Best Shop Air Filtration System 2021 – Expert Pick and Buying Guide


Regardless of what kind of shop or factory you own, having the best shop air filtration system is an absolute necessity.

Good air quality can easily be overlooked, as well as the potential long-term damage to your health and lungs from repeated exposure.

“No one seems to know that having bad air regulation could pose catastrophic damage to your lungs if you think long term” (source: NPR).

In my experience, if you do a lot of wood and metalwork, then you’ll be exposed to particles of dust, paint and other toxins at some point. Believe me, you don’t want to breathe this stuff in on a long-term basis.

Wearing a mask often won’t cut it in busy work environments – to make the workspace safe, you’ll need a dedicated Air Filtration system.

Many home workshop owners don’t think they need one – but believe me, they’re worth considering and well worth the (usually small) expense.

Air Filtration System Quick Comparison


My #1 Choice

The WEN 3410 is excellent value for what you get.

2nd Best Choice

Jet have produced a solid mid-range system for the money.


3rd Best Choice

This Shop Fox is well made, easy to use and maintain.

5 of the Best Shop Air Filtration Systems – Reviews

In this article, I’ve shortlisted five of the best air filtration systems, having read several tests and lots of surveys.

Ease of access, price leniency and overall value has also been factored into my top choices

My #1 Choice – WEN 3410 – Best Pick

If you choose WEN, you usually get a decent balance between money and value. I consider this to be one of the best air filtration systems for a small shop or workshop.

This unit is built to be completely reliable and rugged, providing a continual flow of filtered, breathable air, no matter how much dust you’re kicking out.

Quick Facts

The fan on this WEN starts at 300 CFM (cubic feet per minute), and it goes up to the intermediate level of 350 CFM, and all the way up to 400 CFM when the product is kept at maximum speed. Therefore airflow maintenance is easy to control.

The unit is pretty small, but the fact it can still reach 400 CFM shows you how powerful it is.

You’ll likely want to hang the air filtration box near your workshop ceiling. This unit weighs approximately 30 pounds so it can go most places you want it to, without any obstruction.

One of the best features of this model is the timer, and it’s the thing I like the most. Even after you close your shop, you’ll be able to set the timer of the unit to 1, 2, or 4 hours – so it can continue clearing the air after you’ve left.

On top of this, this WEN includes time delay/ fan speed indicators — 3 red lights in 2 rows, which will glow when you enable the fan speed or timer. I can see this clearly from my workshop floor without going to get a step to look at it.

The remote control is also a bonus for the same reasons – no climbing up to check on it or use any of the functions.

You won’t have to use a broom (or an old piece of timber, as I used to!) to change the fan speed or set the timer. The remote range is 26 feet so you don’t even have to be near the unit, either. Overall, highly recommended.

PROS

  • Filters can be easily cleaned and replaced
  • Various speed settings to ensure optimal efficiency
  • Automatic shut down when kept idle due to timer set
  • Two-stage filtration system to keep out the inner and outer dust away

CONS

  • The airflow needs improvements when the unit is at its highest speed

Also Read – Best Dust Masks and Respirators for Woodworkers – Tested & Reviewed

My #2 Choice – JET 708620B

This model from JET has to be the most powerful air filter on this shortlist. JET were probably the first to produce air filters with the remote-controlled option, timer, and 3-speed setting; every other brand took inspiration from this unit.

The ball-bearing motor is fully enclosed, so it brings superior protection for dependable service. If you don’t want to worry about maintenance, this is one to consider.

Quick Facts

To catch those dust particles which a standard air unit won’t be able to trap, the JET is fitted with an electrostatic outer filter. The filter is disposable, which means you’ll be able to use it for a substantial amount of time before finally replacing it.

Since it is a two-filtered system, you are also getting an inner one to suck away the tiny debris around one micron in size. The air diffuser feature ensures that the outgoing airflow rate comes at a wider pattern – helpful if you’ve got a large workshop or high ceilings.

For simple control of the whole system, there’s the remote function. This means you will get to set everything up just by sitting at your table or from across the room. The timer can be set from 2, 4, or up to 8 hours at your convenience.

Getting the JET to shut off after a set time means there’s no reason to worry about the electricity getting drained and higher bills. Always a plus!

There are grip handles and 4 eye bolts inserted so that you can install the unit easily on your shop ceiling. The weight of the product may be a little hefty, considering it weighs around 57 pounds. You’ve got to make sure it’s secure.

Dealing with the weight is worth it, as you’re getting extra power for the reserves and an ultra-durable design.

The speed starts from 556 CFM, which is more than the maximum range of some other products. This goes up to the moderate level of 702 CFM, and it maxes out at 1000 CFM. That’s a ton of power on demand if you are dealing with hardcore applications and tools daily.

PROS

  • Replaceable filters
  • Goes through an average of 20 cycles per hour
  • Highly portable
  • Ultra-powerful motor

CONS

  • Expensive

My #3 Choice – Shop Fox W1830

For a small workplace, this product Shop Fox delivers more than enough performance and elevated functionality. The thing is very lightweight, too.

Unlike other heavier models featured here, this is one most people will be able to lift without facing any difficulties and you can set the model any place you want to, making operation very easy.

Quick Facts

The highest speed you are allowed to set this thing to is 409 CFM, which is the standard pace required for proper airflow capacity. 260 CFM and 362 CFM are the minimum and moderate speed, respectively. This should be enough for most smaller shops and workshops.

