Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Is a Festool vacuum worth the price?

There's a good reason why I bought the biggest vacuum that Festool makes.

It's all about the dust control!

As a woodworker with asthma, I'm constantly trying to minimize the dust I that make in the shop. That's not always easy. But - when I connect a sander to this vacuum, there simply isn't any airborne dust at all. Period.

That's the good news. Even better - when I recently had to empty the dust bag in this machine, I was shocked (in a great way!) to find not a single bit of dust inside the machine. Amazing. Not a speck.

Changing a bag is simple - pop the top

and disconnect the bag from it's port. Pull it up and out.

The fitting is a rubber hose that fits tightly into a port - but even cooler - there is a cap attached to the bag. When you disconnect a full bag, you can quickly pop on the cap, so that no dust can escape.

Pretty awesome, in my book.

What wasn't necessarily so awesome were the instructions for installing a new bag. I know, it should be pretty simple, but I wanted to make sure I was going it correctly. I looked in the vacuum manual, which was incredibly lame - no instructions. It basically said - read the instructions on the bag.

So here's what the bag said:

and this:

Ummm.... OK, I guess I can figure that out. I put the new bag in the vac, making sure the hose was in the correct position.

They press together quite nicely, forming a tight seal.

Festool really put some thought into this tool - I especially like the lid support.

It locks the lid up in place, so you have full access to the bag cavity. Sweet.

Ready to go back to work!

This is the first woodshop vac that I've ever owned that utilized bags. All the others have simply been open containers, and frankly, emptying them is way too messy. I could get very spoiled with this Festool system, despite the fact that the system is ridiculously expensive. I mean, this vac is over $500! Even the bags are pricey - over $7 a piece. Ouch.

So my opinion about the vac? Would I buy it again? Would I buy another one? One thing I haven't mentioned is how quiet this vacuum is - which is another amazing feature about this tool. There are times when I've actually walked over to the vac while I'm sanding, to make sure that it's running. That's sort of silly, since the first givaway would be airborne dust. But this machine is so quiet, you barely know it's there, unlike other shop vacs I own.

Next - an amazing feature is it's tool integration plug. Simply plug any tool into the vac - be it a router, sander, saw - whatever, and when you turn that tool on and use it, the vac automatically comes on. I know, you're probably thinking - big deal, for $500, it should give you a backrub at the end of the night.

But the plug feature, as well as it's delayed shut off (to clear the hose of dust when the tool is shutting down) is pretty awesome. I can't tell you how many times I'll turn on a sander for just ten or twenty seconds, just to touch something up. If I had to manually turn on my vac - well, I just know myself and know that I would neglect to turn the vac on for such a short time. But with them being connected, it happens without fail. This feature alone makes me swoon with tool appreciation.

Hell yes! I'd buy this machine again. In fact, I wish I could afford another one right now!

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