Ridgid never seems to disappoint, they focus on providing solid and dependable tools that do exactly what they are designed to do. Ridgid's Cordless Belt Sander is no exception, excelling both at breaking down material and smoothing wood stock effortlessly, with just enough features to give you the customization you want to control the finish.
Ridgid is the kind of power tool company that is constantly performing the ultimate supporting role, second only to the person using it. They aren’t flashy or gimmicky, they focus on providing solid power tools that are designed to stand up to harsh and constant use. When searching for a belt sander, I was curious if Ridgid's Cordless Belt Sander would match up to Ridgid's stellar reputation. Let's take a look at the Ridgid Cordless Belt Sander Review.
Ridgid Cordless Belt Sander Review Overview
The Ridgid Cordless Belt Sander is not lightweight in the power department, operating with their innovative brushless motor making it the first in its class. Using their 18-volt battery line, and weighing in at 6.3 pounds the Ridgid Cordless Belt Sander has the perfect balance of power and weight for a tool like this. Belt sanders have a long history of being intimidating to some as most tend to stick to random orbital sanders. Belt sanders may not be for everyone, but for my purposes, I wanted to more efficiently sand wood, particularly when seaming wood on detailed projects. I also was curious about its ability to sand off paint vs using stripping chemicals.
Ridgid Cordless Belt Sander Review Features
The sander operates using a simple switch trigger to operate.
There is a lock-on feature to allow for more comfortable sanding when used for extended periods. I like this a lot for a sander especially because the vibrations can become uncomfortable when your hand is gripping the equipment with tension on the trigger vs allowing a natural grip.
Ridgid’s Cordless Belt Sander is equipped with a dust collection bag that they claim can collect 90% of the dust, this was seemingly quite accurate.
The 1.5-inch dust port could also be attached to a shop vac using a standard 1-1/4 hose.
The Brushless motor increases tool life overall and allows for better results on a cordless platform.
The variable speed dial was simple to understand and there was a discernable difference in speed when adjustments were made. The dial is marked A through F, F being the fastest.
There is a front adjustable pommel that can be moved using the onboard hex screw. By removing a set screw and adjusting the pommel to one of three available positions and then re-installing the set screw you increase comfort during use and adjust grip depending on the application.
Both the Pommel and the handle have a rubber over-molding for enhanced comfort.
The flat metal plate allows for flush sanding and improves the performance when used on vertical surfaces.
The sander utilizes Ridgid’s Gen5X lithium battery platform, designed to perform in extreme weather as well as providing substantial battery life. I used the sander each time in excess of 20 minutes before I switched out the battery. I never actually let it go dead, but at higher speeds the power would start to deteriorate, I also never noticed any heat coming from the batteries like the echoes from early cordless tools.
The sander uses 3 x 18-inch sanding belts which are readily available at all home improvement stores. Here I have a Diablo belt attached.
The belts are easy to change on the Ridgid Cordless Belt Sander as it uses a metal lever to disengage the belt and to re-secure it.
The tool does have an automatic belt tracking tool, which keeps the belt centered on the plate. However, there is also an adjustment knob to make personalized adjustments.
Ridgid Cordless Belt Sander Review Performance
Ridgid really impressed me with this sander. I played around with sanding a few things with it, and as well switching the grit of the belt, and I was impressed each time.
I used the sander vertically to attempt to sand off multiple layers of paint on some cabinets I will be stripping, and it worked really well at removing the paint. This photo was taken after no more than two minutes sanding with an 80-grit belt.
The sander smoothed out pine 2x6s with ease, and much quicker than an orbital sander. You do lose some control that an orbital sander gives you by using the belt sander, but it's also much quicker.
The variable speed control also worked well, giving defined variance between speed and allowing for superior control in sanding. I usually feel like variable controls on tools such as these don’t offer much advantage, but it definitely did here.
The dust collection bag worked better than any other dust collector I’ve used previously. When sanding wood especially the dust throw off was minimal, when sanding vertically there was somewhat more dust, but again less than what I usually see. I think using it with a shop vac would lessen it even more but I appreciate that this was overall successful because if you are trying to use a tool without the restriction of cords, hooking up to a shop-vac would be somewhat counterproductive. The belt tracking tool worked flawlessly as well, leaving little room for error on proper alignment.
Ridgid Cordless Belt Sander Review Value
For me, a belt sander was appealing as I do a lot of detailed tops on tables. Without a planer etc., a belt sander seemed to be the most obvious way to best diminish seams between boards without spending a small lifetime sanding. For that purpose alone this tool would be well worth the investment for me, but there are other applications as well. For woodworking, it makes quick work of sanding stock. I imagine the ability to strip through paint will appeal to a lot of users and would have really come in handy when I was stripping the old finish off of my staircase.
The bare tool version of the Ridgid Cordless Belt Sander Model # R86065B comes in at $149.00, however, Home Depot is offering a package deal that includes a charger and a 2.0 Ah battery for the same price Model # R86065SB. I only tested the tool with the 5.0 Ah battery, but a free charger and battery are hard to complain about. Overall the price point is quite fair and is very competitive with other brands corded versions.
Ridgid Cordless Belt Sander Review Final Thoughts
Ridgid upholds their well-earned reputation as a manufacturer of solid tools that are designed for harsh conditions. They aren’t over the top, having just enough features to optimize performance without losing their focus on putting out dependable tools. The Ridgid Cordless Belt Sander holds up to Ridgid's reputation of providing a workhorse meant to withstand rigorous use while performing exceptionally. The cordless feature is a huge bonus on this mighty sander and the brushless motor allows no loss in performance and power. For me, Ridgid's Cordless Belt Sander will get a lot of use in my workshop and is another great value from Ridgid.