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What's the difference between a shop vac and a dust extractor?

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Forum topic by bondogaposis posted 10-09-2015 07:42 PM 998 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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bondogaposis

4032 posts in 1816 days


10-09-2015 07:42 PM

Besides the huge price difference. Any insight?

-- Bondo Gaposis


13 replies so far

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john2005

1741 posts in 1642 days


#1 posted 10-09-2015 07:44 PM

Volume.

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

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JayT

4783 posts in 1675 days


#2 posted 10-09-2015 07:46 PM

Two major differences in design.

#1 A dust extractor is sealed so that all air flow goes through the filter. On a shop vac, a lot of air leaks between the lid and tub. It’s nearly impossible to get a shop vac to meet lead abatement and other clean air requirements because of this, even with a HEPA filter.

#2 Most dust extractors have an outlet on the machine so that you can plug in the tool you are using with the extractor. The dust extractor will turn on when you activate the tool and continue to run for a few seconds after the tool is shut off to clear all the dust from the area and hose.

Additionally, most dust extractors are better insulated so they are much, much quieter than shop vacs.

You can use a dust extractor as a shop vac, but not really the other way around as effectively. When my current shop vac dies, I’m planning to get an extractor, mainly for the noise factor and the convenience of the point #2 above.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

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distrbd

2227 posts in 1911 days


#3 posted 10-09-2015 07:48 PM

Shop vac is the more versatile and more practical version of a low horsepower dust collector, just my opinion.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

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JayT

4783 posts in 1675 days


#4 posted 10-09-2015 07:52 PM

OK, after typing my reply and reading the others, maybe I should ask. Bondo, are you asking about a dust collector

or a dust extractor?

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

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Jim Finn

2412 posts in 2386 days


#5 posted 10-09-2015 08:02 PM

SHop vacs should not be run for long periods of time . (Over 15 minutes). I killed three of them to learn this.

-- "You may have your PHD but I have my GED and my DD 214"

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jonah

687 posts in 2763 days


#6 posted 10-09-2015 08:37 PM

Cost. Dust extractors are way, way more expensive. They’re also typically quieter, as the previous poster mentions.

They can’t suck up liquid though, so if that matters to you then a shop vac is the way to go.

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bondogaposis

4032 posts in 1816 days


#7 posted 10-09-2015 09:38 PM

Jay T, I’m asking about dust extractors specifically ,and why do they cost so much more than a shop vac for similar function?
Here’s an example Bosch 14 gal extractor costs $669 where as 14 gal Shop Vac cost $119. The difference in price is 5 times. Is the value 5X greater?

-- Bondo Gaposis

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JayT

4783 posts in 1675 days


#8 posted 10-09-2015 09:49 PM



Jay T, I m asking about dust extractors specifically ,and why do they cost so much more than a shop vac for similar function? The difference in price is 5 times. Is the value 5X greater?

- bondogaposis

For a contractor, it is if you will get fined for not meeting dust containment standards or would have to pay a union employee for the hours of cleanup necessary when working in a customer’s home and having a shop vac spew fine dust all over. In a wood shop, I don’t know that the cost difference is as justifiable for most people.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

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JayT

4783 posts in 1675 days


#9 posted 10-09-2015 09:57 PM


They can t suck up liquid though, so if that matters to you then a shop vac is the way to go.

- jonah

Some can, some can’t. For instance, the Fein pictured above is wet & dry capable.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

View Crank50's profile

Crank50

173 posts in 1041 days


#10 posted 10-10-2015 04:14 AM

It would appear, at first, to skeptical me that Festool might have introduced their shop vacuum and called it a dust extractor to distinguish their product from everyone else’s offering.
I did a little research and noted that several manufacturers offer both dust extractors and shop vacuums.
Dewalt, for instance has vacuums and extractors.
Also, Dewalt seems to be studying the Festool marketing and very closely claiming they offer exactly the same features, without ever mentioning Festool of course.
The “Features” I’m speaking of are very specific things like self cleaning fleece dust bag. Festool and Dewalt both use almost identical wording here.
Both companies point out they have automatic operation that is activated by the start up of attached tools and also they both claim variable speed control to adjust the suction to the type of work being done. Low speed for sanding and high speed for planing for instance.
Finally, I noted that dust extractors with HEPA filtration are certified for work with lead.

I suppose, if you want a really good shop vacuum, you would get a better unit with more features if it is called a dust extractor. If you want a machine that is carefully designed and intended to be the very best then maybe you need a $700 Festool. If you want a Chinese built knockoff of a Festool with similar features you can get a Dewalt for about $350 to $400. Bosch and Fein and probably others will fall somewhere within this range.

Whether or not these tools are worth the 5X multiple of price difference, well, that depends on you. I think there are differences, I pointed out several above, but I can’t say what those differences are worth to someone else. If I could afford one I’d rather have a dust extractor myself.

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TheFridge

5765 posts in 950 days


#11 posted 10-10-2015 04:22 AM

Edit: have heard great things from the few people I know that own an extractor.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3942 posts in 1958 days


#12 posted 10-10-2015 01:09 PM

I guess I continue to believe that while the things called “extractors” do often have some advanced features, it’s little more than marketing language to “justify” the outrageous price. That said, I did buy one just for the reduced sound levels. Standard shop vacs should be labeled as being hazardous to your (ear) health. Just my opinion.

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

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MrRon

3926 posts in 2708 days


#13 posted 10-11-2015 06:40 PM

Dust extractors were designed to connect to the dust port on portable power tools, like sanders and routers. Their capacity is small compared to a shop vac or dust collector, so they are used for whole shop dust collection from machines that produce large amounts of chips and dust. The dust extractors have HEPA filters to filter out very fine dust particles as small as 1 micron. Very fine filters are not practical for use on large dust collectors as they would clog too quickly.

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