A Very Small Question...about dust

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Forum topic by LucasinBC posted 09-28-2010 05:13 AM 2068 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View LucasinBC's profile


62 posts in 4317 days

09-28-2010 05:13 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hi all,

I am going to buy a dust collector in the next month or two, and I’ve narrowed it down to two different models which offer what I need for my shop. My question is with regards to the top bag / dust filter: does 1 micron vs 2.5 micron make a difference in terms of the dust that goes back into the air? If so, how significant is the difference?

I have a very small, garage shop. My main dust producing machines right now are jointer, planer, band saw, random orbit sander, and a plunge/table router. I am also getting myself a miter saw soon, but as of right now I have no table saw and do not plan on getting one in the near future.

I never operate more than one machine at once since it’s just me out there doing hobby work, so I don’t need a heavy duty cyclone system with lots of branches and elbows. I am likely going to connect my DC directly to each machine as I use them. Mostly that will be on my bandsaw.

There is a decent looking, 1HP Craftex (very similar to Grizzly) DC at 825CFM for sale right now near my home. It is going for $250. Has casters, comes with an accessory pack, 3 yr warranty and a 1 micron top filter.

The other option is the Grizzly 1.5HP (G1028z2) unit that has 1300CFM, casters, no accessories, and a one year warranty. This one is way more powerful, but the top bag is a 2.5 micron. It is also going for about $260.

Does that matter and which would be best for a small shop? I thought the usual rule of thumb was always go for more power, but is that always true? Neither have been reviewed as far as I can see, so any tips would be appreciated.


-- Making mistakes is essential in learning woodworking.

12 replies so far

View brtech's profile


1171 posts in 4168 days

#1 posted 09-28-2010 03:21 PM


Don’t use the filter that comes with the DC. Get a .5 micron filter. Wynn Engineering is a good source.

I don’t suppose there is a Harbor Freight anywhere near you? A lot of us have their “2 HP” DC, which you can get for as little as $139.

Generally, more CFM is better, so get the most you can. Upgrade the filter. Put a Thein baffle in it.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 4726 days

#2 posted 09-28-2010 03:26 PM

I agree with brtech. The optimum goal is to remove all dust from the air. This isnt totally possible, but the the lower the micron filter the better you will be.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 5007 days

#3 posted 09-28-2010 03:57 PM

According to pulminary experts, it’s the dust under 5 microns that pose the most health hazzards. Some woods, as we all know are very toxic. Couple this with the fact that our lungs have almost four acres of surface area, thus anything toxic breathed in goes into the blood stream immediately.

While not as swift and dramatic as an injury on the table saw, none-the-less, breathing dust is even more life threating. Everytime I see someone my age carring oxygen around with them I thank my lucky stars. I have a one micron filter on my dust collector and an air cleaner on the ceiling.

This is not and area where you can chose to “save a few bucks”. Get the best dust collection that you can.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 4420 days

#4 posted 09-28-2010 04:06 PM

I second the Harbor Freight unit. Add a Wynn filter, and a DIY modification or two, and … you’ve got a real hum-dinger.

The geography … could be an issue, though :-( About 1-1/2 hours gets you to Everett, WA, no ?

Meanwhile, maybe the following will be helpful:


-- -- Neil

View TheWoodNerd's profile


291 posts in 4438 days

#5 posted 09-28-2010 04:26 PM

You won’t see the difference between 2.5 and sub-1.0 particles. And that’s the problem, it’s the tiny stuff that’s dangerous.

-- The Wood Nerd --

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 4420 days

#6 posted 09-28-2010 04:30 PM

Oh, yeah. One other thing: as to the Bill Pentz site …..

It’s like telling somebody to “stop by the Smithsonian, and have a quick look around” ;-)

-- -- Neil

View Don's profile


517 posts in 4319 days

#7 posted 09-28-2010 04:47 PM

I’d get the smallo micron and a powerful motor. I started out with the same plan to connect my DC to each machine as I used them but that got really old really fast. I think I was spending more time dorking around with the dust collector than I was woodworking. Now I’ve got pipes running to everything and I just need to open and close the appropriate valves but that’s still a pain when milling lumber since I’m on the saw and then the jointer and then the planer, etc, for only a few minutes each. If I had a bigger motor I’d be able to just leave them all open.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 4320 days

#8 posted 09-28-2010 04:49 PM

You’re kidding yourself if you think you are going to capture all the small dust particles with a dust collector. I advise using a dust collector AND an air filtration system. The air filtration system will do a much better job of cleaning the air of those small particles. IF your strategy calls for adding an air filtration system also, you can approach the dust collector decision a little differently and not be as concerned about the small particles.

FYI – I really like Rockler’s Dust right system. It’s a great way connect your DC to different machines as you use them. Don’t worry about casters. You will want to park your DC some place and leave it there.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View NathanAllen's profile


376 posts in 4390 days

#9 posted 09-28-2010 06:46 PM

Can’t agree more with rich, in a one man shop moving your DC from point to point saves a significant amount of money and effort in ducting.

In my opinion, no matter how effective your dust collection system is it won’t catch all of the particles especially when sanding. Too often people want to beef up their DC to complensate for not having a general air cleaner. DC moves chips and large sawdust fine, but unless you want to invest in multiple collection ports for your table saw, router, miter saw, band saw, etc it is much more cost effective to pull from one or two points at the machine then scrub the surrounding air.

I have a small space so I use a wall mounted single stage with a 1 micron bag, it has enough CFM (750cfm) to pull from the source and my ceiling mounted air cleaner (1000cfm) deals with the airborne particles. Between the DC, ducting, gates, remotes, expanded filter, you’ll easily spend twice as much for a system that doesn’t address the general condition of the air.

The other two items you’ll want to put on your list are a comfortable filter mask, not necessarily a full air shield, but something you’ll use 100% of the time you are sanding, and if you’re sensitive or work in exotic (toxic) woods an air particle measuring device like a Dylos.

View ocwoodworker's profile


209 posts in 4250 days

#10 posted 09-28-2010 06:55 PM

If at all possible, build a small shed just outside the garage and store the DC out there. Then it doesn’t matter what size the filter is. It wont be breathed. I did and I don’t have to worry about filter size or the NOISE.

-- I'd like to believe Murphy's Law haunts my woodshop, because if it's Karma it would mean I had something to do with it. - K.R.

View LucasinBC's profile


62 posts in 4317 days

#11 posted 09-30-2010 04:57 AM

Thanks everyone for the posts – I sometimes feel embarassed to ask these questions but it’s definitely nice to hear from people who have experience and know what they are doing.

I am leaning towards getting a hanging air cleaner to help catch the small stuff…and it seems like whatever DC I get, upgrading the filter seems like a good choice. I’m going to grab the Grizzly 1.5 HP and try to upgrade the fiter…that is unless I decide to drive another hour and grab the Harbor Freight one!

Thanks everyone,

-- Making mistakes is essential in learning woodworking.

View ibewjon's profile


2650 posts in 4039 days

#12 posted 10-10-2010 03:01 AM

speaking from experience, only buy a collector with a pleated filter…the bags are only chip collectors and dust dispersal systems.

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