If you’re looking for a high-quality shop vacuum to clean up after your work, then you want to find a brand that can handle all of your messes with ease. Although there are a few top-tier companies out there, we really like what Festool has to offer.
Their line of powerful dust extractors can make cleaning a breeze, which is why we are going to compare the best units that they have to offer. Not only are we going to provide the best Festool dust extractor reviews, but we’re going to discuss the various features and benefits that you should pay attention to the most.
Festool 584174 CT SYS Dust Extractor
Festool 584084 CT 48 E HEPA Dust Extractor
Festool 584014 CT 36 AutoClean
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Festool 584156 Ct Mini Hepa
When looking at different vacuum brands, what is it about Festool that caught our attention? Well, the primary reason is that they design shop vacuums with dust collection in mind. Unlike other brands that are focused on dirt and other, larger particles, Festool ensures that you can trap dust and allergens quickly and easily.
Also, Festool crafts each of their vacuums with much more care and attention than most other companies. Almost all of them are considered HEPA dust extractors, which means that they are better at trapping allergens than most other models.
Besides the filtration system, Festool is committed to creating vacuums that are user-friendly and highly capable. Each model that we’ll look at today is built for workshops, which ensures that you get the best performance possible.
Simply put, other shop vacuums are not meant for the kind of quality cleaning and service as those made by Festool.
When looking at all of the different models offered by this brand, you’ll see that they can range greatly. Some of them are designed to be “mini” dust extractors, while others are built to be more heavy-duty for larger cleaning jobs.
As far as size and dimensions go, these are the things to pay the most attention to:
Hose Length: Although having a longer version means that you can be more agile when cleaning a variety of surfaces, it can also reduce the amount of suction coming through. Try to find a hose that fits the size of the motor inside.
Weight: Many Festool dust extractors have wheels, which makes them extremely portable and maneuverable. However, you may still have to carry them up and down stairs. As such, you want a model that is not too big or cumbersome to handle.
Festool Systainers: When it comes to onboard storage, this brand offers a range of containers that can attach to each of their cleaners. Although these are sold separately, they do provide better organization than most other machines, which means that it can be handy to include them with your purchase.
As such, just make sure that you get the right size for your machine, and pay attention to how much weight and girth it can add to the final product.
Container Capacity: Finally, you want to make sure that you don’t have to empty your canister too often while you’re working. Depending on the kind of dust extraction you’re doing, this means that you may have to opt for a more substantial unit so that you can keep going for longer periods. On the low end, these containers can be as small as two gallons, but they also go up to almost 10.
Another standard feature with Festool dust extractors is the ability to pick up liquid messes as well. However, not every model comes with this capability, so it’s up to you to determine if it’s worth it or not.
For our money, we highly recommend choosing a unit that can clean both kinds of messes since you never know what to expect in the workshop. Even if 99% of your spills are dry, having this option means that you never have to worry about leaks and spills in the workplace.
As a dust extractor, these products are primarily designed to work with power tools that generate a lot of debris. As such, you want to make sure that your model is compatible with the kinds of devices that you plan on using. There are different sizes of hoses, which can affect their capabilities in this regard.
Also, even though dust extraction is the primary operation of these cleaners, they can be used on floors and other surfaces as well. So, if you want something more versatile, then opt for a machine that comes with a variety of attachments. Usually, these will be floor heads so that you can clean from top to bottom, but there may also be additional accessories, such as crevice tools or extension wands.
When looking at each Festool dust extractor, pay attention to how much suction it has. This is ranked by cubic feet per minute (CFM), and the higher the number, the better it is. As we mentioned above, the hose length can affect the suction, so make sure that you have sufficient power when picking your model.
One thing to remember, however, is that when using these machines as dust extractors, you don’t have to worry as much about the suction because the dust only has one place to go. However, if you plan on using it for additional cleaning services (i.e., your floors), then it will make a more significant difference.
The other part of the suction to pay attention to is the amount of water lift. This measures how strong the suction is when pulling on a solid surface, and it refers to how much water it can remove from a carpet. Once again, a higher number is better (stronger), but thankfully, most Festool models are well equipped in this department.
Fortunately, Festool makes sure that all of their dust extractors are built with high-quality specifications. Most of these features are the same across the board, but it’s still helpful to understand what to look for anyway.
Self-Cleaning Filter Bag: As we mentioned, one of the primary features of all Festool dust extractors is that they are HEPA rated, which ensures that dust and allergens don’t escape. Part of the reason for this certification is that the bags they use don’t clog easily, and they make sure to maintain high suction levels the whole time.
Variable Suction Speed: Each model allows you to adjust the amount of power you get, which is helpful since you don’t always need the highest setting for each job.
Tool Trigger System: Another proprietary feature that makes Festool products so desirable is the fact that they turn on with the machine you’re using. This means that you don’t have to worry about forgetting to activate the dust extractor, as it will work in tandem with your power tools.
Starting off our list is this portable machine from Festool. Unlike the other models that we’ll see on this list, the CT SYS is designed to be carried, not pushed. As such, it comes with an adjustable shoulder strap that allows you to take it almost anywhere. What we like about the CT SYS is that even with its compact design, it doesn’t have much less in the way of power.
According to Festool, this particular model is ideal for painters and re-modelers. Thanks to its portability, it’s super convenient to bring this to mobile job sites so that you can clean up any mess that occurs.
As far as power is concerned, this machine produces up to 106 CFM of suction, as well as 80 inches of water lift. When you consider the size of this unit, that is nothing short of impressive. What’s even more remarkable is that it’s also super quiet. Even at full blast, it only produces about 67 decibels, which is much softer than most other vacuums.
