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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The most essential item for your Festool ecosystem of tools
A ShopVac is likely one of the first things you're going to buy for dust control in your shop. While it works okay for shop cleanup as that is what it's intended for, it can be a crapshoot with tools. Tool manufacturers boast that their products hook up to them, but too often won't attach out of the box without an optional attachment (not sold in stores). Even when...
Published on March 4, 2012 by Ends of the World

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26 of 44 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Way overpriced & underpowered
I bought this becasue the guys at my local tool store kept telling me I needed more lift to get all the dust out of my tools. They were partially right. I had allways used sears and ridgid vacuums for cleaning up around the shop but I wanted something specific for use with tools. The Festool is nice in that it has a switched outlet, and comes in a nice portable size...
Published on April 7, 2012 by Amazon Customer


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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The most essential item for your Festool ecosystem of tools, March 4, 2012
This review is from: Festool 583492 CT 26 E HEPA Dust Extractor (Tools & Home Improvement)
A ShopVac is likely one of the first things you're going to buy for dust control in your shop. While it works okay for shop cleanup as that is what it's intended for, it can be a crapshoot with tools. Tool manufacturers boast that their products hook up to them, but too often won't attach out of the box without an optional attachment (not sold in stores). Even when attached, the hose is a bit heavy, gets in the way, and can throw off your power tools a bit (especially a router). Static electricity can sometimes be an issue, and the loud whine of the vacuums can get on your nerves.

Where the Festool CT26 Dust Extractor differs from your typical ShopVac is that it's a machine MEANT to be attached to power tools. Although to be more accurate, meant for FESTOOL tools, but I'll address that momentarily. Included with the CT26 is a lightweight 27mm hose that will plug into all of the other Festool products I have, no additional adapters necessary. Because the host is antistatic, it stays clean and will not shock you when picking it up. The hose also stores very neatly in the top storage area around the handle, a welcome change from my ShopVac where I was always tripping over the hose when not in use. Speaking of the top storage area, other Festool systainers can attach to the top of it, taking advantage of vertical height for storage and conveniently keeping your power tools with you as the CT26 gets wheeled around the shop. Whereas getting my ShopVac to follow you was like a parent yanking the hand of a fussy child refusing to go in their direction, the CT26 wheels maneuvers great and follows right along behind you. The power cord is plenty long and wraps up neatly behind the vacuum.

The level of suction is adjustable and can sound very subdued on the lowest setting. I roll my eyes whenever someone says a shop item is 'quiet,' as that is subjective and rarely turns out to be so. While the CT26 is NOT quiet and still has a bit of a whine, it's far, far more subdued than the loudmouthed ShopVac and often you will not hear the CT26 over the powertool. As for powertools, plug a tool into the power port on the CT26 and change it to 'Auto' mode: the vac will automatically turn on when the tool is operated, and shut off a few seconds after it's complete.

Though not many, there are a few things about the CT26 that I don't like. There is a stop on the unit that can be engaged, but it requires tilting the front of the unit and kicking the foot down. You get the hang of it, but it can be a little tricky to do when there are several systainers stored on the top. The dust bag is very well thought out and it even has a 'gate' of sorts to close off the top opening when it's time to toss the bag away.

While the CT26 is powerful, the small diameter hose doesn't make it practical for cleaning up messes on floors. A larger diameter hose can be bought, but is pricey. As I stated earlier, the CT26 is a dust collector intended for power tools, so I would still keep the ShopVac around for general shop cleanup (although that may be minimal due to Festool's excellent dust collection). I also want to mention that sometimes the hose and power cord can still get in the way of operations, though not nearly as bad as the ShopVac hose did. A brilliant 'boom mic' accessory can be had for the vacuum, but at the tune of several hundred dollars(!!!). (I'm sorry, but NO accessory should come anywhere close to the cost of a Festool power tool alone.) An alternative suggestion is to use a bicycle hanging hook on the ceiling to hook the hose and cord to, works well...though stationary unlike the mobile boom mic.

The other thing I have to be objective on is that this is a vacuum meant for the Festool line of tools. The hose may not attach to your other brand of tools out of the box (though I've been surprised by a tool or two). Otherwise, if you plan on never owning a Festool tool, you might want to keep an open mind and consider the competing vacuums (like Fein) when shopping for a dust collector.

