Cyclone vs non-cyclone Dust collector?

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Forum topic by deadherring posted 01-28-2014 09:37 PM 3907 views 1 time favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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63 posts in 1611 days

01-28-2014 09:37 PM

I am in the process of designing a dust collection system for my shop. I have about 30 feet of 6” pvc that I’m going to put in and I have a table saw, chop saw, benchtop jointer, bandsaw, planer, and sander.

I am wondering about cyclone vs. non cyclone. I’ve had my eye on this 1.5HP cyclone: but it’s a serious chunk of change and more than I really want to spend.
I’d rather go with this 2HP non-cyclone and save a bunch of $: The Grizzly guys recommended adding this seperator to add a large garbage can for large chips.

But, I don’t want to save some $ and have buyers remorse later. Am I losing anything significant by going with a non-cyclone in this case? Does it sound like the 2HP will be adequate for my needs or am I going to have to upgrade to a 3HP?

Thanks in advance,


24 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10276 posts in 3616 days

#1 posted 01-28-2014 09:45 PM

That cyclone will fill up right quick with planer shavings,
suction will go down as the filter clogs and it has lower
CFM to start with.

I say go for the non-cyclone. It’s got plenty of CFM for your
ducting plans.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5096 posts in 1688 days

#2 posted 01-28-2014 10:17 PM

I have a 1hp Delta that I roll to each machine as needed, the short (5’) hose keep suction pretty good even when the plastic bag is near full and the filter bag is well caked. Based on what you’re hooking your collector up to, I would recommend going with the larger cyclone. It will offer greater flexibility down the road as you ad more machines. I would never recommend going with a non-cyclone unit that has an aluminum impeller. If you suck up something that you shouldn’t by accident (like a European hinge) it’s very likely the aluminum impeller would be completely and instantly destroyed when whatever you sucked up hits the blades. Steel would be more likely to bend.

View deadherring's profile


63 posts in 1611 days

#3 posted 01-28-2014 10:38 PM

Yikes—so far too exactly opposite replies :-).

@bigblockyeti I hear you, and that’s a good point, but i might have to take my chances if that is the chief issue. I can replace one full non cyclone machine and still have spent less than a cyclone :-)

Anyone else willing to weigh in?



View bbc557ci's profile


595 posts in 2042 days

#4 posted 01-28-2014 10:42 PM

Both related and non related…..kind’a. Comparing two duct sizes, using on let’s say for example a 2 hp Harbor Freight system, 6 inch ducting will allow for greater air volume. 4 inch ducting will allow for greater air velocity, agreed?? So, it would seem that (regardless of the DC hp – cyclone or not), proper duct diameter (4 in. or 6 in. in this case) would need to be determined in order to obtain the greatest efficiency. Also the length of the duct run/s, along with the number and placement of 45s, 90s, etc. needs to be considered as well, right?

Please be aware I’m kind of thinking or comparing this in terms of the induction system (heads, intake and exhaust manifolds) of an internal combustion engine. After all, todays engines are essentially a pump (air in, air out) And the correct amount of both volume and velocity is what is one of the keys to what makes power, and efficiency. Sorry if this sounds whacky but it’s the only analogy I could think of.

-- Bill, central where near the "big apple"

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595 posts in 2042 days

#5 posted 01-28-2014 10:43 PM

deadherring – think I just thickened the plot LOL

-- Bill, central where near the "big apple"

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2939 days

#6 posted 01-28-2014 10:53 PM

Depending on what your shipping cost are, the base price for a cartridge filter at $450 is quite good.

Even looking at the HF 2HP bag type collector at about $140 with coupon you still have to replace the bag with a cartridge for about another $100 then you have shipping on that, and the time and labor to rig it all up and after all that you have 2 HP motor that really isn’t 2 HP because it can run on a standard outlet. It’s more like 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 HP in reality. And the fan is smaller, 5” inlet, adapter included for two 4” hoses. Rated for 1100 CFM and about 10” or 11” static if I remember correctly. It’s really about half the collector the Grizzly is and for about half the money.

But if I was buying another collector that Grizzly looks like a better deal. And I own one of the HF units and am satisfied with it. And I was an environmental engineer in a foundry for many years so I know a thing or two about dust and collecting it.

You could add a simple cyclone lid on a drum in the duct before the fan and catch most of the dust and chips before they get to the filter. And, just as importantly, catch any screws or nails or hinges before they ever get to the fan. Next best thing to a true cyclone two stage filter and a lot less money. Easier to empty the dust also.

View lumberjacque72's profile


5 posts in 1547 days

#7 posted 01-28-2014 10:55 PM

Highly recommended!...Made one myself and used an electric leafblower/vac to power it!

View changeoffocus's profile


467 posts in 1585 days

#8 posted 01-28-2014 11:13 PM

I too am going through this same exercise but moving more slowly than my normal pace. I did buy the HF model but intend to modify it per a Mr. Bates direction on U tube that reconfigures the HF unit to pull through a separator. There is more than you will ever care to read on the net about this type modification. I plan to discharge the collector to the outside and deal with whatever those consequences might be.
I do have a high turnover air filtration system in my shop to aid in the air quality as well. It turns over the entire volume every 2.5 minutes.
Check out my home page if want details by PM.
As the person above I too have worked in foundries and carbon black bag houses in rubber plants.
You are certainly on the right track in caring for you shops IAQ.
Good luck on your efforts.

