7 Best Drum Sanders of 2020
As a self-proclaimed woodworking hobbyist, professional woodworkers or a typical DIYer that has to deal with wood often, at some point you will need to think about getting the best drum sander.
As the name suggests, the drum sander features a fast rotating drum with sandpaper fitted around it for fast, easy and large capacity sanding.
Drum sanders will come in different types such as single or double drum and open or closed end types.
Besides the type, you also need to consider several other factors when picking one. Here we explain them in more detail and provide top 7 drum sander reviews for recommendations.
7 Best Drum Sanders – Review
1. Powermatic PM2244 (Best Overall)
2. Jet 723520K JWDS-1632 (Best Budget)
3. SuperMax 16-32 (Best Small)
4. Shop Fox W1772 (Best Dual)
5. Shop Fox W1678 (Best for Pro Woodworkers)
6. Delta Woodworking 31-481 (Best for DIYers/Hobbyists)
7. Jet 628900 (Best under $1,000)
1. Powermatic PM2244
2. Jet 723520K JWDS-1632
3. SuperMax 16-32
4. Shop Fox W1772
5. Shop Fox W1678
(Best for Pro Woodworkers)
6. Delta Woodworking 31-481
(Best for DIYers/Hobbyists)
7. Jet 628900
(Best under $1,000)
1. Powermatic PM2244 – Best Overall
- Power: 1.75 Horsepower
- Drum Size: 22 inches
A high-performing drum sander like the Powermatic PM2244 will be a great resource for any woodworker to have in the workshop as it will make sanding large pieces a more effortless task.
This top-rated drum sander features an integrated LED panel that provides more user-friendly controls and will display important things like belt speed and power.
Adjusting the height of the drum is also a more effortless task thanks to the large handwheel, and there is also an absolute secondary depth scale that will be very handy as it provides extra height reading.
With this drum sander, you also get a more durable cast iron drum carriage that will ensure more consistent performance, an excellent dust collection system that includes a steel hood and 4 dust ports, built-in wheel for mobility and closed stand for onboard storage.
Larger and heavier boards might not feed as smoothly as the smaller and lighter ones when using this drum sander, but adjusting the height of the infeed and outfeed tables should make things much better.
2. Jet 723520K JWDS-1632 – Best Budget Drum Sander
- Power: 1.5 Horsepower
- Drum Size: 16 inches
For woodworkers and DIYers shopping for a high-performing but still budget-friendly drum sander, the Jet 723520K will be a great buy.
Besides being one of the cheapest options on our drum sander reviews, this sander also offers a Sandsmart control that helps to maintain high feed rate without causing overload. And it has an infinitely variable speed control to allow users to choose their preferred feed rate.
Adjusting the parallelism of the conveyor belt is a simple and tool-less process and both the speed knob and on/off switch are in a convenient location.
The efficient dust management system that includes a dust hood with an integrated channel to direct dust and chips to the dust port ensure you maintain a clean workspace.
And this drum sander still has a lot more to offer including a dynamically balanced aluminum drum that helps to prevent heat damage and protect your work surface from heat damages.
Despite being heavier than it looks and hard to move around without extra help, for a drum sander the weight is still quite good given that it is lighter than many others in its class.
3. SuperMax 16-32 – Best Small Drum Sander
- Power: 1.5 Horsepower
- Drum Size: 16 inches
While the SuperMax 16-32 might look small, it is still quite a high performing drum sander that will hardly ever disappoint whether you are a professional woodworker or hobbyist.
It has a lot to offer including quick and simple height adjustment because unlike many other drum sanders, it uses a lever instead of a handwheel to allow for one pull height adjustment.
Sanding is also guaranteed to be more accurate and high-quality thanks to the built-in digital read out that helps to maintain material thickness and the productivity improving Intellisand technology that prevents material damaging or heating.
The turbo vented dust port which makes dust management more efficient and simple conveyor alignment also help to make this one of the best small drum sanders.
Like with many other drum sanders, the power cord on this one seems a little on the shorter side, but this is a small problem with many simple solutions and should hence not be the deal breaker.
4. Shop Fox W1772 – Best Dual Drum Sander
- Power: 10 horsepower
- Drum Size: 36-1/2 inches
With a highly powerful 10-horsepower motor and 36-1/2-inch drum size, the Shop Fox W1772 can handle almost any sanding task you throw its way, and it easily outperforms most others on our list and in the market.
