Best Drum Sanders For Woodworking: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Best drum sanders

Which drum sander is the best? Our choice goes to Jet 723520K. Read on to find out why.

I remember certain tools mystified me as a kid when I would visit my late grandfather’s workshop. One power tool I remember was the drum sander. It was big, loud, and smoothed out wood quickly.

Fortunately, today’s market showcases these tools on a scale that many woodworkers can justify, with a price that they can afford. Let’s take a look at what they can do as well as some of the best drum sander models available for purchase.

In this article, we will be reviewing these 5 best drum sanders:

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Top Pick
Jet 723520K JWDS-1632 16-32 Plus 20 Amp Service with 608003...
SUPERMAX TOOLS Drum Sander with Flatness Guarantee,...
Grizzly Industrial G0459-12" 1-1/2 HP Baby Drum Sander
Powermatic PM2244 1-3/4 hp Drum Sander
Jet JWDS-1020 Benchtop Drum Sander
Title
Jet 723520K
SUPERMAX TOOLS 19-38
Grizzly Industrial G0459
Powermatic PM2244
JET JWDS-1020
Weight
156 lbs
286 lbs
166 lbs
418 lbs
82 lbs
Prime
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Client Rating
Top Pick
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Jet 723520K JWDS-1632 16-32 Plus 20 Amp Service with 608003...
Title
Jet 723520K
Weight
156 lbs
Prime
-
Client Rating
Learn More
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SUPERMAX TOOLS Drum Sander with Flatness Guarantee,...
Title
SUPERMAX TOOLS 19-38
Weight
286 lbs
Prime
-
Client Rating
Learn More
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Grizzly Industrial G0459-12" 1-1/2 HP Baby Drum Sander
Title
Grizzly Industrial G0459
Weight
166 lbs
Prime
-
Client Rating
Learn More
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Powermatic PM2244 1-3/4 hp Drum Sander
Title
Powermatic PM2244
Weight
418 lbs
Prime
Client Rating
Learn More
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Jet JWDS-1020 Benchtop Drum Sander
Title
JET JWDS-1020
Weight
82 lbs
Prime
-
Client Rating
Learn More

Table of Contents

Drumming Up A Smooth Finish

A drum sander is designed to make the sanding process efficient and quick. They are able to present a large amount of abrasive surface to wood projects at one time. They can also generate lots of speed as the drum rotates.

This combination makes quick work when removing layers of wood. But, are they right for everyone?

Who needs a drum sander?

While anyone can enjoy the results gained from these power tools, I feel these sanders are best suited for more advanced work.

Novice woodworkers will usually handle smaller projects that can be sanded using a disc or orbital sander. Intermediate woodworking projects may be larger, but the volume of wood can usually be handled by the same tools, or perhaps a belt sander in more extreme cases.

Drum sanders, on the other hand, excel with large projects as well as jobs that contain lots of pieces that require smoothing. Such projects are usually tackled by woodworkers with more experience.

These power tools are ideal for those who find themselves spending a lot of time on the sanding process.

Drum sander vs thickness planer: what's the difference?

A major difference between the two is the amount of material they can remove in a single pass. A planer is designed to take larger amounts of wood off with each pass. The drum sander is built to take a smaller amount of material each time.

That makes a drum sander great for doing fine woodworking. Taking a minimal amount of material at each pass also allows the drum sander to be used on materials that may chip in a thickness planer, such as plywood.

Another feature that you will notice with a drum sander is that it is able to handle wider boards than a thickness planer can fit.

Drum Sander Features To Consider

design

When it comes to the overall design, two elements stand out.

First off, a drum sander can be defined as “open” or “closed.” Open designs have an open end on the drum that will allow you to fit pieces of wood that are wider than the drum head itself. This allows you to work with boards wider than the length of the drum at the expense of possible flexing during sanding.

Closed drum sanders have drums that are supported on both ends, a feature that provides support on both ends of the drum. This will eliminate the flexing while limiting the board width to the length of your drum.

Your next design option to consider will be single or double drum designs. A single drum has one drum head. This keeps the operating simple and this style is still the most popular of the two.

Double drum designs place one drum head behind the other. While this can make operation and maintenance more complicated, you can run two different grits on the drums. This will allow you to complete two sanding steps with one pass through the drum sander.

Size & Power

The length of the sanding drum will determine the maximum board width you can work with on a closed model. The drum size will determine how much you sand on an oversized board placed in an open drum sander. This is often referred to as the capacity that the machine can handle.