Otherwise for the Festool enthusiast, the CT26 is the core item to have for your Festool ecosystem. The dust collection is second to none, and it's incredibly important to trap dust at the source before it has a chance to get into the air...AND your lungs. You can't put a price on that.
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46 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You want this., January 21, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Festool 583492 CT 26 E HEPA Dust Extractor (Tools & Home Improvement)
I know, I know, you are looking at the price and wondering how one shop vac can be so cheap and this one so expensive. You might even have started wondering why there is so much praise given to Festool in general. Understand however that this is the dust extractor to buy. It may not be the right size for you, you may need a larger or smaller version, but each iteration will please you. For me it was the design that sold me, that and my hatred of not being able to put anything on top of shop vacs and wrestling with hoses that don't store anywhere. The hose stores neatly on top of the machine in a compartment that was designed for it. When you buy this do yourself a favor and get a systainer as well. You don't have to get all the attachments, although this thing has it's own diameter of hose. But the systainers are designed to fit on top of the machine and lock in to it so they don't fall off. Handy to store the various attachments or even tools and make life easier. The suction is strong and the variability of the suction is a feature I didn't even know I needed. Plug your sander into the on board outlet and it starts up automatically when the sander is in use. Also you'll be amazed at how quiet this is. When in use you can still hear what is going on around you and the bother of the vacuum sound is there but not in your face. It is truly amazing that with proper design something like using a vacuum can be pleasurable.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I could never go back... to a shop vac, January 29, 2012
This review is from: Festool 583492 CT 26 E HEPA Dust Extractor (Tools & Home Improvement)
This vacuum is great. It is reasonably quiet, smooth, and POWERFUL. The HEPA rating provides peace of mind that I never realized was missing. I use it to collect dust on the job from my TS55 track saw and to do the final cleaning up after demolition of a room for remodeling. Especially in a older house.

The variable speed makes it nice for using with other tools, not only for sanding, but also to prevent tripped breakers when using a more powerful tool on a 15A circuit.

The hose garage and cord wrap are great too. The hose garage is a little thin for my taste, but is is replaceable, and a friend's took a pretty good tumble down some stairs without hurting it.

The final thing I really like is the cord. It is LONG and THICK. The cord is long enough that 95% of the time an extension cord is not needed.

About the only cons I have found: The cord is a bit stiff in the cold, as is the hose.

I would buy this again, and I may even buy a second, but it will likely be a MIDI.

Almost a year later:

This vac continues to impress me. I will be buying the MINI pretty soon. There was a bet on the jobsite a while back over whose vacuum was more powerful. The CT26 or the Ridgid 6.5HP. So we hooked them up and the CT drew suction through the Ridgid's exhaust port with no issue. Boys will be boys I guess.

For those saying the vac lacks power: get a bigger hose. Any 2.25" shop vac hose will fit. The stock hose is for tool use so it is small diameter to stay out of the way. The performance with the larger hoses is great.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prevents more costly mistakes than you'd think, June 1, 2014
This review is from: Festool 583492 CT 26 E HEPA Dust Extractor (Tools & Home Improvement)
It's an expensive vacuum. You can get by without it, and I did for quite a while. Slap a Bosch hose on a regular old shop vac and you're pretty much good to go with most tools you're likely to pick up at a fraction of the cost. Sounds great in theory, but in practice, it tends to wind up costing just as much in the long run.

For starters, no shop vac on the market generates as much suction as this thing. Not one. It's really staggering how strong it is, and how quiet it is, too. Don't need all that power? Dial it down and the noise level follows suit. Hook this up to a sander and dust will not be able to escape the vortex. You can sand toxic coatings full of silica in your living room all day long and leave no trace whatsoever.

But what it really saves you from is context switches. Say you're making a cut with a homegrown budget solution. You mark the cut, line up the track, make a dry pass with the saw to make sure everything slides the way it needs to, and then... You have to go switch your vac on. Easy enough, but whoops, your shirt snagged the track and scooted it off the line. OK, double back and clamp it this time to make sure. Now switch the vac on and dig in. Halfway through, your hose snags because you inadvertently moved something very slightly while you were digging for the clamps. Now you've got scorch marks at best, blade deflection at worst. Can you salvage your workpiece? Maybe you can, maybe you can't. Not a big deal if it's pine, but if it's something you drove a long way to pay a lot of money for, you're not going to be very happy.

A vac that switches itself on automatically sounds like an utterly pointless luxury for incredibly lazy snobs, but it's not about the effort involved in flipping a switch, it's about the distractions doing so can create which interrupt your work, cause you to make stupid mistake after stupid mistake, eventually snowballing into a runaway boulder of frustration that encourages you to rush through everything else to make up for lost time, leading to... Yes... More mistakes. Turning a vacuum on is not hard. Concentrating on 5 different things at once is. Get rid of one of those things, and it's pretty amazing how much more you can get done.

Bag and filter changes are effortless. They're not cheap, but for the level of filtration they provide, not completely out of line, either.

Things I don't like at all:

1. The brake is annoying. You have to lift the thing up off the ground to really engage it because it just doesn't have enough of a toehold on it to keep a boot on.

2. The hose is really rigid and not especially durable. For as much as they charge, it should at least be as easy to work with as the Rigid kit I got at Home Depot for 1/8th the price. Sure, it's green and anti-static, but it's kinda lame when one of the most critical components of the system is also the weakest.

3. Wheels aren't big enough to travel up or down stairs very easily. You have to pick it up.

4. Even the simplest of accessories, like the steel tube handlebar thing that lets you dolly it around without stooping, are optional and obscenely overpriced. I don't mind paying for quality engineering at all, but you cannot tell me it took a PhD to come up with a piece of bent metal.

5. The suction adjustment knob rotates so far past the markers in either direction that it's easy to mistake the max setting for the minimum setting from a distance because it really could be pointing at either one depending on how you look at it. A Sharpie can fix this in a jiffy.