View JAAune's profile


1788 posts in 2285 days

#9 posted 01-28-2014 11:32 PM

Cyclones are a superior design but only if they are built right and powered by the right motor. Some people recommend at least 3HP for a cyclone system to compensate for the loss of suction caused by the cyclone. The 2HP models will do a decent job at removing the shavings but they won’t all catch the fine dust.

Having experienced both, I’d personally save up for a really good cyclone if that were an option simply because it’s much easier to empty, safer and puts less dust back in the air. However, such a machine would cost about $2,000 without duct work and that’s a lot of money for the non-pro.

If the good cyclone weren’t an option, then a 2HP bag unit upgraded with a Thein baffle and Wynn filter would likely be my choice.

-- See my work at and

View Randy Woodworker's profile

Randy Woodworker

68 posts in 2297 days

#10 posted 01-29-2014 01:05 AM

I bought the Canadian equivalent of the 2HP DC you posted. I completely disassembled it, flipped the motor 90 degrees, and mated it up to a Super Dust Deputy. In my 2-car garage shop, it is all I need. Very happy with the results. Almost nothing makes it to the bag, and the suction stays constant for weeks (no clogging of the filters).

Fine Woodworking did a test of the Super Dust Deputy married up to a 2 HP DC and gave it very high praise.

View that1guyinwi's profile


2 posts in 1651 days

#11 posted 01-29-2014 01:23 AM

View keninblaine's profile


130 posts in 1570 days

#12 posted 01-29-2014 03:21 AM

I’ve been looking at dust collectors for my garage. Even though I’m a mechanical engineer by training, my head hurts more every time I read about this subject in these forums. There are so many choices, and so many opinions, I wish there was a guideline or decision tree that allowed a person to define their situation and budget, and get recommended solutions for obtaining the best results for their particular needs. It is a complex subject dealing with suction, power, air flow, dust removal, chip and sawdust removal, and space considerations, applied to a huge variety of needs from a contractor saw to cabinet saws, router tables, planers, etc etc. I was tempted by the HF unit on sale until Jan 31 for $199, but still don’t know if it is too much, too little, not right, etc etc for my needs. So my indecision continues. But I’ll watch this thread for any further enlightenment there may be, hoping it doesn’t confuse me more.

-- Ken, Blaine Washington

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 2902 days

#13 posted 01-29-2014 03:37 AM

Go for the cyclone and you will have no regret.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View bbc557ci's profile


595 posts in 2042 days

#14 posted 01-29-2014 04:25 AM

but still don’t know if it is too much, too little, not right, etc etc

If this helps…..I use my 2 hp Harbor Freight DC with my Dewalt 735 planer and a 3 hp Delta Unisaw, two machines that are capable of making allot of chips and saw dust. I have it integrated with a cyclone and have noticed no noticeable decrease in suction due to the cyclone. I use 20 ft. of 4 inch flexible hose, and switch the hose from machine to machine, as/when needed.

I still have the 5 micron bag on the top. The bag does emit some fine dust. I’m still in the process of arranging my new shop so not sure where the DC will be placed permanently. However, when I decide that, I will likely get rid of the top bag and vent the DC through the outside wall.

Other than some fine dust thru the 5 micron bag, I find it to be a very good DC. And for $200 + another $200 for the cyclone, I believe it’s a good deal, $$ well spent. You may not have equipment that produces as much debris as what I have. No matter, you might have the same or similar machines some time down the road. Regardless, for the $$, I don’t believe it would make much sense to get a smaller or less affective duct collector. Just mu $.02

edit in;;;; As far as the Grizzly’s, I’d go for the cyclone…. again just my .02

-- Bill, central where near the "big apple"

View keninblaine's profile


130 posts in 1570 days

#15 posted 01-29-2014 05:20 AM

Bill: Thanks for your info. Could you install a 3 micron bag in place of the 5 micron to reduce the fine dust a little? Also, can you describe what the cyclone does for you. Does it just reduce the amount of large debris going into the bag?

I don’t do a lot of shop work, but I do periodically take on fairly challenging projects. My double garage has to perform as a workshop when necessary. My current built-in desk project has resulted in fine dust on everything in my garage, including inside cabinets. I don’t mind moving the hose between a table saw, router table, miter saw, etc. since I can only use one at a time, and I don’t want pipes around my garage. Plus, I usually need to move equipment to where I can work with it, then put it back. So I want a system that pulls most of the sawdust and wood chips away, and reduces the amount of fine dust in the air. Cutting or routing MDF is a killer for dust.

Ideally, I’d like to wall-mount a system if possible, as floor space is at a premium. Venting to the outside sounds attractive too. So perhaps a cyclone-type system plus outdoor exhaust is sufficient, in which case a single bag system, replacing the bag with a cyclonic-topped container and exhausting the air outside, would work to collect roughage and exhaust the dust outside? This appears to be what Ryan did above in post #10.

-- Ken, Blaine Washington

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