Festool launched their CTC Sys cordless vacuum in the USA, and it looks like they intend for this to replace their corded model.
The Festool CT Sys portable dust extractor – the corded vacuum of the same style – is out of stock at every online retailer I checked, and Festool USA’s website says it’s no longer available.
Festool designed the 18V CTC Sys to work off of (2) compact batteries, up to 4Ah. It does not work with their higher capacity batteries.
I could not find any runtime specs. As the cordless dust extractor vacuum has adjustable suction power, runtime can vary based on usage and the application. Still, even approximate expectations would be nice.
Festool didn’t answer questions about this on social media either. One of their followers said:
Batteries on a full charge last about 10min. So disappointed in this vacuum. Retuning it tomorrow.
Festool USA advertises:
No interruptions: Work continuously with four battery packs and a TCL 6 DUO rapid charger for most cordless applications.
This is what they say about the types of applications it can be used for:
Ideal for portable use for small tasks
Automatic dust extraction of cordless tools thanks to integrated Bluetooth function
For minor and brief sanding, sawing and drilling work
Ideal for final clean-up
Keep a clean work environment
Festool’s corded model was great for sustained dust extraction and cleanup tasks, and it was only limited by its physical collection capacity.
“Minor and brief” use isn’t quite what I had been hoping for from the cordless version.
Festool also has a new CTC Midi cordless dust extractor vacuum coming to the USA. This model works with 2x Festool 18V batteries, specifically 4Ah, 5Ah, or 5.2Ah batteries.
I expect for the CTC Midi to deliver longer runtime than the CTC Sys, although I still wouldn’t consider it a corded-replacement dust extractor vac, at least not until Festool can offer higher capacity batteries that deliver longer runtime.
Festool did announce a new 8Ah battery in Europe, but there has not yet been any word as to if or when it might launch in the USA.
Yes, you can “work continuously” with the CTC Sys, if you have multiple sets of batteries and a double charger, but that would require buying and lugging around more equipment.
Festool says the CTC sys is “the ideal partner for smaller tasks and punch list work.”
Some of their product images do show examples of brief or smaller tasks.
But others show more involved work being done, such as breaking down sheet goods on a portable sawing table with a track saw.
I would be less disappointed if longer runtime was an easy option. There doesn’t look to be any AC/plug-in feature, and users are limited to 2x 4Ah batteries, and so you can’t even splurge for a higher capacity battery if needed.
How many trips to the charger will one need to make over the course of a day?
Let’s say that a user were to purchase both of Festool’s 18V cordless vacuums, the CTC Sys and the CTC Midi. That’s not hard to imagine – many users prefer different vacuums and dust extractors for different tasks and work.
The CTC Sys works with Festool 18V batteries up to 4Ah. The Midi has higher performance specs, which suggests a more powerful motor. You can – and probably should – use higher capacity batteries with the CTC Midi, but those batteries aren’t compatible with the CTC Sys. Even then you’re limited to 2x 5Ah batteries.
(Festool USA’s website lists the 5.2Ah battery as no longer available.)
The same complication will arise for other Festool 18V tools as well. Shown here is Festool’s new 18V cordless reciprocating saw, powered by a 5Ah battery that will not fit their CTC Sys cordless dust extractor.
Every cordless power tool brand has different battery compatibility and selection limitations, but Festool’s ecosystem seems a bit messier.
It seems that Festool discontinued their AC-powered CT Sys portable dust extractor now that the cordless CTC Sys is launching.
I’m sure the CTC Sys has its place, such as for “minor and brief” work, “small tasks”, and “punch list work.” But from what I can tell, I don’t think it will fill the shoes of the corded vacuum it’s seemingly replacing.
Cordless tools and equipment are supposed to deliver comparable – or better – performance and capabilities but without the hassle of cords. Right? Not in this case.
In addition to battery compatibility nuances, the cordless vacuum has lower specs than the now-unavailable corded model.
The AC-powered CT Sys dust extractor vacuum moves 106 CFM of max air volume and up to 80″ of static water lift, and the cordless CTC Sys vacuum delivers 85 CFM of max airflow and up to 72″ of static water lift.
Even if Festool USA does bring their higher capacity 18V battery to the USA – years after other cordless power tool brands – it’s a moot point here due to the CTC Sys’s narrow battery compartment.
