The Best Drum Sander for Woodworking (Factors Have to Consider)

Published on: January 20, 2022
Written by Eric Devin / Fact-checked by David Rowan

A drum sander is the most efficient, reliable, and must-have power tool for any DIY hobbyist or professional woodworker. But they didn’t get as much attention as drills, power saws, or even the other types of sanders.

The reason is maybe they are a little bit more complex than others and pretty much expensive so no one wants to make a costly mistake.

best drum sander for woodworking

There are drum sanders of different types. The sanders are relatively small and relatively affordable. Highly efficient sander equipment has been used since its creation.

But nothing to worry about! 

I’m here with every piece of information that you need to know to choose the right sander for you, like- the top 5 sanders, features, tips and tricks, and many more.

What is a Drum Sander

A drum sander is a powerful tool that is used to sand woodwork or wood pieces. This type of sander uses sandpaper for the abrasion that will smoothen the workpiece. This sandpaper is installed into a rotating drum that makes spin at high speed and quickly helps the sander sand your workpiece.

Drum sanders are usually electric-powered large tools and allow you to work on several wood pieces efficiently. This tool also lets you be hands-free so you can control the operations with them to achieve the expected smooth edges.

Why Drum Sander

Different sanding machines are used for the sanding work. Sanding is a very important part. It gives an outstanding finish to various products. A drum sander is one of the popular sanding tools. This sander is known as a drum sander because of its drum. A drum sander is a kind of sander that uses a rotating sanding drum. Most drum saner come with a heavy-duty motor. A user adjusts feed rollers to feed the wood into the machine. 

The drum sander is suitable for fine and smooth finishing on large surfaces. The drum sander works great on hardwood floors. You can easily sand hardwood with a drum sander for its heavy work capacity. A different drum sander is available in the market but the drum floor sander is very popular. The drum sander is also known as a belt sander.

Types of Drum Sander

For buying a drum sander you need to know about the types of drum sanders so that you can choose the right one. There are four types of drum sanders available in the market-

Close-End Drum Sanders

Close-end drum sanders are built in a way to support the feed belt, sanding drum, and the pressure rollers of the tool are closed on both ends. This prevents the sander from sanding the board wider than the length of the sander’s drum. But the positive fact of these types of sanders is they are more stable than open-ended drum sanders.

Open-End Drum Sander

This type of drum sander has a structure that supports the sanding drum, and feed belt like the closed one but the presser rollers are open on one end. An open-ended drum sander allows you to work with wider boards than the drum’s length.

But the drawback of this type of sander is it tends to flex under heavy pressure and may end up with uneven sanding.

Single Drum Sander

Single drum sanders are the oldest and most popular than Open-End and closed-end sanders. And from the name, you can understand that they come with only one sanding drum. With this type of sander, you can only use one sandpaper grit, so if you’re planning to work with multiple sanding projects, you need to keep changing its strip.

This type of sander is the basic and easiest to work with and also they come at an affordable price.

Double Drum Sander

They come with two sanding drums just as the name suggests and one drum is placed behind another. With a double drum sander, you’ll be able to run 2 sanding strips with different grits.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Drum Sander

Choosing the perfect drum sander for your job isn’t so tough. As you’ve known the basics about it, you only need to check some important features of a good quality drum sander. And they are-


The motor power is a crucial fact you need to check before buying any power tool including the drum sander. Most of the drum sanders you’ll find available on the market are with power between 1- 5 HP and the more powerful one will cost more than a less powerful one.


The capacity of a drum sander determines the size of the material that the tool can handle or deal with and is another important fact you should consider.

If you need a sander with high capacity, you can choose the open-end drum sander as they can deal with a large board. But this type of sander is less stable than closed-end sanders.

So you should determine what your job requires, large capacity and durability or uniform sanding, and get the one you need.


It is the most important feature you should check before buying your drum sander. For getting, the best support, get the one with variable speed & feed rate. Because if the machine allows you to adjust the feed rate, you’ll be able to use it for various purposes. And with the variable speed, you can control the speed whenever you need and it gets the desired result.


