Festool RO 125 FEQ

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Review by Kent Shepherd posted 03-07-2012 03:24 PM 11702 views 0 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Festool RO 125 FEQ No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Whenever Festool is mentioned, there are always two totally different responses. One is–I absolutely love it and can’t wait until I can buy more of their products, and two–it is way overpriced and there is no way I’ll ever spend that much on a power tool! Maybe, just maybe, both answers are actually very valid, depending on your needs. I do ask though, have you actually used the tool? If your opinion is based only on price, you may not be quite fair. Being a professional woodworker for most of my life, I tend to look for the best tools I can find, unless it is truly a one time special job, and then I will rethink that. Often cheap tools have cost me much more in the long run.

Now, back to the Rotex 125. This is certainly not a cheap sander, but having used it, I would highly recommend it if you need a versatile, hardworking tool. While I use other Festool sanders, the RO 125 could be the only sander you own, and not be a sacrifice at all. Since getting the sander, I have basically retired my Porter Cable belt sander. I don’t miss the noise or the dust at all. Even using dust collection, I could sand for 5 minutes and come away covered inside and out with dust. As with any Festool sander, when using with one of their dust collectors, there is virtually no dust, even after a prolonged sanding session. The tool is smooth (when in the fine sand mode) and feels great in your hands. It can be used one-handed, but I recommend using both. The balance is better. (obviously I did this one-handed to take the picture)

I have been working on quite a few boxes lately, and have been thrilled with the results using my Rotex. I can now do a complete box without ever-changing sanders. I am starting with 60 grit paper to get the joints, splines and mill marks cleaned up, and working my way up to 220 grit. With the hook and loop pads, the paper changes are quick, and the paper can be reused until worn out. Using the aggressive mode with the flick of a switch, I quickly cut the surface down flat with out the frequent dips from my belt sander. The size of the 5? pad is perfect for what I do. Having also used the 6? RO 150, this sander is better for my needs.

Then we are back to the original question–Is it worth it? In my opinion–yes!!!

Over the years I have gone through multiple sanders, and without a doubt, Festool beats them all. And when you look at buying an expensive belt sander and a random orbit sander too, then maybe the price is not necessarily so high after all. With the added value of unmatchable dust collection, I ask my self why I waited so long. I love their stackable Systainers too! It makes transport and storage so much better. Come to think of it, I have yet to find anything I don’t like about my RO 125.


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Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 4095 days

22 comments so far

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13707 posts in 4150 days

#1 posted 03-07-2012 03:36 PM

i got to use two of these
on two different occasions
the first without the vacuum
the second with

excellent tool

been hoping to get one myself someday

they do require the dedicated sand paper
with it’s own hole pattern
but it comes in various styles for different sanding tasks

so that would be a cost consideration too

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View lysdexic's profile


5348 posts in 3432 days

#2 posted 03-07-2012 05:51 PM

Thank you for the review. I bought a Festool as my first sander because I try to buy a tool once. I am quite pleased with its performance. It is nice, however, to hear from those who have the experience using several different products and coming to the same conclusion.

-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty || Instagram - nobodhi_here

View stefang's profile


17039 posts in 4143 days

#3 posted 03-07-2012 06:21 PM

Thanks Kent. I am familiar with the Festool brand having read reviews etc. Unfortunately there is only one dealer for Festool in Oslo Norway and they don’t even post their prices online!, plus they sell only to industry, not retail, at least none that I can find on the web. Am I just having a bad dream?

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View rum's profile


148 posts in 3395 days

#4 posted 03-07-2012 10:47 PM

Nice review – would you be willing to expand on this a smidge:

“Having also used the 6” RO 150, this sander is better for my needs”

I have a 150 and so far I’ve been very happy with it (albeit limited weekend usage), and was curious what it is you like better about the 125.


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Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 4095 days

#5 posted 03-07-2012 11:24 PM

rum, Only the size. I felt like the 150 is better suited to larger flat surfaces, like table tops.My boxes are pretty small and I feel I have better control with the smaller sander. To me the 6” would be way overkill in what I usually do. The 6” is also heavier. If I were sanding for a long time it would wear on me.

Thanks for asking.


View ducky911's profile


237 posts in 3598 days

#6 posted 03-08-2012 12:23 AM

I have the 150 and it kicks ass. Put an 80 grit in it and it like a belt sander eating wood. I plan to get a smaller one also some day. I bought boxes of sand paper when i bought the set up so i would not be looking at the price of the stuff.