Keep in mind that many drum sanders will run on 240-volt instead of the 120-volts found in a normal house outlet. Electric motor sizes vary, but the range is usually between one to five HP. You will pay more for the larger motors, but they will handle the workloads faster and with greater efficiency.

Dust collection

Sanding generates dust. Sanding with power tools creates a lot of dust. Drum sanders smoothing out wide boards generate a mess.

You will want a drum sander that provides a wide opening for dust collection hoses. If you need to go to a smaller outlet you should be able to find adaptors. Dust can be dangerous, so make sure not to overlook this feature.

Speed adjustments

Having the ability to adjust the speed of the motor offers you more versatility with your sander. This will help prevent damage to your boards as you sand them.

Portability

Finally, keep in mind the portability you will need. Small shop space may require a sander that can be moved easily. A shop with dedicated space may not need a mobile unit.

Reviews of Top 5 Drum Sanders

Jet 723520K

Jet 723520K JWDS-1632 16-32 Plus 20 Amp Service with 608003...
  • Sandsmart control continuously monitors the load on the drum motor and automatically regulates the speed of the conveyor motor to maintain the highest feed rate without overload
  • Conveyor bed parallelism is easily adjusted by turning the dial on the outside of the bed - No tools required
  • Parallelism adjust dial features a stop to quickly return the conveyor bed to a flat position

OVERVIEW

This model is more compact than other offerings reviewed here. That compact design would prove ideal for shops with limited space. You will find this drum sander to be more easy to move around than larger units that are far heavier.

Pros

Cons

SUPERMAX TOOLS Model 19-38

OVERVIEW

The steel used throughout the construction of this drum sander makes it very rigid. Its bed is supported with additional cross-sections that help to keep the surface steady. You will find no flex from below when running this unit. A wide stance is presented with the stand legs, offering you a stable platform to work from.

Pros

Cons

Grizzly Industrial G0459 12-Inch Baby Drum Sander

Grizzly Industrial G0459-12" 1-1/2 HP Baby Drum Sander
  • Sanding motor: 1-1/2 HP, 115V, single-phase, 13A
  • Conveyor motor: 1/8 HP, 115V, single-phase, variable speed 5-55 RPM, 0.3A
  • Drum surface speed: 2127 FPM

OVERVIEW

This model is referred to as the baby drum sander due to the 12-inch long sanding drum as well as the 1.5-HP electric motor. As a closed-end design, theG0459 can accommodate a 12-inch wide piece of stock at most.

Pros

Cons

Powermatic PM2244

Powermatic PM2244 1-3/4 hp Drum Sander
  • Integrated LED Control Panel shows power, belt speed, and DRO
  • Equipped with Feed Logic to produce exceptional finish while preventing machine overload
  • Secondary, absolute depth scale provides an additional height reading

OVERVIEW

This model represents a step up from other products on this list in size and power. The Powermatic makes use of a longer drum and bigger table to help you work on those larger projects. This drum sander is large and heavy and will require dedicated space in your workshop.

Pros

Cons

JET JWDS-1020 - Best Benchtop Drum Sander

Jet JWDS-1020 Benchtop Drum Sander
  • Heavy duty die-cast aluminum and steel body provides rigidity for consistent quality
  • Patented dust hood incorporates an integrated channel that directs dust to a 4" collection port.
  • Parallelism adjust dial features a stop to quickly return the conveyor bed to a flat position

OVERVIEW

This table top model is made for small work. It is highly portable, a feature that will appeal to those who work in areas with limited space. It is also comparatively budget-friendly, giving a hobbyist on a budget an entry point into drum sanders.

Pros

Cons

Drumming Up A Winner

All of the drum sanders reviewed above will produce fine results. I do feel that the Jet 723520K JWDS-1632 Drum Sander represents the best drum sander of the five, however. It provides users with what a drum sander is designed for, without costing as much as the larger units reviewed.

The open-ended design with a 16-inch long drum will provide you with plenty of sanding capability with board widths that most woodworkers handle in their shops.

It is designed to limit the flexing that you find with some open-ended designs thanks to the support sections under the table itself.

The size of the table and stand allow it to be moved around if needed, so this can serve as a stationary or mobile platform if needed.

Finally, variable speed and auto-feed controls backed by a five-year warranty make this a great first drum sander!

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