Festool fact or fiction?

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Forum topic by cabmaker posted 12-18-2010 05:02 AM 8843 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View cabmaker's profile


1740 posts in 2984 days

12-18-2010 05:02 AM

Topic tags/keywords: sanders question

Hey guys (gals), I m not particularly hurting on sanders as I have been using bosch ros for quite a while now with no complaints,breaks or repairs except for the occasional pad replacement.Before that I went through quite a few porter cable, makita , b&d, you name it. My question is for those that have used festool sanders and how does it rate ? Give me a no hype , real world review on them as compared to industry standard day in day out use. Thanks in advance for your responses.JB

19 replies so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 3887 days

#1 posted 01-01-2011 04:19 PM

I am surprised no one has picked up on this, I guess it went by too fast. I don’t have Festool anything but from what I’ve been reading here they are very good tools. I don’t think anybody even sells them in Manitoba yet.

Happy New Year!

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Chelios's profile


568 posts in 3241 days

#2 posted 01-01-2011 04:38 PM

Cabmaker I own the 6 inch rotex and the ct 33 dust collector combo. It is by far the tools I use the most. It has a lot of power and I have run it for 2-3 hrs at a time with no rest and it never overheats or faults out. Unlike my porter cable belt sander that I have to let rest every 40 min or so. The sanding pads remove the surface really fast and I think this is due to the dust collection which is the best I ever experienced. It virtually captures all the dust when working or a flat surface and does a decent job if you are working on an edge of a board. Anyway the sanding pads don’t become clogged so they last a long time and you see how it takes 1-2 passes to remove material.

It is great for finishing because changing pads takes seconds so you can go up the grits really quick and be done. It has two settings, one for ROS and one for heavy duty removal which is great for stripping off old finishes. I do recommend it. I have had it 1 year and it runs great.

Happy new year!

View rance's profile


4264 posts in 3335 days

#3 posted 01-01-2011 04:48 PM

I’ve used the Festool sander/vac combo and it workds as advertised. I also hooked up their vac to a DeWalt ROS as well as hooked up a DeWalt to a Fein shop vac. All variations work well. Personally, if I ever purchased an overpriced Festool, it would be their jigsaw, but only because I can get a discount on it.

Try hooking your shop vac up to the ROS you use now.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3249 days

#4 posted 01-01-2011 04:55 PM

I must have missed this topic when it first came up so I am grateful that Mark “reactivated” it because I think I have something useful to say.

I have also used a Bosch ROS for many years and I am basically happy with it. However, I now Festool sanders and I like them much more. Are they worth the additional cost? That’s for you to decide.

My primary motivation for buying a Festool sander was dust control. I work with a lot of exotic woods and the dust can be a problem for me. To get dust control with a Festool you must have one of their dust extractors also. I’ve never seen anything control dust like this sander. I work in a virtually dust free environment. It’s unbelievable! The dust extractor does more than just extract dust. It creates an air flow under the sanding disks that helps keep the sandpaper from clogging up and keeps the paper cooler. The sanding disks last a lot longer.

The second great feature is the dual mode capability on the RO 125. The dual mode feature controls the size of the orbit. With the larger orbit, the sander is a very aggressive material remover. With the smaller orbit, the sander leaves a very smooth finish. A 120 grit paper in the large orbit removes material much faster than my bosch with any grit of paper. I usually start with 120 grit and the large orbit. Then I switch to the small orbit and sometimes that is all I need. Other times, I will go further with finer grit paper. I’m using 120 grit at least 90% of the time.

Be advised that with the larger orbit you are dealing with a much more aggressive machine and you really need 2 hands to control it.

Of course, this is a quality machine that is built to last. Is it worth the money? You have to decide. For me, it is. The dust extractor adds to the cost but that machine can be used on other Festools. I’m also a big fan of their plunge saws and routers.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3249 days

#5 posted 01-01-2011 07:13 PM

Response to Pat – - I agree that you can modify a shopvac to use with your Festool sander. I did that also for a short amount of time. It works, but there are 2 reasons for the festool dust extractor over the shopvac – (1) the dust extractor goes on and off automatically when you turn the sander on and off (very convenient) and (2) the dust extractor is much quieter. Are these sufficient reasons to pay the extra? That’s for each person to decide. For me, it is.

Note – Any Festool dust extractor will work. I think many people think they need the bigger, more expensive CT-22 or the CT-33. I use the midi. The only real disadvantage is that you have to change the bag more often. There is also a mini that is even smaller (and cheaper).

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 3101 days

#6 posted 01-01-2011 07:33 PM

I purchased and use the 125 and 5” Rotex with the CT33, and I would have a hard time to be without them, especially for larger projects. I have sold both my PC ROS and my other miscellaneous sanders as well.

These two will handle everything I do now, and I am more concious of the dust collection ability since using Festool dust collection.

I chose the 5” because of the size of most of my projects, which are smaller, and think I made the right choice.

Mark, look up Elite Tools in Ontario, decent prices and free shipping on orders over $50.00. And Festool.

Rich, I hate the idea of buying and changing bags, so I recently invested in the Oneida Dust collection system made for Festool, it works great! Collects 99% of the dust before it hits the bag. Emptied the filter bag which was 1/4 full, and in over three weeks don’t have more in the bag to cover the bottom of a coffee cup…

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View ellen35's profile


2738 posts in 3607 days

#7 posted 01-01-2011 07:43 PM

I bought a festool ROS… the smallest and least expensive… about 6 months ago. Now I bore all my friends with making them sand something with my old ROS (Porter Cable) and my festool! After they yawn a bit, they all agree that the vibration in the festool is dramatically less than any other sander I have. It is also quieter. And… this is the little cheap (by festool standards) one (I think I paid about $180 for it)! I need to work on dust collection with it as it is going into the attached bag… sort of.

