Product Review: Fein Turbo II HEPA Set Dust Extractor
No matter how much we love our tools, we have to be honest with ourselves: almost all of them make a mess. The byproduct of even our favorite tools is often something that needs to be cleaned up. So wouldn’t it be nice to have a tool whose job it was to undo the dirty deeds of all the others?
As I assembled it, I was hoping the $499 Fein Turbo II HEPA Set Dust Extractor would fit the bill. Fein, founded in Germany in 1867, is known for its typically excellent line of power tools, with a product range that includes drills, saws, surface finishers, and grinders among others. Fein dust extractors have generally received positive reviews over the years yet it has been recently redesigned. Before even switching it on, it seemed to me that the redesign was not only aesthetic but practical as well, which meant that if the mechanical performance remained the same, the dust extractor itself would be markedly improved. As subjective as it might be to say so, the modern redesign looks cool, too; the older design was a bit of an anachronism.
The Fein Turbo II has a 8.4 Gallon base with four 2.5 inch 3600 castors. Earlier designs of the Turbo II had several more castors which were credited with its excellent maneuverability. The top of the unit contains two beefy fasteners on either side to secure the top to the base. The redesigned lid also features a roughly 12×12” flat surface which is useful for setting parts or the tool you have attached to it when not in use. The lid has a handle that folds flat when not in use but easily allows you to pick up the 20.1lb extractor. The lid also includes an integrated socket outlet, the large power switch and two large hooks that are used as the cord and hose holder.
The unit comes with a HEPA filter and a filter bag, the hose, a tool coupler with suction control as well as the items that distinguish the dust extractor “set” from the dust extractor alone: two metal extension tubes, a crevice tool, a dusting brush, an elbow, a combination nozzle with rubber blades and brush strips for wet or dry work, and the nozzle holder/floor nozzle holder combination for carrying the accessories.
The first thing I noticed about the Fein Turbo II is how quiet it is. I didn’t have a decibel meter, but Fein claims the unit runs at 66 decibels, a level that’s not impossible to speak over. I vacuumed wood floors, carpet, concrete floors, and used the accessories to quickly and easily clean sills, corners, and even to detail my car. The Turbo II is powerful and did an impressive job (technical specs: 151 cfm (71 l/s) flow rate). The filtering system actually left a clean and fresh scent in the air. The unit maneuvered well over carpet and hard surfaces and the generous hose and cord length allowed me to cover a lot of floorspace without changing plugs. The website description claimed the both the hose and cord were 16 feet long each; however, I measured the hose at just over 13.5’ and the cord at just over 17’. I certainly don’t mean to quibble over this nearly negligible net difference, but in the spirit of accuracy, I thought I’d include it.
For wet vacumming, the fleece bag is removed from inside the Turbo II. The combination nozzle blades should be changed from the brush to the rubber blades. Sounds easy, right? Despite there being no instructions included in the manual for this process, it seems like this should be a fairly simple thing to figure out, but the design of the combination nozzle give the impression of permanence rather than interchangeability. There are plastic nubs that hold the sleeve that holds the brush/rubber blade, but it doesn’t appear like these can be exchanged without bending the plastic body of the nozzle to the breaking point or, at least, wearing the plastic nubs down over a short amount of time if you often switch between wet and dry vacuuming. I called Fein’s Customer Service line and quickly was connected to an exceedingly helpful representative. The sleeves do have to be gently pried from underneath the plastic nubs for the brushes to be changed to rubber blades. I would love to see the design foresight exhibited in the rest of the Fein Turbo II be applied to the combination nozzle soon.
In any event, the Turbo II handily vacuumed up a big puddle of water I purposefully spilled on the floor (technical specs: 98.4″ of water lift (245 mbar vacuum). Frankly, even using the brushes in the combination nozzle instead of the rubber blades satisfactorily removed a puddle (as did using the elbow and the crevice tool), although it did lack the full efficacy of the squeegee effect using the rubber blades.
The 27mm diameter tool coupler with suction control is the accessory used in dust extraction process. This coupler fits all Fein tools with a dust extraction port as well as some other power tools, although it’s not universal. In combination with the integrated socket outlet, this coupler is sure to be one of the most useful features of the Turbo II. Attaching a tool to the Turbo II using the coupler, plugging the tool into the integrated socket outlet on the Fein Turbo II’s lid, and moving the the on/off switch to the plug symbol, the Turbo II’s power is now controlled by the attached tool – automatically turning off and on when the tool is turned off or on, and the dust generated by the tool is captured by vacuum. The Turbo II will run for about 15 seconds when the attached tool is switched off.
The Fein Turbo II is a powerful, well-designed, and effective wet and dry vacuum and dust extractor. The recent redesign includes practical changes that only improve the performance. Still I’d like to see a solution to storage of the bulky hose similar to the designs of some of the Turbo II’s close competitors, although those competitors are significantly more expensive. Also on the wish list, although this might be asking for the moon, is a retractable cord
mechanism: the hose and cord storage on any wet/dry vacuum is typically the most cumbersome part, so future design innovation for these things would be great. Also, the Turbo II’s accessory storage curiously does not include a space for all accessories that come in the set. The combination nozzle, suction tubes, crevice tool, coupler/elbow all have spot storage, but the dusting brush (and any other accessory you may purchase separately), must sit on the top of the vacuum until used. Finally, a rethinking of the combination nozzle’s brush to rubber blade switch would be appreciated.
Yet these are all really just quirks that don’t materially detract from this excellent product. The Turbo II would be a fine addition to the tool collection of both the consumer and professional.
Like PTR on Facebook!
Follow PTR on Twitter!
Follow PTR on Instagram!