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7 Best Drum Sanders for Home and Small Shop – [2023’s Picks]

best drum sander for small shop
Photo: Jet

Over the years, drum sanders have become a popular addition for wood workshops to flatten wood pieces for fine surfing.

While it’s true, considering the space limitation, motor power, and feeding rate, finding the best drum sander for small shops is yet a bit challenging.

I have looked into this and with hours long research found the right selection to review. In addition to this, you can scroll down to the buying guide so that when the time comes you can choose the perfect one for yourself.

That being said, let’s start the drum sander reviews. Shall we?

Best Drum Sanders for Small and Home Shop – [My Top Picks]

Best Drum Sanders for Small Shop – [Top Picks of 2023]

Here are the 7 best small drum sanders you should know about.

1. JET JWDS-2244 Drum Sander for Small Shop – Best Overall

Jet JWDS-2244 Drum Sander for Small Shop - Best Overall

Key Points:

  • Overheat protection.
  • Seamless wide sanding.
  • Great for guitar making.
  • Precise depth adjustment.
  • No digital readout.

Starting with Jet JWDS-2244, I have a small yet reasonably powerful drum sander on my list. Considering its wide feeding range and outstanding performance, it is clearly the best overall drum sander for a small / home shop.

This is a 22-44 drum sander, which means the 22-inch cylinder is capable of sanding up to 44-inch wide and 4-inch thick wood pieces. You just need to turn the panel and run another pass.

It comes with a 1.75 HP motor to give you a smooth finish with a variable feeding rate of 0-10 FPM.

Another great feature of Jet JWDS-2244 is its Sandsmart monitoring system. It actively checks and adjusts the motor load to prevent overheat.

The parallelism nob beside the conveyor bed helps to alter the open end bed height so you don’t leave a seam mark on the board.

It has a 4-inch redesigned dust collection port on the top that can efficiently discard wood particles up to 97%.

2. SuperMax 19-38 Drum Sander for Small Shop – Runner Up

SuperMax 19-38 Drum Sander for Small Shop - Runner Up

Key Points:

  • Easy to set up.
  • Durable build.
  • Low noise operation.
  • Extra tool space under the table.
  • Changing sandpaper is challenging.

If your workshop has limited space but you still want to get a decent drum sander, SuperMax 19-38 is my runner up choice. It has all the important features like a wide range, variable speed, and height adjustment in a compact form factor.

This open ended drum sander is a cast-iron build ready to withstand any tough work you throw at it. The 1.75 HP motor also helps with the clean finish. 

You can easily change the drum height with a convenient turn-key and a scale. It gives you an easy reengage option as you know the exact height.

Both the sanding drum and conveyor belt of SuperMax 19-38 runs on separate motors to give you the maximum output. 

It still has a 19-38 inch sanding range which makes it a great drum sander for guitar making.

In addition to that, you will have a steel drum cover and dust port on the top to stay clear of wood debris.

3. JET JWDS-1632 Plus – Best Drum Sander for the Money

Jet JWDS-1632 Plus Drum Sander - Best Drum Sander for the Money

Key Points:

  • Offers smooth finish.
  • Takes less space.
  • Advanced overload control.
  • Available feet attachments.
  • Vibration may be an issue.

The Jet JWDS-1632 is a fine piece of power sander with many features that you will only see in the higher price range. With that in mind, this would be your best drum sander for the money.

Due to shortage of space, allocating a drum sander for a small shop may be a bit troublesome. However, with H 39” x W 25” dimension it won’t be an issue for Jet JWDS-1632.

The drum size of this power tool is 16-inch but you can sand a 32-inch board. The 43-inch conveyor belt and parallelism nob will help to get the best finish possible.

When dealing with an end grain cutting board, the precise depth tuning of Jet JWDS-1632 comes real handy. The adaptable speed of the conveyor also aids in this operation to a non-destructive finish.

The most impressive feature of this 16-32 drum sander would be its aluminum drum that dissipates heat more rapidly.

Last but not least, there are feet extensions available for this model if you ever need to raise the height. You can even install caster wheels on the feet for easy navigation.

