Are you sick of vacuum noise, so your workshop is a dust factory? Are you looking for a quiet dust collector? If your workshop is in the house or garage, it’s pumping dust everywhere. Did you know workshop dust has been linked to nose, throat, and lung cancer? A dust system is the best solution for a clean, healthy working environment.
A dust collector is an essential part of a workshop. It will save you time cleaning, protect your eyes and lungs from airborne particles, save your hearing, improve shop safety and air quality, and add to the life of your tools.
In this article, we discuss what a dust collector is, how it works, and what to consider before buying one. We look at noise considerations, different types of collectors, and review 10 dust collection systems to get you started. By the time the dust settles on this article, you’ll have a better idea of what to look for in workshop dust control.
In a Hurry? Here’s My Favorite: 65 – 70dB
- Canister filter traps particles down to 2-microns
- 1-horsepower motor filters to 650-cfm
- Clear plastic collection bags for easy dust disposal
- Able to hookup 1 to 3 machines
- Easy clean filter eliminates clean-out mess
Top Picks of 2020 Summarized:
|Image||Product Name||Price||Sound Rating|
|JET 708642CK DC-650CK Canister Dust Collector||Check Price||65 - 70dB|
|Festool 583492 CT 26 E HEPA Dust Extractor||Check Price||62 - 71dB|
|WEN 3410||Check Price||50 - 60dB|
|Jet DC-1100VX-CK||Check Price||70 - 80dB|
|PSI Woodworking DC725 Portable Tabletop Dust Collector||Check Price||80dB|
|Oneida Dust Deputy Deluxe Anti-Static Cyclone Separator||Check Price||NA|
|Shop Fox W1844 Wall Mountable Collector with Canister||Check Price||77 - 79dB|
|Jet DC-1100VX-5M||Check Price||70 - 80dB|
|Grizzly G8027||Check Price||83dB|
|Mini-Gorilla Portable Cyclone Dust Collector||Check Price||80.5dB|
What is a Dust Collector?
Dust collector removes wood particles and dust from a woodworking machine as it is produced. It keeps the immediate work area and operator clear of machine-created dust. The dust and chips are removed and collected for disposal, or vented out of the work area. A hose connects the woodworking device via a flexible hose, ABS or metal ductwork to the dust collector.
The collector has an electric motor connected to an impeller that creates the suction. The dust is pulled into an attached drum or separator where the heavier material drops into a dust collection container. The finer dust is trapped in filters or suspended against the sides of a filtration bag.
When the suction is turned off, the dust falls into the dust storage bin. A quiet dust collection system improves the air quality of a workshop.
How Does a Dust Collector Work?
There are different configurations of quiet dust collectors for home-based, commercial, or industrial woodworking shops. They all use an induction motor to drive an impeller that creates suction. The suction draws the dust and particles from the machine to the collection system, where it is captured and sorted. The main components of a collection system include the dust collector, an air filter or purifier, and the hose-duct connection system.
A one-person shop dust system will have different requirements than a multi-person shop. Most home-style machines need between 300 and 500 cubic feet per minute (cfm) of suction at the tool to keep them clear. Industrial machines often require more suction, but it is the multiple user demands on the system that drives the collection system horsepower and size.
The higher the horsepower of the motor, the greater the suction power produced. However, it is the connections between the dust collection system and the power tool that delivers the maximum suction where it is needed. Large operations that use multiple and bigger machines at once have more sizable industrial dust collectors.
Why Dust Collectors Are Loud?
Dust collector noise is generated by the motor, the impeller, the vibration of the ductwork dust collection system, and the system exhaust. Most home shop dust collector systems have little sound reduction protection and have an open exhaust. That means the noise generated just stays in the shop. A single-stage system is also often louder than a 2-stage operation.
The motor size and mounting contribute to the sound. Some motors have insulated housings and rubber mounting boots that cut down on noise; others don’t. The impeller generates the suction and turbulence resulting in the jet engine type noise. Vibrations and rattles through the duct, pipe, or hose transfer components contribute to the ensemble of sound too.
