Last Updated on April 12, 2023 by Barry Gray
A drum sander can be a highly effective tool for any hobbyist or serious DIY’er who intends to work on large projects involving substantial wood. I find this tool to be quick at what it does, and you can generate some fantastic results in next to no time.
However, I am fully aware of drum sanders coming along with a few issues and problems. That’s why knowing everything about the possible drum sander you are interested in purchasing before you spend your money is important.
And that is what I intend to help you with right now. What you will find below are details on five of the best drum sanders that you can go ahead and buy right now.
But that’s not all.
In the end, I will also provide you with some tips and general guidance on what to look out for when it comes to buying your new drum sander. I aim to make the entire purchasing process a lot easier and to ensure you don’t go ahead and make what could prove to be a costly mistake.
- Best Overall Drum Sander – JET JWDS-1632
- Best Powerful Drum Sander – JET JWDS-2550
- Best Benchtop Drum Sander – JET JWDS-1020
- Best Large Capacity Drum Sander – SuperMax 25-50
- Best Drum Sander for Accuracy – JET 22-44 Pro
How I Made My List
When it came to making my list, I took several things into consideration.
First, there was the effectiveness of the drum sander. I wanted to ensure it could produce the types of results you would want and that it would do so at a reasonable speed.
Also, I wanted to highlight makes and models that would be easy to use. I hate tools that become over-complicated, so I do my best to avoid recommending those models to you.
There was also the small matter of setting up the drum sander. How quickly could you do that, and even how often do you have to go ahead and change the sander?
Finally, I had to look at the opinion of other people that already own each model. I wanted to learn more about what it’s like to run the machine over an extended period and whether or not it actually represented value for money.
After all of that, I was left with these five drum sanders, and I feel each one could prove to be the perfect model.
Best Overall Drum Sander – JET JWDS-1632
- Power: 1.5 HP
- Weight: 156 lbs
JET is pretty well known for producing some of the best drum sanders on the market, and this model manages to come up to what are some high expectations.
This model comes with 1.5 HP, and that’s what I see as being pretty much the perfect power ratio for a drum sander. Also, at 156lbs, I feel it’s heavy but not too over the top, allowing you to at least stand a chance of moving it around your workshop.
But power is not the reason why I chose this model. For me, it’s the fact that this drum sander is pretty much universally known as one of the easiest to use. This is thanks to this model coming with something called ‘smart controls,’ and it’s a great addition.
This means that the drum sander monitors the load being put onto it. This regulates the belt, and you get a far superior end result thanks to this technology. Basically, it does so much of the hard work you used to be required to do, and who wouldn’t want that?
I also appreciate that it comes with a substantial dust hood. It collects a considerable amount of dust for you to dispose of later, which is an absolute must when using a drum sander.
Overall, this drum sander is highly effective at what it can do, and it performs consistently well. Also, anybody can fully use this model even if relatively new to this type of power tool.
- It has more than enough power
- The smart control makes a huge difference
- The drum sander monitors the load to prevent issues
- The dust hood is effective
- This drum sander is straightforward to use
- It can take some time to get used to changing the sandpaper
Best Powerful Drum Sander – JET JWDS-2550
- Power: 1.75 HP
- Weight: 234 lbs
If you want sheer power from a drum sander, then I suggest this JET model, as it is equipped with a staggering 1.75HP of power. That’s a tremendous amount of power, which means this sander makes short work of anything you throw at it. However, I understand that the power can scare some individuals not used to dealing with that much.
I also appreciate the size of this sander and the projects you can work on with it. It can cope with larger than usual boards, and the control you have over feeding it through the sander is impressive.
But aside from the power, I also love this drum sander for another excellent reason: the Sandsmart technology.
This technology manages to control the speed of the sander, which it does automatically, which means it’s harder to make mistakes with this model. It also translates into a more even finish as there is that continuity and a set speed.
Also, I should mention this model comes with an automatic dust collector, which I appreciate.
Overall, it’s the power of this model that stuns me. It’s an absolute beast, so if you are serious about using a drum sander, then this machine is one you need to give some serious consideration to.
- The power this machine has is huge
- The Sandsmart technology offers a real advantage
- The dust collection system is fantastic
- It’s actually easy to operate
- It’s robust and reliable
- It’s perhaps too powerful for people new to drum sanders
Best Benchtop Drum Sander – JET JWDS-1020
- Power: 1HP
- Weight: 73 lbs
If you find yourself restricted when it comes to space, and would still love to use a drum sander, then this mini benchtop model by JET is one I would happily recommend.
It may only come with 1HP in the power department, but this is a mini version, so that’s a massive amount of power for the size of the machine. Also, it weighs less than 100lbs, which makes a difference regarding portability.
But remember that this mini drum sander will have some limitations regarding the size of projects you can work on. In saying that, it will make quick work of smaller stock and get things exceptionally level with minimal fuss.
I feel this model packs a lot into a small space, and I also appreciate that it comes with a quick-change option with the sandpaper. It means you won’t find yourself standing there for a considerable period of time trying to change the paper.
Overall, when space is an issue, this model allows you to experience the might of a drum sander without worrying about the required space.
- It has a lot of power for such a small machine
- It’s very portable
- It has an effective dust collector
- The quick-change sandpaper option works well
- It’s very robust and capable of over-performing
- You clearly have limits with the size of the stock you can work on
Best Large Capacity Drum Sander – SuperMax 25-50
- Power: 1.75HP
- Speed: 1740 RPM
- Weight: 369 lbs
- Capacity: 50”
If you intend to carry out projects requiring a large capacity drum sander, then I think this model by SuperMax is the perfect solution.
