contractor working out of a little shop, the W1727 is affordable and effective.
Any budget product inevitably involves some sacrifice, but aside from its stature and unsuitability for production-line projects, there’s nothing much to knock about the W1727.
If you knew you needed dust collection but thought you couldn’t afford it, think again. For less than the price of a power tool, you can work dust-free and carefree.
4. Central Machinery Dust Collector
- Generous bundle with two bags, casters, and hex wrenches thrown in
- Powerful performance without making too much noise
- You can run a router and table saw at the same time, and this dust collector would grab everything
- You’ll be able to use very affordable Big Horn collection bags, saving you money over time
Not so Good
- A finer filter would be nice, but you can’t expect everything in this price range
- Extremely heavy and difficult to shift around even with wheels
This extremely versatile unit from Central Machinery was only slightly weaker compared to the Shop Fox W1727 as the best budget dust collector.
As with any cheaper product, you’ll have to accept a few limitations. It would be nice if this dust collector dealt with particles finer than 5 microns. It’s also a very bulky machine. If you’ve got a more fluid workshop configuration, it won’t work well.
If, however, you need a stationary dust collector ideal for running more than one tool for extended periods, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the output. While a pair of bags hardly costs a fortune, it’s nice to get them included at this price point.
You can fight back against the cost of replacement bags by using the Big Horn brand. These are available online at extremely keen prices.
Whether you’re a home woodworker or you run a smaller shop, this 2 HP dust collector is a versatile performer at a pocket-friendly price. What’s not to love?
5. Shop Fox W1685 Dust Collector
- While smaller than the W1666, you won’t notice dramatically reduced performance.
- Cap off an inlet if you want to use a single tool or branch the line when you want to use more than one.
- 110-volt appliance using relatively little electricity.
- 2-year limited warranty for your peace of mind.
Not so Good
- As a medium-sized dust collector, this is not suitable for heavy industrial use.
- Quality control issues for some users so check contents of package carefully upon arrival.
Not everyone wants or needs a hulking giant to deal with workshop dust. Whether you’re a committed home woodworker or you’re a small outfit with a slimline workshop, maybe you’re looking for a mid-sized dust collecting solution.
Although the lighter weight and smaller stature mean this particular Shop Fox is no use in an industrial backdrop, it’s a very capable performer within reasonable parameters.
Despite isolated complaints about build quality, we’d say the steel impeller and rugged components translate to great value for money.
This 1.5 HP motor manages to deliver broadly comparable firepower to its bigger brother, the W1666 while occupying less real precious real estate in your workshop.
If you’re a home hobbyist or you want something for a workshop with limited space and less aggressive requirements, the W1685 is a hidden jewel in the Shop Fox range. When great dust collection costs this little, there’s no excuse not to kit out your workshop.
6. Powermatic PM1300TX-CK Dust Collector
- Program this unit remotely for up to 99 minutes for your convenience.
- Impeller benefits from 3 HP motor to enhance performance further.
- Clamp-free bag release makes your life even easier.
- Rock-solid 5-year warranty shows the confidence Powermatic has in this dust collector.
Not so Good
- This is certainly not the cheapest dust collector, so it will be a major investment.
- Remote control only works with a clear line of sight.
The Powermatic PM1300TX-CK is by no means the least expensive dust collector up for grabs.
Would you look for the very cheapest power tools with no regard for quality? If not, why do the same when your long-term health is on the line as well as visibility in your workshop?
This dust collector is user-friendly right down to the clamp-free bag release, so you’ll streamline things in the workshop instead of complicating them.
If you’ve got a cluttered workshop that’s awkward to move around, you’ll be able to control the Powermatic by remote and program the timer.
Although some competiting dust collectors pack larger motors, few can beat the 10 cubic feet of dust storage you’ll get with the Powermatic. The brisk airflow also elevates this unit above much of the weaker opposition.
Aside from the eye-watering price tag and the minor limitations of the infrared remote, the Powermatic delivers in excellent style if you have the budget to spare.
7. JET DC-1200VX-CK Dust Collector
- While dust collectors are never whisper-quiet, the JET is rated at less than 85 decibels. You should still wear ear protection, though.
- Innovative cone design eases work for the filter and increases durability.
- Available in bundles with bags included at a nominal extra cost.
- 5-year JET warranty removes any headache from purchasing.
Not so Good
- High price, but that’s what you get with quality
- Constantly removing the smaller bag can be annoying
JET dominate the dust collector space, and this hard-hitting model makes it clear why that is the case. Despite the price tag, it remains an industry favorite.
With pioneering vortex technology, you’ll not only see very little by the way of clogging, but you’ll find the filter is built to stay the distance. This takes as standard that you’ll push your dust collector hard.
The 2 HP motor gives you all the power you need for most purposes while the vigorous 1200 CFM of airflow ensures the air you breathe is safe, clear, and free of all airborne contaminants.
