HF Dust Collector -- Build Quality vs Other Brands?

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Forum topic by pendledad posted 03-11-2013 02:34 PM 1611 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View pendledad's profile


190 posts in 2116 days

03-11-2013 02:34 PM

Topic tags/keywords: dust collector

I went to HF yesterday with my 20% coupon in hand. I was going to pick up the 2hp dust collector for $199 – 20% coupon = $159. The two boxes they had in stock were severely damaged. So much so that I wouldn’t bother buying one and bringing it the 3 miles back to my house because I was 90% certain there would have been at least 1 thing smashed to pieces. That said, I did take some time to check out the unit on display… I wasn’t very impressed.

Granted I know this DC is sub $200 and it has surprisingly good reviews, but I just couldn’t help but feel like I was going to break it. The bars that hold up the bags were flimsy and felt like I would snap them off if I touched them with any force. The stand had a little bit of rust on it where the motor was bolted … again, not inspiring a lot of confidence. The stand was also warped pretty bad, must have been damaged like the other two in stock. Maybe this just wasn’t setup correctly? Maybe the bolts weren’t snugged down tightly?

Am I just finding issues that aren’t really issues? Does anyone have experience with HF vs other brands? I was thinking about the design of this DC and how it makes more sense to have a solid pipe connecting the blower to the filer/bag. Dust loves grooves as witnessed by my G1023RL with no dust collector hooked up to it. Solid connection examples like this or this ... or does this just not matter much?

At this point, the difference between $175 for HF or $350 for Grizzly doesn’t matter to me. I just want to make sure I’m getting the right tool for the job with good build quality. I’ve also seen some CL finds … Dustek for $700 (seemed like a good deal, but it is 7.5hp 3ph), lots of smaller Delta/Jet/General for the $200-$400 range.


20 replies so far

View Julian's profile


1348 posts in 2717 days

#1 posted 03-11-2013 02:45 PM

If paying more for another brand isn’t an issue I would buy a better brand DC. I have the HF model; I paid about $140 and that was one of the reasons I made the purchase. I agree that the support bars for the bottom bag are not great but that’s one of the trade offs for the price. I connect my DC directly to which ever machine I am using and it provides very good suction. My only issue with the DC is that the 5 micron bag allows too much dust through. When I compared other DC brands; most are made almost identically.

-- Julian

View Matt Przybylski's profile

Matt Przybylski

546 posts in 2404 days

#2 posted 03-11-2013 02:58 PM

I have this model as well like many other LJs and added the Wynn filter and a thien separator. I mounted the separator on the stand itself and braced the motor up on 2×4s. It is a bit flimsy but I have not had any issues with it and it works great. The one thing I did have to do is put silicone caulk on the inside of the unit to seal a terrible weld from the factory (the portion between the filter and bottom bag) that was letting dust escape out the side through small holes. I think for the price that’s a small one minute modification I was willing to live with.

As a side note, if you pick up wood magazine you can find a coupon for the DC for $149 towards the back pages.

-- Matt, Arizona,

View Cliff De Witt 's profile

Cliff De Witt

130 posts in 2719 days

#3 posted 03-11-2013 03:33 PM

My local Harbor Freight will not give the 20% coupon on items that are on sale. I guess I need to try a different store.

-- Trying to find an answer to my son’s question: “…and forming organic cellulose by spinning it on its axis is interesting, why?”

View pendledad's profile


190 posts in 2116 days

#4 posted 03-11-2013 03:41 PM

My HF is staffed by the high school kids (high school is across the street). So they literally don’t care about anything. The downside is they also don’t know anything. I asked where the dust collector accessories were … and they said: “What is a dust collector?” ... My wife is hilarious though … she said: “Its a machine, that collects dust”.

Maybe I have a bad feeling towards HF because of the staff at my local store. I’d have more confidence in the tools if I knew the people that worked there. At my Lowe’s and HD, I know all the guys in the wood/tool departments, so I have more confidence shopping there.

I’m going to take a look at some of the grizzly 2HP collectors and compare them to the CL finds.

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2513 days

#5 posted 03-11-2013 03:53 PM

One thing about the HF DC is that if yoy buy it and happen to not like it for any reason you can take it back within 90 days.

this might be an option for you to think about.

