Festool RO Sanders


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Can someone help me with understanding the Festool RO sanders? I am looking for a new RO sander. I see they have the ETS 125 REQ 5" for $205.00. The other 5" machine are $500 +. What is the difference? Why such a price difference? I am a hobby user but I need sander with good dust collection. I was looking at a Bosch but they seem to be sold out.

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Personally I wouldn't go after a 5" model. If you are getting a new sander get a 6" sander. The size is a MUICH bigger difference than it may seem. I can't stress this enough. the 6" sander is nearly 50% greater sanding area. If you include an inch of overlap on both the 5" sanders barley seem like they are accomplishing anything compared to the 6" models.

The ETS 125 REQ is a brushed motor and is relatively low powered (like 200 watts) it has a small stroke and isn't suited to sanding with grits lower than 180 grit on wood and excels the best at sanding veneer and finishes as it is a sander that doesn't remove a lot of wood quickly. I want to HIGHLY stress if you are considering the ROS65VC-5 you will only be disappointed with this sander. It is NOT intended to be a heavy removal sander and is under powered and has too small of stroke.

The ETS EC models are a brush less motor and provide a lot more power (400 watts) this allows them to power the lower paper grits down to a point.

The final model is the ETS 150 EQ which is a brushed motor sander but has higher power than the 5" little brother (310 watts). This is a great sander from all accounts and offers some savings over the brush-less versions.

The other confusing number to note is the stroke size. Festool offers 3 stroke sizes 2mm, 3mm, and 5mm. The stroke is the number after the ( / ), so the ETS EC 150/3 would have a 3mm stroke. The smaller stroke is better for finer sanding and doesn't remove material as fast. The larger stroke removes material faster at the expense of surface quality. The difference is small and is likely more import for those sanding paints and primers. For woodworkers a 5mm stroke is perfect unless you have other reasons.

The price sucks ALOT, but imo they are worth it. I have both the ETS 125 REQ and ETS EC 150/3. I've had quarter sheet sanders and a few other ROS units and they liked to jump around and never really seemed to do a great job. Festool sanders are some of the smoothest operating sanders I've ever used, 2nd to the Mirka sanders. I've not had any experience with the Bosch ROS65VC-6 but from all accounts it is a really good sander. If you can't stomach the price for festool I'd order the bosch ROS65VC-6 and wait patiently.

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Oh why power matters. I mention power a lot but fail to say why you should care.

When a sander gets bogged down the random orbit action breaks down and turns into an orbit action. In terms of effect this is the main cause of "pigtails". More power from the sander means that it is able to power lower grits with out the random action stopping and becoming an orbit action. This isn't awful for really low grits like 60 grit but with a low enough power the orbit action can lose it's randomness at 120-150 grit for example with the ETS 125 REQ and will pigtail horribly at grits where most woodworkers wouldn't go further. Also the pigtails tend to be deeper gouges so when they do occur they are much harder to remove and tend to lead to longer sanding times.

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If you don't want to spend so much, the Bosch ROS65VC is almost half & is a very good 6" sander. Dust collection is pretty good with just the attached filter and is very good with a vacuum attached. A quick check showed that Home Depot has it in stock online in the US. Most outlets that sell it in Canada have it in stock. @Chestnut is right about going with a 6" over a 5"

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30 minutes ago, drzaius said:

If you don't want to spend so much, the Bosch ROS65VC is almost half & is a very good 6" sander. Dust collection is pretty good with just the attached filter and is very good with a vacuum attached. A quick check showed that Home Depot has it in stock online in the US. Most outlets that sell it in Canada have it in stock. @Chestnut is right about going with a 6" over a 5"

When check the Bosch ROS65VC I get "This item is currently out of stock".... Matter of fact all of the Bosch RO sander are out of stock besides the cheap one.

I currently have an older 5" Porter Cable and 5" Black and Decker corded RO sanders. I also have a cordless 5" Porter Cable sander. They all do a decent job but the dust collection on them suck.  I also have a 2 year supply of sanding discs I bought recently. (about 100 of each grit between 150-400) That is why I was originally looking at the Bosch.

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8 minutes ago, rainjer said:

When check the Bosch ROS65VC I get "This item is currently out of stock".... Matter of fact all of the Bosch RO sander are out of stock besides the cheap one.

