Dust collection for small tools like routers and palm sanders

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Forum topic by Spikes posted 09-08-2018 01:47 AM 1139 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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125 posts in 652 days

09-08-2018 01:47 AM


I’m in the process of designing a dust collection system for my shed and have gone through quite a few iterations as I’ve learned more about shop vacs, dust collection and how air moves. From most of my readings it seemed that shop vacs have a lot of suction power but move little air and therefore are very inefficient as dust collection for a TS, planer etc. However when I was just about to ditch the shopvac I found a bunch of articles arguing that in fact a DC will fair miserably if you try to connect something with a small port on it, like a router or sander with a 1” port, and I quote “starved for air, the impeller cavitates and lets the sander blow dust as usual”.

Does this make sense to folks here? Is therefore the right design to use shop vacs for anything with a small port and use the DC primarily for the big guys?



-- Don't worry about making progress, worry about practicing. If you practice you will make progress even if you don't want to.

8 replies so far

View GaryCK's profile


77 posts in 656 days

#1 posted 09-08-2018 02:28 AM

I have a Oneida Mini Gorilla dust collector that I use for all of the big tools in my shop. I use my shop vacuum with the smaller tools. I bought the Dust Right Universal Small Port Hose Kit which gets pretty close to the right diameter for most of my smaller tools. I needed to increase the diameter of the port on my palm sander with a few layers of electrical tape to make it fit well. So I do pretty much exactly what you’re suggesting and it works well for me.

-- Gary, Wisconsin

View lumbering_on's profile


578 posts in 1097 days

#2 posted 09-08-2018 02:38 AM

I’m far from a DC expert, but I wasn’t actually aware that you could use a DC on smaller tools. Even Festool’s dust extractor is really just a shop vac. The rule of thumb I’ve always used was that it the tool had a port that fit a shop vac then that’s what you were supposed to use.

Just be aware that if you’re building your own router table, then a DC is actually a better method, at least that’s what I found from my personal experience.

View robscastle's profile


6675 posts in 2811 days

#3 posted 09-08-2018 02:51 AM

Talk to the duck.

-- Regards Rob

View Ottacat's profile


517 posts in 2458 days

#4 posted 09-08-2018 12:12 PM

Rather than simply the dust port size, I find a shop vac / dust extractor is the best choice for hand tools such as sanders, track saws, and routers. Tools with 4” ports of course require DC’s. The only in-between that I’ve never found a good solution for are small sanders like the Rigid Oscillating Spindle sander. I don’t use a miter saw in my shop but I’ve seen both shop vacs and full-sized DC’s used with them.

View EarlS's profile


3427 posts in 2955 days

#5 posted 09-08-2018 12:20 PM

There are a number of small diameter hoses available that will attach to ROS or other small port pieces of equipment. I use the Shop Vac with a small diameter hose when using the ROS, spindle sander, belt sander, biscuit joiner, or sheet sander. I made a mediocre surround for the miter saw. There have been a couple of really nice surrounds for miter saws posted on LJ this summer. The only time I don’t have DC is when using the hand held router. I’ve seen a couple of good ideas for either a downdraft table or a booth so the DC has a chance to work.

My rule of thumb is Shop vac for hand held equipment, DC for big stuff like table saws, joiners, planers, and air filter for general fine dust in the shop.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5928 posts in 3100 days

#6 posted 09-08-2018 01:03 PM

What you described is how it works, DC’s don’t do well with the high static pressure (resistance to flow) when they are choked down. The vac deals with high SP well, but with limited air flow. So you don’t want to ditch the vac, use it with the hand held tools.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Spikes's profile


125 posts in 652 days

#7 posted 09-08-2018 03:40 PM

thanks everybody for the feedback, this makes a lot of sense. I guess I will need to figure out attachments and whatnot to connect the shopvac to the sander and router, especially latter makes a real mess and there’s no dust port on the ryobi I own (I guess this will get easier once I get around to making a router table for my TS).

-- Don't worry about making progress, worry about practicing. If you practice you will make progress even if you don't want to.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

6789 posts in 3801 days

#8 posted 09-08-2018 05:21 PM

Most routers (to my knowledge) don’t have dust ports to kook up a shop vac….All of my sanders (Porter Cable) have dust ports, and I use a shop vac….!!!

-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

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