Anyone who uses a corded belt sander knows one of its major pitfalls: the power cord, which seems to get either hung up or stepped on while you are sanding, resulting in a gouged work surface. I’ve even managed to ruin a couple of cords by sanding over them. That’s why I was excited to try out Metabo HPT’s 36V MultiVolt (model SB3608DAQ4) and DeWalt’s 20V Max XR (model DCW220B) 3-inch-by-21-inch cordless belt sanders. We often use belt sanders on our jobsites for tasks such as sanding cabinets and door edges, flattening joints in large glue-ups, and even rough-sanding floors on remodels. All of these jobs would be easier without the power cord if the battery life and power of cordless sanders could deliver results close to corded models, in the same way that cordless multi-tools, random orbit sanders, and trim routers now perform just as well as their corded counterparts.
Over the past few months, my team and I used these new Metabo HPT and DeWalt sanders on several projects to see how they compared to my corded models. Power is important, of course, but I also wanted to test dust collection, belt tracking, and the weight and balance of the tools.