Mafell S35 Review - Initial Thoughts Jun 11, 2020 13:26:52 GMT -5
Post by hecon5 on Jun 11, 2020 13:26:52 GMT -5
I still like this vacuum. It's quiet, powerful, and lightweight.
That said, if I were to do it again (NOTE: US Based) I'd not buy this vacuum. I'd go for the Nilfisk, or the Metabo version of the Starmix. It does do a tremendous job of vacuuming (why I bought it), but it has a few downsides that I don't like at all.
Namely: for the US version, Mafell put a "don't use this for anything except wood dust" note in their manual. That makes it technically not allowed for use in RRP applications, even if it also does say HEPA on the outside, AND come with a HEPA H-14 filter test cert for each filter. Which really pisses me off. I have another that is, and this one's really really good at its job, so I decided to keep it, but if you're in the US...be wary.
Second, I don't think the cost is really worth the increased suction/airflow over the Nilfisk variant, even if the filtration is considerably better. I don't grind / make silica dust enough to make enough of a difference for the iPulse to really help me over Nilfisk's version, considering the Nilfisk has a lot larger size.
In fact, I'd go for the Husquvarna / Ermator/whatever S14 or the Oneida Dust Cobra/C5500 if I were starting from now. Their longopac bags+slightly larger airflow+two filter arrangement seems much better in hindsight. They're not that different in cost if you factor in cost of bags. That said...the S14 is a lot larger.
As with the other review I just did, I've only had this vacuum for all of like ... 3 days and haven't really put it through the paces, but thought I'd start somewhere. Plan to update this as I use it as time allows.
It's heavier than I expected. The kind of heavy that feels like if it fell down a flight of stairs it might come out unscathed, not the kind where you think your arm will be ripped out of the socket when you pick it up.
Note: the naming on the (US/NA) version leads me to believe that it's SLIGHTLY different in packaging/delivery scope from the UK/EU S35 version, and the user manual is different...though I cannot find the PDF version of the US "S35-HEPA" manual anywhere. If someone has it...let me know, I want a copy.
Physical Attributes/use case:
I'm planning to use this for most dust collection tasks on jobs that last more than 4 hours, coupled with a dust deputy custom fit up I've made. For short jobs, I will be taking just the vacuum to see how it is.
Size of the machine is pretty decent. It's what I might term "almost the perfect size". It weirdly feels a little too big to be in the small category, but not big enough to be in the "big" category of vacuum sizes. Seems to fit nicely into a size where it will fit nicely into an all-around size. If you have it on site for more than 2 hours, it's perfect for anything small to large jobs, but if you need to nip into several different spots, I would suggest a backpack or smaller form factor like the Makita HEPA vacuum. If you're doing clean out of panels and pull boxes or the like, or just need to make one hole, the Makita's probably a better size.
Locking casters on the front are ok, but not awesome. It wheels around really easily, and I think I like that the back two wheels always follow, instead of having them all swivel and spin the vacuum around and careen off the walls/tools/whatever. My shop vac does that, and I hate it for it.
The size of the bin (and bag), is decently spacious. It's no 16 gallon ShopVac size, but for smaller renovations / quick work, I can't see using more than one bag per site, and even then that seems like one or two jobs per bag as long as you're not using it to pick up huge chunks. With a dust deputy inline, I bet this thing would last a looooong time between changes. That said, I'm working on a dust-deputy mod to make a "cheap" longopak type bag change, so dust is never touched once it goes in the deputy's throat. When I get that done, I'll post up some pictures, and a build log if anyone's interested.
The cord on this thing is SJOW 16/3 cord not appliance cord like some other rebranded vacuums I've seen. Since the vacuum isn't drawing a ton of power (and depending on use case, I may not use the tool plug), the cord seems sufficiently durable that I'm not going to bother replacing it with an upgrade to 12AWG until it fails.
The tool mode on this is pretty neat. If you have the vacuum set at any level other than max, it will use that lower mode, until you turn off the tool. After you turn it off, the vacuum goes to "full power" suckage(TM) for 5 seconds, presumably to gobble up any strays, then turns off again.
The outlet is always on, and tool sensing is pretty decent. I was able to use a tool that has a phantom load / lights on it, and the lights did not trigger the vacuum to turn on (which I thought was a good thing), but as soon as I bummed the trigger, it immediately turned on, so I think the current sensor might use inrush detection in addition to overall level sensing.
Impressive. Quite good airflow, and obvious suction.
For lots of holes or you're doing sawing and expect a lot of dust in a short time: this is a really good vacuum. Seems an impressive amount of suction with a lot of air. Even the supplied hose (more on that later), the airflow is impressive.
CAVEAT: I've only had this a few days, so long term testing will be more telling on this aspect.
I used a Bosch HDC200 to drill some holes in drywall to test it out, and with the included hose, very rough drywall (who puts high-texture on walls anymore!?) it sucked right to the wall and stuck HARD. Couldn't even tell if any dust got anywhere, it all seemed to go right into the vacuum, so that's a plus. That said, the differential pressure light goes into absolute panic when using that shroud and the vacuum is clearly laboring on it. I didn't use the autoclean mode on it, but I'd bet it'd try and "clean" itself the whole time you're drilling with this thing. Actually, it sucks so hard onto the wall, I'm considering drilling a few extra holes to allow more air to flow in (and also increase the amount of prospective dust that is caught).
Hose and Hose fitting:
The included hose is anti-static and long. It's sturdy, and hasn't kinked on me yet. That said, it's rather small, has a really irritating amount of memory, and honestly isn't very flexible considering the size. My Rigid 1-7/8" hose (which is a rebranded Flexhaust) is a LOT more flexible and I feel like actually a little more crush resistant. The only downside to the Rigid hose is that it's not anti-static. For the price (~$34 w/ tax & shipping), I actually prefer the 'dumb contractor hose'. That said, if anyone knows of a reasonably flexible hose that is not $200 and is anti-static, cue me in. Back to the Mafell hose: I don't really 'like' it, but it does alright. With the amount of suction the vacuum draws, even though the hose is teeny, it did impressively well extracting dust for a quick shelf mounting and box install. I am not sold on the hose end; it's stiff rubber and seems built for abuse, but it's a real chore to insert it into the saw's dust ports and the dust shroud I used. I'm hoping the hose relaxes now that it's not cooped up in its delivery box; I will probably keep it around to connect to sanders and the like. The hose locks on the vacuum inlet, which is kinda handy, but due to the amount of hose memory, dragging the vacuum around will back it off a tad; it doesn't come unlocked, but it's not "locked" on. That said: I'm on the hunt for a larger hose (or two); suggestions are quite welcome.
The inlet has a the same flapper / cover that comes on the Starmixes. It's rubbery and seems decently resilient. It fits in the inlet alright, but seems like if I'm too rough with the thing loading it would pop out; may need to get a different inlet to mod it; will be keeping my eye on this and will update if I remember.
I've not measured dB yet, but it's darn tooting quiet (comparably...we're talking work site not nursery level quiet). Almost as quiet as my Sebo D4 when on low. At high, I'm not sure I'd like to not have hearing protection on if it's on for more than a few minutes, but I also like wearing hearing protection.
That's all for now.