Selecting and Using Dust Collectors

Selecting and Using Dust Collectors

Regarding woodworking, precision, and safety can never be overemphasized, and the same can be said about dust management.

Dust is an inevitable by-product of the various woodworking equipment and poses an inconvenience and a severe health hazard. This is where a dust collector comes into play. A dust collector serves as a crucial ally in maintaining a work environment that is safe.

In this article, we'll provide some basic yet relevant information about dust collectors, such as their types, collector style, features, and, probably most importantly, the crucial factors to consider when choosing a dust collector.

Whether you're a seasoned woodworker or just getting started, understanding the ins and outs of a dust collector is essential to ensure the quality and well-being of your work.


Understanding Your Dust Collection Needs

If you plan on owning a dust collector or a dust collection system, the first step is understanding your exact needs. There are various kinds of dust collectors which are all designed to serve different woodworking environments. Are you a hobbyist with a small workshop or a professional working in an industrial setting? Consider the size of your workspace, the type of tools you use, and the volume of dust generated.

Types of Dust Collection Systems for Different Environments

  1. Portable dust collectors:

These low-cost units are portable and can easily move around to adapt to changing project requirements. It is worth noting that these units do have some limitations. For instance, they have smaller motors and dust bags, resulting in a lower dust removal rate and capacity. 

Features you’re expected to find in a portable dust collector include built-in rollers or casters, efficient filtration systems, longer hoses, lightweight construction, and even Bluetooth startup.

  1. Medium-sized dust collectors:

A medium-sized dust collector is best suited for dust management in woodworking workshops. They are far more efficient than portable units and are frequently utilized in various woodworking settings, including furniture-making businesses.

What sets these collectors apart is their ability to improve the dust removal rate. They seamlessly capture and contain airborne sawdust and fine dust, ensuring a workspace that has clean air.

  1. Industrial dust collectors:

An industrial dust collector is designed to handle even the toughest dust-loading tasks with ease. What makes them so great is their efficiency and ability to handle large volumes of grain dust and debris, ensuring a healthier and safer work environment. With strong motors and advanced filtration systems, these machines can capture larger particles as well as the smallest airborne particles. For this type of collectors, the size of the dust loading does not matter.

  1. Baghouse dust collectors:

Baghouse dust collectors are commonly used in various industrial operations. This type of data collector employs fabric filter bags or pleated filters, which are vertically arranged in a metal housing.

Dust is drawn into the baghouse dust collector through ducts, and then it passes through the filters. The filter surface captures the dust and releases clean air. The collected dust forms a filter cake over time, usually requiring frequent cleaning.

  1. Cartridge dust collectors:

Cartridge dust collectors are an ideal alternative to baghouse dust collectors. They make use of pleated cartridge filters in place of bags. These pleated filters provide its user with a larger filtering surface area per cubic feet per minute (CFM). This feature results in a reduced air-to-cloth ratio and consequently, a smaller collector size. Cartridge dust collectors are equipped with pulse-jet cleaning systems.

  1. Cyclone dust collectors:

Cyclone dust collectors are low cost devices used in controlling industrial air pollution. Cyclone dust collectors are easy to maintain and don’t require moving parts to operate. The way a cyclone dust collector operates is that air dust enters the cyclone tangentially. This creates a vortex pattern that spirals downward. The heavier dust particles are forced to the cyclone's wall after which they go down into a receiver. As this goes on, clean air is being released from the top.

Common Brands and Models of Dust Collectors

As far as dust collector brands are concerned, there are a variety of options for you to pick from right now on the market. The following are some prominent brands for you to look at

Clearairo: This brand provides designs and installs industrial dust collection systems. Their dust collectors effectively trap and disseminate harmful dust and other toxic particles in the air to ensure your work environment is clean and safe.

Wood-Mizer: Wood-Mizer produces all sorts of wood processing equipment and accessories. They also offer their customers a variety of dust collection systems that are suitable for factories of all sizes.

Grizzly Industrial Inc: Grizzly Industrial Inc is a prominent supplier of accessories and machinery for metalworking and woodworking. Their prices are competitive and they distribute across the United States.

JET Tools: JET Tools, a subsidiary of JPW Industries, offers a variety of woodworking machinery, belt sanders, dust collectors, and handheld tools. Their dust collectors are used by experts in woodworking and metalworking industries.

Industrial Vacuum: Industrial offers dust collectors of various sizes and capacities. Their dust collectors have capacities ranging from 2,000 to 60,000 CFM.

WEN: WEN's dust collectors are specially designed to be used in woodworking and metalworking industries. They are ideal for removing dust, tiny chunks of wood, and all sorts of waste generated in the work environment. WEN’s dust collectors come in various models and are all suited for different operations and set ups

While all these brands listed above offer top services, Purisystems is renowned for offering its customers the best portable, hanging dust collection systems. These portable dust collectors have varying CFMs. They range from 500CFM to as high as 1100CFM with adjustable speeds. Purisystems dust collectors have been intentionally engineered to meet all the demands of woodworking spaces and metal processing workshops. They are also suitable for areas housing saws, planers, and sanders, as wide as 1100 square feet. 

 portable dust collectors


One thing you must consider when making your choice of dust collector is its air flow rate. This is usually measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). This vital metric determines how efficiently a dust collector circulates air and captures dust. 

