Why Are Replacement Cartridge Filters for Dust Collectors So Expensive?

May 22, 2023

The price tag on dust collector cartridge filters often brings a shock to those trying to decide what type of dust collector or brand of filter to buy. Let’s look at three scenarios that may arise when shopping for replacement filters. Then we’ll discuss the additional value you get from a cartridge filter.


Question 1: I have been buying horizontal style dust collectors for years. The filters in those machines are much cheaper. Why are vertical style dust collector filters typically more expensive?

When you break it down, the answer to this question is actually pretty simple. Buy a horizontal style filter, such as those in a Donaldson Torit, ACT, or many other similarly designed brands, and you get less filter media per cartridge. Then compare a filter such as the DeltaMAXX Prime with 400 square feet of media with one of the brands mentioned above that have 190 – 250 square feet of media. You will quickly see that you are not getting the same type of filter. The best way to compare is to divide the cost of the filter by the media square footage to determine the cost per square foot.

There are other issues that you may not initially consider when comparing the two types of dust collectors. Dust collectors with horizontal filters have one major inherent flaw. Following installation, they quickly lose about 25 – 35% of the available cartridge filtering area. When the filters start to separate dust from the air stream, the dust begins to lay on top of the filters. This dust quickly becomes so thick that air can no longer pass through. Consider this the next time you calculate the available filtering media when comparing styles of dust collectors. In reality, the amount of available media is roughly 150 – 200 square feet, which increases both the cost per square foot and the frequency of filter changes.


Question 2: I have a local supplier that charges les for the same filter. Why would I buy from the manufacturer of the dust collector?

Not all filters are created equal. When you consider purchasing filters from a supplier that is offering a lower cost, you need to verify these items:

  1. Does the filter have the same dimensions as your current filters, and will it fit in your dust collector? Get a drawing to ensure that it matches.
  2. Make sure you are getting the same media as well as the same square footage. Many manufacturers of aftermarket or non-name brand filters cut corners. They sometimes use inferior media that won’t last or won’t capture dust as efficiently. Sometimes these manufacturers will use less media to save on cost. If you buy replacement filters from Imperial Systems’ sister company Imperial Filtration you can be certain that their fabrication meets the original manufacturer’s specifications.
  3. The specific type of filter and media may be directly related to a safety feature intentionally purchased in your dust collector. A good example of this would be Imperial Systems’ IDA certification in the CMAXX dust collector. These filters have been independently tested and certified as a safety device in some combustible dust applications.


I have a baghouse, and the filters are much cheaper. Why would I switch to a cartridge style dust collector and spend more on filters?

Let’s review the first item we discussed above. How much media are you getting per filter? Most bags are around 20 – 30 square feet. It takes a lot of filter bags to equal one filter cartridge in terms of the amount of media. To add to that, filter bags are generally not as efficient, and can leave your system expelling toxic, harmful particulate back into your facility or the environment. Lastly, have you ever changed filter bags? Almost no one wants to do that job. It takes a significant amount of time compared to the minutes of changing a cartridge collector. It is one of the dirtiest jobs there is – just ask Mike Rowe!

So, why are cartridge filters for dust collectors more expensive? We might argue that they are not priced high enough for the benefits they present.