Best Dust Collection < $750?

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Forum topic by Ziffster posted 03-20-2013 02:26 PM 2197 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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27 posts in 2437 days

03-20-2013 02:26 PM

Dust collection has advanced significantly in the past few years yet most comparative reviews I can find are from nearly 10 years ago and many of those fail to provide meaningful data.

Has anyone seen any good comparative information regarding the best bang for your buck in dust collection that actually works? I would love to go with a cyclone but at $1500 for the ones which are proven to work properly they are about twice what I have budgeted.

What do I mean by meaningful?

(1) Actual performance curves (CFM versus Head Loss) so I know that the unit I choose will be able to deliver 1000CFM connected to real ductwork which I have calculated to have about 7” of losses at 1000CFM. My current DC is rated at 1700CFM but when connected (2 car garage sized shop with about 30’ of 6” trunk and 6’ of 4” flex to the machine) the CFM drops down below 500 CFM.

(2) Filtering efficiency (does it remove the most dangerous dust from the air – dust in the 0.5 to 4.0 micron range). Simply quoting manufacturer claims doesn’t provide me with much confidence with how easy it is to distort the facts.

For example, one vendor states ‘Proven to remove 99.9% of the particles in the air down to 0.5 micron” but upon talking with them they admitted how they ‘proved’ their claim was with material collected from a planer. Think about this for a minute – perhaps 99.5% is large stuff like chips with only 0.5% being dust. A little math and what the numbers actually indicate is that they only collect 80% of the dust.

When asked what they meant by “What do you mean ‘collects down to 0.5 micron?”

They came back with ‘The smallest particle size we have found our filer captures a statistically significant proportion of is around 0.5 micron.”

They wouldn’t elaborate further – so (as an engineer) this means the capture rate on small particles could be as low as 5% or perhaps even less.

24 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5804 posts in 3035 days

#1 posted 03-20-2013 02:47 PM

I wish you luck with your search, but I’m not sure you can buy a turn key system that delivers that performance at that price range. I’m guessing you will increase the investment, or build your own. You can get the needed blower parts from Clearview, and fab the Pentz cyclone. I have no idea what region of the country of the country you’re in, but maybe consider venting outside? That eliminates the lack of clarity about filters.

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

View RockyTopScott's profile


1186 posts in 4020 days

#2 posted 03-20-2013 03:10 PM

This is what I am considering:

Harbor Freight 2hp DC – $200
Wynn Filter – $170
Super Dust Deputy – $170
Global Industries 30 Gallon Plastic Barrel – $80
Total – $620

-- “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.” ― Thomas Sowell

View History's profile


399 posts in 2523 days

#3 posted 03-20-2013 03:19 PM

I’m disapointed that no one here mentions the Thien baffle. Personally I don’t care for Oneida, and Pentz is too mind numbing, plus his health scare sales tactics turn me off as much as SawStop does.

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2614 days

#4 posted 03-20-2013 03:25 PM


-- Who is John Galt?

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 3027 days

#5 posted 03-20-2013 04:00 PM

The latest issue of Fine Woodworking (not sure which issue number) had a great article on dust collection. Lots of comparisons between basic models complete with graphs that included suction over time with and without pre-separators like Thien baffles.

-- Brian Timmons -

View Ziffster's profile


27 posts in 2437 days

#6 posted 03-20-2013 04:03 PM

Do any of the manufacturers provide performance curves for their DC (suction head versus CFM)?

I was leaning towards a solution along the lines of RockyTopScott at least for now.

View History's profile


399 posts in 2523 days

#7 posted 03-20-2013 04:11 PM

Harbor Freight is over rated bottom of the barrel junk. You’d probably be better off keeping your current DC and looking over your ducting a little better to make sure that it’s efficient. But since you don’t provide pictures I don’t know what you have going on.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5804 posts in 3035 days

#8 posted 03-20-2013 04:23 PM

Some have true fan curves, 2 that I think do so Oneida, and Penn State. At least they used to, there may be a few others but that’s apparently top secret (or embarrassing) information.

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

View Woodmaster1's profile


1281 posts in 3129 days

#9 posted 03-20-2013 04:31 PM

I have the grizzly 0548zp. It has 2hp, canister filter,12 3/4 impeller, 1700cfm, 220v and is 524.00 shipped. I find that it works great for me.

