I've been badly in need of finally adding proper dust collection to my router, and I was ready to spend perhaps $100-150 on a higher-powered shopvac, which would mostly, but not entirely, be used for router DC. I thought a real C would cost way more than that, and have now realized that is not so, at least as long as I shop at Harbor Freight. Given the relative small amount of woodwork that I do, their level of durability is probably quite acceptable for me.My shop is my garage so space was a primary consideration. I purchased the Dust Right components from Rockler, a 15 gallon fiber drum from Amazon and used a 1 HP dust collector from Harbor Freight to build a self contained unit that I store under the table saw wing when not in use. I have since built a roll around dolly for it using the wheels that came with the HF dust collector. It works pretty well.
(Recently, I came across a post in a DC discussion by Mike "from Detroit" where he says that a shop vac is always better for DC, but I can't find it now and I have to assume that I'm misunderstanding something there, or missed something else in that discussion that makes it true for the particular situation. Perhaps large-chip collection or something like that. I am never going to own any power tool that produces anything much bigger than router dust, other than perhaps tiny plywood chips when cleaning an edge. My problem is on the other end of the scale, with fine MDF dust.)
But which one?
The photo that went with the quote above showed HF's "mini" DC, "1 hp", $60:
1 HP Mini Dust Collector
This was the first HF DC setup I've seen on this forum that didn't use the $210 "2 hp" model.
I've not seen any use of the medium model, "portable", also described as 1 hp, but a bit bigger than the $60 1 hp model, perhaps more durable due to being less stressed? $120 right now.
Portable Dust Collector - 13 Gallon
The 2 hp model, which would be great if to just go all-out with, would likely be too much for my basement power circuit, which I intend to upgrade some day, but that won't be any time soon.
The little 1 hp, for half the money sounds great at first. But then, it has some bad reviews for short-lived motor brushes, and generally, for $60 vs $120, I'd probably still rather have the tougher model and understress it.
Does anybody have any experience with the middle model, or side-by-side experience with both 1 hp models?
I notice that while they are both "1 hp", the little one is about 900 CFM vs the bigger one's 600 CFM, so it's got even less vac. strength?
I'd be building a small Thien separator, either way. If the filters aren't good enough, I can vent outside until I add a better one.
-- actually, does that rule out the weaker, higher-CFM model - more volume that'll need pushing through a more restrictive filter?