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Difference Between Wide Belt Sander and Drum Sander

Difference Between Wide Belt Sander and Drum Sander

There are multiple tools that are used for industrial wood cutting, grinding, sanding, polishing, and finishing applications. For sanding of the wood wide belt sander and drum sander are used to get the desired shape and surface finish. These sander machines have the same purpose but due to some limitations, both are not suitable for every project.

Here are the details of the size, design, and features of the product which need to be considered while using the sanders.

What is Wide Belt Sander?

One of the most popular tools for woodworking projects. The wide belt sanders are used for most sanding and finishing applications using sandpaper belts. These ideally designed sanding machines are great to work on solid wood for defined thickness and surface finish. 

While working on wooden workpieces, the operator relies more on the wide belt sander as they are easier to operate. It allows to work on more areas with less loading and helps in cooler cutting. The wide belt sander sometimes leaves some long scratches. It takes too much time to correct the scratches. As compared to it the orbital sander will do the task in lesser time. 

The sanding belts in the wide belt sanders are used by covering the two drums. 

The electric motor is used to power the rear drum and the drum at the front is free to move. These sanders are great for surface grinding of wood, painting removal, and sanding on large surfaces.

What is a Wide Belt Sander Used For?

The wide belt sander is great to get flat and clean surfaces with the required thickness. Easy to use on finishing applications on the hardwood, plywood, and MDF. The material is kept between the sander table and the sanding belt for sanding. The height of the feed table can be adjusted for the required operations. It works faster and has better results than portable sanders.

Read: What are the Different Types of Sanders

Pros And Cons Of Using Belt Sander

Belt Sander



Ease to use

Much noise

Extremely powerful sander

Not good for finishing

The high material removal rate

Excessively powerful for drywall

Removes material quickly

Can damage some workpiece

Can perform on wood and metal

Less loading

Perfect for large scale woodworking

More expensive

No specific sandpaper grit requirement

Difficult to store for long life use

Can be used as mounted & handheld

What are Drum Sanders?

Drum sanders are inexpensive as compared to wide belt sanders. These sanders are available from small handheld tools to large machines for manufacturers. These types of sanders are generally helpful, ideal for sanding, shaping, and surface finishing for plastic, wooden composite boards, MDF, and other wooden workpieces.

In belt sanders, the tension-releasing lever works quickly as compared to the drum sanders. The applications of Drum sanders are limited to small manufacturers, due to some limitations of using them for professional industrial purposes.

When a drum sander is attached with a power drill it is mostly used for sanding any object. A large drum sander performs like a bench machine using different drums and sandpaper grits. A loop of sandpaper sheet constantly moves around the drum, that tears the surface.

What is a Drum Sander Used For?

Larger pieces of wood are sanded flat with drum sanders. A drum sander can sand boards up to 10-12 inches long and any width flats utilizing a stationary drum and conveyor. The drum sanders are a better alternative to belt sanders as it provides comparatively high-quality finishing.

Pros And Cons Of Using Drum Sander

Drum Sander



Less expensive.

Take more time to replace sandpaper.

Easy to portable and handle.

More irregular grit steps.

Less complicated procedures

Not easy to remove deep scratches and marks.

Perfect for small objects

Sandpaper wears down quickly (in a small surface area).

Easy to use comparatively wide belt sanders.

What Size Belt Sander is Best?

The size of the belt sander depends on the type of work. A sander with size 3” x 21” can be perfect for DIY or small sanding areas. Use a 3" x 21" belt sander for small domestic jobs. It can fulfill many small sanding and material polishing tasks for small projects. But in professional projects, a sander can be chosen on basis of other factors affecting the desired results.

Related: Ways To Clean Sanding Belts Make It last longer
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