Our Recommendations

We reviewed 26 belt sanders in AW #79, April 2000, page 66. They all performed very well and had equivalent features, so we did not make an Editors' Choice. One sander, however stood out as an excellent value, and we gave it a Best Buy award. The Hitachi SB75, at $145, is an excellent 3-in. x 21-in. machine. It has the highest-amp motor in the group, the dust bag works well, and it has two speeds. Add the bench stand for $31, and you've got a highly versatile sander.

Hitachi SB75; $ 145.

Finish Sanders

Finish sanders are the predecessors of random-orbit sanders. They simply move sandpaper in small circles to slowly remove the wood. Most models use either a quarter or a half sheet of standard sandpaper, which is convenient because it's available everywhere. Some woodworkers prefer a finish sander for sanding fine veneers and plywood because they are less aggressive.

Detail Sanders

Detail sanders are made for sanding into tight corners and right up to edges. Some models have interchangeable sanding pads of different shapes that enable you to sand curves and other profile shapes.

Detail sanders are useful but specialized and are no replacement for a good random-orbit sander.

Finish Sander

DeWalt DW4I IK; $55.

Finish Sander

DeWalt DW4I IK; $55.

Detail Sander

FEIN MSXE 636-11

Detail Sander

FEIN MSXE 636-11

finishsanding pad c detailsanding pad

Black & Decker Mega Mouse 4-in-1 Sander/Polisher; $66.

What's New?

Black & Decker's new Mega Mouse ($66) is a four-in-one sander/polisher. There are three interchangeable sanding pads: a large one for finish sanding and getting into corners; a small one for detail sanding; and a round one for random-orbit sanding. A firm and a soft polishing pad also come with the kit. The Mega Mouse has a built-in dust-collection bag and a pistol-style handle. /W

finishsanding pad

Black & Decker Mega Mouse 4-in-1 Sander/Polisher; $66.

c detailsanding pad

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