November 18, 2021

How Powerful of a Dust Collector do I need?

When deciding on a dust collector there are a couple of things you need to consider. Power consumption, noise level, and dust collection efficiency are the most important factors. In this article, I will explain what you should look for in a dust collector

Why do you need a dust collector

  • Safety
  • Optimal performance 
  • Keep your workspace clean
  • To keep up with the rules and regulations of the government 
  • Health
  • Get rid of dust from both the machine and the workspace.

Will a dust collector help with allergies

Dust collectors help filter out the majority of allergy-aggravating particles from the air. It works on as small particles as tiny pollutants that have settled into your equipment or workspace after a long time, not in use. 

If you are living or working with someone with some dust-related allergies, a dust collector helps. Although some users opt for a vacuum cleaner with a small particle or a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, a dust collector does the same. What matters is observing protective procedures when using the dust machine. 

That is necessary if the user is the one who has allergies. Use a damp cloth to clean other surfaces, such as door tops, windowsills, and window frames. If you have allergies, wear a dust mask. If it still affects you, get someone who does not have allergies to do this job.  

What we should look for when we buy a dust collector

Your needs

As much as each dust collector comes with its unique features, understand how you are going to process your material and get rid of the dust. Understand and define all the needs in your operation other than capturing and collecting the dust

There are questions you should answer, and they influence the discharge methods you consider to remove dust from the collector and may even suggest alternate collectors. Your dust collector should be able to exhaust filtered air into the atmosphere and meet the requirements of the regulatory board of the government. Know the details of your operation to make better-informed decisions on a dust collector strategy.

You cannot use a one-size-fits-all approach since each customer has specific needs.  Make sure your supplier provides the features you need for your situation. That is space constraints on height to footprint drive for collector customization. 

The dust collector supplier should incorporate ancillary items such as discharge devices, monitoring equipment, or fire and explosion mitigation equipment and provide pressure ratings if needed. Look at the accessories if they meet your needs.

Consider if the collector solutions are available for your application

The answers determine your first consideration on the list. Some offers are more beneficial than others. Your dust collector supplier should offer multiple collector solutions and try to make one collector fit every situation as hard as it is. 

Optimize the match between your process and a collector design. That reduces the equipment cost and the operating costs. Consider utility requirements to operate a collector and how often will the dust collector be run. Your budget also gives you a list to choose from.

Ease of installation 

You cannot have a dust collector that is difficult to install. The process depends on the size of the dust collector and the location of the collector. Large collectors require one or more cranes. If you can meet your needs with smaller collectors you can limit or eliminate the need for ductwork. That reduces installation to a fork truck.

Understand the process and simplify installation. Start by identifying tools needed for a smooth installation. Follow the given sequences of assembly that allow for easy installation. Sometimes it is easier to assemble the legs and then lower the hopper onto the leg pack. 

Value for your money

Installing a dust collector is not enough. Of course, you will be operating the collector, but you should consider the operational costs to ensure that you get the best value over the dust collection system.

There is a need to replace parts such as filters and pay for other services such as energy consumption during operation. These costs and expenses add up quickly, and you should find the best collector fit for your process. The dust collector should cover operational costs. Ensure you explore options in collector style, location, and design before you make any purchase.

Determining airflow with CFM

This technique measures airflow in a room to determine proper fan sizing and air exchange rates. Different rooms require different CFM’s for their specific functions.


  1. Use a cubic feet per minute calculator device.
  2. Know how to measure in multiple ways.
  3. Learn basic fan calculation formulas. 


CFM = (fpm * area).fpm is the feet per minute.

To get the cubic feet per minute, substitute the FPM value with the area after the area is squared.

Determining airflow with SCFM

Multiply the total inches of stroke by the cycles per minute times the SCFM factor from the chart to calculate the air consumption of a cylinder. For the SCFM factor, find your gauge pressure in the left-hand column and your cylinder bore size in the chart.

Determining airflow with air watts

Calculate air watts using the formula, (Air Flow (in CFM) x Vacuum (in inches of water lift))/8.5 = Air Watts. The air watt’s value depends on the airflow, suction, and power consumption. 

Determining airflow with Gallons per Minute

The formula to find GPM is 60 divided by the seconds it takes to fill a one-gallon container (60 / seconds = GPM). If the one-gallon container fills in 5 seconds, breakdown: 60 divided by 5 gives you 12 gallons per minute. 

How much HP does a dust collector need?

Each hour comes with its advantages and disadvantages. If you regularly operate more than one machine, you might choose to look at 3-hp or bigger dust collectors. The 2-hp machines make more noise than the 11/2-hp collectors and are not affordable. 

What is a good static pressure for a dust collector?

A 6 inch is the standard for a baghouse and 5 inches for a cartridge collector. Add 1 inch of the dust collection system with an outlet duct already. Add the friction loss in the duct system coming to the dust collector. Use a rule of thumb.

Is 650 cfm enough for dust collection?

A 3/4 hp, 650 CFM collector might be the perfect solution for a small shop. It is small, and that makes it easy to move around the shop. That makes it convenient, and you can conveniently hang it on the wall, where it does not mix your tools. 

How many CFM is the Harbor Freight dust collector?

The 1550 CFM airflow is compatible with a portable dust collector. It is more effective than other big stationary units. The upper filter bag filters smaller microns, and the lower collection bag is translucent so you can see when it is time to empty.

Standard shop stationary tools need about 1000 cubic feet per minute (CFM) of airflow. That ensures good fine dust collection.

How important is CFM for dust collection?

Calculating the cubic feet per minute (CFM) of the airflow, makes the unit tell you how much it makes. The higher the airflow, the greater the capability of the collector.

David D. Hughes

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