I am new to woodworking and been having lots of issues with the dust being spread all over my single door garage. I mainly use a

  • CNC enclosed in a box.
  • Belt sander
  • 9" cheap Bandsaw.
  • A benchtop jointer.

I've been using a 2000 watt vacuum cleaner (not a shop vac) which was ok until I started using the bandsaw and jointer more after which things started to get messy.

I am planning on buying a 3/4 HP dust collector and was wondering if it can handle the chips and dust from the bandsaw/jointer provided that it will be hooked to one of them directly? I always wear a dust mask and going to upgrade to a respirator, would that be enough?

  • Currently it seems like you're asking for a product recommendation which is considered off-topic for this site (see woodworking.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic for some helpful information). Please refer to woodworking.stackexchange.com/a/773/49 for a crash course in how to determine the minimum dust collector specs for various tools and hose/pipe lengths.
    – rob
    Aug 31, 2015 at 23:40
  • I've changed the question to be inline with the guidelines. I was referring to the specs of the products I've linked to as opposed to the actual products.
    – OKAN
    Sep 1, 2015 at 1:04
  • 1
    With that group of small machines, a shop vac with 2" hose and high suction might be a better choice than a dust collector with 4" hose and high volume.
    – keshlam
    Sep 1, 2015 at 3:29

4 Answers 4


With the tools you are talking about, yes it should work fairly well. As keshlam pointed out, you would probably be just fine using a shop vac for these and handle everything just fine.

The joiner would be the one to give you the most chips and any dust collector should be able to handle that. Two of the big things that you would consider between a shop vac and a dust collector is what other tools are you considering getting in the future. If you want a thickness planer, go with the dust collector, the shop vac gets filled up and clogged up way to fast to be really useful. You might need a DC for a lathe as well.

Also the Shop Vac is VERY loud. I have a large dust collector and while it makes plenty of noise, the shop vac was worse, but part of the problem is the short hose keeps the shop vac close to where you are working.

Surprisingly the shop vac probably works better for the belt sander than a dust collector. I've got a 'hood' I'll use with my DC and it helps keep the cloud down but still leaves a lot of dust to gather up.

  • I think having a dust collector for the bandsaw makes sense in my case since it has two inlets, one for the shopvac and the other for the dust collector. I havent thought of hooking the 'hood' thing to a DC for the beltsander, that would make a huge difference. Did you build it yourself or got a ready made one?
    – OKAN
    Sep 1, 2015 at 21:08
  • I bought one of these ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41H17GF56PL.jpg
    – bowlturner
    Sep 1, 2015 at 21:35
  • Good point about noise. The low-budget dust collector I recently got is significantly quieter than my old 16-gallon wet/dry shop vac. Earplugs still recommended, though, especially for circ saw and jointer.
    – keshlam
    Sep 2, 2015 at 1:22

One thing you might consider is getting a cyclone attachment for your current vacuum system. Lee Valley makes one that I haven't personally used, but it's similar to one that my dad made and uses in his shop. Mostly I'm pasting the picture below for illustration purposes - all cyclone attachments work using the same principle. Matthias Wandel builds a version in his video series as well.


This will greatly expand the capability of your vacuum to control the larger wood chips that are produced by a planer or jointer. The cyclone keeps most of the debris from getting to your shop vacuum, hence prolonging filter life and time between emptying the bucket.

@bowlturner does make a good point about the noise. I usually have ear muffs on when the vacuum in my dad's shop is running, and he's looking to install a more permanent dust collection system when time/funds allow. For a budget though, this system with the cyclone is hard to beat.

  • Woodgears has a tut for making one of theses as well. Can't find it right now but I watched the video and its easy to build
    – Matt
    Sep 1, 2015 at 19:55
  • @Matt, I believe these are the droids you're looking for.
    – grfrazee
    Sep 1, 2015 at 20:25
  • Dust separators of this sort are available for 4"/dust-collector systems too. Another useful phrase to search for DIY versions: "Thein baffle".
    – keshlam
    Sep 2, 2015 at 1:26
  • Note that adding a chip separator will introduce a static pressure drop, so you need to have a dust collector capable of overcoming this drop while still pulling adequate are volume (CFM) through the system.
    – rob
    Sep 2, 2015 at 3:39
  • I've had very good results with a mid-sized shop vac and a cyclone (usually thickness planer or cabinet saw), so pressure drop wasn't that much of a factor. Sep 4, 2015 at 13:56

Short answer: yes, a 3/4 HP dust collector hooked directly to a bandsaw or small jointer can be adequate, but there are several factors involved.