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Pop's profile


428 posts in 4121 days

#8 posted 01-01-2011 08:47 PM

I sold Festool. 1. It’s overpriced. I had a Russian woodworker friend who loved to come in the store and laugh at the prices. In Europe the’re cheaper. 2. When you buy into Festool you buy into a system. Their equipment is built to work best with their other equipment. That said, The sander & dust exteractor will leave the most dust free work site of anything out there. If you’re working on site in the client’s home this is the ticket.

PS. I don’t own any Festool stuff. Don’t want to. Happy with my PC & Bosch sanders.


-- One who works with his hands is a laborer, his hands & head A craftsman, his hands, head & heart a artist

View extremehobbiest's profile


42 posts in 3161 days

#9 posted 01-02-2011 02:44 AM

I purchased a Rotex 150 and CT22 extractor in August of 2003. I was hesitant at the time due to the cost but, I had 30 days to return no questions asked and with the recommendation of a woodworking professional, I bit the bullet. At the time, Festool was offering a 20% discount to first time purchasers only. I bought the combo set for a sinful $624.65. I already had a number of various sanders including a PC ROS, PC speedbloc, Bosch ROS with hood, Makita finishing and belt, Craftsman belt, and Ryobi finishing sanders. I used a shop vac with all of them and I still inhaled a lot of dust. They also left my hands tingling after extensive use.

After the Festool arrived, it was hard to find a trace of dust and I wasn’t blowing it out of my nose anymore. There was significantly less vibration and no tingling hands anymore. I also discovered the dust collection resulted in a dramatic increase in sandpaper life. After about 6 months, I ended up selling all the sanders with the exception of the belt sander since they were no longer being used. I still don’t use the belt sander and the only reason I still have it is that I wasn’t getting my asking price.

Due to my personal experiences with the Rotex 150, I have since added an ETS-150/3 (smaller orbit than the Rotex), and LS-130 linear sander. In the next year, I anticipate adding the new Rotex 90. Based on all of the sanders I have used over the past 31 years and I would rate the Festool as the best by a long shot. On a scale of 1-10, the Festool would be a 10 with the nearest competitor a 5 at best. You don’t always get what you pay for but, in my experience with the Festool sanders, I believe I got more than I paid for.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3823 days

#10 posted 01-02-2011 03:51 AM

I have a Rotex – the dust collection is amazing. I have often sanded
with it without a mask and have had no sinus problems.

Material removal is good, but slower that I expected in firmer hardwoods,
given the hype from reviewers who practically claim it’s like magic.

View Canadian Woodworks's profile

Canadian Woodworks

702 posts in 3245 days

#11 posted 01-02-2011 04:10 AM

I use the RO 150, RO 125 sanders, both are great.

They are different sanders not just by size, the RO150 removes much more material because it has a much larger pattern in rotax so i’m almost only ever using it on speed 3 of 6 in rotax mode, but I use the RO125 at speed 6 in rotax.

The dust collection is crazy good on both, and yes it is better with a festool vac compared to a ridgid. I used a ridgid for about a year and just got the vac a few weeks ago, the suction is more then double and the festool vac is way quieter.

To top it off my hands never feel funny after using either sanded even after 1 – 3 hours at a time.

-- Paul Lemiski, Ontario Canada, Custom Wooden Rocking chairs and tables

View cabmaker's profile


1740 posts in 2984 days

#12 posted 01-04-2011 05:16 AM

Thanks gentlemen for the feedback, I just now got back to it. As I stated I m not hurting for a sander but the time is near. I may go to the Fort Worth woodcraft and try one out. Thats about 20 minutes away. I ll let you know what happens. For now I ll hang with the bosch sanders. I ve been trying to kill em but they just won t die. Thanks again JB

View Gator's profile


383 posts in 3851 days

#13 posted 01-19-2011 04:35 AM

Will the RO 125 replace other OS in the shop.. this is my question ?

Rockler has a deal on the RO125 & Midi dust collector – buy the sander /vacum package and get 10% off the dust collector I believe.. now the cost is approx. $300.00 less than I would pay in Ontario for this combination, but I would hate to spend the money on the RO125, and find myself still needing to use my other sanders?


-- Master designer of precision sawdust and one of a kind slivers.

View Canadian Woodworks's profile

Canadian Woodworks

702 posts in 3245 days

#14 posted 01-19-2011 05:20 AM

I have a bosch and ridgid OS collecting dust since I got the Festool RO150, I only ever turn them on to show how they shake, vibrate and are much louder compared to the festool, we also have a ETS 125 which is the 5’’ palm sander from festool it also sits collecting dust most of the time.

so yes the ro series can easily be used as your only sander.

-- Paul Lemiski, Ontario Canada, Custom Wooden Rocking chairs and tables

View Gator's profile


383 posts in 3851 days

#15 posted 01-19-2011 06:39 AM

Thanks Paul…. you just confirmed what the reviews have been saying, but I wanted to hear it from someone other than the guy selling them.. (*_^)


-- Master designer of precision sawdust and one of a kind slivers.

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