The legend goes that a man, Alex Clarke, invented the drum sander because he was fed up of resting on bars that were scratchy and rough. The drum sander was first used on bar tops and then went on to sand and resurface school desks.
Nowadays, the drum sander has become very popular amongst woodworkers and even luthiers – those who make musical instruments such as violins and guitars. I got my first drum sander after tinkering with one at school – I’m a sucker for smooth wood! I’ve gone on to make the smoothest shelves and cupboards you can find anywhere and they’re proudly displayed around my home. We’ve had many a compliment about them too.
Whether you tinker with woodwork as a hobby or you’re a professional making cabinet doors, this Best Drum Sander Reviews and Buyers’ Guide will help you to find the best drum sander for your needs. And next time you’re in a bar, make sure you notice the smooth bar top thanks to Alex Clarke!
Top Drum Sanders: Comparison Chart
|Pick Name||Thumbnail||Product Name||Price|
|Editor’s Choice||Jet 723520K JWDS-1632||Check Price|
|For Small Commercial Stores||JET 629004K||Check Price|
|Top Portable Choice||JET 628900 Mini Benchtop Drum Sander||Check Price|
|Good Value for Money||SUPERMAX TOOLS Drum Sander 19-38||Check Price|
|Best Double Drum Sander||SHOP FOX W1678||Check Price|
|6th||Powermatic PM2244 1-3/4 hp Drum Sander||Check Price|
|7th||Jet 723540OSK Jwds-2244||Check Price|
|8th||JET 649005K 22X44 Plus||Check Price|
|9th||Powermatic 1791290 Model DDS-225||Check Price|
|10th||SUPERMAX TOOLS Drum Sander Model 16-32||Check Price|
Our Top 10 Product List
Here is a screenshot to help you easily compare them:
01 Editor’s Choice: Jet 723520K JWDS-1632
Our Editor’s Choice is the Jet drum sander. We really liked this drum sander for the finish and ease of use. It has Sandsmart controls which means that when you are using the sander, the load is being monitored continuously on the drum motor. This means that the speed of the conveyor belt is regulated automatically.
Our testers liked how this meant that the sander could maintain its highest feed rate without fearing the motor being overloaded. Also, it was so easy to adjust the parallelism of the conveyor bed with the outside dial. You don’t need tools for this either! It also has a great stop feature so that you can return the bed to the flat position really easily.
Another great feature is the dust hood. This has a channel that is integrated. It mirrors the drum’s shape and can direct the dust and chips to be collected. Finally, if you’re worried about heat damage, this drum sander is made from extruded aluminum which dissipates heat readily thus protecting the surface. The finish is certainly one to marvel at and it is almost effortless to achieve that finish.
- Weight – 156 lbs
- Dimensions – 48 x 40 x 27 inches
- Shape – circular
- Power source – corded electric
- Voltage – 115 V
- Horsepower – 1.5
- Sound level – 63 dB
- This has a great dust collection system.
- It is great value for money (and is actually the cheapest drum sanders in this review)
- It comes ready to use, with only the stand requiring assembly.
- It is a heavy and robust piece of equipment.
- It is not very easy to change the sandpaper.
- It does vibrate quite a lot.
This sander is certainly worth the money you pay for it. In fact, it has excellent value for money. It is an excellent machine as long as you don’t ask too much of it, work carefully with it and are patient to get your results. It can be fiddly to change the paper and it does vibrate quite a lot but if these things aren’t bothersome to you, you’ll certainly be pleased with your purchase.
02 For Small Commercial Stores: JET 629004K
This Jet drum sander is ideal for small commercial shops. We found it to be excellent for getting rid of planer marks, burns and blade marks. Our testers used this to carry out a number of different tasks including rails, drawer pieces and stiles.
We found it reduced sanding time massively when compared to an orbital sander. Once you get accustomed to fixing the sandpaper in the machine and get to know how to adjust the unit, the sanding is really satisfying and fun! It can even handle some things that you would ordinarily use a planer for.
This is a more expensive machine than our Editor’s Choice (in fact, it’s almost double the price), but it is a great machine none the less and it comes with sandpaper ready to use – 80-grit and 100-grit.
- Weight – 164 lbs
- Dimensions – 35 x 15 x 30 inches
- Color – port
- Power source – corded electric
- Voltage – 115 V
- Horsepower – 1.5 HP
- It requires very little assembly and the manual is easy to follow.
