Author Topic: Rotex vs ETS vs ETS EC  (Read 2197 times)

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Offline Tomsim

  • Posts: 13
Rotex vs ETS vs ETS EC
« on: September 18, 2018, 11:20 AM »
Hi all!

I cannot decide what sander should I buy so i'm asking for some help. I'm a hobby woodworker.

I have used Bosch GEX 150 AC a lot for may projects. Its 3727devs in the US. I dont have access to it so frequently any more, so i decided to buy a sander for myself.
I also own Makita 4" belt sander. It's a 6kg beast and I dont enjoy using it, but it does the job when needed. But can also destroy the workpiece in a second if not careful.
I also use it as a stationary sander sometimes, but i may even sell it if i decide to buy Rotex.

I was satisfied with the Bosch for fine sanding (but too slow for cleaning glueups etc) so i even considered buying a new one for myself, or maybe the dual mode version (Turbo or 1250devs in US). Went to my local dealer, and saw that its not made in Switzerland any more. Its probably still good, especialy  for a hobbyst, but I decided my new sander will be black and green :) The same thing happend with jigsaw. Planed to buy a Bosch GST 160 CE, but ended with a Carvex :)

I do projects around the house. Shelves, nightstands, table, bar stool, wooden clock, bed, cutting boards...
I dont own a jointer. When i prepare rough timber for jointing/glueing i usually do it with a router and router planing sled and a track saw.
When i sand, i usualy dont go over 400 grit, only between coats. I dont enjoy sanding very much. I never sand more than 30minn, but i like a smooth sanded wood, and i like it as soon as posible.

Initialy i thougth geting a Rotex RO125 would be the best option. But than i've read that its not as stable as RO150, so i thougth gettin a RO150. More i searched i thougth ETS 150/5 would be best allaround sander because Rotex is to rough. Then i thougth the EC version is better, but than i read that its not as stable as non EC version. Then i thougth ETS 125 EC wold be best because it can accept 150 pads if needed, but has only 3mm orbit, so im worried it will be too fine sander for me, since iz will be my only sander, so ill have to do a lot of sanding to get to the finish.
And then when i gave up of Rotex, i saw this Festool video where a guy sands only in Rotex mode and gets a swirl free glosy finish... Im confused.




I know that every one of these sanders will be ok for me, but i'd like to buy the one that is the best for my needs, since it will be my only sander. They are all from 400 to 530 euro price range.
I dont have a Festool dealer localy so i cannot try it side by side. I have to order online. I also dont have a Festool dust extractor, just a regular shopvac that i use with my powertools. But i plan to upgrade to MIDI in near future.

I know this is a long post, but it may help you helping me make a decision :)

Thank you for the suggestions.






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Online grobkuschelig

  • Posts: 407
Re: Rotex vs ETS vs ETS EC
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2018, 12:00 PM »
This might not be what you want to hear, but I would suggest a RTS400 (or cordless RTSC).

I had a lonely old Bosch RO with a 125 pad, that I had inherited in the beginning.
Was fine for sanding, but not the bees knees....

Now I have: RO90, Rotex 150, ETS EC 150/5, RTSC 400, Bosch bandsander 75

Being in your position with a band sander at hand, I would opt to keep the RTSC400.
It is powerful enough for the normal sanding I come across as a hobbyist (Sheet goods, some hardwood, finishing etc...). It is also gentle enough to not ruin a piece I spent hours to make.

A second option would be the ETS EC. The weight and features like the break etc. Make it very versatile.
But the round pad does not fit into corners...

Hope this helps. [emoji51]

Maybe check with your dealer if you can loan the sanders for a weekend to try out. Festool dealers in my area do this and it allows to form a better opinion of ones needs.

Good luck with your choice!

Offline l0pht

  • Posts: 6
Re: Rotex vs ETS vs ETS EC
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2018, 08:03 PM »
Just picked up an ets ec 150/5 and can’t say enough good things about it.


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Offline SilviaS7

  • Posts: 25
Re: Rotex vs ETS vs ETS EC
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2018, 08:45 PM »
I have not used any other Festool sander than the one that I own, the ETS EC 125/3.  This little dude is powerful enough that I used it to sand my hardwood floors in some corners and other hard-to-reach spots around moulding/casework.  So powerful enough to sand a floor, but fine enough for more delicate work, like sanding some brush lines out of dried paint so I can get that nice super smooth paint finish without an airbrush/sprayer.  I love the sander and can't recommend it enough.  Also - the vibrations on this are so tiny compared to other detail sanders I have tried I almost though I didn't turn it on properly when I first used it.

