Author Topic: Which sander to buy first! - First Post in the Forum  (Read 8892 times)

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Offline hammy

  • Posts: 24
Which sander to buy first! - First Post in the Forum
« on: December 18, 2020, 10:18 AM »
My first post on the forum!

My wife is giving me some new tool money for Christmas and I am heavily considering a Festool sander.  Right now I get by with a Ridgid planer and a 5" Dewalt random orbit sander.  I am only a hobby woodworker and my projects involve mostly furniture such as bookshelves, dressers, chairs and benches for family, cutting boards and recently I've been doing some resin serving trays.  I HATE SANDING.... let me repeat... I HATE SANDING.

I was initially thinking of a Rotex RO 125 or 150 since I can still use the Dewalt for smaller detail stuff.  Then I started reading more articles about the ETS EC 125 and 150 and started leaning that way.   I can't afford both since I will also have to get a dust collection system for the Festool (I'm thinking of a CT 26).  I'm currently using a shop vac and air cleaning unit for dust collection. Here in Canada the Rotex 125 and CT 26 will run me about $2,000 with tax and that is definitely pushing my upper limit.

Any advice from the experts here on forum on either the sander choice or dust collection is greatly appreciated!

Thank you.


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Offline afish

  • Posts: 364
Re: Which sander to buy first! - First Post in the Forum
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2020, 11:55 AM »
Im no sander expert and newer to the festool sander line as well.  I guess Im wondering what you are looking for from a festool sander that you are not getting from your Dewalt.  I think that might help determine which sander is best.  I was in your situation and used mostly sanders from Dewalt.  My main need for switching was better dust control and I wanted a sander for getting into corners better.  So I landed on the ets 125 req and the dts 400 combo. 

Based on your post it sounds like you are looking for better dust control since you want to add a ct 26 and cut down on sanding time.  The cutting down on sanding time is where it gets tricky.  I dont see a big improvement in sanding time between dewalt 5" RO and festool 5" RO like I do with dust control and comfort from less vibration.  You will reduce sanding time moving from a 5" to 6" so if you sand a lot of large flat panels then a 6" will work well.  Smaller confined areas a 5" will be better.  The best part is in the case of the ETS EC 125 you get both a 5" and 6" in one sander since you can swap out the 150 pad onto the 125 but just FYI you CANNOT put the 125 pad on the 150

As far as a Rotex sander goes based on your projects Im not sure if its the right fit but I have no experience with them only what I have read.  Im sure other will weigh in on this but I do know if I was looking at getting a rotex sander I would be getting the Bosch GET65 or 75 many agree its 90-95% as good as the rotex for half the money.  Going this way it might free up enough cash to get 2 sanders.

So based on the info given thus far im leaning towards the ETS EC 125 for you with adding the 150 pad. 

Offline Stan Tillinghast

  • Posts: 172
Re: Which sander to buy first! - First Post in the Forum
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2020, 12:20 PM »
I’m a hobbyist with occasional experience but have a number of Festool sanders (RO 125, RO 90, ETS 125 EQ, ETS EC 125 + 150 mm pad).
I am surprised at how much I like the ETS EC 125 for lack of vibration, ergonomics, and dust collection; and there’s no doubt that you can change it to 150 mm (6 inch) with just changing the pad.
So I’d start with that.
For a second sander, the RO 90 gives you corner sanding capability together with Rotex sanding with its greater stock removal, but for smaller areas.
Festool’s dust collection makes it possible for me to do woodworking with power tools; I find sawdust extremely irritating to my nasal passages.
In addition, you can use your track saw and sander in your Sunday-go-to-meetin’ clothes :-).

Offline hammy

  • Posts: 24
Re: Which sander to buy first! - First Post in the Forum
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2020, 12:29 PM »
Im no sander expert and newer to the festool sander line as well.  I guess Im wondering what you are looking for from a festool sander that you are not getting from your Dewalt.  I think that might help determine which sander is best.  I was in your situation and used mostly sanders from Dewalt.  My main need for switching was better dust control and I wanted a sander for getting into corners better.  So I landed on the ets 125 req and the dts 400 combo. 

