In the past, we’ve reviewed the basics of dust collection for your woodworking shop. But what happens when you step outside the friendly confines of your shop? What’s the best way to control dust at the jobsite? Today’s post looks at dust extractors—tools that deliver point-of-origin dust control and an array of time-saving features. To help you solve the problem of jobsite dust extraction, we are going to cover the following topics:
- Why Choose a Dust Extractor?
- Dust Extractor Features
- Our Selection of Dust Extractors
- The Benefits of HEPA Filters and Tool Shrouds
Why Choose a Dust Extractor?
Anyone who cuts, drills, grinds or polishes concrete for a living probably knows they are being exposed to silica dust. Yet silica dust is also found in other everyday construction materials such as brick, HardiePlank, ceramic tile, stone, asphalt, and sometimes even drywall. Regardless of what you are cutting, silica dust is rough on human lungs. What’s the best way to protect yourself? Wear an N95 mask or a HEPA-equipped respirator and control dust at its source with a dust extractor.
A Dust Extractor Is More Than a Fancy Shop Vac
While basic shop vacs can’t handle concrete dust or slurry, dust extractors are designed with concrete in mind. They can control and filter a variety of fine particles—concrete, drywall, old paint, wood—materials that would entomb your run-of-the-mill shop vac. They can also lap up water like a wet vac. Scroll down the aisles at kmstools.com and you’ll see we stock dust extractors made by DeWalt, Festool and Makita. Look for a dust extractor that suits the type of work you do, and you’ll find that your job will be cleaner, more efficient and ultimately safer.
Dust Extractor Features
When comparing dust extractors, you’ll notice that most come with handy features such as anti-static hoses and variable-speed suction. Some models include a nifty power outlet that lets you turn on the extractor by activating the tool plugged into it, and others have a self-cleaning feature to prevent clogged filters. At set intervals, the self-cleaning system momentarily reverses airflow to clear the filter without compromising suction power. Other considerations include onboard hose and cord storage, mobility—including cord and hose length—as well as weight and operating noise level.
Our Selection of Dust Extractors
The table below compares the specs on a few of our popular extractors.
|Model||Suction Power||Capacity (wet/dry)||Weight||Noise Level||Filter Type|
|DeWalt DWV010||150 CFM||8 gallons||21 lbs||n/a||HEPA|
|DeWalt DWV012||155 CFM||10 gallons||33.5 lbs||n/a||HEPA|
|Festool CT Mini||130 CFM||2/2.6 gallons||21 lbs||62 – 72 dB||HEPA|
|Festool CT 26||137 CFM||6.3/6.9 gallons||28 lbs||62 – 72 dB||HEPA|
|Festool CT 36||137 CFM||8.9 / 9.5 gallons||29.8 lbs||62 – 72 dB||HEPA|
|Festool CT 48||137 CFM||12.2/12.7 gallons||35.9 lbs||62 – 72 dB||HEPA|
|Makita 446L||113 CFM||7 gallons||24 lbs||59 dB||1 micron|
High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters are dense and need to be paired with powerful motors to maintain adequate suction. Yet the benefits of using a HEPA filter are clear: They trap finer particles than standard filters, which are typically rated to 1 or 2 microns, and fine dust can often be the most harmful to our health. A proper HEPA filter (some manufacturers advertise “HEPA-like” filters) will remove 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns or larger. So if your extractor (or the extractor you fancy) doesn’t come with a HEPA filter, check to see if one is available for that model.
Shroud the Dust Cloud
Once you have your dust extractor, you’ll need to connect it to your tool. There are a variety of shrouds available to fit your grinder, drill or saw.
KMS stocks universal shrouds that fit most angle grinders. We also sell shrouds that are designed by manufacturers to fit only their tools. If your extractor’s hose doesn’t fit your shroud, look for an adapter. If you can’t find the right accessory on our website, let us know. Our sales staff would love to help you track down whatever you need to get your dust extraction system up and running.
When it come to SDS-plus drills and rotary hammers, there are a few options available for onboard dust extraction. You can connect to your dust extractor hose with a boot or nozzle attachment, but a hose limits the benefits of using a cordless tool. As a result, most manufacturers offer onboard HEPA filter systems for use with their cordless SDS-plus tools. Of these, Milwaukee’s Hammervac is uniquely handy because it is compatible with all major brands of corded and cordless SDS-plus drills and rotary hammers.
Dust Extractors Can Make Your Job Cleaner, Safer and More Efficient
While dust extractors will often cost more than shop vacs, the added expense accounts for useful, time-saving features like tool-activated start up and self-cleaning filters. In addition, if you choose an extractor equipped with a HEPA filter, you’ll reduce the amount of fine airborne particles at your jobsite. Your lungs will thank you. A dust extractor’s ability to connect to tools and contain dust at the source makes it a must-have for professionals who work with concrete, tile, brick, stone or HardiePlank. Dust extractors can also provide an effective dust-control solution for small woodworking shops. Browse our selection of dust extractors and consider how these tools could make your job cleaner, safer and easier. If you have any questions, please reach out to the store nearest to you.