Hand-held Wood Routers with Vacuum Dust Control

A vacuum dust control for hand-held wood routers is a dust capture device that reduces airborne wood dust during wood routing operations.


A vacuum dust control for hand-held wood routers is an engineering control that can reduce the exposure to wood dust. The hand-held routers are fitted with shrouds or hoods that partially enclose the bit and have a port to allow for the extraction of woodworking dust. When a vacuum is attached to the extraction port, air is drawn past the bit and into the port, capturing dust at the point of generation. The wood dust is then collected and removed from the work environment, reducing the concentration in the worker's breathing zone and the opportunity for skin contact.


OSHA recommends using a wood dust capture and control system, which tends to be in the form of a portable vacuum dust collector. These methods allow for the safe removal of most airborne dust particles that result from routing. Using a compact vacuum with filters, instead of ventilating to the outdoors, greatly reduces the risk to other workers on a site. Exhausting wood dust to the outdoors may, however, be an acceptable control for some situations.

Dust control systems are a solution to the constant dust and debris created by wood workers. A permanent dust ventilation control may be a more effective way to remove the airborne particles, but the portable dust collectors provide a solution for situations where fixed ventilation systems are not feasible.
Festool Routers with Dust Collection Shroud
Festool routers have a built-in dust collection shroud and are compatible with the Festool vacuums listed below.
Power Requirements
Speed, revolutions per minute
Weight, pounds
Collet Diameter, inches
FT574266 OF 1010 EQ
120 volts, 8.5 amps
FT574267 OF 1400 EQ
120 volts, 11.7 amps
¼, 3/8, ½
FT574277 OF 22000 EB
120 volts, 18 amps
¼, ½
FT574288 MKF 700 EQ
120 volts, 6 amps
(verified 2/2011)
Festool Mobile Dust Extractors - CT MINI and CT MIDI
  • Power Requirements: 120 volts, 3-10 amps, 350-1200 watts
  • Airflow: 99 cubic feet per minute
  • Maximum Static Pressure: 80 inches of water
  • Filtration: paper filter is standard, HEPA filter, capable of removing 99.97% of 0.3 micron particles, can be purchased for approximately $33
  • Sound pressure level: 72 dBA or less (OSHA’s Permissible Exposure Limit for an 8-hour time-weighted average is 90 dBA)
Dust Capacity, gallons
Hose Diameter
Weight, pounds
1 inch (22 millimeters)
1-1/16 inches (27 millimeters)
(verified 4/2011)











Festool Mobile Dust Extractors - CT 26 E and 36 E
  • Power Requirements: 120 volts, 2.9-10 amps
  • Airflow: 137 cubic feet per minute
  • Maximum Static Pressure: 96 inches of water
  • Filtration: HEPA filter capable of removing 99.97% of 0.3 micron particles (the most penetrating size)
  • Hose Diameter: 1-1/16 inches (27 millimeters)
Dust Capacity, gallons
Weight, pounds
CT 26 E
CT 36 E
(verified 4/2011)



Porter-Cable Routers with Wood Dust Collection Attachment
The 7500 series Porter-Cable routers can be fitted with the Porter-Cable 39700 attachment for wood dust collection. The following vacuum and hose attachment fit the shroud attachment.
  • Cost of Wood Dust Collection Attachment: $40
  • Power Requirements: 120 volts, 15 amps
  • Collet Diameter: ½ inches
  • Vacuum Take-Off Diameter: 1.5 inches
Speed, revolutions per minute
Weight, pounds*
*Note: Product weight does not include attachment.
(verified 2/2011)
Rockler Dust Right® Universal Small Port Hose Kit
  • Hose length expands from 3 feet to 15 feet
  • Two sizes of flexible rubber dust ports: 1 inch and 1.5 inch (can also fit rectangular dust ports)
  • A 2.25 inch OD swiveling rubber dust port compatible with most shop vacs (except for Ridgid)
  • Weight: 2.56 pounds

