Harbor Freight Dust Collector

Harbor Freight dust collectorI needed a new dust collector in a bad way. Shop vacuums are a great way to start collecting dust and chips out in the garage or basement, but a full sized dust collector offers much more suction as well as greater capacity for chips on tools like the planer and jointer. It is always hard to justify the cost of a tool that just sits around collecting dust (that’s a joke), especially when I still need other tools for actually making things! I scoured the internet, home stores and woodworking shops for a full sized collector with at least a 2HP motor with 650 CFM suction and a 5-micron bag. I came across a version from Harbor Freight at a fraction of the cost as the closest competitor; less than $200** including shipping, so I decided to go for it.

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Harbor Freight dust collectorI will admit I was skeptical after placing the order, but was pleasantly surprised when I opened the box to my new machine. It was safely shipped with fitted Styrofoam packaging, and each part was protected from the other by cardboard or wrap.

Harbor Freight dust collectorI propped the base on sleepers to attach the casters. While both the diagram and instructions informed me to use hex-head bolts and nuts for this task, there weren’t enough included in the shipment. There were enough pan-head screws included, however, so I decided to use these instead. It may be best to avoid the manual, which gives incorrect information throughout the assembly.

Harbor Freight dust collectorThe cap to the fan housing has a fitted gasket that makes the machine more efficient. This detail was unexpected considering the bargain-basement price. The hose outlet bolted firmly to the blower.


Despite taking 2 hours to assemble, I’m pleased with the Harbor Freight Dust Collector. It performs well. While it doesn’t have mind-blowing suction, it has plenty to capture dust when connected to individual tools such as a table saw, jointer or planer. I will certainly invest in blast gates to manage the suction in the machine and to keep my runs of hose short. The manual was maddening, and actually mislead me in a number of circumstances; be warned! But for the money, I have been quite happy with this Harbor Freight Dust Collector. I do plan, however, to add a cyclonic separator to keep the chips from clogging the 5-micron filter and plastic bag.

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Harbor Freight 2HP Dust Collector, Model 97869 $199.00

**Coupons and discounts are frequently available for all Harbor Freight tools, and shipping is a flat rate $6.99


(800) 423-2567

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24 Responses to “Harbor Freight Dust Collector”

  1. Adam

    How long is the power cord for this? I did a raincheck on one and am wondering if I need an extension cord at all until I get duct ran?


    I have one and am assembling my new shop in the basement. I was wonder how I would connect my 5 basic machines and one connection for my portable tools? Thank you

  3. corky parker

    Ticket does harbor fright have hose and all the fitting to go with the dust collector.

  4. Kelly Craig

    I have: 1) Two big Jets (3hp). One with two 1 micron bags up and two plastic collection bags, the other is the same, but with canister filters on top. They run through Super Dust Deputy cyclones. 2) The big Jets replaced an Oneida Gorilla cyclone, but only because I, now, turn the collector off and on frequently, which the big systems are not designed to do. 3) A Jet 1-1/2 hp with a canister on top. 4) Last year, I added a HF. It replace a 1hp Delta I gave to a friend, In short, I’ve had a little experience with dust collectors. From that experience, I can say the HF was a night and day jump from the little 1hp Delta and I suspect it would compete with my little Jet. For the money, I don’t think I could beat it. I did change the bag to a 1 micron bag and I added foam gasket, like you use between campers and pickup beds, to get a better seal around the bags and both things helped a great deal. Because my unit has been modified by the addition of large wheels, to allow me to roll it out into the yard , along with one of the Super Dusty Deputy cyclones, to vacuum pine cones and fall leaves, I stayed with bags, rather than an expensive cartridge, which would not be as tolerant of abuse. I suspect a swap to a cartridge would make this unit into a stellar performer for half the price of the competition. If you’re looking for a bargain collector, this is it.

  5. Kevin Black

    I've been using one for several years, paired with a cyclone lid and a aluminum trashcan. I can attest to the good overall airflow as when I first set it up, it crumpled the trashcan like a soda can, I wound up having to reinforce the trashcan (after pounding it back into shape) with angle iron.

  6. Joseph Heitz

    I bought the HF DC as well. I did not assemble it as instructed though. I made a Thein Top Hat out of some MDF and plywood and a 30 gal. metal trash can. The thing works great. As has been said, it won't provide suction for an entire shop, but for me in my 1 man shop, it works great. BTW_ I had a cuopon and got it for $169.95, a bargain.

  7. Mark Smith

    I bought a HF dust collector about 5 years ago as an inexpensive alternative and it worked fairly well, I retrofitted with a cyclone and a pleated filter, worked better yet. A friend of mine had one that he was no longer going to use and sold to me cheap and I hooked it up in tandem with my previous unit through 50+ feet of 6" pipe and it went from pretty good to amazing! I have tried it with blast gates open to 3 different tools, table saw, jointer while using my router table and it still pulled the vast majority of my dust Even if you bought 2 units at around $150.00 each you are still way below the cost of the name brands.

  8. Ken

    There are a few You Tube videos out there showing how to modify the HF dust collector to a cyclone system.


    I didn't realize that the previous comment was giving you a direct link to Wynn's site.


    Instead of a bag, replace it with a Wynn 35A nano canister filter. The kit cost around $190.00. It will increase the suction and is better for your health.