Bosch VAC140A 14-Gallon Dust Extractor with Auto Filter Clean

A powerful, full-featured workhorse well suited for either the workshop or job site.

Bosch 14-Gallon Dust Extractor with Auto Filter Clean

Bosch 14-Gallon Dust Extractor with Auto Filter Clean



A dust extractor is one of the most important tools in your shop, more so if it's the primary (or only) dust collection system you use. Some of the major features that woodworkers will want to consider when selecting a dust extractor are water lift, storage capacity, power tool activation, variable suction control, and noise level. Other features that aren't as critical, but still influence the purchase decision include auto filter cleaning, cost of dust bags, power cord length, warranty, and the availability of accessories like anti-static hoses and HEPA filters. 

Bosch has recently introduced a new line of dust extractors available in two different classes. The 90 series – VAC90A and VAC90S – which have 9 gallon tanks, and the 140 series that have 14.5 gallon tanks – VAC140A and VAC140S. The 'A' designation indicates the models can handle power tools with a maximum 7.5 Amp power draw and come with automatic filter cleaning, while the 'S' models can accommodate tools with a maximum 5.5 Amp draw and have manually operated filter cleaning systems. Other than that, the features across these models are the same.

Over the past four months I've been using the VAC140A in my shop. It features a 9.5 Amp motor that delivers 150 CFM of air flow and a respectable 97" of water lift. 
Air flow and water lift work together to keep air moving, and sucking dust. CFM is a measure of the quantity of air flowing through the hose, which will vary depending on the hose diameter and length, and the type and condition of filter you are using. Ideally you want a high volume of air flow for moving the lighter weight dust particles. Water lift, on the other hand, is a measure of the suction force of the motor, essentially the amount of suction the extractor can develop. Again, a bigger number means you can expect greater suction, especially for moving larger wood chips. The air flow and water lift stats for the VAC140A are comparable to what you'll find on other high performance dust extractors on the market.

You might expect all that air flow and suction power to result in an overly loud machine. Not so. The VAC140A is deceptively quiet – compared to many other extractors of it's size. Bosch claims a 70 dB level, though they don't elaborate on how its measured. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety provides a 94 dB short term exposure (up to 1 hour per day) or an 85 dB average over eight hours as the threshold for sound levels that can cause hearing damage. Compared to other extractors I've used the VAC100A is almost as quiet as the Fein Turbo III, and indistinguishable from the Festool CT26. The best advice is to trust your ears and wear adequate hearing protection when needed.

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Large, easy-to-use control dials

The VAC140A has large, easy-to-use control dials. You get two modes of operation – tool-activated (Power Tool Activation mode) or normal vacuum. Plug any tool into the power outlet (located just below the red dial in the photo above) and when you press the tool trigger, the extractor starts. This is much more convenient than having to walk over to the extractor and manually turn it on and then off.

To the right of the red on/off/power tool activation dial is the 'Power Broker' dial, which works in conjunction with the Power Tool Activation mode. If the power required to run the dust extractor and the power tool plugged into the extractor exceeds the rating for the circuit breaker that the VAC140A is plugged into (15 Amps in most shops), then the circuit breaker will trip. The Power Broker dial enables you to control the power available between the extractor and the power tool. You simply find the amp draw for the power tool that is plugged into the VAC140A (the amp rating should be stamped on the power tool's data plate) and then subtract that number from 15 (the maximum draw for both extractor and power tool). Then set the Power Broker dial to that number. Or, you can just plug in the tool and use it with the extractor. If the circuit breaker trips lower the Power Broker dial and give it another try.

When I use a random orbital sander I'll often dial down the Power Broker to it's lowest setting to decrease suction – otherwise the suction pulls the sander down too tightly against the material I'm sanding.

Even though the VAC140A is rated for a maximum 15 Amp load I've experienced no problem when using it with power tools that have a 12 Amp draw.

Just below the Power Broker dial is the Automatic Filter Cleaning (AFC) button. When you first turn on the VAC140A the AFC will be active. Every 15 seconds the air flow in the extractor is reversed to clean the filter. During filter cleaning there is no discernable loss in suction. A cleaner filter will provide better better air flow and also reduce heat build up, which is detrimental to the motor. You can turn the AFC off by pressing the red button.

I used the VAC140A for about a week with the AFC turned off, and there was quite a build up of dust on the filter. With the AFC turned on, dust build-up is significantly decreased. The trade off is the loud thumping noise that the extractor makes every 15 seconds. On a job site it's not going to matter one way or the other, but in a small shop you'll want to wear hearing protection, or turn the AFC off.

