8 Best Dust Collectors for a Small Shop 2024 – Top Picks & Reviews
Dust collectors are one of those tools that aren’t very fun to have, but they are necessary for many projects and situations. No one dreams about upgrading their dust collector or looks forward to the release of a new model. However, you need one if you want your shop to stay clean (and safe).
Of course, purchasing the right model is also paramount. Otherwise, you may spend more money than you need to or choose a model that isn’t powerful enough for your workspace.
To help you make the best decision for your small shop, we researched some of the top dust collectors. Below, you’ll find our reviews for some of the best dust collectors for smaller shops, which are generally less expensive than industrial models.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2024
|SHOP FOX W1685 Dust Collector
|WEN 3401 CFM Dust Collector
|Festool 583492 HEPA Dust Extractor
|Grizzly Industrial G8027 Dust Collector
|Jet DC-1100VX Dust Collector
The 8 Best Dust Collectors for a Small Shop
1. SHOP FOX W1685 Dust Collector – Best Overall
The SHOP FOX W1685 Dust Collector is designed to work with woodworking machines. It has a powder-coated paint to prevent rust and improve the overall durability of the model. This machine is 16 amps, so you have to remember to plug it into the correct outlet since some breakers aren’t designed for 16 amps. Given its power, you should also be careful when plugging it up with other machines.
Besides that, the SHOP FOX is perfect for small shops. It can be used as a stationary unit or moved around. It can be outfitted with wheels, which is fantastic if you use different tools around your workspace. It has a 2.5-micron bag that’s suitable for small workshops. Plus, this machine seems to be quite durable. There are many reports of the SHOP FOX dust collector running for years.
The cost of this machine isn’t terribly high either. There are cheaper options, as well as more expensive brands. For the average small shop, this mid-range model is perfect, and it’s our pick for the best overall dust collector on the market.
2. WEN 3401 660 CFM Dust Collector – Best Value
WEN is well-known for making inexpensive yet high-quality tools. The WEN 3401 Dust Collector is no different. It is the best dust collector for a small shop for the money. If you’re on a budget, this is probably the model you’ll prefer.
The WEN includes a 5.7-amp motor. You’ll probably notice that it is significantly less powerful than our top pick. However, the lower amperage is one of the main reasons this machine is so cheap (and one of the reasons it is not number one on this list). However, you can likely get away with such a small motor for small shops. The dust collection port is 4 inches, which should allow for connections to most of your woodworking tools. The swivel casters can be locked into place when needed, and they make it easier to move the machine around when necessary.
The compact design makes it easy to move around and store, and it even comes with a carry handle. You can also mount this unit to the wall if you’d like, which eliminates the need for storage.
3. Festool CT 26 HEPA Dust Extractor – Premium Choice
For those looking to go all-out on their dust collector, the Festool 583492 Dust Extractor is a reliable option. It has an automatic tool start and an adjustable suction, making it much easier to control than other brands. It can also be switched on and off manually as needed. We liked that it could be used for wet and dry materials. Usually, dust isn’t wet, but you never know when the feature will come in handy.
The 11 ½-foot hose is flexible and minimizes shock hazards. Because it is anti-static, you don’t have to worry about static cling either. The hose garage feature allows for significant amounts of storage and transportation ease. The large wheels and low center of gravity make moving this collector very easy. It is very ergonomically designed. It uses a HEPA filter as well, which means it does a better job of filtering than some other extractors on the market.
This dust collector has all the features you need and probably some you don’t. If you have the money to spend, this is a great option.
4. Grizzly Industrial G8027 Dust Collector
The Grizzly Industrial G8027 Dust Collector is a decent machine for small shops. It is fairly inexpensive, which makes it great for those not looking to spend tons of money. It is also very portable; you can take it to the job site without much of a problem.
It has a 1.0 HP motor, which is a bit weaker than most on the market. However, it is also much cheaper, so you get what you pay for. It is 8 amps, which sits in the middle of the pack. Some are more powerful, but also a few are less powerful. The intake is 4 inches, which is the usual size, and there is a paddle safety switch just in case you need it.
However, this machine is too underpowered for most shops, even small ones. You may not be able to plug it into your woodworking machines directly due to the low power, which makes it unusable in some situations. It is so cheap for a reason, and many people aren’t going to get much use out of this machine. This is why it only ranked 4th on our review list. There are better options out there!
5. Jet DC-1100VX-5M Dust Collector
The Jet DC-1100VX-5M Dust Collector is designed to be easy to use for years. It has an enclosed 1.5 HP motor. The impeller is steel, which makes it able to take in more air than other machines. It also makes it more durable than a machine with a plastic impeller. It has a see-through dust bag, so you can quickly tell when it is getting full. This also reduces how often you’ll change the bag since you can tell when it needs to be changed. The heavy-duty casters make it quick and easy to move around as well.
It uses Vortex Cone technology to reduce filter clogging, which is just one less thing you’ll have to worry about. It also extends the life of the machine.
However, the Jet DC also has a few downsides. It is very noisy, so you must wear hearing protection. It is also a bit more challenging to set up than other brands and is quite large. Of course, it is portable so that you can move it around. However, there are more compact options on the market.
