Differences Between Shop Vacs And Dust Extractors

Differences Between Shop Vacs And Dust Extractors

Last Updated on by Daniel Lawrence

We’ll be discussing the differences between dust extractors and shop vacs. Both of these tools have numerous benefits in their area of specialty. Knowing their differences would help you select the one you need for a particular job.

What is a Dust Collector?

The dust collector is the product by which you will be able to collect dust from the environment. Mainly in the industrial environment, this machine is used to collect dust from the air. A huge amount of dust gets stuck when air passes through it.

There are two types of dust collector systems available regarding the size.

  • Small Dust Collector System

In the small dust collector system, there is one phage system. In this stage air suction and filtration happens parallelly. There is a big bag or barrel where the dust is drawn.

  • Large Dust Collector System

In this larger system, there are two stages and through these two stages, air suction and filtration happen.

In many industries, the dust collector system can be used. Because it not only takes the dust from the air but also it will provide fresh air. So let’s see what types of advantages you can get by using the dust collector system in your industry.


  • Mass cleaning

It provides a clean and safe environment to the workers as well as to the people who live near the industry. So it is helpful both to the workers and the environment.

  • Fresh Air:

It provides fresh air to the outlet. It is supposed to only remove the dust but it doesn’t only do this. It takes the air and lets the air out to the environment safely. So it assures that the air is breathable.

  • Clean Air:

It assures that no extra ingredient is not present in the air which makes the air contaminated. If there is any chance of contaminating the air again then the machine will lose its’ need.

  • High efficiency:

Its efficiency is high. It purifies the air by collecting dust. Because of high powered motor and advance system the efficiency becomes high. With this high efficiency, the machine will collect the dust automatically.

  • Noise-free:

The whole system doesn’t create much noise and this helps to gain a peaceful environment. Your neighbor won’t get bothered by the sound of the machine. And also the people inside the industry can do the work perfectly.

  • Portability

As this is a lightweight system you can easily use this machine around the whole area. So an easy portable is established in the system.

  • Time-consuming:

The disposal system is very easy to remove the dust quickly. So it provides a very easy and quick cleaning process. So you can save time by using this machine.


There are also some disadvantages of this dust collector system and I have included them below.

  • You have to use different types of bags for different types of gases.
  • You have to take the cooling measurement into a high-temperature environment.
  • Pressure loss is a minimum of 1000 to 1500 pa because of resistance.
  • You may need several numbers of collecting bags for replacement.
  • Sometimes you may have to measure the humidity of the gas because of the high humidity gas.

What is Shop Vac?

The shop vac is a very much powerful and useful tool which is used for cleaning. This makes your shop dust-free.

In the construction and woodworking shop, this machine is used to make the shop clean. A high-powered motor is used to make the shop free from dirt.

A big hose is placed in the machine and also it has a big canister for holding purposes. This shop vac is best for cleaning the very dirty place. It looks like a bucket and for this reason, many people call it bucket vacuums.

It has also wheel features so that you can use it around the whole place easily. It may look like a regular household cleaning device but the shop vacuum is used for cleaning a huge amount of dust.

The different parts of the shop vac are built to complete a particular work.

And that clearly defines the vast working capability of the shop vac for your home and the workspaces.

How do they work?

  • Power

The shop vac is larger in size in comparison to the regular vacuum cleaners. As they come up with a larger size, they offer much more power than the regular ones.

This means you can pick up a lot more dirt from the place and with much more power. The power minimizes the time of the work to make it fast to work.

There is a motor placed on top of the head of the cleaner, which creates the power when turning on and creates the pressure in the bucket to suck all the dirt from the outside.

  • Working process

The fan and motor sitting on top of the shop vac takes away the air from the inside to create low air pressure inside the bucket.

That low air pressure calls up for more air from the outside to fill in the vacant place.

And this way, using the handle or the pipe of the cleaner, the dirt is picked up and transported inside the bucket.

The fan continues to create pressure in the shop vac, and the inside pressure brings in more air along with the dirt to fill and clean.

The whole process takes place so fast that it is sometimes difficult to see the dirt moving from the place.

The suction of the dirt also depends on the horsepower of the shop vac you are using. The size of the shop vac also affects the amount and ratio of dirt cleaning and time.

  • Dirt storage system

The shop vac has a bucket inside the machine to hold up the dirt rather than having a bag to hold them.

Having a bucket helps the shop vac to hold up the wet debris along with the wet particles. The excessive airflow sucks away all the dirt and wet elements and stores them in the bucket inside it.

You can easily open up the head of the cleaner and take away the bucket to empty at any time.

  • Tools

The shop vac can come along with many helping tools like the different heads for the vacuum head. The different size heads help to clean the different areas and different particles.

As the shop vac can clean up the wet dirt also, it needs a special head in comparison with the regular vacuum cleaners.

  • Fan

The larger the horsepower of the shop vac is, the larger the fan gets. The larger fans create more pressure in the shop vac to pick up the wet debris from the area.

Normal vacuum cleaners do not come in with larger horsepower. That is why they can only pick the small particles and dry elements. But the shop vac can pick big and wet elements and clean a larger area in a low time.

  • Cleaning process

The cleaning process of the shop vac is pretty simple, as it takes a few minutes to accomplish.

You can easily take off the head of the cleaner and take out the bucket inside it. The bucket basically holds up the dirt of the cleaning.

You can wash the bucket in the water and then dry up to place it inside the shop vac again. Besides, using a brush can help you to clean the fan of the shop vac in no time.

  • Wheels

The shop vac also has wheels attached like the normal vacuum cleaners to move around the place to make the cleaning easy.

Just make sure that you do not pull the shop vac using the rod to do it. It will make the joints lose and make your shop vac leak air to slow down the cleaning process.

And if you somehow create a leak on the shop vac, then the formula of the low air pressure will not work and will end up giving you a broken shop vac to clean with.

These things should be known before you start to use a shop vac for the cleaning process of your workspace or your home.

Whatever purpose you use it for, make sure to remove the bigger particles with your bare hands in the first place to ensure a good cleaning and make the place neat and tidy.

When To Use a Shop Vac vs Dust Extractor

When it comes to dust extractors, they’re best used with stationary power tools that create tons of dust and debris. This includes tools like a router table, wood planer, miter or table saw. With a dust collector, you’ll be able to easily tackle the massive amount of dust these tools can generate.

If you’re also looking to control dust in your shop and need something portable, a dust extractor may be the best tool for you.

While a dust extractor is especially well suited for removing dust from your shop, there’s plenty of home craftsman out there that rarely need a dedicated tool for dust extraction.

If that sounds like you, and you only occasionally need to wrangle with dust and debris in your workspace, your best bet may be to purchase a shop vac. That way, you can use it to control dust when you need to, and it can handle all of the other messes in your shop when it isn’t sucking up sawdust.


So in the last few words, I can say that the two cleaner can be used for you need basis. You can’t use them where they don’t suit you. They have been made for different particular jobs. And you have to choose them according to their workplace.

Like if you have an industry and you want to give your worker fresh air and you want to keep the environment free from pollution, you should use the dust cleaner.

But if you have a woodshop and every day you need to clean your shop you should use the shop vacuum.