Festool - CT 26 E HEPA Dust Extractor (Rating: 5)

With my new shop in the house (as well as a bit of asthma in both me and the offspring) I've needed to invest a lot more money and time into dust collection. I installed a JDS 2hp unit and plumbed piping-even with a reducer which provided benchtop extraction-but I quickly found that I find the noise of the large unit "worth it" only when running the big tools.

For the small tools-and particularly the sander-I had been using a combination of a small Dewalt shopvac I'd gotten from Tooliday, and a Ridgid blower vac purchased from the borg a decade ago.

Interestingly enough, my wife finds the noise of the JDS and even planer running for even a half hour entirely tolerable…. but when I sand for a while, she begins to bang on the floor and demand serenity.

So… I bought the Festool extractor. I investigated the Fein, which appears to be quieter (and a bit cheaper), but if I was already spending an arm, I figured I'd through in the leg to get additional features like a hose garage. This is my first Festooltool.

Simply put, the vac delivers. It is very quiet on low, and basically sounds like a good household vac when turned all the way up. The included hose is small diameter, but long, and it natively fits all my PC tools' dust ports (interestingly, my sander, plate joiner, and circ saw are all PC). The routers (Rigid and Triton) need adaptors. The auto start/stop works perfectly. The cord is extra heavy duty (thicker than most tools) and the unit is both stable and easy rolling.

When sanding, there is no visible sand in the air, and tacking the resulting piece yields a barely registerable "flour dusting" of sand if you give it the white glove test. No swarf is left behind. What's more, I cleaned out my sander before the operation, and when I visually inspected its innards after sanding for half hour or so, I could find no residue trapped inside.

(And mind you, this is with an old and crappy PC "Quicksand"-without even having perfectly matched holes in the sandpaper.)

I know immediately that I'll need bigger hoses and fittings if I'm going to use it on the floor. Interestingly, the factory hose fits my excellent "Miele" household vac's fittings (and the dust bag is the same material, so perhaps they make this thing?) I'll be shopping around.

I find it entirely believable that this level of dust extraction will keep my sander cooler and will make the sandpaper last longer. If that's true, I should breakeven around 2083. Still, I'll live to that age because of the health and happiness that this ridiculous shop vac brings.