As seen in:
Powermatic
2-Micron Canister Kit
Shop Fox
Wall Dust Collector
Shop Fox
1.5-Horsepower, 1,280 CFM
Jet
5-Micron Bag Filter Kit
Oasis Machinery
DC5000 5 HP
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Good

Rigid construction with all-metal ducting. Highly efficient filtration (two microns). Five-year warranty.

Affordably priced. Easily attaches to wall.

Good suction at 1,280 CFM. Free-standing with a wheeled base. Decent power, capacity, and filtration.

Incredible suction. Able to capture 74 percent of all one-micron particles. Compacts waste for less-frequent bag changes.

Powerful motor and suction.

Bad

The priciest item on our shortlist, this product is out of the reach of many consumers.

Smaller capacity is not enough for some shops. No separate section in the bag for chip collecting.

Some complaints about the quality of the instructions.

Expensive.

Filtration is only 30 microns. An air filter might be needed.

Bottom Line

An exceptionally powerful and thorough dust collector. Although highly expensive, it's the best available.

An effective, entry-level dust collector with a capacity that would suit most small home shops.

A slight upgrade in power and capacity from its little sibling, the Shop Fox W1826. The best value for the money.

Although similar to its competitor, the Shop Fox W1685, this product trumps its competitor in terms of suction and build quality.

Basic, big, and powerful, this dust collector works best in large commercial shops.

How we decide
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Products received from manufacturers
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Models Considered
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Hours Spent
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Experts Interviewed
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Consumers Consulted

Best Dust Collectors

Wood chips, shavings, and dust can clog your machines, spoil your finishes, and damage your health. For personal protection, a mask is always a good idea, and a ceiling-mounted air cleaner is recommended to take out tiny particles that could cause breathing problems. For the woodworker, however, there's still the question of what to do with the waste generated by machines like bandsaws, jointers, and planers.

In this review, we look specifically at shop dust collectors. These models are designed to remove considerable volumes of waste quickly and effectively. Each of the top five contenders on our shortlist would satisfy the demands of a particular owner, from those looking for a solution in a small shop to those working in a professional environment. Our finalists are:

Products we Considered

Powermatic
2-Micron Canister Kit
Shop Fox
Wall Dust Collector
Shop Fox
1.5-Horsepower, 1,280 CFM
Jet
5-Micron Bag Filter Kit
Oasis Machinery
DC5000 5 HP

Considerations

Capacities

The most important statistic with dust collection is often thought to be the volume of air it moves. This figure is measured in cubic feet per minute, or CFM. However, the static pressure rating also impacts efficiency in a big way. Motor horsepower is another vital part of the equation, particularly when you want to maintain waste-handling performance across a variety of machines.

Construction, Bag Size & Filtration

If you're working from a garage or small home shop, you need to think about the physical size of your dust collector. You might want the ability to move it around. Large-capacity bags mean less frequent emptying, but a bigger dust collector can take up more space. Then there's filtration; if it's not fine enough, a lot of harmful dust can still escape.

Features & Performance

Cheap dust collectors can be efficient, but they're pretty basic. Some premium models, on the other hand, feature timers and vortex-type suction. In this part of our review, we look at any "extra" features provided as well as performance issues and the environment in which each machine would fit best.

Price

In the final section of our ratings, we look at dollars, cents, and the overall package you get for your money. With the help of owner feedback, we provide you with a glimpse of each candidate's "real-world" value.

Considerations

Capacities

Shop Fox W1826 Wall Dust Collector

It's fair to look at the Shop Fox W1826 as an entry-level dust collector, but that doesn't mean it's under-sized or under-powered. It's rated at 527 CFM with a static pressure of 7.2 inches produced by a one-horsepower motor. While those might not seem like big numbers when compared to the others here, the Shop Fox's four-inch intake provides effective extraction. Some consumers want more capacity, but others argue that if you're running a one-person shop, you can only operate one machine at a time!

