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Thread: Dust Extractors - Festool competitors

  1. #1
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    Dust Extractors - Festool competitors

    Going off the CT26 v Midi thread, who is the competition for Festool? Flex, Metabo, Bosch, Makita, Dewalt?

    Iím looking for a lower cost alternative to Festool that still performs well. It will be used for a future track saw, hand sanders, routers, etc. No big chip producers. Iím okay adding a mini cyclone separator like a dust deputy or similar to separate the fine dust.

    Currently using 10 year old Craftsman shop vac with upgraded filter.

    You guys must have experience with some of these newer units. I havenít seen many reviews of these other units for the past couple years, based on web searches.

  2. #2
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    There have been various discussions over time about this and to my recollection, at that time, "equivalent" units for performance, noise and features aren't that different in price. More recently, the familiar names have been introducing quieter, more full featured options because of the increasing popularity with contractors for actually using dust extraction from hand-held tools. There's a review article from 2018 I just found via Google search for "Alternatives to Festool Vacuum" (https://www.toolboxbuzz.com/head-to-...-head-to-head/) that has some interesting information and shows some units from the "names" relative to performance, etc. (Doesn't include some Euro options that get mentioned from time to time, however) But this last chart in the article shows that cost for this level of performance still isn't chump-change...but relative to that, this is a larger Festool CT36 which isn't really necessary for small tool collection and costs whole lot more. The other units are similar capacity, however.

    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
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    I have some Festool tools and I like them all, but I am not a Festool fanboy. I generally think they are expensive for what they are. That said, I bought both a Fein and a Festool CT-26 dust collector a couple of years ago. The Fein was supposed to be quieter and just as effective as the Festool. And it was less expensive. But it was not much quieter (I measured with an SPL meter, about a 3 dB difference) and it was definitely less effective. I also preferred the Festool's ergonomics. I returned the Fein. Two years later I am still very pleased with the Festool.

  4. #4
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    https://www.sylvane.com/nilfisk-aero...ry-vacuum.html

    I'd go with the Metabo / Starmix otherwise but it isn't inexpensive.

  5. #5
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    I own and regularly use a Festool CT-26 and prior to purchase I obsessively played with it, and a Bosch VAC090AH, and a FEIN Turbo in the 5.8 gal size. In the end I went with the CT-26 for the filter and the ease of integration with preexisting tools, but the Bosch unit is a touch less investment and was pretty darn close in performance. My only problem with it was the noise, it was significantly louder to my ear than the CT-26 (I did not measure it so I have no real data for you). I did not like the FEIN, it did not seem to perform as well as the other two. The price was yes, a wince-inducing purchase, but I gotta say, I use it daily, it never quits, and my lungs thank me. I use a regular shop vac for regular tasks like floor cleanup, and the CT-26 for tool hookup. I can tell just from the smell in the room that no dust emerges from the FT, but does from the shopvac. It is just what it is. I've used a regular shop vac with the right hose, etc, to hook up to tools prior to this, and yes there is a performance difference in the expensive unit - for the most part, zero dust emerging from the unit post bag/filter. I truly wish there was no difference, but there is.

    Buying again, I think I'll try the Bosch and better ear protection but I don't regret spending the previous money. And, one can fit the Festool hoses to the Bosch one way or another, so no worries about native fit to the various tool outputs. That being said, I am now playing with third party hoses (powertec or some such) that I've wrapped in the same fabric material as the FT hoses and achieved nearly the same performance. Next step is integrating the power cord.

  6. #6
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    I am following this thread and the others lately about extractors with interest. I am looking to buy something better than my Rigid here in the near future. Yesterday I checked out the smallest Makita (VC2512 L) offering and came away impressed. I am still researching and trying to compare ,but $450 compared to $1100 range for Festool means there had better be some huge differences in performance to justify that much difference in cost. I have worked with a Festool tracksaw/router and extractor so am familiar with how they work. (I bought a Makita tracksaw and have no plans to buy a Festool router.) For me it is just trying to figure out what I need and then looking for the best long term bang for my buck. Not yet sure where that will end up. This is not just a hobby for me as what I buy will help me put food on my table.

  7. #7
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    One thing to keep in mind, no matter what brands are in the running...if you are using the unit specifically for dust extraction from small, hand-held electric tools and not for general cleanup, you do not necessarily need the larger units with vast amounts of storage for debris. They charge a lot for that. Something smaller, but with the features you want (low noise, auto start, variable vacuum, etc) will be more cost effective. I use a cheap Ridgid shop vac for cleanup type things; my extractor (happens to be Festool) only gets used with sanders and other portables. A mini or midi is what I'd buy if I were replacing the CT22 I have now and I'd look at similar from other brands before going larger purely based on my personal usage.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  8. #8
    Have you checked out an ash vacuume? They have HEPA filters, and are extremely portable. Haven't tried one myself, but have been tempted.

