Need the best drum sander for your project needs? Professional woodworkers are increasingly turning to drum sanders for performance flattening and smoothing. In our opinion, drum sanders are no longer a luxury; they are essential in getting the job done to the right specification on time.
Owning a drum sander means no more hand sanding. Not only does this result in getting work done more quickly, but the key benefit is also improved consistency.
Are you thinking of purchasing a drum sander? Pay attention to this; there are lots of types from single, double, close-ended, and open-ended drums. The type of drum sander you require depends on what features are important to you.
If you are looking for a heavy-duty, open-ended drum sander - this is the best choice in our opinion.
Open-ended drum sanders have a massive capacity for sanding wood since you get a large space for working. Double-drums allow you to sand in multiple stages since the grades of sandpaper you insert into each drum do not need to be the same.
There are many drum sanders on today’s market, and build quality can vary. For example, high-performance drums tend to be made from aluminum, which dissipates heat to keep your work (and you!) safe. Premium drum sanders are constructed from heavy-duty cast iron to reduce vibrations, improve strength, and give greater rigidity.
Newer drum sanders come with amazing new technologies. Some models increase airflow, allowing chips and dust to be removed more quickly from the work surface. Other drum sanders adjust feed rate automatically to prevent overload on the drum motor.
Sometimes it is not the exciting new things that matter but getting the classics done right. Managing dust on your workspace when sanding has always been important, and newer models are redesigning airflow on their sanders to get dust where it needs to be – in the collection port.
You work hard, we know that, that’s why we want you to choose the right drum sander that works best for you, your team, and your clients.
Sometimes a budget drum sander does the job. Some types of work require better performance. We don’t want you to lose time on a project (and money) choosing the wrong product.
|Supermax Tools 16-32||
Drum size, speed, and motor power are perhaps the most important consideration in choosing the drum sander that is right for you. The larger the drum size, the greater the range of different jobs you will be able to perform. The more powerful the motor, the easier it will be to perform sanding without struggling.
For professionals with dedicated workspace, portability may not be a significant consideration, but for others, the new range of benchtop drum sanders may mean they can take up drum sanding for the first time thanks to the space-saving design.
Best open-ended drum sander
We recommend the SuperMax Tools 16-32 because of the exceptional features of this model. For example, ‘Quick Lever Adjustment’ Technology allows hight to be adjusted with one lever pull. The 16-inch drum has the capacity to sand up to 32 inches over two passes with a drum speed of 1,740 RPM. However, weighing 148 pounds, it is not a portable option.
The product has been thoughtfully designed. The drum carriage, being bolted to the base, means the drum stays in alignment. The Turbo Vented Dust Port has also been redesigned to increase airflow to the dust collectors.
What is unique about SuperMax Tools is INTELLISAND Technology. I’m usually skeptical about named features like this, but it seems appropriate. Why? Because the feed rate is adjusted automatically to compensate for the drum load’s impact on the motor. This could mean no slippage, no gauging, and no burning.
The packaging could be better. Some buyers have reported the sander being damaged during shipping. Other buyers report that the metal feed belt brackets are too soft, which may mean you need to adjust after a number of hours of use.
Improve productivity with the feature-rich SuperMax Tools 16-32; designed for consistency, accuracy, and quality.
- Built-in Digital Read Out
- Turbo Vented Dust Port
- The drum is bolted to the base
- Indexed alignment setting for wide and narrow stock
- ‘Quick Level Adjustment’ design
- Built with ‘INTELLISAND Technology’
- The Digital Read Out (DRO) gives consistent thickness which could help to maintain quality and accuracy
- Since the drum is bolted to the base the drums stay in alignment and do not move
- INTELLESAND Technology prevents you from gouging and damaging while sanding
- Quick Level Adjustment adjust heights by up to 3 inches with a single lever pull
- Poor Packaging, reports some orders may arrive damaged
- Cheap metal used to construct the feed belt brackets
If you’re still not certain with your choice, here’s a more detailed review of Supermax Tools 16-32.
Best medium-sized drum sander
The JET 723540OSK Jwds-2244 features a 1.75 Horse Power motor, and the drum speed may be considered fast at 1,720 RPM. Sanding capacity is impressive at 44-inch widths over two passes. Another nifty feature is the Dust Hood with a mirrored design integrated channel that transfers dust and wood chips away from the workload.
Worktable adjustments are made easy, without tools, due to the inclusion of a parallelism dial, making this a more portable option. Feed rate is also adjustable so that this model could be used for a wide variety of projects.