- The smartsense system is excellent.
- It is a solid and well-built sander.
- It is good value for money.
- Although it has a dust port, you have to buy a dust collector separately. The company recommends JET DC1100.
- It can be challenging to get the sanding belt parallel to the conveyor belt.
This drum sander is the best drum sander for small commercial businesses. It handles a good range of material sizes, has a variable feed rate and dual motors for better control and power. The consistency in results is great and it is easy and quick to make adjustments. Finally, we loved how robust this product was and found it was ideal for all of the jobs a small commercial woodworker might use it for.
03 Top Portable Choice: JET 628900 Mini Benchtop Drum Sander
If you’re looking for something that is portable (that’s not always easy when it comes to drum sanders), then the Jet 628900 Mini Benchtop Drum Sander is a great find. We had some luthiers test this product and they commented that it saved them lots of time when it came to sanding their materials. The sander screams quality with both the finish and the fit.
It also has a great range of adjustments and has a large hand wheel to make adjusting it really easy. When compared to other drum sanders in this review, this one does have a quicker paper change, which will obviously be a welcome positive for many woodworkers as this is one thing that frequently crops up in negative reviews for drum sanders.
- Weight – 96 pounds
- Dimensions – 27 x 20 x 20
- Horsepower – 1 HP
- This item comes with a stand.
- It is a lighter weight and portable drum sander.
- The sandpaper can be changed more quickly than other drum sanders.
- Some reviewers commented that it left marks when used with larger pieces of wood like cabinet doors.
- It seems to cause more snipe than other models
Drum sanders aren’t usually portable but sometimes a company or person needs one that is. In this case, the best drum sander that is portable is this Jet Mini Benchtop Drum Sander. It does its job well and is lightweight. What’s more, you can change the sandpaper super quickly when compared to other drum sanders in this review, which is an excellent plus for many frustrated woodworkers!
04 Good Value for Money: SUPERMAX TOOLS Drum Sander 19-38
If you’re looking for good value for money, the Supermax Tools Drum Sander 19-38 is just that. It has height-adjustable tension rollers that eliminate snipe by holding down pressure. The dust extraction is excellent because the dust cover is made to the same shape as the drum.
Unlike other drum sanders, the dust extraction is made with metal rather than plastic which gives maximum airflow and dust extraction. The drum sander is heavy-duty cast iron and so it is strong, rigid and doesn’t vibrate as much as other models. There is no dust collection with the sander but it is best to buy one.
The Supermax Tools Drum Sander 19-38 has an adjustable speed on the conveyor feed. It can sense the load you’re working with and slows down if necessary. We tested this on some tabletops and the 80-grit belt produced smoother results than we thought it would.
- Weight – 245lbs
- Dimensions – 41.75 x 57.62 x 57.62
- Color – steel grey with black stand
- Power source – corded electric
- Voltage – 100 V
- Horsepower – 1.75 HP
- It is a very well built machine.
- It runs to a surprisingly low volume.
- It has an automatic adjustable speed for the feed.
- It doesn’t vibrate as much as other models.
- It is difficult to replace to sandpaper.
- Replacing the drive abrasive/conveyor belt is extremely difficult.
This is a high-quality machine with excellent value for money. Not only that but it is built to an exceptionally high standard and finish. The drum sander is very heavy-duty and robust yet the machine is quiet and vibrates a lot less than other drums out there. This is an excellent machine for a professional shop, it is industrial quality and heavy-duty. It’s certainly a fantastic item for your workshop.
05 Best Double Drum Sander: SHOP FOX W1678
For those of you looking for a double drum sander, our vote goes to Shop Fox W1678. This is a fantastic sander. Our testers liked how quickly it gets wood clean, even without passing it through a planer beforehand – it really does save you time.
This doesn’t come with a dust collector, but getting one is essential. It performs this task very well. If you can’t decide between a dual drum sander and a wide belt but a not in a constant production environment, this is the best that money can buy. It contains an amplifier meter that indicates the load and it has two 4” dust ports as well as a hinged hood.
- Weight – 546 lbs
- Dimensions – 36-3/4” wide x 23-3/4” deep
- Material – steel
- Voltage – 220 V
- Horsepower – 5 HP
- It is a very efficient machine that is time-saving.