Festool Hose FT452881
  • Diameter: 1 7/16 inch
  • Length: 11.5 feet



Rockler Dust Bucket Kit for Router Tables

The dust bucket fits most routers, including large plunge routers.
Item Number
Dust Bucket Dust Collection for Router Tables
Dust Right Router Table Dual Port
Router Table Dust Port for use with 2-1/2'' Dust Hose
2-1/2'' x 36'' Clear Dust Hose for Router Table Fence Port
4'' Dia. Dust Right Hose, 3 Ft. Compressed, Extends to 21 Ft Long
Rockler Wall Mount Dust Collector
(verified 2/2011)
Dust Collector Specifications:
  • Bag Capacity: 15 gallons
  • Weight: 50 pounds
  • Power Requirements: 110 volts, 12 amps
  • Airflow: 650 cubic feet per minute
  • Filter efficiency: 30 or 5 microns


Pullman-Ermator Cyclonic Pre-Separators
  • Removes approximately 90 percent of particulates and can be used with Pullman-Ermator or other dust extractors
  • Dust collection: Longopac® bag system, which uses a 70 foot long plastic tube that is divided and sealed at the desired length
Inlet Diameter, inches
Weight, pounds
(verified 4/2011)

Risks Addressed:


Exposure to wood dust in the workplace has several associated hazards. Wood dust irritates the eyes, nose and throat, in addition to leading to pulmonary function impairment. Western red cedar dust is considered a human carcinogen and has also been shown to cause asthma. Significant accumulation of fine wood dust particles can also be a fire and explosion hazard in the workplace.
“Automated routers have been found to create significant amounts of wood dust. Workers exposed to wood dusts have experienced a variety of adverse health effects such as eye and skin irritation, allergy, reduced lung function, asthma, and nasal cancer. Therefore, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends limiting wood dust exposures to prevent these health problems.” (Topmiller, 1998)
Spee et al. performed task-based monitoring of 26 carpenters at 13 building projects to measure exposure to wood dust. Eight hour time-weighted average (TWA) exposures to wood dust ranged from 0.8 to 11.6 mg/m3 with a geometric mean (GM) of 3.3 mg/m3 and a geometric standard deviation (GSD) of 2.1.
Numerous studies in various countries have addressed whether Hodgkin’s disease (HD) is linked to wood dust exposures. Studies involving those who have already died from the disease, those who currently have the disease and woodworkers who were believed to be at risk of getting the disease were conducted. No study included sufficient information to find a correlation between length of employment, type of position, exposure to certain products, or contact with chemical agents that may be used in woodworking and HD. These investigations have shown that those with the greatest risk are among the carpentry and lumbering occupations. In the end, twelve studies were reviewed, and five yielded statistically significant relationships between woodworking and Hodgkin’s disease (McCunney, 1999).

The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) published a threshold limit value (TLV) of 1 mg/m3 for wood dust, excluding western red cedar. The TLV for western red cedar is 0.5 mg/m3. Oak and beech wood dust have been confirmed as human carcinogens and birch, mahogany, teak, and walnut are classified as suspected human carcinogens (ACGIH, 2011).


How Risks are Reduced:

The routers are fitted with shrouds or hoods that partially enclose the bit and have an extraction port to allow for the capture of woodworking dust. When a portable vacuum is attached to the extraction port, air is drawn past the bit and into the port, capturing dust at the point of generation. The wood dust is then collected and removed from the work environment, reducing the concentration in the worker's breathing zone and the opportunity for skin contact.


