DeWalt 12 Gallon Dust Extractor

An excellent performer with large storage capacity, good suction, power tool activation, variable suction control, and top mounted filter


DeWalt 12 Gallon Dust Extractor

The newer breed of extractors offer greater airflow and suction, the ability to activate the extractor via a power tool, variable suction control, better filter efficiency, and quieter operation.

The DeWALT D27904 is powered by a 9 amp motor that delivers 129 cubic feet of air per minute (CFM), and 83" of static water lift. CFM measures the volume of air that the extractor can pull, while water lift refers to the amount of suction the extractor can develop. The same as with a central dust collection system, the higher these numbers, the better the unit will perform when moving dust. For the D27904, The CFM figure is comparable with other leading extractors, though the figure for static water lift is somewhat lower.

While sufficient power to suck up dust is important, it's also critical that a good extractor has an efficient filter to capture fine dust particles that otherwise might end up inside you. The D27904 is equipped with a pleated cartridge filter (D279041) that will capture 99% of particles down to 2 microns in size, which is pretty fine dust. As I usually don a dust respirator when doing any amount of power sanding, I find this filter adequate. If you need more protection, you can upgrade to a HEPA filter (D279041H), which will provide you with 99.97% efficiency at .3 microns. About as good as you can get.

Under the hood of the D27904: the filter compartment
When it comes to dust collection, the larger the canister capacity, the better. The 12 gallon canister on the D27904 is large enough that I can get through much of the week without emptying it. While you can purchase a disposable plastic canister liner (D279042D), I move the unit outside of the shop, lift off the top, and then empty the canister in a recycle bin. With the lid removed, the canister is quite light, and can be easily upended.

(A) On/off paddle switch, (B) Power tool activation switch, (C) Power tool receptacle, (D) Stand-by mode light, (E) Variable suction dial
Along with a large canister, you'll also appreciate the long power cord (21') and (14') crush resistant hose. The cord is very flexible, and easy to wrap up when you store the unit. The 1-1/4" diameter hose has a quick twist lock connection inlet, and a removable power tool adaptor that accepts 1-1/4" dust ports found on many power tools. A full range of adapters are available for tools with larger size dust ports. It is possible that large debris can become more easily trapped in a small hose than in a larger diameter hose. However, the smaller hose moves air more quickly, so it does a better job of extracting fine dust particles than a larger hose.

Large rear wheels provide stability
Lockable front wheel
If you use a dust extractor intermittently then the standard hose is quite adequate. DeWALT offers an optional 14' anti-static hose (D279085AS). There are no other accessories provided with the D27904, though for a tool in this price range I would have expected the inclusion of a basic accessory set.

Moving the D27904 around the shop or work site is made easy with two front swivel casters (one of which is lockable), and two large 7" rear wheels. The design of the unit makes it very stable, and, at under 27" in height, it will fit nicely under most work tables. A large top mounted carry handle makes it easy to lift the extractor into or out of your vehicle.

Quick twist lock connection inlet
Mates with any 1 1/4" dust port
Power tool activation is a fabulously convenient feature, and I expect to see it become a standard feature on more dust extractors in the future. Plug any power tool up to 15 amps into the D27904, and when you turn the tool on, the extractor automatically boots up. Plus, when you turn the portable tool off, the extractor remains on for 15 seconds to clear the hose of dust.

Two other features make this a stand-out extractor: variable suction control and auto filter cleaning. I usually leave the suction set dial to maximum, but there are times when you might want to decrease suction, for example when hand sanding, or sanding drywall (where too much suction makes it hard to move the sander across the wall). Selecting a lower suction level also reduces both energy consumption and noise in your shop.

Standard pleated filter
12 glorious gallons of capacity for debris
When the D27904 is running, an automatic filter cleaner comes on every 15 seconds, causing the filter to shake, letting debris fall into the canister. This increases filter efficiency, and reduces the frequency of removing and cleaning the filter manually. The only drawback is the loud 'thwack' that the extractor emits every 15 seconds; it certainly takes some getting used to. Unfortunately, there is no override, so you can't turn it off. But, I'd rather have the thwack than a clogged filter. In use, the D27904 is about in the middle of the pack when it comes to noise levels, generating 75.5 decibels under minimum suction and 95.8 decibels at maximum suction.

The D27904 is a stellar performer for anyone needing to control dust at the source, whether in the shop or on a job site. It's also an excellent choice for woodworkers who have small workshops and can't accommodate a dedicated stationary dust extraction system. 

There are a variety of accessories available for the D27904. Additionally, you can choose from two other versions of this extractor. The D27905 is the same extractor with a 10 gallon canister capacity, and the D27905H is the 10 gallon model with a HEPA filter.

D27904 Accessories

D279041HHEPA filter
D279041Replacement general purpose filter
D279041WWet filter
D279042Paper filter bags
D279042DDisposable plastic canister liner
D2790541 1/4" to 1" i.d. tool adapter
D2790531 1/2" to 2 1/4" o.d. tool adapter
D279056Y splitter adapter
D279055Step adapter
D279085AS Anti-static 14' hose
D2790595 piece accessory kit
D279040Hole drilling dust collector

  • 9 amp power consumption
  • 129 CFM
  • 83" water lift
  • 12 gallon canister capacity
  • Filter rating of 2 microns @ 99% efficiency
  • 75.5 dB (min. suction), 95.8 (max. suction)
  • Power tool activation
  • Variable suction control
  • 15 second shut-off delay
  • Auto filter cleaner
  • 14' crish resistant hose (1 1/4" diameter)
  • 21' power cord
  • 32 lbs
  • 4 casters (one lockable)
  • 3 year warranty
  • Includes: filter, power tool adapter, hose
AVAILABLE AT:Tool and equipment suppliers nationwide
Carl Duguay, March 2011
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