4. SuperMax 16-32 Small Shop Drum Sander

SuperMax 16-32 Small Shop Drum Sander - Also Great 16-32 Drum Sander

Key Points:

  • Low power consumption.
  • Repeatable consistency.
  • Easy to remember digital readout.
  • Manual and automatic feed rate.
  • Quite heavy.

Whether you are a DIY Luthiers or a professional woodworker, you will appreciate what SuperMax 16-32 has to offer. The small dimension and power to chew through wood stock makes it also a Great 16-32 Drum Sander.

This corded sander only draws 20 amps at 110v for running motors and other control functions. A suitable drum sander for small luthier workshops that will ease your bills.

The 16-inch sanding drum can house wider wood pieces and rotate at a 1740 RPM for an outstanding finish. You can also change the depth in SuperMax 16-32 as required.

Apart from that, you can either operate the conveyor bed automatically or at 0-10 FPM (feet per minute) manually. The digital readout feature is a lifesaver to remember the settings for repeat work.

The dust hood on this drum sander is a special one with a turbo vent. It allows the vacuum to pull out dust and debris effortlessly.

5. WEN 65911 With Rolling Stand – Best Budget Drum Sander

WEN 65911 10 Portable Drum Sander with Rolling Stand - Best Budget

Key Points:

  • Ultra-portable.
  • Castor wheels.
  • Easy height change.
  • Great for inline frames.
  • No way to pivot conveyor bed.

Nothing hurts more when your budget and the product you want has a wide gap between them. If that’s the case with you, then the WEN 65911 will be your best budget option to close that gap. 

The main attraction of this small drum sander is its portability. It’s not only small in size, but you will also see two caster wheels on the side to move it more easily around the workshop.

It comes with 80 grit sandpaper out of the box wrapped around on a 10-inch drum. It’s a great combination for small workpieces like various frames, kalimbas, and other small instruments.

As usual, the feeding rate of WEN 65911 is 0 to 10 FPM (feet per minute) for a rough or a buttery smooth finish. 

The conveyor table can accept up to 3 inches of dense wood stock and ¼ inch being the minimum thickness. It’s still impressive for such a small sanding machine.

6. JET JWDS-1020 – Best Benchtop Drum Sander Under $1000

Jet JWDS-1020 Benchtop Drum Sander for Small Shop - Best Under $1000

Key Points:

  • Easy to move around.
  • Infinitely variable conveyor speed.
  • Requires only a small table.
  • Durable and sturdy.
  • Sometimes belt tracking seems hard.

If you’re looking for the best drum sander under $1000, Jet JWDS-1020 is the right option for you. 

The most unique feature of this beast of a machine would be the flexible feeding rate. You can change it to any speed you want and it will follow your order diligently.

Jet JWDS-1020 uses a die-cast aluminum drum along with a steel frame to improve sturdiness and service time. Strong build quality also helps with reducing vibration in the process.

Being a powerful benchtop sander has its perks like less space requirement, portability, and performance to complete any task. Even though it’s a 1HP motor it’s still a capable drum sander for cutting boards.

Apart from a parallelism knob to level the bed, they placed the conveyor motor on the edge to efficiently pull the bed without dragging.

7. JET 628900 Benchtop Drum Sander

JET 628900 Benchtop Drum Sander - Also Great Benchtop Drum Sander

Key Points:

  • Fairly affordable.
  • Accurate drum adjustment.
  • Easy to replace sandpaper.
  • Ideal drum sander for luthiers.
  • Requires a table to set up.

The last product on the list is another benchtop sander from JET. JET 628900 is pretty affordable and also a great benchtop drum sander in a small form factor. It would be a drum sander for an instrument veneer who doesn’t have a lot of space to spare.

All other sanders were a little over 1HP but it is exactly 1HP with a lot of optimization to keep up with any sanding task. Also thanks to the heavy-duty motor for longer operation time.

As long as your workpiece isn’t over 20inch wide, you won’t have issues. The 5-inch diameter drum will make sure you have an even finish with the right amount of depth you want.

It features a cast-iron handwheel for adjusting drum height which moves 1/16” per turn. It’s a hassle-free method to eliminate any sniping issue while placing or removing the stock.