6. Delta Power Equipment Dust Collector
Another quality option is the Delta Power Equipment 50-723T2 Dust Collector. It isn’t bad, but it isn’t our favorite either. It has four casters for easy transportation and a snap-in bag design, which makes changing the bag much more accessible than other machines. This collector is much quieter than many collectors on the market, if fact, we found it to be quieter than some shop vacs. If you’re concerned about the sound level, this may be a reliable option for you.
We also found that this machine was pretty easy to put together. With that said, there were many things we didn’t like about it. The bag is tiny and fills up quickly. You’ll need to change and clean it often. Furthermore, changing the bag is not as easy as you might think. The snap-in option can be easier than others, but it takes some time to get used to it.
7. BUCKTOOL HP Auto Start Dust Collector
The BUCKTOOL 1.2 HP Auto Start is one of the lower-quality options on our list. It has a 1.2 HP motor, which is less powerful than most of the competition. It has 6.5 amps, however, which does make it more powerful than other dust collectors around the same price. It has an auto-start feature, which we liked. It will automatically start when you plug in your dust collector. Surprisingly, this is a rare feature, though it is very useful.
It is a small size, which makes it easy to transport when needed. The caster wheels allow it to be more mobile than other options, though most high-quality dust collectors have wheels.
With that said, the suction of this machine is a bit lacking. It may not work for professionals that cut several loads of wood. If you’re a carpenter, this machine probably isn’t for you. It is also a bit harder to put together than some other collectors. Many of the screw holes don’t seem to line up 100%, which can be a pain.
8. Grizzly G1028Z2 Dust Collector
Unlike most of our bottom picks, the Grizzly G1028Z2 Dust Collector isn’t terrible. However, it is significantly more expensive than most dust collectors of equal quality. Because of this, the value isn’t there. You can purchase a dust collector of similar quality for cheaper, so there is little reason to spend the extra few hundred dollars on this one. If you have the extra money, you can get a dust collector of much better quality for the same price.
This dust collector does have a decent amount of power for most jobs. However, it’s poorly put together and designed. It seems to break down often and never works quite as well as we felt it could. Many people reported that their collector broke within just a few months or came with pieces that were incorrectly installed. A broken dust collector isn’t useful, which is why we ranked this machine so low.
Emptying the bag is also tricky and more complicated than any other bag we reviewed. You need two people to change the bag since it slides down quickly and must be changed quickly.
Buyer’s Guide – Choosing the Best Dust Collector for a Small Shop
While a dust collector isn’t one of the most exciting machines to purchase, it is one of the more important ones. Without it, your shop will become dirty and unsafe. Because of that, putting in the research to purchase the best machine is vital. To help you in this endeavor, we put together a complete buyer’s guide. It has all the information you need to make the best purchase for your small shop.
In a small shop, you probably want as compact a machine as possible. We all know just how valuable space is when using big machines in a small area. We highly recommend measuring your space and comparing it against the measurements of each collector before you purchase it. You do not want to purchase a machine that is too big for your space, especially since returning one can become a hassle.
How much air a dust collector draws in is essential since it controls how much air it can filter. A dust collector that doesn’t have excellent airflow will have some difficulties working with machines emitting large quantities of dust.
The airflow listing on each machine is a rough estimate since several factors go into the total airflow. It also doesn’t count for static resistance, which will be a sizable problem for some underpowered machines.
Dust collectors filter dust from the air. How well they do this varies. Two-stage filtration is the best option. It involves chopping the bigger wood chips down to size, which makes it easier for the filter to remove the smaller pieces. However, this filtration is often expensive and is hard to find in cheaper machines.
The filter inside the machine also gives you a good idea of how much dust it can remove from the air. All filters are rated based on the smallest particle they can filter; generally, the smaller, the better. You preferably want to choose a machine that is rated to filter out particles of at least 1 micron. This dust is so small that you can’t see it. However, it can be dangerous for your lungs when inhaled.
Type of Debris
Not all dust collectors can handle all types of dust, but most can handle sawdust. So, you shouldn’t have a problem if you’re a woodworker. However, for those working with other materials, like tile, you need to find a machine capable of handling the dust. Especially rough and sticky dust requires a special machine .
If you’re in a small space, you may not have to move around your dust collector much. However, if you need to move it around while using different machines, portability will be a big deal. Many machines come on wheels, allowing you to roll them around as necessary.
With that said, portable models often sacrifice power because they need to remain small to stay portable. If you need power, you might have to sacrifice portability and vice versa.
Dust collectors are essential for any shop that produces dust. And, let’s be honest, most projects produce dust. This dust can make a mess and be dangerous to your lungs, so removing it as efficiently as possible is essential. Hopefully, our reviews helped you determine which dust collector is best for you.
We recommend the SHOP FOX W1685 Dust Collector for most small shops. This machine is portable without sacrificing too much power. It has a 2.5-micron bag and 16 amps, which makes it much more powerful than most other brands on the market. Despite that, it isn’t expensive.
If you need an inexpensive machine, the WEN 3401 Dust Collector is an excellent option. It is much cheaper than most of the competition. However, it is portable and has high-quality wheels. Because of the lower price, it is a bit less powerful than most dust collectors.
- See Also: 8 Best Cyclone Dust Collectors
Featured Image Credit: Dmitry Kalinovsky, Shutterstock