View bbasiaga's profile


1243 posts in 2537 days

#10 posted 03-20-2013 04:31 PM

I think you have to decide what your priorities are. You, like me, are on a small budget. Mine even smaller than yours, in fact. So where I’m at is this: some dust collection is better than no dust collection. The next step is (IMO) – finer filtration is better than coarser filtration. After that – emptying drums is better than messing with that d*mn bag. Beyond that, the system can be optimized with various baffles, etc., to get the last bit of performance out of it. However, as an engineer you know that the last 10-20% of the performance can cost 80% of the total project.

So I opted for the afore described ‘over rated bottom of the barrel junk’ (:eyeroll) dust collector, with plans to update the filter first, then add pre-fan separation eventually.

As far as the info provided by the dust collection zealots, well, it is just that. Zealocy. That doesnt necessarily mean it isn’t somewhat or even mostly correct, but it is slanted and very absolutist. The information breeds fear, is hard to argue with (isn’t more filtration/efficiencty BETTER than less? of course, but how much is really enough? The data is not truly there to answer that), and then gets repeated over and over so as to seem like it is group consensus. I guess my point is, don’t let the thought that ‘inadequate’ dust collection is worse for you than no dust collection factor in to your decision. Some is better than none, and improvements can be made in the future. The true definition of ‘inadequate’ is far from answered in my mind.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 2490 days

#11 posted 03-20-2013 05:00 PM

If you contact bill pentz via his website he has all his own test results. I’m sure he will share it with you if you ask.

View toolie's profile


2172 posts in 3170 days

#12 posted 03-20-2013 05:08 PM

the 05/13 issue of wood also has a test of single stage and cyclone Dcs. a powermatic single stage and an oneida cyclone were rated top tools.

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4189 days

#13 posted 03-20-2013 05:09 PM

The best bang for your buck is to find a way to put the
filter outside.

I have a shop built cyclone I bought from a guy who
built it from plans in Wood Magazine. I wouldn’t
compare it to a $1000 unit, and I like it because
it takes up so little floor space – but, it is sensitive
to clogging with planer chips and when it does
start to clog, more material goes into the filter
and that causes filter clogging.

I’d rather have a bag house filter.

I had a regular bag type dust collector before and
my annoyances with it were primarily due to not
having it permanently set up. I had a trash can
pre-separator that worked very, very well. The
downside was the awkward footprint and hoses
sticking up and popping loose occasionally.

View History's profile


399 posts in 2523 days

#14 posted 03-20-2013 05:13 PM

Brian, if you red his original post you would know that he allready has a suposed 1700 CFM dust collector. So I don’t know why you had to make the comment of don’t let the thought that ‘inadequate’ dust collection is worse for you than no dust collection, he allready has a DC that draws more CFM then the 2 hp HF DC.

View bbasiaga's profile


1243 posts in 2537 days

#15 posted 03-20-2013 05:56 PM


Sounds to me like he is looking to replace, or at the very least significantly modify his current set up. My post was not intended to tell him to buy the HF unit, but more to suggest that he may not be able to get everything he wants up front within that budget. I explained my budget (more limited than his) and my decision making/upgrade path to get to my eventual goal. I also know I’m not the only guy out there just getting dust collection, so perhaps it will help others in addition to the OP. The last bits of performance are the most expensive, and those of us on budgets must then prioritize what we are going after first.

I won’t begrudge you your feelings on HF tools. They are not for everyone. I have bought several and some have been great, some not so great, and some works in progress. But I know what I’m getting in to going in.


I have seen some of the Pentz data reposted various places. Its good data and seems pretty solid. But having been involved with industrial hygene through my work at various times I have seen other data sets that are supportive, and some that arent (in regards to how dust causes health concerns). This is typical of science in a certain stage of its development. All I’m really saying is that all the data is not in, and the real problem I have with it is people that say ‘if you don’t have X filtration, you’re going to die!!!’ Particularly when it is followed by ‘buy my solution to your problem’. (I’m not saying that’s the case with Pentz himself, but it is the case with some people who regurgitate his data). Its pretty easy to say that the more filtration you have, the less risk you have. I’m always afraid people are turning away from systems because ones that meet the much repeated requirements cost $1500, when they would certainly be better off with a $200 unit than nothing at all.

Anyway, getting back to the OP – the easiest way to ensure you get a good filter is to find one with an actual MERV rating. These are tested against a known standard. They can be hard to find, and you do pay more for them. I have been looking at the new one from Wynn that is MERV 15 rated. Just need to get the funds together sometime.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

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