Good dust management begins at the tool, which is why we like a tool triggered vacuum that turns on and off automatically with the tool plugged into it. Such vacs also switch on/off manually. Tool-triggered vacs feature high-efficiency filtration, disposable bags to trap debris, a few seconds of run time to clear the hose after you switch off the tool and considerably lower noise levels compared with typical tub-style shop vacuums. Two variables to watch for: Dust ports on portable power tools vary so much in size and shape that we often had to use adapters (and sometimes duct tape) to attach the vacuum hoses. And, the capacity of the on-board outlet will likely limit you to using the vacuum with low-amperage tools, such as sanders, biscuit joiners, or mid-size routers because all but one of the vac’s power cords are rated for only 15 amps. Do not exceed the manufacturers’ stated power availability.
This vacuum is so quite when I powered up my first few tools, I had to touch it to verify it was running. In fact, the Fein Turbo III 9-77-25 rates as the quietest in our test and about 40 dB lower than my regular shop vacuum. I also appreciate its suction, as it gobbled up all the wood dust and chips I could make. It comes standard with a paper collection bag that traps nearly everything, and a 5-micron cloth filter that works great for trapping dust as the heavier debris falls to the bottom of the tub. I could hook up all but one of my tools using the included hose and reducing adapter. Although the vac’s outlet lists 18 amps of possible power, I found, using an ammeter, that it’s motor drew 10 amps. So that leaves only 5 amps for a tool on its 15-amp-rated cord and plug. Exceeding this could damage the tool or vacuum motors.
I’ve used Porter Cable’s older model #7810 for years for general shop cleanup and drywall sanding, and the newer 7812 model performs even better. Weighing only 20 lbs, it has all the suction I need to collect dust from my portable power tools. The oversize rear wheels make it stable, and it glides easily around my shop without tripping. The 7812 comes with a cartridge filter and one collection bag. It features a spring-loaded “finger” on the outside that when you pull, drags across the filter and knocks off most of the dust without opening the hood. I have no trouble connecting the hose to my Porter Cable tools, but mixed luck with other brands.