An air filtration system removes dust from the air in your shop. Woodworking shops are notoriously bad for air quality, due to all the sawdust that is inevitable when using saws, planers, and sanders. If you regularly apply paint or sealant in your shop, maintaining a dust-free environment is important.
We’ll be reviewing the top 5 air filtration systems for a workshop. The criteria used to determine which systems made it onto this list has been mostly about value for money. The inexpensive WEN 3410 is a good example of a great value air filtration system for a home shop or garage.
We’ll also be reviewing quite a few industrial-grade air filtration systems for larger professional shops. These will obviously cost more than the light-duty, smaller air filtration systems. Regardless of price, we’ve considered general quality, practicality, performance, and features. Basically, it’s a question of what are you getting for your money? If you pay more, you should expect more.
What size air filtration system do you need for your shop?
The quick answer is that you’ll need a larger, more powerful machine for a large shop. While motor size can be a good indication of what to expect in terms of air filtration capacity, it isn’t exactly a definitive answer.
The best way to determine what size air filtration system you need for your shop is to look at the CFM specification.
The airflow rate of a filtration system is measured in Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM). Ideally, you want the air in your shop to circulate through the filtration unit at least 6 times each hour. Around 8 – 9 times per hour is ideal.
It is easy to figure this out by first calculating the volume of your shop. Multiply the length by width by height of your shop. This provides you with the cubic feet volume of the shop.
If your shop is approximately 10,000 cubic feet, you need to multiply this by 6 – 9, depending on how much dust you generate in the shop, or how pure you want the air to be. This means the volume (10,000 cubic ft.) is multiplied by the number of times you want to circulate the air each hour.
Using the minimum rate of 6-times per hour, you’ll be looking at 60,000 cubic feet per hour. Since this is the rate per hour, and you need to calculate the rate per minute, you’ll need to convert this number.
To convert cubic feet per hour into cubic feet per minute, divide your answer by 60. This means that a shop measuring 10,000 cubic feet will require an air filtration system with a minimum capacity of 1,000 CFM. Typically, a double garage will require around 400 CFM for ideal air quality. This is the most common spec for an entry-level air filtration system intended for a home shop or a small commercial shop.
Top 5 Shop Air Filtration Systems
Before getting into a detailed review of the top air filtration systems for a workshop, here’s a quick overview of what to expect:
- WEN 3410: Most affordable good quality air filtration system for a garage or home shop.
- Jet AFS-1000B: Good value industrial-grade air filtration system for a mid-sized commercial shop.
- Grizzly Industrial GO738: Relatively inexpensive air filtration system for a small commercial shop. A good heavy-duty option for a garage.
- General International 10-1000 M1: Heavy-duty industrial machine with a high-spec level. One of the more expensive options, it is a high-end product.
- Rikon 62-450: Mid-priced, high-quality air filtration system for a small shop or garage.
WEN 3410 400 CFM Air Filtration System
- Circulate the air in a 400 square foot workshop up to 7.5 times per hour
- Three-speed operation provides airflow at a rate of 300, 350, or 400 cubic feet per minute
- Includes a 1-micron filter and a 5-micron pre-filter, both of which can be easily replaced
- Programmable timer automatically shuts the unit off after a set number of minutes
- A remote control allows users to set the timer, change speed, and power the unit on and off from up to 26 feet away
When asked what I think of the WEN brand, my answer is generally: common sense, good value. WEN is all about getting amazing bang for your buck, without spending too much. This means good quality. Generally, much better than any similar product at the same price. The WEN 3410 air filtration system is a shining example of what I mean by this.
While priced as a light-duty machine, the WEN 3410 is one of the best medium-duty air filtration systems for a home shop or light-duty industrial shop. Weighing only 31-pounds, with a carrying handle, this is also a great air filtration system for contractors. It is portable, making it easy to transport to and around a jobsite. The rugged metal construction and pretty durable coating means that the WEN 3410 air filtration system can hold up to some fairly rough treatment.
With three speed settings (300, 350, or 400 CFM), this is a versatile shop air filter for an area of up to 400 square feet. It’s the ideal size for a garage shop or similar sized area. The ¹⁄₆ HP motor is perfectly capable of running all day without a problem.
The WEN 3410 air filtration capabilities can match the best on the market. It is equipped with a 5-micron pre-filter and a 1-micron filter. This means perfectly clean air in your shop. For an area of 400 sq. ft., it will circulate the air 7.5 times per hour.
This is not a particularly noisy air filtration system, with sound levels ranging from 50 to 60dBA, depending on the power setting. The WEN 3410 has an easy to use touchpad control panel. You can program it for automatic operation, setting how many hours you want the machine to run before shutting off (1, 2, or 4-hours). It also has a remote control, allowing you to use the manual and automated features from a distance of up to 26 feet. Four strong hooks make it easy and safe to hang this machine from the ceiling.
I’m sure you’ll love the WEN 3410 price. Even though this is a cheap air filtration system, primarily intended for a home or garage shop, it is a solid and dependable machine. I can understand why this is one of the best-selling workshop air filtration systems. It’s simply fantastic value for money. I believe the WEN brand is deserving of recognition for providing good quality, affordable power equipment. Hence the notion that it is a common sense, good value brand.
