Today, we’ll walk you through another ideal way to get rid of all those fine particles and airborne contaminants in almost maintenance-free fashion with our air filtration system reviews.
We’ll highlight now the different types of filters so you can get an initial overview…
Think of this as the first line of defense and a way of extending the lifespan of the secondary filter.
In the first 4 air filtration systems we review, this pre-filter takes care of larger debris down to a size of 5 microns. A micron is used to measure tiny particles and translates to one-thousandth of a millimeter.
These outer filters can be easily removed and the dust collected scraped directly into the trash.
The dual-filter models we look at all have an inner filter which is responsible for the much smaller particles of debris down to a size of 1 micron.
These secondary filters can be washed and easily replaced when they show signs of wear.
A high efficiency particulate air filter will snag any contaminants too small to be dealt with by other types of filter. Only the higher end air filtration systems come with HEPA-rated filters.
HEPA filters can deal with particles as small as 0.3 microns and remove 99.97% of all airborne contaminants.
We’ll give you all the information you need so you can confidently bolster your workshop with the most judicious line of defense against those tiny particles of ruinous dust.
Starting off, then, who needs an air filtration system in the first place?
Who Needs Air Filtration Systems?
If you are a woodworker in any capacity, whether you’re a casual hobbyist or a committed and lifelong craftsman, installing an air filtration system in your workshop is an investment rather than an expense.
When you consider the amount you spend out on power tools and equipment, the cost of the best air filtration system pales almost into insignificance.
Working in a dusty environment obscures your vision and increases the chance of an accident. It’s also extremely uncomfortable even if you wear eye protection and a mask.
It’s the smaller particles, though, that move beyond discomfort and constitute a genuine health risk. Dust is measured in microns (thousandths of a millimeter). Once the particles of dust fall below 10 microns, they start to become a serious issue for your respiratory health. Irritating your nasal passages and throat, these ultra-fine particles of dust can also easily work their way into your lungs.
Any woodworkers with a keen eye on their health and safety should give serious consideration to fitting the best air filtration system.
What should you look out for when you’re trying to fight back against dust, though?
We’re going to give you a few handy pointers next so you can maximize your chance of getting the best air filtration system while reducing the amount of time and effort you need to put in.
A great way to immediately slash back your options is to think first about budget. Air filtration systems range from almost pocket change right through to four figures. Think about your precise needs, focus on an amount you can comfortably afford and this will help considerably in assembling your shortlist.
What To Consider When Buying a Air Filtration System
Manufacturers along with Health and Safety professionals suggest the air filtration system should clean the air in your workshop anywhere from 6 to 9 times each hour. This translates to all the air passing through the system before it’s expelled as debris-free air that won’t harm your lungs or respiratory system.
The idea here is to match the air flow rate in CFM to the size of the workshop in question. Fortunately, that’s easy enough to calculate.
Firstly, multiply the volume of your workshop by the number of times you want air cleaned. Divide this answer by 60 to get the rate per hour in terms of minutes and match this with the CFM rating of the air filtration systems you have in mind. Use this calculation to whittle away any from your shortlist that don’t pack a hard enough punch.
Not all workshops are created equal.
If you’re a casual hobbyist making little more than a few quick cuts with your miter saw, you can get away with a cheaper air filtration system. You won’t need as great an air flow rate and you won’t burn out a less durable model either.
For shop owners with any kind of commercial enterprise and more heavy-duty equipment in sustained action, it pays to look for a far more rugged and upscale system that will cope with these demands.
Check out before you commit to purchase that you can easily and readily obtain a supply of filters. Also, look into how much they cost. It’s senseless being enticed by an inexpensive system if you end up struggling to find replacement filters or if they are prohibitively costly.
As with all aspects of your buying decision, time spent at this stage is potentially money and frustration saved later down the track.
Linked to your intended usage, think about the types of dust and debris you’ll be generating and make sure that the filters are graded to deal with fine particles so you can complement your dust collector or shop vac.
Although not strictly speaking essential, most of the best air filtration systems for home workshops come packing variable speed. Since this is the case, it seems foolish to shoot for a model lacking this functionality.
By adjusting the flow rate, you can make certain that the unit is powered in line with the application at hand.
Ease of Use
Most air filtration systems are straightforward enough to use and there’s no right or wrong answer here.
Think about how comfortable you are with technology and read plenty of user feedback. If there are repeated reports of air filtration systems being awkward to operate, give them a swerve in favor of something that’s user-friendly enough for your needs.
If you have a hanging air filtration system in mind, you need one that comes with a remote control if you don’t want to be endlessly reaching up and cursing.
You’ll be able to control the timer and all main functions from the remote so don’t overlook this aspect or you’ll come to sorely regret it.
Usage and Maintenance Tips
Fortunately, using an air filtration system is remarkably simple since it’s effectively a plug-and-play appliance that does all the hard work for you. It’s not like going back to basics and learning how to make the most of a reciprocating saw or getting to grips with a milling machine.
Make sure the air filtration is switched on when you’re working and it will simply wick away all those niggling fine particles without you needing to give it a moment’s further thought. A remote control on most units means they can be hung up out of the way saving you precious workshop real estate and handled from down below with no stretching or straining.
You can also leave your air filtration going when you’re out of the shop and take advantage of the timer and shut-down functionality to save power while still maintaining a debris-free environment.
Maintenance extends purely to cleaning your filters by washing them or blowing them out with compressed air. As a rule of thumb, you should clean the outer filters after a full day of woodworking. Since the outer filter – also known as the pre-filter – collects most of the particles, you can dial back cleaning of the inner filter to perhaps every third day in the shop. This clean-up is such a shotgun procedure it simply doesn’t pay to neglect it.
Make sure you replace the filters according to the manufacturer’s guidelines and your unit should give you many years of service without any further elbow grease. Once the fibers on the filter start to break down, it’s time to swap it up. Filters are not expensive and they’re widely available both online and in your local hardware store.