A good dust extractor should do three things. It should clean up any mess you make without wasting time, it should keep you from inhaling toxic particles, and it should do its job without being cumbersome.
Not all dust extractors and vacuums do that, though. To help you find one that does, I’ve picked the five best dust cleanup tools around, and I’ve reviewed each of them based on their abilities to do the three things you should be judging them on.
It’s important to find the best unit for your needs. Each type of vacuum performs differently in different situations, and you do not want a vacuum that slows down your productivity.
Dust Extractor: Buyer’s Guide
Dust extractors come in a lot of different variations, and each one is more suitable for some jobs than it is for others. So, I’ve created this buyer’s guide highlighting the differences between different components to help you pick the right one for your workshop or job site.
This is probably the most important thing you should look at when you go to buy a dust extractor. Some models function like your household vacuum, but some have to be mounted onto your power tools.
The portable variety is the most common, and some portable vacuums can perform the same job as the onboard variants. They’re typically what you want to go for, but on-board models aren’t obsolete.
On-board dust extractors allow you to prevent having to clean up in the first place. They attach to the motors of your favorite power tools, and they collect dust as it’s being created.
That’s great for office environments where you might not be allowed to create a mess while performing maintenance, and it’s also the only way you can comply with some OSHA requirements for specific work environments.
However, you can’t drag an onboard unit around to clean up messes around your workshop. So, they’re pretty limited, and they’re not a great choice as a general-purpose tool.
Suction isn’t too important for most people. Pretty much any vacuum can pick up wood dust and other light materials, but some tougher jobs will require units that are rated for 50 inches or more of static water lift strength.
You’ll typically only need something that powerful if you work in an area where water or other liquids are frequently spilled. It can also come in handy on construction sites with very dense materials laying around.
First off, if you’re looking for an on-board unit, you can completely ignore this section. It’s important for portable units, though.
Battery operated dust vacuums will allow you to walk wherever you want to clean, and you won’t have to worry about cords. They provide the most freedom when you’re using them. However, you still have to worry about their batteries dying, and that can put a damper on jobs that typically take more than an hour to do.
Corded units can run pretty much indefinitely, but you’ll have a cord in your way every time you try to move around, and you’ll have a limited amount of reach. That’s not a problem if you have enough outlets around your work area, but very large worksites will almost certainly require a battery-operated cleaner to thoroughly vacuum every inch of the workspace.
4. On-Board Storage
A few of the options I reviewed come with accessories, and many other models come with their own attachments. However, if you don’t have a way to store those attachments on the unit, you’ll find yourself walking back to whatever you use for storage every time you need a new piece.
To solve that, you want a unit that has individual slots for each of its attachments built into the shell. A decently sized storage compartment will work, too. It just won’t be as organized.
5. Automatic On/Off
Automatic functions are necessary for vacuums that attach to tools. You don’t want to have to turn your power tool on, kneel over, and turn on your vacuum. That can be dangerous, and it’s fairly inconvenient.
These features aren’t necessary for models that don’t attach directly to a power tool, though. You really don’t need them if you plan on neglecting any attachment options, either.
6. Water Detection
Most dust extractors are designed to pick up dry particulates and liquids. Obviously, sucking up water with an electronic tool can be dangerous. While most wet vacuums are designed to prevent shocks from the water inside of their housings, some sort of automatic shutoff is almost a necessity when dealing with water.
A machine that measures water levels is also a good thing to have. If you suck up too much water, it can spill out and cause an electrical shock. A water-level detector prevents that.
7. Hose Length And Tips
A workshop has a lot of different crevices in it. Think of all the tight spots between your different power tools and tables. There’s a lot of them, right?
You need a hose that is long enough to get into those crevices, and it should be flexible enough to bend around parts of your tools.
Having access to different tips is also a necessity. A wide tip can allow you to vacuum large spots of empty floor space with ease, and small detailing tips can help you get the smallest crevices squeaky clean.
Dust Extractor: Comparison Table & Main Features
Dust Extractor: FAQs
A dust excavator is a system used to improve air quality in commercial, industrial, and shops. By doing this, the dust excavator makes the quality of the breathable air to be better. This makes the air safe after all the particulate matter in the environment, and air has been removed. A dust excavator works by capturing, conveying, and collecting dust.
Whenever you work in an environment with so much dust, the dust excavator is the most appropriate equipment that will help you keep your working conditions clean, safe, and dust-free.