It is a dual drum sander that offers faster and more efficient sanding and the drums are computer balanced and fully adjustable for height and parallelism for more customized sanding. And it uses a variable speed conveyor belt that allows you to choose any feed rate between 6 and 18 FPM to suit your stock
This drum sander is also one of the most durable you can get anywhere thanks to its heavy-duty housing and components, and it also includes conveniently located controls, hinged hood and an emergency stop bar for safety.
While the W1772 is by far the priciest item among our drum sander reviews, its feature-rich design, heavy-duty construction, and huge sanding capacity make it worth even more than what you pay for it. And for a commercial workshop, it will still come at a great price.
5. Shop Fox W1678 – Best Drum Sander for Pro Woodworkers
- Power: 5 horsepower
- Drum Size: 26 inches
As a professional woodworker, you need a drum sander that offers both power and a large sanding capacity like the Shop Fox W1678. The 5-horsepower motor and 26-inch drum size will ensure that is exactly what you get.
This dual drum sander offers faster and more efficient sanding, and it has been built to give woodworkers a much easier time as it is straightforward to operate thanks to the multi-functional control panel.
Also, it has a hook and loop attachment for the sandpaper that will make paper changes faster to minimize downtimes.
With the rugged housing and parts, this drum sander will also deliver a longer service life, and it also has a powder coated paint to prevent corrosion for more durability. Other things like the hinged hood, Amp meter for load indication and industrial-quality rubber belt also help to make it an amazing drum sander.
The larger footprint and the fact that this is quite a heavy drum sander can be a turn off for some woodworkers, but this is a small price to pay for a powerful and highly useful sander that will make your projects a lot easier.
6. Delta Woodworking 31-481 – Best Drum Sander for DIYers/Hobbyists
- Power: 3 horsepower
- Drum Size: 26 inches
For DIYers and hobbyists that use a lot of wood for their projects, the Delta Woodworking 31-481 will be an excellent addition to your power tools collection.
It is a well-built drum sander with a heavy duty steel frame that runs on a powerful 3-horsepower motor and with 26-inch dual drums for fast, consistent and accurate sanding.
Also, the rear drum has been designed to be independently adjustable for one pass sanding capability, and there is also a convenient latching door that offers direct access to the drums for an easy paper change.
The dual dust port also helps to make this a good drum sander as they provide more effective dust management. Operating the drum sander is also much easier thanks to the magnetic on/off switch and removable key switch for the variable speed belt motor.
This Delta drum sander does not seem heavy duty enough for commercial use or use in a pro woodworking shop, but for DIYers and hobbyists, it will be an excellent choice.
7. Jet 628900 – Best Drum Sander under $1,000
- Power: 1 horsepower
- Drum Size: 10 inches
Jet 628900 is designed for the woodworkers and DIYers shopping for a smaller and more affordable benchtop drum sander. But, there is still more to it besides being more compact and one of the cheapest drum sanders out there.
And despite only having a smaller 1-horsepower motor and a 10-inch drum size, it can still handle most sanding tasks in a typical workshop, and it is also quite feature-rich.
Some of the features that make this one of the best benchtop drum sanders include a large cast-iron hand wheel that makes sanding thickness control easier and infinitely variable speed control.
Also, it has a sealed ball-bearing design for longer life and to prevent machine overload, and a patented conveyor belt tracker that will greatly reduce the need to do manual belt adjustment.
The 1-horsepower motor on this Jet drum sander is the least powerful on our list, but for such an affordable and small model, it should still be good enough. And the best thing about it is that it is a continuous duty motor designed for heavy-duty use.
How to Buy the Best Drum Sanders
To make sure that you make a wise or at least more informed choice when it comes to choosing a drum sander, you need to keep the following points in mind as you shop for a drum sander.
1. Open-Ended or Close-Ended Drum Sander
Drum sanders are in most instances classified into two broad categories based on their design which are open and close-ended drum sander. Either style can be very useful in the workshop, but each has its pros and cons and will hence be ideal for different situations.