Offline Sometimewoodworker

  • Posts: 721
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Re: Rotex vs ETS vs ETS EC
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2018, 08:55 PM »
I've got a Rotex150, DTS400, ETS150/3

The Rotex can do everything the dts and ets can do and very much more. If I could only have 1 it would be the Rotex.

The only downside of the Rotex is weight the other two are much lighter or more balanced so I don't have to hold at the correct angle.

The Rotex will be able to give a better finish.
Jerome
TS55, OF1400, Elu MOF96, Rotex150, DTS400, ETS150/3 Domino, MFK700, CXS, HL 850, Trend T11, Makita LS1212, Original Mini CV06 Cyclone, Workshop supplies drum sander, & WoodRat. Don't have don't want list: MFT
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Offline Alanbach

  • Posts: 165
Re: Rotex vs ETS vs ETS EC
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2018, 12:18 AM »
I agree with sometimewoodworker completely that if I could only have one sander it would be a Rotex. Just know that the Rotex is a big heavy powerful beast that can also be a very capable finish sander. It is very versatile but know that it is a two handed sander and almost twice the weight as the ETS EC’s. Using it for flat work is great. If you have to use it vertically you are not going to like it as much.

My first FT sander was an ETS EC 125 and it is an awesome finish sander that has a lot of power given it’s size. Later on, I bought a Rotex 125 for heavier end grain work. I use it for heavy work and then go right back to the EC. If I had to do it all over again I would have bought the Sanders in 150 mm format because the lineup in 150 mm is a little more extensive.  In the ETS EC’s they make a 3mm stroke or a 5mm stroke in the 150mm whereas they only make it in a 3mm stroke in the 125. In comparison, the Rotex has a 3.6 mm stroke in random orbit mode.

I think that most of FT users here would tell you that the FT Sanders are much better than most other sanders out there but here’s the thing. They make a lot of Sanders. They are more specialized than just about anything else out there. Each sander does one or two things better than all the others but many other things quite well. My bet is that once you have a FT sander you will start to like sanding more. I would also bet that your first one does not stay your only one for too long.

Offline ben_r_

  • Posts: 1087
Re: Rotex vs ETS vs ETS EC
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2018, 11:40 AM »
If I were only going to own one sander and was working on the types of projects you listed, there is no way I would go for a Rotex. They are way too heavy and large for those types of applications IMO. The ETS EC was made to be that all around RO sander and should cover all those tasks you mentioned with excellent results, ease of use, good dust collection and easy handling.
If at first you don't succeed, redefine success!

Offline Alanbach

  • Posts: 165
Re: Rotex vs ETS vs ETS EC
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2018, 12:50 PM »
I get it Ben R, but the reason I said Rolex is because there were two places in the OP’s post where he indicated that he was not a patient sander. Also, I looked up the Bosch sander that he used and it is over 6 pounds so he is accustomed to a big heavy beast. His complaint about it was that it did not have enough power for the tough jobs, not that it was too big and heavy. As you know, he won’t have any power complaints with the Rotex. If he still leans to the ETS EC, I would recommend the 150/5 model so that he gets some more aggression since that seems to be what he has been wanting. Also please remember that online or not if you buy from a FT authorized dealer there is still a thirty day return policy (in the US).So if you pick wrong you can just send it back.

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 4933
Re: Rotex vs ETS vs ETS EC
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2018, 03:33 PM »
Having used and owned every Festool sander except for the Planex, for your work I’d recommend the ETS EC 125 and then purchase a 150 mm pad and use that for your larger items. 

The Rotex will sand the quickest but it certainly isn’t “fun” to use. After using the Rotex you’ll still hate sanding.  [smile]

The ETS EC 125/150 combo is a joy to use. It’s more aggressive than the older ETS product line, yet it’s light weight, stable and smooth. I use it on drywall, ply and hardwood and use the 150 pad when sanding table surfaces or countertops. It also works well on vertical surfaces.

Offline Alex

  • Posts: 5697
Re: Rotex vs ETS vs ETS EC
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2018, 11:43 PM »
The Rotex will sand the quickest but it certainly isn’t “fun” to use.