All of these options can be adjusted, as it is easily controllable through the remote from a significant distance. No more grabbing a broomstick and using it to change the settings!

The control panel on this system is top-notch. It comes along with a programmable timer that lets you choose a suitable time which can be adjusted up to 4 hours. As I’ve mentioned before, this can be a big energy saver.

An outer electrostatic filter has been inserted, ensuring particles down to one micron are treated and taken out of the air, rather than in your lungs.

When it comes to cleaning the air cleaner itself, all it takes is one tap on the outer filter to remove it, and you’re good to go. The filter inside is also removable. Just soak it in water and reuse. The best part about the filtration system is that they don’t cost much, either.

PROS

  • It is CSA Certified
  • Both filters can be swapped and cleaned pretty leniently
  • Easy installation
  • 120-Volt power in a single phase
  • Fairly affordable

CONS

  • Not good for large areas

4. Rikon Air Filtration 400

Rikon’s air filter is one for large rooms. Unlike other models in the market, this product comes along with a carrying handle. Since it roughly weighs around 33 pounds, you won’t have to use too much of your strength to carry the whole thing.

The unit also consists of four eye bolts, which will allow you to hang this product with chains from your ceiling easily.

As with most other similar air filtration systems, this one has three speeds.

Let’s start with the highest one, which is 400 CFM, a perfect choice for large spaces. Second, comes the 350 CFM; for moderate speed, it is more than enough. Lastly, 300 CFM for the low-end airflow. All of these speeds can be adjusted how you want them, for maximum effectiveness and efficiency.

The filtering system works in two ways — the inner layer optimizing on the tiniest of dust particles, – the ones that have the potential to damage your lungs. Then you have the outer layer, tackling larger particles of dust and debris.

With the usage of a damp cloth, you can easily wipe the outer layer so that you can remove any filth that’s left behind. The inner filter is completely washable as well as reusable.

One of the greatest features about this Rikon is the high-quality control panel which runs along with a 120 voltage power system. The model also consists of a timer that can be set up to 4 hours at your desired speed.

Furthermore, it also includes an LED Lighting feature which will turn on when you will set the speed and timer option — good for visibility.

Additionally, the overall operation of the entire air filtration system can be done through the usage of an infrared remote. So you can forget using chairs and ladders from now on just to change the settings.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive air filter that has a built-in quality design and also ensures a better-than-average performance, this model is highly recommended. It’s not in my top three because it’s probably ‘too much’ for a small workshop.

Pros

  • 1/6 HP is developed through a single phase of 120-Volt
  • The timer can be set from 1, 2 to 4 hours
  • Accessibility is achieved through user-friendly controlling panel and remote
  • Durable design

Cons

  • Won’t be able to take on airborne allergens such as pollen or dander

5. POWERTEC AF4000

This one is almost identical to the one made by Rikon. It features a lightweight and convenient design that comes along with an easy installation process that doesn’t require any extra tools. All you have to do is use those steel-made hooks and hang it anywhere from the ceiling at your workplace.

You won’t have to sacrifice any table, furniture or floor space. It is more lightweight and compact than most of the products on the market. One of the best parts about this unit is that it is very quiet even when it runs on full strength.

At times even when you purchase an expensive air filter, you tend to face the issue of a droning noise. That’s not the case here.

You can choose from a low-end speed of 300 CFM to an average level of 350 CFM. And, the highest speed of this model is around 400 CFM. All of these speed options can be well adjusted according to your convenience to achieve maximum output at work.

This unit comes with a dual-staged filtering system. The outer layer tackles dust particles to 5-micron. For the tiniest bits – the ones that cause negative effects in the long term, the inner segment will be there to the rescue.

To clean, all you have to do is gather a damp cloth for the outer layer and wash the internal layer as the filters can be reused.

Finally, there’s the convenience of a remote, and the system also includes a timer feature that lets you enable a suitable countdown until it automatically shuts down.

Pros

  • No extra tools required to replace filters
  • 3 variations of speed
  • Light in weight
  • 1/8 Horsepower which is CSA Certified

Cons

  • Microscopic allergens aren’t caught as efficiently
woodworking studio

FAQ

Here are some of the most commonly asked queries related to shop air filters:

Q. What’s the meaning of CFM?

A: It stands for cubic feet per minute. In the case of air filters, it is the rate of airflow that corresponds to its power.

Q. Is HEPA-FILTRATION necessary?

A: If you deal with toxic materials in your workshop daily, then this feature is a must. HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air. It is a premium quality filtration that takes the microscopic dust particles to 0.3 microns.

Q. Do you have to clean your filters regularly?

A: Not necessarily. Cleaning it on every third day of the week will do the job very well. However, if you see any signs of wear, you must make a replacement.

Q. Which one is better? Is it the dust collector or air filtration?

A: There is no comparison. They both have different uses. A dust collector removes the filth on a larger scale, whereas an air filter takes out the microscopic particles that can damage your health.

Q. Is it difficult to install an air cleaning system?

A: It is usually not difficult at all and you often don’t need to get outside help to do it. Just follow the manual that comes with the product, and you will be good to go.

David Harper

I'm David, and I've been a craft & woodworking enthusiast for over 10 years. Sanders Guide is the place where I share some tips, tricks and reviews on all things DIY, tools and of course sanding!

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