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Forum topic by Greedo posted 03-22-2011 11:28 PM 3991 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Greedo's profile


473 posts in 3571 days

03-22-2011 11:28 PM

t’was my birthday last week and i hadn’t bought a new tool in months.
and i pretty much have every tool i need, so what is left to do is to “upgrade” to better ones.

been fighting the devil long enough and finally decided i would go the festool route.
the tool i use most is my sander so i decided to start there, went out and bought the ETS 125 palm sander and the RO 125 rotex sander!

i thought that with these two i would be armed for anything, and they would be a good replacement for my Bosch Gex 125. i wanted 125mm pads because i build furniture and i find 150mm to be too large for that. these two sanders are the only 125mm sanders from festool.
well €900 later i have used them a few days and, well i can’t say im thrilled.

the ETS 125: i love the looks of this one, but it hurts my hand to hold it, the grip is verry wide and there is no place for your fingers to actually “grip it”.
it rotates so slowly that it’s in fact more of a round pad arbital sander. it removes material verry slowly, would be ok if the finish was great, but it’s not better than my Bosch’s. doesn’t vibrate any less than my Bosch.

RO 125 Rotex: nice futuristic looks, love the quality pads on both models and the quality of Festool abrasives.
but, it is awkward to hold, again the barrel grip is quite wide. in excentric mode it doesn’t remove material as fast as i hoped, and certainly not as fast as my Bosch. in rotex mode it does remove material faster, but it gets the pad gooed up rapidly and then needs to resanded in excentric mode to remove the marks. quite tiring to use.

so all in all im quite disappointed and think of returning them. been trying to get used to them, but each time i take out my Bosch again it completely rediculises these two sanders, less vibration, better ergonomics, better finish, removes planer marks in 2 passes while the rotex needs 4-5.
really, i really wanted to like these sanders, i still don’t know what to do.
i like the pads and the abrasives from festool, maybe i should switch the rotex for an ETS 150, maybe that one matches my Bosch. but so far i got a taste of myth rather than reality.

20 replies so far

View rance's profile


4271 posts in 3771 days

#1 posted 03-22-2011 11:54 PM

Hmmmmmmmm. Sorry to hear this. How’s the dust collection compare to your Bosch? I’ve used the 150, but I thought I got the same results with a DeWalt hooked to a vacuum. I’ve had better performance with their jigsaw, now that’s a good tool.

BTW, you might try moving this to a Review before you get too many comments. :)

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

View Greedo's profile


473 posts in 3571 days

#2 posted 03-23-2011 12:29 AM

oh well i don’t really believe in out of the box reviews from when youve used a tool a few days or hours, and i don’t think ill keep these, at least not the rotex. ill maybe keep the ETS 125 just because i bought and used the abrasives that i can’t return!.

the DC is ok, not better than my Bosch’s. the rotex has a tendancy to leave a dust film on the surface, and when the vac is hoocked to the ETS the air going through it makes alot of noise.

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3880 days

#3 posted 03-23-2011 12:45 AM

Greedo, I have the Rotex 150 and don’t have any problems with the dust…make sure you turn the dial down a bit (as recommended by Festool – they say to turn down the suction if you see the problems you are experiencing – I did and I hardly have to wipe or blow off the piece anymore). Also, check your vac as mine is quiet as a mouse…..I was so surprised at how quiet it was when I first started using my CT22 that I had to check the bag to see if it was really sucking up dust….

You might also want to return those two sanders and take a look at the RO 90 DX. It just came out and it is really a nice tool. I just got mine last week and have not had time to put it to some rigorous testing….I do know from trying it out at my tool outlet that it is one of the easiest and best balanced sanders I have used.

By the way….I also have a couple of Bosch sanders….they are great and I still use them occassionally…but the Festool’s are certainly much better as far as the type of sanding action they do…With the Festools I get what I want finish wise…I work them long and hard and to date…I have had no problem with them acting up or overheating…..I had a bearing go on my Bosch (probably from overheating – but I fixed it and still have the sander….every mfg will break sometime….it is what they do for you when the tool breaks…or how hard it is to find and get the part(s) when you need them that makes up my mind about a tool purchase. Bosch makes a great tool and I have several Bosch tools (routers, slider mitre, circular saw….sanders) in my shop.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Greedo's profile


473 posts in 3571 days

#4 posted 03-23-2011 08:02 AM

reggiek, can i ask what kind of work you use your rotex for? i thougt it would be a super sander, but i suspect it was designed more for removing paint wich i don’t do.
what other sander do you use, the ETS 150/5 or 3? from using these in school i know they match up to my Bosch more, i just didn’t like the idea of a 150mm pad.
i shouldn’t have based my purchase on reviews and comments from festool user forums, it’s full of fanboys who will overlook any possible issues and praise anything they make.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4258 days

#5 posted 03-23-2011 08:31 AM

If you want faster sanding, go to a 6” sander.