- It is a very powerful machine with 5 HP.
- There isn’t a steep learning curve to getting to grips with this machine.
- It is an expensive machine.
- Some reviewers say the customer service isn’t always good.
This is the best double drum sander out there, in our opinion. It is excellent at cleaning wood, even without using a planer beforehand. The amplifier meter is useful and the 4 dust ports work very well. This has 5 HP and so is very powerful. There are comments in the reviews that say that the customer service isn’t brilliant but the chances of you having to use it are very slim.
06 Powermatic PM2244 1-3/4 hp Drum Sander
The sixth position in our Best Drum Sander Reviews is the Powermatic PM2244 1-3/4 hp Drum Sander. This is an excellent drum sander that met our testers expectations. It is a very well-built tool, with a cast iron drum carriage and steel hood. This makes it very strong and robust and helps it to perform consistently.
We also liked how there are 4 dust ports that work really well for dust collection. Unlike some other sanders in this review, this is a high-tech sander with an integrated LED control panel that shows you the DRO, the belt speed and the power. Another thing we loved is that it arrived almost completely assembled! It was so simple to finish setting up.
- Weight – 418 lbs
- Dimensions – 45.6 x 23 x 50.25 inches
- Voltage – 115 volts
- The sander arrives almost completely assembled, which is great.
- The sander is very sturdy.
- There are 4 excellent dust ports.
- This tool is an excellent high-tech item.
- The sander is better on smaller items but with larger sizes, it can struggle to feed well.
- Some people have reported feeding issues with the conveyor belt being temperamental.
The Powermatic PM2244 1-3/4 hp Drum Sander is a great sander that is so easy to set up and use. It is a high-tech sander so for those of you who want something a bit more up-to-date, you will enjoy being able to read the LED control panel to see the belt-speed, power and DRO. We found this to be better on items that were smaller in size as there were a few times it struggled to feed well with larger pieces. Overall, it is a great high-tech sander.
07 Jet 723540OSK Jwds-2244
Our 7th Best Drum Sander is this Jet Drum Sander with Open Stand. We liked this sander as it has Sandsmart control. This means that it monitors the drum motor load continuously and regulates the conveyor motor speed automatically so that it can maintain the highest feed rate without overloading it.
You can also adjust the parallelism of the conveyor bed easily without tools as there is a dial on the outside. This dial can also return the conveyor bed quickly to a flat position. There is a single 4” collection port and the dust hood that has an integrated channel mirroring the drum shape. This works to direct the dust and chips to the collection port.
The drum is manufactured using extruded aluminum. This material helps to dissipate the heat so that there is no risk of heat damage on the work surface.
- Weight – 216 lbs
- Dimensions – 44.31 x 27 x 30.69 inches
- Material – steel
- Power source – corded electric
- Voltage – 115 volts
- Horsepower – 1.75 HP
- The aluminum drum helps dissipate heat and reduces the chances of heat damage.
- This drum sander has Sandsmart control.
- The dust collection port works well.
- The dust hood directs the dust to the dust port well.
- It is a more expensive product than others that offer a similar quality of sanding.
- This isn’t as popular as other drum sanders and there are fewer online reviews.
This is a good sander with good online reviews. Since it isn’t as popular with buyers and is more expensive than similar tools, it doesn’t feature as high up in our Best Drum Sander Reviews and Buyers’ Guide. Nevertheless, our testers were happy with how it worked and the quality of sanding it produced. It is certainly worth investing in dust collection as an extra, though.
08 JET 649005K 22X44 Plus
The Jet 649005K 22X55 Plus is our number 8 in this Best Drum Sander Review. There are many adjustable features in this sander, which is a great addition. You can adjust the drum height and the downward pressure so that snipe is minimalized or eliminated.
Also, you can adjust the height in increments of 1/16th inch for precision accuracy. It has tension rollers that are zinc-plated steel that are mounted next to the drum itself. These help to eliminate slippage, making for a better finish. This is a powerful sander that is quick as well as precise.
What’s more, we loved how much you can use this sander continuously with uninterrupted sanding. We tried this with extended jobs and were impressed with how smooth the feed was and how great the finishes were. This is a high-end product, however, which is reflected in its price.
