Best Air Filtration System Reviews and Buying Guide 2020
Here on Miter Saw Judge, we strive to bring you detailed guides on all of the power tools you need for a thriving home or commercial workshop.
What else is essential, though?
Controlling the large volumes of dust created by this equipment. Whether you’re cutting, sanding or perhaps even breaking out the angle grinder, sawdust and debris are a constant menace.
There are several different routes you could take if you want to keep woodchips and finer particles in check…
Shop vacs have great suction but a very weak airflow so they are certainly not the best option for dealing with the mess generated by your band saw. The other drawback to shop vacs is that they do a solid job of cleaning up after you’ve finished working but you should also focus on maintaining a clean, clear environment as you are beavering away. The last thing you need is to keep breaking your workflow to give the shop vac a quick blast.
Dust collectors undeniably work well and we recently produced a detailed guide to buying the best dust collector to help you choose the most suitable model. We looked at both portable units and those more suited for commercial use. While these deal admirably with larger chips and much of the dust created, it’s inevitable that some of these finer particles slip the net.
How, then, can you ramp up dust protection without spending a king’s ransom?
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.
The Best Air Filtration System Reviews 2019 – Comparison Chart By Mitersawjudge.com
With a varied selection of air filtration systems on the market, choosing the best one can often feel overwhelming.
Luckily, we’re here to strip away that confusion and point you in the direction of the very best air filtration systems at your disposal.
We’ll get straight down to business now with a detailed look at the best air filtration systems for your home workshop with one model thrown in that’s tailor-made for use in a commercial backdrop.
Detailed Air Filtration System Reviews
First up in our best air filtration system reviews is a budget-friendly appliance from WEN. This manufacturer produces more than serviceable power tools and equipment at cost-effective prices without compromising build quality or performance so you’re in safe hands.
Take a glimpse at the main features then we’ll look at this capable unit in more depth…
It worked so well and it’s cheap enough that I bought another one for the opposite side of my shop. Now my shop air is extra crisp and clean! Only annoying thing is I purchased the 2nd unit directly from WEN and it seems to be made differently externally and one of the handle screws were missing. Other than that it works exactly the same.
By Amazon Customer
If you thought that air filtration systems were expensive, think again. For no more than the price of a power tool, you can take up the slack in your workshop where your dust collector left off…
The pair of filters on this WEN are very simple to clean using either water or compressed air. You’ll also be able to cheaply and easily get hold of replacements so reducing your ongoing running costs and eliminating the hassle factor of painstakingly trying to source spare filters.
The pre-filter sees off more substantial matter down to 5 microns. The inner filter is optimized to make light work of the finer and damaging dust that can otherwise create mayhem in the workshop and inside your lungs. Although it might not be HEPA-rated, this second filter neutralizes particles as small as 1 micron. According to WEN, this accounts for 99% of all airborne contaminants so you’ve got the lion’s share of the dust battle won.
With a 1/6 HP motor, you can adjust the speeds on this 3-speed unit according to the work you’re carrying out. While 300 CFM of air flow at the lower end and 350 CFM as the mid-setting are more than acceptable rates, the top speed of 400 CFM leaves something to be desired for larger spaces. That said, if your workshop is 400 square feet or less, all air will be filtered 7 ½ times an hour which is bang in the middle of recommended guidelines.
Hanging the unit on the wall couldn’t be much easier. Although you get man-sized performance, the box tips the scales at just a fraction over 30 pounds so it’s easily manageable and you won’t need to worry about a bulky weight suspended from the ceiling. All hooks and mounting gear comes in the package so you’ll be good to get going straight out the box.
Since the air filtration system is hung up on high, the remote control is invaluable. You’ll be able to toggle between the speed settings and initiate the automatic shut-down feature from over 25 feet away without interrupting your work flow.
That auto shut-off is a nice touch. It makes good sense to keep your filtration running after you’ve left the workshop but the last thing you want is for it to run all day in your absence sucking down power needlessly. Opt for a 1, 2 or 4 hour stint before it turns itself off and saves your electricity bills from spiraling out of control.
The level of noise generated polarizes opinion somewhat. WEN likens the 50 to 60 decibel claimed rating to roughly comparable with an office setting. We would say it’s in line with a hectic, busy office so don’t expect silence in operation. Some users have complained that the noise grates somewhat. What we would add is that by definition, when you’re using the air filtration system, you’ll also have at least one power tool in commission so, compared to the racket kicked out by your circular saw, the sound issuing from your air filtration pales into insignificance really.
