Festool - ETS EC 125/3 5" Random Orbit Sander (Rating: 5)

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.