Minimizing Dust and Maximizing Filter Life

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This review was created as part of a paid affiliate program with the Home Depot.

My first order of business with this and every product review is a disclaimer: I am not an expert… anything really. I am a farmer and a fine furniture maker. When it comes to working on cars, construction, framing, electrical and renovation, I’m a DIYer and weekend warrior. My goal in reviewing tools and products is to provide honest feedback based on my own use and experience with these tools to other regular folks like me- wanting to get their hands dirty, try new things, and get the best value for their hard earned dollars.

I have had an older model of this same Ridgid vacuum in my shop since the beginning. They were hardy, affordable, and had a lifetime guarantee. For a broke wanna be woodworker trying to build up my shop, that’s all I could ask for in a tool. I’ve still got that vacuum and it’s kept my shop clean and played dust collector like a champion for 7 years, and I couldn’t ask any more of a tool.

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So when it came time to test the Ridgid 16 Gallon 6.5 HP vacuum for this review, I was pretty well versed with what I’d be getting, a great tool for a great value. This thing boasts the best CFM in it’s class. The new nozzle clips keep the hose and attachments from detaching unexpectedly, which is a brilliant answer to one of my biggest frustrations when cleaning the shop. At 16 gallons, this is still technically a “portable” tool, but if I was regularly moving it around the jobsite, and not just pulling it around my smooth concrete shop floor, I might be inclined to get a smaller model.

As is the case with most shop vacuums, this model has a blower, but I never use the blower (on purpose at least, there was one unfortunate incident where I had the hoses hooked up wrong and accidentally blew dust all over the shop I’d just spent two hours meticulously cleaning… we will just attribute that incident to an extreme lack of sleep).

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The one thing I don’t love about this tool is it’s cloth storage pouch. It does hold all the attachments, but I think it looks kind of sloppy and, it being cloth, it collects dirt and dust just like you might expect a cloth bag on top of a dust and trash receptacle would. Another feature I would really, really like on a shop vacuum would be an automatic cord reel. The wrap provided works, but isn’t my favorite design. Another thing I would really love to see less of on this tool is plastic. That said, I also understand the manufacturing process, and alternative construction materials would increase the cost of the unit significantly. 

This vacuum retails for $159. Would I buy it?

Absolutely, I have been using a similar Ridgid vac in my shop for 7 years.

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What about the Dustopper attachment?

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Retailing for $40, the Dustopper is Home Depot’s answer to the Dust Deputy, which retails for $50. I have both, and both are good products. I wouldn’t use either on my every day vacuum that I drag around the shop while I clean because they are cumbersome and the Dustopper bucket tends to tip over a lot, but on a stationary tool hooked up to the vacuum, they are MAJOR filter savers. When the Dustopper is attached, the majority of the dust and debris  falls directly into the 5 gallon bucket beneath it, and very little material goes into the vacuum. I use it most on my chopsaw and oscillating spindle sander because those fine particulates are enemy No. 1 of my vacuum filters. Without an auxillary product, all that fine dust clogs the filter and the vacuum loses CFM really quickly. The thing I like most about the dustopper is it’s low profile. It fits under my chop saw like a glove. I actually bought the dust deputy to live under that cabinet, but it didn’t fit, so I was really glad to find another option that worked.

Posted on October 26, 2018 and filed under Tool Reviews.