Start by assessing your shop space and needs. Before you begin shopping for a dust collector, answer the following questions:
■ How many machines will the collector serve? Do you need a collector for the whole shop or dedicated to one or two machines?
■ If you're looking for one collector to serve all of your machines, will you park the collector and connect it to a duct system? Or will you roll it around to each machine as needed? If it needs to be portable, then you'll need not only a model on casters, but also a floor smooth enough (and without restrictions, such as electrical cords) to allow for easy movement.
■ Does your shop's electrical service limit your options? For example, most collectors with 2-hp or larger motors require 220-volt or greater service. If you don't have adequate 220 already installed, can you hire an electrician to make this upgrade?
■ Where will the collector reside in your shop? Do you have sufficient space (length, width, and height) for the collector you want? Low basement ceilings might limit your choice of collector.
■ Will you house your collector in a closet or walled-off room within the shop? This reduces noise in the shop, but also requires return venting for airflow to exit that room.
■ Will your collector reside outside the shop? Some woodworkers install their collectors outside the shop to reduce shop noise or save the floor space.