I had to think long and hard about whether the Festool ETS EC 150 variations were worth the hefty price tag. Let’s face it — they are expensive any way you look at it. I’ve now used the 150/3 and the 150/5 extensively in my shop.
They are hands-down superior sanders. On paper you might might ask what all the hoopla is about? Yes, it has a lower centre of gravity. Yes, it has better ergonomics than the non EC version of the Festool ETS. Yes it has some fancy electrical features regarding vibration and vacuum efficiency. Yes it weighs less. But for half again more money? Hmmm.
Any single feature of this machine justifies the increase in price, and all the features combined makes it a no-brainer. I love the lower centre of gravity. Edge work, even on a 20mm board, is ever so much easier. The weight reduction is very significant. I’m not a little fella, but that 600g (or whatever it is) makes a big difference. But there is a single feature that I value over all others — and I have yet to see it advertised with regard to the new sanders, namely, the speed in which the sanding pad is braked when you switch off the machine. Yes, Festool point out the different braking system and how it is more robust than previous iterations. But until you use the new sanders, you won’t realise just how important it is to have a pad brake quickly. It stops in a second or two. This means I can put it down immediately, flip over my work-piece, pick it up and continue sanding. Try that with the run-of-the-mill ETS! Like me, you’ve probably had your ETS damage whatever you set it on, or perhaps worse, fall off the bench, because you were in a hurry to put it down before the sander had come to a complete halt.
If one of my sanders broke tomorrow, I’d claim it on warranty. But if it didn’t have a warranty, I’d buy another one immediately. I’m keeping my old ETS 150/3 as a backup machine, but I won’t use it again otherwise.