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While I use a central dust collection system on my larger woodworking tools, I’ve been using a wet/dry vacuum with a pre-separator to collect dust from my smaller electric tools such as routers and circular saws with much success.
Up until now I've been using the Ridgid 12 Gal 5.0 Peak HP Wet Dry Vac (also known as the model WD1270) with a Dustopper Dust Separator. Something that the WD1270 lacked was sufficient filtering with its single layer dust filter.
The new Ridgid 14 Gal. 6.0-Peak HP NXT Wet Dry Vac with Auto Detail Kit (also known at the model HD1401) not only includes a 3-layer fine dust filter, it also outperforms the WD1270 with a 6.0-peak horsepower motor. It also comes with an auto detailing kit which includes a 10' premium hose and four addtional nozzles and bristle brush heads. The vacuum along with the kit retails for $99 at the time of this blog post while the WD1270 retails $84.97. The additional tools are well worth the additional $14.03. When paired with the Dustopper Dust Separtor, you prolong the life of the filter by separator the larger debris into a 5 gallon Homer bucket.
The smaller diameter 1-1/4 in. x 10 ft. hose flex hose included with this vacuum is ideal for use on a circular saw. However, it is more ideal to use the larger, 2-1/2 in. diameter hose to utilize the full the higher output of the Ridgid NXT vacuum suction. This setup is extremely successful when used with my Pantorouter. The larger diameter hose and 6.0-peak horsepower motor produce plenty of CFM (cubic feet per minute) for the larger chips produced by a router.
I’ve also started using the soft bristle brush to clean work pieces prior to applying finish. The bristles help dislodge dust within the pores and crevices of wood.
Dedicated tool dust extractors are often expensive and can only be used with specific branded tools. A wet/dry vacuum such as the Ridgid 14 Gal. 6.0-Peak HP NXT Wet Dry Vac with Auto Detail Kit paired with the Dustopper Separator can be used to clean the shop but also used to extract dust from small handheld shop tools. This type of setup is affordable and prolongs the longevity of the vacuum and air filter.