Jet AFS-1000B 1,000 CFM Air Filtration System
- The outer filter captures 98% of 5-micron particles, while the inner filter captures 85% of 1-micron particles.
- Remote control has a built-in timer with 2/4/8-hour settings. The system automatically shuts off.
- Hang from shop ceiling or place on a workbench (rubber feet prevent marring).
- The inner pocket filter is removable for easy cleaning.
- Easy-grip handles allow easy mobility of the unit.
- 1,000 CFM capacity – 19.58 cycles per hour (20’ X 20’ X 8’)
The Jet AFS-1000B (708620B) 1,000 CFM air filtration system is suitable for a mid-sized industrial shop, about 1,000 sq. Ft. For a larger shop (up to 1,700 sq. Ft.), the Jet AFS-2000B will be more suitable. These are both heavy-duty machines from a brand with a reputation for excellence.
It would be a stretch to call the Jet AFS-1000B shop air filter cheap. Though, for the industrial-grade quality that it offers, the price is very reasonable. The fantastic Jet 5-year warranty is evidence that this is a high-quality product that’s built to last.
Designed with high-durability in mind, the Jet air filter is enclosed in a strong, powder-coated metal housing, and the ¹⁄₅ HP motor uses fully enclosed ball bearings. The tough construction means that the Jet AFS-1000 is heavier than light-duty air filtration systems. It weighs 54-pounds. The Jet 1,000 CFM air filter has four high-quality eye bolts for hanging and carrying handles on either side. For a filtration system of this size and weight, it is pretty good in terms of portability.
The disposable (5-micron) electrostatic filter, combined with a 1-micron inner pocket filter, provides superb air quality. The inner 1-micron filter is easily removed for cleaning and can be reused several times before you need to replace it. A diffuser disperses clean, filtered air evenly across the shop. This is one of the most efficient and effective air filtration systems. A really innovative design.
The Jet AFS-1000B has 3 speed settings (550, 702, or 1044 CFM) and an automatic timer with convenient 2, 4, or 8 hour settings. For really easy operation, it also has a remote control.
From humble beginnings in 1958, Jet has evolved into one of the top brands supplying industrial power equipment. The Jet AFS-1000B is certainly one of the best shop air filters in its class, with an incredible 5-year warranty.
Grizzly Industrial GO738 409 CFM Hanging Air Filter
- Motor: ¹⁄₈ HP
- Airflow capacity: 260, 362, 409 CFM
- Impeller size: 5-1/2 x 5-1/4 in.
- Filtration: 1 Micron
- Sound rating: 62, 67, 69 dB
- Overall height: 10 in.
- Shipping weight: 34 lbs.
The Grizzly Industrial GO738 is a heavy-duty air filtration system for a small shop. With a similar capacity to the WEN 3410, the 409 CFM Grizzly shop air filter costs about twice as much.
Is this price justified?
I guess, for a home shop, the WEN air filter is the better option. If you require an industrial-grade machine for a professional shop, the Grizzly Industrial GO738 is better suited to hard-core daily work.
The ¹⁄₈ HP electric motor is super-efficient and manufactured to the highest industrial-grade standards. The all-metal, powder-coated enclosure is tough enough for a jobsite or heavy-duty shop. It has four hooks for hanging and a carrying handle. Though it’s not all that heavy at 34-pounds.
Like any of the best shop air filters, the Grizzly GO738 has three speed settings that you control by means of a touchpad on the machine, or a handy infrared remote control. You can choose between 260, 362, and 409 CFM airflow settings. It also has 3 timer settings – 1, 2, or 4-hours.
Most shop owners know the value of buying a high-quality machine like the Grizzly Industrial GO738. You know that you’re getting a product that is made to last, even when working in treacherous conditions. If an industrial air filtration system is what you need, it’s worth paying extra for this high-quality product.
General International 10-1000 M1
- New SMART infrared dust sensor control system can detect more than 1-micron particle in the air, such as cigarette smoke, house dust, mold, pollen, etc.
- Dual-layer high-efficiency filtration system with air diffuser disperses outgoing air into a broader pattern, and has the function of electrostatic adsorption, which enhances the filtration effect on fine particles and toxic pollutants.
- Includes manual and auto Start-Stop mode: In standby mode, the airflow and 1-24 hour timer can be set manually by remote control. Under the automatic mode, the machine will run according to the start and stop values preset by the user. With the large touch control LCD display reflecting air quality and functional parameters based on the sensor signal.
- Comes standard with easy grip handles for easy portability of the unit. Also, includes four eye bolts for hanging the unit from the shop ceiling.
- A three-speed adjustable, high-speed low-noise centrifugal blower and fully enclosed ball bearing motor with overload protection provides long, dependable service.
As one of the more expensive 1,000 CFM shop air filtration systems, I have high expectations of the General International 10-1000 M1. I can start by saying that I’m massively impressed with the heavy-duty industrial quality that this machine displays in every aspect of its design and manufacture. Really strong metal and a top-quality powder coating certainly give one the impression that the General International shop air filter is going to withstand the test of time. It also has specifications to beat most of its competitors.