Some buyers report rust formation from the get-go and paint bubbles, which indicates manufacturing standards may be slightly lax.
Smartly designed medium-sized drum sander packs a punch with 1.75 Horsepower. The JET 723540OSK Jwds-2244 is versatile, allowing you to adjust your workstation without tools.
- Smartsand monitors drum motor load
- Dust Hood mirrors drum shape
- Worktable parallelism without tools
- Aluminum drum dissipates heat
- 1.75 Horse Power motor
- Dust Hood funnels wood chips, dust to collection port so can help keep your workspace tidy
- Smartsand may help prevent overloads
- Adjustable worktable allows you to keep in storage, great for small spaces
- Aluminum drum dissipates heat to protect work surface
- Variable manufacturing quality, always inspect your drum sander upon delivery
- No digital gauge included with this model
Best benchtop drum sander
The Jet JWDS-1020 has many of the features you will find from a medium drum sander, now available as a benchtop model for portability. Dust Hood funnels dust to a collector, and the worktable is parallel adjustable with the dial, improving portability.
The motor is impressive at 1 Horse Power. You can sand boards with a thickness up to 3 inches and 20 inches wide, which may be considered reasonable for a benchtop model. The aluminum drum sander has a self-cooling mechanism to protect against heat damage.
Watch out for manufacturing defects, some customers report dents, upon arrival. The conveyor table is surprisingly malleable, so the robustness of this model is an open question.
Powerful drum sander in a small package: Benchtop model for small spaces and on-site jobs
- Worktable parallelism with dial adjustment
- Open-ended design with capacity for sanding 20 inches over 2 passes
- Patented design dust hood
- Constructed using die-cast aluminum with steel body
- Variable speed control for feed rate
- Compact design for Benchtops, perfect for small spaces
- 1 Horse Power motor, impressive given this models size
- Can be difficult to calibrate when varying work-loads.
Before purchasing, you might want to read our JET JWDS-1020 in-depth review.
Best professional drum sander
What’s unique on the 19-38 is the abrasive fastening system, which has the greatest ease of access than any other competing drum sander. It means you could access fasteners without needing tools.
The abrasive attachment system, which is patented, may help to prevent loose abrasion and overlaps. Included INTELLISAND Technology is designed to give consistent results and may give consistent finishes regardless of how variable the density and pattern of grain used. The conveyor bed is steel reinforced over four cross-sections to give flatness less than 1/10 of an inch across the sander width. The 19-38 weighs 286 pounds, so this drum sander should not be considered portable. Drums speed is 1,740 RPM, the same speed as the SuperMax Tools 16-32.
If you need to replace the drive abrasive belt, for example, if it comes offtrack, you may be in for a hard time. The manufacturer includes limited details on how to replace it, and you may need third party support.
For professionals, the SuperMax 19-38 prevents abrasions and overlaps, giving a consistent finish.
- Abrasive attachment system
- Abrasive fastening system
- INTELLISAND Technology
- Reinforced steel cross-sections on the conveyor bed
- Drum is self-cooling
- INTELLISAND Technology accounts for load, adjusts the speed of the conveyor automatically
- Dust extraction and airflow maximized thanks to metal construction
- Drive abrasive belt difficult to replace
Here are the things you need to consider carefully when choosing a drum sander.
As I mentioned in the introduction, open-ended drums give maximum space to work. This comes at a cost as you will need to sand in two passes since the drum is not as stiff as an equivalent closed drum, so factor in the time cost of your work.
Double-drums hold two rolls of sanding paper, so you don’t need to change the rolls so often. This may seem a novelty but is a lifeline if you are working on a large volume, and because the grades don’t need to be the same, you can sand in multiple stages.
Size matters – drum size varies greatly. Weekend workers should be content with smaller drums found on benchtop models such as the Jet JWDS-1020. For professional workshops, a bigger drum is, as a rule, always better like the SuperMax 19-38 Drum Sander.
It’s not just the size that matters; it’s how you use it – the amount of work and the materials you use mean you need to choose a build quality to match. As a rule, a steel or cast-iron body is a sign of better quality and are likely to be more durable, although not a guarantee. Aluminum drums are to be recommended because they dissipate heat, improving the machine’s longevity.
Motor power is a key factor after the type of drum and size. The JET 723540OSK JWDS-2244 packs a punch for its size at 1.75 Horse Power and should be sufficient for all but the most extreme workloads.
