Dust Deputy vs. Small Dust Collector

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Forum topic by mdoleman posted 01-14-2016 02:33 PM 4316 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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39 posts in 1344 days

01-14-2016 02:33 PM

Topic tags/keywords: dust collection shop vac dust dust deputy

Can someone please bottom-line this for me: what is my better option for a small work-space, a Dust Deputy with (something like) a 6-ish HP shop vac, or a smaller/wall-mounted dust collector?

I’ve been doing on-again/off-again woodworking projects for 20+ years, and it is finally time to do something about the dust.

I have a detached, small, one-car garage (12 by 20) converted to shop space. I run a table saw, 10” band saw, drill press, chop saw, power sanders, router, etc… The usual. My projects are small-ish: a bit of smaller cabinetry and furniture, bows, musical instruments. I’m primarily a weekend worker.

From what I read of the Dust Deputy solution, it sounds perfect, but by the time I acquire the unit and upgrade my existing shop vac, I’m more than half the way to a small, wall-mounted, dedicated dust collector (I’m looking at the Shop Fox W1826).

I’ve been wanting to upgrade my shop-vac, anyway, and space is definitely a factor. So I like the idea of putting my shop vac to work as the dust collector, too. But does it work as well? Or will I be disappointed and wish I’d just gone with a dedicated dust collector in addition to a good shop vac?


15 replies so far

View WhyMe's profile


1175 posts in 2041 days

#1 posted 01-14-2016 02:58 PM

I believe the Shop Fox will do better with moving higher volume of air to handle larger dust output of tools. The thing is I’d still add a cyclone separator. Cost wise the cyclone and shopvac is probably all you need if you are not a heavy woodworker.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5897 posts in 2201 days

#2 posted 01-14-2016 03:19 PM

It sounds like you my have already decided what you want to do. I would go with the dust collector, then over time upgrade that to meet your needs as it will perform better at getting some of the dust that might otherwise become airborne vs. using a shop vac as the air volume is significantly greater with a dc over the vacuum. This can be very helpful especially when performing operations that generate a great deal of dust or chips like resawing, heavy stock cutting, jointing & planing.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View MrFid's profile


893 posts in 2384 days

#3 posted 01-14-2016 03:36 PM

Probably it depends on what tools you’re collecting dust off of. From a big table saw/jointer/planer I think you’d want the dust collector. If most of your dust comes from smaller tools (sanders, etc), the DD/shop vac does work well, and has the added advantage of being portable. The advantage of the DD/shop vac is that you can buy it in pieces (well, two pieces), and as such the cost can be spread out a little more.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View mdoleman's profile


39 posts in 1344 days

#4 posted 01-14-2016 03:52 PM

Thank-you for the feedback. That is pretty-much what I was thinking. I didn’t realize that it was a good idea to use a cyclone even with a dust collector. That’s good to know.

The only other consideration (which I forgot to mention) is that my garage currently only has a single, 20-amp circuit :-( I’d prefer not to have to run another circuit (the garage is detached with an underground line from the house), so am looking for a solution that is the most efficient, wattage-wise… It seems like the dust collectors are the best in that arena. Most are rated at a much lower horse-power, which I assume means they are running on a lower wattage and thus drawing fewer amps (did I get Ohm’s law right, there?). This is a pretty big deal in the Winter time, since I do run an electric heater as well… Which is a whole ‘nother issue… :-P

Everything seems to be pointing toward a dedicated dust collector, or so it seems. That little wall-mounted Shop Fox model seems to get mostly glowing reviews. At a little over $200, it is definitely within my range, although I assume I will need to spend another $200 on hoses and various hook-ups to make it work for me in the way I want.

To answer a couple of the items that have been posted, as far as my work: I honestly don’t generate all that much dust from the bigger tools. I’m more or less content to pick-up dust after-the-fact, from the table, chop, and band saws (well, maybe not the chop saw so much since that dust tends to go airborne). It’s the sanders that really produce a lot of fine, airborne dust that I’d like to capture at the source. My understanding has been that it’s the opposite of what someone else here has said: i.e., that dust collectors are better than shop vacs at grabbing the really fine, airborne dust.

