After avoiding the issue for the longest time, I recently bought the Grizzly G0440 dust collector. It will be the center piece of the new dust collection system in my shop. I have been working without dust collection for over a year now. I regret not getting a dust collector immediately when I started my shop. Like so many beginners I decided to invest in machines first. The dust got so bad I did not want to work in the shop anymore.
Straight out of the box the G0440 makes a solid impression. Every part feels heavy and solid. There were no manufacturing defects on my unit. The unit is also very pretty. While unpacking the unit I felt very satisfied. For what you are paying, the G0440 is a lot of metal.
Assembly and Installation
Assembly is simple, but requires two or more people. I installed the unit on a concrete wall. The collector can also be installed on a stick frame wall. The whole unit weighs 274 lbs. Stick frame walls need to be reinforced to support the weight. Grizzly's instruction manual shows exactly how this is done. In my case 6 bolts into concrete was all it took. Lifting the unit up to its mounting location 6ft off the ground required 3 people. Once the bolts were tightened, the unit was not going to go anywhere. The frame of the collector is more than strong enough to support the weight of the collector. Quality all around.
Installing the cyclone part of the collector required fine work in tight places, but was ultimately easily accomplished in a couple of hours. I dropped one of the brackets that hold the filter assembly. Surprisingly it bent quite a bit. I expect the material to be stronger. Installed in its proper location the part in question will not be subject to stress of this kind, but it did raise doubts about longevity. Now, a couple of years later, the part and the collector are doing just fine.
The barrel at the bottom of the unit is massive. For some reason the designers decided to make it the exact same diameter as the unit above it. Unfortunately when the collector is installed on concrete wall, the barrel hits the wall the collector is installed on. The barrel's hinges also take up space further pushing the barrel way from the wall. On my setup the barrel can only get within 1/2" of the center of the collector where it should be. This does not affect performance of the unit, but does bother me a bit.
The 2hp motor that drives the unit requires a dedicated 240V circuit. I mistakenly installed a 15A fuse, which I quickly had to replace with a 20A one. The 15A fuse always tripped on start-up. When I finally had the unit running, there was no vibration at all. The motor was turning nicely and nothing on the body of the unit vibrated. Suction was even and constant. After the motor is turned off, the impeller will keep turning for almost anther minute under its own inertia. This hints at a properly installed motor and excellent bearings.
The first task I threw at the collector was vacuuming up the considerable mess I had made running the shop without a collector. I had the unit running for an hour without problems. The unit's suction is perfectly acceptable for my small shop. Too much in some cases. Almost all of the waste makes it into the drum. Surprisingly little waste ends up in the filter. Grizzly has upgraded the old paddle cleaning system for the filters with one that uses a round brush. It works well. I run it every time I start using the collector.
Until today I have filled up the drum 7 times, which is quite a bag of sawdust. The bag below the filter now contains about half a gallon of dust in it. I think it's safe to say that the cyclonic separation of the Grizzly is working.
The noise to collector makes is monumental. It is easily louder than anything I have in my shop. It's impossible to work in the shop without hearing protection. The collector can be heard anywhere in the house. There is no vibration in house's framing, but there is a little hurricane in my shop. I did not install the muffler Grizzly sells. It's on my list of necessary upgrades. The muffler should be stock on all collectors.
Overall I am very happy with my purchase. The quality of the unit is solid, and it does what it is supposed to do. In a small residential shop a unit like this is more than enough. If I had to do it all over again, I would consider buying the 3HP version, the G0441. Being just a little more powerful than the G0440, the G0441 offers more headroom for more dust intensive applications down the road. The G0440's motor runs smoothly and everything on the collector is aligned properly. The large drum is an odd thing for Grizzly to get wrong. Let's see how my Grizzly G0440 holds up over time. So far the Grizzly has been very good to me.