Rigid vs Wen vs Other Oscillating Spindle Sander?

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Forum topic by Nate_R posted 09-27-2018 10:39 PM 3730 views 1 time favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 485 days

09-27-2018 10:39 PM

Hello all,

Just getting into woodworking. Picked up a 10” Rikon bandsaw a couple weekends ago, and am looking to do some bandsaw boxes with it.

I’ve read that spindle sanders are the way to go for bandsaw boxes. I’m not looking to spend more than $200 for this. Space and portability is somewhat of an issue, so a benchtop model is where I’m looking.

Looks like a couple of popular models are the Wen and the Rigid spindle/belt sanders. I’ve read a lot of older positive reviews for the Rigid, but it sounds like in the past couple of years the quality has greatly reduced. At this point, how does the quality compare between these two? (Or even the Wen spindle-only sander?)

Also, are there longer spindles that can be put on these? The Wen sounds like it only supports between 3.5-4 inches of height, and don’t see a reason why putting a longer one on there would be an issue.


9 replies so far

View jamsomito's profile


457 posts in 1034 days

#1 posted 09-28-2018 12:55 AM

Yes, I’ve made a bandsaw box without a spindle sander and thought about going out to buy a spindle sander right then and there. They help a lot with inside curves, etc.

I just posted a similar question, minus the spindle length question. There were some good replies there:

Also, a notable review for the Ridgid and Grizzly sanders with comparison is here:
Part 1, review:
Part 2, details:

A youtube video with some demonstrations is here, though please note he says the internals are the same when they are very different.

I just purchased the Wen and it arrived today. I had about 5 minutes to unbox it and look it over. Everything was there, the unit turned on, the top is metal (contrary to some reviews, probably an earlier revision was plastic), and the top was very close to square and just a hair out of alignment between the movable and fixed sections of the surface. I saw an overview of a competitors version that wobbled to an extent I would consider unacceptable, but I’m happy to say mine does not exhibit that trait (video here: With the very limited time I’ve had with it, the quality is better than I was expecting and above that of the $160 price I paid for it. Now, please note I’ve spent all of 5 minutes with the machine and my opinion may change after I’ve used it a while. I fully intend to do a thorough review of this unit and post here as there is not much information on the Wen variant on this website that I could find. But I need to put some time on it first.

As for taller… if you’re looking for something out of your price range, and you have some time, Kevin at KRTwood made his own and has a few videos with great information about how he made his. I think he has plans to purchase too, but don’t quote me on that. It’s a great series. Here’s a link to an overview video, I think you can find the rest from there:

Otherwise, you may be stuck looking at dedicated, floor-standing spindle sanders with cast iron tops et. al. I know grizzly has a bunch of options, and I think Jet has a bunch too. Probably every brand for that matter, but these are the two that stick out to me.

Good luck!

View jamsomito's profile


457 posts in 1034 days

#2 posted 09-28-2018 01:01 AM

A couple more tidbits:

My opinion is the quality of the Wen/Grizzly/Triton/etc is going to be similar to that of the Ridgid. Apparently Ridgid knocked it out of the park with their first version, then revised it to the current version and the first couple years had some QC issues. That still may be the case, but I wouldn’t think it’s any higher or lower than the competing model. There are some possible issues with the Ridgid, and there are some possible issues with the Wen. You are buying a sub-$200 tool, I would expect exactly this. The decision for me came down to: 1) do I need a miter slot, and 2) do I want the warranty. I wasn’t impressed with the Ridgid lifetime warranty after reading into it, but it may help in a pinch. The Wen seemed more user-serviceable if needed, and still had a several-year manufacturer warranty.

As for the size, I have a very small shop (a nook in the back corner of my 2-car garage that still needs to house 2 cars and my kid’s driving toy car and all their toys and the gardening stuff and … you get the point). I’m very glad I got the smaller one to save some space. It struck me as rather large still even after I got it out of the box.

View Charlie H.'s profile

Charlie H.

395 posts in 1258 days

#3 posted 09-28-2018 02:24 AM

I have the current version Ridgid and I use it fairly regularly.
I like it but I don’t love it.
I thought the extra large table would be great, but as it turns out I don’t use that space and it makes the spindle kinda hard to reach with very little table area behind it.
Another feature I though would be great is the oscillating belt sander, but it’s not really big enough to be very useful and I hardly use it at all.
The machine works fine and does exactly what it’s supposed to do, my needs don’t quite match this machine though.
If doing it over I wouldn’t get the combination spindle / belt machine, I would get a dedicated spindle sander.

-- Regards, Charlie in Rowlett, TX --------I talk to myself, because sometimes I need expert advice.---------

View MrRon's profile


5812 posts in 3852 days

#4 posted 09-28-2018 04:08 PM Wen tools seem to have good reviews. Wen has been around for a long time. I have a circular saw and a power hand planer that are over 40 years old and they still work. I recently bought their oscillating spindle sander for less than $100. Haven’t used it much but it has worked as it should so far.

View BattleRidge's profile


126 posts in 824 days

#5 posted 09-28-2018 05:00 PM

I have had the Ridgid spindle / belt sander in my shop for several months now and am quite satisfied with it. The ability to easily switch between the spindle or belt for whichever projects I am working on is quite helpful and it fits in a convenient footprint in my shop. I typically keep the sander on the drop-down area on my workbench / assembly table to provide a comfortable working height and switch it out with my scroll saw or portable router table as needed. The sander seems well designed and built and fits my needs quite nicely. I use a shop vac / Dust Deputy combination for the sander, router table and scroll saw.

I would recommend obtaining an abrasive cleaning stick and it is quite useful for periodically cleaning the sandpaper.

I can’t speak for the quality of the older units as this is the first one I have had, but it seems to be well made and I haven’t experienced any problems with it. In regard to longer spindles, I haven’t had the need for one so have never researched the subject, though it would likely require an extension on the spindle rod and longer spindles / sanding drums, possibly difficult to come by.

-- ~Art~

View edapp's profile


331 posts in 2038 days

#6 posted 09-28-2018 05:44 PM

I picked up the ridgid a few weeks ago and for the price I am very happy with it. I found I use the belt more than the spindle which really suprised me because I was considering buying a spindle only version from grizzly.

I wish the tables were cast iron, I wish the dust collection worked better, but really, for $200, I am very happy. If you have never had one (I hadnt) it really opens up a lot of options in your shop. I dont know how the other machines compare, but for the price I think the ridgid is a great buy.

View pintodeluxe's profile


6038 posts in 3421 days

#7 posted 09-28-2018 05:59 PM

I have the Ridgid. I wouldn’t say it’s the most robust stationary tool in my shop, but it has a tilting table and miter slot. Those are features I use all the time, and the Wen doesn’t offer them.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View BlasterStumps's profile


1497 posts in 1048 days

#8 posted 09-30-2018 04:08 AM

Just got this sander today. It looks promising. Sent in my registration this evening. I’m looking forward to using it on my next project.

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

View Will's profile


26 posts in 2616 days

#9 posted 09-30-2018 02:20 PM

I had the Rigid for a couple of years and the motor burned out. Bought the Wen and like it better. Seems to have more power than the Rigid. And the smaller table has not been an issue. Been using it for 4 months and am satisfied with it. Especially the price.

-- If it wasn't for the last minute, nothing would get done.

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