Based on your post it sounds like you are looking for better dust control since you want to add a ct 26 and cut down on sanding time.  The cutting down on sanding time is where it gets tricky.  I dont see a big improvement in sanding time between dewalt 5" RO and festool 5" RO like I do with dust control and comfort from less vibration.  You will reduce sanding time moving from a 5" to 6" so if you sand a lot of large flat panels then a 6" will work well.  Smaller confined areas a 5" will be better.  The best part is in the case of the ETS EC 125 you get both a 5" and 6" in one sander since you can swap out the 150 pad onto the 125 but just FYI you CANNOT put the 125 pad on the 150

As far as a Rotex sander goes based on your projects Im not sure if its the right fit but I have no experience with them only what I have read.  Im sure other will weigh in on this but I do know if I was looking at getting a rotex sander I would be getting the Bosch GET65 or 75 many agree its 90-95% as good as the rotex for half the money.  Going this way it might free up enough cash to get 2 sanders.

So based on the info given thus far im leaning towards the ETS EC 125 for you with adding the 150 pad.

Hmm, being able to switch backing pads to upsize makes the ETS EC 125 seem like the best option right now.  I'll also go check out the Bosch though thanks.

Offline Alex

  • Posts: 7223
Re: Which sander to buy first! - First Post in the Forum
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2020, 12:59 PM »
I'd also say the ETS EC 125 + 150 mm pad might be the best fit for you from the sanders you mention. DTS400 is always nice too. Out of the 13 different Festool sanders I've owned the DTS is my most used one.

Offline xedos

  • Posts: 458
Re: Which sander to buy first! - First Post in the Forum
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2020, 05:47 PM »
Based on what you're making , I don't see a real benefit for a Rotex, and a big drawback.

A rotex isn't likely to make you enjoy sanding.  It's a capable machine, but it's not a smooth performer, and it requires two hands.

As mentioned already, the EC125 is a great sander -and-  is one of those kinds of sanders guys say changes their mind about hating to sand.   I concur on the Bosch GET75 if you really need / want the capability of an aggressive sander.   Especially for the hobbyist.

Offline Stan Tillinghast

  • Posts: 172
Re: Which sander to buy first! - First Post in the Forum
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2020, 05:53 PM »
Hammy -
Are you near a Festool dealer? They all have demo tools, which for a beginner especially is a big advantage in making decisions.
Even if you buy it online, you still have 30 days to return the purchase without question, as I understand it.

Offline hammy

  • Posts: 24
Re: Which sander to buy first! - First Post in the Forum
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2020, 06:11 PM »
Hammy -
Are you near a Festool dealer? They all have demo tools, which for a beginner especially is a big advantage in making decisions.
Even if you buy it online, you still have 30 days to return the purchase without question, as I understand it.

Thanks, there is a local dealer but they have very limited demos on hand, basically a ETS 150 and that's it.  I like to buy local so maybe the ETS EC 125 and the adaptor hose is the way for me to go.  I don't plan on any other Festool purchases in the near future so $1,000 vacuum system would not be worth it if there's a viable alternative. 

Offline afish

  • Posts: 364
Re: Which sander to buy first! - First Post in the Forum
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2020, 09:25 PM »
I use a 6hp shop vac that I located in a shed and ran 2" sch40 approx. 30' worth and nine 90's in total to a cen-tec hose for 40 bucks that drops out of the ceiling.  It works great for all track saw, sander, router operations that I use it for.  Since its in another building I barely hear it.  If I did mobile work I would have a CT and still might depending on the Planex.  However, for shop use I actually love my setup. Plus it keeps it out of the shop area saving valuable floor space which is a huuuuge bonus. I trigger it with a 3 channel RF outlet from HD for like 30 bucks.  I was actually thinking about getting the CT48AC the last couple days but after more thought I really dont see a need.  You can always build an enclosure for the shop vac if you dont have a shed. 

Offline Mortiser

  • Posts: 76
Re: Which sander to buy first! - First Post in the Forum
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2020, 09:35 PM »
I have the ETS EC125 and the Rotex 125. I like them both, for building furniture. I bought the Rotex first. I use the the ETS EC 125 about 90% of the time. I love that sander. Get the ETS EC125 (and the 150 pad - later if necessary) and the CT26. You won't believe that sanding can be enjoyable and is no longer a chore.

