Dust Deputy vs Harbor Freight DC?

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Forum topic by LearningAsIGo posted 04-01-2013 01:22 PM 4084 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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50 posts in 2665 days

04-01-2013 01:22 PM

Topic tags/keywords: dust collection

We have a small basement “workshop” with a table saw, router, sander and miter saw producing the most dust. Once in awhile we hook up things to a shopvac to collect dust but for the most part it just goes everywhere and we need to vacuum it up later. The dust is out of control so I really need to come up with some sort of dust collection solution. We don’t run more than one tool at a time and we are hobbyists using them for home improvement and building furniture for ourselves. What do you think would be the most cost effective solution?

I have read that people have had good luck with the Harbor Freight DC. I wouldn’t be adding the wynn filter at this time (how long does this usually last before it needs replacing?). But maybe a thien separator. Or would it be a better buy to just get a dust deputy and hook that up to our current shopvac?

13 replies so far

View History's profile


399 posts in 2010 days

#1 posted 04-01-2013 01:40 PM

Your talking about two completely different animals. I have both, a vacuum and a DC, plus an air filtration unit.

View LearningAsIGo's profile


50 posts in 2665 days

#2 posted 04-01-2013 01:49 PM

I’m relatively new to all of this. Can you explain the pros and cons of each or how they are different or why someone should choose one over the other?

View bondogaposis's profile


4770 posts in 2380 days

#3 posted 04-01-2013 01:52 PM

The HF dust collector w/o a better filter is a health hazard. The stock filter bag on the HF only filters down to 5 microns. So while it would be collecting chips it would be blowing fine dust all over your shop. The fine particles are the most hazardous to breathe. The Wynn filters are good to .5 microns which is about the best any filter can do and 10 times better than the the HF bag. The filter is the whole point of dust collection, that would be the last place to skimp.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View bbasiaga's profile


1234 posts in 2023 days

#4 posted 04-01-2013 02:01 PM

So right now, you’re breathing ALL the dust (large and small) that your tools produce. You will have to decide if you agree with bondogaposis and subscribe to the theory that NO DUST COLLECTION is better than SOME DUST COLLECTION. Its up to you.

Your shop vac likely doesn’t have a .5 micron filter either. If you search, you may be able to find one though.

The dust deputy is a pre-separator and will knock down a large portion of the dust going to the shop vac’s filter. This means less dumping of the shop vac and less cleaning of the filter. However, the filter in the shop vac is still what is cleaning the air of the lightest dust. This is just as it would be with the HF DC. The dust deputy would serve the same purpose hooked up to either the shop vac or the HF DC – it does not ‘clean the air’ all by itself.

The HF DC should have a bit more pull, and would hopefully catch more dust from open operations than the shop vac. However, since no DC is perfect at catching all the dust at the source, some of the finest dust is still going to escape in to the room. More will escape with the shop vac than the HF DC. But some will escape in both systems. Therefore, you should consider wearing at least a dust mask, or respirator while working. Lots of guys have a separate air cleaner to help filter that fine dust out of the air over time as well. It prevents that layer of thin dust settling on everything.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3187 days

#5 posted 04-01-2013 02:03 PM

A shopvac doesn’t have near the volume of the HF DC. It’s good for powered hand tools, however.

Even without the second stage, the HF DC will be a great improvement. Start there and add as you see fit. It doesn’t have to happen all at once. Anything is better than nothing.

Two caveats…

1.) Getting all the fine dust will be very difficult for several reasons, but foremost is that two of your listed tools, the miter saw and router, are very difficult to capture, regardless of the DC’s capacity and efficiency.

2.) Getting fine dust is different from collecting chips. More power and efficiency is required to do the former than the latter. If you are serious about true dust collection, then you’ll not only want a powerful DC, but also a pre-separator of some type and an air cleaner.

Some people just don’t worry much about this stuff because of point #1…and it is frustrating that you still must use a broom occasionally after using a router, miter saw, or handplane. But as I said, something is better than nothing, so if you can control what’s truly controllable, then you’ll be better off in the long run.

-- jay,

View History's profile


399 posts in 2010 days

#6 posted 04-01-2013 02:15 PM

bbasiaga pretty much nailed it, but I’ll add that my reasons for both a Vac and a DC are that the machines that I have that have a 2 1/2” dust port, I use the Vac. The larger machines that have a 4” or larger dust port I use the DC. I have separators that have a Thien baffle inside for both the Vac, and the DC.