Wut? [blink] Been Rotexing all day the last week and I thoroughly enjoyed it!  [big grin]

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 4933
Re: Rotex vs ETS vs ETS EC
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2018, 12:05 AM »
Wut? [blink] Been Rotexing all day the last week and I thoroughly enjoyed it!  [big grin]

You’re just a lot younger than I am Alex...that explains it all.

Rotexing...you’ve just introduced a new word to the woodworking vernacular...I rather like it.  [smile]

And at the same time, I abhor the act of Rotexing...it rather reminds me so much of using an edger.

Offline rmhinden

  • Posts: 63
Re: Rotex vs ETS vs ETS EC
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2018, 12:22 PM »
One of the nice things about Internet forums is that you will get responses that justify any purchase :-)

In my case, I currently have a RO 90 and an ETS 125 REQ.   I am not a professional and these meet my needs.  The ETS 125 is light and easy to use (and not too expensive), the RO 90 works well on smaller stock and with the delta pad I can get into corners.

The EST 125 was my first Festool sander, I added the RO90 later.   

Have fun!
Bob

Offline John Beauchamp

  • Posts: 103
Re: Rotex vs ETS vs ETS EC
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2018, 04:43 PM »
I am not a festool fanboy but I am a festool user. The best thing I can say about their tools is you can try them out for thirty days, and if it doesn't do what you want return it for your money back. I would never make a tool decision based on what I heard here  as you can see the opinions are all over the place. I have both ro90 and ro150 and do not find them hard to use however i'm fairly strong in my hands and arms. I'm a professional cabinet maker and use these two sanders almost exclusively. I listened to all the chatter about how difficult these sanders were to use and get used to but did not find this to be the case for me. If I wanted another sander I'd just pick one and try it out, if it didn't fit my uses I'd try another one until
I found what did. If you're going to pay 3 times as much for Festool you might as well take advantage of their return policy and get what works for you not what works for someone else.   
 
TS55REQ, MFT/3, RO90, CT36, DF500

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 4933
Re: Rotex vs ETS vs ETS EC
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2018, 05:41 PM »
If you're going to pay 3 times as much for Festool you might as well take advantage of their return policy and get what works for you not what works for someone else.   
 

Great point.  [big grin]
« Last Edit: September 20, 2018, 07:05 PM by Cheese »

Offline Sometimewoodworker

  • Posts: 721
    • Jerome's  Other work
Re: Rotex vs ETS vs ETS EC
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2018, 11:21 AM »
Having used and owned every Festool sander except for the Planex, for your work I’d recommend the ETS EC 125 and then purchase a 150 mm pad and use that for your larger items. 

The Rotex will sand the quickest but it certainly isn’t “fun” to use. After using the Rotex you’ll still hate sanding.  [smile]


Having a Rotex 150 myself I find it fun to use, if I wanted to as Tomsim has said "cleaning glueups etc" then while the ETS is a nice sander it almost certainly isn't much if any more aggressive than the Bosch GEX 150 AC  so would probably not be a good choice. The Rotex is from the information he posted the better one to try as it can do everything the ETS can do and quite a lot more and can certainly smooth rough surfaces much faster than the ETS.

I have gone from a rough sawn board to a beautiful glass smooth surface with the Rotex without difficulty, something I would never try with my ETS.
Jerome
TS55, OF1400, Elu MOF96, Rotex150, DTS400, ETS150/3 Domino, MFK700, CXS, HL 850, Trend T11, Makita LS1212, Original Mini CV06 Cyclone, Workshop supplies drum sander, & WoodRat. Don't have don't want list: MFT
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Offline Gregor

  • Posts: 975
Re: Rotex vs ETS vs ETS EC
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2018, 05:45 PM »
Had a longer talk with a sander specialized festool rep at the last roadshow about fitting 150mm pads on 125mm sanders.

His argument was that, while it's possible to attach a bigger pad, it's not a good idea as the unbalanced mass in the sander is designed for a certain mass configuration. Attaching a bigger pad changes the dynamics, leading to less performanc and/or more vibrations ending up on the user end of the tool and/or moving the EOL of the modified machine quite farer to the current point in time as the user might like (and/or expect).

Which I found reasonable as a technical argument, especially as he stuck to this even after I told him that (as I want only one size of big round paper in my shop and my rotex 150 can only be pried out of my cold, dead hands) this would lead to me not buying any of the new 125mm Festool sanders (and 150mm pads for them).