Offline hammy

  • Posts: 24
Re: Which sander to buy first! - First Post in the Forum
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2020, 08:15 AM »
I have the ETS EC125 and the Rotex 125. I like them both, for building furniture. I bought the Rotex first. I use the the ETS EC 125 about 90% of the time. I love that sander. Get the ETS EC125 (and the 150 pad - later if necessary) and the CT26. You won't believe that sanding can be enjoyable and is no longer a chore.

Thanks Mortiser between the advice here and from other research I think I'm going to go with the ETS EC 125 and adaptor hose for my existing shop vac, all in I'll still be under $1,000 Canadian.

Offline grbmds

  • Posts: 2041
Re: Which sander to buy first! - First Post in the Forum
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2020, 10:29 AM »
@hammy You mentioned an adapter hose. Rockler sells a kit with several adapters that adapted existing vac connections to Festool sanders (and other Festool tools).

The only thing I would say is that I notice a difference in results and wear and tear on my hands from using a Festool sander and the ETS 125 is a good one. I also notice a huge improvement in dust collection since using a Festool vac and sander together. I'm not sure whether the combo is what makes the most difference or just the sander or just the vac, but together they can't be beat for dust collection and sanding results.
Randy

Offline xedos

  • Posts: 458
Re: Which sander to buy first! - First Post in the Forum
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2020, 10:38 AM »
I see no one has talked about your vacuum dilemma. 

On one hand, a vacuum is a vacuum.  On the other, there are some good reasons some cost more than $500.

The price starts to climb when a better turbine is spec'd, and again when noise attenuation is built in so you don't hear that whine.  Add a cartridge filter - more $.  HEPA filter - still more $$$.   Most of the $500+ vacs have variable suction, which is very useful for sanding.  Especially finish sanding.    Then there's the tool triggered receptacle.   You'll wonder how you lived without one once you've tried it.

Festool takes it further and adds remote control (bluetooth) , an uber premium hose that's supple and smooth, onboard concealed hose storage , and the ability to stack the systainers for storage , transport and just general use.   Again , all add $ $ $ to the final cost.   Is all that worth it ?      That's a conversation as old as..............................

with no answer.

As to you getting a CT26.   I'd suggest looking smaller, like a mini/midi.   Same performance and features, only the capacity is reduced compared to the 26.   Still have plenty of capacity for the hobbyist.    I have them for professional install teams and we're not changing the bag every day because it's too small like some may have your believe.

Karcher makes a quiet vac at around $200, but not really in the same league.    Lots of guys like Fein, though it's still expensive and has less performance compared to FT. 

For an 'adapter" - I'd offer this:

https://www.amazon.com/Cen-Tec-Systems-94192-Universal-Collection/dp/B07NZZZ5ZL/ref=sr_1_31?dchild=1&keywords=powertec+hose&qid=1608390540&sr=8-31

Good hose, and it'll allow you to regulate the suction somewhat.  Something your other hose / adapter options are not going to do.   That Rockler offering looks spiffy at first blush, and the adapters are sweet.   However, the hose is terrible, just awful.


« Last Edit: December 19, 2020, 10:48 AM by xedos »

Online Cheese

  • Posts: 8142
Re: Which sander to buy first! - First Post in the Forum
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2020, 10:55 AM »
If you'll be using a regular Shop Vac with the ETS EC 125, you'll need to bleed off some of the suction and that could get noisy.

I run the ETS EC 125 on an older CT 22 at the 1/4 level or less. They don't like to be used at high vacuum levels.

Offline hammy

  • Posts: 24
Re: Which sander to buy first! - First Post in the Forum
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2020, 11:30 AM »
I see no one has talked about your vacuum dilemma. 

On one hand, a vacuum is a vacuum.  On the other, there are some good reasons some cost more than $500.

The price starts to climb when a better turbine is spec'd, and again when noise attenuation is built in so you don't hear that whine.  Add a cartridge filter - more $.  HEPA filter - still more $$$.   Most of the $500+ vacs have variable suction, which is very useful for sanding.  Especially finish sanding.    Then there's the tool triggered receptacle.   You'll wonder how you lived without one once you've tried it.

