Best Drum Sander – Reviews & Our Top Picks
Are you looking for the best drum sander? Well this is the place to be as we’ve rounded up the top 5. Drum sanders have the same purpose, and that is to provide a smooth finish for wood surfaces, in particular floors. However the quality of these tools varies significantly, with some good enough for professional use and others barely adequate. To avoid wasting your time, we’ve collected the best right here so you can pick and choose.
The drum sander reviews often give the Jet 628900 high marks, and really it’s to be expected given its variable speed control that runs at a rate of 0 to 12 feet per minute. The 628900 also has the patented Trackers conveyor belt that reduces the amount of manual belt adjustments you need to do.
The drum is aluminum, machined to precision and has self-cooling properties to keep the surface from heat induced damage. A look at the drum ball bearings indicate they’re lubricated and sealed so it lasts longer. Also, the conveyor bed is reinforced steel and combined with the power feed belt, and you’ve got a consistent sanding for the smoothest results.
The downward pressure does away with snipe, and the drum height is adjustable too: the hand wheel is adjustable up to 1/16th inch for every turn for accurate sanding, and the proprietary abrasive fasteners let you change the abrasives quickly. Beginners and advanced users will also be happy to know the on/off switch comes with an overload protection.
- Height: 20″
- Width: 20″
- Length: 27″
- Motor Power: 1 HP
- Drum Speed: 1700 RPM
- Drum Diameter: 5″
- Drum Length: 10″
- Maximum Board Thickness: 3″
- Minimum Board Thickness: 1/32″
- Not as loud as other drum sanders
- The chute does a good job catching dust
- Wood finish is excellent
- Some users say the motor thermal cutoff is sensitive
One of the characteristics of the best drum sander is versatility, and the 629004K is one such tool, as you don’t just get a powerful drum sander but a stand as well. Jet has always been known for their quality tools and this is no exception: the dust port keeps your workspace clean and the Sandsmart control tracks the drum motor load. In addition, the control also regulates conveyor motor speed so it retains the highest possible feed rate without overloading.
Like other Jet drum sanders, the 629004K uses the Trackers conveyor belt for reduced manual tweaking and the 1-1/2HP motor was built for continuous use. Unlike other sanders, the Jet won’t snap under pressure. Insofar as sanding control goes the Jet provides one drive and one feed motor for better results.
The Jet comes with built-in protection from overload, and the variable speed control runs at 0 to 10 feet per minute rate. If you order the package it comes with the 4″ dust port, a box of abrasives, the metal stand complete with shelf, the Trackers, TufTool, an abrasive conveyor belt (100 grit) and an abrasive strip (80 grit).
The dual motors (the 14 amp motor and the direct drive torque (43 in./lbs.) provide more than enough power to handle most sanding projects, and with both totally enclosed fan cooled, usage in a dusty environment won’t be a problem.
- HP: 1-1/2 HP
- Maximum Thickness: 3”
- Max Width (inches): 32
- Cord/Cordless: Corded
- Dust Collection: 4″ Port
- Speed: 1720 RPM
- Sander Style: stationary
- Volts: 110
- Has a 5 year warranty
- Comes with a stand
- The drum is self-cooling
- Sanding produces smooth results
- Adjusting the drum requires a bit of getting used to
Any time we talk about the best drum sander for the money the Shop Fox W1678 has to be in the conversation. If you need wood finishes that are free from tear or have to prepare several panel assemblies, this is the tool to have. The hood is built in such way that it’s able to collect wood dust efficiently, and the less wood there is clogging your operation, the smoother your work will be.
The Shop Fox also comes with a urethane drive belt powered by a chain driven motor and sprocket for optimum transfer of power. The W1678 is compatible with stock measuring 4-1⁄2 in thick x 26 in wide maximum, and it is one of the best sanders for rough and finished sanding in a single pass.
With the Shop Fox, the front sanding drum works on the piece with a sandpaper (coarse grit) while the drum’s rear end sands with a smoother and finer grit, providing the finish you’re looking for.
The Shop Fox also comes with a multi-purpose control panel that allows you to switch the conveyor on or off, plus you get full control of the workpiece feed rate. The control panel also gives you full access to the drums’ functions and keeps an eye on the load being applied. In short, the Shop Fox drum sander is full featured and is more than capable of handling a wide range of sanding projects.
- Motor Size: 5 HP, 3, 450 RPM, 25 amp
- Drum Surface Speed: 2,300 FPM
- Minimum Board Thickness: 1/8-Inch
- Minimum Board Length: 9-Inches
- Cord Dimensions: 10-ft x 12 AWG
- Product Dimensions: 36-3/4 wide x 23-3/4-inches deep
- Conveyor Table Dimensions: 26-1/8 x 30-1/4-inch
- Feed Rates: 0-20 FPM, variable
- Capacity: 4-1/4 thick x 26-inches wide
- Designed for heavy duty use
- Reliable load meter indicator
- Safe to use
The Performax is a solid candidate for top drum sander of the year as it comes with all the essential features you’d expect from a quality sander. At its heart is the SandSmart control with 0 to 10 feet per minute feed rate, just what you need for top of the line finishes without any overload concerns.
