When the time had come and a dust collector was badly needed in the shop, I went to see my friends to compare notes on dust collectors.  Before I left, I bought the Steel City 1.5 HP model 65200 dust collector. When I went shopping, we spent a lot of time comparing the different brands in the store.  There were “portable models” one HP and pulled about 600 CFM.  And all of the big names had models on display to play the what if game. 

Noise levels all seemed close enough to each other.  Canister or not seems to be a big argument too.  I honestly didn’t see the reason to argue that point.  A canister runs an extra $200 or so and doesn’t offer anything in the way of retaining finer dust particles.  In fact the models with a canister came up far short as far as filtering, about 20 microns or so was as small as they would retain.

What I can tell you is the Steel City model pulls about 1200 CFM through a 4 inch hose.  It comes standard with 2 4 inch ports, a length of heavy duty hose and a one micron dust filter.  The filter is washable instead of having to replace it, and a one micron filter alone is worth between $40 and $60 additional if purchased separately.

Out of the box it is all assembly required.  The motor attaches to the base plate, 4 heavy duty casters need attached to the under side of the base and then the parts for the collection area go on.  All of the hardware is packaged in separate bags for each section to be assembled.  A very nice idea if reading directions causes a problem.

I managed to put mine together in about an hour without having to have anyone read the directions.  I'm blessed that way.

This thing really sucks!  In a good way of course…  I had run my table saw with a reducer from 4 to 2.5 inches and connected my shop vac to the reducer.  That doesn’t work at all well on a hybrid saw with a cabinet. 

I made the first test by connecting the hose to the port on my saw and turned the collector on.  Wow!  You can hear the chips and dust  that the shop vacuum wasn't able to collect being pulled through the hose.  Before I tried this, I opened the door on the side of the saw and stuck a hand inside to see how much dust there was.  Let's just say there was plenty...  In the area of 3 inches deep.

While I had it running, I had to cut some dado joints through some oak plywood for a cabinet I was making.  The collector did a great job.  The wood covers the blade when cutting dado joints, and that stopped much of the dust being thrown by the saw into the air, and caused it to fall through the insert into the cabinet underneath. 

Going back to a regular blade, I made some dust fly that couldn’t all be collected.  I got the not so bright idea to use the 4 inch hose as a super shop vac.  Think many times before doing this, and then decide against it. 

This is the strongest shop vac you’ll ever use.  I took a hand broom and instead of using a dust pan, I was sweeping directly into the 4 inch diameter hose.  Just get close to it and the dust disappears.  I just went to town cleaning the whole top of my saw.  I have a Biesemeyer fence and the flat wide surface of the fence is too much to resist.  As with any flat surface, it makes a convenient place to set things temporarily.  I had set the remote for my air conditioner on the fence while the saw wasn’t being used.  And without thinking, I swept the top of the fence and the remote toward the hose.  Yep, it will take the remote just like a block of wood.  Doesn’t stand up at all well to the impeller either…

If anyone is thinking of getting a dust collector for the shop, give the Steel City model some serious consideration.  Standard is a one micron filter, your choice of wiring the motor to run on 110 or 220 volts.  Stock is 110 VAC.  A totally enclosed fan cooled motor and a five year warranty.  That is tops in the industry. I’m sure you’d appreciate this monster if you got one.  Unless of course, you manage to suck up your remote too.


Return to product reviews    

Return to home page