- Weight – 282 lbs (benchtop only)
- Drum dimensions – 5 x 22”
- Product dimensions – 35 x 30 x 30 inches
- Color – port
- Power source – corded electric
- Voltage – 115 v
- Horsepower – 1.75 HP
- There is very minimal assembly required.
- It comes with a stand.
- It is a high-end product.
- It has lots of things you can adjust, making it very precise.
- This is an expensive product, probably best suited to professionals with medium-sized shops and above.
- Changing the paper does take some getting used to.
This Drum Sander is fantastic, though many might be put off by its high price tag. If you’re a medium to a large-sized business that has a sander in almost constant use, you will certainly get your money’s worth with this power tool. Once you’ve got used to changing the paper, you can have hours of uninterrupted sanding with this machine. Overall, it’s smooth and well-built, making it a good investment for those who want to spend a bit more money.
09 Powermatic 1791290 Model DDS-225
Similar to our number 8, this Powermatic drum sander is a production class sander that has lots of features. It is a dual drum sander that has a 5 horsepower motor that power its twin poly v-belts.
The drums themselves are made from steel and have a durometer rubber coating which makes the finish flat and mar free. The rear drum can be adjusted independently to fine-tune the precision of the sander, which we liked in our testing.
What’s more, we liked how sturdy and heavy-duty this tool felt with its cast iron table and heavy-duty poly conveyor belt. Our testers loved how quickly they could get jobs done with this power tool. The feed motor runs at ¼ horsepower and has a gearbox that goes forward and reverse. You can sand a surface of 8 to 12 feet for each minute, which is awesome!
Another great feature of this sander is that it comes with a cabinet that is made of heavy-duty steel. This means that your sanding has minimal vibrations and it also offers excellent storage space below!
- Dimensions – 46 x 46 x 45 inches
- Voltage – 230 volts
- Horsepower -5 HP
- It has a two speed gearbox (forward/reverse).
- The heavy-duty steel cabinet helps reduce vibrations and serve as excellent storage.
- It is a very precise sander.
- It is a production-level sander.
- It is very expensive.
- There is no template to guide you to replace the sandpaper, it’s about trial and error.
This is a professional, manufacturing-grade sander with excellent features. It is expensive and so is best suited to people who work in large production lines who need access to a drum sander continuously throughout the day. This drum sander certainly packs a punch and produces excellent sanding with its fine tune-ability and, if you’re looking for something that has storage below then you’ll be pleased to have this as an additional and unexpected feature!
10 SUPERMAX TOOLS Drum Sander Model 16-32
The final product in our review is this SUPERMAX TOOLS Drum Sander Model 16-32. This is a high-tech product that has in-built Digital Read Out that helps to maintain a consistent thickness that is high-quality and accurate. This also has ‘quick level adjustment’ technology too, which makes it super easy to use. This really is high-tech all-round.
It has a Turbo Vented Dust Port that increases the airflow to the dust collectors by 15%. This makes it much more efficient when in use. According to the company, the drum never goes out of alignment.
We certainly found that we never lost alignment in our testing. The Supermax 16-32 also has Intellisand technology. This means that the sander is prevented from damaging, burning or gouging the wood.
- Weight – 147.7 lbs
- Dimensions – 22 x 34 x 48”
- Power source – corded electric
- Voltage – 110 volts
- Horsepower – 1.5 HP
- It’s a high-tech sander that uses all of the latest technology to get the best results.
- You don’t have to sand a lot to get a great finish.
- Excellent torque control on the primary motor.
- The power cord was on the short side.
- The dust port does work well but the hose can get in the way.
Our final number in our Best Sander Review is still a fantastic product. This is great if you are looking for a high-tech and powerful drum sander but don’t want to spend too much money. With this sander, you get the high-tech features for a lower price. Yes, the power cord is too short but there are ways you can get around that if you need to, such as changing the cord. Overall, a good product for the technology and price.
Why Use Drum Sanders
A drum sander will, without a doubt, be an excellent addition to your collection of power tools and it will certainly make your wood projects easier. It is still important, though, to understand why a drum sander is beneficial and what you can expect when you purchase yours.
- Efficiency. Using a drum sander is a really efficient way of sanding your work. It is a lot faster than sanding by hand and is faster than a handheld sander too. Unlike sanders that you might be familiar with, a drum sander has a conveyor belt. This moves your wood through the sander, making the results both consistent and professional.
