We recently talked about Festool’s newly updated dust extractors, hoses, and wireless remote.
They sent over a new dust extractor (CT 36), equipped with the new hose and features, and a wireless remote, for review.
I own a CT 26, which had been updated with a HEPA filter.
I put the CT 36 through a few projects, using it for sanding and sawing operation. I paired it with the following tools:
- Corded sander
- Cordless track saw
- Cordless miter saw
- Corded table saw
- Cordless table saw
I only have one remote, and attached it to a 27mm hose. I have a 36mm hose for it, and an owned 50mm hose.
The remote works beautifully well. Setup took a few extra minutes. At first, I couldn’t get it to work – either I pressed a button prematurely, or it wasn’t synced properly at the factory. Referring to the manual, I reset the remote, reconnected it, and from there everything worked perfectly. A good user manual and thoughtful engineering can make hiccups like this stress-free and forgettable.
I took this photo before routing the vacuum hose out of the way, but I figured I’d share it anyway. The remote is easily accessible, and works like a charm.
And the new vacuum hose? Festool says that the hose has been redesigned to provide improved suction power. I trust this, but I cannot really confirm it. But what I can tell you is that the outer sleeving feels fantastic. It glides smoothly, and it feels durable.
For most users, this will work a lot better than their other sleeved hose.
I think I only have one tool that takes advantage of the new dust hose interface. It might be my imagination, but I feel that it slides into dust collection ports easier than the older style.
The vac worked every bit as well as my older CT 26 when connected to a sander. With the remote, it worked great with a corded track saw. It worked okay with the Milwaukee M18 Fuel 7-1/4″ sliding miter, but the deficiency was in the miter saw’s dust collection design.
I’ve been using it with a SawStop jobsite saw. First I used my 50mm hose, requiring me to set the vacuum to manual mode, since I didn’t remove the remote from my smaller hose. I forgot to turn on the vac once or twice, but that’s happened before. Because the table saw draws so much amperage, I cannot plug it into the vac’s auto sensing port the same way I can a small sander.
The dust collection on the SawStop saw will require some more accessories on my part. Connected to the large under-table dust port, dust still shoots out the top. Connected to the blade guard dust port (SawStop sent me that optional guard when they sent the saw), and dust shoots out the below-table guard. This is at least partly due to the material I was cutting on the saw. So, a splitter is in my future, and I’ll see how using 2 hoses handles things.
Here’s the tough question – who should buy this?
The other day, I posted a preview of the new CT Cyclone accessory, and there were a number of comments talking about shop vacuums.
From what I have seen, Festool’s dust extractors work best when considered part of a system, and paired with tools designed to deliver excellent dust collection capabilities. I also use mine for light cleanup tasks.
In my mind, a shop vac is good for cleanup tasks, and can serve as dust extractors in some capacities. But dust extractors perform better in longer dust-creation work sessions. The Festool CT’s motor, filter, filtered bags, narrow and maneuverable hose, wheels, wheel brake, hose and cord wrap, capacity, form factor, native tool connector, and now the new accessories – they’re optimized for being attached to tools.
Shop vacuums? They’re generally designed for cleanup tasks.
I have never regretted purchasing my CT 26, and the fact that it was a considerable investment makes that more meaningful. A lot of Festool users tend to justify their purchases, to themselves and others, but I like to think that I have stayed unbiased over the years. Buying my CT 26 when I did, it stung my wallet a lot. And it would sting again if I had to replace it out of pocket.
At the time, I really needed it. If I wanted to cut, sand, or route wood, 9 times out of 10 it was in our apartment’s second bedroom. And so I NEEDED excellent dust collection. That CT was among my most-used tools in that apartment, and again in the next one, and it’s still one of my most-used power tools today.
In no uncertain terms, if you have the need, and can justify the price, Festool’s latest dust extractors are their best yet.
The changes are relatively minor, compared to the previous CT vacs. If you already own a CT 26, 36, or 48, you can upgrade your dust extractor as you see fit.
Do you want the updated “hose garage,” complete with T-Loc mount? Look for part no. 204040 ($50 at Festool Products).
The new cord wrap? Look for part no. 203722 ($20 at Festool Products).
If you have an existing hose, there are aftermarket sleeving kits you can use to improve its handling. Or, if you need a different hose size than what you have, or need to replace a worn or damaged hose, the new braided sleeved anti-static hoses are great (see new hoses via Festool Products).
(Non-sleeved hoses are discounted at the moment, but if you’re going to spend money on a new hose, I’d recommend budgeting for one of the new ones.)
Buy Now(via Festool Products)
(Why am I linking to Festool Products? Well, I bought my first Festool tools from Tool Nut, via Amazon at the time. Festool Products is a Tool Nut company. I have purchased other Festool tools and accessories from them since then. There was a problem once, and they made it right. With that first purchase, I had a question about my order. I called them up on a Saturday morning, and they left me with a lasting positive impression. I’m a happy customer. ToolGuyd has a friendly relationship with Tool Nut and Festool Products, and they are also an affiliate partner.)
Festool tools can be difficult to review or even talk about. Not everyone needs a $730+ dust extractor, and those that don’t have such needs can find it hard to see why anyone might need one.
These CT vacs offer excellent usability, performance, and control.
These newest models make the vacs a little bit better. New users should definitely consider these models over the outgoing ones. I haven’t seen discounted versions of the previous vacs, but there are many hoses and cleaning kits on sale.
It’s nice that current CT users can upgrade to some or all of the new features if they choose.
But really, the new remote is the star of the show. Being able to connect the vac to a cordless tool and not have to go to the on-vac controls every time I want to turn the power on and off? Wonderful. It didn’t take me long to get used to it. No, it’s not as fast or effortless as connecting a corded tool to the vac’s automatic-control plug, but that’s also limited to lower amperage tools such as sanders.
I am pleased with the new gear, and will be purchasing a remote system for my personal CT 26.
Thank you to Festool USA for providing the review sample unconditionally.