Do I Need A Dust Extractor?
You may think you do not need a dust excavator, but it may be the most appropriate tool you should always have. A dust excavator may not be used in Sandling, shaping, or even sawing, but you will require it whenever you have a cleanup task, and you do not want to risk the health of the people you love. This means that a dust excavator is necessary for anyone who wants to maintain and improve the air quality they are breathing.
Can You Use A Vacuum As A Dust Extractor?
You may want to remove any dust in the air or the environment, but the problem is that you do not have a dust excavator. However, when you have a vacuum, you do not have to worry since you can use your vacuum as a dust excavator. The vacuum picks up all the fine dust just like a dust excavator could do it. The only problem with using the vacuum as a dust excavator comes when the vacuum has fine dust inside since it can clog.
What Is The Difference Between A Dust Extractor And A Shop Vac?
You must have a system to help you in the dust collection of your workshop or any workspace. With this in mind, you have to decide on whether you will buy a dust excavator or a shop vac. It would be best for you to know the differences between these two systems to decide what to buy. Some of the differences between a dust excavator and a Shop-Vac that you must have in mind include:
•The working mechanisms
The dust excavators and shop Vacs’ appearance is quite different, but a very obvious difference you may note is the difference when you are operating them. The dust excavators have been designed to clean workshops and work at a higher speed as compared to the shop Vacs.
The shop Vacs are low volume but high speed and high-pressure machines and will deliver much vacuum power when sucking up all the debris and dust. For them to do this, they make use of motors that are not only large but also very powerful. They also have nozzles that ensure the concentration of the vacuum pressure is constant.
The dust excavator, on the other hand, uses low pressure, but a high volume system. Therefore, they will produce less pressure will take huge volumes of dust and debris from the air.
The sizes of both the dust excavators and shop Vacs are very different. Only the dust excavators and shop Vacs come in smaller sizes, making them mobile and appropriate to use with most handheld tools. The dust excavators’ large sizes make them perfect for connecting with the extensive stationary tools that emit huge amounts of debris and dust.
•Separation of debris
The dust excavators can separate debris, making their disposal easier since they have a 2-stage working mechanism. On the other hand, the shop Vacs does not have this feature, and hence all the collected debris is never separated.
Can You Vacuum Sawdust With A Shop Vac?
Yes. You do not have to stay in a workshop full of sawdust just because you lack a dust excavator. Your shop Vac plus some other accessories can help you to capture sawdust eradicating the nuisance caused.
What Is The Difference Between A HEPA Filter And A True HEPA Filter?
A HEPA filter and a true HEPA filter have some differences that every customer must know.
The efficiency of the True HEPA filter is higher as compared to that of the HEPA filter. While true HEPA’s efficiency is 99.97% on particles of 0.3 microns, the HEPA filter is 90-99% of 0.3-micron particles.
Secondly, the HEPA filter has a cheaper and compact air purifier, which makes it cheaper. On the other hand, the true HEPA filter has a bigger and a premium air purifier, making it more expensive.
Lastly, the HEPA filter has a medium filter density, while true HHEPA has a very high filter density.
Can You Clean And Reuse A HEPA Filter?
HEPA filters have fibers that trap dust, impurities, dirt, and allergens in the air. With time, they will accumulate, making the HEPA filters to be dirty. Therefore, you need to clean the filter so that you can remove the build-up. This restores HEPA filters to normal, which allows them to be reused.
1. Makita XCV11Z — Amazon’s Choice
- Powerful BL Brushless motor delivers 57 CFM and 27 inches water lift of suction using an 18V LXT Lithium Ion battery (battery not included)
- Filter cleaning system is designed to maintain optimum suction efficiency and longer filter life. Working Sound Level- 76 dB(A)
- Efficient HEPA filter captures 99.97% of particulates. 3 microns and larger
The Makita is powered by a motor that can deliver 57-CFM of suction. The motor is powered by an 18-volt lithium-ion battery. Due to its efficient motor, a fully-charged battery can last for more than an hour of constant use without losing any of its suction.
However, the battery isn’t included in the overall package, and that’s the Makita’s main drawback. Having to buy a battery separately increases its overall cost, and it’s not convenient.
The Makita does have a few features that make up for that drawback, though. It has a strap that allows you to carry it around as you use it, and it has a light that warns you when the battery is getting low. The shell is also made from a durable polymer, and it should withstand any abuse that you’re likely to put it through.
