Aggressiveness: This is not an aggressive sander for a 6” model.…
In fact, during tests to sand away the white melamine coating from particleboard, the ETS150 was beaten by one 5” model and nearly equaled by another. It needed about 65% more time to do the same job as the two most aggressive 6” sanders (Ridgid and Bosch). But even Festool admits this is not meant to be an aggressive-removal tool. They sell their Rotex sanders for that purpose, with settings for two different orbital settings, both more aggressive than the ETS150. But, that said, if this was your only sander, it will eventually do the job, but you will use more sanding discs to do the same work compared to several of the other 6” models. Finish quality: This is where the ETS150 really shines: executing a perfect finish. In our sanding-quality tests, this sander produced a scratch-free finish after sanding to 180 grit. All the other sanders needed to go to 220 to equal the results. So this is a time- and cost-saver (fewer discs used, especially in the 150 & 180 grit ranges). Dust collection: This sander comes with a plastic mounting plate and one paper bag that mount on the 1” port. But it’s of little use. The ETS150 did an unacceptable job collecting dust into the bag—worst among the sanders that included a bag or canister. And to top it off, the airflow actually blew the bag off the plastic holder several times during testing. If you decide to use the bags—but why would you?—you have to buy replacements at $2 each. When we hooked this sander up to a shop vacuum, it did an exceptional job of collecting the dust it created. Festool’s unique 9-hole pad has a center hole that blows air onto the board, helping to direct dust from the center to the 8 holes along the perimeter. This sander needs to be used with a vacuum. But you don’t have to use their vac—any one with a hose that fits the port will work. Vibration/Comfort: This sander is a joy to use (when hooked to a vacuum) because it’s well balanced—you can hold it either by the motor housing, on top, or by the handle without affecting your ability to control it. The switch is easy to reach and operate, as is the switch lock. And it’s the smoothest-running sander in the test with the least vibration. Other factors: Sanding discs were easy to change but gripped well during use without coming off. It’s also easy to change the sanding pad if needed (and it will eventually wear out and need replaced, they all do) with just one screw, and the hex wrench to do so is included and stores on the sander. The sander comes, like all Festool tools, in a very nice modular Systainer plastic storage box that’s easy to repack, and also stacks up nicely with other Systainers and locks together into a larger stack. The twist-lock cord detaches from the tool for easier storage.
Ease of Use
out of 5