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The Cheapest 1x30 Sander


I've been wanting a strip sander for a while now; either a 1x42 sander or a 1x30 sander. I've considered building one using the plans, but I just have not yet come across a decent motor that would serve.

So finally a sale came up at Princess Auto and I bought this unit. Here is a look at it.

I bought this in December of 2022, and currently this sander is priced a bit less than the cost of a full tank of gas for my Minivan. It's pretty cheap!

Now for my American based friends, never fear. I checked the Harbor Frieght website, and it has a sander that I suspect came out of the same factory. Based on the reported specs on the website, the only real difference I can see is that the Princess Auto unit is red, and labelled "X-Power", whereas the Harbor Freight unit is green and branded "Central Machinery". I also checked and they have one also, but at this time (December 2022) it is about $20 more than the Harbor Freight unit.

Links to all of these are below, but you could also just search your favourite tool store webiste for "1x30 belt sander" and see what you find.

The sander is solidly packed in form-fitting styrofoam and arrives almost completely assembled, with a sanding belt in place. The only loose part is the table (shown at left in this photo) and a small bag of hardware for the clamp-handle that is used to attach the table to the sander

The table is fairly straightforward to attach, with a bolt and a pair of washers. The clamp handle is a bit fiddly, because the position of the motor means that you can only turn it 1/2 turn at a time, and then you need to pull out the handle (it is spring loaded) turn the handle back, then re-engage with the shaft and turn it forward again.

Next two photos show the assembled unit.

It is a pretty light and compact little sander. According to my bathroom scale it weighs about 11-12 lbs. I then double-checked the specs on the website and both Princess Auto and Harbor Freight list it as 13 lbs. (Amazon lists it at a puzzling 1.11lbs which makes no sense at all...)

The main distance that may concern people is the throat depth -- the space between the sanding belt and the back support. It is 4-3/8 inches. So that is the limiting size on projects being able to fit in there. I know that a lack of throat depth is what has prompted other people to either build or buy a larger 1x42" sander.

I've used these sanders before, but never owned one, so I will have to just wait and see if I find that small throat depth to be a hindrance.

As for other dimensions: The sander is about 14" tall, about 11.5" front-to-back, and about 9.5" wide. That should give you an idea as to how much bench space it will require. The table is VERY small at just 5"x5" in size. But the whole sander is also quite small, so this table is proportional.

I used a decibel meter on my cellphone and it measured the unit to be about 65-70 decibels of noise when it was powered on.

If you go looking for small 1x30 belt sanders you will find that almost all of them come equipped with a small disc sander as well. Here's a few that I found after a quick web search.

I explicitly did NOT want a unit with a disc sander.

It just so happens that I already have both an 8" and a 12" disc sander. I don't even keep sandpaper on the 8" unit as I only use the 12" disc sander. So I did not want the added weight, added size, added complexity, or added cost of a combo belt-disc unit.

In terms of other conclusions. As I mentioned above, these are almost ridiculously cheap, given that they are about the same as a tank of gas. I tested it on some cedar and oak and it sanded fine. The belt tracked well. The fit and finish were decent with no sharp exposed edges. The case is metal with interior gussets for strenght. It supports dust extraction -- which I used while testing and my shop vac sucked up most of the dust.

Again, The sanding table is VERY tiny at just 5x5". I can see that I may want to build a larger auxilliary table to go on or around it if I want to sand larger items. We shall see.

For now, I am quite satisfied with this purchase. This is one situation where I think buying the cheapest has worked out well.

Some of the Tools/Supplies Used In This Project: (Affiliate Links)

(Only the Amazon link is an affiliate link, not the others. Of course, unless the price changes, I would not buy the Amazon sander.)

Princess Auto Sander
Harbor Freight Sander Sander:"

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases you make using my affiliate links.


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See Also:

Disc Sander Build

Arrow PT50