I have two 6” rotex sanders. They are not magically fast but they
are a lot faster than 5” sanders. Objecting to the larger pad makes no
sense to me, but to each his own. My priority with electric sanders
is usually to get it over with as fast as possible. I’ve found the
6” Festools pretty good for this and dust collection, abrasive life
and vibration are acceptable.

View ScottN's profile


261 posts in 3290 days

#6 posted 03-23-2011 01:21 PM

Sorry to hear about your disappointment in your new tool purchase. For what they charge you would expect a lot more.

I have a bosch orbital sander and the only complaint I have is the hook and loop wears out a little fast. But the sander I usually reach for is my dynabrade orbital sander. They are an air tool and needs a decent compressor to run them but the ergonomics is by far the best in my opinion.

-- New Auburn,WI

View Greedo's profile


473 posts in 3571 days

#7 posted 03-23-2011 01:55 PM

maybe my fear for 150mm sanders isn’t justified, ill probably switch the rotex for an ETS 150. but im not sure about keeping the ETS 125. i don’t really know what i can do with it, it’s got no punch. now i have €150 worth of 125mm abrasives and pads that are useless if i return both.

View TheWoodNerd's profile


291 posts in 3802 days

#8 posted 03-23-2011 05:05 PM

“Bosch Gex 125” ??? I’m guessing that’s a European model, but it looks a lot like the ROS20VSK I have.

I just finished a review of the Festool RO90 and the Bosch was outclassed in every way. Vibration, dust collection, etc, were are superior on the Festool.

As for the Rotex, the grip isn’t really where you’re supposed to hold it. Festool recommends one hand over the head and the other holding the rear. I also like looping the hose/cord over my shoulder and using one hand over the head.

-- The Wood Nerd --

View Greedo's profile


473 posts in 3571 days

#9 posted 03-23-2011 05:26 PM

on paper the RO 125 outclasses my Bosch in every way also, more power, bigger stroke. but ive done plenty of tests with sanding away croyon marks and the bosch wins easy. only in rotex mode can the festool get a small advantage, but then you need to go over again in excentric mode for a decent finish. and then you lose that advantage.

it’s not like im not trying, i really want to find a festool sander that can do at least as good as my bosch. maybe the ETS 150 will do. gonna try it out again in school this evening.

edit, the Bosch GEX (european model, well both festo and bosch are european!) is named 3725DEVS in the states, the ROS20VSK looks like a smaller palm sander.

View Bertha's profile


13572 posts in 3303 days

#10 posted 03-23-2011 05:32 PM

That’s a helluva birthday present and I’m glad you treated yourself. I don’t even own a bandsaw anymore & I’ve got a few upgrades to make before I hit up Festool. Congratulations for reaching this point in your craft!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View gashley's profile


112 posts in 3616 days

#11 posted 03-23-2011 06:07 PM

I’ve got the Rotex 5”. I love it, but it does have its place. What it really excels at for me is doing the initial sanding of large panels. Because of it’s weight and power, it can really quickly do the initial sanding passes on a panel and really help keep everything level and even. I’ll sand with it in rotex mode up to about 180 grit and then switch to my old Makita Random orbit sander for a pass with 220 grit as a final sanding.

-- Gary in OP

View zzzzdoc's profile


562 posts in 3613 days

#12 posted 03-23-2011 06:10 PM

I love my ETS 150/3. Yes it does remove material slowly, but the resulting finish is superb. The Rotex, though, is a beast. It hogs off wood, but is like a bucking bronco at the rodeo. Demands two hands and concentration. But it really does the job.

YMMV, but I’d keep using them for a while, before you reach the return deadline. You may grow to love them.

-- Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

View Viktor's profile


466 posts in 4029 days

#13 posted 03-23-2011 06:16 PM

I am surprised that you did not like the ergonomics of the Festool. This is the area where the brand excels.

I’ve seen a quantitative (a rare occurrence in woodworking community) test of sanding efficiency of several ROS somewhere. Yes, the one which actually involved numbers (shocking!) and weighing wood samples. ETS125 came at the end of the pack. There is nothing wrong with that as there is more to sanding than removing material quickly. ETS 125 is simply in fine finish category.

Since all sanders use standard pads with standard diameter holes your dust extraction efficiency boils down to how much air your vacuum can pull through those holes. What sander is in between those wholes and your vacuum matters little. Effectively dust removal competition becomes competition among vacuums.

(Correction: ETS 125 instead of RO 125)

View TheWoodNerd's profile


291 posts in 3802 days

#14 posted 03-23-2011 06:32 PM

Since all sanders use standard pads with standard diameter holes your dust extraction efficiency boils down to how much air your vacuum can pull through those holes. What sander is in between those wholes and your vacuum matters little

I have to disagree, Festool’s JetStream system with an inlet hole in the center makes a big difference. Running them head-to-head (same wood, same vacuum), the RO90 left behind considerably less dust than the Bosch.

-- The Wood Nerd --

View Viktor's profile


466 posts in 4029 days

#15 posted 03-23-2011 07:11 PM

Agreed, TheWoodNerd, RO90 is an exception.

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