The main contributor to the noise is the high-pressure exhaust. The sound waves are amplified within the collection system and are driven out of the exhaust. The high pitched squeal or roar is the result of all the collection sounds. The lack of sound controlling insulation and baffles means there is little, if any, noise attenuation happening in the dust collection system.
Dust Collector Noise Ratings
Decibels (dB) are the unit of measure used to how loud a noise source is. Exposure of 8-hours or more to 85db can cause serious hearing damage. 70db is considered the threshold at which some people begin to experience discomfort, especially as the noise gets into the upper 70s. If you experience a ringing in your ears after working in the shop, the noise is too loud.
A chainsaw or oxygen torch produces 120dB of noise, that’s about 32 times louder than 70dB. A miter saw and hand-held circular saw are in the 110dB range, about 16 times louder than 70dB. A band-saw, radial arm or table saw top out around 100dB or 8 times louder.
A wet-dry vacuum is in the mid 90dB range, or 4 times louder, and a drill press in the 80dB level, or twice as loud. You’ll notice as we go up every 10dB from 70dB, the loudness went up exponentially by 2 – 2, 4, 8, 16, 32.
Most quiet dust collection systems produce between 70 and 90dB. The more power the collector has, the noisier it will be, especially in a smaller workshop. Dust collectors are usually quieter than the shop machinery but can create an ear ringing conversation deadening overture.
Different Types of Dust Collectors
A dust collector is a machine that removes and collects dust and debris. They are usually either single-stage or two-stage systems with different configurations, but similar components.
Single-Stage Dust Collector
Wood particles and dust pass through the impeller before they drop into a lower bag or container. The dust is caught in an upper bag as the air exits out through the cloth filter bag and back into the workspace. When the unit is switched off, the upper bag collapses, and much of the dust falls into the collector.
The larger particles can damage or jam the impeller, causing damage, while the finer particles can infiltrate bearings and other moving parts. Impeller blades may be made of plastic, nylon, or metal.
A sucked-up metal screw could damage the housing or strike a metal impeller blade and producing a spark. The spark could cause the dust to ignite, creating an explosion. Nylon and plastic, however, can become statically charged, causing dust to stick to them.
Two-Stage Dust Collector
A two-stage collector is configured differently; it has two sections. In the first stage, the coarse dust is pulled into the top of a barrel or container where it falls out of the suction stream into a collection bin. The finer particles are drawn up into the impeller and out into the after stage, a fabric filter bag.
The after-stage is after the impeller. The bag collects the fine dust as the air filters through the cloth and returns to the shop.
An after-stage filter and impeller are less likely to get clogged by larger pieces getting caught or finding their way into the filter bag. The two-stage unit provides better suction and cleaner air being returned.
Dual Stage Cyclone
A dual or two-stage cyclone has the impeller and motor at the top of a cone-shaped canister. The cone sits atop a barrel or container that collects larger particles as they fall out of the air stream. The finer dust is pulled into a filtration system as the air streams through and out the impeller exhaust.
Dust and debris don’t encounter the impeller, improving suction and exhaust air quality. Longer cyclone bodies produce more circular turbulence, allowing more material to fall before encountering the filter. This provides improved dust separation and keeps the filter cleaner, which means better suction.
Fixed dust collection systems are ceiling, roof, or floor mounted. They are usually large scale industrial workshop systems and are more expensive. A fixed system may not have a removable collection system, and frequently has other options to minimize dust and noise.
Fixed systems often are multi-stage units, not just two-stage. They do not move and often have fixed ductwork too. The system is designed for multiple machines in use simultaneously. It is also frequently outside the shop.
A wall-mounted unit may free up valuable floor space in a small shop. It can be mounted out of the way too. The unit is commonly a single-stage collector without the separation for fine and large particles in the filtration bag. It doesn’t hold as much as larger units, and so loses suction more quickly.
A portable dust collection system has a rolling base and can be moved from machine to machine. It usually has flexible connection hoses, not fixed ducts. It may be a single or two-stage system or a dual-stage cyclone.
Best Quiet Dust Collector Reviews
There are many different dust collectors available, and the prices vary from model to brand. Air quality and safety are an investment in your workshop and can make it a more enjoyable experience. To assist in your selection, here are ten reviews to get you started.