Dust collection techniques will visibly remove particulate matter in a broad range of sizes, but the extent that it reduces the small, inhalable particles is significant. Although exposure is not reduced to zero, substantial reduction is documented. This is dependent on the amount of air flow through the machine, the distance routing occurs from the vacuum inlet, how effectively the collectors filter particles from the air, the nature and amount of work and the extent to which workers are exposed to particles that are not captured. While there is no published sampling data on these specific tools, evidence indicates exposure to inhalable wood dust can be significantly reduced through the use of dust extraction methods.
The results of two cross sectional studies in the furniture industry indicated that “The following determinants of exposure were found to ‘decrease’ dust concentration: manual assembling/packing; sanding with adequate exhaust ventilation; adequate exhaust ventilation; vacuum cleaning of machines and special cleaning staff." (Schlunssen, 2008)


Effects on Productivity:


Vacuum collectors can have either positive or negative effects on productivity, but definitely improve the quality of the work by removing large amounts of wood dust, which allows for a cleaner environment for operators. In some cases, particularly where work is intermittent or in an area with general ventilation, use of dust collectors may be adequate to reduce the need to wear a respirator, and the need for an employer’s respiratory protection program. 

C.C. Steven & Associates states that the “Control of dust and smoke is also key to maintaining high worker productivity; studies show that a cleaner work place is a more productive one.  Keeping the air clean helps improve employee morale and reduces absenteeism, positively impacting overall productivity.”


Additional Considerations:

There are additional conditions and practices that can improve the performance of dust collectors and reduce particle exposure:  

  • Keeping the your head away from dust created by the process and using adequate ventilation is key to controlling exposure to airborne dust particles.
  • The Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limits (SCOEL) of the European Commission stated that exposures greater than 0.5 mg/m3 of wood dust could cause pulmonary effects and should be avoided.
  • The particles that can do the most damage in the lungs are small enough to penetrate the filters found on many shop vacuums. Additionally, some inexpensive shop vacuums pull the dust through the motors, which can destroy the vacuum on really dusty jobs, eliminating any initial cost savings.
  • For operations that generate large amounts of dust, cyclonic collection units, if available, may be the best solution. Rather than require more expensive filters and bags that must be frequently changed, cyclonic units spin the particles and drop them into inexpensive bags that need to be replaced far less frequently because loading of the bags does not cause a pressure drop.
  • Vacuum performance must be monitored on a regular basis. A vacuum with a pressure gauge allows for frequent and easy monitoring of air flow. For high dust generating tasks, dust caked on the filter may reduce flow to a level where it no longer provides adequate dust capture. Automatic and manual filter shakers, coarse pre-filters and cyclonic collections units are available with some vacuums and may help maintain the air flow rate.
Large electric vacuums commonly require 20 amp electrical circuits in addition to the 20 amp circuit used for the electric router. Cords and extensions must be rated for the tool's power requirements, be inspected regularly, replaced when damaged, and used in combination with ground fault interrupt circuits.
Some large vacuums, cyclonic separators, and exhaust ventilation blowers can be very loud.  Noise levels may be high enough to cause significant hearing loss over a work lifetime.  Buy quiet devices and maintain them properly.  Noise exposures can be reduced by working further away from the noise source, enclosing the noise source, or using ear plugs or muffs.

As is the case with any construction equipment, users should follow manufacturer safety recommendations and comply with any applicable local, state or federal regulations.

Hazards Addressed:

  • Carpentry
    • Install cabinets, countertops and moldings


Porter-Cable Routers with Wood Dust Collection Attachment
To obtain information, visit http://www.portercable.com/WhereToBuy/BuyPC.aspx

Festool Routers with Dust Collection Shrouds and Dust Extractors
To obtain information, visit FT574266 OF 1010 EQ or contact 1-800-365-6677

Porter-Cable Wood Dust Collection Attachment
To obtain information, visit Porter-Cable Wood Dust Collection Attachment or contact 1-888-859-2080

Pullman-Ermator Cyclonic Pre-Separator
To obtain information, visit http://www.pullman-ermator.se or contact 1-800-282-1024 info@pullman-ermator.se

Rockler Companies, Inc.
To obtain information, visit Dust Bucket Dust Collection Kit for Router Tables and Dust Right® Universal Small Port Hose Kit or contact 1-800-279-4441

Return on Investment

To calculate the return on investment (ROI) for your specific application, please visit our Return on Investment Calculator. While a specific ROI example has not been developed for this particular solution, the ROI Calculator provides a useful tool and guidance on how to generate your own on investment analysis.