Have a quick look at the chief advantages and couple of minor niggles with this inexpensive air filtration system before we serve up our verdict…
- Variable speeds (300, 350 and 400 CFM) mean you can tweak the settings in line with the type of work you’re carrying out for maximum efficiency
- Heavyweight performance but unit weighs just over 30 pounds so easy and safe to hang from the ceiling
- Remote control effective at distances up to 26 feet allowing you to fine-tune speed or activate time delay
- Outer filter deals with larger debris to 5 microns while inner filter takes care of fine particles down to 1 micron covering all bases
- Both filters easy to clean and replace for your convenience
- Mounting hooks and all attachments included so hang from the roof of your workshop with the minimum of fanfare
- Only kicks out 50 to 60 decibels of noise which is roughly the same as a quiet office environment
- Automatically shuts down after 1, 2 or 4 hours if programmed using remote so save money on your power bill
- Great value for money and currently available at a discount online
- Some users complain the noise kicked out, although not too loud, is a fairly annoying droning sound
- Air flow could be improved, especially on highest setting
If you’re on the trail of a budget-conscious air filtration system but you’re not prepared to take a hit on performance, the WEN is well worth your further investigation.
This unit works best in more compact workshops which, let’s face it, accounts for the majority of home set-ups. If you have a sprawling warehouse or commercial shop, you clearly wouldn’t be looking at systems in this price range.
Aside from a slight droning sound and a lack of power for larger spaces, there really is very little else we can say to knock the WEN and a great deal we can recommend it for. Check out this great air filtration system today and do your health a favor.
Next up in our best air filtration system reviews is a substantially pricier model from the industry heavyweight JET. From ruthlessly expensive, high end commercial band saws through to regular workshop equipment like this neat filtration unit, JET is a brand you can rely on to deliver results every time.
Whether you have a roomier workshop at home with fairly ambitious projects lined up or a smaller commercial premises you need to keep dust-free, the JET 3-speed is a handy ally in that endless fight against airborne pathogens and contaminants.
Here’s a summary of the leading features before we outline where this hard-hitting air filtration system really excels…
I hung this from the ceiling in my shop. I go in and set it for a time based on how long I plan on working with a two hour plus window to run after I leave. I have noticed a dramatic reduction in the amount of latent dust in my shop when I return the next time. I had purchased a cheaper model and right out of the box sitting on a table, the air stream on high was not terribly noticeable unless you were standing right near it.
By Amazon Customer
Compared to the other ceiling-hanging air filtration systems on our list, the JET is not much bigger when it comes to overall dimensions. Measuring up at just 14 x 32 x 26 inches, it’s roughly the same size as its competitors but packs a little more weight at 57 pounds. The ultra-durable design and extra power in reserve accounts for this added poundage.
The 1/5 HP motor is a real workhorse. It’s recommended that any air filtration system should get through a complete cycle of cleaning the air anywhere from 6 to 9 times in an hour. With the JET, this nudges 20 times hourly which is more than adequate even if you have a fairly big workshop. The completely enclosed ball bearing motor extends the lifespan of the unit while also extracting the very best performance from it.
The speed of the JET also sets it apart from much of the competition. With the usual 3 speeds to choose from, the low end at 556 CFM trumps the maximum air flow of many comparable air filtration systems. The middle setting ratchets things up to 702 CFM and at the upper limit, you’ll breach 1000 CFM meaning there’s a great deal of power on tap, perfect if you’re really churning out sawdust with challenging applications and hardcore power tools.
The filters are first-rate along with all other components on this air filtering system. The electrostatic outer filter acts as an attractor for dust and makes light work of bulkier debris. This is disposable and you’ll be able to use it a good number of times before replacing it. Filters are cheap and easy to come by. The inner filter comes out so you can clean that as required. This sucks away those fine particles to 1 micron in size. The air diffuser means that all outgoing air is fired out in a wide pattern for best effect.
Hanging the unit up on the ceiling is a cakewalk. You’ve got 4 eye bolts included to make light work of this. If you choose to set it down on a work surface instead, JET has designed the feet to be non-marring so you won’t end up scuffing everything about in the quest for clean air.
The remote makes controlling the system super-simple. There’s a timer so you can encourage the JET to switch itself off after 2, 4 or 8 hours. This gives you the latitude to let it continue filtering the air once you’ve powered down without draining electricity all night long.