1. JET 708642CK DC-650CK Canister Dust Collector
The JET 708642CK is a single-stage canister style ultra quiet dust collector and produces between 65 and 70dB of noise. The 14”-diameter canister is 25”-long and filters out particles 2-microns and larger, improving shop air quality.
The canister is easy to empty using the top-mounted crank, and it has a self-cleaning filter, reducing mess. The 23”-long, 14”-diameter clear collector bag below the canister holds slightly over 2ft³ of debris, and is easy-to-install and remove, making clean-up quicker.
The 1-horsepower motor is fully enclosed, making it quieter. It is permanently lubricated and fan-cooled for hours of operation. The shaft-driven steel impeller produces 650cfm and a velocity of 7445fpm at 4-inches. Up to three machines can be hooked up at a time to the 4-inch diameter hose connection.
The Jet has a 16” x30” steel base with four swivel casters for maneuverability. It is pre-wired for 115-volt operation, but can easily be converted to 230v. A radio frequency remote control with a fob is also available for out-of-sight operating ease. Jet offers a 5-year home or 2-year commercial-industrial warranty to the original owner for workmanship and material defects.See Prices >
2. Festool 583492 CT 26 E HEPA Dust Extractor
The Festool 583492 is a small portable variable-speed wet-dry dust collector with a noise rating between 62 and 71dB. The unit is 24.8” x14.4” x21.2” and has two double front casters and large, fixed rear wheels for ease of movement around the shop or worksite.
The canister can be fitted with a disposable filter bag that holds just under 1ft³ of material. The HEPA filter captures particulate 0.3 microns and larger, making for better air quality return.
The 120v 350-1200 watt variable speed motor produces 135cfm of airflow and 96-inches of static water lift. The CT26 has an 11.5-foot anti-static, kink-resistant 1-1/16” diameter hose able to connect directly to other Festool tools. The extractor has a built-in tool-triggered auto-start receptacle making clean-up quick and quieter.
The dust extractor weighs less than 29-pounds with the hose and accessories in the built-in onboard storage compartment, making it both versatile and portable. The Festool unit can be accessorized for different tasks and has a quick-connect to tools. A ‘Y’ attachment is available, so two machines can operate in tandem.
A Bluetooth remote is another convenient option, as is a cyclone pre-separator. The extractor comes with a 3-Year Service All-Inclusive Warranty and a 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee.See Prices >
3. WEN 3410
The WEN 3410 is a remote-controlled 3-speed filtration system that produces between 50 and 60dB of noise. The remote functions up to 26-feet, and can change the speed or set the programmable timer. The outer 5-micron pre-filter and inner 1-micron filter are easy to replace or can be switched to reusable filters. The filters clean the airborne dust, but not the heavier wood chips, shavings, and dust, so a broom or vacuum are still needed.
The 1/6 horsepower 120v motor circulates the airflow from 300cfm to 350cfm or 400cfm, depending on the selected speed. It can filter the air of a 400 sqft shop more than 7-times an hour, removing dust and improving air quality. Filters need to be changed or cleaned when the airflow drops, as there’s no LED indicator.
The WEN has a black metal 17” x20.5” x10” housing and weighs 31-pounds. It includes four installation hooks, chains, and screws for mounting to the ceiling. Two-person installation is recommended. The 3410 has an original owner 2-year warranty for defective parts and workmanship.See Prices >
The Jet DC-1100VX-CK is a single-stage canister dust collector with a twist. It has an interior vortex cone that drops heavier chips and particles out of the air flow. The vortex keeps the filter clear of clogging particles, so it can more easily remove dust as small as 2-microns.
It improves air quality and dust removal effectiveness while producing sound ratings between 70 and 80dB. The self-cleaning filter and canister drop dust and debris into see-through 5.3ft³ plastic bags for easy disposal.
The DC-1100VX-CK has a 1.5-horsepower fully enclosed, permanently-lubricated fan-cooled single-phase motor. It can be set up for 230v operation but is wired for 115v use. The motor, coupled with the 11-inch impeller fan, produces 1100cfm of airflow at 4-inches. The unit handles one 6” or two 4” hose connections for two machine simultaneous operations.
