Festool ROTEX RO 90 DX Preview

One more product off the wish-list

Many products on my wish-list do not exist today. A 3-inch orbital sander was one of them until a few months ago when Festool Rotex RO 90 DX was released. It comes in close to perfect at 3.5-inches, no complaints there. For years I’ve asked every woodworker I crossed paths with if they’ve seen a 3-inch orbital sander. Oddly enough, the last woodworker I asked–was about the time the RO 90 was hitting store shelves.

It was not until I posted the following on Twitter to Sarah from TDS Trade Decorating Supplies, that the RO 90 DX would arrive days later.

Festool RO 90 DX at a glance

Festool power tools are engineered for maximum efficiency.  This means the tools provide unmatched logistics. For this upcoming review, Sarah and I discussed the requirements for how MAXIMUM PAINTING will be using the sander, keeping in mind the requirements of the extractor (shop-vac) when used separately from the sander. We discussed the CT MINI, MIDI and the CT 26 E HEPA extractor. While I love the physical size of the MINI and the MIDI, we settled on the auto cleaning CT 26 not to limit ourselves as to what we can throw at it, build on it or put in it. Even though the MINI is the perfect size, it does not meet our requirements. The CT MIDI and the CT 26 are rated at 62 dB (on the low setting), 72 dB/71 dB respectfully on max setting but the CT MIDI has 99 CFM where the CT 26 is at 137 CFM. The 3.96 gal MIDI uses a standard micron filter element and the 6.9 gal CT 26 uses Festool’s highest standard, HEPA filter.

Festool ROTEX RO 90 DX

The RO 90 DX is loaded with some very nice features for such a small sander. For example, Jetstream Technology—where you can dial-in the sander using the Speed Control Knob on the extractor creating the ultimate sanding experience by reducing the amount of suction to allow the sander to float over the wood like a puck on an air hockey table. Otherwise, with the extractor on full speed, the RO 90 has enough suction at the pad to lift a board off the table. Another nice feature is the step-less variable speed control.

Festool ROTEX RO 90 DX

For painters, Make fast work of sanding near caulk lines and other obstructions with the protector set. Each of the 3 protectors varies the distance between the sanding pad and adjoining surface. Only one protector included, set of 3 sold separately.

Festool ROTEX RO 90 DX

The photo above shows how close the 3.5″ pad can get into corners leaving little for the Deltex mode shown below.

Festool ROTEX RO 90 DX

We are using the RO 90 and the Deltex to strip these stringers. We scraped at it a bit. Here is the before.

Festool ROTEX RO 90 DX

We’re excited to finally review our wished-for mini orbital sander paired with the CT 26 extractor. We already have a list going with some modifications, and accessories we would like to see. We will be doing something different for subscribers during the review. What you won’t find in the review are things a $50 sander and a $50 shop vac can do. Details to follow.

Additional Info

How do you move seamlessly between rough sanding and final sanding without switching sanders? It is easy when you own a Rotex multi-mode sander. The design of this multipurpose sander is nothing short of an engineering marvel. Use the aggressive action to quickly and efficiently remove wood, paint, or varnish. Switch to the fine setting for final finishing. Equip your Rotex with polishing pads, sponges, felts or sheepskin and get astonishing finishes that gleam with brillance. With the new RO 90 DX, add the ability to swap the round pad for a delta-shaped pad to reach deep into corners and crevices.


*This product is under review along with the FESTOOL CTL 26 E AC HEPA Extractor (CT 26)

Drooling Specs RO 90 DX Sander

POWER 400 watts
Pad Diameter 3.5″ (90 mm)
Stroke 1/8″ (3mm)
Weight 3.3 lbs (1.5 kg)
Product Number 571 823
Speed Rotary Motion (RPM) 260-520
Speed Eccentric Motion (RPM) 3,500-7000
Dust Extraction Port 27 mm
Power Cord Length 13 feet
Multi-mode sanding capabilities

Festool Fact

Festool invented the dual-mode Rotex sander in 1982 but didn’t stop there. Today’s Rotex sander is the 4th generation in the evolution of this revolutionary tool. The new generation is so advanced that no two parts are the same from any previous version.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google +
  • LinkedIn
  • E-Mail

2 Responses
  • Terry365painter Reply

    Jack I bought the same , I looks so good in the
    Van I haven’t really got to use mine yet, but I see I nice cabinet job and stain doors in my future . I will let you know the results thanks
    Terry Beutler painting and drywall repair

  • Flashman Reply

    When looking for a 3″ sander did you try the Metabo SXE400? Festool RO90 on a budget?

Leave a Reply