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Thread: Festool RO 125 or 150?

  1. #1
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    Festool RO 125 or 150?

    As I continue to slide around on this slippery slope of buying Festool tools, I'm now deliberating over their Rotax sanders. At first glance it looks as if the primary difference between the 125 and 150 is the pad size. I haven't actually fondled either, so I don't know about physical size. The specs say the 150 is about a pound heavier..... I'm inclined to go with the 125, because I have several boxes of 5" sand paper for my collection of 5" ROSs. If I do buy one of these sanders, I figured I'd ask this crowd for input first...... If I get the 125, will I regret not getting the 150? Is there a not so obvious attribute the 150 has over the smaller sander?

  2. #2
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    Michael,

    I just bought a Rotex and got the 125 for the same reason you're considering. I have an ECS 125 and I didn't want to have to stock 2 sizes of sandpaper. The only difference I'm aware of between the two is the pad size. You can cover more area with the 150, but I've never felt I was at a disadvantage with the 125. The extra pound of the 150 would be a disadvantage for me, especially after sanding a large project. And on narrower pieces, like rails and stiles, I would think the larger size would be a disadvantage. But I've never used the 150 so I could be way off base. And the 125 costs less.

    Cliff
    Mudhead: "Doesn't Louise count?" Porgy: "Only to 10, Mudhead."

  3. #3
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    I have the Rotex 150 and don't find the weight to be a problem. Most of the time I am sanding in the horizontal though.

    If you already have an ETS 125, it may make more sense financially (sander and sandpaper) to stay that size unless you have a need for the larger sanding area.

    The extra weight does allow you to only exert minimal downward pressure for most sanding and it is about 40%+ more sanding area for the 150.

    I can sand faces of face frame parts with it but not the edges, too tippy and that may be true for a 125 as well. I have a RTS 400 for small narrow parts.

  4. #4
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    I have the Rotex 150. It is a beast, but that is why I bought it; it does what I want which is fast removal.

  5. #5
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    Why do you want the Rotex? Do you have heavy stock removal requirements that will justify the slightly more awkward balance that the Rotex sanders bring along with their versatility? If you are going to primarily be doing normal finish sanding, opt for the non-Rotex tool. Rotex tends to be a "two hand" sander because of its robustness and balance...great when you are digging into something, but not great if you are sanding something that you have use the tool in one hand and hold the workpiece with the other. I use my Rotex about 2-3% of the time. All the rest of my sanding gives the nod to the 150/3. (My Rotex is also 150mm sized)

    The top 125mm (5") sander can also take a larger 150mm pad; but the reverse is not true, in case that helps.
    --

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

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Why do you want the Rotex? Do you have heavy stock removal requirements that will justify the slightly more awkward balance that the Rotex sanders bring along with their versatility? If you are going to primarily be doing normal finish sanding, opt for the non-Rotex tool. Rotex tends to be a "two hand" sander because of its robustness and balance...great when you are digging into something, but not great if you are sanding something that you have use the tool in one hand and hold the workpiece with the other. I use my Rotex about 2-3% of the time. All the rest of my sanding gives the nod to the 150/3. (My Rotex is also 150mm sized)

    The top 125mm (5") sander can also take a larger 150mm pad; but the reverse is not true, in case that helps.
    I agree with Jim. I have the Rotex 150 and the ETS 125. In my view, the rotex is a specialty tool which has it’s place and excels in hogging out lots of material or sanding very large surfaces, but it’s a two-handed operation. It has pretty much replaced my belt sander, but for normal sanding 90% of the time I use the 5” ETS because it’s so much lighter and easier to control.
    There is a very fine line between “hobby” and “mental illness.” - Dave Barry

  7. #7
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    This is way I asked.....I have never used any of the Festool sanders. Considering their price point, it's not a decision I want to regret.

    I only assumed the smaller 125 Rotex would be easier to use and if the machine was used in "finishing" mode, it would not require two hands. If that is not the case, it'll probably not see much use. To be transparent, I have been looking at one of the AirVantage sanders to get something with a lower center of gravity https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HYL5RJK...v_ov_lig_dp_it. The 125 Rotex sander looked like it might fill that "want", but also serve dual purpose as a material hogger.....

  8. #8
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    I started out with the need to handle large panels. I planned on running the RO 150 up to 180 grit and switching to an ETS 125 for 220 and up. The little sander was purchased a whim and has not yet been used.

