Author Topic: Do I Need Rotex Sander?  (Read 1551 times)

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Offline GilbertV

  • Posts: 19
Do I Need Rotex Sander?
« on: December 01, 2019, 10:07 PM »
I've been planning on buying a Rotex 125 (because I have a ETS EC 125). I've been reviewing some posts on here dealing
 with using the Rotex and it seems most use it to flatten large slabs.  I'm having second thoughts and maybe buying a different tool as I have both a 20" planer with Byrd head and a 37" Supermax dual drum sander for flattening table tops.  So maybe utilize the money on accessories for the Domino and TS75 saw.  Thought?
« Last Edit: December 03, 2019, 02:55 AM by GilbertV »

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Offline Alex

  • Posts: 6533
Re: Do I Need Rotex Saander?
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2019, 12:44 AM »
You mention what you think most people use it, but you don't mention what you might need to use it for. The first step in buying a tool is knowing what you are going to use it for. If you don't know what you are going to use it for, you don't need it.

I have the 150, was my first Festool and only sander for a long time. I did everything with it. Large slabs? Sure! But also small things like door trim or a table, everything. Only later did I branch out and got more sanders for their specific strengths. Now the Rotex only gets out for the big jobs where there are lots of meters to be made, or where I need to get rid of thick layers of paint.

But I would never choose the 125, it is so incredibly weak compared to the 150.

My nephew has the Ro125 and I can use it when I need it. Which happens rarely, mostly out of necessity when my 150 doesn't fit like the treads on a stairs. I'm not fond of using it and am disgusted how it takes ages to do something my 150 does in minutes.

Offline mrB

  • Posts: 712
Re: Do I Need Rotex Saander?
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2019, 06:33 AM »
Other than some cheap belt and delta sanders, the RO125 has been my only sander for 5+ years. And when I thought it had gone 'poof' I bough another equally battered looking used one that I luckily saw on eBay for £150. Turned out my original just needed brushes so then I had two.

My experience with the RO150 was thorough for 3 months when I bought one for a specific flat renovation project years back. I sold it after the project and bought myself the RO125.

The 150 is a nicer machine than the 125 no doubt. Smoother, more powerful, way easier to controlI, bigger sanding area, better dc etc etc.

Why did I buy the 125? Because the smaller pad fits in smaller spaces, because the 150 is way bigger and heavier for using on a vertical or in a tricky angle/space, because in pinch 125 paper is more available even if the holes won't be ideal, because despite not being as elegant in use and performance as the 150, the 125 is still so versatile! Rotex mode with a hard pad can really get you out of a scrape. it's like a belt sander for taking 1-3mm off the edge of a shelf you're fitting, or flushing a join. And it's also a finish sander!

The caveat is that while the 150 does all it's jobs smoothly and without fuss. The ro125 is a bit of a maniac, like has been reported across the internet. Personally I don't find it too bad and I quickly learnt how to use and control the sander in both modes to optimum performance, but it's a sander you have to work at using.

As my 'only' sander I wouldn't change my decision, but I'm often wishing I had a more relaxed sander in my stable too.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2019, 02:47 PM by mrB »
there's nothing like the right tool for the job

Offline Sparktrician

  • Posts: 3960
Re: Do I Need Rotex Saander?
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2019, 08:38 AM »
I chose the RO 125 nine years ago for a vertical and overhead job, with no regrets.  It worked very well and in a confined space, and was far less tiring than the RO 150 would have been in those circumstances.  Some people seem to think that the RO 125 is an absolute beast to control, but I've found that holding it right makes all the difference in the world in the controlability of the sander.  I standardized on 125mm abrasives and have had no reason to shift to 150mm.  My jobs are mostly smaller in size, and the 125mm abrasives are more appropriate.  YMMV...   [smile]
- Willy -

 "Remember, a chip on the shoulder is a sure sign of wood higher up." - Brigham Young

Offline ChiknNutz

  • Posts: 85
Re: Do I Need Rotex Saander?
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2019, 11:19 AM »
The RO150 coupled with an appropriate DC is a fantastic system.  It was my first Festool purchase.  I had the 25-50 Supermax drum sander but sold it earlier this year.  A bit of a story as to why, but short of it is I sold it as a package deal with some other tools for a specific project to a guy.  I did a lot of slab tables and while the drum sander was nice for some things, it was not very useful for slabs suitable for a dining room table .  I ended up using it for some smaller slab work, but mostly for other stuff.  IMHO, larger slabs need something like a TimeSaver drum sander as they are just too unwieldy with the supermax style of sanders.  Even when using the drum sander, I did not achieve finish-ready results and so you still need some type of ROS for final sanding.  For me, the nearly dust free system is worth the price of admission.  As I have said in other posts, I grew tired of sanding dust being all over everything and the Festool system has helped me keep my shop so much cleaner and healthy.  All in all, I am a big fan of the RO150 for slab work and would not be without it.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2019, 11:24 AM by ChiknNutz »
Rotex 150/5 FEQ, CT 36 E, ETS EC125/3, TS75, Domino XL

