Author Topic: ETS 150 vs Rotex  (Read 16525 times)

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Offline pbarnum

  • Posts: 4
ETS 150 vs Rotex
« on: March 18, 2010, 12:04 PM »
I am planning to buy a CT dust collector and sander.  I have heard people get pretty excited about the Rotex.  When I read the reviews in the magazines it gets less rave reviews.  Does anyone use both the Rotex 150 and the ETS 150?  Which one do you use for most of your work?  Do you notice one being more comfortable to use?

Thank you for thoughts.

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Offline jonny round boy

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Re: ETS 150 vs Rotex
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2010, 12:31 PM »

firstly, welcome to the forum.

This topic has been discussed many, many times on here. Some prefer the dual-actions of the Rotex, others the smoother, less fatiguing ETS. I suggest you use the search function at the top of the page - this will bring up quite a bit of reading for you!

Hope that helps!
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Offline rwdawson

  • Posts: 134
Re: ETS 150 vs Rotex
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2010, 12:33 PM »
I won't point you to any specific threads; using the search feature on this forum will provide more hits than any human should have to ask for.

Most people look at the Rotex as a very versatile sander that can handle anything from heavy material removal using the coarsest grits up to polishing.  I have used mine to refinish a floor, for example, taking advantage of the dual mode feature.

I also own the ETS 150/3, which I see as a finishing sander.

The two provide different functionality.  Answers to your question will probably fall into three categories: 1) Those who use the Rotex for everything they do, 2) Those who use just the ETS, 3) Those who use both.  The reasons for the groupings of usage generally are aligned with the type of work each person does.

I hope this helps,


Offline Peterm

  • Posts: 262
  • I work with wood in West London, UK
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Re: ETS 150 vs Rotex
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2010, 12:40 PM »
Welcome to FOG. I have the older Rotex 150E and the ETS 150/5 - there's also an ETS 150/3 with a finer stroke, more for fine finishing work, but I don't have that. The Rotex is part of my 'holy trinity' of sanders ((Rotex, Duplex, Deltex) that travels with me all the time, but in terms of use personally I prefer the 150/5 - it's lighter, easier to handle and just fits my hands better; I pack the Rotex with me because it can do more, and I never know quite what I'm going to be coming up against. Also, the newer version has had a bit of ergonomic work done, I think, that makes it easier to hold; there are plenty of Rotex users here, so I'm sure they'll be along to chip in soon.

Bottom line I think is that if you can only have one sander (for now, at least) then the Rotex is a great place to start.

HTH, Pete.

BTW, I think this thread may get more responses if it was in General Discussions rather than Tool Reviews - maybe one of the mods can move it if necessary??.
The only thing worse than spending more than you need is spending less than you should have...

Offline PeterK

  • Posts: 956
Re: ETS 150 vs Rotex
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2010, 01:50 PM »
I have the new version Rotex and the ETS150/3. These are used in my hobby shop only. For all general purpose sanding - wether aggressive or fine work, the ETS150/3 gets almost all the use. I can always use a courser grit on the ETS to be more aggressive. The ETS balances without having to think about it and is so easy to control. The Rotex is terrific but harder to control, needs to be balanced while in use and heavier. It is terrific for heavy duty usage almost like a grinder and can be used for finer work as well. The Rotex sure can work faster if speed is a critical need and you will get very good results after a little practice but is just not as simple/easy to use. Several times I have over sanded with the Rotex cutting dips into the surface or reducing edge thickness on a top just due to it's fast action even in the random orbit smoothing mode. You do need to concentrate more handling the Rotex.

Offline festooltim

  • Posts: 332
Re: ETS 150 vs Rotex
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2010, 09:16 PM »
I have just the Rotex its a great sander to take to the job.  It makes quick work of whatever you might run into very versatile, if your in the shop and just doing finish work the ETS 150 would be easier to handle.
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Offline Peter Halle

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Re: ETS 150 vs Rotex
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2010, 09:46 PM »
This is an interesting post to me.  I have had the Rotex for several years.  My ETS 150/3 will be delivered tomorrow.  I look forward to trying it out.  Thank you Bob Marino for your assistance for handling this sale and getting it here so quickly!


Offline RL

  • Posts: 3038
Re: ETS 150 vs Rotex
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2010, 10:01 PM »
Perhaps the Rotex 125 should be included in your comparison as it is lighter and easier to handle than the 150.

I would think that your local dealer could set you up with a demo of all three. I went to the store wit the intention of buying a Rotex 150 and after demo'ing both walked out with a Rotex 125 and a CT22.

And the Festool journey began. Several Festools later...