The Performax also comes with proprietary abrasive take-up fasteners for rapid paper changes and the TEFC motor keeps dust at bay. The Performax motor has also been designed in such a way that you can use it for extended periods without any problems. Another noteworthy feature here is the conveyor bed that’s been fortified with steel so the feeds are smooth and consistent.
The Performax shares a lot of other features that set it apart from the rest including an adjustable drum height and downward pressure to cut back on snipe. Furthermore, the unit comes with an extruded aluminum drum that is self-cooling, balanced and comes with steel tension rollers (zinc plated).
The sander also has a hand wheel that lets you make significant changes to the height and also minute adjustments for precision work. For all its features, the Performax comes with powerful safety features that prevent overload. Running at 1700 RPM, the drum sander also comes with a sealed ball bearing for optimum sanding results.
- Conveyor Motor: 43 in./lbs.
- Torque; Direct Drive, DC
- Dust Port Diameter: 4 inches
- Drum Speed: 1,700 rpm
- Drum Dimensions: 5 x 22 in. dia. x L/in.
- Min. Thickness: 1/32 in.
- Max. Thickness: 4 in.
- Min. Length: 2-1/4 in.
- Max. Width: 44 in. (2 passes)
- Conveyor Variable Feed Rate (FPM): 0 to 10
- Motor: 1-3/4HP, 115V, 1PH
- Professional quality results
- Assembly and usage are simple
- SandSmart works well for controlling load
- Can be quite noisy
If you look for a drum sander, the W1740 is bound to be near the top of the most in demand. As far as self-feeding drum sanding tools are concerned, the W1740 is up to the task with its generous capacity handles that can work with the majority of stock, perfect when you have to get rid of surface planer marks. The Shop Fox also accepts loop sanding rolls for changing grits and installation.
One of the highlights of this product is its variable speed knob that enables you to boost the feed rate in the 2.47–17.3 FPM range. As many DIYers will tell you, this feature comes in handy if you need to change between softwood and hardwood while sanding.
The Shop Fox base has openings that let you mount it on a workbench or with a Jet stand. For all its features, the Performax only measures 3-1/2-inch deep x 22-1/4-inch wide so it’s more compact than others. In terms of performance however, the Performax doesn’t disappoint as you can adjust the depth by turning the crank.
A full crank turn raises the table by about 0.64 mm or 0.025 inch, critical when you’re making adjustments. Finally, the dust collector on the Shop Fox can be hooked onto a dust gathering system to remove dust and keep your work area clean.
- Variable Feed Speed: 2.47-17.3 FPM
- Dust Collection Port: 2-1/2″
- Sanding Belt Size: 3″ x 70″ loop and hook
- Sanding Drum Size: 4″
- Minimum Stock Length: 8″
- Maximum Stock Dimensions: 12″ x 3-1/2″ (width x thickness)
- Drum Surface Speed: 2300 FPM
- Conveyor Motor: 5-55 RPM, 115V, single-phase, 1/8 HP
- Sanding Motor: 3450 RPM, single-phase, 115V, 13 Amp, 1-1/2 HP
- Can handle different sanding projects
- The manual is clear and easy to understand
- The machine is heavy
Tips for Buyers
Tour choice of what drum sander to buy depends on the quality and size of the material you’ll be sanding.
- Open-Ended Drum Sanders: these drum sanders give you more space to move your boards, and they’re also more versatile given the compact size. One drawback with these models is the possibility you’ll need to pass the material twice on each side, but it will depend on the machine you’re using.
- Closed-End Drum Sanders: these are usually wider than the typical sander and meant for rapid sanding of large materials. What makes closed end drum sanders ideal is their efficiency, and compared to their open ended counterparts, produce faster results.
- Double-Drum Sanders: as the name implies, these tools have twice the paper of a typical drum sander so you don’t have to change the paper frequently. Another advantage of double drum sanders is you’ll get different paper grades for 2 stage sanding.
There are a few more things you’ll need to consider such as the following:
- Width range: drum sander width ranges vary from 10″ up 35” and up, and the “right” width depends on how you’re going to use it. If you’re a hobbyist, the maximum you’ll likely need is around 16“, and if you’re working on several complex projects, 24” would suffice.
- Dust collecting: the longer you work the more dust you’ll accumulate, hence the importance of the dust collecting system. When shopping for a sander, make sure the machine has a dust collector built in to protect your lungs.
- Feed rate: a variable feed rate is crucial because it gives you precise control over the tool and lets you make adjustments to the grits of the sand paper you’re using. At the same time, a variable feed rate can prevent burning, snipe and deep scratches.
When it comes to sand paper attachment methods, two modes are used, hook and loop and peel and stick. Between the two, hook and loop is preferable because the sand paper can be removed even if it’s not yet used up. With peel and stick, the sand paper is damaged when you take it off because of its adhesive.
The other thing you have to consider is the cost. Just like with other power tools and utilities, the more feature packed in, the more expensive. However as should be clear by now, there’s no need to buy the most expensive drum sander, as it comes down to your specific requirements.
The best drum sander really comes down to a matter of personal preference; if you’re new to drum sanding, there’s no need to buy the most powerful drum sander, but if you do need it, there’s no shortage of options available as our reviews above show.