In a hurry and just want to know what is the best drum sander? Jet 723520K is your best choice. Keep reading 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.
The 5 best drum sanders Compared:
Drum Sander Features To Consider
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.
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.
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.
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.
Top 5 Drum Sanders: The Reviews
1. Best Drum Sander For The Money: Jet 723520K
- MONITORING: Sandsmart control continuously monitors the load on the drum motor and automatically regulates the speed of the conveyor.
- OPTIMIZATION: Separate feed and drum motors provide independent control.
- DESIGNED TO DISSIPATE HEAT: Precision-machined and dynamically balanced extruded aluminum drum.
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 easier to move around than larger units that weigh way more than this drum sander from Jet.
2. Best Professional Drum Sander: Powermatic PM2244
- CAPACITY: Included infeed/outfeed tables provide 37-1/2 inches of support for the workpiece.
- AUTO ADJUSTMENTS: Feed logic system monitors the drum motor and regulates the speed of the conveyor motor.
- STORAGE: Closed stand with storage for keeping your abrasives organized.
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.
3. Best Benchtop Drum Sander: JET JWDS-1020
- CONSISTENT QUALITY: Heavy-duty die-cast aluminum and steel body provides rigidity.
- OPTIMAL FEED RATES: Infinitely-variable speed control allows the user to choose the perfect feed rate.
- FAST ABRASIVE CHANGES: Toolless abrasive take-up fasteners make changes quick and easy.
This tabletop model is the best drum sander for small shops. 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.
4. SUPERMAX TOOLS Model 19-38
- Voltage: 110.00 V
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.
5. Grizzly Industrial G0459 12-Inch 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
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.
Buying a drum sander: key considerations
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.
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!