Festool takes it further and adds remote control (bluetooth) , an uber premium hose that's supple and smooth, onboard concealed hose storage , and the ability to stack the systainers for storage , transport and just general use.   Again , all add $ $ $ to the final cost.   Is all that worth it ?      That's a conversation as old as..............................

with no answer.

As to you getting a CT26.   I'd suggest looking smaller, like a mini/midi.   Same performance and features, only the capacity is reduced compared to the 26.   Still have plenty of capacity for the hobbyist.    I have them for professional install teams and we're not changing the bag every day because it's too small like some may have your believe.

Karcher makes a quiet vac at around $200, but not really in the same league.    Lots of guys like Fein, though it's still expensive and has less performance compared to FT. 

For an 'adapter" - I'd offer this:

https://www.amazon.com/Cen-Tec-Systems-94192-Universal-Collection/dp/B07NZZZ5ZL/ref=sr_1_31?dchild=1&keywords=powertec+hose&qid=1608390540&sr=8-31

Good hose, and it'll allow you to regulate the suction somewhat.  Something your other hose / adapter options are not going to do.   That Rockler offering looks spiffy at first blush, and the adapters are sweet.   However, the hose is terrible, just awful.

Thanks this is excellent info, the noise isn't really an issue since I'm always wearing hearing protection but I didn't consider the variable suction aspect, my shop vac obviously won't do that.  I am trying to keep dust down as much as possible and the Festool clearly does that.  I'd also like to have a little vac if just for the sander so I wouldn't have to drag the shop vac hose around as much. 

Thanks again this is excellent!

Offline xedos

  • Posts: 458
Re: Which sander to buy first! - First Post in the Forum
« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2020, 11:38 AM »
For your situation as describe, I'd say : bite the bullet and get the MINI. 

Cry once. It'll last your for years and years without the need for an upgrade.   Plus, if you do; you'll be able to recoup most of your money.  It'll be, in effect, a long term rental.

Offline rvieceli

  • Posts: 1374
Re: Which sander to buy first! - First Post in the Forum
« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2020, 11:49 AM »
Or opt for the MIDI. Same foot print as the MINI 50% more capacity in the bags for $50 USD more. Consumables are all the same price since it's its the same upper with a taller tub on the bottom.

another option is finding a used one of craigslist or one of the other marketplaces. I picked up a CT22 earlier this year in excellent shape for around 200USD. Works great and consumables are still available.

Ron
« Last Edit: December 19, 2020, 11:52 AM by rvieceli »

Offline Alex

  • Posts: 7223
Re: Which sander to buy first! - First Post in the Forum
« Reply #17 on: December 19, 2020, 12:26 PM »
+1 on the Mini.

I have a Mini and a Midi. The darn Midi keeps toppling over when you pull the hose. The Mini, never.

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 5017
Re: Which sander to buy first! - First Post in the Forum
« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2020, 12:53 PM »
+1 on the Mini.

I have a Mini and a Midi. The darn Midi keeps toppling over when you pull the hose. The Mini, never.

I understand about the extra height/leverage of the hose vs. the Mini and the more top heavy aspect of the higher motor (especially with an empty bag in the tub) but have you checked if the front wheels are rolling as easily as they should?

Offline mrB

  • Posts: 828
Re: Which sander to buy first! - First Post in the Forum
« Reply #19 on: December 19, 2020, 01:04 PM »
I'd also agree on the mini/midi with  ETS EC 125 as being a good option.

For hobbyist sanding I think the smaller vac will be fine and the ETS EC 125 would be my choice of Festool sander for all round use.

That said I'd take my Mirka Deros over my ETE EC 125 personally, but I do wonder if the Festool is the wiser long term purchase given reliability histories of these products and my personal faith in the lifespan of Festool.
there's nothing like the right tool for the job

Offline hammy

  • Posts: 24
Re: Which sander to buy first! - First Post in the Forum
« Reply #20 on: December 19, 2020, 01:38 PM »
I'd also agree on the mini/midi with  ETS EC 125 as being a good option.

