Rated 3.6 out of 5 by 40
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by Roberto Glad I spent the extra money and got the Porter Cable
This belt sander is a beast. I was able to strip and sand a 10 x 12 floor in less than an hour on my first pass, and that is because the first pass had poly. The second and third passes took about 30 minutes. This sander has so much power I only ran it at level 5 out of 6.
Don't apply too much downward pressure when sanding - let the power of this tool work for you. It has so much power that when I put too much pressure I could smell the rubber belt a little. Extra pressure wasn't necessary.
Make sure when you change belts to adjust the tracking each time. Once adjusted the tracking stayed true until the next belt change.
If I had one complaint it is the dust bag. It didn't catch much dust at all.
SOLID construction. This thing is built like a tank.
July 5, 2016
Rated 1.0 out of 5.0 by leftclique Useless, tracking adjustment does NOT work
The tracking adjustment knob backs off as you run the sander. There's no tension spring to keep the knob from turning after you adjust it. If you run the sander while holding it in mid air, you can actually see the knob turn, just from the motor vibration. And when you put the sander in contact with wood? It's all over, brother - the belt runs right off the wheels.
October 20, 2016
Rated 4.0 out of 5.0 by Tom Good Value Tool
I bought this sander to redo my porch decking, and it worked well overall. I was removing the weathered top surface from a mahogany deck, and with a 36 grit belt it took it down fairly quickly (6 hours to sand an 8' x 25' deck using both coarse and fine grits). I did have two problems - one my own stupid fault and one more cautionary to proper use of the sander. I got the cord stuck in between the drive drum and the housing, but was able to work it out by rotating the drum with a wrench. The cord still worked with a little electrical tape to protect it, so it is a tough cord. I ordered a replacement cord and it was not hard to install - you just need a TORX bit set to loosen some of the screws.
The cautionary issue was that the drive belt broke and had to be replaced as well. It is easy to replace, but I had to order the replacement and couldn't work until I got it. It appears that putting too much downward pressure on the sander contributes to the problem. I recommend that you order a couple of replacement belts to have in your spare parts kit, about $10 per belt.
The sander runs pretty smoothly and after 6 hours of continuous use, my hands were not fatigued. It is easy to control even running at top speed. I was able to use it to sand the ends of the boards; it is not too heavy to hold and control in doing that.
I was told by a repair guy that the old Porter-Cable tools (before Black & Decker bought them) are much more rugged, but I think this is a pretty sturdy tool and deserves a good rating - especially for the money.
October 18, 2016
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by Normal Top Notched Tool
This 3" x 21" sander is the same one I've used for 35+ years both professionally and as a shop teacher. It will get the job done. The dust bag is a bit awkward but not a bad idea for breathing issues. After my neighbor ruined my older model I went to reviews and still think Poeter Cable is the best. To find it on the shelf made the online price difference a moot issue.
September 27, 2016
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by queenursa Great Little Helper
Dependable little machine for refinishing our exterior deck. Couldn't have done the job as well or as fast without it--should have bought it sooner.
August 15, 2016
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by FireMan Refinished Wood Door
This did an excellent job. I did not have an issue with the dust filter, I was outside so no issue. It's a sander! Anyway, it worked great, saved me countless hours of sanding. I should have bought this years ago.
May 30, 2016
Rated 4.0 out of 5.0 by RAB Workhorse of a sander!!
I'm not sure I can add to the comments on this tool that have accumulated over the last several years. But assuming PC has made improvements on earlier models here's my recent experience. I bought this sander to refinish my wood deck. It did a great job!!! As a novice I learned a couple quick lessons about using this belt sander - keep the power cord on your shoulder and behind you as you are sanding - keep the sander's dust port and bag in front of, and to the right of, your body. If you are left handed I recommend operating the tool with your right hand to minimize dust exposure.
I awarded the tool 4 stars because the wire clip fastener does not seal the dust bag around the dust port. The "blow by" dust goes everywhere. Even with the leak, the dust bag did fill to the 2/3 level and required emptying about every hour or so. I read that you can connect the tool to a shop vac or dust collection system with the proper adapters but I will likely dedicate this sander to outside work. All that said, I really like the feel, weight, and quality of this sander. I found it well-balanced in my hands, comfortable to maneuver over the deck, and very effective at removing the old material from the wood with 80 grit belts using very little applied pressure. During the 12 hours I spent on the job the sander worked flawlessly. It goes without saying that you must wear respiratory, eye, and hearing protection when operating the tool.
Assuming Porter Cable's built in tool life expectancy exceeds 12 hours, I would buy this sander again and recommend it to others.
April 24, 2016
Rated 5.0 out of 5.0 by Wally great Belt sander
Great sander handles are placed well for one handed operation when belting scribes, needs a directional vent on motor fan exhaust
April 5, 2016