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You can throw it out or you can blow it out but from time to time your shop vacuum filter probably needs some maintenance.  If you don’t want the expense of replacing the filter, but tend to ruin the filters by trying to clean them, maybe you should take a look at the Tornado Manufacturing F4 Filter Cleaner.

Simply place your filter in the bucket and hook a drill up to the shaft on top to spin your filters clean.  Centrifugal force — yes, we know it’s not a real force, but it’s their claim not ours — cleans the filter in seconds while the five-gallon bucket contains the mess.

You’ll pay $50 for the US-made F4 Filter Cleaner.  Unless you own a Shop-Vac Wet/Dry vacuum, you can use the F4 Filter Cleaner with all major brands of shop vacuum filters, but check their website before buying one to make sure.  If you do own a Shop-Vac Wet/Dry vacuum you’ll need to spend another $11 for their adapter.

F4 Filter Cleaner [Tornado Manufacturing]
F4 Filter Cleaner [Eagle America]


18 Responses to Spin Your Vacuum Filter Clean

  1. Greg A. says:

    seems like this is something that could very very easily be made at home for less

  2. Adam says:

    My thoughts exactly… a bucket, some threaded rod, a couple of big washers / round sheet metal plates to hold the filter…

  3. Will says:

    Nope, centrifugal force is very much real


    besides, even xkcd says so…


  4. tooldork says:

    I simply use a medium bristle hand-held brush to knock the filter on the sides and gently sweep in the grooves. Finished in less than 5 minutes and most all debris is removed.

  5. @Will:

    Did you even read the Wikipedia article you quoted?

    This article is about the fictitious force related to rotating reference frames…Centrifugal force is one of several so-called pseudo-forces…

    @Greg A. and Adam:

    Yes, I had the same thought that it was overly expensive, but not having a similar device to post I thought I’d post this one just for the idea. I was just curious if the readers thought the idea was sound.

    I’ll probably try doing something similar next time I have to clean a cylindrical filter.

  6. SunnyDhvac says:

    if you think this force is false go to an amusement park with a spinning ride that tilts or one were you are standing and the floor drops away aka the spin cycle of a washing machine.

  7. Reflexx says:

    Seriously, is this a problem?

    I just take my filter and use another shopvac to vacuum clean the first filter.

    Filter cleaned and problem solved

  8. Zathrus says:

    if you think this force is false

    Then you’re right!

    All of your examples are inertia, which is what you’re experiencing when you claim centrifugal force.

    Seriously, read the summary paragraphs in Wikipedia, or the sci.physics FAQ.

  9. Brau says:

    Okay, so now I’m going to make a spindle out of some ready-rod, attach it to my cordless drill and try spinning my filter out in the middle of my backyard. Who needs a bucket anyway? I’m really curious to see if this really works better than whacking it lightly and brushing out the caked masses.

  10. Shopmonger says:

    Zathrus Says:

    February 19th, 2009 at 9:35 pm
    if you think this force is false

    Then you’re right!

    All of your examples are inertia, which is what you’re experiencing when you claim centrifugal force…..

    Notes from a Physicist…………..

    Centtrifuge or centrifugal force is real…… yes intertia is the base property for what you experience, but the force is real……..physics 101…..

    actually ouy can break it down to newtonian basis… action/reaction….i can write the proof if you want…..but i would rather spend time in the shop applying physics……action – reaction
    if i act upon a good project and do it well….i get a better reaction

  11. You can’t point to a specific thing and say: “There – that is the single source of centrifugal force.” It is a combination of effects. The inertia of the object and it’s rotation.

    This is going to be a bad analogy, but here it goes. It’s like saying that a car feels a single force on it as it travels down the road — Grag: The force of gravity combined with the drag force. If there a force called Grag? No.

    This doesn’t mean that you down get pushed against the wall of the washing machine ride when it’s spinning, you do.

    And for Physics 101: I took physics in both high school and college and both my high school teacher and my professor were very clear it’s a pseudo force.

  12. aaron says:

    i think Will was joking, but to clarify what BJ said about the Grag force… centrifugal force is what our brains think we’re experiencing when we are applied upon by centripetal force, which IS real. or so goes my understanding!

  13. Coach James says:

    On the park ride, the force you feel is the wall of the ride pulling you toward the axis of rotation while your inertia is in a direction tangent to your rotation. The reason you do not fall to the ground when the floor falls away is because the force of static friction between you and the wall of the ride is equal to the gravitational force pulling you down.

    The definition of centrifugal force is “A force away from the center of a circle or opposite the direction of a centripetal force. If the rotate a mass on a string in a horizontal circle then release the string, the mass does not move away from the center of the circle or opposite a centripetal force. The object will move in a direction tangent to the circle at the point where you release it.

    If centrifugal force existed, the mass would not move tangent to the circle but would move outward away from the center of the circle. This does not happen demonstrating that centrifugal force does not exist.

  14. FB says:

    Yeah, yeah yeah… but does the blue bucket thingy work or not?

  15. JJ says:

    I just received a tornado filter cleaner yesterday. Tried it out immediately on a cleanstream filter for my rigid 16 gal vacs (same as crafstman red). It is a bit of a disappointment for the following reasons. (1) only can spin up to about 100 rpm or so before you hear the filter violently come off of center inside the bucket. Then you have to open it up and re-center. For a pleated filter, it only cleans out about half of the depth of the “v” formed by each pleat. That is enough to keep you working if you are in the middle of a job and you start losing suction, but you will still have to clean the filter out completely in more traditional ways (in my case by washing since it’s a cleanstream and is designed to be washed and dried out before using again). It seems as though the main flaws are that the two “cones” above and below that hold the filter in place do not hold it very well and it wants to come off center very readily.
    This device is VERY simply built. Something like it could be easily built. I am already looking at how to modify the tornado – the filter coming off of center and whacking against the side of the bucket is a problem that the manufacturer should go back to the drawing board with immediately. It must not cost much to make one of these – I found the thrust bearing used in the unit online for about $3, then you have the cost of a bucket.
    This borders on snake-oil, but can be made to work to a competent level with modifications.

  16. JJ says:

    Typo in previous post. It should read “1000 rpm” not “100 rpm”. sorry.

  17. bob p says:

    i found a crevice tool to be slow, but it does quite well when used with care with a home vac source.

  18. rex says:

    you are ll wrong it is centripital force!!!!

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