- Large capacity. Drum sanders have a huge workspace, even if the machine itself doesn’t take up a lot of room. These power tools do tend to be quite large and come with large tables that can accommodate big workpieces.
- This modern sander is one of the most convenient tools for sanding that you can own. Some drum sanders have a stand so that your back is protecting when you are standing to use the machine. They also can come with a conveyor belt that automatically adjusts to suit the piece that you are sanding. Finally, you can get belt sanders with feed rates that are varying. This makes it possible to sand different things without ruining anything.
Drum Sander – Buying Guide
1. Closed-End vs. Open End Drum Sander
A closed-end drum sander has a supporting structure. The pressure rollers and feed belt are closed on the ends. With this design, you can’t sand anything that is wider than the drum’s length. For example, you can only sand boards that are 12-inches wide on a 12-inch closed-end sander. These sanders are more stable than an open-end drum sander because the roller won’t flex apart or open.
If you mostly work with large boards, you’ll probably want an open end drum sander. With this sander type, a 12-inch sander can sand boards that are up to 24-inches in width. These are less even in terms of their sanding capabilities due to their open ends, however.
2. Single vs. Double Drum Sander
The oldest and most popular type of drum sanders are single drum sanders. With a single-drum sander, you only have one sandpaper so you have to change it if you need to use more than one for the project. One advantage of a single drum sander is that their design is simple and they are easy to use. Mostly, they cost less too.
A double drum sander has two drums, as you would expect by the name. The advantage of this is that you can have two different sanding grits at once. E.g. the first drum can have a more coarse paper, while the second can have finer paper. These are more expensive.
3. Quality and Durability
A drum sander is a bit of an investment so you want to get the best value for money. Check how it’s made including the pressure rollers, feed belt and housing. These power tools are prone to vibration, some more expensive models will have anti-vibration technology to minimize the problem.
It is crucial to consider the sander’s motor and this should be something to look at when you buy a drum sander. Most have power between 1 HP and 5 HP.
The size of the material your drum sander can handle is important. Read above regarding closed-end and open-end drum sanders.
The best drum sanders will have a variable feed rate and speed. If you can vary the feed rate, you will have more variety in what you can use the item for.
7. Dust Collection
Anyone who has ever sanded anything will know that sanding comes with heaps of dust. Look at how the drum sander collects dust.
8. Maximum and minimum wood sizes
If you are planning to make a large dining table, you’ll really need to consider the sizes of the drum sander in terms of maximum width. For smaller projects, this won’t be as important but you should still check the Specifications. The thickness of wood is also a consideration.
9. Motor strength
Some of the more expensive drum sanders can do tasks usually assigned to planers but most can’t. Less expensive styles expect you to regulate the machine to prevent damage otherwise the motor will not be able to cope.
At the moment there are two distinct types of drum sanders out there: old school and high-tech. The old-style has manual levers and knobs to adjust the measurements while the high-tech ones have computers to help regulate and make adjustments. These are much more precise but they are also much more expensive.
11. Feed rate
The feed rate fluctuates depending on how deep you ask the machine to cut. There’s a faster feed rate for shallower cutting. For some older models, you will be controlling the feed rate manually and so you’ll have to ensure you don’t overtax the drum roller.
12. Portability and weight
It’s not likely that you will need to transport your drum sander regularly and you shouldn’t really consider a drum sander as portable. There are models with wheels attached for easy maneuvering.
13. New sandpaper installation
Most sanders have a similar way to install the sandpaper but some take around 30 seconds to install, while others take more like 30 minutes and need an extra tool. Check before you buy!
14. Bench or stand
When looking at sanders, read the descriptions carefully. Some don’t have a stand so if the one you’re looking at doesn’t have one, you’ll need to think about getting one.
Since a drum sander can generate lots of power, it is prone to vibrations. This is tiring for you as you need to work harder to keep your wood in the right place. It also leaves marks on the wood. Lighter sanders and high-end models have fewer vibration issues.
16. Noise Reduction
Drum sanders can be excessively loud but some have newer tech that reduces the noise. Always use ear defenders and look for a machine that is less than 95 dB, as this isn’t harmful.
Snipe isn’t just an issue for planers. On drum sanders, evidence of snip is usually in the middle of a board. You just need to make sure you don’t overtax your sander and you should be fine.
