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The 8 Best Dust-Collection Systems in 2021

dust collection system

Staff, Courtesy of WEN

It might seem like an issue exclusive to commercial woodshops, but proper dust collection is important for almost all woodworking endeavors, regardless of the size. Keeping your sawdust controlled and contained isn’t just convenient for reducing cleanup time—it’s also extremely important to reduce the amount you’re breathing in while you work. OSHA agrees that wood dust and particles can pose serious respiratory issues if inhaled, and even lead to cancer down the road. Plus, piled-up sawdust can lead to more immediate safety issues when using power tools, since it can prevent you from getting a clear view of your work area.

What to Consider

If you have more than one or two that create lots of dust, consider a system that has the ability to connect multiple machines at once. It’s definitely possible to reconnect the system hose to each machine as you go, but that can be inconvenient for some, and not practical if you have a busy workshop. Though they may be more expensive, the time saved with a system that can have multiple tools attached could be worth the initial investment.

Take some time to think about your work load and what kind of storage capacity you’ll require with your system. You’re getting a dust collection system to save you time, so make sure you’re not getting an option that you’re going to have to empty out more frequently than is convenient.

If you’re on a budget, or don’t require the power of a self-contained system, a model that uses your existing shop vac is a great option. These portable, affordable units also collect dust without ever entering your vacuum, so you won’t have to bother with cleaning out dust filters, and their hard-bodied storage containers make them more durable than soft bags, and can be used on a wider range of materials.

How We Selected

Proper dust collection was paramount during my time working in woodshops, and I have extensive experience using and maintaining a variety of models and sizes. I’ve used this experience to put together this list of options, making sure to include a good range of options that would be useful to the residential woodworker. I decided to exclude any extra-large commercial options though, because of their high price point and their impracticality to someone working out of their home garage or workshop. I also included several lower-budget options, so that regardless of your budget, you won’t have to miss out on the important benefits of a dedicated dust collection system.

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Best for Busy Shops

Shop Fox W1666

Shop Fox


Capacity: 5.4 cubic feet
Air Suction Capacity
: 1,550 CFM

If you’re a productive woodworker and have more projects than the average DIY-er, this Shop Fox system and its two-horsepower motor could be the perfect fit. Another feature that makes this so appropriate for busy shops is the removable Y-fitting on the intake port. This allows you to attach two four-inch hoses, and have a pair of machines connected at the same time. It’s more expensive than our other options, but if you have the budget for it, this system could be worth it in terms of cleanup time, which can be substantial in busy shops.

  • 12 AMP motor
  • 2 connectors
  • Expensive
  • 107-pound weight may require an extra set of hands to set up


Best Light-Duty Option

Shop Fox W1826

Shop Fox


Capacity: 2 cubic feet
Air Suction Capacity
: 537 CFM

This model would be a good choice for those who want the convenience of a self-powered system but don’t have a ton of space for it. It’s just 44 inches high when fully inflated, but still provides a decent amount of power with 537 CFM suction capacity and 1 horsepower motor. It also includes a bracket that makes it easy to mount directly to the wall, and comes with all the hardware needed to set it up. The collection bag has a storage capacity of 2 cubic feet, and also features a transparent window so you can always see when it’s time to empty it out.

  • Zippered bottom of bag is easy to empty
  • Relatively low price
  • May be too small for workshops that create a ton of dust


Best Low-Budget Option

WEN 3401

Capacity: 12 gallons
Air Suction Capacity
: 660 CFM

This WEN tool would be a great fit for those who don’t have a limited budget, but still want a reliable, powerful dust collection system. For less than $200, you’re still getting an impressive 537 CFM capacity, as well as 5.7 AMP motor, all at a low 18.5 pound weight. We’re big fans of the portability of this model as well, as it features four rolling casters and a carrying handle, making it easy to wheel around or simply carry it from one place to another. Or, if you prefer a fixed version, you can remove the base and mount it to the wall.


Best for a Variety of Materials

The Dust Deputy Deluxe

Oneida Air Systems


Capacity: 5 gallons
Air Suction Capacity
: 50 – 150 CFM

You’ll need to provide your own suction system for this option, like a shop vac, but if you already have one on hand, this affordable option could be a great fit for the casual woodworker. 

Its tapered ports allow it to be compatible with a range of vacuum hose sizes, and in addition to sawdust, is also useful for other materials like water, metal shavings, pet hair, or ash and soot. Plus, by capturing these materials before they reach your vacuum, you’ll increase its lifespan and save yourself time and energy cleaning its dust filter out.

  • Needs a shop vac to operate
  • Less powerful than more expensive options


Best Midsized Model


Shop Fox


Capacity: 2.1 cubic feet
Air Suction Capacity
: 800 CFM

The four casters and large steering handle make this model more portable than similar-sized options, and the 20 foot hose — reinforced with steel wire — should allow you to safely move around without risk of damage. Its impressive 800 CFM suction capacity should be able to handle most projects without issue, and though the 2.1 cubic feet of storage isn’t the most spacious, it does contribute to the relatively compact size of this unit. We appreciate the transparent bag as well, which allows you to easily monitor your dust level and separation, a task that is less convenient with most other bags.

  • Not ideal for a busy shop that requires more intake ports


Best Option for Router Table

Milescraft 1501



Capacity: N/A
Air Suction Capacity
: N/A

Anyone who does a lot of routing work knows that these machines can create a lot of dust. This system attaches to your router table, and uses two intakes to capture dust from above and below the tool, keeping your work area clear and reducing the chances of making costly errors due to low visibility. It can be used with or without your router fence, and is easy to use as either a temporary or permanent system. Velcro mounting pads allow for a nice clean fit, and at just $30, could be great for those on a tight budget.

  • Requires separate vacuum source


Best for large workshops

Jet JCDC-3

Capacity: 66 gallons
Air Suction Capacity
: 1240 CFM

If you have a large workshop with multiple machines that require dust collection, this powerful Jet model could be the perfect fit. Its three, four-inch intake ports make it easy to quickly connect your table saws and planers, or you can adjust it to a single six-inch port if you like. The extra-large 66-gallon drum also makes this model well-suited for busy workshops, and should give you a decent amount of time between emptying. A handy remote control also allows you to control this machine from up to 50 feet away.

  • Large storage capacity
  • Powerful three-horsepower motor
  • Very expensive
  • Takes up more space than our other options


Best for Miter Saw

Rousseau 5000



Capacity: N/A
Air Suction Capacity
: N/A

This system is designed to be used with a miter saw, and acts as a tent on the rear of the machine to capture dust and expel it through an exit port. You’ll need to supply your own shop vac, but if you already have one, this could be a low-cost alternative to more expensive options. It also includes a carrying bag, making it convenient to transport, and reduce the chances of damage when you’re not using it. This would also be a great option for those who are really short on space, like those with a small tool shed or corner of the garage.

  • Folds up to compact size for storage
  • Limited to miter saw use
  • Requires separate vacuum source

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