Best Drum Sander for Small Shop – [Updated Buying Guide]

You can’t just buy a drum sander and expect it to be great at work. Many beginners make the same mistake and regret afterward for not having the best result.

The problem arises due to not factoring in the key elements like work requirement, capacity, power, and so on.

In this section, I will discuss how to find the best drum sander for small shop by examining each of these important factors.

So you won’t have any issue later regarding the compatibility or performance of the machine.

1. Available Space 

Whether you own a small home shop or luthier shop, space would be your primary concern to house a drum sander. Try to find the best model that fits your workspace.

The open stand sanders like I reviewed are more efficient at space utilization than the close stand sander.

Some of these have tool storage space under the table. Plus, there are also benchtop sanders that come without stands and easy to place on a workbench.

2. Durability 

Honestly, a good drum sander costs a lot. You would want your sander to last a long time, not just a few work sessions.

Durable build materials like cast iron body, steel wheel, and aluminum drum all work towards a great service life.

3. Maximum Capacity 

This is very important as it will determine the work you can do with it. For most small shops 16” to 32” wide range is ideal but if you are planning to sand more than a 32-inch panel, go for 22”-44” range capacity.

On the note of thickness, the 3-4 inch range works well in the majority of sanding work. But you should consider your work and then decide the best option for you.

4. Power 

High motor power (HP) allows you to process wood stock more consistently. The thing with a low HP motor is it tends to overheat pretty quickly as you increase the feeding rate.

If you want a powerful sanding speed a motor with 1.5HP and above would be perfect. 

5. Ease of Operation 

Before you start any sanding work you often need to adjust the settings to an appropriate setup. This includes drum height adjustment, conveyor bed reset, etc.

See if your particular model has an easy method to do that so you can spend more time sanding than making adjustments.

6. Ease of Abrasive Change 

In continuous sanding work, sandpaper burns out pretty quickly. An easy way to quickly change the sandpaper reduces a significant amount of downtime and boost efficiency.

7. Dust Collection 

Sanding drum removes quite a bit of wood dust within a short time. Not discarding that debris will temper your final result and often overloads the motor.

Hence, a wide vacuum dust collection port and internal-design efficiency help with the issue.

8. Feed Speed and Overloading 

For custom sanding work or a particular style of sanding work, feed speed matters the most. The most reviewed products have the 0-10 FPM feeding rate which works great in most cases. 

Some drum sanders offer adaptive feed rate regulation to prevent motor overload. The system senses the motor load condition and slows down the rate accordingly. This improves service life and saves future repair costs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a Drum Sander?

The drum sander is a special sanding machine that works on a flat panel. It has a cylinder/drum wrapped with a range of sandpaper and adjustable depth for a smooth finish.

The contraption also comes with a conveyor bed with variable speed.

What is a drum sander used for?

A drum sander is great for fine-tuning the surface where other sanders simply can’t do or highly time-consuming for the task.

At first, people made Bar-tops using a drum sander. But later given its outstanding result, we see many applications in art, decoration, and even in delicate instrument making.

What size drum sander for a small shop?

The 22-44 drum sander is quite popular for a small workshop as it has the power and working scope for most fine sanding work.

But if you have limited space in your workshop you can always go for a 16-32 drum sander. 

Drum sander vs. Planer – What’s the difference?

The primary function of both Planer and Drum Sander is making the surface smooth. But the real difference is that the Planer is more aggressive than the Drum sander. Technically, the drum sander removes between 0.005”-0.007” of materials where the planer does 0.125”-0.250” of removal.

How much does a drum sander remove?

It removes from 0.005 inches to 0.007 inches of surface material to give a final finish before painting.

Final Words

We all know sanding machines hold a special place in any carpenter or a small woodshop owner. However, the drum sander is best when it comes to delivering a smooth finish in less amount of time.

If you are still feel confused about which is the best drum sander for small shop, here is a quick reminder of my top picks. Jet JWDS-2244 is the best option when it comes to performance and durability.

The Jet JWDS-1632  on the other hand is affordable and a great value for money. And finally, Jet JWDS-1020 is the best $1000 drum sander your money can buy.

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