miter saw shop vac

Dust control is important, having the best shop vac for your miter saw is critical! Any woodworker will tell you, one of the most irritating things about using a miter saw is the layer of sawdust that just seems to cover every surface and find its way into every crack in the shop. It can seem that one simple cut causes an explosion of dust!

To get rid of the sawdust menace, one only needs to find a good-quality shop vac. With a shop vac, you can keep the sawdust out of your lungs and off of your shop surfaces. In fact, most miter saws come equipped with a shop vac attachment or some other form of dust collection. Even if yours doesn’t,  it is quite inexpensive to attach an aftermarket shop vac or dust collector to help get sawdust under control.

Getting the Best Shop Vac for Your Miter Saw

Not all shop vacs are the same which is why you need to look at your available options instead of making a hasty purchase. One thing you may want to consider is whether the vacuum is HEPA certified. HEPA filters can trap tiny particles that other vacs can’t (causing the particles to recirculate in the air of your shop.)  

The size of the motor is another thing to consider. A smaller motor won’t be as powerful, but depending on how you use your saw, you may not need something with super sucking power. You will also want to consider things like portability, capacity, and airflow. If you will be using your shop vac on a job site, OSHA-compliance is another thing to think about.

Finally, different brands and models will have differing hose diameters, and not all of those will line up with the dust port on your particular miter saw. However, there are things you can do to make the shop vac you want, play well with your saw, even if they aren’t size-compatible..

Shop Vac Miter Saw Adapters

miter saw shop vac adapter

Connecting a shop vac to a miter saw can be a very easy process. Some models will allow you to plug the vacuum hose of your shop vac into the dust port of your miter saw. 

Sometimes, it isn’t that simple, mainly because the size of the dust ports and vacuum hoses vary by brand and model. Yours may not sync up in size. 

There is no need to go out and buy a new saw or a new vacuum, however. Instead, you can usually find an adapter that will allow you to use your current tools in tandem. Universal adapters are generally pretty simple to use, it may only take a small cut with a utility knife on the rubber of the adapter to get everything to fit up nicely. 

The adapter will slip onto the dust port of your miter saw and the end of your vacuum hose. To make things even snugger, you can use a little duct tape and seal it all up.

If you can’t find an adapter that will suit your needs, another option is to use a bit of hose. A few feet of a typical 1¼-inch hose should be sufficient to connect a standard vacuum hose to your miter saw. You will need a coupling to connect the two hoses. The added bit of hose should be light and flexible making it easier to connect to the saws dust port.

miter saw with attached shop vacuum

Dust Collectors for Miter Saws

When it comes to sucking up the sawdust in your workshop, a vacuum isn’t the only option. There are other types of dust collectors that are compatible with miter saws. One popular option is the miter saw hood. These tent-like structures are placed over or next to the miter saw, and it contains a good portion of the sawdust your tool kicks up. Some hoods will also connect to the shop vac giving you more bang for your buck, and others will funnel the sawdust into a container for easy collection.

You can purchase miter saw hoods at local hardware stores, big-box chains, and even Amazon. However, some models can be rather pricey. In an effort to make things more budget-friendly, you could explore one of the many DIY versions that exist on the internet. People are making miter saw hoods from all kinds of things, from baby sun shades to IKEA shopping bags.

Improving Miter Sawdust Collection

Ask around for advice on dust collection, and you will likely be bombarded with more tips and tricks than you could possibly handle! Some of the tricks are super simple while others involve building more elaborate dust collection systems. The best trick is the one that works for you and your woodshop! 

Here are a few tricks that we think are worth the effort:

  • Add a Rubber “Flap”: Using a supple rubber that is fairly thick, you can cut a flap that attaches to the dust chute on your miter saw. This rubber flap will help funnel the sawdust in the direction that you want it to go, but since it is so pliable, it will bend out of the way easily when needed.
  • Get a Remote: If you have your miter saw hooked up to your shop vac, you can make your work more efficient by getting a remote for your vacuum. There are shop vac-specific remotes available for sale, but some people hook up others such as Christmas tree light remotes. (Pro Tip: high end shop vac models may have an automatic feature. They will turn on as soon as you turn on your power tool!)
  • Upgrade Your Filter: The better your shop vac filter, the better it will collect sawdust! If you can upgrade to a HEPA filter or something in a higher tier, you should find less dust swirling around in your workshop. 

 

As you can see, there are plenty of options when it comes to sawdust collection. A good quality shop vac can make all the difference, and the other tips and tricks mentioned here should make things that much better!