Wise Buys: Tool-triggered Vacuums
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Wood Magazine

Wise Buys: Tool-triggered Vacuums

Why buy? Good dust management begins at the tool, which is why we like a tool-triggered vacuum that turns on and off automatically with the tool plugged into it. (Such vacs also switch on/off manually.) Tool-triggered vacs feature high-efficiency filtration, disposable bags to trap debris, a few seconds of run time to clear the hose after you switch off the tool, and considerably lower noise levels compared with typical tub-style shop vacuums. Two variables to watch for: Dust ports on portable power tools vary so much in size and shape that we often had to use adapters (and sometimes duct tape) to attach the vacuum hoses. And, the capacity of the on-board outlet likely will limit you to using the vacuum with low-amperage tools, such as sanders, biscuit joiners, or midsize routers, because all but one of the vacs' power cords are rated for only 15 amps. Do not exceed the manufacturers' stated power availability.

Shop-Vac On-Demand 925-63-10

Shop-Vac On-Demand 925-63-10

Capacity: 12 gallons
Hose: 1-1/4" x 12'
Tool Amps: 8; Noise Level: 78 dB

Editor test-drive:
My basement workshop is right below my bedroom. So not only do I appreciate the quietness of Shop-Vac's On-Demand vacuum, but so does my wife when I'm working late at night. Whether I used the cartridge filter alone (with chips falling into the tub) or with the collection bag (which traps nearly all of the dust and chips), it sucked up every mess I made. The hose flexes enough for good maneuverability without being too soft and crush-prone. The On-Demand worked great with my random-orbit sander, but when I used it with my 3-hp router, an onboard electronic controller reduced power to the vac motor, which reduced suction. (Shop-Vac says this could damage the motors on one or both tools.)
-- Tested by Jan Svec, Projects Editor

To learn more:
570-326-0502; shopvac.com


 

Porter-Cable 7812

Porter-Cable 7812

Capacity: 10 gallons
Hose: 1-1/2" x 13'
Tool Amps: 6; Noise Level: 75 dB

Editor test-drive:
I've used Porter-Cable's older model #7810 for years for general shop cleanup and drywall sanding, and the newer model #7812 performs even better. Weighing only 20 lbs., it has all the suction I need to collect dust from my portable power tools. The oversize rear wheels make it stable, and it glides easily around my shop without tipping. The 7812 comes with a cartridge filter and one collection bag. It features a spring-loaded "finger" on the outside that when you pull, drags across the filter and knocks off most of the dust without opening the hood. I had no trouble connecting the hose to my Porter-Cable tools, but mixed luck with other brands.
-- Tested by Bill Krier, Editor-in-Chief

To learn more:
888-848-5175; deltaportercable.com


 

Fein Turbo III 9-20-26

Fein Turbo III 9-20-26

Capacity: 15 gallons
Hose: 2-1/4" x 10'
Tool Amps: 5; Noise Level: 67 dB

Editor test-drive:
This vacuum is so quiet when I powered up my first few tools, I had to touch it to verify it was running. In fact, the Turbo III rates as the quietest in our test and about 40dB lower than my regular shop vacuum. I also appreciate its suction, as it gobbled up all the wood dust and chips I could make. It comes standard with a paper collection bag that traps nearly everything, and a 5-micron cloth filter that works great for trapping dust as the heavier debris falls to the bottom of the tub. I could hook up all but one of my tools using the included hose and reducing adapter. Although the vac's outlet lists 18 amps of possible power, I found -- using an ammeter -- that its motor drew 10 amps. So that leaves only 5 amps for a tool on its 15-amp-rated cord and plug. Exceeding this could damage the tool or vacuum motors.
-- Tested by Dave Campbell, Deputy Editor

To learn more:
800-441-9878; feinus.com


 

Festool CT22

Festool CT22

Capacity: 5.8 gallons
Hose: 1-1/4" x 11-1/2'
Tool Amps: 10; Noise Level: 72 dB

Editor test-drive:
I never thought I'd pay $450 for a vacuum, but after using the CT22, I'm sold. It comes standard with a filter that traps dust as small as 0.3 microns -- the finest filtration in the test. And its suction swallowed everything to where I couldn't find dust on my boards, workbench, glasses, or hair. I started out using the CT22 attached to my router to flush-trim MDF countertops, and was amazed when the vacuum gathered in even that superfine dust. Then I sanded 700 linear feet of trim for my house, and again no mess. The CT22 has an adjustable suction level, and I found the middle range best for sanding. The only drawback: I had to use adapters (not included) and duct tape to attach the hose to most of my non-Festool tools. It's the only vacuum in the test with a 20-amp plug, giving me more flexibility when used on a 20-amp circuit.
-- Tested by Kevin Boyle, Senior Design Editor

To learn more:
888-337-8600; festoolusa.com


 

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