When it comes to power tools and accessories for professional woodworkers and carpenters, two brands stand out from the crowd – Fein and Festool. Both German companies are renowned for their high-quality, precision-engineered products.
But which brand makes the best dust extractors and vacuums for the workshop?
In this detailed comparison article, we’ll examine the key features and performance of Fein and Festool’s range of wet/dry vacs to help you decide which is right for your needs and budget.
A Brief Comparison Table
|Multi-layer bag + HEPA filter
Overview of Fein Vacuums
Fein have over 140 years of experience developing innovative power tools. They are best known for their superlative multi-tools. However, Fein also produce a small range of wet/dry vacuums aimed at tradespeople.
The key features of Fein vacuum cleaners include:
- Powerful 1000-1200W motors
- Large 20-25 litre capacity
- Antistatic hoses to prevent shocks
- HEPA filters standard on some models
- Automatic filter cleaning
- Optional power tool auto-start
- Robust, stackable construction
- Up to IPX4 splashproof rating
Top models in the Fein vacuum cleaner range include:
- Fein Turbo I: Entry-level workshop vac
- Fein Turbo II: Mid-range wet/dry vac with higher suction
- Fein Turbo III: Top of the range vac with automatic filter cleaning
So in summary, Fein vacuums offer very solid performance, reliability and features for general workshop cleaning duties. Now let’s see how Festool’s range compares.
Overview of Festool Dust Extractors
Festool are renowned for their premium quality power tools and solutions for professional woodworkers. Their dust extractors are designed to perfectly pair with their tools and deliver efficient dust collection.
Key features of Festool dust extractors include:
- Advanced filter technology – HEPA and multi-layered filters
- Tool auto-start functionality
- Antistatic hoses and accessories
- Large tank capacities up to 30 litres
- Durable, high quality construction
- Automatic filter cleaning
- Built-in compressed air and power outlets
- Modular sytem with wide range of hoses and accessories
Popular Festool dust extractor models are:
- CTL Midi: Compact entry-level extractor
- CT 26: Mid-sized dust extractor for small workshop
- CT 48: Large capacity extractor for busy workshops
- CT 36 AC: Top of the range extractor with self-cleaning filter
In summary, Festool vacuums are optimized for collecting dust from power tools but can still handle general wet/dry cleaning. The focus is on efficient filtration rather than raw suction power.
Now we’ve compared the key features of both brands, let’s compare some specific models head-to-head.
Fein Turbo II Vs. Festool CT 26
The Fein Turbo II and Festool CT 26 represent the mid-sized models in each brand’s range. Both have similar tank capacities and power, but there are some notable differences.
The Turbo II offers 20L capacity and 1200W of suction power. It has an antistatic hose and HEPA filter. Optional auto-start for power tools is available. It also has height adjustable flow control.
The Festool CT 26 matches the 20L tank capacity and has 1100W of suction power. It has tool auto-start built-in and advanced 3-stage HEPA filtration. Accessories are optimized for workshop use and Festool’s modular systainer system. The CT 26 is also quieter in operation.
For pure wet/dry vacuuming, the Fein Turbo II has the edge with higher power and a lower price point. But for a dedicated workshop dust extractor, the CT 26 delivers superior filtration and integrated features.
Fein Turbo III Vs. Festool CT 48
Now let’s compare the range-topping models – the Fein Turbo III and Festool CT 48. Both are suitable for larger workshops and deliver automated filter cleaning.
The Turbo III has a huge 25L tank, 1400W motor with max 235mbar suction. It features an automatic filter cleaning system and wet/dry functionality. The filtration is rated to retain 99.9% of particles down to 0.3 microns. A 9m cable provides ample reach.
The Festool CT 48 matches the 25L tank capacity. Suction is slightly lower at 1300W/220mbar. It includes highly advanced HEPA filtration and also cleans the filter automatically.
All accessories are optimized for power tool dust collection, including hoses and adaptors. It can also connect semi-automatically to Festool tools.
Overall, the CT 48 beats the Turbo III when paired with Festool power tools, thanks to its seamless integration and filtration technology. But the Turbo III provides superior all-round suction power for general vacuuming duties.
Direct Comparison of Key Specs
To summarise the key specs of Fein vs Festool vacuums:
|Fein Turbo I
|Fein Turbo II
|Fein Turbo III
So in summary, Fein vacuums edge out Festool slightly when it comes to raw power and tank capacity. But Festool systems win out when it comes to filtration and integrated workshop performance.
Filtration Technology Comparison
A key difference between these brands is the filtration technology utilized in their vacuums. Efficient filtration is crucial for capturing fine dust in a workshop environment.