Large drum sanders are prone to vibrate as they generate a lot of power. This vibration will make your hands fatigued as you need to work hard to keep the workpiece in place and also the tool will leave spots on wood for its vibration.

But nowadays, some high-end, updated drum sanders have included anti-vibration technology that can minimize the problem.

Dust Collection

Sanding is quite a messy job, this creates a lot of dust and dirt during the whole time all over your workplace. The best solution to avoid this mess is to buy a sander with a nice dust collection system. This will help you to keep your workspace clean and less messy and also make sure that you won’t cover it with wood chips at the end of the day. When the user has an idea about how a dust collection system works he can pick the best drum sander for his store. Read more: Finding the Best Palm Sanders


As you have to work on different types of material with the sander, make sure that the model you’re going to buy is good enough to handle the workload. Also, check the material that the sander is made with. Because lightweight sanders are made of aluminum, they are portable and tend to wear and tear out easily. But heavy drum sander is made with stainless steel or other heavy metal, so they last for a long time than lighter ones.

View Our Recommended Top 5 Drum Sanders-

1. Grizzly G0458Z Drum Sander

  • Motor: 1/2 HP;
  • Drum sander dimensions: 36″W x 4-1/2″H;
  • Voltage: 120;
  • V-Belt drive;
  • Length: 6-inch;
  • Drum Surface Speed: 4000 FPM.

There are very few drum sanders available in the market that beat this model from Grizzly. It has a 1/2 horsepower motor suitable for sanding work. 

This feature saves you from passing the same board between the drum more than once to get the desired finish.

It is a modern type of sander with a control panel, variable speed settings of the conveyor, and a load meter. So, you can change the settings depending on the material you have taken or the desired result. The load meter extends motor life by protecting it from malfunctioning due to overload. 

Besides, it won’t stop over and over again to save the motor as the load meter won’t shut down the motors as long as the meter is not saying so.

This machine is very lightweight so you can carry it easily whatever you want. This sander comes with a stand. Table stand adjustment and the setting is a very easy process. It is good to complete small to medium projects in due time without spending a lot.

Things We Liked

  • Time-saving performance;
  • Suitable for sanding larger pieces in a single-phase power source;
  • Accurate setting changes;
  • Handwheel for easy height adjustment;
  • Wide-size stand table.

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Expensive power tool;
  • Need to improve the motor power work capacity.

2. Jet JWDS-1632 16-32 Plus 20 Amp Service Drum Sanders (723520K)

  • Motor: 1-½  HP, single phase, 14 amp;
  • Conveyor motor: 3/4 HP;
  • Rotation: 1720
  • Maximum board width: 32-inches (two passes);
  • Maximum board thickness: 3 -inches;
  • Minimum board length: 2-3/8-inch.
  • Minimum board thickness: 1/32-inch.
  • Conveyor feed rate: Variable, 0 – 10 FPM.
  • Drum diameter: 5-inch.
  • Sandpaper width: 6-inch.
  • Weight: 156 pounds (Approximate)

If a smaller-capacity sander can do all your jobs, then this sander from JET is the most convenient one for you. I don’t recommend this one for professionals who need a high-capacity sander. A high-performance electric motor is the main speedful part of this tool.  Instead, this machine will be more appropriate for a small shop of hobbyists who have a serious passion for woodworking. If you are a planner interested in working in the wood industry, I will recommend this drum sander to you.

As a drum sander, it is the most hi-tech one and space-saving as well. It comes with a stand, but the price is the lowest of all other drum sanders on this list. You don’t need to stress about the speed of your sanding belt or the conveyor belt. These are the facts that lead to an overload of the motor and harm the entire unit. It comes with a conveyor speed. The wide belt of this sander gives an extra advantage. 