As you’d expect, the JET is a bulky unit, but the casters let you wheel it around if you need to. Plus, it’s not the heaviest dust collector at just 37 pounds.
If you’re prepared to invest in the DC-1200VX-CK, you’ll be able to run two tools simultaneously without a mouthful of sawdust and obscured vision.
8. Grizzly G807 Dust Collector
- Strong dust collection with a very small footprint, so a nice compromise for shops with limited space.
- The size and portability of the Grizzly mean it’s no hassle to move around if you need to.
- Unbeatable price even if you do make a few concessions.
- Ideal if you run one power tool at a time in a home workshop.
Not so Good
- Modest 500 CFM is about as low as you’d like to go with air flow
- Tends to clog up slightly when using a planer although a suggested fix is to cut out the grid at the point the hose connects
If you’re looking for something harder hitting than a shop vac, but you don’t want to spend a fortune, Grizzly’s budget 1 HP dust collector is well worth popping on your shortlist.
While some users knock this unit for being underpowered, bear in mind Grizzly has a broad range with 10 HP industrial dust collectors at the upper end. We’re assuming you’re not in the market for one of those which is why we opted for the pocket-friendly runt of the litter.
You won’t get dust finer than 30 microns trapped inside the filter and capacity is limited to just two cubic feet, but you’ll still enjoy breathing much more easily if you install this diminutive dust collector in your shop at home.
If you’re clear in advance about the limitations of this dust collector, but you appreciate the advantages of portability and price, the Grizzly is a smart buy
Is it worth buying a more expensive dust collector?
Price should always form a part of any buying decision but should never be the dominant factor.
With dust collectors, prices vary dramatically in line with intended purpose and capacity. If you’re a home hobbyist using power tools occasionally, you don’t need to shell out for a beast suited for commercial action. If you’ve got a busier shop and you use multiple tools simultaneously, that’s the time to step up and invest a little more.
Sell yourself short with an insufficiently capable dust collector, and you’ll soon be wishing you hadn’t.
Remember: Buy cheap, buy twice.
What to consider when buying
It’s All About Air Flow
Arguably the most important measurement with dust collectors is the air volume rating in cubic feet per minute (CFM).
This figure should be considered a rough approximation. It doesn’t account for static resistance but will give you an overall idea of whether the dust collector is suitable for your intended use.
Efficiency of Filtration
If you’re prepared to dig a little deeper, 2-stage filtration is the gold standard.
With larger debris chopped down to size, so it doesn’t fly straight into the filter at full clip, dust collection is more effective, and your filter will also last longer.
Filters are rated in terms of the smallest particles they’ll trap expressed in microns. 1 micron is just 0.001mm thick, so you’re talking about dust invisible to the naked eye yet potentially damaging to your lungs.
Type of Debris You’re Generating
Since not all dust collectors can filter all types of debris, it pays to think seriously about what kind of irritants you need to deal with.
If you’re generating any type of rough or sticky dust, you’ll need a specialist unit.
If, however, it’s just sawdust you need to dispatch, most regular dust collectors will hit the spot.
Performance vs. Portability
If you’re planning to use your dust collector as a stationary unit, you won’t need to worry too much about portability.
Being able to maneuver your machine around can be essential for some shops, though. Make sure you don’t obsess about getting the most powerful dust collector you can find if you need something mobile.
We’ve steered clear of any tiny models, but some of the smaller units above can be wheeled around with relative ease.
What’s a single-stage dust collector?
With a simple filter or bag in place, a single-stage unit will capture dust as small as 2 microns, but you won’t do better than that with a single-stage.
What’s a cyclone system?
A 2-stage system, larger debris is intercepted when it’s spun around a drum then the very fine particles are further filtered. While more expensive, these 2-stage cyclone dust collectors are more efficient and more effective.
Surely a dust collector is not necessary if you wear gloves and a face mask?
Unfortunately, you won’t be protected against the finer particles that a dust collector can trap away. If you’ve got asthma or any kind of respiratory issues, it’s doubly important to take all necessary safety precautions. In a woodworking shop, these precautions should include efficient dust collection, or you might run into health problems later down the line.
Can you clarify what CFM ratings mean in real life?
You should look for a dust collector with a CFM rating of 700 and above for most regular home workshop needs. Once you get to 1100 CFM and above, your dust collector will be robust enough for commercial use.
Wrapping it up
If you take the time to honestly analyze your needs and intended use, buying the best dust collector is not complex.
All the models we reviewed today are more than vigorous enough to keep your home workshop safe and clean. Step things up a gear to the larger models we looked at if you’ve got a small commercial outlet and need first-rate dust collection.
That said, the JET DC-1100VX-CK is our top pick due to its strong performance and portability. It’s great for the experienced worker who is always in the shop.