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Is there a cheap&compact fume extractor better than a bare 120 mm fan?

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So basically I'm using a bare 120 mm fan to pull the fumes away from the soldering area to reduce the concentration of harmful substances in the immediate vicinity of my face.

Of course, no filtering takes place, and everything stays in the same room, the fan only helps to mix the fumes into a larger volume of air, which is removed from time to time by opening the window (or keeping it always open in the summer).

I was wondering whether there are any cheap(ish) fume extractors, say under $100, of those typically encountered on Aliexpress, that would be compact (table-top), preferably not too loud and offer some kind of filtering that would actually work well enough to make replacing the fan with such a device worthwhile. There has to be a good improvement over the fan, otherwise it'll make it pointless.

Cheap, compact, and simple are key points. I'm not looking for a fancy air filtering system that uses chemicals that you buy in bags etc., as was discussed in one of earlier threads.

Can anyone share their personal experience?

We've had many threads where this has been covered, please read the existing ones first.
Use a HEPA rated filter. Decent units can be sourced as low as $10-25.


--- Quote from: thm_w on February 22, 2024, 11:32:38 pm ---We've had many threads where this has been covered, please read the existing ones first.

--- End quote ---
I did.

--- Quote from: thm_w on February 22, 2024, 11:32:38 pm ---Use a HEPA rated filter. Decent units can be sourced as low as $10-25.

--- End quote ---
I don't need just a filter. I am looking for a ready made device.

--- Quote from: thm_w on February 22, 2024, 11:32:38 pm ---

--- End quote ---
None of these topics are exactly relevant. I did read them. I'm not interested in DIYing anything beyond a bare fan which I already use, neither am I interested in buying a professional device. All I'm looking for is something cheap, compact, and much better than a fan. It's fine if it does not exist. If it does, however, I'll be happy to hear about good experience with specific products, if anyone has information to share. New chinese models appear all the time, and there's a chance that some of them may be sufficiently above useless.

Experience is near meaningless without measurements. No one who is capable of measuring the particulate filtering efficiency will bother to buy a <$100 no-name product.
Fake chinese hepa/carbon filters are notorious. Its up to you if you want to trust a no name brand when you can get genuine branded HEPA filters for <$30.

When you blow the fumes away with the fan, without an open window, they will sit in the air in your room for hours on end. If you receive a fake HEPA filter, maybe some of the particles will be captured, maybe not. (not HEPA just says N95) (best value)

Having similar needs as the OP I recently did some digging in research papers on the subject.

In the end I opted for fume extraction through to outside instead of filtration as that is much simpler and cheaper.

Here is what I found during the research:
- What you want to filter out of those solder fumes comes in the form of both very small particles and gas vapors.
- Active carbon filters are near worthless as most toxic particles found in solder fumes are smaller than what an active carbon filter can filter out.
- HEPA filters will effectively filter out the particles for +99% (not the gas vapor). However these filters must be of the certified type and be well maintained. -> don't buy the cheap stuff, those are not performing as expected.
- Chemical capturing filters that can capture the specific gas vapors of solder fumes are difficult to identify, find, implement and maintain. I'm not a specialist in this matter and it was still unclear how well these would filter those gas vapors and when it would be required to replace the filters.
- A good set of filters will represent an important resistance to airflow. Hence the need for a relatively powerful fan and filters with as large a filtration surface as possible to reduce the resistance.
- Anything ready made with the above specs costs a fortune.


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