Harbor Freight 4" x 36" Belt/6" Disc Sander

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Review by cpd011 posted 08-09-2009 04:19 AM 47022 views 2 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Harbor Freight 4" x 36" Belt/6" Disc Sander No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

This is my first review. I received the sale paper for Harbor Freight a week ago and like many of you I’m very leary of any of their power tools. My grandpa always tried to buy the best tools, and between my dad and his brother they are still using his Unisaw, drill press, joiner and bandsaw which ar all at least 40 years old. getting back to the point, I saw they were advertising a benchtop belt/ disc sander combo for $49.95 and decided to make the twenty minute road trip with my dad. We kicked the tires on it in the store and it seemed to be a solid piece of machinery. It also seems to be built almost identically to several different brands as far as I can tell from online photos and my few trips to HD and Lowes. At less than half the price I took the plunge. Set up only took ten minutes and that mostly because of poorly worded instructions. Most of the unit seems to be cast iron with the exception of the lower base and outer belt housing. I’m not sure of the exact weight but it seems to be about 50 pounds. The table that is included is aluminum but seems to be as sturdy as every other one I’ve seen. I’m probably going to build a bigger table anyway with some inclusive dust collection. By the way their is a almost identical model at Harbor Freight it is ten dollars more (sale price is the same) there are minor differences mostly being some plastic dust collection shrouding but the outlets for these were some crazy sizes maybe 1” dia for the disc and 1-1/2” for the belt. The model I chose just seemed a little beefier and nothing needs to be removed for a belt change just a flip of the tensioning lever. I stuck on the included disc and fired it up. The belt tracking was dead on out of the box, but even so there is an adjustment knob that is big and easy to get at. The motor is rated at 3/4 hp but the label on the motor also says the final output is only 1/3 hp, this may mean something to some people all I know is that the power seemed to be more that adequate. I only had a few minutes to play with it so I tossed some wood at it The Disc spins pretty quickly 1700 RPM i believe and it takes the stock off pretty quickly. The belt isn’t quite as fast. I wanted to check out the power so I started sanding down a 2×4. Nothing bogged down at least not with any reasonable kind of pressure. You can stop any machine with enough force but this one seems to do just fine. Not a very technical review but let me say that for a garage shop this $50.00 machine seems to be a very good buy. 4 stars because I’ve only had it for an hour.

Pro’s- Price, power, seemingly good build.
Con’s- non-existent dust collection, flimsy table (same as any other brand)
I’ll have to get back to you on the longevity.

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91 posts in 4160 days

17 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118145 posts in 4499 days

#1 posted 08-09-2009 04:21 AM

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John Gray

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#2 posted 08-09-2009 04:25 AM

Looks like a deal, please keep us posted?

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

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Craftsman on the lake

3571 posts in 4360 days

#3 posted 08-09-2009 12:42 PM

I’ve had a harbor freight sander and a craftsman one for 30 years. One has courser grit the other finer. Both have worked well during that time. This sander looks similar to mine but mine is 48” and all cast iron. Unlike the craftsman you do have to get creative with dust collection though. A small scoop on the exit end of the belt works pretty good.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

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52 posts in 4213 days

#4 posted 08-10-2009 03:58 AM

yesterday i bought a used craftsman version on this saw but its smaller, i took it apart and painted it and put it back together and runs great

View Vicki's profile


1128 posts in 4266 days

#5 posted 08-10-2009 06:29 AM

I have pretty much the same sander from HF. I’ve had it about 12 yrs. It’s been used hard and light over the years, but it’s always done a fine job. It’s the only stationary sander I have, so I can’t compare it to any thing else. It’s a handy item to have in my arsenal though and it consistently makes big piles of sawdust. I find the box fan with furnace filter placed within a couple of feet a big help with the dust.

-- Vicki on the Eastern Shore of MD

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5533 posts in 4999 days

#6 posted 08-10-2009 06:40 AM

good review…I will be interested on longevity as well..but based on comments of others you will be in good shape…and you cant beat that for $50!

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

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877 posts in 4220 days

#7 posted 08-10-2009 01:12 PM

That’s a great price. I bought this one for full price because I needed it right then for a project I wanted to finish. It has been working perfectly with lots of use since about April, 2009. One thing to note: The motor gets very hot! That might limit the lifetime of this tool.

-- Art | Bradenton, Florida

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3680 posts in 4644 days

#8 posted 08-10-2009 10:53 PM

Good deal, for now, but KEEP THE RECIEPT! I bought one earlier and it lasted 12 days. The motor burned out on me and I didn’t think that I was over using it that much, just good, normal use. (But maybe my “normal” isn’t so.) They gave me my money back (within 30 days) and I went to Sears and bought a Craftsman version and purchased the 2 year warranty, as I had to return that a year later, as it was shaking too much and I couldn’t figure out how to fix it. BUT, they credited me the full amount plus the 2 yr. service fee and ordered me a new machine. I paid for the new machine & 2 yr. warranty and paid .1 cent less than the original purchase. The only inconvenience was I had to wait a week for delivery to the store as there wasn’t one in stock. I hope to upgrade to something stronger/larger soon, maybe a Grizzly?

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

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946 posts in 4277 days

#9 posted 08-13-2009 03:11 AM

thats a great deal

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96 posts in 4639 days

#10 posted 09-04-2009 08:57 PM

The price on the model 93981-1VGA is $89.00 on the HF website. Where did you find it for $50.00?

-- Charlie - Texas

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91 posts in 4160 days

#11 posted 09-04-2009 10:07 PM

It was on sale for 49.99. Just watch the flyers, I’m sure it will go on sale again.

View FloridaArt's profile


877 posts in 4220 days

#12 posted 09-05-2009 01:35 AM

I notice that there is a coupon, good through 1/1/2010, for $49 for this sander. The coupon is in the full-page HF advertisement in some of the wood working magazines currently on news stands. I saw it in a magazine called Woodworkers Journal, and also a second magazine that I can’t recall the title of.

-- Art | Bradenton, Florida

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1167 posts in 4216 days

#13 posted 11-19-2009 05:21 PM

The $49 coupon is also in November issue of Wood magazine.

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98 posts in 4050 days

#14 posted 03-27-2010 08:02 PM

My wife got me one of these for Christmas. I usually try and avoid HF for anything powered unless I consider it disposable (like my 4.5” $15 welding grinder), but this sander seems to be holding up. Fit & finish is typical of Chinese/HF stuff & a bit sloppy, but as previous posts have said, tracking was dead on when I un-boxed it. Power is adequate, the tool rest on the belt isn’t great & I’ve had a few things jam under it. Power switch is in an awkward place.

I have still yet to get any dust collection going in my shop, so haven’t paid any attention to the DC on this sander.

I’d probably go for a slightly higher end sander next time, but this one is working pretty good for now.

Most HF stuff goes on sale reasonably frequently. Just keep your eyes open for the sales or 10-20% off coupons that are always floating around.

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4883 posts in 3435 days

#15 posted 08-08-2014 03:46 AM

I know this is a very old review, and quite possibly written premature after reading it, I however have not had luck what so ever going through to separate units after the first broke. I plan on writing a review on my experiences with this model.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

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