Anyway, thanks again…

View clin's profile


1057 posts in 1476 days

#5 posted 01-14-2016 06:48 PM

As MrFid said, for something large like a table saw you need to move a lot of air to do it well. But given your limited electrical supply, I’m not sure you can run a table saw and any useful size DC.

I’m new to this and in the position now where I use a shop vac with a dust deputy. I also have a Jet room air filter as well. This still works to collect almost all the dust from my table saw. More when I’m ripping with the blade guard and its associate overarm dust collection.

But this is still letting a significant amount of fine dust escape into the air. I notice this mostly due to the fine dust I find settling around the shop. The air never appears filled with dust. The Jet room filter helps a lot with that and I always wear a respirator when using the table saw. And continue to wear it at least 15 minutes after cutting to allow the room filter to clean the air.

Keep in mind that the dust deputy is small and I don’t believe appropriate for a DC. So if you get one, don’t expect to upgrade to a large DC and use it there. You’ll want another large cyclone for that.

As an on agoan, off again woodworker, I would recommend you go the shop vac with dust deputy route. While it’s not ideal for the table saw, it will work very well for smaller things.

Also, I use a bag in my shop vac and a HEPA filter along with the dust deputy. The dust deputies really, really work well. it’s not BS. But a little will get through. The bag is going to catch most of the that and the HEPA filter will get the really fine dust. This works so well that I can’t even see anything on my HEPA filter. A very small amount will get in the bag. But the bag will never fill up. I’ve only replaced my bag once and that was more due to it sort of wearing down since every time you turn the vac on it flexes it.

The bag ensures that if you forget to empty the Dust Deputy bucket, the bag will catch the dust and not clog up your HEPA filter. Also, nothing ever clogs up in this system. That’s what cyclones are really good for. So while the cyclone loads the vacuum some, unlike typical shop vac use, the things continues to draw air as well the whole time. No opening it up and brushing off the filter.

Ultimately the air coming out of this is very clean, unlike most shop vacs that turn into dust pumps.

I’m at the point where I’m prepared to get a full sized DC if I find I’m doing that much work. Since I’m new to this, it remains to be seen how much dust I’ll ultimately be creating. You sound like you may be in a similar position. And if I get a large DC someday, I suspect the shop vac setup will still have it’s place.

-- Clin

View Joel_B's profile


359 posts in 1861 days

#6 posted 01-15-2016 10:27 PM

I am in exact same position, already have a good Rigid shop vac and thinking about adding a Dust Deputy to it.
Would probably make or buy a cart to put the combo on. Was considering a HF DC with a Thien seperator, trash can and Wynn filter but that’s about $500 and takes a lot more space. I figure I can start with the dust deputy and go from there.

-- Joel, Encinitas, CA

View Woodmaster1's profile


1209 posts in 3067 days

#7 posted 01-15-2016 10:55 PM

I have both the shop vac with a dust deputy and a dust collector with a super dust deputy. The shop vac with a dust deputy will work for you until you want to upgrade. Make a cart it will enhance the use of a shop vac with dust deputy.
I use both.

View Holbs's profile


2228 posts in 2509 days

#8 posted 01-16-2016 06:02 PM

hmm… shop vac should run 6-8 amps for general shop vacs while a wall mounted dust collector could be wired 220v at 3.5 amps (Grizzly 1HP wall mount). Being limited to a 20amp circuit, I would say your priority in any electrical purchase is AMP usage. This leaves you with just enough AMPS to run both your table saw (actually..unsure about that.. what amp usage is your table saw?), and maybe a 1 or 2 amps for lighting and/or radio, battery chargers, etc.
Are you sure the electrical feed cable gauge can not carry more AMPS to your detached building? It might be a 10 gauge wire or 8 gauge wire if you are lucky.
Any dust collector you are looking for would actually be more so a chip collector. A smaller AMP dust collector would not have the CFM to really pick up the fine dust especially from sanding. I mean, it’s better than nothing certainly but you will still need additional protection like a mask filter 100% for sure with air cleaners you leave on 2-4 hours after you leave the shop. Or, leave all windows & doors open with a fan :)
And do not look at HP as a defining metric at this stage. Believe me, my 3HP Grizzly dust collector is much much more realistic than my 12HP shop vac or 8HP vacuum cleaner :) The HP difference is mis leading between those type of machines.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