For hobbyist sanding I think the smaller vac will be fine and the ETS EC 125 would be my choice of Festool sander for all round use.

That said I'd take my Mirka Deros over my ETE EC 125 personally, but I do wonder if the Festool is the wiser long term purchase given reliability histories of these products and my personal faith in the lifespan of Festool.

Thanks Mr. B, why do you prefer the Mirka?

Offline afish

  • Posts: 364
Re: Which sander to buy first! - First Post in the Forum
« Reply #21 on: December 19, 2020, 02:30 PM »
The centec hosehas a adjustable port to bleed off some of the vacuum if its to much.  Works like an old school vacuum with a port and a cover you twist to cover all or a portion of the port.

remote outlet is the one I use and it has never given me any issues.  I put some velcro on it and the hose so I can keep it close by or remove if needed.  I have channel 1 as the shop vac Channel 2 works the shop fans and channel 3 will be used to trigger a 2-3hp dust collector when I get it.  It only works on 120 so a contactor will be needed but the remote can be used to trigger the contactor. 

Most obstacles can be mitigated it just depends on how you will be using it and budget.  I would hate to lug around a shop vac but for dedicated shop use is a different story.

Offline xedos

  • Posts: 458
Re: Which sander to buy first! - First Post in the Forum
« Reply #22 on: December 19, 2020, 03:05 PM »
afish - those remotes are handy - but are no substitute for a tool actuated vacuum.   Especially for sanding where one tends to start, stop and check progress, and then start again.

Offline mrB

  • Posts: 828
Re: Which sander to buy first! - First Post in the Forum
« Reply #23 on: December 19, 2020, 03:10 PM »
I'd also agree on the mini/midi with  ETS EC 125 as being a good option.

For hobbyist sanding I think the smaller vac will be fine and the ETS EC 125 would be my choice of Festool sander for all round use.

That said I'd take my Mirka Deros over my ETE EC 125 personally, but I do wonder if the Festool is the wiser long term purchase given reliability histories of these products and my personal faith in the lifespan of Festool.


Thanks Mr. B, why do you prefer the Mirka?
The Mirka feels lower, lighter, more powerfu. Can be had in 5mm orbit while still having both pad size choices. The Mirka has more constant forced rotation where the festool goes from relatively still to rotating depending on the pressure applied. Also the pads have holes to accept all paper types not just festool hole patterns.

As stated I have more faith in the long term reliability of the festool as well as the long term parts availability and speed of ordering/repair  etc. And this is why I bought the ETS EC as my second/backup sander. I prefer the Mirka without doubt, but whenever have the ETS EC with me instead I’m happy with it.

I’m a daily/weekly professional user so happy to spend money these things. If I were a hobbyist I would want the extra value of festool reliability beyond the warranty period.

EDIT: Thought I'd add that I definitely feel the ETS EC has better Dust Collection than the Deros. The Deros is fine, just not as good as the Festool. This is my opinion using 125mm paper, not mesh, with the festool hole pattern on each machine.
Also the Festool likes a reduced suction a little more than the Deros cares. If that makes sense. .
« Last Edit: December 21, 2020, 07:08 PM by mrB »
there's nothing like the right tool for the job

Offline afish

  • Posts: 364
Re: Which sander to buy first! - First Post in the Forum
« Reply #24 on: December 19, 2020, 03:28 PM »
I do have a tool activated vac (Fein) its handy but Its been in storage for years.  As I mentioned My shop vac is in a different building so if im only stopping for a minute or less I tend to just leave it running since its barely audible, but Its easy to turn on and off since the remote is always at hand if needed. If im just switching board out then it just stays on.  They do make aftermarket tool triggered outlets too but its been working good this way for years so I cant say I really miss it.  If I didnt have have it located where I dont have to hear it or had to tote it around it would be different story so its not that I dont see a value in a CT and was actually thinking about buying it since I have some extra funds set aside and was looking at the 48ac but just couldnt justify the purchase and add a 4th vac so I'm holding off on a CT until an actual need arises. 

