Well over half of the emails sent to me are on the subject of tools. I have no objections to responding to them but I thought it would be beneficial to start a video library of sorts to briefly touch on what I think of a particular tool or set of tools. These won’t be in depth tool reviews as I know very few people are interested in that kind of thing and I really don’t want to go over all the details. Instead I’ll just focus on the things I like about the tool, things I don’t like about the tool, and would I buy it again. I have a huge list of “episodes” that can be made and plan on releasing one per week. Hopefully this will be helpful to some people.
I first purchased this 12 gallon ShopVac from Lowes locally while it was on sale. I don’t recall my purchase price but it currently retails for $109.99 with attachments on Amazon.com at the time of this article. I purchased the Festool CT 26 E in a package deal so I don’t know the exact price paid for it individually. The Festool CT26 retails for $573.75 on Amazon.com at the time of this article. Comparing these two machines side by side is a little silly. The Festool vac is the overall winner by a long shot, and should be due to it’s price, but does that mean it’s the right one for you or for me?
What I like:
- Festool CT 26 E
- Auto start and stop activated by the tool you have the vac hooked up to. This is nice but really it’s just saving you from flipping another switch.
- HEPA certified filtration. Breathe easy my friend.
- Suction control. I haven’t found much use for this while it is in use with another tool but it is nice to lower the suction and reduce the motor noise when you are using the vac in a stand alone operation such as cleaning up a pile of sawdust on the floor. Even at the lower suction setting it does have enough suction to complete the task.
- Easy to move around
- MUCH easier on the budget.
- larger waste volume. This isn’t really a concern one way or the other with me as I use them both with a cyclone pre-separator so the vast majority of the waste never reaches the machine.
- Lesser expensive filter bags.
- They both perform well and do the job nicely.
What I don’t like:
- Festool CT 26 E
- Expensive. REALLY expensive for a vacuum.
- Not HEPA filtration from factory.
Would I buy either one again if I had to do it over?
I’m sure the majority of people know the outcome of this tool talk before I wrote it as it really is a common sense situation. This is a comparison of apples to oranges. The Festool CT 26 is a great machine with great filtering capabilities but in my opinion isn’t a good value based purchase for anyone in a similar situation as I’m in. It’s also not marketed toward people like me. It’s made for people who work onsite and are often responsible for the environmental hazards that they create in client’s houses or buildings. For the regular weekend woodworker I personally think it would be a much greater value based purchase to go with a regular ShopVac and use the other money elsewhere in the shop. I purchased my Festool vac with another machine and if I had to do it over again I would not have purchased it. I cringe knowing how much I spent on it while also knowing that my regular shopvac would do the job just fine for me. If I had to start over tomorrow I’d buy a regular ShopVac. That being said, the CT 26 is great and because I have it I’m going to use it.