The 117-pound dust collector has four swivel casters attached to its 22” x 37” base for mobility in the shop. This Jet also has industrial ‘Start’-‘Stop’ controls, but a 115v RF remote with a fob is available for easier operation. The warranty covers defects in parts and workmanship for 5-year for residential, and 2-years for industrial-commercial users.See Prices >
5. PSI Woodworking DC725 Portable Tabletop Dust Collector
The PSI Woodworking DC725 is a variable-speed portable tabletop dust collector and filtration system. It operates with a noise level of 80dB at top speed. The unit weighs about 25-pounds and has a handle for ease of carrying.
The two transparent polycarbonate doors and hood protect the filter when not in use. When open, they act as guides to direct dust into the box-filter.
The PSI will clear dust down to 1-micron in size pulled in by three quiet maintenance-free, computer-grade steel impeller fans. Using 110v and a total of 1.29AMPs, the fans create up to 725cfm of suction. The unit is designed to operate in close proximity to wood-dust producing tasks, making it ideal for carving and sanding.
The DC725 dust collector has a metal housing and is 8-1/2” wide x 10-3/8” high x 23-1/4” long. It has two 115v grounded built-in outlets to power tools or lamps. The box-filter is cleanable for reuse and can be replaced with a HEPA filter for improved air quality. The PSI has a 2-year limited warranty.See Prices >
6. Oneida Dust Deputy Deluxe Anti-Static Cyclone Separator
The Oneida portable cyclone separator with the canister is a kit that can be connected to any shop-vacuum. The cyclone connects to the vacuum on one side, and the power tool on the other. It separates about 99% of dust and debris into the 5-gallon canister pail, eliminating clogging of the filter and loss of suction.
The kit includes one patented resin cyclone separator and two 5-gallon anti-static translucent pails with one pre-cut lid for mounting the cyclone. It also comes with mounting hardware, foam gasket, three casters, 3-feet of 2” hose, two 90-degree elbows for the hose, plus a bracket to mount one bucket as a buddy to the vacuum.
The anti-static polyethylene cyclone has an airflow rating of 50 to 150cfm and works with 1” to 3” hose diameters. The cyclone and bucket with casters is almost 5-feet tall and has a diameter of 12-inches.
The unit isn’t recommended for use with hot dust or debris like soldering and welding. It is manufactured in the U.S. and has a 1-year limited warranty.See Prices >
7. Shop Fox W1844 Wall Mountable Collector with Canister
The Shop Fox W1844 is a single-stage canister dust collector that mounts to the wall and produces between 77dB and 79dB of noise. The canister has a crank that rotates paddle brushes that clean the 1-micron rated filter and helps minimize the mess. Dust and debris are collected in an easy-to-install and remove 1.5ft³ clear bag.
The W1844 has a 1-horsepower, 7AMP motor pre-wired for 120v. It can be converted easily to 240v if required. The sealed and permanently lubricated direct drive motor drives a 10” cast aluminum impeller and produces 537cfm of suction.
The unit weighs 62-pounds and is 46-inches tall with the bag inflated. It has a 14” x14” footprint, so minimizes floor use. The intake accepts 4-inch hose or piping, or adaptors for smaller connections.
The steel base of the motor and impeller component mounts easily to the wall. However, the second pair of hands is recommended. A paddle safety switch with a removable key controls the collector.
The safety cage at the inlet protects the filter from larger debris and shavings; unfortunately, it can clog. The Shop Fox has a 2-year warranty for defective parts and workmanship.See Prices >
8. Jet DC-1100VX-5M
The Jet DC-1100VX-5M has a 5-micron filter bag that captures about 98% of dust and debris. The single-stage collector produces between 70dB and 80dB of noise. It has an internal Vortex Cone™ which helps separate chips from dust and helps prevent the filter from becoming clogged. An elasticized band makes it quick and easy to install and remove the see-through 5.3ft³ collection bag too.
The 1.5 horsepower single-phase fan-cooled motor is permanently lubricated for quiet, long-term operation. Pre-wired for 115v use, it can be altered to 230v if required. The steel impeller produces an air flow of 1100cfm at 4-inches and a velocity of 12,571 feet/minute. The 5M can accommodate one 6” connector or two 4” for the simultaneous operation of two machines.
