Sanding Dust Collection Options

Is it better to invest in a downdraft sanding table with filter, or in a vacuum attached to the sander itself?June 15, 2014

Question (WOODWEB Member) :
I am looking at making a clean air investment. What makes the most sense – a Downdraft Table or a Festool Sanding setup? It seems like the same amount of money by the time you are all said and done.

Forum Responses
(Dust Collection and Safety Equipment Forum)
From Contributor G:
I would think that the Festool setup might be a better solution for you. It is a point of source collection. So no dust is escaping to begin with. Plus you can use it as a portable device. The dust extractor can be used on other tools also.

From contributor U:
Yeah, if you can only get one, get the vac setup. I've owned/used the Festools and they work great. I do like having both a sander vac and a downdraft though. Helps with leftover dust from the widebelt and also helps with hand routing.

From contributor O:
Go for the Festool setup - you won’t be sorry. Just make sure you get the 150 range sander. We bought an entry level downdraft table a few years ago ($1500 range) to use with our air sanders. It worked ok as long as the filters were clean. I felt like every time the filters were changed or cleaned we ended up putting a lot of dust back in the shop. I think to get a good downdraft table will cost a lot. Since getting the Festool setup the air sanders and table are rarely used.

From contributor F:
I have portable and a Sand Pro (small 33X60) and both are very useful for certain tasks. The filters on the table last well in my shop because it is not used full time. The portable is used less for sanding and more on a table mounted biscuit joiner. No one likes having to deal with the vac hose, but we never set it up overhead, which would help. The other issue is the depth of the hose off the back of most sanders. When you're inside a cabinet or drawer box, it limits movement. If all you sand is a flat surface, then no problem.

The grip ABS on the table is great, but you have to get used to lifting fronts and drawers when you move them around. Dragging over the textured surface can tear an open veneer end of a panel or drawer edge. It's a small price to pay and you get spoiled by being able to lean things around and off the surface edge. One thing is certain - you have to deal with the dust at some point with either system. Just because it's being sucked away doesn't mean it's gone. No one is good about keeping the filters or vac clean and everyone hates making the trip outside with an air hose to clean either one.