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Best Drum Sanders: Review & Buying Guide 2020

Sanders are just that: equipment that sand wood or other materials in order to smooth out the surface. If you’re making a small table, for example, you’d need a sander to smoothen out the slab of wood. For this, you can use the best drum sander where the wood is fed onto the machine, then sanded multiple times until you reach the desired results. Depending on the application, there are many types of sanders available:

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Here, we will focus on two types: drum sanders and oscillating spindle sanders. The oscillating sander has a drum that moves up and down its spindle so that it comes in contact with the material that’s being sanded. Different drum sizes are available, and different grains of the sander can be attached to the drum – depending on how smooth the surface needs to be.  A similar tool is the drum sander which is usually heavier and more powerful than an oscillating sander. When deciding which one to use or which machine to invest in, it always pays to consider your budget and skills level. Experienced woodworkers usually know how to operate both a drum and an oscillating sander.

Top 10 Best Drum Sanders Review

Next, what are the top brands and models of drum sanders available in the market today? Here’s our list:

1. Grizzly Industrial G0459-12″ 1-1/2 HP Baby Drum Sander

Dimensions: 25.75 x 26.75 x 26.25 inches
Weight: 166 pounds

Grizzly Industrial is ‘Purveyor of fine machinery’ since 1983, and they are one of the top brands of sanders in the market today. They also make bandsaws, planers, jointers, table saws, shapers, drill presses, dust collectors, lathes, and sanders. An entry-level model which is quite affordable is the Grizzly Industrial G0459-12” Baby Drum Sander. The machine has a 1.5 HP motor while the conveyor motor has a single phase, variable speed ranging from 5 to 55 RPM.

Using the machine, you can sand materials with a maximum stock dimension of 12” W and 3.5” thick; while the minimum stock length is 8 inches. The high-quality drum has a surface speed of 2127 FPM. This is a benchtop wood drum sander which weighs 140 pounds but is powerful enough to sand wood that’s up to 12 inches in width. Aside from the main drum sanding machine, purchasing this product comes with the variable-speed conveyor and a handwheel with a gear-drive-table elevation. It also has a steel dust hood which maximizes the efficiency of dust collection; and an industrial-grade conveyor belt. In terms of quality, price, and durability, there’s no doubt that the Grizzly Industrial Baby Drum Sander is a great buy especially for professional woodworkers who are looking for something budget-friendly.

2. Grizzly Industrial G0450-37″ 15 HP 3-Phase Drum Sander

Size: 37 inches
Power: 10 HP
Drum Surface Speed: 2800 FPM

If you have a small furniture design business and you need something a little more heavy-duty, go for the Grizzly Industrial G0450-37” 15 HP 3-Phase Drum Sander. The description of the name says it all. The machine is powered by a 15 HP, 3-phase motor with variable speed. The 37” drum sander is wide enough to be able to sand even wide slabs of wood which are up to 4 inches thick. The belt is industrial grade so you’re assured of its durability. the maximum stock width and height are 36-1/2” and 4”, while the feed rate is 6 to 18 FPM.

From a practical standpoint, what’s good about this machine is that the sandpaper can be installed easily onto the drum. There are four dust ports measuring 4 inches each, there is easy access to the drum, the dust collection system is advanced, the sanding belt is spring-loaded, and it has a power-coated finish. When buying the Grizzly Industrial G0450 machine, just remember that the 440V machine requires you to purchase some additional components, and it needs to be installed by the company’s licensed technicians.

3. Grizzly Industrial G0716-10″ 1 HP Drum Sander

Size: 10 inches
Power: 1-1/2 HP
Drum Surface Speed: 2300 FPM

If you think that an industrial-grade drum sander is a bit too much for you, go with a lesser-priced model which is not inferior in quality: the Grizzly Industrial G0716-10” HP Drum Sander. Woodworkers who are currently using handheld sanders would love this 10-inch drum sander. The quite powerful machine can handle sanding wood of up to 9-1/2 inches wide. One of the trickiest aspects of using a drum sander is feeding the wood onto the machine. This is something that you won’t have problems with while using the Grizzly G0716 because it has a variable speed conveyor that lets you adjust the feed rate. Stock up on 3” wide sanding rolls so that you can get a lot of work done using this machine. Other highlight features of this model include the aluminum sanding drum, adjustable spring-loaded steel pressure rollers, motor overload protection, easy access to the elevation handwheel, and the wheels and handles which are stowable so you can easily move the machine around.