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 4933
Re: Rotex vs ETS vs ETS EC
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2018, 11:05 PM »
 Hey Gregor,
While I certainly value your opinion as a straight shooter, and because I think you come from a basic engineering background like myself, I sincerely think the Festool rep you chatted with was just blowing smoke.

This reminds me of the tire wars that were waged amongst major car manufacturers 15 years ago before the era of the “Big Tire” came into pervue. At that time all the major US car manufacturers poo pooed the idea of installing bigger (larger diameter) tires onto their vehicles as it would affect the balance and the handling characteristics of their vehicles.
Well once the aftermarket wheel segment proved that there were gains to be had by increasing the diameter of the vehicle tires... these same naysayers then chimed in and agreed with the findings...I consider that too little, too late.

On a daily basis I use my ETS EC 125 with both a 125mm & a 150mm pad and find NO
differences in vibration levels between the 2 pads. Others have done this (think Mirka) and to think that Mirka is the only major manufacturer to solve this imbalance issue is absurd.

I consider this yet another “decline to answer” from Festool. Quite analogous to their Kapex study, that they initiated years ago, and they’ve still yet to address.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2018, 11:11 PM by Cheese »

Offline Gregor

  • Posts: 975
Re: Rotex vs ETS vs ETS EC
« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2018, 04:09 AM »
I sincerely think the Festool rep you chatted with was just blowing smoke.
Could well be, hard to say without putting a sizeable amount of them through a destructive A/B test (half normal, half modified, let run till they die). Question is if any possible difference in outcome will be relevant for an average user.

I'm honestly unsure about this, having myself destroyed some vibrators (500g unbalanced mass class) by slightly reducing their imbalance (leading in a resonance that was way more effective in moving the material on the linear vibration feeder where they were mounted - but also way more effective in killing the bearings in their motors, for some reason).

But:
Quote
On a daily basis I use my ETS EC 125 with both a 125mm & a 150mm pad and find NO
differences in vibration levels between the 2 pads.
Which is an interesting data point - the guy also claimed that the pads are incompatible and the 150mm one can't be fittet on an ETC EC 125 without modification. So unless you skipped the part where you dremel'd the pads into being useable... I guess your initial guess about validity of the statement from the representative can be answered in a very clear manner.

Thanks for your input.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2018, 04:11 AM by Gregor »

Online RobBob

  • Posts: 1314
Re: Rotex vs ETS vs ETS EC
« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2018, 07:08 AM »
No modification to the pad or sander is needed.

I wonder what the difference in weight is between the two different size pads?

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Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 4933
Re: Rotex vs ETS vs ETS EC
« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2018, 09:46 AM »
Like RobBob said, no modification is necessary. Take the 150mm pad out of the package and bolt it to the 125mm sander. [big grin]

That's the beauty of purchasing the 125mm version. Now if Festool also offered the 125 in a 5mm orbit...

Here's a shot of the 2 pads. You can see that the only feature the shaft of the 125 has are 2 flats so it fits the 150 pad exactly.  On the other hand, the shaft of the 150 has 2 flats along with 2 protrusions so a 125 pad cannot be mounted on a 150 machine.

Offline Gregor

  • Posts: 975
Re: Rotex vs ETS vs ETS EC
« Reply #20 on: September 23, 2018, 03:37 PM »
Good to know these are interchangeable, at least in one direction. Thanks for the info.
Now I just hope I'll manage to stay abstinent...

Offline Tomsim

  • Posts: 13
Re: Rotex vs ETS vs ETS EC
« Reply #21 on: September 23, 2018, 05:45 PM »
Thank you all for suggestions.
I still haven't decides which one to buy, i still have some questions. Im even considering ro125 again.
Is Rotex in fine sanding mode less noisy than in geared mode? Still much noisier than ETS?
Can RO125 or maybe even RO150 be used onehanded for round sanding on the edges and similar round stuff? Or are the vibrations to prononounced?  I could do it occasionly with Bosch with its 2.1kg but im wondering will i be able to do it with rotex, or are the vibrations too high. Someone says that in fine sanding mode Rotex is like regular ROS, someone say it is hard to control even in fine mode, and that vibrations are much higher than regular ROS.

