Left Porter Cable Random Orbit Saner, Right Festool Pro5 Sander. (Note the differences in dust collection holes)

Festool PRO 5 LTD Sander

Back in early October of 2016 Festool offered a special edition of their new Sander for an amazing $99 which also included a $50 off coupon towards another tool. It seemed too good to be true given how expensive all my other Festools are. Within hours of the announcement I placed my order. I would think I must have been one of their earliest orders. A couple days later there were notes that the demand was so overwhelming that Festool told its network of dealers to stop taking orders. Then the waiting started….and dates kept getting pushed out.

I waited and waited and waited and in very late March of 2017 I *finally* received my new sander — 6 months is a LONG wait. I’m not sure what Festool’s reasoning was for the special package — some said it was supposed to be a thank you to loyal Festool customers, others said it was a good way to get folks hooked on their tools. Either way the demand was overwhelming I am glad that they eventually honored the order.

Here’s what came in the special color Systainer 2:

Contents of the Festool PRO5 LTD Kit
Contents of the Festool PRO5 LTD Kit
I was happy to see that Festool included some extras in there — an adapter for non Festool vacuums and a sampler pack of their Granat Abrasives (Which I think was added by the tool dealer ToolNut.com) rather than the 1 piece of sandpaper that would otherwise come with the unit.

Festool PRO5 LTD Special Color Systainer 2
Festool PRO5 LTD Special Color Systainer 2
The Systainer 2 is a nice dark Festool blue and has space for some optional accessories and some limited abrasive storage.

Left Porter Cable Random Orbit Saner, Right Festool Pro5 LTD Sander.
Left Porter Cable Random Orbit Saner, Right Festool Pro5 LTD Sander.
The new sander is lighter and better balanced than my trusty old Porter Cable 5″ Random Orbit Sander that I’ve had over 10 years now. The power switch is nice and big and the 13′ cord is nice. When paired with my Festool CT36 Dust Extractor the dust collection with the PRO 5 LTD is exceptionally good.  Also the pad break is neat as the unit stops spinning fast. I normally use my trusty old ‘sander sitter‘ as a safe place to let a sander spin down and clean off an abrasive pad that has loaded up. The suction is so strong that the PRO 5 LTD will lift the rubber pad right out of the sitter — something I never saw with any of my other sanders (5″ or 6″ ROS with same CT36 attached)

The machine is well balanced with a tight stroke, powerful motor (Which I believe is brushless) and has noticeably less vibration compared to other sanders I’ve had over the years. The ergonomic handle is nice and rubberized texture provides good grip. Sometimes with 2 hands on the unit I find my second hand wants to cover the motor exhaust port a bit but the heat will quickly remind you to move that hand.

Left Porter Cable Random Orbit Saner, Right Festool Pro5 Sander. (Note the differences in dust collection holes)
Left Porter Cable Random Orbit Saner, Right Festool Pro5 Sander. (Note the differences in dust collection holes)
Too good to be true?

Like most things that seem too good to be true there is usually a catch. If you look at the image above you’ll see this Festool Sander and Festool abrasives have a VERY different pattern for dust extraction holes. That means you are locked into their abrasives. I haven’t seen any 3rd party companies sell pads with the same pattern yet. Like most things Festool they are expensive, but also very good quality. The abrasives have been long lasting and consistent and slow to load up. I

already have a few hundred dollars invested in Mirka Gold 5″ and 6″ and Abranet abrasives (which I keep in old style Systainers with 4 latches designed to hold sanding pads. I got those Systainers on clearance when the new style Systainer came out a couple of years ago). I don’t look forward to having to buy and stock another assortment of Abrasives but probably will as I am otherwise very happy with this new sander.  I wish the advertising was a bit more straightforward in noting the above hole difference.

I hope that Festool, or a 3rd party compatible manufacturer will make a replacement sanding pad that also has the old style dust extraction hole pattern.

The Verdict

If you can look beyond the sanding pad hole location issue it is otherwise a great random orbit sander and I am very happy with it. I wish I ordered more than one unit.

OK time to get back out into the workshop.

Take care,
-Bill
@TheRainford

 

7 thoughts on “Festool PRO 5 LTD Sander”

  1. Klingspor is producing sanding discs in this size and dust extraction layout and I think 3M is offering alround discs.

  2. “Too good to be true?”

    ALL Festool owners I know will not use a non-Festool item with their Festool tools even if they can, just like my neighbor who will only send her Mercedes Benz car to her dealership for oil change ($200+ a time), even though she knows any place can change the oil and filter at half the price or less.

    When one can afford Festool, one doesn’t worry about consumables, to say the least.

    Richard

    1. Yep that is what I’ve seen as well. At some point I have to try out an Abranet backing pad or 3rd party disc backing pad to use my old supply of discs as well but likely will just cave and buy a few boxes of Garnat to avoid the paint in the rear of having to swap the backer pad all the time. My older square paper sander had a nice jig that would punch holes in the right place for sheet paper — simpler times. 🙂 I’m sure some craftier manufacturers will make some universal disks again with punch out holes again but I haven’t seen them in a long time so I bet there were a flop or the perforated sections fell out.

    1. Thanks for the tip. I’ll take a look.
      The Mirka gold discs I’ve been using were better quality and longevity than the Porter Cable/Gator/Big Orange/Blue box store discs for about the same price when bought in bulk online and I was happy with them and looks like your site also carries them so I’ll have to compare the prices. Have a great weekend.

      Take care,
      -Bill

  3. I have a bunch of 5″ discs from my PC sander which has different hole pattern. Usng a Festool disc as a template, I take it over to the drill press and drill out discs with the Festool pattern. It looks a little crude, but there’s no point in tossing out the other unused discs.

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