Open-Ended Drum Sander
Open-ended drum sanders are open on one end just as their name implies and will have a structure designed to support the sanding belt, feed belt and pressure rollers. This open design makes it possible to sand workpieces that are wider than the drum. A 12-inch open end drum sander, for example, can sand boards that are up to 24 inches wide.
These drum sanders are a great choice for woodworkers and DIYers looking for something for use from a bench top, and they are typically smaller which also makes them ideal for small workshops.
However, open-ended drum sanders are weak and can flex under pressure which can in turn case uneven sanding.
Close-Ended Drum Sander
With the close-ended drum sander, you get a machine that is closed on both ends which essentially means you cannot use it to sand boards wider than the drum.
What this means is that a 12-inch closed end drum sander can only sand boards with a maximum width of 12 inches.
Despite giving up the ability to sand wider workpieces, you gain a sturdier machine that is often also more powerful and will never flex under pressure.
2. Single or Double Drum Sander
As you shop for the best drum sander, you will also need to decide whether to go for a model with a single or double drum design.
Single drum sanders are the kind that will have only one drum for sanding, and so you will be limited to one paper grit when sanding. If your sanding requires you to use more than one paper grit, you have to change the sanding strips. But, on the positive side, they are simpler to use and more affordable.
The double drum sander will have two separate drums to allow you to have two different grip papers when sanding which reduces the total sanding time. While these machines offer speed and convenience, they are also more complicated and pricier than the single drum models.
The power or motor strength will have a huge effect on the performance of a drum sander, and so when choosing one, you need to make sure that it is powerful enough.
Also, it is important to note that a less powerful drum sander tends to overheat easily if you expose it to larger loads than what the weaker motor can handle. And power is also what will determine the speed that the drum rotates and hence the sanding speed.
Motor power will depend on what you will be using the drum sander for and how often, but in most instances, models with at least 1.5 HP motor seem to perform well enough for most woodworkers.
4. Drum Size
Drum sizes determine the sanding area that you get, and so it will essentially determine the board size that you can sand at a go.
With open-ended drum sanders, drum size might not be very important given that the open design allows for sanding larger pieces than the drum. But, this is not the case with the close-ended types, and so you need to pay a lot of attention to the drum size.
When deciding on the drum size to go for, the width is often the most important factor to consider and here you can get anything from the smaller 10-inch models like Jet 628900 to the larger 37-inch ones like Shop Fox W1772.
5. Dust Collector
It is easy for many woodworkers and DIYers to overlook the dust collector when choosing a drum a sander, but this should never be the case for an informed buyer as sanding produces a lot of wood dust, and so you need a reliable way of managing it.
For efficient dust management, you should buy a drum sander with a reliable dust collection port. Some of the best drum sander models will even have several dust collector ports for an even more efficient dust management.
The diameter of the dust port also matters, and something that is at least 4-inch will be very useful in ensuring efficient wood dust management.
A good drum sander will not come cheap, and so when shopping for one you cannot overlook the price, and you will need to decide how much you are willing to spend.
If you go for a double drum sander with a huge capacity, you need to spend even more cash and sometimes you might not even need these features. Hence, you would be better off going for a more affordable model.
Typically, you can get a simple drum sander for a little over $500, but the top models from reputable brands will cost upwards of $2,500. And so the wise idea is to come up with a budget and look for the best drum sander within that budget.
When it comes to sanding larger boards, nothing beats the speed, convenience, and effectiveness of the drum sander, and this makes it a must-have in the workshop for every serious woodworker.
And you do not have to look far and wide to get that perfect model as our drum sander reviews above will give you some ideas on the best models and brands to buy. For the budget shoppers, the Jet 723520K JWDS-1632 is our recommendation while the Powermatic PM2244 is our best overall model.
- 7 Best Drum Sanders – Review
- 1. Powermatic PM2244 – Best Overall
- 2. Jet 723520K JWDS-1632 – Best Budget Drum Sander
- 3. SuperMax 16-32 – Best Small Drum Sander
- 4. Shop Fox W1772 – Best Dual Drum Sander
- 5. Shop Fox W1678 – Best Drum Sander for Pro Woodworkers
- 6. Delta Woodworking 31-481 – Best Drum Sander for DIYers/Hobbyists
- 7. Jet 628900 – Best Drum Sander under $1,000
- How to Buy the Best Drum Sanders