The crowning glory is a thundering 5-year warranty which shows just how much faith JET place in their products. After all, the last thing a manufacturer expects is to dip out on the deal. Look after your system well and it should repay you with many years of reliable service.
Check out this breakdown of the pros and cons before we offer up our verdict on this superb air filtration system…
- Goes through an extremely impressive 20 cycles per hour which is far higher than average
- Fantastic air flow with 3 speeds topping out at over 1000 CFM so suitable for larger and busier workshops
- Disposable outer filter is electrostatic to maximize the dust particles it attracts and reduce maintenance
- Removable inner filter is highly effective and a cinch to clean
- Control the timer via remote to shut off after 2, 4 or 8 hours
- Outer filter deals with particles to 5 microns and inner filter to 1 micron making an effective tag team against all dust and debris
- Simple to suspend from the ceiling using the 4 eye bolts
- Nifty rubberized feet mean the unit won’t scratch up your work surfaces if you choose to mount it down low
- Class-leading 5-year limited warranty provides you with total peace of min
- Certainly not the cheapest air filtration system you could choose
- A few complaints about buzzing and humming from the unit
Not everyone is looking for the cheapest air filtration system since, if you regularly undertake more demanding applications, a lightweight entry-level model will simply not cur the ice. That said, budget is always a factor in every purchasing decision and JET bridge the gap nicely between affordability and far-reaching air filtration that wicks away even fine particles at an outstanding rate of knots.
If you’re on the hunt for a system that’s capable of maxing out at over 1000 CFM and will clean the air in a bigger space without limping and wheezing, we’d strongly recommend the JET. While the relatively small footprint might deceive you, be under no illusion that this is a heavyweight unit in terms of performance.
Add the JET to your workshop at home or on the job today and breather freer and easier tomorrow.
As we hit the mid-point of our air filtration system reviews, we’ve got another eminently affordable model up our sleeve, the Shop Fox W1830.
This is priced pretty much in line with the WEN we reviewed earlier so if you’re looking for a budget air filtration system with elevated functionality and more than adequate performance for a small home workshop with a dust collection system in place, read on to see if the Shop Fox fits the bill…
I had been looking for a long time to find a filtration system that met my needs. Those that I had seen in my local tool shop had too large of a foot print, were too high, were too heavy and too expensive. I read the reviews on Amazon for the big brand offerings and was not impressed with what the reviewers had to say until I read the reviews for the Shop Fox.
By Amazon Customer
First up, don’t be sucked in by the speed figures boldly proclaiming 1200, 1400 and 1750. These relate to the RPM rather than CFM so don’t expect a system that will outflank the JET above at a third the price. That being said, air flow is on a par with most comparable air filtration systems. The capacity is 260 CFM at low speed, 362 when you notch it up a gear and the top speed translates to an air flow of 409 CFM. While this won’t be up to the job of filtering the air in a massive commercial shop, it’s ample for a regular home set-up.
When it comes to air filtration systems for smaller workshops, the filters are almost without exception roughly the same. The outer filter, as with the above models, works for bigger bits of material down to a size of 5 microns. The smaller and finer dust is accounted for by the inner filter which is good for particles to 1 micron. All you need to do is tap off the dust from the outer filter directly into a garbage bag to clean it. Remove the inner filter and douse it with water before leaving it to air dry. Replacement are available online and they’re priced competitively so you won’t have any nasty ongoing costs to bear.
All the air in a smaller space will be filtered efficiently up to 8 times an hour which is all you can hope for in a cheaper filtration system. This falls well within the stated minimum so there are no grounds for complaint here. With less expensive units, you can expect boxes to be ticked rather than over-performance.
The infrared remote can be awkward to use from a distance but you’ll benefit from a control panel from where you can easily make any tweaks you need.
As with all these hanging variety of air filtration systems, everything you need comes in the box so you won’t be scurrying off for fitments. Installation is rudimentary so you can start enjoying fresher, cleaner air right from the get-go.
Where the bulk of these units are roughly similar, it’s always wise to look for any key differences…
One way the Shop Fox differentiates itself is how quiet it is when in use. As we outlined above, this is not so critical when you are in the shop with power tools on the go. When you leave, though, your family or neighbors will appreciate the distinct lack of noise emanating from the system. You can program it to switch off after 1, 2 or 4 hours. This is a smart way of getting rid of all lingering dust without being faced with a stiff monthly utility bill.
