Rockler - Dust Right Vortex (Rating: 5)

I recently bit on Rockler's sale on the Dust Right Vortex. I figured it was time to add a separator to my little Fein shopvac, considering I use the vac for all my shop's dust collection (TS, BS, router table, drum sander, planer, etc.). I have the small model (Turbo I), so you can imagine how quickly it fills up. Up to this point, I was using it with the stock 5 micron cloth bag filter.

The DR Vortex is simply a 10 gallon bucket that comes with a lid (the money part), 5 casters, a handful of black plastic fittings, and a 3 foot long flexiform hose. During Rockler's promotion which I think is still ongoing, a Shopvac handle fitting is also included.

The accordion flex hose is for connecting the vac to the lid of the separator. The user must provide their own hookup to the tool. Standard 2.5" hose fits over the lid fittings (plus a hose clamp of course), and standard 2-1/4" shopvac hose/fitting (e.g. Ridgid vac hose) fits inside the fittings.

The casters work fine. A rubber mallet to pound them in helps.

In use, the unit has worked splendidly. I was skeptical that a separator wouldn't hinder my shopvac's suction. It doesn't even in the slightest. I'm still able to use the lowest power setting on the Fein when I want to keep the noise down, and it seems to have the same amount of suction it did before.

An important aspect of a separator is to empty the tank once debris reaches the "full" line, which is about 2/3 capacity. Otherwise, a lot of debris that should be separated out will end up reaching the vac. The blue translucent plastic of the tank is fantastic here, as it's easy to see the shadow of your debris inside.

The only gripe I have, and it's a minor one, is that there isn't a great seal between lid and bucket. This becomes particularly evident when collecting from my planer, which has a fairly strong "blow". I get dust and debris collecting on the lip of the bucket and there is a little bit of fine dust leak from the lip of the lid. This can probably be remedied easily with silicone caulk.

At the same point I got the DR Vortex, I cleaned out my shopvac's tank, and switched over to the paper bag + 1 micron filter. I figured, aside from being a wise filtering upgrade, this would allow me to assess the DR Vortex with a clean slate. I'm happy to report that the separator works as advertised, and collects probably 95% of dust and debris. I have filled the bucket completely once so far (using almost all of my tools - TS, BS, router table, drum sander, RO sander, shop cleanup). The third picture shows the inside of the vac and filter after collecting a full bucket-load. Nothing gets past the paper bag (more of a testament to the Fein setup than the DR Vortex), and there is literally nothing on the filter. The paper dust bag is probably 10-20% full (it looks much more full than it is because it is inflated).

The second photo is after a cleaning and washout of the DR Vortex. I then leveled an endgrain cutting board on my drum sander after glueup and you can see the resulting dust pile - the majority of the sanding dust ended up in the separator. The few walnut chips you see in there are from three short rips at the tablesaw.

Overall, I'd highly recommend the DR Vortex, especially if you hate emptying the shopvac and cleaning the filter, or if you have a pricier shopvac you'd like to protect. Unfortunately I can't compare this to the Dust Deputy as I've never used that unit.