Tool Reviews: A New Defense Against Dust

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This article is from Issue 103 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Oneida Air Systems BenchTop DC Personal Dust Collector


  • MERV 15 filtration
  • 110V/3A
  • 110V auxiliary power outlet
  • Analog variable speed control
  • 62.5-74 dBA

BenchTop DC Personal Dust Collector, $599.00

Air filtration units are essential to a safe shop; no dust collection system is complete without one. They pull particles from the air that would otherwise make their way to our lungs—a serious health risk. Rather than whole-shop filtration, the BenchTop DC from Oneida Air Systems captures these hazardous particles at the source. Here’s what I found after testing this personal dust collector in my shop for a few weeks.

The $600 machine is ready to go with virtually no assembly, only a detachable 110V power cord to plug in and a trio of airflow-directing vanes to install. Its carry handle and 20-lb weight make it easy to tote around the shop. The rocker switch triggers the 0.3 HP motor for up to 535 CFM of airflow. A simple analog dial controls the six variable speed fans. Draw latches at each end unlock to access the dual-filter system—a MERV 5 pre-filter and MERV 15 primary filter. Cleaning the filters was easy: I placed them in bags and tapped them on the floor, and then rinsed the pre-filter with water. Replacement filters are available from Oneida and hardware stores.

The 25-1/4 × 16-1/2 × 9-3/4" BenchTop DC should sit within 20" of the work. If you find it tough to clear a space on your bench, a shop-made stand may help. Once in position, I noticed an appreciable decrease in dust. Oneida claims the MERV 15 filter captures 85-95% of particles sized 0.3-1 microns and 95-100% of particles between 3-10 microns. This machine is not designed to filter fumes or for use in a spray booth.

As a test, I plugged my random orbit sander into the unit’s auxiliary power outlet and sanded some padauk. Later, I placed the unit behind my lathe while sanding a project. I also tried it near my old contractor saw while ripping a few boards to capture the fine dust coming off the top of the blade. And I set up the machine while hand-sanding between coats of finish on another project. In all cases, the BenchTop DC collected fine dust that may have otherwise drifted to my lungs.

Oneida has designed a machine to fill a specific niche—capturing dust from sanding, turning, sawing, and other operations such as power carving that generate hard-to-contain dust. The Bench-top DC immediately filters those fine dust particles that would otherwise escape capture and float around your shop before being lifted to your ceiling-mounted unit. This at-source filter will help to protect your lungs.

—Tester, Chad McClung


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