We’ll walk you through a breakdown of the pros and cons of the Shop Fox before moving on to a more expensive model from POWERTEC…
- 120-volt single phase motor develops 1/8 HP and comes CSA certified for your peace of mind
- 3 speed settings maxing out at 409 CFM at a speed of 1750 RPM means the Shop Fox is best suited for smaller home workshops
- Timer also packs 3 settings so you can program this unit to switch itself off after 1, 2 or 4 hours using the provided remote
- Both filters (1 micron and 5 micron) can be cleaned without any ceremony and replacements are not costly so your ongoing expenses will be minimized
- In a 20 x 20 x 8 feet space, the air will be circulated approximately 8 times an hour which falls in the recommended range
- Access the unit either using the remote supplied or through the user-friendly control panel
- All equipment needed to suspend your air filtration system from the roof of your shop is thrown in and installation is a breeze
- Designed for use as a table top unit if hanging it from the ceiling is impractical so highly adaptable
- Particularly quite in operation which is a pleasant surprise with a cheaper model
- No option to add a HEPA-filter
- Remote can be temperamental from a distance
Not everyone wants or needs a full-bore commercial air filtration system nor wants to pay the premium necessary to get one. If you have a regulation home workshop and you are a hobbyist woodworker looking for a cleaner environment with improved air quality, the Shop Fox is an affordable entry point.
All you need to do is examine the state of the filters when you clean them to see just how effective this equipment really is and how much harm you’re exposing yourself to if you don’t take proper precautions.
For a first-class filtration system with a third-class price tag, you really can’t go far wrong with the Shop Fox W1830.
Before we finish up with a commercial air filtration system, we’ll polish off our look at home systems with another relatively expensive but highly practical dust solution from POWERTEC.
As we detail in our buying guide below, getting the most fitting filtration system for your workshop hinges on intended usage. If you frequently undertake projects where lots of dust is generated and you have a roomy workshop, you’re well advised to consider this type of mid-level system offering you the power and performance you need.
We’ll highlight the main features before showing you where the POWERTEC really hits home…
Works fantastic in a one-man woodshop. Keeps the air nice and clean, so I no longer have to scream at the kids to put a respirator on when they walk out to the garage/woodshop while I’m working.
By Amazon Customer
With many power tools and much equipment, products vary quite considerably in terms of their functionality. Air filtration systems are all very much cut from the same cloth and the POWERTEC doesn’t offer anything radically different from the JET, the unit occupying the same price point.
Air flow is in line with the JET system. The 3 speeds are slightly lower in terms of RPM (750, 960 and 1200) but the all-important CFM comes out at the same 556, 702 and 1044 rate of air flow which is perfect even if you have a slightly larger home workshop.
Filters are the same pair found in most systems like these 3-speeders suitable for small home shops or scaled-down commercial enterprises. The outer filter, as usual, does the trick with debris to 5 microns in size. The inner filter will filter fine dust to 1 micron. You won’t need any tools to replace these filters and they can be cleaned stress-free.
Rather like the JET, the POWERTEC is not exactly a featherweight. This is to be expected considering the poky motor and overall build quality. After all, once the unit is suspended, weight is not really an issue at all. Since it comes in at over 70 pounds, you might want to consider calling in assistance to get it hanging up on the ceiling. Everything you need for mounting is chucked in.
The remote control allows you to program in a shut down after 1, 2 or 4 hours which is very much like other similar units. As mentioned, there’s really very little to choose between most air filtration systems in terms of core functionality.
For anyone out there with sensitivities, allergies or asthma, this unit works well to reduce the irritation brought about by dust. Often, cheaper units really have their work cut out in a bigger shop space and this is where you score by upping the ante and investing in a brisker system like the POWERTEC.
Have a quick glimpse at the advantages and drawbacks of this air filtration system then we’ll round out with our final review before dispensing some handy hints to help you get the best equipment for your shop…
- Brisk air flow rate from 556 CFM up through 1044 CFM at the upper end
- Build quality is first rate with 73 pound unit rugged and good for years of reliable service
- Reasonably quiet for such a capable air filtration system kicking out just 69 decibels at full clip
- Understated design which although highly functional doesn’t look like an eyesore
- Opt for 1, 2 or 4 hour auto shut-off to give your workshop a final blast of clean air when you’ve downed tools
- Remote control and all necessary mounting hardware bundled up
- Pair of filters offering the standard 1 micron and 5 micron capability meaning that all debris, large and small, is effectively filtered out of your workspace
- Buy into a rock-solid brand without needing to spend four figures
- Although not HEPA-rated, an excellent unit for anyone with allergies or asthma
- Not the cheapest air filtration system but still represents sound value
- Relatively heavy at 73 pounds so think about getting some assistance if you plan to suspend the unit from the ceiling
- Outer filter is not washable which is a disappointment
POWERTEC products have a hard-won reputation for stellar quality without forcing you into a bank loan to buy into the brand.