2. FEIN Turbo II HEPA Vacuum Cleaner Set, 8.4 Gallon, 1100W — Editor’s Choice
- Outstanding Performance - The Fein Turbo is perfect for the workshop or construction site. With a powerful 1100-watt by-pass motor, this vacuum cleaner can handle even the most challenging jobs.
- Clean Up Any Mess - Whether it's a liquid, dust, or debris, this wet dry vacuum cleaner will take care of it in no time. With a large 8.5-gallon tank and powerful 151 CFM suction capacity, you'll be...
- Keep Your Environment Safe - With HEPA level filtration, you can be sure that even the smallest particles won't escape. This vacuum cleaner is perfect for use in hazardous environments.
The Turbo II has a polypropylene shell, and it can hold 8.4 gallons of dust before it needs to be emptied. The vacuum can also be attached to power tools, and it has an automatic activation function that turns it on when your power tools are turned on.
Its compatibility with power tools allows it to combine the benefits of an on-board dust extractor with the benefits of a general-purpose vacuum.
What sets the Turbo II apart the most is its vast array of included accessories. It comes with a tool for cleaning crevices, tube extenders, a dusting brush, an elbow joint, a HEPA filter, and a collection bag to line the container for easy cleanup.
The only real con to the Turbo II is its By-Pass motor. It’s an 1100-watt motor, and that’s plenty of strength for tough jobs, but there are stronger units available in the same price range.
I recommend this vacuum to people who are generally just cleaning up dust and smaller volumes of liquid spills. That makes it great for small work sites and at-home workshops. Check price at Sears.com.
3. DEWALT DWH304DH Onboard Dust Extractor — Best For Tables And Rotary Hammers
- The dust extractor features Table 1-compliant dust management solution for 1-1/8-inch SDS Plus rotary hammers
- Clear, durable dust box of DEWALT dust extractor ensures users can see when dust box needs to be emptied
- Replaceable dust nozzle to quickly change to new nozzle
One thing I really like about this collector is that it attaches directly to the motor of a tool. That allows it to suck up the dust as you’re using a specific power tool, and it helps prolong the lifespan of your tools.
The collection box is also transparent. That makes it easier to tell when it needs to be emptied, and it lets you see if it’s collecting anything that it shouldn’t be without having to remove the collection box.
The extractor only works with 1-1/8th tables, but it can also fit onto rotary hammers. That makes it a bit limited, but it’s definitely useful if you have the tools it’s compatible with.
For those reasons, I can only recommend this to you if you have the appropriate tools to use it. It’s too limited to work for people who just want a general-purpose tool. Check price at Sears.com.
DEWALT DWH304DH Short Demonstration Video
4. Vacmaster VF408 with 2-Stage Industrial Motor Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum — Best Budget Option
- 5 HP motor and 4 gallon tank.Voltage:120 volts. Amperage : 7 amps.1488.0 watts.Specific uses:Floor
- On board storage for all accessories. 18-Foot Power Cord with Automatic Cord Rewind
- Secure fit hose. If dust comes out from motor cover then cartridge filter is missing or damaged attach or replace cartridge filter
The container itself is made from polypropylene, and while this particular model is a 4-gallon variant, but you can also buy it in smaller or larger capacities. The price fluctuates depending on what size you choose, but all of them are very reasonably priced.
One of the best parts of this vacuum is that its motor can handle wet or dry messes. You won’t have to worry about frying it by vacuuming up a puddle of liquids.
It’s also powered by an outlet instead of a battery. That is both a pro and a con. Battery operated vacuums can be moved around more freely than this one, but they also have to be charged frequently. The Vacmaster can be used indefinitely.
I recommend this dust collector if you’re constantly cleaning your shop. The standard model has plenty of room for dust, and it’s designed to handle big messes. It’s also fairly inexpensive. However, its five horsepower engine is a little weaker than other options. So, you’ll want to pick something else for very difficult messes. Check price at Walmart.com, Sears.com, Lowes.com.
5. Festool 583492 CT 26 E HEPA Dust Extractor — Best For Job Sites
- Automatic Tool Start & adjustable suction with tool triggered or manual on-off switch and infinitely variable suction force, can be used wet or dry.