The ‘SANDSMART’ feature does all these things automatically. Meaning, it sets the speed depending on the stock type on its own. Your machine and material both will be in mint condition. Dust hood and parallelism adjusts are identical in this model. The dust port mirrors the drum’s shape so that any single particle does not fall in between. A powerful drum motor, conveyor belt, and speed with dust hood features make jet drum sander more popular and useful. This sander is included with necessary items, a reinforced steel conveyor bed, die-cast carriage, and an industrial-grade hood. It is a great drum sander without any negative sides. 

Things We Liked

  • Lightweight sander easier to manage and use;
  • Automatically sets feed rate for different stocks;
  • Comes with a stand;
  • Dust hood and dust collection port included;
  • Durable drum sander without issues;
  • Budget-friendly essential tool for the woodworker. 

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Limited capacity.

3. Powermatic 1-¾ HP Drum Sander for Small Shop

  • Motor: 1-¾ HP, single phase, 14 amp;
  • Conveyor motor: 3/4 HP;
  • Table elevation motor: 1/4 HP;
  • Rotation: 1720
  • Maximum board width: 44-inches;
  • Maximum board thickness: 4 -inches;
  • Minimum board length: 2-⅜ -inch.
  • Minimum board thickness: 1/32-inch.
  • Conveyor feed rate: Variable, 0 – 10 FPM.
  • Drum length: 22-inch;
  • Drum diameter: 5 inh;
  • Sandpaper width: 6-inch.
  • Weight: 418 pounds (Approximate)

There is a control panel to run this sander automatically. Suppose you are a gadget freak, then it’s the right tool for you. If not, you can always choose to leave the control panel alone and run it conventionally. There is feed logic to save the machine from overloading so that it will shut off long before you stress it out. Besides, you will always have the precise reading of the height of whatever material you are using with a depth scale.

The good thing about this tool is, it comes with the longest warranty as a drum sander. Even if it is way too pricey, your investment will be protected by that offer. The capacity of sanding very large boards and very thin boards is something I like about this sander. There are very few units available in the market that let you sandpaper than 1/32 inch thickness boards.

Things We Liked

  • Long warranty offered;
  • Comes with a stand with storage;
  • Mobility is a big advantage;
  • Handwheel handle for easy height adjustment;
  • Preassembled. 

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Expensive price so most budget users can not buy this tool.

4. JET JWDS-1020 10″ Benchtop Drum Sander (723510)

  • Motor: 1 HP, single phase, 14 amp;
  • Voltage: 115;
  • Drum sander deminisations: 29.5 x 20.5 x 17.1 inches;
  • Sandpaper Grit number: 80;
  • Maximum board width: 20-inches;
  • Maximum board thickness: 3 -inches;
  • Dust port: 4 inches;
  • Weight: 75 pounds (Approximate). 

For crafting or DIY projects, no one needs fancy, pricey, and beasty sanders when you only deal with smaller boards. This model from JET is meant for those purposes only. It is a mini drum sander and is a miniature version of the top picks we have reviewed.

This machine is portable to carry different job sites. Professions like interior designing solely depend on miraculous tools like this. The price also fits in tiny pockets. So, to make your projects even more convenient and flattering, this machine will stay by your side for years to come. 

Heat protection features are added to this device. An extruded aluminum drum ensures dissipated heat and protects the wood from heat damage. A flattened strong steel conveyor bed gives a smooth work experience. Overall you can pick this as it is a budget-friendly tool with good features and quality. 

Things We Liked

  • Lightweight and portable;
  • Economic price;
  • Heat protection features;
  • Strong aluminum drum;
  • Perfect for crafting and DIY projects;
  • 3 years long warranty.

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Some users demand that they face difficulties calibrating.

5. SHOP FOX W1740 12-Inch Drum Sander

  • Motor: 1 HP, single phase, 13 AMP;
  • Sander denominations: 26.5 x 26 x 25.5 inches;
  • Footprint: 13-½ inches;
  •  Sanding belt size: 3” x 72 inches;
  • Drum surface speed: 2300 FPM;
  • Sanding belt size: 3″ x 70″ hook & loop;
  • Conveyor motor: 1/8 HP, 0.3A;
  • Rotation: 3450 RPM;
  • Voltage: 115;
  • Dust port: 2 inches;
  • Weight: 149 pounds (Approximate).