4. Jet 723520K JWDS-1632 16-32 Plus 20 Amp Service with 608003 Stand

Dimensions: 48 x 40 x 27 inches
Weight: 156 pounds

Next is the Jet Amp Service which is a multi-purpose machine for woodworking. It’s an amp service style tool which includes a sander and drum sander functionality. The JWDS drum sander with stand has an innovative design with its tool-less parallelism system which makes adjustments quick and easy. To position the worktable, you need to simply turn the parallelism dial. To make sure that you’re working safe, it has a variable speed rate.

Another great feature of the JWDS drum sander is called sandsmart control, which continuously monitors the motor load. It regulates the speed to maintain a high feed rate without overloading. It’s also easy to adjust the parallelism dial to make sure that the surface is evenly sanded. There’s a 4-inch port which is where the dust hood is integrated with, for an efficient dust collection system. Finally, the drum which is the main sanding component is a precision and balanced aluminum that dissipates heat and protects the work area from too much heat. With all these great features, it’s no wonder why the Jet JWDS Drum Sander is one of the best in the market today.

5. Jet 708447 1-1/2 HP Oscillating Edge Sander

Dimensions: 50 x 26.5 x 20 inches
Weight: 275 pounds

Another one from Jet is the oscillating edge sander, which belongs to the drum sanders family. The machine is 115 Volts, 1.5 HP, with a 230V wired single-phase motor. This Jet oscillating sander may be a bit more expensive than typical drum sanders, but it’s because of the added features like its ability to produce angles, bevels, and curves. Of course, it still works as a drum sander which can smoothen out flat wooden surfaces. The belt measures 6 x 89 inches, and has a drum surface speed of 3900 surface feet per minute.

Buying the set includes the attachments which you can use for both horizontal and vertical applications. The table is made from cast iron can be adjusted upwards or downwards. There’s a port measures 4 inches which collects the dust and debris, while the tension of the belt is easy to control. Since it’s from a trusted brand and there are numerous features in addition to drum sanding, this Jet Oscillating Edge Sander is one equipment that you shouldn’t miss out on investing in.

6. Shop Fox W1772 10HP 37-Inch Drum Sander

Dimensions: 57.5 x 57.5 x 44 inches
Weight: 1351 pounds

Another professional-grade drum sander is the Shop Fox W1772 10 HP 37-inch model. It has dual drums, a hinged hood, an amplifier load meter for the control panel, a control box with variable speed as conveyor, and state-of-the-art drums which are computer balanced.  Shop Fox products are built to last and this model is designed with close attention to detail. The parts are ruggedly built and the machine itself will give you years of efficient operation. It’s actually designed for production shops so big jobs can be handled using this machine.

To control the variable speed, you can easily use the speed knob and amp meter. There are two sanding drums which are computer-balanced. Once you load them with an abrasive with your desired grit, you can rough- or smooth-finish large slabs of wood. The drums are fully adjusted for parallelism and height to the conveyor. As for the feed rate, you can adjust it from the slowest 6 FPM to the fastest which is 18 FPM. Choose a setting based on whether you’re working with hard or soft wood. With a two-year warranty, the Shop Fox W1772 Drum Sander can be considered a very good buy for those whose business are along the lines of woodworking.

7. Shop Fox W1831 1/2 HP Single Phase Oscillating Spindle Sander

Dimensions: 14 x 15 x 17 inches
Weight: 34 pounds

How about buying the Shop Fox W1831 ½ HP, Single Phase Oscillating Spindle Sander instead? As indicated in the name, it has a 0.5 HP permanent magnet motor which is single phase and is CSA certified. The diameter of sanding drum is ¾” to 2 inches, while the sanding drum length is 4.5 inches. Considered as a benchtop oscillating spindle sander, you can use this machine to smooth out edges of wood which you just recently cut with a bandsaw or a scroll saw. The spindle can perform 58 oscillations per minute and you can create inside curves with a ½-inch diameter. You can also take your pick from six spindle sizes with different sanding sleeve measurements. The tool is designed in such a way that you can store the accessories like the spindle washers, spindles, sleeves, and table inserts on the tool itself – so there are no accident misplacements. To make sure that the machine cleans up after itself, there’s a built-in dust port measuring 1-1/2 inches. There’s also a locking power switch for safety.

