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Fein Turbo III 9-20-26 (9-77-25 old model)

*Est. $485
Reviewed
March 2012
by ConsumerSearch
Fein Turbo III 9-20-26 (9-77-25 old model)

Pros
  • Very quiet
  • Durable construction
  • Three-year warranty
  • Includes additional 2-1/2-inch hose
  • HEPA-filter compatible
Cons
  • Messy filter cleaning
  • No blower
  • No onboard hose or tool storage
  • Expensive attachments
Where to Buy
 

The 15-gallon Fein Turbo III 9-20-26 is the largest workshop vac in Fein's Turbo series. Tool-triggered for convenient dust collection while woodworking, the Fein Turbo III is praised by experts and consumers alike for its outstanding quietness and durable construction. The 15-gallon Fein Turbo III 9-20-26 replaces the Turbo III 9-77-25. The redesigned shop vacuum has six wheels instead of four for more stability in transit. Additional improvements include a drain for wet vacuuming and adjustable suction for collecting dust from small power tools. It can collect dust from sanders and power tools up to 19 amps and comes with an additional 2-1/4-inch hose for sucking up bigger woodshop debris. Common user complaints relate to the additional cost of accessories, which some reviewers think should be included in the Turbo III's significant price. An alternative workshop vac, the Bosch Airsweep 3931A (*Est. $535) costs more but gets slightly better ratings.

Because Fein shop vacuums are designed to collect dust from small woodworking power tools, it's not surprising that the best reviews of the Fein Turbo III are in woodworking magazines and on related websites. The Fein HEPA Turbo III is one of six pro-level shop vacuums compared in the Winter 2011/2012 Fine Woodworking Tools & Shops issue. The older Turbo III is also tested in comparative reviews in Wood magazine, Fine Woodworking magazine and the Journal of Light Construction, and it's included in Bestcovery.com's top five wet dry vacs. Because of the similarities within the Fein Turbo line, we've included comparisons from Fine Homebuilding magazine, Tools of the Trade and Rockler.com. Lastly, a solid number of Amazon.com users provide reviews on both the newer and older models of the Turbo III.

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Our Sources

1. Fine Woodworking

Asa Christiana and Fine Woodworking shop manager Bill Peck compare six HEPA-equipped shop vacuums as part of a special guide on dust management, including the Fein HEPA Turbo III 9-20-26. In addition to dust management performance, additional test considerations include working airflow, power, canister capacity, bag capacity, noise and special features, like on-board tool activation and adjustable power suction.

Review: Tool Test: Shop Vacuums, Asa Christiana, Winter 2011/2012

2. Wood Magazine

This review compares the older version of the larger 15-gallon Fein Turbo III with three other tool-triggered wet dry vacs, giving first place to the Festool CT 22E. However, the Fein hose is easier to attach to tools for dust collection.

Review: Wise Buys: Tool-Triggered Vacuums, Editors of Wood magazine, May 2008

3. The Journal of Light Construction

Professional remodeling contractor David Grubb tests seven tool-activated shop vacuums including the older models of both the Fein Turbo III and the Fein Turbo II. He says he appreciates the Turbo III's power and 2-1/4-inch hose diameter, and he names the wet dry vac as "one of my favorites for heavy cleanup." The Fein Turbo III also scores points for its durable construction. However, he finds the weight of the Turbo III makes it "better suited for use in a single location," and he deems both Fein models top heavy when empty.

Review: Tool Test: Tool-Activated Vacuums, David Grubb, Dec. 2004

4. Fine Woodworking

Contributing Editor Roland Johnson tests 13 wet dry vacuums, including the older version of the Fein Turbo III. The shop vacuums are evaluated for their endurance, adaptability and ergonomics, and particular consideration is given to the filter design. Johnson finds the Fein Turbo III to be quiet and "fairly priced".

Review: Tool Test: Shop Vacuums, Roland Johnson, May/June 2003

5. Bestcovery.com

In this relatively recent review, home improvement writer L.D. Ray offers her five picks for best wet dry vacuums. The older version of Fein Turbo III ranks third on the list. She praises its quiet operation and micron filter cloth, but she advises against using the vac for nuts, bolts and screws due to its plastic housing. Ratings criteria is not clear.

Review: Best Wet Dry Vac, L.D. Ray, June 1, 2011

6. Amazon.com

More 20 users rate the 15-gallon Fein Turbo III 9-20-26 model at Amazon.com, giving it an average overall rating of 4.3 stars out of a possible 5. The previous Turbo III 9-77-25 also has a 4.3-star rating, based on more than 35 reviews. Most owners praise the Fein Turbo III for its quiet performance and compatibility with woodworking tools, though a couple say Fein is skimpy on included accessories, and that you should be prepared to spend at least $100 more to properly accessorize it.

Review: Fein 9-20-26 Turbo-III 15-Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum with Auto-Start, Contributors to Amazon.com

7. Rockler.com

This review by a major retailer compares the revamped Fein Turbo II 9-20-25 with the Festool CT 22, concluding that both brands are extremely quiet and provide superior dust collection. Now that Fein shop vacuums offer adjustable suction, the Festool CT 22E has lost some of its edge. The Fein Turbo II 9-20-25 is considered a big improvement on the Fein Turbo II 9-55-13.

Review: The Best in Shop Vacs -- Fein vs. Festool, Rockler Blog Team, Feb. 6, 2009

8. Fine Homebuilding

The older Fein Turbo II is selected as the best value in a tool-triggered workshop vac roundup. The Turbo II is compared with four other wet dry shop vacuums in field tests at a jobsite. The Fein Turbo II rates high for noise and above average for power, filtration and dust collection, ease of emptying and overall design.

Review: Tool-Triggered Shop Vacs, Rob Wotzak, June/July 2007

9. Tools of the Trade

After putting nine pro-grade shop vacuums through a set of workshop tests, Chris Kulczycki recommends the older Fein Turbo II for small jobs or as a good portable shop vacuum. But it doesn't get top ranking here, because it lacks a drain, blower and tool caddy. The newer model has a drain.

Review: Wet/Dry Vacuums, Chris Kulczycki, April 1, 2004

Wet Dry Vacs Runners Up:

Milwaukee 0880-20 *Est. $95

4 picks including: Amazon.com, ConsumerGuide.com…

Fein Turbo III 9-20-26 (9-77-25 old model) *Est. $485

3 picks including: Amazon.com, Fine Homebuilding…

Craftsman 17066 *Est. $120

2 picks including: American Woodworker, PopularMechanics.com…

Craftsman 17762 *Est. $110

2 picks including: Sears.com, ConsumerReports.org…

Craftsman 17761 *Est. $90

2 picks including: Sears.com, ToolCrib.com…

Fein Turbo II 9-20-25 (9-55-13 old model) *Est. $300

2 picks including: Amazon.com, Fine Homebuilding…

DeWalt DC515K *Est. $140

2 picks including: Amazon.com, HomeDepot.com…

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