Now don’t get me wrong, I love my Festool CT36L dust extractor. It has the handle and the overhead boom arm for the vac tube, and just does its thing as well as I’d want.
The only negative I’ve had, is when I do want to use my tools out of the shed – whether that is in the house, or off site. It is a big bugger! Even moving it around the workshop if I did want to use it on the other side of the shop (given mine is becoming increasingly cramped), I found I was just not using it when I should. Lazy.
So I’ve been investigating the options. Still sticking with Festool for my solution. I love it, and can’t find a reason to change (yes, I know $$), nor am looking for one.
I will admit, I have a couple of Ozito vacs in the workshop. One doing dust extraction from the CNC, and the other from the Kapex. I would have put a Festool CT17 on the Kapex, but no long life bag! But I am getting ahead of myself.
So I wanted a unit that had auto start and stop (all Festool have that), and would be regarded as portable.
That gave an initial list of
CT17, Mini, Midi, CTL SYS mini
Next, long life bag, because as much as I will spend money on Festool, I hate spending money on dust extraction bags, especially when they are $10 a pop. I am sure there is plenty of false logic there, but so be it!
That dumped the CT17 – it was close – it was the cheapest, was small and portable, had variable speed, but the lack of a long life bag was a deal breaker.
Now I had 3, with quite a cost range, and different features. If I didn’t already have the CT36, then the midi would have won hands down, but it covered more criteria than I was wanting for this unit. And in the end, the CTL SYS mini won out.
It is a weird machine, in that it doesn’t look like a vacuum. It looks like a systainer. In fact, it is a systainer! In fact, 2 systainers.
The top one is the cable store, and vac tube garage. The bottom one is the dust extractor. The only negative, it doesn’t have variable speed.
Other than that – very portable, and I can combine it with other systainers for off site work (such as my TS55 circular saw).
I haven’t made too much use of it yet – I have my sander plugged into it currently, it starts, stops, sucks, and isn’t really any louder than the sander so it seems good so far. I’ll make more comment on its performance when I have had more experience with it, especially as the dust bag fills.
I could couple it up with a cyclone unit, such as the Oneida, but that would start to work against why I chose this unit over a Mini or Midi.
Picked the unit up from my usual Festool dealer – Ideal Tools. You can chat to Anthony, get some advise, order it and it turns up with free delivery, often the next day (or so!) Rather dangerous! 😉