SHOP FOX W1685 1.5-Horsepower 1,280 CFM Dust Collector

Our second finalist is the free-standing W1685 Shop Fox Dust Collector. Suction is rated at 1,280 CFM (more than twice that of the other Shop Fox contender). The motor (1.5 hp) is more powerful than the other Shop Fox on our shortlist, too. Its large impeller helps raise static pressure to 10.1 inches. Connection to your machines – or extraction hoods, if you're using them – can be made via a main six-inch port or the two four-inch intakes in a standard y-shaped fitting.

Jet DC-1100VX-5M Dust Collector

At first glance, the Jet DC-1100VX-5M dust collector appears quite similar to the Shop Fox W1685. Like that model, it comes with a 1.5-horsepower motor. The connections are almost identical, too, with the same combination of one six-inch intake or twin four-inch intakes. The Jet's air flow rating is slightly lower at 1,100 CFM, but its static pressure is higher at 10.5 inches. Statistics like these can be confusing; CFM actually varies with pipe length and diameter, and different manufacturers can use different measurement methods. However, when two products are this close, they still have value in terms of side-by-side comparison.

Oasis Machinery DC5000 Heavy Duty 5 HP Wood Dust Collector

The Oasis Machinery DC5000 Heavy Duty Wood Dust Collector's stats suggest it's a machine for the serious enthusiast or professional woodworker. CFM is quoted at 2,760. Static pressure, derived from an impeller that's a full 12 inches across, is equally impressive at 14.5 inches. Not surprisingly, you need quite a powerful motor to maintain that kind of suction. The Oasis Machinery dust collector is rated at five horsepower. All these larger capacities are reflected in the intakes available, with a single six-inch and triple four-inch options on offer.

Powermatic PM1300TX-CK Dust Collector

The Powermatic PM1300TX-CK Dust Collector initially looks a lot like the Shop Fox W1685 and Jet. In fact, there are important differences between the two, but they don't show up in this part of our considerations. Motor power is slightly increased at 1.75 horsepower. CFM is actually lower at 1,064, but Powermatic measures CFM at six inches whereas the Jet measures it at four inches. (If you measure at a smaller diameter, you get a higher figure.) The Powermatic's static pressure is noticeably greater at 11.3 inches, though intake options are the same with one six-inch connection or two four-inch options. The Powermatic is a great example of the notion that figures often don't tell the whole story, as we'll see in a moment.

The Powermatic PM1300TX-CK's power, capacity, and efficiency set the standard for the sector.
Considerations

Construction, Bag Size & Filtration

Weighing in at about 50 pounds, the Shop Fox W1826 dust collector can be fitted easily to a wall or bolted to another surface in your shop. We know some people prefer to just move it around from place to place; this is convenient, but safety can be an issue. When fixed to a wall, the Shop Fox W1826 is a little over three feet deep. (The bag takes up 24 inches of that depth.) The bag's diameter is 13.5 inches, giving a capacity of two cubic feet. That's not huge if you've got machinery producing a lot of chips, but it's adequate for most small home shops. Filtration is good at 2.5 microns, there's a useful window in the side so you can easily check fill level, and the bag can be emptied using the zipper in the base.

SHOP FOX W1685 1.5-Horsepower 1,280 CFM Dust Collector

Like most free-standing dust collectors, the Shop Fox W1685 has its own wheeled base. This makes it easy to move around. However, you could also use the W1685 as a fixed central unit with ducting and blast gates to provide extraction for several machines. This Shop Fox weighs 108 pounds and stands well over six feet tall, but its dimensions are reasonable at less than three feet by two feet. The bag will hold 5.4 cubic feet of wood chips and dust. Filtration is quite good at 2.5 microns.

