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Hello group! I'm not really sold on Festool and I think a lot of it is marketing but maybe I can learn something from you even though I own and use the Festool sander ETS 125.
I've been using Rotex 125 for about 12 years now, just got the ETS EC 125, great machine as well, my prep guy can sand a whole kitchen with great results, no swirl marks and no dust.
I have 5 of them far superior to most any sander.
The bit that I've had the chance to use Festool the rotex was the one I'd want to own. I'd be leaning towards the bosch dual mode sander now as an alternate to the rotex. It seems to be getting stellar reviews and was very impressive when we had one to try.
I'm partial to the envelope of the mirka Ceros Sanders which is what we run now so I'd be looking at Surfprep and the couple other rebeanded similar models and the mirka deros.
I love the angle grinder body style Sanders for big work but we go for the tiny envelope and killer dust collection of the electrics in the dynabrade envelope as our first grab sanders.
Still thinking about it and i'll probably change over soon.
I like the Mirka line better. Ceros, Deros, Deos.
I've used a couple of the Festool sanders. They're okay. I don't know which models.
The Mirka Ceros and Deros sanders are the finest I've used. Aggressive, fast, and leave a good scratch.
I hated the Deros ergonomics at first, (coming from the Ceros and a decade plus of Dynabrades), but have come to terms with it and don't mind now. The lighter cord on the Deros is nicer than the thicker heavier cord on the Ceros. The Deros is more bulky, but if it's on a vacuum it's completely not noticed.
I still have my Ceros and until it dies I'm not giving it up. Smaller than a Dynabrade by a small bit.
The Deos is a much smaller sander and I use it in the finishing room. It's also good for the final sand if you are going to stain, nice small circle.
I use it for white wood sanding the inside edge of a face frame and then to break the edges. It's saved my fingertips from bleeding from abrasion like would happen by hand sanding, especially in the finish room.
Two -6" Rotex 150's and dust extractors in a small shop. Each sander has been dropped many times, and both get used every day, from 5 minutes to 8 hours. Each has made the trip to Lebanon for repairs twice, and they keep on running. Superior finish, and super clean with no dust in sight.
I just hope these things hang on so I am not faced with having to replace them.
You may also want to look at AirVANTAGE.
We have a rotex 150 and its a handful for sanding doors and anything small like that or face frames. Also have the ets 125 which is great but doesn't have the rotex feature which is nice to have. If I decide to buy another sander in that price range I will really look into Mirka. The rep has been by our shop and I really liked them.
Also I wouldn't run the rotex without the dust vacuum.
I bought a ETS 125 EQ 4 year ago or so and rarely use it. From the beginning it has left swirl marks. I contacted the company several times and was always told that I was not using it correctly. I run a bosch vac with it, we set the vacuum as they asked and applied pressure as suggested with no luck. We also started purchasing their paper and still get swirl marks. The other thing that has been an issue is we have to replace the hook and loop pad all the time and at $45 + that is frustrating. I now run a Mirka air sander without any vacuum and am not having any troubles. Maybe I got a lemon but I contacted the company shortly after I purchased it and they never offered to replace it. I just talked to one of my hardware distributors the other day and he told me they used to be a Festool dealer but they were very difficult to work with. I have not purchased any other festool products. If I purchase another electric sander I will go with the 3m as the rep is unbelievable with advice and stands behind their products.