Test report: Festool CT26 and CT22 in comparison (2023)

I've been looking forward to a Festool vacuum cleaner for a long time. I mentioned this to a Festool representative a few months ago and that I was considering pulling the trigger on one. He said, "Can you wait until October?" Hey? I just saidto wantto buy you something What kind of seller are you? Of course, I didn't say that out loud; I think I just said, "Of course." The wait was worth it when I received my new CT 26 Dust Extractor a few weeks after it was released.

Why go green?

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I've had a Festool domino for a while, and when Festool offered me 10% off their saws and treadmills, I had to take the plunge (no pun intended... well, maybe a little). Of course, these tools work great, but I'm always amazed at how much dust they can produce. As this affects not only the life of the tool but also the life of my lungs, a vacuum cleaner was the logical next step. This is probably the appropriate time to issue a disclaimer: my blood does not perpetually run Festool green. My attitude is that if something works, it works. I don't care if it's green, blue, yellow, red, pink... I really don't think I would buy any pink tools unless it's for breast cancer or something. But I digress.

Many woodworkers I know like Festool and its products, but are put off by the asking price. I say if it makes you more efficient and gives you a high quality end result, it's less about the front endpriceand more about himcostIt is associated withnoown it Well, that's the end of my rant; back to review.

apples to apples

For the purpose of this review, I'm getting my hands on a CT 22, just to compare apples to apples. Let's do a side-by-side comparison of the two models and see where things have changed.

CT 22 (left) and CT 26 (right)

In all the photos you will notice that the optional hose reel is attached to the CT 22. I did this for two reasons. First, it allows a better comparison, as the CT 26 has a hose garage built into its design; And two, if you have a CT 22 I can't imagine why you wouldn't have the attached garage, especially if it's mobile. Unless you were using it in a shop, where I wouldn't necessarily "run out" every night, it seems logical to have somewhere to store the hose with the unit.

When it comes to size (and we all know size matters), things are pretty much the same, in the general scheme of things. Same basic wheel setup. The suction control, manual/auto switching and power connection for the tool-starter are all the same, just slightly reconfigured. The CT 26 is about 2 kilos lighter. The gasket seal throughout the bin is the same. The decibel levels are nearly identical; CT 26 measured 71db(A) and CT 22 measured 72db(A). Amps, power cord and hose - all unchanged. One thing the 22 has that the 26 doesn't is a fan port. Under 22, you can plug in your hose and choose "clean air" to free up a workspace. I really don't think losing this feature is a deal breaker because I don't know how many 22 owners actually used it. As for me, well, that's why God made compressed air.

Now let's see the good stuff.

CT 22 (left) and CT 26 (right)

As I mentioned earlier, the built-in hose garage is fantastic. Also, the built-in carry handle feels much more solid and robust. When you remove the cap, you don't feel even a bit of bending in the handle.

The detachable motor/suction assembly is a real bonus and does not require any modification to use accessories such as the handle, boom arm, etc.

I saw it at the Festool Owners Group where someone mounted the new one-piece cable storage component next to the hose garage. This required some custom modifications, but it's certainly an option if you have a lot of accessories on board. I don't use the accessory straps on any of mine, but I know at least some of you do. I suppose this can get in the way a bit when it comes to changing the filter bags on the CT 22, but the 2-part system on the CT 26 makes this a bit of an issue. I think wet operations would also be much less complicated with the new system, as all mechanical components are removed when the cover is removed.

Let's talk about filters.

The CT 22 had two HEPA filters,

but with CT 26 they went to a HEPA filter. And changing it couldn't be easier. Lift the green "active" handle and pull... that's it.

Some of the functional features have also been refined. The connecting clamps on the CT 22 were single pivot and click. The CT 26 has two pivot points and is spring loaded. This may seem insignificant, but if the handles are not properly secured on the CT 26 they will pop open, meaning there is no question as to whether or not the unit is sealed.