The unit weighs 97-pounds and has four casters for maneuverability attached to the steel base. It operates with an industrial stop-start with a locking pin, or an optional radio frequency remote and fob. The warranty covers defective parts and workmanship for 5-years of residential or 2-years of commercial-industrial use.See Prices >
9. Grizzly G8027
The Grizzly G8027 is a single-stage dust collector with a 2.5-micron filtration bag and a clear 2 ft³ capacity bag for debris. The clear collection bag makes it easy to know when it needs emptying. The Grizzly produces a moderate 83dB of sound, which is quieter than most table saws. The bags are secured with steel spring-loaded cleat and clamp straps for easy removal and installation.
The 1-horsepower 8AMP single-phase motor drives the 9-inch radial-fin steel impeller and produces 500cfm of air flow. It has one 4-inch hose port, but smaller hose diameter adaptors are available. The collector will draw dust and debris from one large machine or two smaller tools simultaneously.
The Grizzly G8027 has four swivel casters for improved mobility, and a base footprint of 15” x25.5”. It stands 63-inches tall when the filtration bag is inflated and weighs in at 63-pounds. A paddle switch with safety key controls the unit operation. The 1-year original purchaser warranty covers defects in material and workmanship.See Prices >
10. Mini-Gorilla Portable Cyclone Dust Collector
The Mini-Gorilla by Oneida is a light-weight resin dual-stage cyclone dust collector. It produces 80.5dB of noise at 10-feet for quieter shop clean-up. The HEPA cartridge filter has 99.7% efficiency down to 0.3-microns for improved air quality.
The 3 ft³ (22 gallons) plastic collector drum has a clear viewing port in the lid for easier assessment of when to empty. The drum has quick-release clips for easier clean-out and wheels for mobility. Plastic liner bags are also available for faster emptying.
The portable mini-gorilla has a 1.5 horsepower, 16 AMP single-phase motor with grease fittings. It is pre-wired for 110v but can be switched to 220v if desired. The 12-inch diameter composite impeller creates 583cfm at 2-inches at the 5-inch hose port, which can accommodate 4” to 6” hoses. The 3-legged steel tubular frame has 3-inch rubber non-marking locking casters for portability and safety.
The 85-pound mini-gorilla weighs 85-pounds, stands 64-inches tall, and has a 36” x30” footprint. A rocker-style switch controls the unit; however, there is a remote control available for easier control. The 1-year warranty covers defects in workmanship and parts.See Prices >
What to Consider Before Buying a Dust Collector
When buying a dust collector, there are many aspects to consider. The type and size of the collector and its noise rating, along with shop size, airflow velocity, bag or canister, are just some of the collector characteristics to think about.
Filter size, ease of cleaning, warranty, and price also can be determining factors when making a purchase. Remember, you want the least sound and the most flow or suction, and never use it for water or other liquids.
Quiet dust collectors should be between 60 and 70dB at 3-feet. The longer the exposure to machines louder than 80dB, the greater the risk of hearing damage. If you have a ringing in your ears after using a dust collector and power tools, you are experiencing hearing damage.
Most dust collectors are quieter than a skill saw cutting 3/4” plywood (110dB), which is significantly louder than safe noise levels. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 8-hours of exposure to 85dB is acceptable, whereas 2-minutes of skill saw use at 110dB is too much.
Dust Collector Type
There are two types of collectors, single-stage or double-stage. The single-stage is common in small, single operator shops. They are lighter and often smaller units and can be attached directly to a power tool. The bag and filter are also smaller and need emptying more frequently.
The two-stage handle more debris and dust since they are larger. They have an additional separator and return cleaner air into the shop. A derivative of the two-stage is the dual-stage cyclone dust collector.
It is more powerful and efficient at separating debris and dust. The cyclone is ideal for workshops that produce lots of dust and want better air quality returned.
Size Of the Shop
The physical size of the workshop and the number of floor or table-top machines vs. hand-held are factors in dust collector selection. A small space means a smaller collector to fit the space and less distance between tool and impeller for maximum suction. Smaller shops tend to utilize more hand-held tools too.
