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No shop vacuum has the power or longevity to replace a dedicated dust-collection system, but a number of them will work well enough as portable dust collectors for benchtop machines in small shops or as backups to larger systems. The 13 vacuums I looked at were quieter than those of a few years ago, and all had adequate power as long as I kept the filter from clogging. I found that the better performers had filters situated horizontally above the tank. Hose diameter also is critical to the function of a vacuum, particularly when the machine is used as a dust collector. A 2-1/2-in.-dia. hose is good for planers and routers, but a small hose diameter is best for small portable tools like sanders and saws.
The Alto Wap SQ was a standout in the crowd with its variable-speed motor and quiet operation. Capacity is only 10 gallons.
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