Shop vac with dust collector

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Forum topic by Erik07 posted 02-26-2021 06:04 PM 349 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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12 posts in 54 days

02-26-2021 06:04 PM

Hey everyone, I’ve been tossing around the idea of connecting my dust collector to the outlet of my shop vac for fine dust collection. The purpose would be to get dust extractor performance out of a regular shop vac (ignoring the increased suction power of an actual extractor). Super fine particulate would be exhausted by the shop vac and then picked up by the dust collector.

I’m curious what you all think and if I’m not considering something beyond the additional power consumption associated with running the 2 simultaneously.

Some details about my setup…

1.5 HP dust collector- super dust deputy cyclone, vented outside (no filter or bags)

Ridgid shop vac- currently has dust deputy cyclone, bag filter and stock filter (not hepa), the whole shop vac and cyclone are in an MDF box which reduces noise and has an exhaust hole in the back

I would either connect the dust collector directly to the shop vac exhaust or to the exhaust hole on the MDF enclosure. I would run both the shop vac and dust collector at the same time.

9 replies so far

View tvrgeek's profile


1747 posts in 2700 days

#1 posted 02-26-2021 06:16 PM

If you are concerned with the fines excepting your vac, just put a MERV 13 or 15 filter on the outlet of your box. With the DD on there, it won’t load up very fast.

I buy my filters by the case from the internet. WAY cheaper than the local stores.

Vac has higher negative pressure. Best for things like pad sanders or handheld router shroud. Your big collector is for “chip makers” like joiners, planers and table saw where CFM is important. Use the vac where inches of water are important.

View Erik07's profile


12 posts in 54 days

#2 posted 02-26-2021 06:23 PM

I would think there’s no benefit to putting a filter on the box outlet rather than putting a HEPA filter canister on the shop vac… maybe the filters you’re referring to are cheaper? Also, the door to the box is not air tight so I’d be getting some leakage there.

Perhaps it comes down to how much fine dust would actually be escaping from a regular shop vac equipped with a HEPA filter.

View clagwell's profile


366 posts in 843 days

#3 posted 02-26-2021 08:15 PM

Yes, what you are proposing would certainly work. How much difference it makes depends on how much fine dust is getting past your shopvac filter. A lot of people just vent their shopvac outside, but your approach helps eliminate the leakage from your MDF box. Definitely worth a try.

Do you have a particle monitor? That would give you some good information on the effectiveness of your test.

-- Dave, Tippecanoe County, IN --- Is there a corollary to Beranek.s Law that applies to dust collection?

View Andybb's profile


3243 posts in 1654 days

#4 posted 02-26-2021 10:39 PM

What I do is use a homemade cyclone on a 5 gal container between the hose and the shop vac. Then I put a HEPA filter in the shop vac. I empty the 5-gallon bucket when it gets 3/4 full. I only have to empty the bag once a year or so as most stuff goes into the container under the cyclone. But when it’s time to change the bag you will be amazed at what’s in it. It will weigh about 10 pounds and be really tightly packed with dust as fine as flour which are the particles the HEPA is designed to filter out. Works great. My vac lives in this enclosure that doubles as a stand for a few tools. The enclosure is lined with carpet padding so it is quiet as a mouse.

Also, I used to buy shop-vacs from the box stores and buy the warranty and just swap them out when they burn up. Then I came across one of these. It absolutely puts the shop vac to shame. It will even suck the chips out of my planer and jointer which the Shop Vac brand could never do.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View david2011's profile


137 posts in 4758 days

#5 posted 03-01-2021 08:09 AM

Erik, is your shop heated or air conditioned? I thought about putting my dust collector in a utility room near the workshop until I realized that it would pull all of the heated/cooled air out in about 3 minutes. The same thing happens if you just vent it outside.

-- David

View Erik07's profile


12 posts in 54 days

#6 posted 03-01-2021 03:07 PM

clagwell- I’d love to get a particle monitor at some point. It’s definitely high on my list since I have no idea how bad the air in my shop actually is. I’d guess it’s pretty bad, but I can ignore it to some point if I don’t know how bad… which is bad lol.

Andybb- this might really be one of those subjective things, but what other shop vacs had you compared to? I have a ridgid which I’ve been somewhat disappointed with. We have a Craftsman XSP and a Vacmaster (maybe HEPA) at work which seem way better (especially the craftsman).

david2011- my shop isn’t air conditioned, but I do have 2 space heaters running when it’s cold (hopefully upgrade to a natural gas heater). Perhaps it’s the very low volume of work I’m doing, but venting outside hasn’t been an issue so far. I live in Ohio where it’s been real cold lately and the shop is still comfortable even after using the dust collector for a fair amount of time… I don’t usually even wear a coat. I figure the cost of the wasted electricity is offset by the cost of the dust collector filter pretty quickly. It’s also pretty painless, since there’s no filter to plug… more significant pluggin for me since my dust collector is somewhat small too. This would probably be a bigger issue if I connect to my shop vac for sanding, since that takes so much time. That being said, the shop vac cfm isn’t too high so maybe it would choke the exhaust flow down enough that it wouldn’t be too bad.

View bugradx2's profile


283 posts in 1070 days

#7 posted 03-01-2021 03:17 PM

So I have a dust deputy “in front” of my rigid shop vacuum. I put a HEPA filter on the actual vacuum itself and will say the results have impressed me. As long as I keep an eye on the level of chips and dust in the collector bucket under the dust deputy (ask me how I know to watch) then nothing really gets into the body of the vacuum at all. Anything that does is filtered by the HEPA filter as a last catch. This combination seems to work really well for me. Before doing these things my vacuum would shoot some fine dust out of the exhaust port and I don’t see that anymore.

I also have a an air filter system that sits below my rafters and cycles the air in the shop too. Rikon, WEN, Jet, etc all have one to match whatever you currently have.

-- The only thing not measured in my shop is time

View Andybb's profile


3243 posts in 1654 days

#8 posted 03-01-2021 04:12 PM

Andybb- this might really be one of those subjective things, but what other shop vacs had you compared to? I have a ridgid which I ve been somewhat disappointed with. We have a Craftsman XSP and a Vacmaster (maybe HEPA) at work which seem way better (especially the craftsman).

- Erik07

I was referring to the “Shop Vac” brand machines of comparable size. My comparison is non-scientific. The Vacmaster will suck the chips from my planer and jointer where the Shop Vac never could and when I put my hand over the end of the hose it sucks harder. Like I said, non-scientific.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View AlanWS's profile


133 posts in 4609 days

#9 posted 03-01-2021 05:57 PM

If you are venting outside, why not just vent the shopvac outside without running the DC?

-- Alan in Wisconsin

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