Tool Comparison Test 07-2004

Festool ES125 EQ-Plus 5-inch Random Orbit Palm Sander

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This sander operates very quietly, is smooth to use, and easy to handle. The brake is very effective. When turning off power from high speed, the tool comes to a complete stop in no time.

However efficient the disk-center dust collection feature may be on this tool, we found the disposable dust-collection bag to be nearly 0% efficient... after we verified that it had been installed correctly, dust still managed to get everywhere escept the paper dust bag after just one minute of use. But, with a vacuum hose attached to the unit, it performs exceptionally. We found another problem with the dust bag frame -- when the tool fell from a height of only 2 feet, the bag frame snapped in two.

Test checklist:
Retail price: About $150.00
Specifications: 120-volt; .08-inch "sanding stroke" (orbit area).
Weight of sander (fully loaded):
3.5 lbs.
Variable speed: Yes. Infinitely adjustable selector dial located beneath the user's wrist. Adjusts between settings #1 to #6, or 6,000 - 13,000 opm.
Dust collection/ vacuum attachment capabilities: The "Turbo filter" disposable paper dust collection bag is cradled in a plastic tray. The tray pops onto the unit and is locked in place with a rotary knob. A pivot allows the dust bag to be kept at level, even when unit is at an angle.
Comfort of grip: Very comfortable grip. Its long, narrow handle (measures 5" by 2.5") is nicely contoured for both right- and left-handed use. We were concerned that the vents may be blocked while in use because of their location directly beneath the user's palm.
Sanding disk attachment: Standard hook-and-loop sanding paper and sanding felt self adheres to the unit's pad. A large central hole in the sanding disk uses air powered from the sander to blow dust into the other dust collection holes, which gives much longer life to the abrasive disk.
Length of power cord: 13.5 feet
Carrying case features: The case shell itself is quite heavy-duty. It's made of sturdy plastic and has a large handle that folds down flat on the lid for easy stacking. The case's clasps also accomodate stacking-- there are 4 of them located around the top of the case. They can be adjusted a notch higher, to lock two stacked cases together which we found to be a neat feature. Inside the case is laid a very lightweight plastic tray, molded to fit the tool and extra sanding disks.
Accessories included: Sander, dust collection tray, one paper dust bag, removable power cord, one sanding disk.
Relative noise level of tool while operating: Very quiet.
Warranty/ guarantee: 3-year extended warranty (for the 1st year, shipping is covered by Festool)
Features and notes:
* The power cord removes and attaches to the back of the unit and locks in place with a small twist... a nice feature.
* The power switch is a vertical, push-push button at the front tip, beneath the index and middle fingers-- easily accessible while using the tool with one hand.
* Unit has a sanding base brake collar which immediately stops the disk from moving after power has been turned off.

—Gabriel Vandervort

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