Offline Jim_in_PA

  • Posts: 130
Re: Do I Need Rotex Saander?
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2019, 11:31 AM »
The rotary mode for Rotex is what you need to focus on here...what will you use it for? As a regular ROS, it's great, but more cumbersome to use than the normal 125mm and 150mm sanders because of the longer handle,'s a "two hand tool" for me. (I have the older 150 version) If you have purpose for the more aggressive rotary mode for shaping materials, heavy removal including on metal,  etc., then it will be a great tool to have in your stable. If you don't have those kinds of uses, then the tool will likely be redundant and not get much use. I honestly don't use mine very 150/3 get 95%+ of the workload...but when it's the right tool for the's the right tool for the job. :D
ETS 150/3, Rotex 150, OF1010, OF1400, Trion PS 300, TDK-12, CT-22, MFT 1080, TS55, Domino XL DF 700, 8' track, (2) 55" tracks

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Offline mattr

  • Posts: 5
Re: Do I Need Rotex Saander?
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2019, 09:04 PM »
I started with the ETS125 and just bought the RO125. I debated and debated on the 125 or the 150. I chose the 125 for the common sandpaper and lighter weight. I've only used it on an oak threshold that needed to be stripped and refinished, but I thought it was great! Easy to control, good size and weight, and fantastic dust collection. Maybe ignorance is bliss, but I'm completely happy - well, I do need to go get more sandpaper, polishing pads, and ......

I do have a Domino  and don't use it as much as I probably could. I do use my track saw a fair amount. I would say you need to choose which tool you will use most and get that.

Offline DeformedTree

  • Posts: 793
Re: Do I Need Rotex Saander?
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2019, 10:44 PM »
I have the rotex 125 (my first festool sander), and the ETS-EC 125.

Far as size,  125mm sand paper can be found in any store in a pinch, 150 is no where to be found.  I also just had no reason for a really large sander.  It's not like I'm trying to polish a sailboat every weekend.

I first bought the rotex thinking it could be the do all.  As others have mentioned, it can be near impossible to control, with no pattern or reason to why it suddenly goes crazy and tries to rip your arm off.  It can be going along just perfect and suddenly just take off when you are going everything the same as you were.  Some times it perfect all day long, the next day doing the exact same task it is completely uncontrolable.  Some people try to say it's how you hold it, I've held it in every possibly way, same results.  I personally think there is something in the design (gear train probably), that gets into some funky mode, possibly a resonance with the material being worked. I would say the tool does get into the dangerous category, I'm not a small person, and it has seriously wrenched my arms/shoulder body when it decides to take a random exit path from where you are going.  Still, it definitely has a place.

Anyways, because of that I bought the ETS-EC pretty soon after, and as many folks will tell you, it's a wonderful sander.

What I found is there is a place for both.   I use the rotex when you need to remove material, shape a wall stud, cut down a tree, smooth down a mountain range, etc.  For general sanding, I use the ETS-EC, but then when I do finish, the rotex is great for taking down poly and buffing stuff out.  I do stuff with many coats of water based poly, and work thru the process using both sanders.

Offline GilbertV

  • Posts: 19
Re: Do I Need Rotex Saander?
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2019, 11:20 PM »
Believe me, I really want to buy one.  If I did it would more likely be the 125. Just trying to justify myself that I need it.  My wife already calls me a tool collector that buys a tool well before need it.
The only sanding I ever do is prior to finishing and I typically start at 120 grit.  I have a 3 x 21 belt sander with a sanding plate that has never been used, 2 -7 rotary sanders that I've  used once in the last 5 years.
 I completed a 3' x 9' Cherry tabletop for a wall unit in which I planed 3 - 12"+ down  to 1";  glued and then sanded on my 37" wide drum sander to 120 grit.  Finished to 220 grit using my ETS EC 125.
Saying all that, I will probably buy the Rotex 150. I can use the Rotex function for polishing if nothing else.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2019, 02:56 AM by GilbertV »

Offline FestitaMakool

  • Posts: 481
Re: Do I Need Rotex Sander?
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2019, 01:47 AM »
Hi, I’ve been reading the tread with interest, since I’m considering the ETSC 125.
I have a Bosch 150 Turbo I got dirt cheap, which is more or less the same as a Rotex 150 (at least what it do). I did have have a combi sander from B&D, 125 ROS with Delta pad so it could be used as both. I did miss that, it is a handy size that will cover most jobs.

So, recently I bought a Rotex 90, reason being that I really like the 1: rotary action 2: size 3: weight 4: delta option. I bought it as a general sander, but mostly I’m going to use it for restoration work of window frames and detail work. I think it is fabulous. The weight means it can easily be held in near any position, also overhead without being tired.