Very good sander…will easy pay for itself with time saved…

View PCM's profile


135 posts in 3854 days

#7 posted 03-08-2012 01:24 AM

The Festool is indeed a excellent machine. One should also consider the Bosch low vibration ROS. Both are excellent, though the Bosch is gentler on the purse. I would suggest, instead of Festool sand paper, try Abranet. You will need an interface pad, but because there is no hole pattern, just open mesh it will fit any brand sander. The dust collection is excellent, it never ever clogs, lasts 4-5x longer than any sand paper and leaves a better finish than sand paper.

View studie's profile


618 posts in 3956 days

#8 posted 03-08-2012 02:30 AM

I have the large planex, domino, 1400 router, 150 rotax and they all work great. The tool that I could not do without is the track saw ts 55. I just cut some jam extensions for some windows today that had to be tapered 1/4 ~ 0, 5/16 to 3/16 ect in various lengths. This used to be done in the table saw free hand so less than perfect and way slow plus the sanding not to mention the danger risk! Also have been installing 4×8 bead board (wainscot ply) and was able to make male or female rabbets to save the off cuts. Just a3/8×3/8 rabbet takes 4 passes, faster I think than setting up the router for the same job. The track can be used with the router too and with the track couplers I can join my 3 tracks I can have almost 18 feet of cutting with excellent results! Cutting fine plywood leaves almost no grain tearout with the chip guard of the track and the other on the right side of the blade saves a lot of wood at any angle. Oh yah and the Kapex Miter saw is just amazing! While not set up well out of the box (what saw is?) it blows any other saw away, and I have 6. I believe any Festool is worth the money. I buy and use tools some are good and some are bad, don’t last, or just a letdown. I have many Porter cable tools that broke down so will not buy from them again. Festool is built to last.

-- $tudie

View RKW's profile


328 posts in 4256 days

#9 posted 03-08-2012 02:58 AM

good review Kent, If my wife ever becomes a successful attorney I am going to dabble in festool. Looks like great tools. I may have to clean out your store.

-- RKWoods

View roundguy's profile


62 posts in 3494 days

#10 posted 03-08-2012 06:27 AM

Schwing. I bought the RO-90, I’d like to get the 150.

View mafe's profile


12604 posts in 3898 days

#11 posted 03-08-2012 01:05 PM

As well as i love vintage tools, I must admit I have a soft spot for Festool.
I have a router and two plunge saws and tables for them, all of them makes me happy each time I use them.
It is a quality of it’s own, no other brand really to compare to, and yes perhaps not worth the extra money, but sure worth the joy and stability.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Woodtroll's profile


5 posts in 3080 days

#12 posted 03-08-2012 02:24 PM

Great review….I have the RO150…’s an awesome sander…..

View Binn's profile


93 posts in 3763 days

#13 posted 03-09-2012 03:53 AM

I have the Kapex Mitre saw and love it!. When I first saw Festool years ago I thought they were just some play toys wanting to be a tool, but now, I cannot wait to purchase more. Much better than any other tool company. Festool makes woodworking fun again!

-- Barry, Louisiana

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 4000 days

#14 posted 03-09-2012 08:07 PM

The festool stuff is probably worth every penny, after all they have a great following of loyal customers that
swear by the tools. I have never used there tools, and can only go by product reviews of the tool. If your a
pro building high end furniture, or a college grad who has achived a point in life where money is not a concern
the tool is an easy yes. I got a drum sander for the same price as the festool and ROS and dust collector.
I think festool has a ROS that cost about 180.00, and that tool might be more in line for someone like me. I hope
I get the chance to try one soon. What I really want is there domino joiner. Very cool tool!!!!!

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View BRINKMAN's profile


11 posts in 3477 days

#15 posted 03-10-2012 05:03 AM

Sorry to object, great vacuum, not so good on the sander. Have had one for over a year. Works great when I plug my porter cable sander up to the vacuum. The 125 is very unstable even in the slow mode. Switch the agressive mode and you can almost control the direction to sand. The paper is twice the price of excelllant paper for any other sander in the market. Better to buy a different brand and a years worth of paper for it and save money at the same time. If you want a good deal e me and we willl talk price.

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