shop-vac as dust collector

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Forum topic by rkevins posted 07-14-2010 02:52 AM 7834 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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76 posts in 2350 days

07-14-2010 02:52 AM

Does any anyone use a shop-vac as a dust collector? I am looking at a 12 gallon 145 cfm that a friend has for sale. If I hook it up with a cyclone separator is this enough for a router table, scroll saw, planer, spindle sander ? I would set it up portable to move between tools. any help or recommendations are very appreciated. Thanks Kevin

18 replies so far

View PhineasWhipsnake's profile


77 posts in 2468 days

#1 posted 07-14-2010 03:05 AM

Shop-Vacs work OK for smaller dust-producers like sanders, but a planer might be pushing it, IMHO. The big drawback, for me, is the noise those things make. Unless you spring for one of the more expensive Feins or Festools, most shop-vacs are real screamers.
I have a Fein Turbo 2 that is real quiet, but use a real dust collector for my tablesaw, planer, and router.

Of course, that’s just my opinion…I could be wrong ;-)

-- Gene T

View ABrown's profile


102 posts in 2331 days

#2 posted 07-14-2010 03:40 AM

I have a 12 gallon Ridgid vac, it works very well with every thing but my table saw, it just dosen’t have enough cfms to support the saw, so I ended up buying a grizzly dust collector which I dedicated to it. I still use my ridgid vac on every thing else.

View Steven H's profile

Steven H

1117 posts in 2480 days

#3 posted 07-14-2010 04:17 AM

Shop vac are design for small power tools and floor.
Get a dust collector, it will be worth the investment.

I would get 1 1/2 HP or 2 HP dust collector.

View ChunkyC's profile


856 posts in 2675 days

#4 posted 07-14-2010 04:32 AM

My primary DC is a HF 2hp. I use a 12 gallon ShopVac for sanders, biscuit jointers and some shop cleanup, but only a little. Invest in the “bag” that goes into the ShopVac too. You’ll spend less time cleaning the filter in the ShopVac and the area around it after you take it out and more time working.

-- Chunk's Workshop pictures:

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5103 posts in 2615 days

#5 posted 07-14-2010 07:35 AM

Greetings Kevin, Shop vacs are not dust collectors… they are used to clean up the sawdust and chips on the shop floor, and like the others have said, for small tools like sanders, etc…....For large machines like a planer, jointer, and tablesaw, you need a “minumim” of 400-600 cfms. A s.v. with 145 cfm ain’t gonna cut it on these tools….. You have to remember that a s.v “sucks air, and a d.c blows air around to create the cfms…. As stated above a 1 1/2 or 2 HP d.c. with around 1100-1200 cfms will do the job. I have a Delta w/ 1200 cfms, and 4” drops to each of my major machines, and it handles these with no problems….. Bite the bullet and invest in a good d.c if you’re gonna do woodworking… you won’t be sorry you did….... 18,000 LJs will tell you that….
One other thing: Go to some of the woodshops on here, including mine, and look at their set-ups for d.c.

-- At my age, an "all--nighter" is not having to get up and pee...!!!

View dbhost's profile


5590 posts in 2652 days

#6 posted 07-14-2010 07:56 AM


I started out with a Ridgid 12 gallon wet / dry vac hooked up to a Thien cyclone separator, and fitted with a HEPA filter. it worked well for some things such as my Ridgid OSS, router table etc… Mind you, it was mostly useful for visible dust / chip collection, and even at that, it wouldn’t move enough air to keep from jamming up every time I even looked at the planer or jointer…

If you are on a tight budget, save a few bucks for a Harbor Freight 2HP DC, and catch it on sale… They frequently go for about $140.00 after all discounts are factored in.

Add to that a 1 micron filter, or bag and a Thien baffle to keep the filter or bag from plugging up with the ultra fine dust, and you will have a MUCH better start on a true dust collection system…

-- My workshop blog can be found at

View Blake's profile


3442 posts in 3295 days

#7 posted 07-14-2010 09:40 AM

Its all I’ve got. I would love to upgrade to a dust collector but it works for now.

-- Happy woodworking!

View TJ65's profile


1358 posts in 2470 days

#8 posted 07-14-2010 10:53 AM

Thats all I use, the idea of a seperator added to it would be good for the planer as that really produces the sawdust, it will also save the machine from clogging up. It is something that I really should do- add a separator- but I am too busy woodworking !!!!!!!! :-)

-- Theresa,

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2495 days

#9 posted 07-14-2010 02:21 PM

The noise of a typical shop vac really bothers me. I use a dust collector for all my main tools. However, I also have a festool vac and it is great when coupled with a festool sander. Of course, it costs more than my dust collector.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View robdelman's profile


8 posts in 2299 days

#10 posted 07-14-2010 02:30 PM

I have an enormous shop-vac that I use as my primary collector (I have some really bigtime space limitations). Since I work primarily (right now) with smaller tools (meaning I do not generate a lot of dust), it seems to be good enough for now. I have it outfitted with a really high quality HEPA filter. Suffice to say it will not scale up if I move and add more space, and it’s VERY loud.

-- Rob, Ohio,

View NewPickeringWdWrkr's profile


338 posts in 2433 days

#11 posted 07-14-2010 02:50 PM

I have a Rigid vac that is bagless (and cannot have a bag fitted), plus a Dust Deputy from Oneida. Great for the router table, ROS and general cleanup.

It has enough power to suck the big stuff out of the planer, but you need a big container for the dust deputy to sit on. I planed 12’ x 6” boards from 3/4” to 1/2” and it filled my 5 gal bucket and the 12 gal Rigid vac bucket. I wasn’t watching it to see if it was full and when it fills up, those chips gotta go somewhere! LOL.

On the noise, when running the power tools that I used my s.v. with, I wear hearing protection, so I barely hear it.

-- Mike - Antero's Urban Wood Designs

View TheDane's profile


4935 posts in 3083 days

#12 posted 07-14-2010 05:28 PM

I have a Ridgid 12 gallon/5hp vac that I use with an Oneida Dust Deputy … works great for most stuff, including my table saw. Ridgid has a ‘muffler’ that cuts down some on the noise, and doesn’t seem to effect suction.

The vac/cyclone combo doesn’t do so well with the planer or jointer, so I generally roll them out on the driveway and use them with a ProTech 750cfm portable dust collector. I have never cared much for this dust collector … the 5 micron bag doesn’t stop fine particles, and it is a PITA to setup. If I had space, I would go for a real DC and ditch the toy.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View PurpLev's profile


8523 posts in 3069 days

#13 posted 07-14-2010 05:45 PM

should work fine except for jointer/planer since those produce LARGE chips and LOTS of them which a shop vac just can’t handle. other than that I used a shopvac with my DP, TS, router and sanders and it was OK…

I now have a dust collector which works much better for all the stationary tools, and is quieter by far.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 2406 days

#14 posted 07-14-2010 05:59 PM

I’ve been using a shop vac for my planer without any particular problems… I of course would like to have an actual dust collector, but this works for now.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View spclPatrolGroup's profile


233 posts in 2315 days

#15 posted 07-14-2010 07:03 PM

If you use a shop vac make sure you have a good 1-2 micron filter. Its the very fine particals that pose a health hazard, same goes for a dust collector, look for a canister model, they generally filter better than the bags. You can get a small cannister DC for around $400 that doesnt take up much more floor space than a shopvac.

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