About ETS EC and brushless motor.. Since it is brushless motor and cannot be bogged down, can i put extra pressure on sander if i want to remove more material? Or it has nothing to do with it? On Bosch ROS extra presure wouldnt sand much more, even less. I always sanded only with sanders weigth, and that would get me to the nice  finish fastest.

Is ETS EC 150 quieter than ETS 150? According su spec on Festools site, it is not? But i tougth it is, because it is brushless

If i by chance run out of sanding paper discs, can i drill holes in regular 6 hole sanding disc using Festool patern and still expect good dust collection and resaults? I'll have to order Festool's online.

I tried to search older topics, but didnt find the answers to these. Thanks for the help!

Regards




Offline Sometimewoodworker

  • Posts: 721
    • Jerome's  Other work
Re: Rotex vs ETS vs ETS EC
« Reply #22 on: September 23, 2018, 09:19 PM »

Is Rotex in fine sanding mode less noisy than in geared mode?
No the same volume

Still much noisier than ETS?
Yes but as you will be using hearing protection it makes little difference ( if you don't wear hearing protection you should).


Can RO125 or maybe even RO150 be used onehanded for round sanding on the edges and similar round stuff?
It certainly be used one handed, I just confirmed that, but that's not usually the most comfortable way to use it.


Or are the vibrations to prononounced? 

I could do it occasionly with Bosch with its 2.1kg but im wondering will i be able to do it with rotex, or are the vibrations too high. Someone says that in fine sanding mode Rotex is like regular ROS, someone say it is hard to control even in fine mode, and that vibrations are much higher than regular ROS.

I don't think it's hard to control in either mode. It's very difficult to answer about a "regular" ROS there is no real answer is no such thing really as a regular ROS. Often the more you pay the less vibration you get with a ROS.


About ETS EC and brushless motor.. Since it is brushless motor and cannot be bogged down, can i put extra pressure on sander if i want to remove more material? Or it has nothing to do with it? On Bosch ROS extra presure wouldnt sand much more, even less. I always sanded only with sanders weigth, and that would get me to the nice  finish fastest.

Brushless motors can be bogged down it just much more difficult.

Putting extra pressure on a random orbit sander only gets you a bad scratch pattern, not a good idea.

Is ETS EC 150 quieter than ETS 150? According su spec on Festools site, it is not? But i tougth it is, because it is brushless

Brushless motors are not quieter than brushed motors, the brushes are virtually silent any way.

You are thinking of induction motors vs universal motors

If i by chance run out of sanding paper discs, can i drill holes in regular 6 hole sanding disc using Festool patern and still expect good dust collection and resaults? I'll have to order Festool's online.


The old Festool pattern is 9 holes the new is 17.

Can you drill the new hole pattern? Sure you can, I wouldn't bother as it's too much work for no real cost saving.

Will the hole pattern interfere with the 6 already there ? Maybe.

Dust extraction will probably be the same, no reason for it to be bad.

Can you get equal results? If the disks you use use the same quality of abrasive certainly. If you use cheap disks then probably not or you may need to replace them often.

On most consumables Festool is not charging a name premium. You get what you pay for and that is good quality.
Jerome
TS55, OF1400, Elu MOF96, Rotex150, DTS400, ETS150/3 Domino, MFK700, CXS, HL 850, Trend T11, Makita LS1212, Original Mini CV06 Cyclone, Workshop supplies drum sander, & WoodRat. Don't have don't want list: MFT
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nui-jerome/

Offline Alanbach

  • Posts: 165
Re: Rotex vs ETS vs ETS EC
« Reply #23 on: September 24, 2018, 04:13 PM »
These are random orbit dual action sanders so you can actually stop the rotation of the pad while running rather easily, with your finger. At that point you have orbit only, no rotation. That is why if you put too much downward pressure the rotation stops and you get excessive scratch pattern due to orbit only and no dual action. THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO ROTEX sanders in geared mode. Rotex in geared mode has tons of power and you can apply all the pressure you want, just look out because it is a beast capable of digging quite a gouge if you let it. In geared (direct drive) mode you will really hurt yourself if you try to stop the pad while running. You can’t do it. The ETS EC has a lot of power but it it still a Dual action sander and so you have to let it do the work. When I got mine I really had to get used to letting it stay flat (no tilting it up to get edge pressure) with minimal downward pressure and letting the sander do the work. Most of the time I hold it by the vac hose and barely even exert any downward pressure.