Dust Cobra Dust Extractor, 17 Gal

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Review by JBrow posted 04-25-2018 01:52 AM 3822 views 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Dust Cobra Dust Extractor, 17 Gal No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Purchase. The 17 gallon Oneida Dust Cobra Dust Extractor along with the optional 2.5” x 25’ CleanShop Vacuum Hose Kit replaced a 1980s Craftsman Shop Vac outfitted with Oneida’s Dust Duty. The Craftsman was showing signs of wear. The Craftsman began making noise when shut off, probably dry bearings.

Shop vacs and dust extractors were considered, but the Dust Cobra seemed to offer more. It is designed for a 2-1/2” hose. An Industrial Dust Cobra, which includes a drum dolly and Oneida’s dust bin level sensor, was available but not purchased. Rather the standard Dust Cobra 17 Gal. HEPA Dust Extractor was purchased.

Assembly. The Dust Cobra was delivered by UPS undamaged in several boxes. About an hour was required for assembly. Gaskets, washers, nuts, and bolts were included. Assembly consisted of attaching the cyclone to the metal lid of the steel drum. Once the cyclone was attached, three metal bracing rods were installed to keep the cyclone in a vertical upright position. The bag hold-down fittings were added to the cyclone and to the steel drum. After the Gore Cleanstream HEPA cartridge filter was installed and a plastic debris bag placed in the collection drum, the blower/motor unit was placed atop the cyclone and the entire assembly placed atop the steel drum and locked in place using the included drum locking ring. Assembly was completed by attaching the included tubing to the cyclone and drum bag hold fittings.

Modifications. No modifications to the Dust Cobra were made. However at some point I may add a viewing window and LED lamp to the drum lid to allow monitoring of the debris level in the drum.

The old Craftsman shop vac made its home on a plywood platform outfitted with castors and offered a place for various nozzles. The old shop vac cart was modified to support the Dust Cobra. Fortunately the footprint of the cart was sufficient to accommodate the Dust Cobra, which is a compact unit although a bit taller that the Craftsman shop vac setup.

The modifications to the cart were to build a small plywood cabinet whose height matched that of the Dust Cobra’s 17 gallon steel drum. The top of this small cabinet supports the cyclone and blower/motor assembly when it is time to empty the drum or retrieve an item mistakenly sucked off the bench.

An end assembly was added to the cart. It included a support bracket from plywood to lock and hold the Dust Cobra hose in place. This locking bracket allows the cart and Dust Cobra to be pulled by the hose when needed. The cart also includes an arm where excess hose is kept.

Lastly, a switched receptacle and cord wrap were added. A long cord and plug power the receptacle where the Dust Cobra receives power via its cord and plug. Excess Dust Cobra cord (about 20’ total length) was wrapped around the cord wrap and kept out of the way. The on/off switch on the unit is left in the on position and the toggle switch mounted along side the cart-added receptacle is used to turn the unit on and off.

Performance. No effort was made to measure static pressure, water column lift, CFM, or decibels.

The machine offers excellent suction and does an excellent job with general shop cleanup. Beyond general shop cleanup, the Dust Cobra is clearly, by far, superior to the Craftsman shop when it comes to preparing a project for finishing. I vacuum and then use a tack cloth on a project before applying a finish; to remove dust left by the vacuum. Previously, at least two tack clothes were required to remove residual dust left by the Craftsman. The Dust Cobra pulls far more dust from the surface and now project clean up requires less than one tack cloth.

On a recent project where plywood was rough cut with a track saw system, the Dust Cobra managed to collect most of the dust. My track saw system uses a standard Skilsaw with no integrated dust collection port. I added a shop made dust collection port to the saw. I strongly suspect that the poor design of the shop-made Skilsaw dust pick-up port explains the roughly 10% to 20% of the dust that escaped the Dust Cobra.

The Dust Cobra was attached to the radial arm saw’s dust port and significantly improved dust collection. The radial arm saw normally throws saw dust into a pick-up connected to shop’s dust collector. However, with the radial arm saw’s dust port plugged, the dust collector alone missed some saw dust. When the Dust Cobra was connected to the radial arm saw’s dust port and with the dust collector on, almost no saw dust escaped.

The integrated but manually activated reverse air flow filter cleaning is a nice feature although the Dust Cobra has not been in service long enough to assess its effectiveness. Even if ineffective, the Gore Cleanstream filter is easy enough to remove and cleaned by taping the filter, using compressed air, or washing in a stream of water. The blower assembly containing the filter cartridge quickly and easily detaches from the cyclone body.

The noise level is about that of a standard household vacuum cleaner. The vacuum bag holder works well.