Now how are you going to get the sandpaper into your drum sander? You have two options for sandpaper insertion – hook and loop or peel and stick. Hook and loop are more flexible since you can remove your roll before finishing with it.
This should not come as a surprise to you, but sanding causes a lot of dust to be thrown up. Not only is dust a health hazard, but it can also interfere with your workflow and damage the machine. Always choose a machine with good airflow design. For example, the Turbo Vented Dust Port on the SuperMax Tools 16-32 increases airflow to dust collectors compared with early models. While we recommend the SuperMax Tools 16-32 if you are going to go with a Jet instead, you should choose one with a Dust Hood since this mirrors the drum shape to move the dust to the collection port.
If you have limited floor space in your workshop, you may get benefits from having a more portable sander. This doesn’t mean you have to stick to a benchtop drum sander. Some sanders allow the worktable to be parallel for operational use and swiveled around to be kept in storage for convenience when not in use. Both of the Jet models we reviewed have this feature.
More things to consider
Many of the newer drum sanders have additional features such as the SuperMax Tools INTELLISAND technology which auto-regulates the conveyor to help you prevent damage to the material you are sanding. Other add-ons include digital readouts that allow you to increase the quality and accuracy of your work. These features are part of the reason we recommend the SuperMax Tools 16-32 drum sander.
Planing vs sanding
Is planing superior to sanding? Watch this video to finally clear up this dilemma.
Supermax Tools 16-32
Q: How much space does the SUPERMAX TOOLS 16-32 take on the shop floor?
A: You can store this in a 36-inch wide x 28-inch deep storage space, but you will need more space for using it operationally.
Q: What are the minimum and maximum stock width and thickness?
A: 1/32 to 3-inch thickness and 2-1/14to 32 inch width.
Q: Are infeed and outfeed extension tables included?
A: Not from the model we reviewed, these come extra.
Q: What grit sandpaper can I use with this sander?
A: One piece of 100 grit sandpaper.
Jet Jwds-2244 (723540OSK)
Q: What’s the difference between this one (2244) and the 1632 version?
A: Model names refer to drum size. The drum is bigger on the 2244, sanding 22 inches in one pass and 44 inches with two passes. The 1632 one does 16 inches in one and 32 inches with two passes.
Q: Does this come with extension tables that fold down?
A: No. This is an optional extra you can purchase separately, such as the JET 723541.
Q: Does this come with a digital gauge?
A: No, not with the 2244 version.
Q: Is sandpaper included?
A: A single 80 grit roll of sandpaper is fitted in the drum.
Q. Is this sander made in the United States of America?
A. No, it is made in Taiwan, an American ally.
Q. Are sanding strips included with the purchase?
A. One roll of 120 grit is included.
Q. Does this model run on 220 or 230-volt electricity?
A. No, only 115V.
SuperMax Tools 19-38
Q. What is the maximum thickness I can sand with this?
A. Just under 4 inches thick.
Q. Is this compatible with a wire brush?
A. You can purchase wire brushes for woodwork separately.
Q. Is it noisy?
A. Not so much, even when sanding.
Q. Can I use this on 220 or 230-volt electricity?
A. No, only 110V.
Q. How much shop floor space will this occupy?
A. 37-inch width, with or without the extension tables. If you have the extension tables depth runs to 47 inches, without you are looking at 42 inches. Height from floor to conveyor belt is 30 inches.
Q. Is the extension table included?
A. No, this is an optional upgrade.
Q. What’s the horsepower like?
A. 1.75 Horse Power.
Drum sanders are increasingly coming to be seen as an important tool to be used in professional workshops and by weekend hobbyists alike. Drum sanders improve consistency and get work done fast.
There is a wide range of drum sanders on the market. Drum types include single, double, open-ended and close-ended drums. The design of open-ended drums allows for greater capacity.
New technologies such as digital readouts help you maintain the best standards of quality and accuracy. Automatic feed rate adjusters prevent overloads keeping you and your work safe. A drum sander with well-designed airflow can help extract dust to keep your work surface clear.
Drum sanders are heavy machines that can damage easily during shipping, so always purchase from a reputable supplier that builds with the best materials. Build quality varies, but you may be more confident buying a sander that is constructed from cast iron featuring an aluminum drum.
Whatever you need it for, we have you found these drum sander reviews helpful. We recommend the SuperMax Tools 16-32 for having the best new features such as INTELLISAND, a large sanding capacity of 32 inches over two passes, and for being constructed with good materials such as cast iron.