|Review by PurpLev||posted 05-11-2010 04:05 AM||9704 views||0 times favorited||20 comments|
For the longest time I wanted to get the Festool CT-33 (I would also be satisfied with the 22 version) as I believe that to be the flagship unit of the company – sure they make exceptional tools, but this one is by far their best contender in my opinion. Problem is – for my hobby use, it’s just beyond what I can justify to spend on a small dust extractor.
A month ago, someone posted the PC 7810 vacuum on craigslist, but it was in a very used condition, and I felt it was over priced. however, it made me realize that there is a PC dust extractor which seemed similar to the Festool in many ways, but at half the cost. I was intrigued, and obsessed after that as I felt I may have found my poor man’s festool vac. The market price on amazon for this is about $250, but even that was a bit beyond what I can spend at the moment. I found one on eBay at less than that, and put an offer. apparently nobody put a counter offer, and I ended up winning.
So far for the prologue.Expectations
As forseen, this would be my poor man’s Festool, so I expected it to do the following in order of importance(on which I’m basing this review):
- Be quieter than my 16 Gal Shop Vac since the Festool is hardly heard
- Hose to fit my portable tools, preferable with no adaptors at all (jigsaw/router/sander)
- Be tool operated – like the festool, have the powertool trigger the vac on and off
- Suck well (this is 4th on the list- since I assume most comparable vacs suck about the same)
- Convenient to use and quality of construction
I will address these expectations and experiences in reverse order:
Convenience and Quality
The PC 7812 is made of high quality thick materials – feels very sturdy and heavy duty. I liked that. I also like the flat top which can be used to rest the powertools and accessories as you can see in the photos. the vac is small in size, and moves easily. the hose locks in place by a twist, and does not come off like my shop vac if pulled on.
So Far So Good!
The hose on this one is narrow at 1 1/4” which makes suction stronger than a comparable motor with a 2 1/2” hose. however this also means reduction in CFM. in plain english – suction is very good, but it can only handle small amounts at a time which really points out to the fact that the 7812 is a Dust Extractor, meaning that it’s design is aimed to be connected to a small power tool and pull the dust as it gets created as opposed to a Shop Vac which is aimed at cleaning the shop after the dust has settled and can handle larger amounts (higher CFM). In reality my main purpose would be to use this for what it’s designed to do – dust extraction for my circular saw, router, jigsaw, and ROS. I will probably also use it to clean the floor – which would take a little more time than with my shop vac but I’m ok with that.
Well, very simple, just like other dust extractors, this one has a plug to which you can connect your small power tools, and when you start your powertool, the vac starts as well, and when the powertool gets turned off, the vac stops after several seconds letting the vac suck the remaining dust in the hose. not much to it – on the PC this is fairly simple, not many options, no speed control, no extra features. just on off trigger. for my needs, this is good enough. works as advertised.
As can be seen in the pictures. the hose is small, light, flexible, and fits my Jigsaw, Router, and Sander with out the need for adapters – this is really a huge improvement than having to wrestle with a 2 1/2” hose with a reducer around the power tools while you’re trying to stay focus on intricate work. ironically enough – the only tool that I will need to conjure some adapter for a tighter fit is my PC circular saw… go figure.
This is where I was somewhat disappointed. I expected this one to be much quieter than my shop vac to the point that I wouldn’t mind it’s noise. First time I turned this on I had a little frown “really? it’s THAT loud?...” yes – it is.
It’s definitely not as loud as my 16 Gal ShopVac Quiet Deluxe, but if I had to put it on a scale between my ShopVac and a Festool – it would be closer to the ShopVac than to the Festool on the noise levels. Yes it’s not as loud as a ShopVac, and not as screaming tone to it, but still louder than I wished it would be. kinda hard to assess this one when it’s only available online. but trust me – it’s loud. thing is – it’s probably not as loud as the router, so this may not be a deal breaker.
the 7812 comes with a pleat flat filter like the other dust extractors have (Festool/Bosch) although only has 1 where the others use 2. the only thing about this filter as good as it is, is the fact that PC does not offer a HEPA version of this filter which is a shame. I will try to adapt one of the other brands filter and see if I can get HEPA filtration to this unit as I think this is very beneficial.
On top of the filter, there are also optional filter bags. which I plan on religiously use just like I did with my shop vac. not only do they provide extra filtration. they also protect the pleat filter from filling up too soon, and more important – it makes clearing out the vac a piece of cake without releasing all the dust back in the air.
This is definitely a dust extractor aimed at being connected to power tools and working with them simultaneously and It seems to be good at that. it has good suction, is power tool triggered, flexible and adaptable hose (at least for my tools), and convenient size and flat top to act as a shelf.
Edit: I just noticed that the price on Amazon for this has gone up to ~$350! When I bought mine Amazon had it reasonably priced at under $300 (~$270ish if I recall correctly), which seemed to be a good value. if you can get it for less than that – even better (I got mine under $200). but at ~$350 or higher – I think it’s worth to save the difference and just get the Festool.
If only it was also quiet, this would be a Gem, but for now – it’ll remain just a good value.
-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.