The hose port has been moved from the front left corner to neutral (see photo, left). It's only a few inches, but I noticed a big difference: when I vacuumed through my shop, the CT 26 just glided in behind me. That's not to say the CT 22 performed poorly, but going from one to the other, you can certainly feel the difference in how well they track. This could also be due to the new wheels on the CT 26 having a thin layer of hard rubber. While it's an improvement, I'd like to see rubber wheels instead of hard rubber on plastic. This was the only complaint I had with the entire system.

wheel locks

The wheel locking system has received a welcome upgrade. CT 22 was fine, but CT 26 isFantastic.Rather than having to configure the locks individually, the CT 26 has a unique motion system: simply step on a lever and the front wheels lift off the ground, locking the unit in place. Watch this video for a quick demo:

When I pulled the hose on a blocked CT 22 it slipped a bit and left a few scratches on the floor. I had to pull hard on the locked CT 26 just to get it to move, and when it did, the rubber on the underside of the brake gripped like a champ. Launching couldn't be easier either. Tap the toe and spring-loaded brake springs to the "up" position.

Filter bags and capacity

Capacity has been increased from 5.3 to 6.3 gallons. When you compare the cavities side by side, the CT 26 looks gigantic. I bet if you yelled at it, you'd hear an echo; it's so big

CT 22CT 26

Filter bags have also been improved. If the CT 22 bags are pleated, but when they put them on one side of the other, it seems that three CT 22 bags could fit in a CT 26 bag. more efficient. The new pouches are made from a “single, flexible fleece” that prevents the inside of the pouch from bunching up. When clumping occurs, a significant amount of suction is lost, even though the bag is not yet full, because the filter part of the bag is essentially clogged. These new flexible bags even inflate during use, allowing the cake to form. But when you turn off the device, the bag deflates, releasing the cake. Once paper bags are inflated, they rarely deflate. So the cake stays and grows with each use. This can put undue stress on the engine, which can lead to mechanical problems down the road. Not to mention the fact that you're paying for bags that are half full. Who needs it? It should be noted that this most often happens when it comes to sanding fines.

Another important factor is “how” the bags are filled. I checked mine several times during use and without fail most of the dust was in the back half of the bag. This is due to the large amount of suction that the new engine produces. Per Festool's spec, the RPM was increased from 24,000 to 36,000, while slightly lowering the decibel level and lowering the weight of the engine by 2 pounds.

The max. Suction force has been increased from 134 to 137 CFM, but more importantly, Static Water Lift (SWL) has been increased from 90 to 96 inches. What does this means? I didn't know either, so I read for a few hours and learned a thing or two. Now, I'm by no means a scientist or a mathematician, so I'll give you the "woodworking definition". The higher the SWL, the more suction you will feel. It is essentially the power behind the movement of air.

real world example

Here's a real-world example of how well this unit works: I was working with a friend on a renovation and I had to sand a 1x8x16 inch disc. wall cover that had been filled with putty. This was in the middle of a large, nearly finished room with a dark wood floor. He had planned to mask up and blah blah blah. I said, "Why don't you try this and see how it works?" He connected the CT 26 to his 5 in. Porter Cable Sander and started sanding. I looked closely and saw no dust. I thought to myself, "There's no way this thing capturesall;"so I put my head about 12 inches away from the platform. Looking into the light from a nearby window, I couldn't see anything. Not a breath or a speck of dust. Even after it was done, I could run my hand over the lid and barely feel anything. And the floor? Anything. The suction on this thing is amazing, and mind you, it wasn't a Festool sander I was using.

This is definitely a vacuum cleaner, not a vacuum cleaner.


In short: this new unit is a clear improvement over its predecessor. However, if you're reading this and you have a CT 22, I don't suggest you go out there, tie it to a tree and crush it with a shovel. If you look at other companies that are leading the way in innovation and high quality, like Apple or Cadillac for example, the new products they come out with are always better, faster and smarter than the older versions, but the models older ones retain a lot of value, amount of value, because they're still way ahead of the competition. It is certainly worth putting Festool's CT range in this category.

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