is any hepa vacuum ok to use? ( ie, a cheap one)

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    i have searched and searched and no forum really seems to address this, everyone says to get a hepa vacuum ok check i can do that, but i have a very small kiln in a very small room and im very poor,  so i want to know if a smaller vacuum that has a hepa filter ( it is made for cleaning pet hair it is a small  hand held eureka and gets very good reviews) is good enough.

    is -any- good quality vacuum with a hepa filter good enough for cleaning a very small kiln? are all hepa vacuums the same?     just checking before i buy and get started. thanks for any help.



    I imagine it would be hard for another glass artist to really know the answer to your question, unless they happened to specialize in vacuums.  :)  I love my handheld for bits of glass on the floor but prefer a Shop Vac with hepa for my kilns (which are outside).  But I do think it’s fairly important to be wearing a good mask when you are moving around the thinfire sheets after use, or working with powders or frit, or airbrushing paints, etc.  I would invest in a good one of those as the priority.  Of course then there’s the nagging yourself to put the darn thing on :)

    Windows listen attentively for the sound of broken glass.


    A HEPA vacuum is only as good as ALL the air seals in the system.  A vacuum with a HEPA filter that leaks air where the hose connects to the vacuum, for example, doesn’t fully protect you.  As a general rule, cheaper vacuums have poorer seals/connections.  That said, I’d still take a decent Shop Vac with a HEPA filter over one without it :-)

    Helios Kiln Glass Studio



    Hello all:  I bought a ShopVac BlawkHawk 5.5 HP, 5 gallon model and it does everything I need it to.  It eliminates dust and goes through 2 filters into a sealed bag where it sits until you pull the bag out and throw it away.  I can tell when the bag needs to be changed because the pitch of the motor changes when you’re using it.  And I use it to pick up slivers of glass, vacuum out my kilns, especially when using shelf paper.  I use it to clean up any shelf primer powder that may have spilled while I was pouring it in to mix it up.  I use it SPARINGLY for cleaning my shop though.  With that Vacuum bag and Hepa filter, you don’t want to be filling them up for things like, leaves, large chunks of glass and debris.  If that’s the case, you can use a smaller model of shopvac without a Hepa system.  This vacuum is LOUD!  But, I think I paid $39 or $49 for it at Lowe’s over a year ago and I love it because it is self contained – all of the tools, cord, and hose are housed on the unit itself so I don’t have to go hunting for an attachment when Im working.  They’re all right there.

    The only thing I would have been happier with is a more durable hose – it’s plastic and, if taken care of, should last for years. I take excellent of all of my things and it is still well-sealed (no air leaks).  But, when it comes time to replace it, I will probably look for a fiber or stronger plastic hose.

    Good luck!

    kim p @ relaxed glass

    p.s.  I looked for months for a really good shop vac and there is a company called FEIT who makes really great, commercial-grade Hepa vacuums – from $200-$600!


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