Offline Thompmd

  • Posts: 202
Re: Which sander to buy first! - First Post in the Forum
« Reply #25 on: December 19, 2020, 05:04 PM »
Welcome to the Forum & Festool! Don’t go to another brand! I have the CT36/RO150. Using the FT dust extractor and sanders will change HATE to at least
hate, I think even more. As mentioned it will last for years and you’ve already got money allocated... don’t let the opportunity get away.

I promise a year from now you won’t have any regrets.
Sawstop Industrial Saw, TS75,2 1400 rails, CT36, Rotex RO 150 FEQ, CT-VA-20, Carvex PS 420 EBQ, Carvex acc. ZH-SYS-PS 400, Kapex KS 120, CT Cyclone Dust Collection Pre-Separator CT VA 20, DF 500 Q Set, Domino 1,060pc Tenon Assortment, UG-KA-SET Portable Imperial Stand & Extensions,OF1400 EQ-F-Plus, MFT/3, MFT-SP, FS-HZ 160

Offline xedos

  • Posts: 458
Re: Which sander to buy first! - First Post in the Forum
« Reply #26 on: December 19, 2020, 07:14 PM »
I do have a tool activated vac (Fein) its handy but Its been in storage for years.  As I mentioned My shop vac is in a different building so if im only stopping for a minute or less I tend to just leave it running since its barely audible, but Its easy to turn on and off since the remote is always at hand if needed. If im just switching board out then it just stays on.  They do make aftermarket tool triggered outlets too but its been working good this way for years so I cant say I really miss it.  If I didnt have have it located where I dont have to hear it or had to tote it around it would be different story so its not that I dont see a value in a CT and was actually thinking about buying it since I have some extra funds set aside and was looking at the 48ac but just couldnt justify the purchase and add a 4th vac so I'm holding off on a CT until an actual need arises.

Few people have a setup like that, and even fewer new vacuum buyers are going to go to the trouble to setup such either.

They’re too busy figuring out how to get people to “click subscribe”  [big grin]

Offline somewhereinla

  • Posts: 7
Re: Which sander to buy first! - First Post in the Forum
« Reply #27 on: December 19, 2020, 09:06 PM »
I have many Festool sanders, but if I had to only have one, I would get the RO150. One of the best and most versatile sander ever made imo.

Offline aloysius

  • Posts: 463
Re: Which sander to buy first! - First Post in the Forum
« Reply #28 on: December 19, 2020, 09:44 PM »
I don't really think you need to go to the expense of a Festool extractor.  There's plenty of much less expensive auto start/stop alternatives on the market which will amply fulfil your non-demanding requirements.

As far as a new sander is concerned, as you already have a serviceable rando there seems little point in purchasing another.  Perhaps, as others have suggested, a "standard" orbital with a delta-shaped platen would be quite versatile.  It's just about the only type that will provide access to those inconvenient nooks & crannies.

The current state of the art in delta-shaped sanders is from Mirka.  If you spend a proportion of your budget on a Mirka DEOS Delta sander & a lesser proportion on an aftermarket auto vac, then you should have lots of spare change to accumulate a selection of mesh abrasives to suit without blowing your budget.  You can always upgrade to a 125/150 Mirka DEROS rando later.
FOG-wit since '95:  Some say since birth...

Offline afish

  • Posts: 364
Re: Which sander to buy first! - First Post in the Forum
« Reply #29 on: December 19, 2020, 11:07 PM »
It really depends on what your main use is, no one sander will handle everything.  I chose the DTS over the Mirka for one really simple reason.  It has a shorter body in length.  My main need for a delta sander was for getting into drawers and a shorter body length really helps along with the angle of the hose port.  The deros looks a lot longer than the DTS so it was a no go right from the start for me. I was going to live with the 125req and dts for awhile then the 125 will most likely live in the edge sanding guide.  I was thinking of adding the ec125/150 later but I now have my eye on the 3m pneumatic RO sanders I can get almost 3 of them for the same price as the festool and I actually probably prefer pneumatic sanders for shop use but I already have a large compressor so if you dont you have to factor that in.  An electric sander is much more convenient if you do mobile work at all.   
« Last Edit: December 20, 2020, 08:24 AM by afish »