First, it comes with an impressive 1.75HP of power capable of generating speeds of 1740 RPM, but while that’s good for most projects, it’s not the main reason why I want to include this model.
Instead, it’s the capacity that makes this drum sander one you need to pay attention to. It allows you to work on a 25” capacity on a single swipe or 50” on a double swipe. Those figures mean this is the ideal solution for people who wish to work with more extensive stock.
You also get a 4” dust port with this model, and that’s the minimum I would expect for a drum sander of this size. Also, aligning the conveyor belt is kept nice and simple thanks to using a single nut. I love when machines are kept simple like this, and then the model takes things one extra step by ensuring you can also adjust the height with absolute ease.
But one final thing that stands out is that you can easily change the sandpaper instantly. I appreciate that it prevents you from wasting too much time getting things up and running again.
- The large capacity makes a huge difference for bigger projects
- Adjusting the conveyor belt is easy
- It has ample speed and power for smooth results
- The dust port is more than enough
- You can change the paper in minutes
- The machine is too large for small spaces
Best Drum Sander for Accuracy – JET 22-44 Pro
- Power: 3HP
- Weight: 385 lbs
- Capacity: 44”
If you worry about accuracy with your drum sander, then this model by JET is another one I suggest you check out. It does come with a vast amount of power at 3HP, and while that’s more than you typically need, that’s not why I love it.
Instead, it’s all to do with the accuracy of the end results you can achieve, and it’s thanks to this model coming with a clear digital display. It means you can program this sander to remove the smallest amount of wood with the sander, and it will hold that accuracy throughout the duration.
Now, I should add that it has an impressive capacity of up to 44” on a double pass, which also translates into a rather large machine. In saying that, it’s not the biggest on the market either.
I also appreciate the quality of both the infeed and outfeed tables. They offer a substantial amount of support to your project, and that alone gives you confidence in using the drum sander.
Overall, this model is fantastic, and setting up the digital display to ensure accuracy will prove very easy to do.
- The power is substantial at 3HP
- The support from those tables makes a difference
- The digital display is clear and provides absolute accuracy
- It has a substantial dust collection port
- The entire sander feels robust and capable of working hard
- Changing the sandpaper can prove tricky at times
How to Choose the Best Drum Sander
The different drum sanders listed above are all fantastic, but I understand that many readers may be unsure which one to purchase and even what to look for. So, this section should help with all of that.
Why a Drum Sander?
A drum sander can prove to be a highly effective tool for specific situations. For example, if you intend to produce larger items, then a drum sander is a faster way of getting that wood nice and flat for your project.
Another reason is that you could use a belt sander for your project, but you become aware that it will take more time and effort to get the desired results. A drum sander will speed things up.
Finally, if you know you need something with a perfectly flat surface, then a drum sander is the easiest and most effective way of doing that. Quite simply, it won’t let you down.
The Two Types of Drum Sanders
You have two different drum sanders to choose from: an open and closed drum. The difference between the two is obvious.
With a closed drum, the stock needs to be smaller as the sander is mounted on four pillars. The drum lies over the belt for an open sander, providing you with more space and the ability to work with larger stock.
The problem with closed sanders is you cannot reverse the stock. Also, these sanders are larger in size and will take up more space. Generally, closed sanders are viewed as being more industrial than the open version.
But the problem with drum sanders increases when you discover you can have either a single or double drum.
I admit the double drum intrigues me simply because you can have two different grits on one machine. That’s pretty cool, and the speed at which you can generate results is also impressive. However, the down side is these machines are larger and more expensive, so that’s something to also consider.
You must also think carefully about the power of the sander as that has a direct link to the results it can generate. A sander too low in power will also cause too much heat, which can damage the stock.
So, what power rating would I suggest as a minimum? I would not drop below 1.5 HP with a drum sander. I feel when you go down below that mark, it means you could run into various problems.
However, if you have never used a drum sander before in any capacity, then I would not push the power rating up too far to stop you from running into other problems regarding maintaining control over your project.
I pay a lot of attention to the sanding size and the drum sander’s overall size. However, the key area to focus on with size is the width of stock it can work with.
If looking at an open drum sander, it’s perfectly plausible for a 16” sander to have the ability to sand stock up to 32” wide. As always, think about your project in advance and the material you will most likely want to work with to see how it lines up with the sander you have your eye on.
How it Collects Dust
I could talk about speed and so on, but I feel that how the sander collects dust is actually more important.
Remember that a drum sander is designed to work with larger stock and can plane off a substantial amount of wood in a single pass. That all leads to one thing: the production of a lot of dust.
You must ensure your desired drum sander has a suitable dust collection port. Depending on the model, there is a chance that the drum sander has more than one available dust collection port.
But the size of the dust port is important. It needs to be a minimum of four inches for it to prove to be effective.
For me, those are the key areas you should focus on when thinking about purchasing a dust sander. Always ensure you understand your needs and the projects you intend to work on before spending your money. That will undoubtedly make life a whole lot easier.
And those are 5 of the best drum sanders available to buy right now, and each one is fantastic all in its own right. Considering both the tool’s size and cost, I implore you to go back over the tips and guidance I offered after my reviews.
Think carefully about your needs and requirements before making your decision.
A drum sander can completely change your project. However, that only applies when you get the right one for your needs. But honestly, I feel confident that at least one of the five models listed above will be perfect for you. It’s just a case of knowing what you want.