  9. #9
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    May 2020
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    I have the RO 150 and the ETS 150. Having bought the ETS first and having a substantial investment in Festool paper I ended up going with the Rotex 150 for that very reason. As others mentioned the Rotex can get a bit squirrely and you generally need to hold it with 2 hands. They make a front handle for the 150 that I feel is mandatory with this machine to really control it. https://www.amazon.com/Festool-49518...s%2C246&sr=8-1

    All said, I don't use it a ton but love it when I do. It's a beast for hogging off material.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Drew View Post
    This is way I asked.....I have never used any of the Festool sanders. Considering their price point, it's not a decision I want to regret.
    I can put your mind at ease. Doesn't matter which one you buy you will not regret it- except you will want to buy more and more Festool products. After you get either it is difficult to use any Bosch, Makita, Ryobi product without being disappointed.

  11. #11
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    Nov 2006
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    Why don’t you get the Bosch GET75 in 5” amd 6” size?

    You’ll spend the same money as a rotex , but get two sanders.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Drew View Post
    This is way I asked.....I have never used any of the Festool sanders. Considering their price point, it's not a decision I want to regret.

    I only assumed the smaller 125 Rotex would be easier to use and if the machine was used in "finishing" mode, it would not require two hands. If that is not the case, it'll probably not see much use.
    It's probably a tough situation in your geography, but if by chance there are any retailers that handle Festool in your area, go there and put them in your hand. The other good thing is that you can return Festool if you are not satisfied. I think that probably the most universal choice right now in the Festool sander line is the 125mm that can also take the 150mm platter. That extra 25mm/1" of disk can be handy on larger surfaces while the 125mm is slightly more maneuverable.
    --

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

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Sabo View Post
    Why don’t you get the Bosch GET75 in 5” amd 6” size?

    You’ll spend the same money as a rotex , but get two sanders.
    That sander in the 5" version has been in my Amazon shopping list for a few weeks now. I was actually thinking about buying it, as well as the smaller AirAVantage palm sander. Both would be about the same cost as one of the Rotex sanders.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    It's probably a tough situation in your geography, but if by chance there are any retailers that handle Festool in your area, go there and put them in your hand. The other good thing is that you can return Festool if you are not satisfied. I think that probably the most universal choice right now in the Festool sander line is the 125mm that can also take the 150mm platter. That extra 25mm/1" of disk can be handy on larger surfaces while the 125mm is slightly more maneuverable.
    Good advice Jim. The dealer is roughly 300 miles away, and they are having difficulty keeping stock. This pandemic has been a boon for my favorite hardware/wooking supply store. Lot's of folks have more time to fiddle in their work shops......(myself included). Having said that, the Rotex sanders do seem a bit bulky to me. I can see the value though......

    I've got the smaller domino, midi vac, track saw, and the latest Festool purchase was the OF1400 router.

  14. #14
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    I'm glad I have my Rotex 150 for when it's the right tool for the job, but I'm even more glad I have my 150/3 which has been a constant sanding companion for many years now. I actually bought the Rotex originally when I was reconditioning some tractor implements and needed some heavy sanding capability. I've used it for smoothing really large things from time to time and for shaping wood, so it's paid for itself, despite the limited use. Even though my older 105/3 is pretty heavy and not quite as elegant as the current version, it's vibration free and the dust collection is excellent. One of the reasons for that is Festool putting that center hole in the abrasive and pad. That's the sport that sanding debris tends to pile up on many sanders which can lead to shorter abrasive life and also negatively affect the sanding quality in some cases. I've toyed with getting one of the 125mm sanders, too, but have never executed on that to-date.

    And yea...supplies are constrained, both due to the large uptick in projects as well as the expected manufacturing challenges during the pandemic. That's across all the names, too.
    --

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

  15. #15
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    Apr 2006
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    Phoenix AZ Area
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    I started with 6" because in my experience I can get surfaces flatter with a 6" sander. But.....my investment of like 15 boxes of 50pc of 6" Festool paper keeps me from adding a 5" sander. I'd like one for edges but I hate to buy a bunch of 5" paper. Depends I suppose on how much paper you have. I don't think the 1 lb weight difference would be enough for me to give up the much larger pad area of 6" over 5". For the math people in the crowd, the 5" sander has 19.6" of area and the 6" sander has 28.2" of area, or 44% more sanding area.

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