Horsepower is a very rough estimation of a machine's capability. Impeller size, inlet size, filter efficiency (which often involves considering type and surface area), and real-world vs. advertised specs are also important factors.

If you want to know whether a given dust collector will be adequate for a given machine, you should start by looking at two numbers: CFM and static pressure.

For reference, one 3/4 HP dust collector is advertised as pulling 650 CFM, but its static pressure is not listed in the specs, and the advertised specs are often exaggerated. Even though a dust collector may advertise 650 CFM, it may only deliver 500 CFM directly at the dust port. Adding 10 feet of flex hose may degrade the performance below 350 CFM.

Various types of tools have known baseline requirements for adequate dust collection, measured in CFM (cubic feet per minute). If the dust collector does not meet this requirement (or if it barely meets it), move on, because you'll never be satisfied with its performance.

Static pressure becomes important when you start factoring in the connection between your dust collector and your tool. Static pressure directly impacts the dust collector's ability to overcome resistance as the air travels through a pipe or hose. Longer runs, bends, corrugated or ribbed (as opposed to smooth) internal walls of your hose or pipe, and smaller-diameter hose/pipe are all detrimental to airflow, and the more of these issues you have to deal with, the more static pressure you need to produce in order to overcome them.

WOOD Magazine has a nice article that summarizes the common airflow requirements to capture dust from various types of machines.

WOOD Magazine table: CFM requirements for various tools

Of specific interest to you:

  • Jointer, up to 6": 350 CFM
  • Bandsaw: 350 CFM

As I mentioned earlier, the diameter of your dust collection hose or pipe produces a loss of static pressure, and the aforementioned WOOD article has a table summarizing air volume through hoses of various diameter at a speed of 4000 FPM (feet per minute), the speed at which the airflow will keep the dust particles and chips suspended in the air.

WOOD Magazine: duct size and CFM table

If your most demanding tool requires 350 CFM and a 3/4 HP dust collector produces 650 CFM, you use a short run (less than 10 feet) of 4" or 5" hose or pipe. Keep in mind that any bends in the line, and even using flex hose vs. straight smooth rigid ducting, will reduce the effective CFM--so you should use as short and straight a hose as possible.

For a more in-depth overview of calculating dust collection requirements, see What advantages does a dust collector have over a shop vac?

I always wear a dust mask and going to upgrade to a respirator, would that be enough?

A dust collector's primary purpose is to prevent your tool(s) from clogging up with dust and chips. Removing dust from the air is secondary, and no dust collector can capture 100% of dust particles. Regardless of your dust collector, you ideally should wear a well-fitted P100 or equivalent respirator.


I use a shop vac in my garage. I use it with my circular saw, band saw, router, jointer, and sanders. After I added a cyclone to it, I lost a lot of the suction power. I need to get either a shop vac with a higher CFM or go to DC system.

That being said, a couple of people have mentioned the noise level of the shop vac. That is definitely a concern that I have. I always wear ear protection while my shop vac is running. I was getting ready to build a sound proof box for my shop vac though. That is supposed to drop the sound level down 20-30 decibels. You should be able to carry on a normal conversation at that point.

  • I'm sure you know this, but be careful not to overheat the motor in your box.
    – grfrazee
    Sep 1, 2015 at 21:19
  • Yeah, the design I am planning to build mine on has a temperature gauge on it. From what they said, the temperature reading will also give you a good idea of when it is time empty the shop vac as the temperature will rise when it gets fuller. But yeah, the cabinet definitely requires ventilation.
    – fizch
    Sep 1, 2015 at 21:23
  • Plans I've seen of some larger shops have included a wallboarded closet -- or an outdoor shed -- for dust collector and/or air compressor, those being the noisy "on all day" machines. May put my compressor remote anyway..
    – keshlam
    Sep 2, 2015 at 1:31
  • What do you use to soundproof the box? I've got many layers in my cnc machine enclosure to get rid of the noise but it would be better if I can find something that wouldnt make the box so big and heavy.
    – OKAN
    Sep 2, 2015 at 1:34

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