The more stationary machines in the shop or the larger the floor area, the bigger the dust handling system required. Whether fixed duct or flex hose connections, the longer run means more power is an asset. It also means that two or more tools may be in use at once.
Most stationary workshop machines need between 300 and 500 cfm (cubic feet per minute) of air flow to clear away dust and shavings. The horsepower of the motor is a good indicator of air flow power. Most portable shop models range between 150 and 1,500 cfm, while large shop fixed units can easily exceed 10-times that.
The air flow is affected by the dust collection unit on the woodworking tool, the hose type, and diameter, and if the ductwork is metal, PVC, or flexible. The air flow will also be impacted if the dust collector is clearing more than one machine at a time.
Note: the manufacturer’s air flow rating is lab derived and not necessarily what you’ll experience in your shop since tests often don’t include the attachment of ducts, hoses, or bags
Bag or Canister
Both bag and canister are an improvement over a shop vac. The canister has a greater surface area and will trap more debris and finer particles too. The bag is rated between 1 and 35 microns, and is also susceptible to puncture or damage by wood or metal pieces. The canister can be fitted with a 1-micron pleated filter and is puncture-proof.
Efficiency of Filtration
How efficient a dust collector is, depends on its type (single, double, or cyclone), collection system design, and the size of the particles and dust being collected. The size of the filtration system, humidity, and dust load in the air also impacts the filtration efficiency.
The type of filtration system plays a role too. Cloth bags are standard on many collectors but felt bags are available and will capture finer dust. Some systems use a filter in addition to, or instead of the bag. There are also different filter compositions, including HEPA filters.
Size of the Filter
A correctly sized filter will help the dust collector operate at peak efficiency. If it’s not properly sized, it can let dust blow back into the workshop, or clog the filter and lower efficiency. Improperly sized filters can shorten the life of the filtration bag, plus result in poor return air quality, and decreased air flow.
Most dust collectors have a 1 or 2-year warranty. However, some brands and models carry 5-year coverage. The warranty varies and may cover motor or other operating parts, and some are limited to standard parts and components. Filters and bags are considered consumables and are not protected. Most warranties are available for review on the manufacturer’s site.
The price for dust collectors varies with brand, type, horsepower, canister, and bag. A single-stage unit runs between $150 and $650, while a two-stage will set you back $250 to $1,000. A dual-canister cyclone starts around $400 and can easily reach $5,000 or more. Commercial and industrial models carry heftier price tags too.
Dust Collector vs Shop Vac: What’s The Difference?
A large shop will often have a dust collection arrangement, a dust filtration system, plus several shop vacs and brooms. For a small one or two-person shop that may not be cost-effective, but if it fits the budget, it’s the best way to go. Here’s a quick comparison to help decide where to put your hard-earned dollar.
A dust collector is a single or two-stage machine with two compartments to separate dust and large particles. It usually has greater airflow (cubic feet per minute) to remove and filter more wood dust and debris. Also, it has a larger filtration system, which is less likely to clog.
The dust collector uses a higher volume to clear dust and particulate from machinery or the whole facility. It cleans large areas more quickly.
A shop vac is a very portable high-pressure low-volume precision cleaning tool. It usually has a lower air flow (cfm) and horsepower than a dust collector. Additionally, it only has a single chamber where all dust and particles are collected.
The filter is smaller and can easily become clogged, especially when handling larger dust-producing tools. It works well for cleaning small areas or power tools.
Keeping your workshop clear of dust and debris makes it a healthier, safer, and more enjoyable place to be. A dust collector is not a vacuum; it is a dust removal and air filtration system.
When purchasing a collector, determine whether it’s a single or double-stage collector or dual-stage cyclone that will meet your shop requirements best. Compare horsepower, air flow (cfm), capacity, warranties, and price before deciding on the quietest dust collector to purchase.
Hopefully, you have a better understanding of what a quiet dust collector is, and what to consider when buying one. Let us know if you found this article helpful, and please share it with others who may find it of value. Your comments and suggestions, as always, are appreciated.
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