Just ok for price

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Review by Manitario posted 10-24-2012 04:17 PM 6865 views 0 times favorited 28 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Just ok for price No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I’m making a large dining room trestle table and I knew that I would be in sanding hell for awhile. My only ROS is a Bosch 5” which is works great for smaller projects, but for this project I wanted a 6” ROS with better DC and less vibration. Enter the Festool ETS 150/3. A number of reviews I’ve read about this sander have commented on its great DC and minimal vibration, so once I got over the fact that it was $360 it seemed like the right choice for me. After using it for awhile here’s what I like and don’t like about it:
-excellent dust collection! Compared to my Bosch (which I thought had pretty good DC) this ROS has almost no dust thrown into the air.
-soft start, variable speed control
-easy to control
-vibration is not much better than my Bosch
-non-standard DC port

In summary, this is a well built ROS with excellent DC, however, for its price and based on other reviews I was expecting less vibration. My hands are still numb after using it for 30min. If you are willing to sacrifice a bit of DC ability, there are a number of other ROS on the market that will do the same job for less money.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Manitario's profile


2816 posts in 3652 days

28 comments so far

View lj61673's profile


271 posts in 3168 days

#1 posted 10-24-2012 04:59 PM

This is quite possibly the first less than stellar review of this tool known to man.

“non standard” dust collection port? What is standard? Festool makes THEIR dust collection ports on THEIR tools to match THEIR hose dimensions on THEIR line of dust collectors. Why would they be any other size?

View pintodeluxe's profile


6150 posts in 3582 days

#2 posted 10-24-2012 05:26 PM

That is the problem with proprietary systems – they don’t fit anything else. Festool is known for this.
Bosch also has proprietary bushing guides on their router. Frustruating.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Mark Davisson's profile

Mark Davisson

598 posts in 4086 days

#3 posted 10-24-2012 06:15 PM

Seems like for $360 you ought to be able to issue a voice command and have it sand all night for you while you sleep.

-- I'm selfless because it feels so good!

View Tedstor's profile


1690 posts in 3402 days

#4 posted 10-24-2012 06:16 PM

“Why would they be any other size?”

So it can work with the other 95% of the world’s shop vacs?
But I do realize that Festool markets their tool line as one big system, rather than stand alone products.

View Tennessee's profile


2901 posts in 3284 days

#5 posted 10-24-2012 06:29 PM

Have to say that I also own the Bosch 5” ROS with the hepa unit on the back, and I like it a lot, especially for flat surfaces, as it seems to suck up all the dust.
As far as the Festool, I looked and looked at them, and in the end, decided that like 99% of all other woodworkers, I would not have a complete shop of Festool, so their propriatary systems, plus crazy cost, took them off the table for me.
By the way, you can buy close fitting dust filter masks WITH cool breath valves at Lowes for $1.98 each in a ten pack. OSHA approved. Each one can be used multiple times. That goes a long ways against a $360 ROS sander…I’m with Rob on this one.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View lj61673's profile


271 posts in 3168 days

#6 posted 10-24-2012 07:12 PM

Anyone who spends 5 minutes researching the Festool line of sanders can find the dust collection port size. No big mystery there. Many woodworkers use their Festool sanders with many different dust collectors and/or shopvacs, so adapting the hose size can’t be that difficult.

View Ken90712's profile


17867 posts in 3958 days

#7 posted 10-24-2012 08:05 PM

Sorry to here, but a few of my buddys agree as well that have them. I have the 5 inch bosh and think I’m going to buy the Bosh 6 inch sander as well I used it at a woodworking show juat a good as the green machine and a little cheaper.

Thx fot the review and honest feelings.

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

View Manitario's profile


2816 posts in 3652 days

#8 posted 10-24-2012 08:24 PM

lj61373: I own Bosch/Ryobi/Dewalt/Mastercraft/Rigid tools and they all easily fit a shop vac adaptor. I realize that Festool wants to sell its own vacuum and hose, but Bosch/Dewalt/Mastercraft and Ridgid all have their own proprietary vacuums as well and managed to have standard size dust ports. A quick google shows many different solutions to adapting the Festool port to fit, but most of the solutions involve duct tape, glue, screws etc. I feel that for the price of Festools’s in general, it would be nice if they’d learn to play nice with other brands’ DC ports. Overall though, this is just a minor annoyance; the main focus of frustation I have with this tool is that it’s highly touted vibration control is not really that impressive.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View lumberjoe's profile


2902 posts in 3017 days

#9 posted 10-24-2012 08:38 PM

Festool is meant to be purchased as a system. They don’t want to play nice. They design their tools to work well with the CT vacs and that’s that. They are proprietary on purpose. It is the only way they can back up their extreme (but accurate) dust collection effectiveness claims. You have to choose to be a part of the Festool ecosystem. I’m not saying I agree with this philosophy and even that I like it, however that is the direction they took and if you don’t want to spring for a CT vac, look elsewhere for tools or do your best macgyver impression.

I will say that i completely agree with this review. The Rotex is something special, the ETS is “just OK” and not worth the massive price jump from other up-market ROS. I had the chance to borrow an ETS 125 for a while and was not at all blown away, or even a little impressed for that matter.


View Sanity's profile


176 posts in 3459 days

#10 posted 10-24-2012 09:16 PM

I have a Domino joiner and a couple of small Festool sanders (30% off when they changed the systainers) but I just could not justify the cost of one of their vacuum cleaners, much as the variable speed would be nice. If it helps anyone, I was able to get around the problem of the non-standard port by purchasing a 1 1/2 inch vacuum hose with included 2 1/2 inch adapters from Sears and a small hose clamp. The end of the hose designed for small cleaning attachments simply goes on the vacuum port and the hose clamp takes care of securing it. This setup hooks up easily to my Ridgid shopvac and works quite well, especially with the joiner, but I need to install a blast gate when using the sanders.

-- Stuart

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 4530 days

#11 posted 10-24-2012 09:47 PM

I think I paid even more for my Festool 400 EQ pad sander. Frankly, I haven’t gotten very good use out of it. Lumberjoe is correct – this is part of a system that virtually requires you to also purchase a variable suction Festool dust vac.

After solving the dust tube connection problem, I tried to use the 400 EQ with my Fein Turbo II vac (doesn’t have variable suction) The suction force is so great that it “plasters” the sander to the wood, thus transmitting most of the vibration to my hand, and obviously performing very little sanding.

I’m not ready, or even inclined, to purchase a Festool dust vac. Therefore I’m using my Fein Turbo II with an $11 reconditioned B&D pad sander, and doing surprisingly well.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 3267 days

#12 posted 10-25-2012 12:36 AM

We have two of these sanders in our shop. They collect dust very well, as in, nobody uses them.

-- [email protected] : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

View ChuckV's profile


3307 posts in 4296 days

#13 posted 10-25-2012 12:53 AM


-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3459 days

#14 posted 10-25-2012 02:07 AM

Rob, The vibration/numb hands is one reason I decided to try the Dynabrade I reviewed yesterday. The lack of vibration was a pleasant suprise. And a small corrugated vac hose I had was a perfect slip fit. Sorry yours was somewhat of a letdown (especially at $360 !)

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Manitario's profile


2816 posts in 3652 days

#15 posted 10-25-2012 02:23 AM

gfadvm; yeah, I saw your review, ultimately I’d love to have a pneumatic sander but the space I’d need for a compressor would be more than what my shop could fit right now.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

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