View josephf's profile


200 posts in 2125 days

#7 posted 04-01-2013 02:50 PM

I started with a dust deputy . It did fine ,not perfect but good starting point .You will always use it so why not . Now I have three shop vac cyclones .I got a 1 1/2 dust collector on craigslist and a cyclone for it now for my bigger tools .

View Fettler's profile


200 posts in 2025 days

#8 posted 04-01-2013 05:07 PM

I have both of these and do wood working in my basement. I have a Harbor Freight DC with a Wynn Filter and a Dust Deputy connected to a home depot shop vac. The dust deputy was working great right up until i connected it to a dewalt 375 planer. The dust deputy served it’s purpose but now i only use it for cleanup.

Bigger tools like a band saw, planner, jointer, mitre saw and possibly the table saw just need more volume than the little shopvac can handle. Once particulates get past the deputy they clog the shopvac filter (dust bags are an option). My Harbor Freight DC still has a couple leaks i need to resolve but with the Wynn filter it works pretty good. When I run any high volume tools, i always wear a mask. You might be able to get away with a 2” sharkguard overhead collection on the table saw, but your mitre saw needs way more volume. I generally dont even use my mitre saw indoors; eventually i’ll build an enclosed hood for it.

My biggest concern with woodworking in my basement is dust getting back into the remainder of the house. The central air sucks some dust into the house. Being a 1/2 basement i can open the windows and i have a box fan with a taped-on filter to move air. Even so you can typically smell the dust upstairs, so i generally have to open the upstairs windows as well. Ideally i’d have my dust collector vent outside.

A dust filled basement is a problem. After every day i cleanup the entire basement and periodically i blow out the breaker panel + rafters (which are generally pretty clean). If i had a dedicated shop I’d also do the same. There is a washer and drying in the basement which gets pretty dusty. Dust could also be causing problems with my furnance and water heater… i try to run neither when wood working (generally on saturdays when the wife isn’t home).

I could just be crazy, but i’ve been trying to avoid sanding as much as possible. The smoothing plane and spoke shaves get me pretty close, but i still need some light sanding during finishing.

Going back in time, i’d first invest in a festool setup before considering a dust deputy. The harbor freight dust collector is a must for the bigger tools. I may still craigslist and get a festool vac.

Pretty soon we’ll have a little new born and will have a 0-tolerance dust policy.

-- --Rob, Seattle, WA

View a1Jim's profile


117127 posts in 3605 days

#9 posted 04-01-2013 05:21 PM

Folks always want to spend big bucks for finer micron filters or bags, if you have your system vent outside into a trash can or box you don’t need all the fancy high dollar equipment because you don’t have have the filter bag in your shop,plus you don’t have to take up floor space for a dust collector,you can hang the fan on the wall or just build a little shed outside to shelter the whole unit. I’ve done this with my HF dust collectors and it has worked great for a number of years.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View LearningAsIGo's profile


50 posts in 2665 days

#10 posted 04-01-2013 06:04 PM

Forgive me for being relatively new but the festool dust extractors look like a shopvac. Are they different because they have a hepa filter?

View a1Jim's profile


117127 posts in 3605 days

#11 posted 04-01-2013 06:11 PM

Yes the are different they keep the fine dust from flying all over like normal shop vacs. There are a couple more companies that make shop vacs that are much better than normal vacs,all of them cost more than a HF dust collector.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View MrRon's profile


4800 posts in 3272 days

#12 posted 04-01-2013 06:37 PM

a1Jim, I do the same thing; blow the dust outside; no expensive filters to clean I live in a rural area, so no neighbors to complain. I use the same DC as you. I use just the fan and motor with a barrel as a separator. everything else was scrapped. I didn’t bother with a wireless remote either. I just removed the switch from the DC and re-wired it to the end of a cable located next to the on/off switch on my saw. I used 4” drainage and waste pvc pipe. Works as good as a $1000 system. Cost; about $150.

View a1Jim's profile


117127 posts in 3605 days

#13 posted 04-01-2013 06:51 PM

I live in town Ron but the little dog houses and big trash cans I built contain any dust floating around and a little of the the DC noise. I like my remotes since I have three different DC units The Remote I bought is set up for three different items and I think it was around $20.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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