Saturday, December 17, 2011

Festool Rotex 125 and 150 Reviews

On a forum, I saw a question about the differences between the Festool RO-125 and the RO-150 Rotex sanders.  I wanted to post a link to my blog entry about it only to realize that I never made one with the various review videos of those two sanders.
So, if you have followed my blog for the past year, you likely saw these.  I'm adding them here for completeness.

The following video reviews of the Rotex sanders are mostly about each individual sander, functionality, speeds, etc. with a little comparison between the two.  The fourth video is a comparison directly between the models.

Let me apologize up front for the lighting in the videos; they were among the first 5 I ever did and I had no softboxes (directed diffuse lighting).

Read up after the videos for some additional thoughts...

First up, the RO-125 review and demo:

Next, the RO-150 review:

and separately the demo (I was too new to YouTube to be allowed a longer video at the time :)

And lastly, a video comparing the two models side by side:

Additional thoughts (some of which were eluded to in the videos):

I like the RO-125 because it fits nicely in my hand; I can easily grab the knob top and whirl it around a bit like an ETS-125.  It's less aggressive, however, than the RO-150, but I normally don't need to hog off material (for that, the RAS-115 is a beast).

The surface of the RO-150 is 44% larger than that of the RO-125, which is significant if you are sanding/polishing the hull of a boat, less significant if you are sanding face frames.  Actually, if you are mostly sanding face frames, the RO-90 is the sander of choice.

Whichever sander you get, be sure to order the hard pad for it.  You want that when sanding most anything flat.  The semi-soft that comes with the sander will follow minor undulations that you may not care about in the field of a piece, but near the edge, it can "dub" the edge.

If you decide to get the RO-150, I highly recommend the auxiliary handle that attaches to the front of the sander.  You are so much better balanced for leaving the pad flat on the surface.  With the regular side handle, it's too easy to dip the front or back of the pad and add scratches from the edge of the pad.

For their papers, I like using Rubin paper from P80 to P120.  From P180 up, I use Brilliant-2 papers.  Now that Granat is available, I'd be tempted to replace Rubin with it as it seems to last longer plus if you work with mixed media, Granat doesn't clog on resins or plastics.


  • bob kloes said...

    Nicely done. Good explanation. I have a 150/3. It is a workhorse. I get my paper from Industrial Abrasives. bob

  • Tony said...


    At the end of the CSX video you list an upcoming video as "dimensioning with the TS-75", did you ever make this one?


  • HalfInchShy said...

    Hi, Tony,

    If you click on the TS-75 label to the right of the main blog text, you'll get the (currently) 7 articles specific to the TS-75. Three are from project series and those show the TS-75 dimensioning stock in different ways for those projects; all the steps are explained if it is an unusual use (e.g., the "panel glue-up" episode shows using the TS-75 to edge joint for a panel). Hope that helps!

    ...and thanks for the comment, Bob!

  • Steve-Rice said...

    Paul, I'm in the market for a 6" sander. I love my Festool tools, but the Mirka Ceros sander has really caught my eye. I wish I could find some good comparison information between the Festool ETS 150/5, the Rotex 150 and the Mirka Ceros 650. I was wondering if you've had the opportunity to try the Mirka Ceros and what, if any, related thoughts you might have.

    Steve Rice

    BTW, genuinely enjoy all your product reviews - thanks again.

  • HalfInchShy said...

    Hi, Steve,

    I haven't used the ETS sanders much at all and never have used the Ceros. However, if you go to Flair Woodworks, Chris did a review of the Ceros and has used various Festool sanders.

    Hope that helps!

  • James said...

    I actually found the videos really helpful - thanks for adding them here. I haven't seen the Festool around so not sure if this is not sold worldwide?

  • James Draper said...

    Festool machines are a beauty! I find their price to always be on the higher end but the quality makes up for it. Extremely good video reviews Paul-Marcel, not only super useful but also enjoyable, keep it up!