- Supplied with 11-1/2 foot long anti-static hose that is flexible and kink-resistant and will minimize shock hazards as well as reduce static cling.
- Sys-dock and hose garage feature allows for the storage and transport of Festool Systainers (not included) on the top of the flat, low-profile unit.
The Festool (official website) has a massive 6.9-gallon capacity, but it moves around with more grace than just about any other option. It has a surprisingly low center of gravity, and it has over-sized wheels to help it roll over debris that may be on your workshop’s floor.
The inside is lined with a self-cleaning bag that is supplemented with a HEPA filter to prevent you from inhaling toxic particles or wood dust. To go along with that, it also has an anti-static hose. The hose prevents clogs from forming, and it can help prevent electrical shocks when you’re working in a flooded area or around other liquids.
As an extra safety feature, it automatically detects water levels, and it shuts off if those water levels are above its safety threshold. This can keep you and your coworkers safe when working around shock hazards such as water.
I highly recommend this vacuum, but it’s not a practical choice for everyone. It’s pricey, and it’s overkill if you just want to keep your at-home workshop free of dust. That being said, it’s probably the best vacuum you’re going to get if you have the budget for it.
If you want a vacuum that is just as good but a little cheaper, this Festool product is a great alternative.
Festool Video Review
I personally feel that Makita is the best option for most people. It’s small, affordable, and powerful enough to handle the most common messes in a workshop.
However, every other option on this list can perform specific tasks better than Makita. The key to picking the right one for your needs is to establish exactly what you plan to use the vacuum for.
Thank you for reading this buyer’s guide, and I hope it helped you find the right dust vacuum for your workshop or job site.
What To Look For In a Dust Extraction System?
Not only is it really important for the health of the people that are working in the business, but definitely you can reduce your cost by using dust extraction as well. When you’re looking for a dust extraction system, there are a few considerations you need to make. The other benefit of using dust extractions are the reducing consumables that you use on a job.
What Type of Dust?
Also, the types of dust that we’ll use out there. So cement sheet, we’re cutting all different types of cement sheet products. Silica dust has now also become quite a feature, MDF, plaster dust, and this type of thing. So with that, you need to make the right decision about what type of dust that you’ll be working with. We’ll then point you towards the best dust extractor for you. The other one that you need to think about is getting on and off-site.
Mobile or Stationary?
It’s something that you really need to think about and make sure that you’re getting the right type of filtration and the right type of system that you can use with the dust extractor. So using the wrong dust extractor is one thing, that’s why we need to choose the right one, but also using a tool connected to it really needs to be designed for dust extraction. This can make a big difference in how you work healthy and also depending on how much time you need to do to clean up afterward.
So there’s dust out there that is what we call non-hazardous dust. We move into more hazardous dust like MDF, timber, and then we look at different types of dust like plaster. So you really need to look at what type of dust that is. Even asbestos, carcinogens, so again, we can offer a particular dust extractor for that so it’s important that you get the right one. How much dust you’re going to produce is really important as well. Again, this will determine what dust extractor is best for you as far as size and taking on-site.
So different things like brakes and that type of thing on it. So is it mobile enough to get on-site is the other one. And are there different bag options? So of course with all the different dust types sometimes we need to contain the dust. Other systems work where we may need to have an open bag system. This could be in relation to plaster or something like that.
So by having different bag systems you can, you can adapt it to whatever you need. Also, Bluetooth. So Bluetooth functionality. This is also a benefit where you’re working with cordless tools but still want to use that and mains power dust extractor and also for cleaning up options and this type of thing. It needs to be auto on and off, okay? So auto on and off for the tools.
The reason that happens is that we have got a flat filter inside the unit and the flat filter doesn’t take up any of the space inside our container. So when we look at filling up a dust bag on-site, we can totally have a solid dust bag taking all the dust away from our application. This really means that we can use it effectively, but also economically when we talk about purchasing bags with other units that you can see on the market. Sometimes it’s very unlikely that you’d fill them to 50%.
This is a way of using a dust extractor really effectively and making sure that you always can fill the container capacity. Less time that you need to spend changing bags and fewer bags that you go through at the end of the day. So with that, extraction really is the heart of the Dust Extraction System.
So the most important thing you look at first is what type of dust you are working with. This will then point you towards the type of extractor you need and so that it can still be compact and functional enough for you to get on and off-site. And the system designed to work with all the tools, which is really important as well.