To choose the dust collector that best suits your air flow needs, you need to start by measuring the dimensions of the workspace in feet after which you need to calculate the room’s volume. The standard guideline states that you should cycle the room's air volume at least seven times per hour. Then you proceed to multiply the volume of the room by 7, and divide the result by 60 to determine the minimum CFM that yo need. If you desire enhanced filtration then you need to multiply the room volume by a higher factor like 8 or 9.

For clarity, imagine a work environment that is 16 feet in length, 26 feet in width, and has a ceiling that is 10 feet high. The room volume for this room is 4160 cubic feet. With 7 air cycles per hour, the standard CFM required is (4160 x 7) / 60, totaling 485 CFM. With this information, we know that the ideal dust collector for this work environment would be the PuriCare 500 because it offers 350, 450, and 500 CFM. The PuriCare 500’s specifications is the suitable choice for effectively managing the room's dust and air quality.

Filtration Level

The filtration capacity of a dust collector determines how effectively it removes dust particles from the air. Simply put, it refers to the size of the dust that the collector can capture. Most manufacturers specify the minimum diameter of dust particles that their filters can intercept.

Standard air bag filters, for instance, are capable of screening dust particles of around 2.5 microns in diameter. Then there are HEPA filters, which are high-efficiency particulate air filters that are even finer and have the ability to capture dust and other tiny particles like pollen, pet dander, and smoke as well as larger particles.

Purisystem’s dust collectors incorporate a robust filtration system that is equipped with an external 5-micron primary filter. This filtration system enables the dust collectors to intercept larger particles. The dust collectors are also equipped with a highly effective 1-micron secondary filter which allows it to trap finer dust. Purisystems' Puricare 500IG and Puricare 1100IG have built-in negative ion generators. These generators charge particles in the air, and cause them to aggregate so they can be captured by the filters.

2-stage filtration system

Also, the Puricare500IG and Puricare 1100IG produce trace amounts of ozone while operating. This helps it to effectively neutralize harmful substances and smells.

Remote Control

Did you know that some dust collector models come with remote control features? This is a major innovation as it makes things much easier in the workshop. The remote control feature is quite helpful for people who tend to switch between tools frequently. Remote control dust collection systems run continuously without any extra effort on your part.

Dust collectors usually come with two main types of remote controls, the infrared remote control and the radio frequency remote control.

The infrared system has a strong signal direction and compatibility, which means that it requires the remote control to be pointed directly at the device in order for the signal to be received and for the device to be turned on or off. On the other hand, Radio frequency (RF) system compatibility is not as high as that of the infrared remote control, but it does not require the remote control to be pointed directly at the system. Instead, all you need to do is press the button of the RF remote control and the signal will reach the device.

Understanding these features is essential when selecting a dust collector. Air flow determines the collector's efficiency in capturing combustible dust, filtration level impacts air quality, and remote control enhances operational convenience, all of which contribute to maintaining a clean and safe workspace.

How to Use

If you want to get the most out of your dust collector, you need to use it correctly. In this section, we'll cover all the important details about how to use these essential tools.

Installation Position for Your Dust Collector

When setting up your dust collector, there are a few things you should know. Firstly, place the collector close to where dust and debris are generated to minimize the spread of pollutants throughout your workshop. If you have space constraints, wall mounting is a popular option. Just make sure to fasten it securely to sturdy cleats attached to wall studs. Speaking of which, you'll want to locate and mark these studs to ensure they can support the weight of the collector.

It's also important to choose a location near an electrical outlet for easy connection and consider the height at which you position the collector - typically, around 65 inches from the floor is a suitable height for maintenance and filter replacement, but feel free to adjust as needed for your own workshop setup.

Dust Collection System Maintenance

When it comes to keeping your dust collector running smoothly, there are some routine maintenance tasks you should stay on top of. One thing you should do daily is check the temperature of the dust collector. This will help you monitor the pressure gauge and make sure it isn't overheating or experiencing any sudden temperature changes.

It's also vital to carry out frequent cleaning and inspect your dust collector regularly to keep it running efficiently and lasting as long as possible. If you notice any pressure or suction-related problems, be prepared to make necessary modifications to the machine right away.

Filter Replacement

It's important to replace filters on time to ensure that your dust collection system continues to function properly. Regular cleaning of the dust collector is key to maintaining its performance. Dust and contaminants can accumulate on filters and other critical components, affecting the device's suction capabilities. 

Also, It's important to monitor the differential pressure regularly. This will help you identify any filter blockages or undue pressure buildup. You'll also want to keep a close eye on the pressure gauge itself. If you neglect to empty a full bag, you could end up with suction blockages and increased pressure.

Depending on the frequency of use, taking Purisystems models as an example, the filter is usually cleaned or replaced every 2-3 months if used frequently.

When you replace old filters, you not only save cost, you also save time. You also keep your workers safe by ensuring that they are not exposed to combustible dust or explosions. Regularly replacing filters and monitoring your system helps maintain its efficiency, creating a healthy and safe working environment.


In conclusion, a dust collector plays an indispensable role in maintaining a safe and healthy woodworking environment, whether you're an expert or a beginner in the craft. For a cleaner, safer, and more productive woodworking experience, take action now and explore the dust collectors.

Purisystems dust collectors are known for their enhanced motor performance and air volume which significantly improves its ability to effectively trap dust particles and other toxic particles from surfaces, machinery, and various workspaces. If what you need are looking for is the pinnacle of dust collection solutions, your best shot is Purisystems.

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