So far, this one is the most powerful drum sander on our list. From rough to feather smooth sanding, everything can be done with your full control over this machine. So, the shop’s production will be the highest, and the downtime of doing hand sanding will be the lowest.

Once you align the belt properly, this beauty is ready to sand thousands of boards each on one pass. Everything is designed to withstand even the most demanding applications for decades, from its motor to its conveyor speed.

The dust ports and control panel are convenient to sand perfectly leaving the workplace clean. This sander is suitable for a small shop but its plays heavy duty. According to the service and quality, this sander is a good choice. This tool is one of the best drum sanders on the market. 

Things We Liked

  • Perfect for small production wood shops;
  • Heavy work motor;
  • Suitable size for a small place;
  • Variable speed conveyor motor;
  • Gear reduction table adjustment;             
  • Reasonable and standard price.

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Still, don’t have noticeable issues.

Selecting the Correct Drum Sander Sandpaper Grit Sequence

Here is the cheat sheet:

24 – 40 GritFor bare wood or sanding panels.
60 – 80 GritTo remove planer marks or slight surface differences.
100 – 120 GritAs a second pass after removing all differences in wood height with 60 to 80 grit.
150 -180 GritAs a third pass slowly remove the sanding marks of the previous grits.
200+ GritAs a clean-up pass to prepare wood for finish palm sanding

Tips and Tricks for Drum Sander

Drum sanders are not so hard to use, so any woodworker or even any hobbyist can figure out their operation method. However, following some simple tips and tricks will help you to control the power tool more efficiently. Like-

Choose the Sandpaper Wisely

For a smooth operation, you just need good quality sandpaper. Because even the best drum sander won’t perform well if the sandpaper is cheap or low quality.

Take Your Time

To get the desired result, you need to have patience because drum sanders don’t remove a lot of material in a minute. You have to set the belt at the highest speed and take numerous passes to have the best result.

Dust Collector

Sanding creates a lot of dust and dirt which makes your workplace messy. So you must get a sander with a dust collection system. A drum sander with a dust collector can make your work surface clean and as well as can improve the machine’s performance.

Never Sand Through Brads

If you’re sanding a wood piece that is attached to fasteners, don’t try the way to them because this may leave lines in the sandpaper.

Which is Better for Woodworking: Drum Sander or Thickness Planer?

When it comes to woodworking, many craftsmen ponder the choice between a drum sander and a thickness planer. Each tool has its own unique benefits, but drum sander benefits include efficient smoothing of curved and irregular surfaces, making it a versatile and valuable addition to any workshop.

What factors should I consider when choosing a drum sander for woodworking?

When choosing a drum sander for woodworking, consider the type of wood you work with, the size of the sander, and the motor power. Understanding different drum sanding techniques is also essential for achieving the best results. Research the various options available and choose the one that best fits your needs.


So what do you think? Which one will be the perfect one for you to complete your sanding job smoothly!? Overall discussions the  Jet JWDS-JWDS-2244 Drum Sander is best and suitable for all kinds of work. 

Does any of the above fit your requirement?

You can share your opinion with me.

Though I’ve tried to make the selection process easy for both old and new users, you can share your experience or opinion through comments or mail.

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About This Writer

author eric devin

Hi, I am Eric Devin and I am a professional interior architect. Since childhood, I've always enjoyed DIY projects! And, I have loved to solve simple household problems using essential tools and equipment. I have also acquired a lot of information about basic household tools settings by working with contractors.

Hi, I am Eric Devin and I am a professional interior architect. Since childhood, I've always enjoyed DIY projects! And, I have loved to solve simple household problems using essential tools and equipment. I have also acquired a lot of information about basic household tools settings by working with contractors.

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