Air filtration units

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    Air filtration units

    Occasionally I use a band saw, table saw, or orbital sander in my garage shop with dust collection. However my wife hates dust that can accumulate on cars and other garage items. The shop area is 10 x 12 but the overall garage area is ~900 sq ft (80 sq m).

    Do air filtration units work in your experience?

    I am thinking of something at 1000 CFM or more like the Jet – Air Filtration System, Model AFS-1000B for ~$400 US.

    Any feedback or recommendations are appreciated!

    Larry Geib

    I have a Jet DC-650 I bought maybe 20 years ago that works quite well in my basement shop if I don’t get all involved with piping, gates, and such. Each bend or gate reduces the vacuum noticeably.

    Part of it is learning the limitations. I only single pipe – ie I connected the vac directly to each machine with a short and custom pickup to each machine. I change the flex piping each time. It’s not a big deal.

    The antique 14” bandsaw is the easiest. It runs at about 1000 sfm and has a pickup that surrounds the blade area before it hits the lower guides. The slow speed generates larger particles that are easy for the vac to capture. I get almost no dust. The trade off is slower cutting than I had in commercial shops I worked in. I don’t mind Because I’m not losing money. I’m retired. It gets 99+% of the dust.
    If you try to collect after the guides, the dust bounces around and is harder to capture.

    Likewise my table saw has no issues with dust because e pickup is close to the blade and surrounds it. I did a bit of experimenting to control the sawdust.
    Half the battle there is aligning the blade perfectly so that the teeth don’t cut wood on the rising side. It’s not perfect, but what lays on top the wood isn’t dust, but fine shavings, and just a little.

    Now…if you cut a lot of mdf, all bets are off.

    Sanding is the hardest.
    I Use an old Bosch random orbit with a hose attatchment that does a good job but isn’t perfect. The closest modern tool I see is a estool $300 model, but I can’t help more there. I do recommend you also have a separate collector box to pick up stray dust.

    But if I do a lot of sanding, I take it outside. A vacuum sanding table with a might work, but I don’t have the room.

    I also tried a hepa filter bag, but found it reduces air flow too much. Better to let the dust accumulation on the bag do the filtering itself. A dirty bag is a better filter.
    The best, of course, is to put the vac outside, maybe in a vented closet and just run the hose indoors.

    I keep meaning to add a vortex unit, bu never seem to get to it.

    I don’t do dust collection for some tools like my drill press or treadle lathe . I just vacuum the stuff up.

    And my shop has doors, which makes a difference.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Larry Geib.
    • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Larry Geib.
    • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Larry Geib.
    Jim Thornton

    I have pretty much the same filtration unit in my 12 x 22 shop along with a dust collector. The air filtration really helps, but I still seem to get a coating of dust on everything.

    If you can't afford to do big small things in a big way!


    I looked into air filtration units, but very few gave me confidence in their air flow rating or filtration level. A quick look at the AFS-1000B , for example, doesn’t yield the particle size vs. filtration efficiency. In the end, I built one from a furnace blower and two filters from the hardware store for which I knew the MERV rating, one a 4″ filter and the other a 1″ that I used as a prefilter.

    You really want to catch stuff at the source. Once the dust gets free at the source, I believe it gets caught up in eddies, stagnant air, etc. In other words, even the most powerful blower won’t access all the air in the room, the fines can float for a long time, so you’ll be limited in what you can achieve. An air filter is really closing the door after the horse is out, but I still feel better using one. Still, if you can address dust at the source, that’s what you want to do.


    To put a fine point on it, if a fine coating of dust on everything in your garage is failure then- NO DUST COLLECTION DOES NOT WORK. Dust collectors, if properly sized and installed, can be very helpful with collection at the source. Air filters, is properly sized and installed can be very effective at cleaning ambient air. Neither and or both will ever be 100% effective. I would hate to see you spend lots of money to solve the problem only to be dissatisfied with the result. That being said, I recommend the use of both for your health.


    I have dust collection in my garage shop which goes back to when I used only power tools. It is modest dust collection but worked well enough for me. Keep in mind, of course, that you may have to pay a small fortune to get rid of the really small particles that can do some damage to your lungs. I have a Delta AP200 Air cleaner and a Delta 50-760 Collection to hook up to machines. I never set up a full duct system or anything so have to move the 50-700 from machine to machine. I do not believe either machine is made any more.

    One thing I did do is upgrade the filters on my AP200 air cleaner. It uses a rather basic first stage filter of the size you can buy in any hardware store. I do not use anything fancy there. But it also uses a second stage “pocket” filter. That needs to be replaced once in a while anyway, and after a number of years, I replaced it with one from They do tell you the MERV rating mentioned by Ed. The filters I bought are here. Note, they only report down to .5 microns.

    Here is an old, but still useful, post on Lumberjocks about air filtration. There is some comparison of collectors and some info on making your own.

    Two final thoughts. First, I also recommend using a face mask for dust. I just use basic ones, but Paul used a very fancy one in his bandsaw video. Second, of course, Ed is right that the more dust you catch at the source, before it gets in the air, the better. If you scatter dust all over your shop with a bandsaw, you will be kicking up more dust from the floor and shelves every time you move. Air cleaners will not keep up with that. Even a band saw can create a lot of dust. I have a modest Craftsman bandsaw which has two dust collection ports, one for a full sized dust collector and one for a shopvac size, and I use them both.

    I know, hand tool users do not want to be bothered with this sort of stuff: noise and price. It is all loud and and requires ear protection,, and even fairly modest stuff is costly. But if you follow Paul into bandsaws, you might want to avoid the worst of the dust.

    Jim Thornton

    I guess in a perfect world we’d all have a separate machine room with dust collection that maintained a negative pressure vented to the outside and then a hand woodworking room that was dust free! Well anyway…….it’s fun to dream.


    If you can't afford to do big small things in a big way!

    Doug Finch

    I’ve seen some people on Youtube create these enclosures for box fans that have HVAC filters on both sides. The concept is simple, however, I don’t know if it works or not. I use both hand and power tools and I have a 2-stage dust collection system for my table saw, planer and band saw. It keeps most of the bigger stuff down. Aside from that I also keep a set of shop vacs on either side of my shop (2 car garage) and I vacuum daily to keep from tracking it into the house. The dust does collect, no matter what though.

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