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Easy access filter

The VAC140A comes with a pleated paper filter (VF100) that is easily accessed under the hood (filter cover). If you use the AFC then you'll rarely have to manually clean the filter. Otherwise you can simply lift it out, knock it about enclosed in a plastic bag, and then take it outdoors for a spot of cleaning with compressed air. A replacement filter costs about $35, and a HEPA filter runs at about $120. However, you can't use the AFC with a HEPA filter, as the filter cleaning process can damage the HEPA filter.

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Neoprene seal keeps dust in

What looks to be a neoprene seal runs right around the lip of the hood, preventing dust from seeping out of the extractor, and water or moisture from getting into the extractor.

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Humongous dust canister

I have a smaller 6 gallon capacity shop vacuum and it seems that I'm constantly emptying the canister, which makes me really appreciate the 14.5 gallon canister on the VAC140A. While you can let dust empty directly into the canister, using a dust bag makes it a lot easier to dispose of the debris. Paper bags for the VAC140A cost $30 for a 5 pack (VB140). I've been using the plastic bags (VB000P) meant for use with drywall and concrete dust, which cost about $50 for a 10 pack. They're much more durable than paper bags, and I find that I can reuse each bag a number of times before chucking it out. Also, Bosch recommends that you don't use AFC with paper bags, as the reverse air flow can damage the bags.

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Excellent maneuverability

The VAC140A has two large fixed rubber wheels and two smaller swiveling locking wheels that you can manipulate with the tip of your boot. This makes it very easy to maneuver the extractor around the shop or job site.

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Innovative dust hose wrap

Finally someone has come up with a good way to store the hose. Where you'll really appreciate this clever bungee attachment system is when transporting the extractor from truck to job site, or storing the unit when it's not in use.

The VAC150A comes with a crush resistant 35mm 10 foot hose which is good for general job site use. In the shop I prefer an anti-static hose, particularly when sanding, as the fine dust flowing through a standard hose creates a lot of static that can produce quite a shock when you touch the hose. Bosch has both 35mm (VH1635A) and 22mm (VH1622A) 16 foot anti-static hoses available, at about $130.

You'll notice in the photo above that there is a handle integrated into the top of the unit – helpful when removing the hood – and a push handle at the back of the unit, which makes it easy to move the unit about the shop or work site.

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Twist on hose connection

The VAC140A uses a twist on hose connection. Once installed you can pull on the hose all day long and it won't come off. I found that you can chuck any hose with a 2-1/4" diameter connector into the hose port. Friction fit holds the hose reasonably well in place.

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Convenient power cord wrap

The power cord on the VAC140A is a lovely 16 foot long, which means that in my small shop I don't have to use an extension cord. Unlike many power tool cord it's also soft and flexible, which makes it easy to wrap up. When unwrapped it lays flat on the floor. Bosch also provides a place to wrap the cord. A nice touch. There's even a couple of places to store accessories. The unit comes with a bent nozzle that is handy for reaching in tight, narrow places. A fairly wide range of other accessories are available from Bosch.

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LBOXX ready

The LBOXX is Bosch's equivalent to the Festool Systainer - stackable tool and accessory storage boxes, and you can clip one or more right on top of the VAC140A. Obviously you don't have to use them to store Bosch tools. What's nice about this arrangement is that you can have the tools you use most frequently with the extractor right at hand. I have the Bosch ROS65VC random orbital sander stored on the extractor.

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An excellent choice for shop or job site use

The VAC140A is built like a tank, and I have no reservations about its durability on the job site. In the workshop it's almost as good as having a conventional dust collector. It has excellent air flow and suction force that will handle any dust collection jobs you care to throw at it, and the large dust cannister means you'll spend less time emptying the extractor, and more time getting your work done. The Automatic Filter Cleaning features will keep the filter performing optimally, while the Power Tool Activation feature is a great time saver – a feature that I wouldn't want to do without. About the only thing that I don't like about this extractor is the miserly 1 year warranty.

There certainly are other good dust extractors on the makert, but very few that can match the range of features, build quality, and performance of the Bosch VAC140A.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Motor: 9.5 amps
  • Max power tool draw: 7.5 amps
  • Airflow: 150 CFM
  • Static water lift: 97"
  • Noise level: 70 dB 
  • Capacity: 14.5 gallons
  • Power cord: 16.4 feet
  • Hose: 9.8 feet
  • Height: 34"
  • Weight: 38 lbs
  • Power tool activation
  • Auto filter cleaning every 15 seconds (can be turned off)
  • L-Boxx integration
  • Hose wrap, cord wrap
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Includes: VH1635 hose, VX120 power tool hose adapter, VF100 paper filter, VB000P plastic bag, VX100 anti-static bend nozzle.

COMPANY:Bosch
MODEL:VAC140A
PRICE:$729
MADE IN:Germany
SOURCE:Store Locator

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Author: 
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