Fein vacuums use multi-layered filter bags fitted inside the tank to retain dust. The material filters down to 5 microns. Higher end models also include a secondary HEPA exhaust filter.
In contrast, Festool utilizes highly advanced 3-stage filtering:
- Main fleece filter bag inside tank
- HEPA class exhaust filter
- Gore membrane filter for submicron dust
This 3-stage system filters all the way down to 0.3 microns, capturing almost all fine dust. Both Festool and Fein filters have automatic cleaning cycles which pulse air backwards through the filter to dislodge accumulated dust. But Festool’s approach results in longer filter life and lower maintenance overall.
So for filtration technology, Festool extractors are far superior to Fein vacuums.
Hose & Accessory Systems
Both brands use anti-static hoses and a range of accessories suited to professional use. Festool utilizes their systainer system for accessories and hose storage/transport.
Fein hoses are 2.5m – 4m long. A 9m static dissipating hose is optionally available on some models. Accessories include flat nozzles, crevice tools, upholstery nozzles, extension wands and more.
Festool hoses are also antistatic and made from robust material. Lengths are 4m on compact models and 5m on larger extractors. The wide range of accessories are designed for dust extraction when paired with Festool’s sanders, routers and other tools. This allows efficient dust capture at source.
Overall, the hose and accessory systems are quite comparable, but the Festool systainer system gives their vacuums the edge for workshop use. The accessories integrate seamlessly with Festool power tools.
An important consideration with any workshop vacuum is operational noise. Lower noise levels reduce fatigue and maintain safer working conditions.
Festool extractors generate 66-68 dB of noise depending on model. Fein vacuums run at slightly higher 70-72 dB.
So in terms of sound output, Festool dust extractors are the quieter option. But both brands still allow conversation within the workshop and avoid the need for ear protection during extended use.
Cost and Warranty Considerations
Fein vacuums are attractively priced, making them a very affordable option compared to Festool. Here are the typical retail prices for these models:
- Fein Turbo I: $180
- Fein Turbo II: $250
- Fein Turbo III: $350
- Festool CT MIDI: $400
- Festool CT 26: $600
- Festool CT 48: $700
So Fein vacuums are around 50% cheaper than the equivalent Festool models.
However, it’s worth noting that Fein vacuums come with a 1 year warranty, while Festool offer a comprehensive 3 year warranty.
If budget is your primary concern, Fein vacs provide excellent value. But if you use Festool power tools, investing in their extractor range could be worthwhile long-term.
Common Questions About Festool Vacuums
Festool dust extractors are premium priced but deliver advanced features tailored for fine dust collection in a workshop environment. Their filtration technology is industry-leading. When paired with Festool power tools, they excel at capturing dust efficiently. So they are an investment primarily aimed at professional carpenters and woodworkers. More casual users may not benefit enough to justify the higher price tag.
The CT MIDI and CTL Mini extractors are Festool’s quietest models, emitting just 66dB. But even the largest CT 48 operates at a low 68dB.
No, the main fleece filter bag inside the tank is a crucial part of Festool’s filtration system and is mandatory for operation. The vacuums will not run without this bag fitted. Replacement bags are available to purchase as required.
Here’s why thousands of professional woodworkers rely on Festool dust extractors:
1. Advanced 3-stage filtration captures 99.9% of fine dust
2. Clever tool-triggered power switching for dust extraction at source
3. Optimized anti-static hoses prevent clogging
4. Built-in compressed air and power outlets
5. Modular systainer compatible accessories
6. Quiet operation
7. Designed in Germany and built to exacting standards
So in summary, Festool vacuums are an investment in long-term high performance dust extraction and filtration in demanding workshop environments. They truly excel when paired with compatible Festool power tools.
Conclusion – Which Brand Is Best Overall?
In comparing Fein vs Festool dust extractors, there are strengths and weaknesses to both brands:
- Excellent value for money
- Stronger max suction power
- Slightly larger capacities
- Improved wet/dry vacuuming
- Superior filtration technology
- Low noise operation
- Seamless integration with Festool tools
- Clever features like auto tool-start
- High quality accessories and systainer compatibility
For professional carpenters who already own Festool power tools, investing in their dust extractors is a logical choice and allows efficient dust collection. Festool vacuums really excel in this system.
But for more general wet and dry workshop cleaning, Fein vacuums are a very compelling option. They offer great performance and features at an attractive price point.
So it’s impossible to crown an outright “winner” – the right choice depends on your workshop needs and budget. Hopefully this detailed comparison gives you the information to select the best vacuum range for your situation.
Let us know if you have any other questions!