I have a small workshop with a palm sander and a table saw. Both have dust collection ports and I'd like to take advantage of that. I've only seen short glimpses of dust collection systems on woodworking shows and I see (what I would assume to be) expensive, large, quiet, filtering vacuums. I'm a weekend woodworker at best so I don't need anything very elaborate but I'd like to keep the majority of the dust contained.

Can I just hook a shop-vac to the dust "output" on those devices or could that damage the equipment? Maybe the shop-vac and this?

2 Answers 2


Yep. You can use shop vacs for this (albeit you might need some adapter hoses). A neat thing to get is a power switch that can switch on another appliance one the first is turned on. The idea is you plug your saw and your shopvac into it, and when you power on the saw, the shopvac powers on at the same time:


  • Yep. There's a whole industry around this. You can even get a cannister to put in-line between the nozzle and the vacuum, so you can empty the cannister instead of the vacuum. Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 13:18
  • That surge strip looks pretty slick. I have some X-10 modules that (assuming they can handle the current) would work well for easy multiple device switching. I plan to put the shop-vac in an adjacent storage room, running the hose through the wall to keep noise down. An in-line canister on the workshop side would make cleanup much easier. Great ideas all around :)
    – Curtis
    Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 14:40
  • 1
    Shop vacs are noisy! If that bothers you, you might consider a dedicated dust collector, which uses a synchronous motor and is much more quiet. I think you can get cheap ones for under $200. Commented Jul 11, 2012 at 18:01
  • @AlexFeinman Good day. What's the name of the cannister you described? I can't seem to find it via google, and that would be perfect for my 5HP shop vac so the filters don't need to be swapped out as often.
    – Cloud
    Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 7:26

Fans with filters are always good - in fact there are very expensive (albeit high quality) versions of exactly that. Anything that gets airborne dust out of the air is more healthy and keeps everything a bit more tidy. Regarding shop-vac’s, yes you can use them but they will clog-up and lose suction quickly. And without a HEPA filter, are actually somewhat dangerous because they put all of the fine (dangerous) dust into the air you’re breathing. I cannot recommend enough that you consider obtaining an Oneida Dust Deputy kit for the 5 gallon bucket. The shop vac connects to the “cyclone” which then sucks the chips and dust into the cone at speed and it swirls around the funnel and drops into the 5-gal bucket instead of going into your shop vac. The end result is that much less airborne dust. Back to the fan with filters. Imagine making a cube of 20”x20” filters … but remove one of the filters and insert the fan in its place … then have the fan blow “out” thereby sucking air into all of the filters. More surface area = more efficiency. There are folks online that have created boxes to easily replace the filters in these arrangements. Good luck.

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