8. Triton TSPS450 3.5 Amp Cast Iron Top Oscillating Spindle Sander, Orange

Dimensions: 18.5 x 16 x 20.5 inches
Weight:  34 pounds

First, what’s included in the package? When you buy the Triton TSPS Oscillating Spindle Sander, you will get:

  • The main machine
  • 6 pieces sanding sleeves (80 grit, ½, ¾, 1, 1-1/2, 2 &3)
  • 6 pieces table inserts
  • 5 pieces rubber sanding drums
  • 3 pieces upper spindle washers
  • 1 wrench
  • 1 dust port
  • User’s manual

Oscillating spindle sanders are ideal for sanding curves, arcs, contours, and irregular shapes on the material you’re working on. To accomplish this, the motor has a powerful oscillating and rotating power with its 3.5 A, 2000 RPM oscillation speed. Depending on the shape of the curve, you can use any of the six sanding sleeves which all have matching rubber drums and table inserts.  With its workspace made from cast iron, you can tackle and sand any curved edge on your chosen material with the Triton Spindle Sander.

9. WEN 6524 Oscillating Belt and Spindle Sander   

Dimensions: 18.5 x 16.5 x 18 inches
Weight: 27 pounds

Another great sanding tool to invest in is the WEN 6524 Oscillating Belt and Spindle Sander. You can use any of the three sanding drums with different sizes, which comes with a 4 x 24-inch belt. To make sure that you’re sanding those curves efficiently, the spindle can work up to a speed of 2000 RPM while the belt has a maximum speed of 1575 FPM. The package includes:

  • The WEN Oscillating Spindle Sander
  • A bevelling work table
  • 5 pieces of 80-grit sandpaper
  • 5 throat plates
  • 4 rubber sanding drums
  • 1 belt sanding attachment  

The spindle can oscillate up to 58 times per minute, giving you great results every time. It also has a dust collection system so you can work with minimal mess. Indeed, the WEN Spindle Sander is a great machine to have if you love working with wood.

10. WEN HA5935 5-Amp Variable Speed Portable Oscillating Spindle Sander

Dimensions: 12.2 x 11.2 x 4 inches
Weight: 6.64 pounds

Finally, there’s the WEN Variable Speed Portable Oscillating Spindle Sander. It has a coarse grit with a grit rating of 80. The machine itself is portable and lightweight – simply place it on top of your working table and you can start sanding those arcs and curves on any piece of wood. The 5A motor can perform 50 to 90 oscillations per minute and there are four sanding spindles with different diameters. When you buy the product, you will get the spindle sander, four sanding sleeves, and three rubber drums. The WEN Oscillating Spindle Sander comes with a two-year warranty.

Things to Keep in Mind when Buying a Drum Sander

Drum sanders are a great tool to have whether woodworking is a mere hobby or your main line of work. When looking for a drum sander, here are a few more things to keep in mind:

Determine if you’d need a drum sander or an oscillating spindle sander.

If you’re a professional woodworker, you will probably need both a drum sander and a spindle sander. The drum sander will let you smooth out flat wooden surfaces and if you need to work on curved edges, the spindle sander is the better choice. If you only have room for one in your budget, choose the machine for the job that you will most frequently do.

Check on the technical specifications of the drum sander.

For drum sanders, always check on how powerful the motor is, the maximum board width and thickness, the surface speed of the drums, and the conveyor feed rate. Naturally, the industrial-grade drum sanders will have more superior technical specifications but if you only need an entry-level machine, always check on the aforementioned factors.

How about the accessories included?

When you’re buying a drum sander, you will usually get the main machine with dust port, a hood, a control panel, a control box, pressure rollers – what’s included in the kit will depend on the brand and model of the product. For oscillating spindle sanders, the drums, attachments and other accessories are usually included. Look for a model with on-board storage so there is lesser chance of losing these smaller items.

Compare brands and prices, then make an informed decision from there.

Again, base your decision of whether to buy a drum sander or an oscillating spindle sander on whether you usually work with flat or curved surfaces. Compare several brands and see which ones have a price range that’s within your budget. Take note of the highlighted features of each one, then plan from there. By doing a bit of research, you can find the best drum sander – oscillating or otherwise – to suit your woodworking needs.

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