While you can certainly get cheaper air filtration systems – we review a couple of these – for larger home workshops or small businesses, it’s necessary to step things up a gear if you want really worthwhile filtration. Also, it’s false economy to overwork and overload a less capable unit in a larger space. It will just end up letting you down while not even performing the duty you need it to in the first place.
With the option to use a wide range of filters and a generous air flow, the POWERTEC is a dependable air filtration solution from a brand you can trust. Check one out today and you are extremely unlikely to be disappointed.
To finish up our best air filtration system reviews, we’ve got something in a slightly different vein to the 4 regular units above.
While one of the core purposes of this HEPA-filtration unit is to remove mold, asbestos and silica dust from the air in renovation projects, it’s also a fantastic air purifier and filtration system that would grace any workshop.
Glance at the chief features of the OmniAire before we detail why it makes sense to consider this system even for home workshops…
This item is not reviewed yet! If you’ve any experience with the OmniAire, please feel free to share your experience in the comment section.
As you’d expect from an air filtration system at this price point, build quality is second to none. Everything from the aircraft grade aluminum used for the housing through to the closed end rivets and seams sealed with silicone indicates clearly that this heavy-duty beast won’t let you down in a hurry.
While it’s particularly heavy at 138 pounds, the casters down below mitigate this weight and allow for easy transportation whether at home, in the shop or out on site. These casters are non-marking so you won’t scratch up your floor and the overall dimensions of the unit are surprisingly small given its titanic performance.
A negative air machine, we’ll gloss over the extra mile this system goes on abatement and renovation projects since the average woodworker will not have much interest in this. Suffice to say, whatever toxic airborne pathogens are kicked up, the OmniAire sees them off in fine style.
For our intended user with power tools, there’s a bag filter which allows for even industrial quantities of dust to be collected. This acts as a kind of final filter on an already highly effective system.
Air flow trumps the other air filtration systems we reviewed which is no more than you’d demand from a rugged commercial unit. You can flick from 1000 CFM which is where most regular systems max out right up to 2000 CFM giving you all the air flow you need whatever project you have in mind.
Perhaps you carry out work in your shop that creates unpleasant fumes? If so, one of the many optional add-ons at your disposal is a wonderful carbon filter that will control and neutralize these foul odors leaving your environment blissfully clean.
Even by the standards of negative air machines, the OmniAire is not cheap but it performs so admirably that we wanted to serve you up with the strongest example of this type of multi-purpose air filtration system so you can decide whether or not you can justify such a piece of equipment.
Because that’s the bottom line…
The OmniAire is absolutely not for everyone but that’s precisely why we included it here. While we’ve tried to give you a pair of cheaper standard air filtration systems partnered with a couple of slightly more expensive home models, we always want to show you the full extent of options at your disposal. Ask yourself whether or not you truly need such a punch-packing air filtration system and, if so, the OmniAire will deliver fully.
Take the time to study where it stands and falls before we give you our verdict and press on with our air filtration system buying guide…
- HEPA-rated filtration system with full sized filter 12 inches deep that you can replace with a bag filter for the effective removal of dust from woodworking or construction
- Negative air machine packing 2 speeds that’s man enough for even the harshest on-site conditions and a real boon in any workshop with high volumes of dust
- Cabinet is built to exacting standards using aircraft grade aluminum with silicone-sealed seams and closed end rivets to give you years of unbroken service
- Unparalleled air flow with 2 speeds (1000 and 2000 CFM) so up to whatever you throw its way
- 2 rigid and 2 wheeled casters simplify transportation and allow you to move the unit with ease
- 12-amp running on standard 120 volts so ideal for any set-up at work or home
- Although it weighs 138 pounds, at 28 x 32 x 36, the size of this air filtration system is manageable even for home workshops
- Wide assortment of optional extras including carbon filter, air purification module and intake manifold so suitable for an enormous spread of filtration and purification duties
- Extremely expensive although still excellent value when you consider the durability, versatility and performance
Clearly, the OmniAire negative air filtration system is not the kind of unit you’d pick up if you’re a casual hobbyist workshop with a couple of tools in the garage.