Offline jo041326

  • Posts: 76
  • Czech republic
Re: ETS 150 vs Rotex
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2010, 04:08 AM »
I absolutely agree with above comments. If you can afford just one sander, go for a Rotex. Amazing sander capable of agressive and also very fine sanding. But as others said, you must be careful with it. Otherwise you will have a hole in your piece. I'm sanding up to 120 (150) grit with Rotex, than continue with ETS. BTW, if you buy Rotex 125 your sanding sheets won't be compatible with ETS.

Offline jzaavy

  • Posts: 12
Re: ETS 150 vs Rotex
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2010, 12:59 PM »
I was in your position a couple of months ago. I decided back then to buy a CT22 and an ets 150/3.

Would I do it again? Probably not.

I dont think I would choose the Rotex. I think it is:

1- way to loud for me (personal thing here... I really hate noise. Rather dumb since furniture shop = noise)

2- I find it too bulky.

Then, I feel it take forever to sand with the ets/3. I think I would choose the ets 150/5 if I would do it again.

Then again, I think at the end the most important choice is the sandpapers. I dont know yet why or how, but Rubin and me are not friends. I dont have any argument, there is something I just dont understand. I just wish I could stick my good ol' Premier Red on it.

Hopefully it will help.



Offline woodguy7

  • Posts: 2727
Re: ETS 150 vs Rotex
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2010, 02:46 PM »
I have both & if i had to give one away it would be the 150/3.  Don't get me wrong, it is a fantastic sander but the Rotex can do a wider range of things.  It really depends on your type of usage.  If you think you could be doing everything from sanding old floorboards right up to table tops then the Rotex is for you.  If you work is mainly the finer side of things then the ETS is a lovely sander to use.  The Rotex can get a bit tiring after a while.  Off course the ideal solution would be to buy both  [wink]

But like jzaavy said, the 150/5 might be a reasonable compromise but i have never used one.

« Last Edit: May 22, 2010, 02:48 PM by woodguy7 »
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Offline Chris Meggersee

  • Posts: 387
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Re: ETS 150 vs Rotex
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2010, 03:02 PM »
I don't own a ETS 150/3 nor have I used one but I do own a Rotex 125 and I can recomend it to anyone. Like woodguy7 said its dual function makes it very versatile from rough to smooth sanding it will do well. Just make sure you get the new model from your dealer, I've been having some issues with that.
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Offline pbarnum

  • Posts: 4
Re: ETS 150 vs Rotex
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2010, 10:10 AM »
I havn't been checking in on this topic for awhile.  I was surprised to see it back at the top of the board and realized that I have not posted about my decision etc.

So, first thank you to everyone for your thoughts.  At some point I would love to have both the ETS 150/3 and the rotex.  I had to make to make a choice due to a lack of the almighty curly greenstuff.  

I ended up choosing the ETS 150/3.  Mostly because of a tool review from Finewoodworking showed that the 150/3 was actually more aggressive than the rotex in the fine sanding mode.  I try to not to put too much stock into a single tool review but, I really like to make decisions based on data.  That is just how I am wired, I guess.  I was also concerned abit about balance and fatigue.  

I have used it to sand white oak trim and red oak veneer doors.  I loved it.  It sands with minimal effort and dust collection is awesome.  Not that my wife is excited about the purchase but she loves the fact that there is not a dust plume traveling throughout the house when I am working on finishing the basement.  I think that type of work is exactly what the ETS is made for.  By the way, I quickly had to get the delta sander to get into corners.  It also works well but is no where near the tool of the ETS (just my opinion).  

The real test... I have been using it to sand down honeylocust tongue and groove paneling that I have as a wainscotting in my basement.  Honeylocust is very hard lumber.  The grain goes in seven directions at one point (there was some tearout from planing).  I think this is the job the rotex was made for.  The ETS is working well but it takes time.  I learned to change sandpaper more frequently, that has helped.  I should have had some 60 grit to start with rather than 80 and that would have helped too.

At the end of the day... I am very happy with my purchase.  I will own a rotex at some point but the next purchase has to be the OF1400.

« Last Edit: May 27, 2010, 11:04 AM by pbarnum »

Offline voodoochile

  • Posts: 8
Re: ETS 150 vs Rotex
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2010, 06:23 AM »
Nice choice! I had tried both Rotex and ETS150/3, and ended up with the 150/3.
I think if you honestly were only going to get one, that the Rotex might be the wiser choice. In my case, despite my best efforts, I typically end up getting more specific tools rather than less multi-use tools, so I tried to be proavtive and take the high road initially.

As (I think) I said before, Festool only seems expensive prior to use. After you give them a good real-world workout, their value becomes much clearer. Probably why they can afford to offer the money-back guarantee. I'd like to see the numbers for returns within the guarantee period for 'dissatisfied' versus 'I wish I bought a different model'. My guess is that many more of the few returns are for the latter reason.