Managing dust and other minuscule particles at the job site is an important part of construction, woodworking, and renovation projects. A dirty work environment is not only a safety hazard, but it can also significantly reduce work efficiency. When using power tools that produce dust, chips, and shavings, it’s a good idea to have a dust extractor on hand.
One dust extractor model that has remained one of the most popular choices since it was released nearly five years ago is the FEIN Turbo I. This is a lightweight, compact model with moderate dust storage capacity for light- to medium-duty construction and renovation projects. But what really makes this tool a viable option to handle your dust woesLet’s find out.
The FEIN Turbo I generates up to 151 CFM of suction power and 98 inches of water lift. For such a compact model, we were quite surprised that this tool is packing some pretty serious equipment. This tool is more than capable of picking up rather large wood chips and dried pieces of mortar.
This tool also comes with a 2-speed suction power dial – LOW and HIGH – which lets you set how much power you need depending on the tool you’re using. We’re happy to report that even though there’s not a lot of flexibility in a 2-speed mechanism, at least the different settings produce different amounts of suction power.
One of the more annoying things about this product is its filter. Despite being able to withstand clogging for extended periods of time, this tool does not have a self-cleaning filter feature which means you need to continuously purchase replacement filter bags – a good deal for FEIN but not for the user. You could attempt manually unclog the filter, but we tried doing it to no avail.
Dust Container Capacity
The Turbo I comes with a moderate 5.8-gallon container for holding onto whatever pieces of debris you’ve managed to suction. From our experience, this size container is perfect for light and medium projects where dust and chips don’t pile up into hills (hobbyist woodshop or home renovation). However, at construction sites where cement dust is a mounting problem, the frequency of having to empty out the contents of the Turbo I’s container can be an issue, especially if time is a factor in your work.
Most dust extractors come with caster wheels which help glide the unit across smooth surfaces, and the Turbo I is no different. However, what does set it apart is that it comes with four small caster wheels instead of two small front wheels and two large back wheels. This doesn’t do anything to hamper the balance of the unit which is good, but towing it behind you while working can be a bit troublesome.
Furthermore, the caster wheels are supposed to have a locking mechanism to keep the Turbo I from slipping and sliding away from you. We don’t know whether we got a defective product, but straight out of the box, the wheels were never able to lock. Thus the unit could not remain stationary.
The Turbo I is one of the quietest dust extractor vacuums available. On HIGH mode, the motor generates roughly 66 decibels – the same sound level of normal speech – which is absolutely unnoticeable in the workshop. While cleaning up your workspace after a long day of work, the last thing you need is a vacuum cleaner blasting the music of its people in your ear (wear earmuffs to block the sounds of this and other power tools).
One area that first-time buyers may disregard is the quality and design of the suction hose. The Turbo I features a long 13-foot hose. Pair this with the 19.7-foot long power cord, and you have a large radius of movement before needing to move to another power outlet. Another thing we noticed is that the hose will not disconnect when tugging on it.
However, unlike modern dust extractor models and even some from the recent past, this is not an anti-static hose, meaning that sawdust and cement dust will cling onto the inner lining. Cleaning the hose can be a hassle since you’ll need to wipe the exterior and run water through the interior to get rid of pesky dust specks.
So what do we think of the FEIN Turbo IIt’s a great tool if time isn’t a factor in your work. Its limited dust container capacity and non-anti-static hose can make cleanup take much longer than with other models. Professional construction men and woodworkers, on the other hand, may want to seek a more efficient model with a better filter and better wheels.