View mdoleman's profile


39 posts in 1344 days

#9 posted 01-19-2016 05:27 PM

Thanks for the reply. I plan to look into the wiring gauge and see if it’s 10. If so I will replace with a 30 amp breaker (assuming my main panel has the capacity, which I’m not even sure of). I re-checked, BTW, and I actually have a single 15 amp out to the garage—yikes… In retrospect, I’m not even sure how I get away with running my table saw, now… :-/

The line from the house to the garage is subterranean, but only for about 10 feet. While I’m loath to do so, I would consider replacing the line… Or, better yet, detach the workshop from the main panel, entirely, and have the power company come out and bring separate service to the shop :-P I assume, though, that I’m looking at $1,000+ for the work… There goes my planer…

View Holbs's profile


2228 posts in 2509 days

#10 posted 01-19-2016 10:15 PM

Would be cheaper to pull a new cable yourself and hook it all up, by far. I did my attached garage from a single light bult & single 15amp 115v outlet to a 60amp subpanel, 5×220v, 8×110v outlets, lighting strips etc as a DIY (I followed code and had everything inspected). Cost was just material of under $200. Granted, underground electrical run is more of a challenge for code and pricing because gotta play it safer and all that.

You say you have a single 15 amp out to garage. Is that the existing plug in garage? Or the underground cable?

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

View mdoleman's profile


39 posts in 1344 days

#11 posted 01-19-2016 10:40 PM

Thanks for the reply… You’ve now got my wheels turning a bit more. The subpanel idea has certainly crossed my mind, but… well… Here’s where you will see that I am not exactly an electrician… I was under the impression that I couldn’t “step up” the amperage from a single line—i.e., make a 15 amp circuit into a 60 amp circuit.

Anyway, here’s the set-up, for clarity: the main line runs into the house where (in the basement) there is a main breaker panel. In that panel is a 15 AMP breaker that connects a single circuit, underground, to the garage. That line looks like 10 gauge, to my eye, but I haven’t measured it.

Once at the garage, that single line just splits off into a couple different 4-by-4 receptacles, one switched, one not. I run everything off those receptacles, including lighting and garage door opener. If I’m running the heater and table saw simultaneously, the breaker will trip if the saw is on for more than a minute or so at a time.

If you are saying that I can simply install a subpanel at the garage, run the existing 15 amp circuit into that, and then run (say) a pair of 20 amp circuits from that, then obviously that’s the best option. But like I said, I didn’t think I could do that. I mean: how? 15 amps is 15 amps, right? That’s the max capacity, no matter what (given the existing line), from the house to the garage…

...Edumacate me, please… :-)

View clin's profile


1057 posts in 1476 days

#12 posted 01-20-2016 12:20 AM

If you use the existing wire, the breaker in your main panel must be sized for that. If that wire is #10 and the wire length is not too long, then you can replace the 15 A breaker with a 30 A. But if the wire run is long from the main panel to the garage, then you need larger wire.

I don’t know the numbers, so you’ll have to look up what wire size you need for a given length of wire run.

Once you add the sub-panel, the breakers in that have to be sized to the wire you use from your sub-panel to your outlets. While I’m sure there are code limitations on how many and how big the breakers can be, your limit will ultimately be the sub-panel breaker in your main panel.

In other words, if the sub-panel breaker in the main panels is 15 A, there’s no point in having any circuits rated above that in your garage. You could put huge wire in the garage circuits with correspondingly large breaker, and you still will have a 15 A circuit.

Also, you are going to want the sub-panel breaker in your main panel to be larger than any one breaker in your sub-panel. You don’t want to have to go your main panel when you could just walk to the sub-pane in the garage and reset the breaker there.

Clearly take advantage of the wire you have if it is large enough. And maybe it isn’t to hard to pull larger wire. That would be my first choice if it isn’t too hard to do.

-- Clin

View Kelly's profile


2413 posts in 3424 days

#13 posted 01-20-2016 12:54 AM

I have a small herd of vacs. That is because I do have a Dust Deputy. I also have three dust collectors. As such, I can speak with a little experience on the matter.

The Dust Deputy allowed me to go to a smaller vacuum, because the vacuum filter efficiency stays up longer. I don’t use it much in the shop, but it gets used a lot for things like vacuuming sheet rock dust and so on. Occasionally, it gets connected to hand held sanders, when the project won’t fit in the sanding booth.