As with all Festool dust extractors, this one is compatible with any and all Systainer storage boxes. Fortunately, the CT SYS already comes with a hose box on top, and there are two spots for the attachments that come with it. As such, you probably don’t need to get any other Systainer units unless you buy additional accessories for it.
With the attachments that you do get, you can clean just about any surface with ease. There is a crevice tool for getting into hard-to-reach spots, and there is also a floor tool so that you can make sure that you get everything. All of this combined with a HEPA filtration system also ensures that you never have to worry about dust and allergens. In fact, it’s almost good enough to allow you to work without a mask (almost).
Finally, if you buy this unit from Festool directly, you can get a three-year limited warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
When comparing the CT 48 E to the CT SYS, you will notice that they are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Whereas the SYS was designed for portability and ease of use, this model is built to handle the toughest of jobs. You will not find as much power or performance as you can with this machine. As such, we highly recommend it for either professionals or those who want the best of the best.
When looking at the power that this dust extractor offers, it’s easy to see why it’s at the top. With 137 CFM of suction, you can pick up any kind of debris in the workplace. Along with dust and generic dirt, you can also remove larger items like wood chips or metal scraps. As long as the pieces you collect aren’t so sharp that they tear through the filtration system, you should be good to go.
The other great thing about this unit is that it can work with both wet and dry messes. So, if you accidentally spill water or some other liquid, you can clean it instantly with this vacuum. In fact, you can even use it to remove standing water, as the whole container is built to handle it. When the tank is full, the machine will shut off automatically for safety.
Although this particular model doesn’t come with any attachments, you can customize it however you like with a wide range of Festool accessories. One of the best components to get is a Y splitter, as it will enable you to run two tools at the same time. With the amount of power you get from this machine, that won’t be a problem.
The other exciting thing about the CT 48 is that it’s also quieter than different models (including the SYS). You would think that given its size and power that it would be louder, but the fact is that it only generates 62 decibels. That’s less than most human speech.
If you’ve ever used a power sander before, then you know that it can generate a ton of dust and debris. Fortunately, Festool offers this extractor for its Planex Drywall Sander, ensuring that you never have to worry about covering your workspace in a thick layer of fine particles.
Before we get into the particular features of this machine, it’s imperative that we let you know that it doesn’t work with other Festool products. As such, it’s not a versatile dust extractor that can connect to a variety of machines. Thus, if you aren’t planning on sanding drywall (or other similar surfaces), then you won’t need this model.
As with all of the Festool products we’ve seen, this extractor is designed to be as powerful and reliable as possible. Because it’s built to handle high-performance sanding, it can work on almost any job you have. With a 36-liter tank and 137 CFM of suction, you can collect a ton of drywall dust.
The HEPA filtration system also ensures that none of that dust winds up back in the air. This machine is so effective that a mask is almost not necessary. However, we still advocate that you wear a mask because you never know what can happen on the job.
What’s interesting about this machine is that you can also use the hose to collect water. Even though you can’t hook it up to any other Festool attachment, it still works with liquids. In fact, you can either use bags or leave it bagless, depending on your needs.
With the AutoClean Extractor above, you may have wished that you could get the same amount of power and performance with a machine that wasn’t limited to just one attachment. Thankfully, you can get all of that with this model instead. Although it doesn’t allow you to clean liquid messes, the CT 36 provides you with a lot of the same features as the AutoClean model. So, if you want versatility and reliability, this is an excellent way to go.
As with the other tools we’ve seen, this one has an automatic tool start. This means that you don’t have to fiddle with an on/off switch. Instead, it will activate as soon as you turn your power tool on. This feature will save you time, and it will provide you with a safety net so that you don’t risk blowing dust and dirt all over you and your work space.
As far as power goes, you still get 137 CFM of suction and 96 inches of water lift. The 11.5-foot hose is there to enable you to work in any position, and it’s compatible with a wide range of Festool products. Not only that, but it’s HEPA filtration system ensures that dust and allergens are sufficiently trapped inside.
We started off this list with a compact and portable dust extractor, so it only fits that we end with one, too. In this case, we have the Mini HEPA Extractor, which is a smaller version of the CT 36. That means that unlike the SYS unit, this one has wheels. Thus, you don’t have to carry it around on your shoulders to get it from point A to point B.
When comparing this to the CT SYS, we believe that this is the better choice. You get more power and performance, as well as the ability to clean liquid spills. Overall, if you have to pick a compact unit for your workspace, the Mini is going to give you better results every time.
Here is a list of specifications that prove why the Mini is so desirable. The only area where it falls short is in attachments (it doesn’t come with any), but you can always buy them from Festool directly.
In the end, the Mini has all of the best features that you would expect from Festool, just in a smaller package. So, if you don’t need the raw power of the CT 48, we highly recommend going with this model instead.
Because all of these products are from the same company, choosing the best one is simply a matter of picking the right size and power. Based on our Festool dust extractor reviews, we have to say that we really like what the 48 E and the CT Mini have to offer.
If you are a casual worker and you don’t need a ton of suction or dust collection, then the CT Mini is going to be your best option. Its size and portability make it an ideal choice for small messes and cleanups.
Conversely, if you’re a professional who needs a machine that can take on any job, the 48 E is a powerhouse. This is the largest and most reliable extractor than Festool has to offer, so you can do a lot more with it than you could with anything else on this list.
Also, we highly recommend searching for attachments and additions for your extractor when you make your final decision. Festool provides a wide range of accessories that can make your machine even more functional and versatile, so see what they have to offer.
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