Penn State 2 HP dust collector review

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Review by PPK posted 03-17-2016 03:06 PM 7068 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Penn State 2 HP dust collector review No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I noticed that there don’t seem to be any reviews about Penn State dust collectors on here, and being as I bought one over Christmas time 2015, here’s my review.

1) This machine is pretty high value for the price, in my opinion. I paid ~ $270, and another $70? for shipping. I just looked today, and it seems to be selling for $230 right now, but is out of stock. See item 5e below for more on that!
It is also made overseas, but what machine isn’t anymore?

2) The feature that sold me on buying this over a Grizzly or Harbor Freight or other “overseas” cheap model is that it comes standard with 1 micron bags. The bags are not quite like any I’ve used before. Think of a mattress pad cover. Kind of fibrous/stringy and soft on the inside. I suppose this makes it able to catch the really small dust particles. I would note that the wood chips (such as from a planer) do tend to stick to the inside of the bags. I don’t think this really hurts anything. I have not noticed any negative impacts on performance, and they are obviously not causing tears or anything.

3) This machine really sucks. It’s rated at 1500 CFM, and I have no way to verify that, but I have used several 1 to 1.5 HP dust collectors (Jet brand) and this WAY outperforms them. I have two blast gates attached and it will easily provide plenty of suction to two high-dust machines such as a planer and tablesaw simultaneously.

4) Changing the filter bags is easy. The band clamp that most are familiar with works well, and the bags are not super tight and hard to fit over the metal housing. Note that the top filter bag is taller than most. I suppose this allows more square inches of filter area. I believe it will still fit under and 8’ ceiling.

5) Here’s the negatives I’ve found thus far, and the reason for a 4 out of 5 star rating: a) there was some shipping damage (the motor cover is a little dented, but does not affect operation) b) I called customer service, and they said they’d send me a new cover, but never did. c) The motor seems to howl at times, I wonder if the main motor bearing isn’t as tight of tolerance as it should be? It comes and goes. It doesn’t seem to affect the speed or anything. I’m not sure what to think of this, as I’ve heard other dust collectors whine/howl at times too. d) there is no screen on the intake. I did accidentally suck up a whole plastic 2-1/2” vacuum cleaner fitting. Luckily, it got caught in between the impeller and the housing, and didn’t get totally destroyed. I got it shut down fast, and removed it with no damage to the D/C. After that, I ran some wire in an “X” pattern across the intake, and have had no problems since. I do know other brands have a simple screen across the intake. I also know that this probably reduces CFM, but destroying an impeller REALLY reduces CFM (to zero). e) This model seems to go out of stock at Penn State fairly often. You can join the email wait list, which is what I did, and I only waited a month or two. But this could be a big problem if woodworking is your business, not your hobby!

6) Finally, if you like the canister style and not the bag filters, Penn State does offer a model. I could not justify the added expense at this time. I could at a later date buy the canister for the top and plastic bag for the bottom to fit on my existing unit. I would recommend this product to others as a high-value dust collector.

-- Pete

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1768 posts in 1618 days

7 comments so far

View GFactor's profile


82 posts in 2408 days

#1 posted 03-17-2016 05:01 PM

Sounds like even a simple, cheap, chip separator would be very useful in protecting the impeller. They probably don’t include a screen since most people will use a separator in one form or another. It will save your impeller and limit the times you have to empty the bag. A Win – Win.


-- To Steal Ideas From One Person is Plagiarism; to Steal From Many is Research…

View PPK's profile


1768 posts in 1618 days

#2 posted 03-17-2016 05:30 PM

Yeah, I have a home made trash can style cyclone, but its made for my shopvac (predecessor to this) and I’ve not switched it over yet. I may just build a whole new one that’s scaled up. Its the “Thien Cyclone Separator Lid” which works amazingly well. I built mine for about $20-30.

-- Pete

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9603 posts in 3137 days

#3 posted 03-18-2016 07:45 PM

I have the 2 HP grizzly and aside from the canister, this Penn unit looks identical…. probably rolled off the same assembly line in China, but were painted different colors for different contracts.

Mine is very loud… kind of like a howling noise… but it’s air flow and air getting beat up by the impellor. Not bearing noise or out of balance noise.

I agree 100% that these 2 HP units far out-suck the 1.5 HP units.

And if it’s a true 2 HP, it has to run off 220 vac.

Sound like you got a solid machine for a great price.

I like the pleated filter canisters, but in all honesty, we run multiple bag systems where I work and they are just fine. Once seasoned with a dust cake on the inner wall, felt style bags actually filter a lot of the fine stuff.

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View Tennwood's profile


112 posts in 3989 days

#4 posted 03-22-2016 02:02 AM

I bought the 1-1/2 HP Penn State, with the pleated canister, back in 2009 and it is still running fine. I wrote a review back then but it apparently fell off the Lumberjock’s cliff awhile back. The only issue I have now with it is that it is starting to click when winding down. (bearing or ?) It seem to function fine otherwise. It is loud though, but I think all the single stage DCs are. I put a dust deputy (see review: in the system and get almost no dust or chips in the bag now. Even at 1-1/2 HP and with the cyclone separator in the system, I have a 35+ foot run to my jointer and it does fine.
I am sure you will enjoy it.

-- Jim, SE Tennessee, "Don't spare the kindling Dear, we have plenty"

View DRSWoody's profile


65 posts in 2188 days

#5 posted 03-23-2016 02:50 AM

I have the 1 1/2 HP Penn state also My table saw is only 10 ft away. My Dewalt planer and Jet jointer are 30’ away and by far the most dust/shavings producers in my shop. The 1 1/2 HP does a fine job and has never plugged a pipe in the 3 yrs I’ve owned it. I use a 30 gal chip collector with a vortex lid it catches about 75% of the chips that never go through the impeller. It is quite loud but my shop has 6” insulated walls and ceiling so it doesn’t annoy the neighbors.

-- R. Smith Central Iowa

View libraryman's profile


45 posts in 4553 days

#6 posted 03-24-2016 04:21 PM

I bought this dust collector quit awhile back and really like it. I noticed an improvement in performance when I switched the standard 110volt wiring to 220volt. It was very easy to do. I too wish I had a canister .. the bags need vacuuming often inside to work properly.

View scottfl's profile


11 posts in 1502 days

#7 posted 07-01-2016 10:16 PM

Hi all, like many of oyu, I have spent countless hours researching before deciding on a psi tempest cyclone. However, I was told by their customer service yesterday that they were discontinuing their entire line of cyclone dust collectors! Guess I’ll be going with oneida now

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