Craftsman - 3/4 hp 6" x 9" Belt/Disc Sander (Model 22500) (Rating: 5)

I had been in the market for a combination belt/disc sander for quite some time and read as much as I could on all the various brands. I landed on the Craftsman one primarily for the attractive price (and the encouragement of my father-in-law who has had one for who knows how many years), however, comparing its specs to other competing sanders, in nearly every category it scored as good if not better.

For starters, this sander is heavy at around 85 lbs, and so much so that I have not had to even secure it to my workbench. The weight, coupled with some rubber gripping feet, keep this thing anchored in place on its own. I'm sure there are others out there that are heavier, but at this weight, it's plenty sturdy for my purposes. Like other sanders out there, the 6×48 belt can be used both horizontally and vertically and is relatively easy to switch between both. The cast iron table (only one included) is also removable and can be used for either the belt or the disc. I usually keep the belt horizontal and have the cast iron table dedicated for the disc.

When I pulled it out of the box, the belt was already tracked properly and I have not had any tracking issues for the several months that I've owned it. I have not had to change belts that many times but changing them is pretty easy and tool-less. I've only used the disc a handful of times but have had no issues during those times. Perhaps the feature I appreciate the most is the single dedicated dust collection port that easily fits onto a standard shop vac. Aside from the convenience, I've been pleasantly impressed with the dust collection. I'd venture to guess the shop vac accounts for about ~95% of the dust. For my shop that's already subject to saw dust in other areas because I do not have a central dust collection system, this was more than sufficient for my needs.

I picked this one up on sales at Sears for only $229 I believe. I had considered the comparable benchtop JET model (708595) but at almost 3 times the cost (~$650 on on 12/15/2011), even if it is a superior sander in more ways than one, price makes a difference.