We've already mentioned how visually similar the Shop Fox W1685 and Jet dust collector are. The similarities continue with the Jet's physical dimensions. Both are almost exactly the same height (around six feet, five inches), though the Jet is marginally heavier at 130 pounds, and the base is a couple of inches longer. It uses the same kind of two-part bag (almost all of these dust collectors do), though in the case of the Jet, the lower part has a more durable fabric with a clear viewing window. The Jet's bag is marginally smaller at 5.3 cubic meters, and stated filtration isn't as good at five microns. However, Jet claims that their dust collector will actually capture 74 percent of one-micron particles. This is something the Shop Fox W1685 doesn't match, and it leaves the question of which dust collector is better open to debate.

Oasis Machinery DC5000 Heavy Duty 5 HP Wood Dust Collector

The big Oasis Machinery DC5000 Wood Dust Collector is well over seven feet tall. From front to back, it's not much larger than the other machines here, but you'll need over five feet of width when the twin bags are inflated. (That said, it's definitely a tool for the larger shop anyway, so space is unlikely to be an issue.) The bags have two parts; the lower section is a clear poly. Combined, they can take up to 14.1 cubic feet of wood shavings and dust, though filtration is only 30 microns. An air cleaner is always a good idea in addition to your dust collector, but in this case, it might be a necessity.

Though the Powermatic is, by a few inches, the shortest of our free-standing dust collectors at six feet tall, it's a little wider than its main rivals at 37 x 29 inches and notably heavier at 154 pounds. The weight gain is mostly due to its rigid construction. If pipes flex, you can lose suction; that's why the Powermatic uses all-metal ducting. The quality theme continues with a rigid filter above the collecting bag. Capacity is greater than either Shop Fox or Jet at 10 cubic feet. Filtration is also more efficient at two microns.

The Shop Fox Dust Collector bag holds up to 5.4 cubic feet of wood chips and dust. Filtration is quite good at 2.5 microns.
Scott
Expert Consultant
Scott
Do-It-Yourself Guru And Carpenter

Scott completed his first woodworking project in the 5th grade, and he’s been an avid woodworker ever since. For the past 46 years, Scott has enjoyed remodeling homes, building custom cabinets and mantels, installing hardwood floors/trim work, and many other unique projects.

Considerations

Features & Performance

Shop Fox W1826 Wall Dust Collector

A cheap dust collector like the Shop Fox W1826 can't be expected to offer much in the way of extras, but it does have a useful safety switch with a removable lockout and a rubber-covered handle to help you lift it on and off the mounting bracket. This unit's main drawback, in terms of performance, is its smaller bag. Two-stage bags trap lighter dust in the upper section while allowing heavier wood chips and shavings to fall below. That can't happen here, so some efficiency is lost. (The answer is regular emptying and siting the dust collector as near as possible to the machine being used. This will minimize loss of suction along lengths of pipe.) In a small shop, these characteristics aren't likely to be a problem, but people who use woodworking machines that produce a lot of waste might want a dust collector with better performance.

SHOP FOX W1685 1.5-Horsepower 1,280 CFM Dust Collector

The Shop Fox W1685 dust collector is a popular answer to the limited capacities of the wall-mounted Shop Fox W1826. It shares the same safety switch and lockout as its smaller sibling, and in truth, that's the only feature worth mentioning. However, when it comes to suction, you have both more power and the two-part bag that allows the machine to run efficiently for longer periods of time. If you're concerned that the wall-mounted Shop Fox might not manage the amount of waste you produce, or if you're looking to upgrade from a small vac-type machine, the W1685 could be the ideal solution.

Jet DC-1100VX-5M Dust Collector

Throughout this review, we've looked at how similar the Jet dust collector is to the free-standing Shop Fox. In this section, however, we look at the big difference: filtering efficiency. The Jet uses a vortex cone system (similar in principle to some household vacuums) which, in this case, is more effective at separating chips and shavings from fine dust. The result is a suction system that removes 98 percent of all five-micron particles and 74 percent of all one-micron particles. The system compacts heavier waste, thereby reducing how often the bag needs emptying. Whether this is important to you depends on the way you work. The Jet is at its best in busier environments where enthusiastic amateurs or professionals want to focus on their work rather than emptying their dust collector.

