The Festool ETS 150/3 EQ 6 inch sander is a very well thought out product. Nearly every aspect of the Festool Sander is designed that way for a reason, some of these reasons don’t become evident until you’ve used the Sander. Starting with the case that the product comes in, it may look odd at first but this is a hardcase that is actually easy to fit the cord into, pretty rare actually, and even cooler it will connect to other Festool Systainer cases making it easy to take tools to a jobsite.
Next I noticed the cord, not only does it detach from the sander (I wish all sanders did this) but it has a locking connector preventing accidental disconnection. The benefits of a cord that detaches from the tool are that if you accidentally cut your cord, order a new one plug it in and go. Another nice feature is the cord is long enough that you can move around and sand anywhere on your project.
Next I noticed the large number of sanding discs included in the case. I don’t remember exactly how many were included and the sander is in my shop now but it has a variety of grits from 80-320 and 5 of each disc. The Festool six inch discs use a hole pattern unique to Festool sanders which seems really increase the efficiency of the dust extraction system. When a vacuum is connected during sanding there is very little dust left on the workpiece, pretty rare with a random orbit sander.
So how does it work?
Once the sander was on I first noticed that the switch has two modes. One only activates the sander when the trigger is pulled and the other allows you to lock the switch down for continuous sanding. Next I was absolutely amazed at how smooth, quiet, and powerful the motor was. The motor is smoother than I would imagine those custom made tools astronauts use to repair the space station. In no time at all this sander leaves you with a fantastic surface. The short stroke seems to leave a slightly finer surface that I’ve had from other sanders. The lower position of the handle makes it much easier to keep flat, hopefully this will equate to no more burned/rounded edges on projects.
As you can see the festool has a nice size advantage over a 5 inch sander (about 44% larger sanding area) this will translate to jobs getting done quicker with a surface quality that is slightly higher than using most 5 inch random orbit sanders. The foam backing on the festool is quite a bit thicker making transitions a bit smoother and sanding bumps out slightly quicker.
I’ve been curious about Festool products since the first time I saw them at a woodcraft store. They’re kinda funny looking come in quirky looking cases and have higher price tags than other tools. What you get for that extra money is a well thought out product. Nearly every feature on the tool is designed to provide the user with a better experience. Additionally, the build quality is tremendous the more you use your tools the more you appreciate things like low noise levels, smooth operation and replaceable parts. At $285 this sander is definitely more expensive than other options, however the product you get is well worth what you pay for. If you are serious about your projects and don’t want to ever have to buy another random orbit sander than you should seriously consider giving the Festool a try. I am so impressed by this product that I will definitely be looking into getting additional festool products for my shop.