Emptying the drum is not especially fun; but then that is never a fun job. As unpleasant as it may be, it only takes a couple of minutes. With my setup, the drum lid is disengaged from the barrel, freeing the cyclone unit (which is attached to the lid). The hose is disconnected from the cyclone. Then the cyclone assembly is lifted off the drum and placed onto the top of the small cabinet mounted on the cart, getting the cyclone assembly out of the way. As a guess, the cyclone unit weighs about 15 to 20 pounds; it can be lifted with only minor effort. The bag is easily lifted from the steel drum and either emptied and reused or a new bag installed. The vacuum bag retention system is an effective feature that avoids the need for any mechanical bag retainers. Once the bag is installed, the cyclone assembly is lifted onto the drum, the locking ring secured, and the hose reconnected. A bag is not required and the predrilled holes for the bag retention fittings can be plugged. Since a steel drum full of debris is a weight I choose not to lift, I am using a bag to line the steel drum.

The optional 2.5” x 25’ CleanShop Vacuum Hose Kit includes a 25’ smooth interior walled hose. It appears to be the same hose sold for use with the Oneida Dust Deputy. The hose is heavy when compared to the Craftsman hose, making the hose a bit more difficult to maneuver and handle. Its 25’ length is convenient in my two garage workshop since it reaches almost everywhere. Overall, the quality and length of the hose are very much appreciated.

The accessory brush is worth mentioning. The bristles are long and do not seem prone to bending out of shape. Hopefully the brush will hold up well with more use.

Negatives. The unit came with all the hardware needed for assembly. However somehow there was one oversized bolt instead of the properly sized bolt. It was a common bolt that was easily replaced.

I found the location of the fairly small rocker on/off switch was inconvenient. It is located on the underside of the blower unit out of sight. I did not want to have to reach and feel for the on/off switch. Therefore, the switched receptacle was added, making turning the unit on and off more convenient.

I have read that the suction from the Dust Cobra is too much for a random orbital sander. Since my sanders are not connected to the Dust Cobra, I cannot confirm this claim. However if indeed the Dust Cobra has too much suction, suction can be reduced in a manageable way by installing a wye fitting with one leg terminated with a blast gate. The blast gate can be opened partially to bleed off some of the suction.

It is an expensive unit apparently designed for contractors and easily worth its price for them. It could be a difficult expense to justify for a hobbyist. However Oneida claims it to be American made.

Recommendations. I rated the unit with 4 stars since an incorrect bolt had to be replaced during assembly and due to the poorly placed on/off switch (relatively minor shortcomings). However on performance alone I give the Dust Cobra 5 stars. It is a “quiet”, yet powerful unit, seems well built, and I expect it to last many years. I recommend the unit for shop and project cleanup and for attaching to dust producing hand held power tools. I am unsure how well the Dust Cobra, marketed as a dust extractor, would function in place of a dust collector.

View JBrow's profile


1368 posts in 1721 days

2 comments so far

View Redoak49's profile


4795 posts in 2789 days

#1 posted 04-25-2018 10:58 AM

I looked to see the price and not cheap. However, being true HEPA is very nice. Also, it pulls almost twice what my Festool does in terms of cfm.

I think your solution for sanding will work. I have that problem with my Festool even if I turn it down and made a bleed hole in a fitting for it

View JAAune's profile


1881 posts in 3117 days

#2 posted 04-27-2018 03:37 AM

I just bought one of these a couple weeks ago.

More or less, I agree with the bulk of the review. Only mine had all the correct hardware and the on/off switch wasn’t an issue because my intention was to use a remote switch (Long Ranger). So the Cobra gets a 5 star from me as a result.

There has been no shortage of vacuums (2 Festool CT26’s, 1 Fein 9-55-13, 2 Rigid WD1851’s, Dayton 55-gallon drum vac and three others) in my shop but the Cobra has the others mostly idle and allowed me to sell the Dayton. One Festool is used for sanding and the rest are hooked up to dedicated setups. The Cobra is attached to a full-shop PVC collection line.

My biggest vacuum problem now is that the employees might have gotten addicted to shop cleaning. The place is very clean now with the daily vacuum sessions. People used to hate dragging a vacuum along by the hose and cleaning filters and would put off vacuuming for as long as possible.

I will add that with proper dust port design, the Cobra can handle some dust collection tasks. It handles a fully-enclosed router table almost as well as my 3HP cyclone. The key is keeping the air movement focused in a small enough area that the 2.5” hose can handle the airflow. One reason I bought the Cobra was to take some of the load off the cyclone which was being asked to handle three machines simultaneously when it’s only meant for 1-2 machines.

-- See my work at and

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