Dust extractors are handy tools for keeping the workplace of woodworkers clean. It’s important to maintain cleanliness in an environment where sawdust and wood debris can be a fire hazard and be potentially harmful to your health. Some woodworkers opt to use traditional vacuum cleaners to pick up leftover chips or dust on the floor, but this can damage the narrow hose and limited motor of the vacuum cleaner.
Since power tools and woodworking machines produce tremendous amounts of sawdust, we want a tool that can clean up after us without taking too much time (a limitation of vacuum cleaners due to their narrow air flow). This is where dust extractors reign supreme.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at two highly-regarded dust extractors – the FEIN Turbo II and the Festool 583492. Both of these models use HEPA-grade filters to capture at least 99.7% of particles as small as 0.3 µm. Let’s dive right into our comparison of these two dust extractors.
CFM and Water Lift
FEIN Turbo II
The two measurements used to rate the suction power of a dust extractor is by measuring air flow (cubic-feet-per-minute, CFM) and water lift. The latter refers to how many inches the unit can suck up water before gravity prevents it from going any further. The FEIN delivers up to 151 CFM of air volume and 98.4 inches of static water lift. CFM-wise, this unit performs admirably in keeping airborne particles inside of the hose and delivers them into the tank or bag. The high water lift count means that it can pick up leftover shavings from planers.
The Festool delivers slightly less suction power – only 137 CFM – and up to 96 inches of water lift. For home woodshops, the CFM and water lift is the proper amount of picking up after power tools, though we wish it could deliver greater power. Basically, anything over 130 CFM will keep tiny particles from dropping back down onto the floor.
Conclusion: Between the FEIN and the Festool, it’s clear that the FEIN delivers greater suction power. However, the average DIY-er’s workshop may not have heavy machinery like planers so 130 CFM may be the ideal suction strength to have. In any case, more is better, and the FEIN wins because it can handle more.
Cord Length and Hose
FEIN Turbo II
Professional-grade dust extractors are huge machines that are placed in one spot in a workshop. The user just navigates the flexible hose from tool to tool to ensure proper clean-up. Although these models are lightweight and portable, we consider the length of the power cord and hose to contribute to the overall easy-to-use-ness of the unit. The FEIN has an 18-foot power cord and a 13-foot hose. It should be noted that the hose is not anti-static, meaning that in order to prevent static electricity buildup, the unit should be grounded properly.
The Festoon, on the other hand, has an amazingly long power cord (32.7 feet), though the hose is shorter than the FEIN (11.5 feet). However, the hose of the Festoon is anti-static to prevent unwanted fires in the hose (rarely occurs, but a risk, nonetheless) and machine.
Conclusion: The super-long length of the cord and hose make the Festoon more portable, but it also allows users to leave the unit in the corner of their workshop while pulling the hose to each and every power tool they have. Although these units and lightweight and compact, it’s still annoying having to drag the unit from place to place to clean up sawdust and wood shavings.
Auto-Clean HEPA Filter
FEIN Turbo II
HEPA filters can be quite costly to replace. When working in an environment where sawdust roams freely, you may need to purchase replacement HEPA filters frequently to keep up with the never-ending torrent of sawdust produced from your machines. Unfortunately, the FEIN doesn’t have an auto-cleaning feature that extends the life of your HEPA filter.
Fortunately, the Festoon does. The auto-cleaning feature means that the HEPA filter can be used for longer before purchasing replacements. In addition, maintaining a clean filter produces more consistent suction power for longer. The self-cleaning mechanism isn’t exactly perfect, but it’s better than nothing (especially since the bags the filters are disposable).
Conclusion: It’s clear that the Festoon 583492’s auto-cleaning feature is superior to FEIN’s non-existent one. In addition, neither of these units requires having to replace the filters when they touch the water.
Variable Speed Dial
FEIN Turbo II
The reason for changing suction power is to save energy. You don’t want a constant maximum CFM for picking up the smallest pieces of debris that require only around 100 CFM, but unfortunately, that’s what you’re stuck with when you get the FEIN. It delivers a constant 151 CFM all day long, and it produces the same noise output for all tasks.
As for the Festool, you can spin a dial for selecting how much power you need. For sucking up sawdust, you can get by with a low CFM count, but larger debris needs increased power. The Festool gives you to option to save energy for light-duty tasks or use more energy for more demanding ones.
Conclusion: The Festool’s variable speed dial is obviously a great feature to have. Not only does it save energy, but you’re also producing less noise when dealing with light-duty suction jobs.
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FEIN Turbo II vs Festool 583492: Bottom Line
Even though the FEIN Turbo II is the more powerful model, it isn’t as portable and versatile as the Festool 583492. The long power cord and anti-static hose give users the comfort of placing the unit in one location while navigating the hose from power tool to power tool. The auto-clean feature is also great to have since it extends the life of the HEPA filter and guarantees optimal suction power for every application.
The speed dial is also a nice touch, and users have the freedom to reduce the suction power for picking up sawdust or increase the power for sucking up wood shavings and other debris. Between these two models, the Festool 583492 is obviously the better HEPA dust extractor to have in your workshop.