I currently have an older 5" Porter Cable and 5" Black and Decker corded RO sanders. I also have a cordless 5" Porter Cable sander. They all do a decent job but the dust collection on them suck.  I also have a 2 year supply of sanding discs I bought recently. (about 100 of each grit between 150-400) That is why I was originally looking at the Bosch.

It's not the best option always but try and sell your paper on facebook or craig's list or even though a local woodworking guild. I did this with the boxes of Mirka paper I had. Sold them to someone starting out and got 50-60% of my money back on the remaining paper.

8 minutes ago, rainjer said:

@Chestnut - Which of the Festool sanders would  you recommend if you had to pick just one?

ETS EC 150/5. I don't make that recommendation lightly because the cost is $100 more than when i bought mine. If my sander blew up tonight I'd have an order in tomorrow morning. It's honestly that or the Bosh sander and wait patiently. I'm not sure how much wood working or sanding you do but those are my two considerations.

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32 minutes ago, rainjer said:

@Chestnut - I will keep my 5" RO sanders. In the summer I tend to take my sanding outside so I don't really care about the dust collection. It is when it is raining and in the winter month I need to cut down the dust since my furnace is in the garage where I work.. 

If you have a dealer near you go try one. Around here they have some setup as demo units. Festool has a dealer locater on their website as well.

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2 hours ago, Chestnut said:

If you have a dealer near you go try one. Around here they have some setup as demo units. Festool has a dealer locater on their website as well.

My closest dealer is an hour away. They just announced new COVID restriction in Washington State limiting retail to 25% capacity so I am nut sure if they can do demos. I will have to call them.

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4 hours ago, Chestnut said:

ETS EC 150/5. I don't make that recommendation lightly because the cost is $100 more than when i bought mine.

I also have this sander and back up everything Drew mentioned above.  The other thing that is a real plus with the Festool sanders is they are easy on the hand during long sanding sessions.  I ran mine almost constantly for 4 hours today and could have gone longer if needed.  I couldn't have done that with my old Dewalts I had in the past.

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37 minutes ago, Chet said:

I also have this sander and back up everything Drew mentioned above.  The other thing that is a real plus with the Festool sanders is they are easy on the hand during long sanding sessions.  I ran mine almost constantly for 4 hours today and could have gone longer if needed.  I couldn't have done that with my old Dewalts I had in the past.

The vibration is a consideration I had not thought about. My PC cordless one is not very well balance and my had get very tired using it. I tent to use it more than my other ones because I don't have to plug it in...

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You either liked Eric or you not so much. And I did like his attitude which does not speak highly of me. I have to admit that his elbows and shoulders were double jointed to allow for multiple pats on the back. And a lot, not undeserved as he is/was a good woodworker. I would have liked to have shared a burger and beer with him. Jmo 

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I have the Festool RO-150 which is a beast of a sander, big and heavy, but a real workhorse when I need to sand large surfaces.  I also have 5 of the PC 333 sanders which I used before getting the RO-150.  I also "Had" the Mirka Ceros, which had a DC transformer.  It was recalled by Mirka and I was given the Mirka Deros.  Of all the sanders I have owned over the years, the Mirka, IMO is by far the best sander I have ever used.  It's very lightweight, and doesn't fatigue my hand with long usage and the one part I really like is how the sander and pad comes to a complete stop in about a second after releasing the start paddle, meaning I can set the sander down immediately and not have to wait for it to stop rotating.

Coupled with an Abranet disc there is practically zero dust when using the dust extraction or a good shop vac. Just my 0.02

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13 hours ago, Coop said:

You either liked Eric or you not so much. And I did like his attitude which does not speak highly of me. I have to admit that his elbows and shoulders were double jointed to allow for multiple pats on the back. And a lot, not undeserved as he is/was a good woodworker. I would have liked to have shared a burger and beer with him. Jmo 

How boring would the world be if we were all like minded...I truly miss Eric, Shane, Steve etc, etc, etc we have lost a lot of great folks with a bundle of knowledge and expertise. Luckily like the US, even with our issues, its still the best damn woodworking forum out there and for that I say thanks to all that participate!!

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2 hours ago, pkinneb said:

How boring would the world be if we were all like minded...I truly miss Eric, Shane, Steve etc, etc, etc we have lost a lot of great folks with a bundle of knowledge and expertise. Luckily like the US, even with our issues, its still the best damn woodworking forum out there and for that I say thanks to all that participate!!

Agreed.

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