Oasis Machinery DC5000 Heavy Duty 5 HP Wood Dust Collector

With the Oasis Machinery Wood Dust Collector, features and performance amount to the same thing: it's an exceedingly basic machine, but it's big and powerful. The Shop Fox W1685 and the Jet both offer the option of having two four-inch ports (so you can connect two machines), but you'd get a huge drop in efficiency if you tried to run them both at the same time. The Oasis Machinery version has three ports and the power to use them concurrently. In truth, it's probably too big for all but the keenest of home shops. This model is ideal for large commercial locations.

Powermatic PM1300TX-CK Dust Collector

Powermatic is well-known for the quality of its equipment, and the PM1300TX-CK Dust Collector is no exception. The manufacturer's attention to detail is apparent everywhere. The Powermatic's canister filter is much more sturdy and efficient than many competitors. Changing bags is made simple by the Powermatic's snap-ring closure. The machine's vortex system, known as the "TurboCone," is similar in principle to the system used by the Jet –and just as effective. It even has an infrared digital timer that allows you to leave it running for up to 99 minutes unattended. While it doesn't quite have the capacities of the Oasis Machinery dust collector, it has enough power that you could run two machines simultaneously. If you're serious about dust collecting, you'll want one. The question is whether you think the Powermatic is worth the investment.

If you're serious about dust collecting, we predict you're going to want the Powermatic PM1300TX-CK Dust Collector.
Considerations

Price

Shop Fox W1826 Wall Dust Collector

The Shop Fox W1826 costs $209. You could find a cheap dust collectors for less, but we don't believe you would find one from such a well-known and trusted company. This compact dust collector would fit into the smallest shop, yet the one-hp motor gives it ample power. Given the low price, we're not surprised that it's popular, but more importantly, owners are still satisfied with performance long after their initial purchase. If it has a drawback, it's the lack of a separate section for chip collecting. However, with regular emptying and an occasional good shake of the bag, this shouldn't be a problem. Warranty is two years.

SHOP FOX W1685 1.5-Horsepower 1,280 CFM Dust Collector

Though the smaller Shop Fox W1826 comes with wheels, we suspect that consumers who are looking for a central shop unit will find the $384 Shop Fox W1685 Dust Collector more appealing. If you've got a small or medium-sized shop, this model has the power, capacity, and filtration you probably need. The instructions are criticized as poor, but there's nothing complex to worry about. A few thought quality control was patchy, but this is still one of the most popular dust collectors on the market right now. Many owners are happy to recommend it. As with the Shop Fox W1826, the warranty is two years.

Jet DC-1100VX-5M Dust Collector

You'll need to find $549 for the Jet DC-1100VX-5M Dust Collector. Given that the Jet and Shop Fox W1685 are so similar, the obvious question is why you would pay so much more for the Jet. There are two reasons: build quality and performance. There's nothing wrong with the Shop Fox, but the Jet is made a bit better. What's more, its vortex system is more efficient. Even though bag size is almost identical, Jet owners empty theirs less often. This product is just as much at home in a professional shop as it is in the shop of a keen amateur. We can't find an owner who has anything bad to say about it. Jet's five-year warranty underlines this product's long-term durability.

Oasis Machinery DC5000 Heavy Duty 5 HP Wood Dust Collector

The Oasis Machinery model comes in at a remarkably low price for a dust collector this big and powerful. The five-horsepower motor allows it to shift tremendous amounts of waste, and the twin bags give it enough capacity that you needn't stop every five minutes to empty it. The Jet and Shop Fox offer two ports, but only one can be used effectively at a time. Notably, the Oasis Machinery dust collector offers three ports, and you could realistically run at least two at a time. It's perhaps not made as well as some competitors (though we haven't heard owners complaining about fragility), and it does need a lot of space. It's probably not the machine for the single operator, but if you're in a position to take advantage of the performance, it delivers an almost unbeatable value. One point of concern we must mention is that although it's widely available, we're unable to find any details about the warranty.

