I have a small shop. It’s a 2-car garage and is about 19′ by 20′ in size. For the longest time I’ve been using a shop vac as my dust collector. It does an okay job on a couple smaller tools like my orbital sander and the Festool Domino DF500, but on the larger tools with a 4″ dust port (such as my Laguna Fusion table saw and DeWalt planer) a shop vac just doesn’t cut it. The filter in a shop vac is small and gets clogged easily, and after about 1 minute of using the planer you can forget about collecting any dust at all. The wood chips just start flying back at me, mocking my attempt at keeping them contained! It’s definitely time for a real dust collector.
There are a lot of different dust collector units out there on the market. They come in all different sizes, horsepowers and of course price ranges. I think I looked at all of them! Of course, I was limited to a unit that was wired for 110v/115v since that’s what I have in my shop. Even still, the options can be overwhelming!
I’m a pretty firm believer that mostly everything from Harbor Freight is crap. I get their super ugly mailer in my mailbox what seems like every day. They’re definitely a quantity over quality kind of place but from what I’ve read, their 110v/115v 2hp dust collector unit is one of their little gems and a lot of people love it because it’s super basic, it sucks air and it’s cheap. Then, what I see everybody doing is modifying and hacking the heck out of the Harbor Freight model to convert it into a 2-stage/cyclone style dust collector. People are taking it apart and swapping out the impellers, and they’re constructing these big plywood frames and and using those big blue drums. It may end up working out mechanically but let’s be honest…some of those setups are some disgusto el barfo Frankenstein lookin’ rigs, am I right? For all the extra time, money and effort spent figuring out how to make a cheap cyclone dust collector out of recycled parts, they could’ve just bought a legit cyclone dust collector that looks super slick….say, for example, the JET JCDC 1.5HP Cyclone Dust Collector….and they’d be up and running in no time.
I’m all for trying to save a few bucks. I love DIY projects and figuring things out, but there are some things that are worth spending a little extra money on and the JET cyclone is one of those things. Of course, I looked at the other dust collectors in the same class since they’re all in a similar price range, and they all have very similar features including a remote control, which is one of those things that once you have it you’ll wonder how you ever managed without one, haha!
The Laguna model is of course, super slick looking. One main difference I saw between the Laguna and the JET was the size of the dust collection bucket. I think the Laguna had something like a 32-gallon bucket while the JET only has a 20-gallon bucket. That’s not really a big deal to me. The main thing I feared was tripping a breaker every time I fired it up, and I read that several people needed to hire an electrician to come in and run a dedicated circuit in order to use the Laguna without tripping the breaker. The specs on the Laguna site say it draws 18.8 amps while the JET site says it draws 14 amps. I didn’t want to deal with tripping the breakers, so the Laguna was out.
I also looked at the Grizzly model and right off the bat it recommends using a 30 amp circuit and it draws almost 16 amps. So that took the Grizzly out of the running right away. It also has an extra tube from the funnel to the bucket which they claim is a “vacuum equalizer”, but to me it’s just another messy hose. Plus this thing is green. Peace out.
The JET JCDC 1.5HP Cyclone was the winner! Of course, your thought process of selecting a dust collector may be different from mine. You may have a more intense and updated electrical setup than I do. You may not care about how the tool looks the same as I do. We all have our reasons for choosing one tool over another, and listed above are some reasons why I chose the JET, not to mention the JET name is a name in woodworking I feel I can trust. My hope for this post is that it will be helpful as you decide on a dust collector.
The following video is a segment I put together showing the unboxing and assembly of the JET JCDC 1.5HP Cyclone Dust Collector:
While yes, this video is only showing the unboxing and assembly, I have a secret….by the time you read this, I will have already used the dust collector several times and I gotta say….I am LOVING it!! (If you don’t believe me, see my photo below).
I will also be posting another video soon showing some of the 4″ dust collection hoses and accessories I picked up from Rockler Woodworking, and how I will be using those items in my shop, in conjunction with the JET dust collector. I hope you’ll subscribe to my YouTube channel (if you’re not already subscribed) so you can see that video as well (and others). Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. Also be sure to follow me on Instagram, as I post there frequently!