Although it’s core purpose is for removing toxic airborne contaminants from the air on abatement and renovation projects or industrial facilities, don’t overlook this top-notch system if you have a larger home workshop or a small commercial shop.
With the bag filter in place, you’ll really struggle to find a more effective method of sucking away and filtering the large and small particles kicked up while woodworking or using an angle grinder.
While it’s designed firmly with a range of commercial applications in mind and it’s an amazingly flexible piece of kit, don’t overlook the OmniAire if you’re a committed home woodworker with a large space to keep debris-free and a more fluid budget. There’s little we can say to knock this fantastic air filtration system except try one out today!
Now you’ve had the chance to study 5 of the best air filtration systems available, it’s time for our detailed buying guide…
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.
Hopefully, you’ll now be in a far stronger position to understand the difference between shop vacs, dust collectors and air filtration systems when it comes down to how they perform in the workshop, how they differ and the extent of their limitations.
If you are resistant to spending out on what seems like yet another accessory for your shop, ask yourself what price you put on health and safety. When you start thinking about air filtration systems in relation to these key issues, suddenly they don’t seem quite so expensive.
Drop us a line any time if you have any queries at all. Also, please let us know if there’s anything you’d like us to cover here at Miter Saw Judge. After all, the core purpose of this site is to give you the information you want and need so don’t be shy, get in touch!
Before closing, here is a snapshot of 10 of the most frequently asked questions that crop up when you’re thinking about air filtration…
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1) WHAT IS A MICRON?
A micrometer or micron is a unit of measurement corresponding to one-thousandth of a millimeter. Dust particles are referred to by their size in microns.
2) WHAT DOES CFM MEAN?
The CFM rating on the air filtration system corresponds to the rate of air flow in cubic feet per minute.
3) WHY IS AN AIR FILTRATION SYSTEM MORE EFFECTIVE THAN A DUST COLLECTOR?
It’s not so much that air filtration systems are more effective, rather that they perform a different scope of duty. Whereas most dust collectors excel at removing large fragments of woodchips and other workshop debris, the best air filtration system deals brilliantly with those lethal finer particles.
4) WHERE SHOULD YOU PUT YOUR AIR FILTRATION SYSTEM FOR BEST RESULTS?
Avoid cramming it up close to a workbench or wall since this will obstruct the air flow. A smart benchmark is to locate your air filtration system roughly one-third of the way down the longest wall in the workshop away from any obstacles. Set it 6 inches or so away from the wall and you’ll optimize efficiency.
5) HOW DO YOU INSTALL AN AIR FILTRATION SYSTEM?
Fortunately, getting up and running with your air filtration system is not a difficult job. Once you’ve thought about the ideal placement close to a power outlet, simply follow instructions to hang it up using the hooks provided.
6) DO ALL AIR FILTRATION SYSTEMS RUN ON 110 VOLTS?
No. If you opt for a beefier unit, it’s highly likely to demand a 220-volt circuit so do your due diligence to avoid getting an air filtration system unfit for purpose.
7) WILL AN AIR FILTRATION SYSTEM HELP CONSIDERABLY IF YOU HAVE ALLERGIES OR ASTHMA?
Absolutely. One of the serious problems with fine particles of dust is that you can’t see them so it’s easy to overlook how they can wreak havoc on your allergies and sensitivities. Take action with an air filtration system and you’ll be able to happily work away without your allergies being inflamed.
8) WHY DO YOU NEED VARIABLE SPEED ON AN AIR FILTRATION SYSTEM?
An ability to fine-tune the speed and, resultantly, the air flow, means you can match the output to the application. Variable speed is not an outright necessity but the best air filtration systems pack this feature to enhance efficiency depending on how much dust you’ll be generating.
9) WHAT IS HEPA-FILTRATION?
High efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are the gold standard when it comes to removing the smallest of particles. Getting rid of dust down to 0.3 microns, the best HEPA filter is essential if you are working with toxic materials.
10) HOW OFTEN DO YOU NEED TO CLEAN THE FILTERS?
The inner filter needs cleaning every third day of use while the outer filter should be cleaned after each day in the workshop. Make sure, too, to replace the filter once it shows visible signs of wear.