Powermatic PM1300TX-CK Dust Collector

The Powermatic dust collector is superbly built. Its power, capacity, and efficiency are the benchmark for the sector. However, this dust collector will cost you $849. In the eyes of many, that makes it a professional's tool; it's fair to say that the Powermatic looms beyond the budget of many home woodworkers. Nevertheless, this is a fantastic machine. Owners invariably give it rave reviews for performance and durability. A five-year warranty backs up their confidence.

Owners are happy to recommend the Shop Fox W1685 Dust Collector. It's one of the most popular products of its kind right now.

Best of the Best

Each of our finalists offers great benefits to a particular subset of woodworkers. However, the Best of the Best dust collector is the Powermatic PM1300TX-CK Dust Collector. Put simply, it's an outstanding machine.

From the ground up, the Powermatic is made of quality components. Designed to deliver peak performance consistently, the 1.75-horsepower motor drives a 12-inch impeller to create an airflow of 1,064 CFM and an impressive static pressure of 11.3 inches. (Only the Oasis has more.) The Powermatic's "TurboCone" vortex system is particularly efficient, separating chips and shavings from fine dust and compacting them so they take up less space.

Attention to detail sets this machine apart from the rest. We particularly like the manufacturer's use of solid steel ducting between motor and bag so there's no loss of suction. The upper filter isn't a soft bag like most use, but it is rigid, providing more effective air flow and a class-leading two-micron filtration. There's even a 99-minute digital timer. Icing on the cake: Powermatic's confidence in their machine is backed by a five-year warranty.

OK, it's not cheap. $849 is a lot to pay for a home shop dust collector. But then, the home shop sector is not really this product's target market. Some enthusiasts will get one simply because of how good it is, but we suspect that the Powermatic PM1300TX-CK is frequently purchased for professional environments where its productivity and reliability are recognized as its most important assets.
Best of the Best
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The Powermatic's "TurboCone" vortex system is particularly efficient, separating chips and shavings from fine dust and compacting them so they take up less space.

Best Bang for your Buck

Our best value for money dust collector is the free-standing Shop Fox W1685, but none of our finalists would have been a bad choice.

The wall-mounted Shop Fox W1826 is a great entry-level dust collector, particularly if space is limited. The Jet is a quality piece of equipment that won't disappoint, and getting a big beast like the Oasis Machinery dust collector for a little over four hundred bucks is amazing. However, we've gone for the Shop Fox W1685 because it's the budget dust collector that will suit 99% of home woodworkers, 99% of the time.

A robust 1.5 horsepower motor is enough to produce a CFM of 1280 and a static pressure of 10.1 inches. Both very competitive figures from a machine that's still relatively compact, with a footprint of under three feet by two. It is over six feet tall, but height isn't usually a problem and nothing in this range is much shorter. It has options for a single 6" intake or twin 4", and while it doesn't have the power to manage two machines at once, it's a useful set-up if you're siting it permanently and running ducting and blast gates to various tools. Bag size is again on a par with close rivals, at 5.4 cubic feet, and filtration is better than many at 2.5 microns. It weighs 108 pounds, but has decent wheels if you need to move it around.

Compact dust collectors for small home shops often struggle to cope with the job expected of them, but that's not the case with the Shop Fox. It's popular with owners because it's reliable and performs well in a wide variety of situations. It's not a cheap dust collector – it's an excellent dust collector at a bargain price.
Best Bang for your Buck
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The Shop Fox W1685 is not a "cheap" dust collector – it's an excellent dust collector at a bargain price.
The team that worked on this review
  • Bob
    Bob
    Writer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Editor
  • Jess
    Jess
    Researcher
  • Jimi
    Jimi
    Product Analyst
  • Ben
    Ben
    Operations

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