I bought one, but I had no problem voiding the warranty. I had plans to modify it as soon as I checked to make certain it worked correctly in it’s original state.

edit: My HF is staffed by mostly college kids with a few old timers sprinkled in for good measure. They all seem to be at least acquainted with the equipment they sell, even if they aren’t sure what it really does.
My local Lowes and Big Orange on the other hand seem to hire the low end of the learning curve.
I asked one to get some 1” styrofoam insulation down with the fork lift he was driving and he looked at me like I was nuts! He told me he would have to get someone who knew what it was.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4999 posts in 2520 days

#6 posted 03-11-2013 04:40 PM

Most of these things are Taiwanese imports, so i doubt there will be a huge difference in build quality….but if there is, I suspect the HF stuff is slightly below the others. From my observation, it looks to me like the lower price is due to overrating the thing, which makes comparisons seem favorable. It’s really probably a 1.5 HP, and even then it only has a 10” impeller. Most other 1.5HP DC’s have an 11” impeller, the 2 HP models are 12”. The others often come with 1 micron filtration in the box. I’m not bad mouthing the HF, just saying buy it with realistic expectations….and keep in mind you almost always get what you pay for. That said, when doing DC on a budget it’s hard to beat the HF. But like someone else said, if you don’t mind spending the money look elsewhere.

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

View DocSavage45's profile


8601 posts in 2869 days

#7 posted 03-11-2013 04:46 PM

I don’t have a Harbor Frieght store available. I buy online.

The plus is the 2 hp motor and the impeller. See Stumpy Nubs recent video programs as he is using 2 HF collectors. It comes disassebled so you can modify it as you like. I have a couple HF pieces and some of their other hand power tools. I purchase heavy duty tools if I will use them alot?

Maybe you can check out Home Depot to see what is on the floor? I know you are a grizzly guy LOL!

For me, I’m now looking for as much sucking power as I can get for my buck. HF only has a 90 day warrentee on many tools. I checked the reviews and there were complaints about the motor? In the past when I called about a broken part on a compond miter saw that the Dumb UPS delivery person rolled to my door! They sent the parts immediately.

Good luck!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View brtech's profile


1029 posts in 2949 days

#8 posted 03-11-2013 04:54 PM

I have it, it’s plenty sturdy enough. I had no problems assembling. I have the Wynn filter on it.

View pendledad's profile


190 posts in 2116 days

#9 posted 03-11-2013 04:57 PM

What about this I just found: $100, probably could get it for $75-$80.


I think it is a model 073.

View DocSavage45's profile


8601 posts in 2869 days

#10 posted 03-11-2013 05:07 PM

You have had good luck w/craigs list? Time or money, or both?

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View SamuraiSaw's profile


515 posts in 1991 days

#11 posted 03-11-2013 05:11 PM

Have him run that PM to make sure the bearings are good. Look inside the housing (take the top bag off and you can see) and look at the condition of the impeller. That caould be a really good deal!

-- Artisan Woodworks of Texas....

View Bryan Cramer's profile

Bryan Cramer

35 posts in 1937 days

#12 posted 03-11-2013 05:13 PM

If Craiglist isn’t nice to you…. I have a HF dust collector for the past 3 years. It is all stock. I found a coupon for $140. Trust me it pays for it self. Some days I run it four hours at a time doing production work, the longest was 4 hours. Be sure to run it on a seperate 20 amp circiut. As you stated inspect it before you bring it home. I wouldn’t want to spend any more on any single stage collectors. If you want a cyclone well thats a different story…

-- Bryan Cramer at Great Plains Design Works

View IrreverentJack's profile


727 posts in 2869 days

#13 posted 03-11-2013 05:44 PM


View MT_Stringer's profile


3172 posts in 3257 days

#14 posted 03-11-2013 06:04 PM

I used the HF coupon in Wood magazine $149.00

I have “looked” at delta and Jet models at Woodcraft and Rockler. The differences seem to be mostly cosmetic. If you like white, buy the Jet for $300 more. :-)

The actual dust separator appears to be the same – thin metal on all of the models – just sheet metal.

So far, I am happy with mine. I am working in a small workspace (one car garage) and only run one tool at a time. It keeps up with my jointer and planer so I am happy.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Airspeed's profile


445 posts in 1929 days

#15 posted 03-11-2013 09:42 PM

I have had the HF dust collector for 5 years and its performed flawlessly. It’s been used a lot! When I first bought it I intended on eventually getting rid of the upper cloth filter bag and replacing it with a solid pleated filter but I haven’t had the need to do so, it works just fine as it is. I’m glad I didn’t spend nearly twice the price for a name brand DC, this machine seems to be an exact clone of many name brand DC systems.


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