  9. #9
    I have a large 5hp DC for my big tools, but at one time I used a big-box shop vac (Rigid) for smaller tools and cleanup. It had good suction but was very loud and the filter clogged super-easily; when that occurred it was virtually useless. I added a small cyclone to it and that helped a little, but not that much. So eventually I got rid of that and purchased the Milwaukee 8 gallon HEPA filtration OSHA-compliant silica dust extractor, model 8960-20. It's around $650 and works great. The filter never clogs due to a feature which automatically cleans the filter every few seconds. It's much more quiet than a standard shop vac, and has great suction. It's not rated as highly as the top-of-the-line Hilti, but it's close. Also I am slowly grinding smooth the concrete floor in my garage workshop, so I wanted a unit which was approved for silica dust. Along with additional safety gear, of course, it works great for this. One of the characteristics of a silica-certified dust extractor is the ability to remove the collection bag without allowing dust to escape. The fleece bags for this unit have a paper flap which is used to seal the opening when the bag is removed - this is great for wood dust, too.

    Downsides to this unit? Price is one - but all similar units are in this price range, more or less. The other thing is that even though this can hold 8 gallons of dust, that is only theoretical. In reality, the HEPA filter is inside the dust collection area and takes up at least a third of the internal volume, maybe more. So there is no way the bags will actually contain 8 gallons of dust when full. Maybe 4-5 gallons. You could certainly add a cyclone to make any of these vacuums a two-stage unit. But with silica or other really harmful dust, that is probably not a good idea, unless you are using a cyclone intended for the purpose.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    One thing to keep in mind, no matter what brands are in the running...if you are using the unit specifically for dust extraction from small, hand-held electric tools and not for general cleanup, you do not necessarily need the larger units with vast amounts of storage for debris. They charge a lot for that. Something smaller, but with the features you want (low noise, auto start, variable vacuum, etc) will be more cost effective. I use a cheap Ridgid shop vac for cleanup type things; my extractor (happens to be Festool) only gets used with sanders and other portables. A mini or midi is what I'd buy if I were replacing the CT22 I have now and I'd look at similar from other brands before going larger purely based on my personal usage.
    I bought my Festool CT48 because it would be more economical in the long term, factoring in the cost of the bags. (The unit itself is not _that_ much more expensive than the CT26.) Once I realized how quickly I was going through bags, I bought a Dust Deputy. If I had to do it all over again, I would have gotten the CT26.

  11. #11
    What do you find lacking in your current set-up? The answer to that might guide a decision.

  12. #12
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    Not trying to derail this thread... But what features do you guys with Festool vacs appreciate the most ? I want the automatic on when I trigger my power tool switch. What about variable suction ? What about shaker or other self cleaning HEPA filter ?

  13. #13
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    Noise level, auto-on with the tool and variable vacuum when sanding, especially as one works up to finer and finer abrasives. Too much "suction" causes the tool to "stick" to the workpiece and makes it harder to sand. Even the non-HEPA versions filter reasonably well with the OEM bags. The unit rolls easily and has a very heavy and LONG power cord, too.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  14. #14
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    Like Jim said, the new major tool brand HEPA vacs are geared towards the pro contractor market, and that's a good thing. I posted on the other thread that I like the Dewalt. Jim's chart has it over $500, last one I bought was under $300. Excellent bang for the $. Comparing it to my Festool 26 that I never let the crew use, I like the Festool shape better, but not 3x the price better. Inches of vacuum and cfm don't care what color of machine produces them, it'd be interesting to see a head to head quantifiable comparison. I bet Festool wouldn't win by performance. Packaging possibly, it is a slick machine. Rolls great while carrying a load of tools in systainers.

  15. #15
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    Jim the only problem with Rob’s test is that he used the 36 AC version of Festool’s vac which made it way more expensive than comparable competitors. The rest of the test was fine since the turbine doing the sucking is the same throughout the large lineup.

    Doug , you talked yourself into that vac or didn’t do the math correctly because festool ups the price on bags and capacity and vacs in a linear fashion. You are paying roughly the same per metric whether you get the small capacity vac or the super sized one.

    You are also paying up front for a separator to save on bag cost way down the road. Which seems counterintuitive for someone paying $500+ plus for a shop vacuum. Akin to buying a Benz and whining about the cost of the premium fuel you need to feed it.

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