I would absolutely not bother buying one of these for use with a router, jigsaw or miter saw--you can get along just fine without it in most cases--but for sanders, track saws and domino joiners, you're really doing yourself a huge disservice with that chimeric assortment of duct taped adaptors and extension cords we all know you've got going in there.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No exhaust port, March 18, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Festool 583492 CT 26 E HEPA Dust Extractor (Tools & Home Improvement)
I had assumed there was an exhaust port to hook another hose up to, but this is not the case. It's a fantastic vacuum otherwise. Relatively quiet, but it's still noisy since it's a powerful vacuum. Bosch hoses and adaptors are compatible with the vacuum, which are much cheaper.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My first Festool product, November 27, 2013
By 
Yosemite (Emporia, KS, United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Festool 583492 CT 26 E HEPA Dust Extractor (Tools & Home Improvement)
I have no bases for any conflict of interest regarding any manufacturer named below:

My first Festool product. We needed a replacement house vacuum and my wife, after investigating popular manufactures, settled on Festool because comparative performance data was readily available on their site. We both were surprised by the lack of real information on sites like Miele et. al. This vacuum is replacing a Fein III which we both were pleased with but had to be reassigned to the basement for renovation work. After understanding innovations of Festoool, we rather quickly concluded this company has earned our money. The bag and filter design is completely new rather than an improvement on one that is fundamentally flawed. The Fein design is the latter, we have come the realize. We have always used the Fein hepa system and every time I've replaced the bag Ive always been annoyed by the amount of dirt which gets past the bag; this accelerates the replacement time of a very expensive hepa filter. The second bit in support of my Fein position is the fit of the bag; the reason it doesn't fit, the reason it can never be filled at more than 50% capacity is because it appears to me the hepa system was an afterthought. Then consider disorganized and incompetently marketed Fein accessories; it was a quick decision. I have another Fein product called a multi tool and it's brilliant. I wouldn't be surprised if Fein is designing a response to Festool, however, what I find very interesting is Festool has taken an Apple-like approach to its products, that is, integration is primary. Fein must reinvent if it wishes to compete with Festool.
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30 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Vac, BUT!, November 23, 2010
This review is from: Festool 583492 CT 26 E HEPA Dust Extractor (Tools & Home Improvement)
I just purchased the CT26 Dust Extractor. It arrived w/ problems. The top hose caddy, the saddle the hose rest in, to be wound was cracked through. Also the addition of a Systainer 1, compact cleaning kit, did not seat correctly into the top mount in the hose caddy.

I immediately called the place where I purchased the CT 26. They, w/ some reluctance agreed to send me a new hose caddy rather than sending the whole unit back for exchange. One reason they were willing to do so, this was not their 1st incident of a cracked through saddle in the top compartment.

With Festool's reputation for German engineering, and the premium price you are paying for this "Exceptional Tool", you would think that their quality control would be better.

The function of the tool is good. The machine is very quiet, and has a suction control, depending on your task. Since I have only had the machine for several day, I am limited in performance statements.

The one thing I am not happy w/ besides quality control is the diameter of the hose connections. They are unique to Festool. I guess they prefer you buy all of their high $$ accessories. If like myself you already have a large selection of tools you will need hose adapters to convert to your shops tools.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Festool, hate the price, love the product, October 18, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Festool 583492 CT 26 E HEPA Dust Extractor (Tools & Home Improvement)
This is another of those devices that are indispensable in the shop and needs to be top quality. Though I have friends who say "you spent what? on a shop vac?", once they use this vac (I'm waiting for it to be returned as I write this) they're amazed (as are friends who constantly borrow my Festool jigsaw, tracksaw, router, miter... yea, you, you know who you are... bring 'em back already... ) at how truly superior these products are. Worth the price.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars festool doesn't dissapoint, June 26, 2013
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This review is from: Festool 583492 CT 26 E HEPA Dust Extractor (Tools & Home Improvement)
I bought this vac because I needed HEPA filtration for lead renovation work - having always heard great things about festool I figured I would dive into their line and I am not disappointed. Good design, and super suction power. Recommend spending the extra $80 or so and getting the attachment set.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great! But should have choice of 36MM or 50MM hose too., April 8, 2012
This review is from: Festool 583492 CT 26 E HEPA Dust Extractor (Tools & Home Improvement)
I like the vacuum. I like that the vac sucks well, I like that it houses the hose & power cord neatly on top. I like the fact that the sustainers keep everything neat & organized & clipped together. The tool power turns off the vac faster than my other tool control vacs, which cuts down on noise & electric use. The hepa filter is bonus. At first, I did feel the suction could be better, but suction is easily fixed by using the one of the larger hoses. (Which is why I think the hose option should be a choice.) If you want even more suction, try the non hepa filter, and if you want the ultimate suction, don't use a bag. For users who say the suction is poor, I understand, but it is easily fixed by doing any of the things I suggested. If you want the ultimate suction in a festool vac all the time try the ct 36 auto clean. It keeps suction strong until its time to empty. I do feel the vac could be improved, but for now it works better than most vacs I've tried & keeps me uncluttered, organized & most of all, clean.
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Festool 583492 CT 26 E HEPA Dust Extractor
$625.00
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