The powerful ¹⁄₅ HP is both durable and highly competent at removing pollutants from the air rapidly. This is a super-efficient motor – I’m guessing it’s a high-end induction motor. It has 3 speed settings – 560 CFM, 710 CFM, and 1068 CFM. This makes the General International 10-1000 M1 ideal for mid-sized shops of around 10,000 square feet.
Being such a powerful heavy-duty shop air filter, I’d expect this machine to be quite heavy, so the weight of 55-pounds came as no surprise. To make it as portable as possible, it has two handles. Four heavy-duty eye bolts allow you to hang the air filter safely and easily.
For such a capable industrial-grade air filtration system, the General International 10-1000 M1 is remarkably quiet. Okay, you will hear it, but the noise levels are not intrusive, especially when you consider the power it delivers. At the lowest speed setting, it is roughly equivalent to a normal speaking voice, 62dB from 3-feet. Even at full power, it really isn’t very loud at 69dB. This noise level is not only a pleasure to your ears, it’s indicative of a high-quality motor and bearings.
Air filtration is equal to any of the best, utilizing a 5-micron electrostatic pre-filter and top-quality 1-micron fine particle filter. One of the best diffusers helps ensure clean air throughout the shop. The automatic timer is wonderfully versatile, you’re able to program it from 1 to 24-hours standby. Controls are great, the panel on the machine allows you to set the speed and timer easily. It also has a remote control. An LCD screen displays the air quality for the chosen settings.
A fantastic feature comes in the form of infrared sensors that allow for an additional automatic mode. You can set the sensitivity to detect particles as small as 1-micron. When engaged, the automatic mode will switch the air filter on or off, and adjust the speed, depending on how much dust or other pollutants are detected in the air. This means completely hassle-free, automated air filtration.
The only issue that some users have raised about the SMART Dust Sensor control system is when you experience a power outage. When the electric supply is interrupted, the automatic sensor system does not reset once the power is restored. This means, after an outage, you have to switch it back on. This is not a difficult or time-consuming task. You just have to remember to do it. It’s easy to forget about the system as it’s completely automated.
The General International 10-1000 M1 is undoubtedly one of the best heavy-duty shop air filtration systems. Not only is this a high-quality machine, it has amazing features. The auto-sensing control is fantastic and works incredibly well. Yes, it’s expensive, yet worth every penny.
- 3 Speeds 250, 350, or 450 CFM
- 3 Timer Settings 1, 2, or 4 Hours
- Convenient Remote
- Quick Release Latch System
- Easily Mount On Work Bench Or Mount From Ceilings
I’ve always found it difficult to definitively classify the Rikon brand. While many rate Rikon power equipment as heavy-duty or industrial grade, Rikon tools don’t always seem to match up to the recognized heavy-duty brands that are common in most commercial shops. There can be no doubt that Rikon tools are higher up the rankings than cheap light-duty brands. Rikon prices are always very reasonable. Not cheap, but a good deal less expensive than the high-end heavy-duty tools. Perhaps, we should rate Rikon tools as medium to heavy-duty. Though I’m more inclined to sway toward the heavy-duty ranking.
Given this slightly ambiguous definition, somewhere between medium and heavy-duty, who would want to buy the Rikon 62-450 shop filtration system?
It could be argued that if you want a true blue heavy-duty machine, bite the bullet, and pay top dollar for the top brands. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a cheap light-duty product, look for the cheapest price.
While both points of view may be valid, I think the Rikon 62-450 provides a great middle ground. For a small startup woodworking shop, this is a great, very affordable option. It certainly has the nuts to work hard all day long and should keep doing so for many years. When it’s time to replace this hardy little machine, you might consider upgrading to something more expensive. Though, you’ll probably find that Rikon offers excellent value for its service life and decide to stick with the brand. For the hobbyist who wants a more durable air filter for a home shop, without being too expensive, the Rikon 62-450 is great value for money.
All the specs hold up well to scrutiny. The Rikon 62-450 shop air filter has 3 speed settings (250, 350, or 450 CFM). Perfect for a small shop or double garage. It has the normal timer settings (1, 2, or 4-hours) and remote control.
The Rikon 450CFM shop air filtration system is blissfully quiet at 57 to 68dBA. It offers the same high air quality as any of the others in this review, using a 5-micron pre-filter and 1-micron HEPA filter. The air is effectively circulated using a really powerful ¼ HP motor.
When comparing general build quality, the Rikon can easily rank amongst the best heavy-duty machines. It has an ultra-tough 20-gauge steel enclosure with a high-quality coating. Though the weight of 29-pounds may suggest that it is not quite in the same league as the heavier industrial machines. This low weight is certainly a great advantage if you need a portable air filtration system. It has a strong carrying handle and four eye bolts for hanging.
If you’re not too sure about Rikon quality, the impeccable 5-year warranty should put your mind at ease. For a high-quality machine, that isn’t expensive, the Rikon 62-450 is really excellent value for money.