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Festool ETS EC 125/3 5" Random Orbit Sander

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Review by TechTeacher04 posted 12-13-2016 03:38 PM 3427 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Festool ETS EC 125/3 5" Random Orbit Sander Festool ETS EC 125/3 5" Random Orbit Sander Festool ETS EC 125/3 5" Random Orbit Sander Click the pictures to enlarge them

I spent this summer working in a cabinet shop, this was my first exposure to Pneumatic sanders. They used 3m, Dynablade and Mirka variants. I liked the light weight and low center of gravity. I have been using Dewalt and Bosch 5” Random Orbit Sanders for personal projects and in my school classes. The finish was good but I was striving for a better result and to do it quicker. I was on a waiting list for the Festool Pro 5 sanders that sold out so quickly, while waiting I stopped by the local Woodcraft store and tested out the ETS 125 but found the grip to be uncomfortable the shape of the top dug into my ring finger. I had heard of the ETS 125 EC but had not felt it, when I picked up the demo model they had in the store it felt right. Upon reading the Festool description the design made sense and emulates the ergonomics I was looking for in an electric sander.

One of my woodworking classes was given enough Corian to make 27 cutting boards which we sold as a fundraiser to purchase an additional Pen lathe and set of turning tools. I purchased the sander and figured I would take advantage of the 30 return window offered by Festool if it did not work out. I tested and compared the ETS 125 EC using Mirka Abranat mesh against the Bosch ros20vsc. The rate of material removal of the Festool was at least double that of the Bosch and the surface finish is vastly superior. On of the pictures shows the sheen left on the corian.

I also recently finished a trim job in my home. I used store bought 1×4 and 1×6, edges, and and faces were sanded. The festool was able to remove milling marks far faster and left a smoother surface with lower grits than the Bosch could match. Using 180 grit Granat paper I had a finish superior than the Bosch with 220.

The only fault I can find with the Festool as compared to the Bosch ros20vsc was vibration. I can sand longer with less hand fatigue with the Bosch. However, I can sand almost twice the material in the same time using the more powerful Festool. I am very happy with the purchase and will likely be adding more Festool Products to my stable.

In conclusion, if you are looking for pneumatic sander ergonomics without the need for an 80+ gallon air compressor the Festool ETS 125 EC offers a great option. I paid $385 plus tax which is the current price set by Festool, pricey yes, but in my experience more than worth it.




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TechTeacher04

348 posts in 1196 days



7 comments so far

View Ken90712's profile

Ken90712

17325 posts in 2853 days


#1 posted 12-13-2016 06:36 PM

Great review, Thx for sharing your thoughts.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Cory's profile

Cory

760 posts in 3083 days


#2 posted 12-16-2016 03:26 PM

I couldn’t agree more. I have spent a bunch of hours with the ETS 125 in my hand and it’s a fantastic sander.

Thanks for the review.

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

View sawdustjunkie's profile

sawdustjunkie

359 posts in 1381 days


#3 posted 12-16-2016 08:37 PM

I have to ask this!
Why is it so much better than say a Dewalt or Porter Cable 5” sander?
They are all 5”, So I am wondering how it can sand better

Steve

-- Steve: Franklin, WI

View TechTeacher04's profile

TechTeacher04

348 posts in 1196 days


#4 posted 12-17-2016 02:04 AM

The lower center of gravity creates better balance, it also allows for easier sanding of rounded edges. The ergonomics closely resemble that of air sanders, which i got used to and now prefer. The larger motor of this model as compared to the Dewalt and Portercable you mentioned also aids in quicker material removal. My 5” Dewalt vibrated 2-3 times as much as the Festool.

One feature I forgot to mention before the the pad break, I had left the Festool and school and needed to use the Bosch as a result. The wasted time waiting for the sander to stop adds up when you are sanding multiple small or narrow parts.

I agree the Festool products are all expensive, however I greatly appreciate the design focus around dust collection. The Dewalt and Bosch do not collect as much of the saw dust as the festool does. The added power of the festool allows for the use of the dust extractor without decreasing sanding efficiency.

View RandyinFlorida's profile

RandyinFlorida

218 posts in 1732 days


#5 posted 12-18-2016 12:48 PM

Of course! It’s a Festool; but who can afford them? Not saying they’re not worth every penny but…

-- Randy in Crestview Florida, Wood Rocks!

View StumpyNubs's profile

StumpyNubs

7162 posts in 2464 days


#6 posted 12-22-2016 12:48 AM

If I could, I’d buy two of everything Festool makes. But then people would mock me for owning Festool, while secretly knowing that if they could, they’d buy two of everything Festool makes…

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications: http://www.stumpynubs.com/

View AHuxley's profile

AHuxley

652 posts in 2986 days


#7 posted 01-11-2017 02:46 AM

The Festool ETS EC sanders are excellent but the ETS EC 150 was the first Festool I ever returned in the “trial window”. The only reason was the Mirka Deros I had was simply better (and unfortunately even more expensive). Over the years I had moved almost completely to Festool and to some degree tried to stay there but the internet kept driving me to try tools from Mafell and in the case of ROS Mirka, now I am back to having a mixed set of power tools. The move to brushless sanders is really a quantum leap in many ways and makes me think the PC 390 was simply too far ahead of its time.

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