At Stuart’s request, Rockler was kind enough to ship me one of their Dust Right Shop Vacuum Handles for testing. This handle fits right onto your 2-1/2″ shop vacuum hose and accepts any accessories that will plug into the hose.
It also features an air flow valve that you can use to increase the amount of air getting to the vacuum when you use narrow attachments. This helps to control suction and also provides relief for when a nozzle gets blocked or clogged.
If it doesn’t quite fit your vacuum hose, you might need to try Rockler’s 2-1/2″ swivel fitting.
The Dust Right shop vacuum handle has 3 things going for it:
- Large and ergonomic handle grip
- Angled and contoured geometry
- Airflow valve
I’ve been eyeing the Dust Right Shop Vacuum Handle for some time, but have never been able to justify buying it. So I jumped at the chance to review it as part of a new series of Rockler tool reviews.
The key reasons to buy a handle like this are for the enhancements to ergonomics and airflow control.
If you look at a household vacuum cleaner, you could probably tell that it was designed to be as comfortable to use as possible. But if you look at most shop vacuums, it’s evident that pretty much no thought has gone into how comfortable they are to use.
The Rockler Dust Right handle allows you to grip the end of a vacuum hose more naturally, especially when it’s connected to a couple of extension wands and a floor nozzle. It definitely seems to improve control over a long wand.
After staring at the above photo for a while, I started to wonder if the ~35° angle of the handle will save some pressure drop. While you’re sure to suffer some pressure drop because of having more connections, in some situations you might make up for it by not having such a tight curve.
Sure it’s probably a small effect, but it might mean the difference between actually sucking up that nail and getting frustrated because it just rattles around inside wand.
Using the Handle
As soon as the handle arrived, I stuck in on my shop vacuum hose and left it there. I’ve used it for cleaning up the shop with both the crevice tool and the floor nozzle with extension wands. I’m not positive there’s any ergonomic advantage of using the handle with the crevice tool, but it definitely feels more natural when I’m vacuuming the floor.
I connected it to my miter saw.
And also to my lathe (more on the Dust Right lathe dust collection system later).
It also connected right to my table saw’s dust collection port.
What good is a handle if it’s just one more vacuum attachment that you have to remove and eventually lose? It’s important that you can still use your vacuum for other tasks effectively.
I attached my shop vacuum to the dust collection ports of my miter saw, table saw, and new Dust Right Lathe Dust Collection System, and found that it didn’t get in the way at all.
In fact, having a rigid handle at the end of the vacuum hose made it easier to reach the port on my table saw underneath my bench, and might even provide for quicker attachment and removal as you move it from tool to tool, or tool to nozzle for handheld use.
The Dust Right Handle solved at least one other problem for me, it gave me someplace to attach my vacuum remote. I use a properly rated remote control outlet to turn my vacuum on and off so I don’t have to reach underneath my cabinet to access the vacuum. Problem is, I’m always searching for the remote.
So I used some 3M Dual Lock Fasteners to attach the remote to the handle. Now the remote is conveniently located on the handle when I’m cleaning up and I can pull it off and drop it in my shirt pocket when the handle is connected to a dust port.
I didn’t test the air valve, because I usually don’t hook up my vacuum to anything with restricted flow and I’m also not positive that an airflow valve is necessary.
Some places I’ve read say you need to have a minimum air flow through the vacuum motor to keep it from overheating. My own empirical tests with an ammeter show that the motor is actually doing less work when the flow is restricted, but the motor is drawing current so there may be something to the overheating argument. I guess it’s best to read your shop vac manual and/or use your own judgement.
Stuart’s Note: An airflow valve is also helpful if you block or clog a vacuum nozzle, say with a large piece of wood. Have you ever caught a household vac on a pillow or sock? Reducing suction, or redirecting it, makes it easier to remove obstructions without having to turn the vacuum off or use a lot of force.
You may still think the Dust Right Shop Vacuum Handle is a luxury item for your shop, but sometimes it’s okay to spend money on luxury items, especially if it makes easier to keep the shop clean. If not for you, it might make a great stocking stuffer for another woodworker who would never spend their own money on one.
While not strictly a must-have, this is a well-built and convenient accessory that does offer an improved user experience.
The Dust Right Shop Vacuum Handle is priced at $15 via Rockler.
For a limited time, or perhaps all of December, enjoy free ground shipping on $25+ orders with coupon code AFAZ1. (The link should automatically activate the coupon.)
Thank you to Rockler for providing the test sample unconditionally.