I think it is vital to think of what the usage is going to be. For me the Bosch 150 is for large flat surfaces (first job was doing a rough, the fine sanding of a MFT/Kapex table that I bought second hand, which had seen water damage - it did beautifully)

But, I also like to have a 125mm sander, preferably on battery; easy to reach for for the odd small jobs, but also for larger finishing jobs, with cable, so then I’m considering the ETSC 125...
“The Stig” Yes, it is true, at least some part of it..
“If you have an old Land Rover and a fit wife, you’re most likely always busy”

Offline JimD

  • Posts: 446
Re: Do I Need Rotex Sander?
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2019, 02:53 PM »
I have no Festool sander but I own the Bosch rough equivalent to the Rotex 150, the 1250 DEVS.  I have been pleasantly surprised with how quickly it will remove wood.  Even in RO mode it is much faster than my 5 inch sander due to the 6 inch pad but perhaps more importantly the 5mm stroke.  It depends on what you want to do with the sander but I want to spend as little time as possible sanding.  For that, having a rotary mode (which I use only on the coarsest paper to get to a fairly smooth surface without large defects) AND a 5mm stroke is key.  If the RO 125 has those features it should be quicker than a 2mm stroke RO only sander.  If that is what you want.

I usually use my 1250 DEVS one handed but it is a handful, especially with coarser paper in rotary mode.  I used it, for instance, with 40 grit to strip paint off clap boards and that was tough to do one handed.  But with 100 grit or finer paper, I find it pretty easy to one hand.  I wear XL gloves which might make some difference. 

My point is just that speed requires more paper movement and rotary mode.  Paper increases with sanding pad size (6 inch versus 5) and the diameter of the orbits in RO mode. 

Last comment.  Rotary mode, especially with coarse paper, is a bit of a risk in terms of finish.  It imparts really unattractive swirls that you need to be sure and remove in RO mode before going up in grit size.  I missed a couple areas on a recent project, fortunately not in real visible areas, and it is not hard at all to see if you look at the right place.  RO only is less riskly IMHO.

Offline JimB1

  • Posts: 167
Re: Do I Need Rotex Sander?
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2019, 03:46 PM »
I won a RO150 a few years back from Wood magazine. I’ve used it for a lot of stuff but generally I use my ETS150 more. Really depends what you are doing. I wanted to sand down my deck before we stained it and sanding a small bedroom floor before finishing it the RO150 worked great for that sort of thing. When sanding something that is already pretty smooth, like 120 and finer grit, I like the ETS better. It’s lighter and easier to maneuver.
TS55 REQ, MFT/3, Domino DF500, CXS, OF 1010, RO 150, ETS 150/3, RTS-400, rectangle sanding block, Pocket StickFix Sanding Block and a CT Midi...

Offline kmickey

  • Posts: 25
Re: Do I Need Rotex Saander?
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2019, 08:10 PM »

The caveat is that while the 150 does all it's jobs smoothly and without fuss. The ro125 is a bit of a maniac, like has been reported across the internet. Personally I don't find it too bad and I quickly learnt how to use and control the sander in both modes to optimum performance, but it's a sander you have to work at using.

Most important tip for a 125 Rotex is to use the lowest vacuum power setting.  If you use high power it will jump all over the place. you still have to pay attention at low power, but it’s an order of magnitude to control than at high suction.

Offline egmiii

  • Posts: 186
Re: Do I Need Rotex Sander?
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2019, 10:49 PM »
Personally, I think the best application for the rotex is in home remodeling. It’s a great tool for restoration. But if you are building from scratch, there is almost always a better way. I have an RO90, which saw a lot of use grinding old windows in an apartment building I rehabilitated. However, I’ve never used it in my shop. Planers, CNC surfacing bits, and even hand planes are better options.

Offline GilbertV

  • Posts: 19
Re: Do I Need Rotex Sander?
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2019, 09:43 PM »
Well I picked up a used complete Rotex 150 with extra pads for $405. Sander and systainer appear to be well taken care of.  It is missing the pad guard and side handle but I  can buy a front handle cheap.  I'll see when it gets delivered what kind of bargain it is.

A quick question, what size is the bolt on the side handle?  I assume it's  metric.

Offline Jim Kirkpatrick

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Re: Do I Need Rotex Sander?
« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2019, 12:44 PM »
What a silly question.  Of course you do!!!

Offline GilbertV

  • Posts: 19
Re: Do I Need Rotex Sander?
« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2019, 11:00 PM »
Here's  pics of the Rotex 150 I bought for $405.  I even  got 20+ new Festool Granat sanding disks which weren't  part of the deal.  Overall, I'm  happy with the purchase.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2019, 05:08 AM by GilbertV »