The simple of it is, they are much valued tools in and out of my shop.

For nearly everything in the shop, I use the collectors. For collecting dust and chips from the planer, jointer, router table, sanding station, table saw, lathe, band saw and miter, the collectors are the only way to go. They make the Dust Deputy look like a toy.

The reason I have three collectors is, I can dedicate them to certain equipment and they don’t have to be situated far from them, minimizing the hose needed, thus GREATLY improving efficiency. If I only had one collector, it would be centrally located or rolled to the tool being used.

As my three horse, four bag collector is set up, it runs off about a six foot hose for the dust station. The jointer jointer hose is about the same. The lathe uses about a twelve foot hose and the planer uses a twenty. The table saw is off a Y for the over-arm collector and the bottom port. When I need the collector connected to one of these, I remove whichever device hose is connected and plug in the one I want to use. Doing this takes the same time it takes to open one gate and close another, and does not require Y’s or other things that drag system efficiency down.

My horse and a half (also a Jet) handles the band saw, the spindle sander and the drum-disk sander. The band saw is permanently connected to one of the two collector ports and the other equipment get hose swaps. Eventually, I’ll convert to the approach used on the big collector so I don’t have to open a gate, close another, and swap hoses. I’ll just swap hoses.

I bought a one horse Delta for a successful experiment this summer (leaf and pine cone collection). When not on experiment duty, it baby sits my miter. They make a good pair. For other things, it would only dent them and would not be good money spent. However, the pictures show it can accomplish quite a bit, but the more collector you can run, the happier you’ll be [up to three horses].

If the collector you buy comes with crap bags, spend [less than] hundred bucks and swap them. Use plastic on the bottom (e.g., Home Depot clear lawn bags) and at least a one micron top. Preferably finer.

P.S. The hoses on my system have colored tape to indicate which pieces of equipment they connect to. For example, yellow for the Powermatic drum-disk sander, white for the Jet spindle sander.

In case this isn’t clear, I vote for the collector. A horse and a half unit will get you a long ways down the road.

View Holbs's profile


2228 posts in 2509 days

#14 posted 01-20-2016 02:44 AM

If you are uncomfortable with electricity, plugs, breakers, etc… stop. Maybe you have a friend that can help, better yet a friend who is an electrician or handyman. I handled my DIY electrical project knowing full well the pro’s and con’s. Death, fire, bodily harm, burning house down, creating a black hole. Took 2 months of constant research of wire gauge limitations, how to properly run and terminate cable, asking electrician questions of do’s and don’t.

It’s a handy knowledge to have, similar to wood working. I do not fear electrical projects anymore like I used to (bad memories of sticking finger in light socket as a kid). Take a look at my blog about it. Might give your incentive or strike fear :)

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

View mdoleman's profile


39 posts in 1344 days

#15 posted 01-20-2016 05:47 PM

Thanks much for all the great input on this. I am absorbing and assimilating it all, and will come-up with a good solution, I am sure. For the time-being I am going to focus on a few other shop improvement items and come back to dust collection as the last piece of the puzzle.

I’ve done a bit of home wiring projects, so am not wholly uncomfortable with it. I’d be up for tackling a project such as installation of a subpanel. I’d rather not do it, if I don’t absolutely have to, and so far I have gotten-by on 15 amps. Thing is, I don’t do any truly “heavy” wood-working. My projects are small scale. For the most part I use dimensional lumber, so the heaviest equipment use I do is ripping and cutting to length. The table saw runs for perhaps a minute at a time, 5 or 6 times, over the course of half an hour or so.

But… I’ve been wanting to add a planer and jointer, and I know those items will start to tax the circuit. I’ll be turning 12+ amp equipment on and off a lot more, and thus will be bound to trip the circuit often. Running all that stuff with a dust collector/shop vac isn’t going to work, and I know that. So that’s why, for the time-being, I’ll just continue to judiciously clean-up after each use. It’s no fun, but for now it’s what I have. In the future I will add a dust collector, and that’ll be the same time I re-wire the garage with a pair of 30-amp circuits—one for tools, the other for lighting, vac, dust collector, door opener.

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