You can get a budget sander; it depends on your requirements though. Don’t go all-out and pay for expensive advanced features that you are not going to use.
19. Other Features
Here are some other features to check out that may sway your purchase:
- Cantilever hoods
- Customer service
- Digital height reader
Drum sander Using Tips & Tricks
A drum sander isn’t difficult to use but there are some things to know to make it easier:
- Choose sandpaper carefully – go for premium paper for premium results.
- Take time – don’t try to take a lot off with each pass – it is not a planer. Have patience for the best results.
- Buy a dust collector – you will thank me!
- Don’t sand through brads – ever! It will leave lines in your paper that will be shown on the next item you sand.
- Start with the right grit – you should start with a coarse grit and finish with a fine one.
- Use a face mask and goggles even if you’re using a dust collector.
- Don’t mess with the power cable and don’t use an extension lead as these can result in potential electrical fires.
A sander is dangerous, never think otherwise. Never get complacent no matter how used to the machine you are. The most dangerous part is the 4 inches closest to the sander bit. Make sure you concentrate fully when you operate the machine and don’t have any materials pressing up against it.
When using your sander, you should stand properly and make sure there is no risk of you losing balance or slipping. Don’t stretch to handle the wood and make sure you have no distractions like children or dogs around that might make you jump.
If you choose materials that are too small, you run the risk of getting into difficulty because your hands will need to be closer to the sanding parts. Also, make sure that the wood doesn’t have any irregularities that might cause the wood to jam or kick back on your hands.
Don’t wear loose clothing and make sure long hair, including beards, is tied back. Chains and necklaces should be removed or tucked away securely. It is best to use protective clothing like gloves, aprons and steel toe boots. Ear defenders and goggles are a must!
In this Best Drum Sander Review and Buyers’ Guide, we hope to have covered all bases to help you to decide which drum sander is most suitable for your needs and budget.
Our Editor’s Choice officers great value for money while being an excellent product for a great number of people with varying needs. There are two dual drum sanders in this review if that’s something you’re keen to purchase and we have a mixture of high-tech and old school too.
Whatever your needs and desires, we hope to have found something suitable for you or, at least, helped you to decide what features you need and want when buying your new drum sander.
1. How does a sander work?
Ans: A drum sander moves the paper quickly against a wood surface creating smooth wood really quickly.
2. What are the differences between drum sander and planer?
Ans: Planers remove much more material than a drum sander. A drum sander is the best machine for finishing a product. Planers remove up to ¼ inch with each pass, a sander would take 25 passes to remove the same amount.
3. What are the differences between drum sander and belt sander?
Ans: They both work in a similar way. A drum sander fairly abrasive but it removes far less than a belt sander. When an object is not too wide, a drum sander is ideal.
4. What are the differences between drum sander and orbital sander?
Ans: A drum sander has a drum with a sandpaper belt around it. The drum spins when the machine turns on. An orbital sander has a plate that oscillates, this is much slower.
5. What are the differences among drum sander, square sander and disk sander?
Ans: A square sander is a choice item for professionals in refinishing woodwork. A disk sander is often used when the wood surface isn’t very rough. Disk sanders can be used at an angle, unlike drum sanders.
6. How much does a drum sander remove?
Ans: Typically, a drum sander will remove between 5 to 7 thousandths of an inch for each pass.
7. How much sandpaper do I need for a drum sander?
Ans: It depends on what you are sanding. If you sand a floor with a drum sander, you might need 5 sheets of finer (120) grit sandpaper, 8 of 90 grit, 8 of 40 grit and 12 of 24 grit. You’d need about the same for an edging sander too.
8. How long does it take to sand a floor with a drum sander?
Ans: If you have a room that is 140sq. ft. it will take around 5 hours.
9. How much does it cost to rent a drum sander?
Ans: A rule of thumb says that it costs around $1.50 for each square foot, this includes rental charges and materials. Compare this to hiring a professional to do the job for you costs $4 to $5 per sq. ft.
10. How long does it take to sand a table?
Ans: It depends on how you sand it and its size! With a sander, it will take less time and probably less than one hour with all the different grits being used for a professional finish.
11. Will a drum sander flatten a board?
Ans: A planer will be much more efficient but it is possible with a drum sander, it will just take longer.