Author Topic: Review of the Festool CT Mini Dust Extractor (583 360)  (Read 10217 times)

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Offline Frank Pellow

  • Posts: 2748
  • Toronto, Ontario and Lake Pivabiska, Ontario
Review of the Festool CT Mini Dust Extractor (583 360)
« on: February 14, 2011, 10:50 AM »
I have owned a Festool CT22 E vacuum (583 366) for a little over 8 years and, during that time, carted it to many places and used it in what some consider to be extreme ways, such as:

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A little over three years ago, I decided that it was time to make life a little bit easier so purchased a CT Mini to go along with its big brother.
The CT 22 E (and it’s recent replacement, the CT 26 E) is the most popular size Festool dust collector and I will be using that model as a benchmark against which to compare the CT Mini.

I don’t have a picture taken just out of it’s cardboard box , but here is what you get when you open that box:

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Here my two Festool dust collectors are side by side:

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The Mini holds 10 litres of waste material which is about 40% of the capacity of its CT 22 sibling and, empty, it weighs about 10 kilos which is about two thirds the weight of the CT 22 (and a greater difference when mostly full).   They stand almost the same height; that is: 42 centimetres in height for the Mini and 43 for the CT 22.  The footprint of the Mini (30 cm x 43cm = 1290 sq cm) is almost half that of the CT 22 (37 cm x 60cm = 2220 sq cm).   I find that these differences are significant in that I hardly notice it when I need to carry or to transport the Mini somewhere whereas I always found it cumbersome to do so with the CT22.

Of course, the Mini supports what I regard the best feature of the Festool dust collectors, that being the automatic tool start mode.  It also has adjustable suction.  The decibel range is 62 to 72 (which is the same as the range on the CT 22).  

Both dust collectors come with a robust, approximately 7 metre long, power cord able to handle 20 amps of 120 volt power.  The North American standard 20 amp plug won’t fit into most household 15 amp receptacles, but Festool ships a short 20 amp to 15 amp pigtail with each of their dust collectors.

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The maximum suction on the Mini is the only specification where it lags behind the CT 22, being only 99 CFM as compared to 134 CFM.  However, I have not found this to be a problem with any of the tools that I have run via the Mini.

The hose that comes with the Mini is the “standard” 3.5 metre long 27 mm diameter anti-static hose.  But unlike the CT 22, the hose on the mini is semi-permanently attached to the vacuum.  There are times, particularly when using the Mini as a household vacuum when I really miss the 36 mm hose that I use with the universal cleaning set (454 769) and my CT 22.  I wish that Festool had made the Mini, so that alternate hoses could easily be swapped in and out.  There is a big design flaw in both the Mini and the Midi vacs and that is the location of the dust port.  [mad]  This makes it very time consuming and frustration to first remove and then to re-install the hose (which I have had to do a couple of times when the hose got clogged with debris).

The only bags that are available for the Mini are throw-away, there is no long-life bag provided for it.  I like the long-life bag on my CT 22 and would have purchased one for the Mini had they been offered.  The Mini comes with two bags and extras can be purchased in quantities of 5.  One extra bag stores in a small pocket on the back of the unit:

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There are clips (pointed to by the red arrow in the photo below) on each of the two sides of the Mini that are used to hold the top and bottom of the unit in together.

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When the clips are released, the top lifts right off revealing the vacuum bag in the bottom section:

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Flipping the top over, the (replaceable) HEPA filters appear:

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The bag indents in the bag (shown by the red arrows in the photo below) slot into the clips (shown by the green arrows):

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Festool does not advocate this, but I reuse my bags.  After filling a bag, I cut the bag near the bottom, dump it carefully, tape it up, then use it 2 or 3 times in total.

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Unlike the CT 22 , the Mini does not have wheel locks, but a small “leg” can be dropped down to in order hold the unit steady:

Up:        31918-11  

Down:    31920-12
 
In the second picture of this review, I showed the hose and cord both curled up within the hose garage.  In my photo I have the cord on top of the hose but the Mini ships with the hose curled above the cord.  I find it easier the curl the cord on top and that is what I do when attaching systainers on top of the Mini for transport.  When I am simply moving the unit around, I usually place only the hose in the garage and wind up the cord but don’t put it into the garage.  This is because, while I find it easy and quick to stow the hose there, it seems to take me more time than it is worth to stow the cord.

I take real advantage of the small size of the Mini to use it with a poor man’s “boom arm” in my workshed.  In the photo below, it is sitting on my main workbench and the hose is channelled through a hook on the ceiling:

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There are hooks in the ceiling throughout the workshed.  Sometimes, in order to get more travel at the working end of the hose, I place the Mini on the top of a nearby step-ladder.

One complaint that I have about all the Festool Dust collectors that I have used, is that the electric cord on the tools easily wiggles out from the receptacle on the vacuum.  I have experienced this many times while using the tool in an inconvenient spot such as up a ladder. This is really a complaint about the wimpy two prong plugs that we have in North America and, since the Festool vacs were designed primarily for European use where they have much more robust plugs, the Festool designers probably did not even consider this.  I wish that they would just install a “dummy” ground on all their tools but my suggestion to do this first offered many years ago, is obviously not going to happen.  Since that will not happen, they could devise something on the dust collectors sold here to hold the plugs more firmly in place.  In the meantime, I have found that running the tool wire through the top of the dust collector makes it much less likely that the plug will work itself free of the socket.

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The bottom line to this review is:   I am happy that I purchased the Mini.  [big grin]  But, I would not give up my CT 22.  

« Last Edit: April 19, 2013, 11:45 AM by Frank Pellow »
Cheers,   
               Frank (Festool connoisseur)

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