Harbor Freight has come out with a new Bauer cyclone dust separator kit that fits 5 gallon buckets. I would presume that it comes with a universal-style lid that works with their buckets as well as other brands’.
We just posed about new Dewalt cyclone dust separators, and it seems that Harbor Freight’s release is coincidentally timed. I suspected that perhaps one or more of Oneida’s Dust Deputy patents have expired, but that doesn’t look to be the case.
Harbor Freight’s Bauer cyclone attachment looks a bit different compared to other like-sized models, with the intake port positioned much higher and with a distinctly shaped airflow path.
The shape of the intake and airflow path does resemble other brands’ larger cyclone attachments, and so it’s not dramatically different.
As with other cyclonic dust separator products, this one is designed to be a drop-in stage ahead of your shop vacuum or portable dust extractor.
Harbor Freight Bauer Cyclone Kit Contents
- Cyclone dust separator
- Modified 5 gallon bucket lid
- Collection hose
- Hose clamps (2)
- Hardware kit
The reducer fits hoses 1-1/4″, 1-7/8″, and 2-1/2″ in diameter.
Compared to Oneida Dust Deputy
Harbor Freight says that their cyclone compares to the Oneida Dusty Deputy AXD001004, which is available at Amazon for $50.
With the Bauer, you save $10 but also get a hose, reducer, and lid. With the Oneida, you have to buy all this separately. Both also require the purchase of a 5 gallon bucket.
Discussion and Criticisms
Harbor Freight says in their user manual: Ensure Bucket Lid is completely sealed onto bucket. Any air leaks will affect performance. This is true. But based on the product images, I’m not convinced all users will have a perfect seal from the start.
The Bauer lid looks to protrude into the lid a little bit, as opposed to sitting flush, but I also don’t see much in the way of structural reinforcement. The Oneida kit comes with a gasket – does the Bauer?
The Bauer cyclone attaches to the included bucket lid with 4 screws, and the Oneida with 6. It’s possible for small air gaps to be created between the Bauer’s mounting holes if a gasket isn’t used. All of this is to say that if you get the Bauer and there’s flex in the mounting connection, be prepared to use some caulk or other sealant.
Onedia includes a special bucket lid in their cyclone kit (but not with their cyclone-only attachment).
From Harbor Freight’s product images, it looks like you get a modified version of their standard 5 gallon bucket lid. This isn’t great. Maybe it’s different or reinforced in some way, but I don’t see any indication of this.
If your shop vacuum or dust extractor vac is too powerful, be prepared to reinforce the lid with plywood or something else.
The Bauer system looks to make some compromises, but you do save quite a bit of money compared to other cyclone attachments.
I wouldn’t say these are deal-breakers, but just things to be aware of. If buying this, I’d be prepared to seal up the mounting ring, and also potentially reinforce the lid. 5 gallon buckets are strong, but standard lids aren’t designed to support weight at the center of the lid, or vacuum pressure that can substantially add to the pull.
I could be wrong – I haven’t seen this kit in person or tested it yet – but it seems that you’re saving money at the expense of more elbow grease. Then again, modifications or enhancements might not be needed, it all depends on how the dust separator will be used.
You could also ignore the lid and create your own dust separator assembly using the Bauer cyclone with other types of drums or containers.
Surprisingly, Harbor Freight gives you a lid with the kit, but not a 5 gallon bucket, but I suppose this keeps the price down.