I have a basement shop. WITHOUT the filter, not only does the shop wreak when I chose to apply finishes down there, the whole basement smells, the smell is reduced but tangible on the first floor, and you can still smell it a bit on second floor.
WITH the charcoal filter in place (and the filtration unit on low) the shop still smells of whatever you're applying, however you can't smell fumes much beyond 6 feet past the shop doors. By the time you walk upstairs, there is no smell at all -- the fumes are basically confined to the shop. (I didn't run the fan on any higher setting for concern of stirring up dust.)
Also, I was surprised at the weight of the filter - I feel I'm at least getting my money's worth of charcoal in that thing.
I have spent the money for a JDS filter and also purchased off brands. If you want smells from finishing products - or wood that smells when working it do not purchase an off brand. Those that cost $25 have one third the charcoal and are not effective. Yes JDS is up to $59.95 retail - shop around order four at a time you should be able to find them $42.00 to $49.95.
Construction Is not as beefy as the earlier version with special screening, but still does the job. Still easy to remove.
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