Dust extraction is a huge priority for me, and I can absolutely wholeheartedly recommend the Festool C26 and its brethren.
I’ve been in the market for a grab-and-go cordless dust extractor with HEPA filter, and one I don’t need to constantly swap batteries on. Despite my anticipation and hopes, this isn’t what I had hoped for.
Read Also: Festool Needs a Cordless Dust Extractor Vacuum
Am I wrong in hoping this was a better replacement for their corded portable dust extractor vacuum?
Seems like a “New Coke” fiasco by Festool. Their customer base will rebel at less convenience at a revolving carousel of swapping batteries to match the steady power of AC. Festool may try to give a non-apology like Coca-Cola did. And kind of strange for an European company to not have a corded version or at least an AC adapter for a high duty cycle machine because it’s ecologically unfriendly to force this many batteries and wear them down. As I understand the Festool use case, it’s not at an outdoor site with poor options for AC power, but rather inside buildings which are finished or close to finished with the AC wiring usually in and available.
Honestly, any cordless vac would not be my daily driver, so brief usage fits what it’s designed for. That’s how I use my packout vac; spot cleanup and instances where I don’t feel like bringing my midi out.
I do think it was a mistake to discontinue the AC ct sys though.
I have a corded CT 26 with a Dust Deputy cyclone mounted on top for hand tool dust control. Works really well but, it isn’t really portable.
Once you go cordless, and climb ladders, you want a lightweight unit. Until batteries get denser I don’t see anyone offering a lightweight HEPA vacuum with hours of run time. Corded units have a real advantage if you want to minimize weight and run for hours.
They could have at least made some kind of backpack type harness for it, moving it farther out of your way
You lose tool activation for corded tools, they need to at least come out with a Bluetooth plug-in adapter that will trigger the vac when your existing corded tools draw current instead of needing to use only cordless tools.
They have a hose-end remote and retrofit module for larger corded vac. Works beautifully unless I forget to press the button.
And it’s surprisingly cheap for an upgrade.
Just more money to spend, on something you won’t use all the time.
Like Stuart, I have the 26 as well as the Midi and also run a big Flex. I absolutely love the idea of a cordless one as I have the Dewalt corded, cordless and I use it for cleanup around non shop projects and cleaning my wife’s Beamer and my truck. I wish Festool made the battery garage larger and as alway have to chuckle about – don’t worry just buy four batteries and a big charger . But in Europe most of the uses are completely vested in the lineup so the battery probably won’t be an issue there. I’m vested in four cordless lineups including Festool and regardless, I am glad to see them expanding the cordless lineup in the USA.
I look forward to purchasing the cordless Midi and KSC60. On a jobsite, especially new construction, it always seems to be a struggle to find enough power. Being independent from that will be great. I use to have a corded CTSYS, suction was great, but the bag fills up much too fast. That would be my concern with the cordless as well, over runtime. I use the CT-VA cyclone on all my extractors now to limit bag use.
Seems like a major limitation to not accept the larger AH batteries.
Agreed, although I can’t see any obvious way around it.
The cordless model matches their corded form factor, which maintained Systainer-sized proportions. Festool couldn’t or at least wouldn’t deviate from that.
The best solution would be a 36V or 40V Max high capacity battery.
With Festool launching so many dual battery 18V tools right now, I wonder if a 36V/40V Max platform is on their development roadmap.
It would seem like somewhat of an about-face for Festool to release a separate 36v platform, after doubling down on 18V x2 for all their latest cordless saws and vacuums.
Makita is obviously negotiating that same transition with XGT, but have already let 18V X2 serve as their flagship for about a decade, which seems fair.
Assuming that Festool sells most of their products as expensive complete kits, they must feel more freedom to select whatever battery configuration works best for a given tool’s specific packaging, vs sticking to a rigid Makita-style approach. Their sander-specific batteries certainly support that notion.
Taking that same logic a step further though, you would think they would have no problem selling higher voltage batteries for the tools that needed them. Seemed to work alright for Hilti for many years.
The first post by Robert….”Their customer base will rebel at less convenience at a revolving carousel of swapping batteries “…maybe.
Sorry if I sound cynical but the true blue (or green) Festoolians usually defend Festool. There will be a couple of complainers, the rest seem to come up with some reason it is not an issue for them and are glad about…whatever Festool does.
Put a cord on it as well as battery!!!! Do they think?!