Performance and efficiency can make or break productivity on a jobsite. The more you can get out of your tools the better. If you’re going cordless, sufficient power is a must. And hopefully, you can keep your cordless battery platforms to a minimum. This is why Milwaukee Tools is one of the most popular tool lines for professionals. When it comes to a broad line of cordless tools, Milwaukee offers one of the largest 18V line-ups. Today we take a look at an addition to their ever-expanding line of tools, the M18 FUEL™ 3″ x 18″ Milwaukee Cordless Belt Sander. Believe it or not, this is Milwaukee’s first belt sander.
Milwaukee Cordless Belt Sander
If you are a woodworker or someone who needs to remove a lot of surface material quickly and easily, a belt sander is the perfect tool. However, one of the biggest problems with belt sanders can be the cord. The cord always seems to get in the way or caught on something when you’re working. Milwaukee is not the first to market a cordless belt sander, but it’s a nice addition to the company’s cordless line-up. No longer do you need to worry about the cord getting tangled up. And if you are already invested in the Milwaukee M18 FUEL™ battery platform, you can pick up the bare tool at a reasonable cost.
Milwaukee Cordless Belt Sander Features
The device is geared towards aggressive sanding and smoothing applications. It is powered by a POWERSTATE Brushless Motor. It is also equipped with Milwaukee’s REDLINK PLUS intelligence, so “less bog down under load for more aggressive material removal and protection from overload, overheating, and over-discharge.” And as is mentioned further down, the belt sander offers variable-speed control that lets you adjust from 1350SFM to 750SFM. This feature is one of my favorites.
The POWERSTATE brushless motor together with an M18 FUEL™ lithium-ion battery can generate the equivalent of an 8A corded sander. This should be enough to tackle some of the most sanding jobs.
Something I like in the Milwaukee Cordless Belt Sander design is the notable ease of belt access and replacement. To quote Milwaukee’s website: “This battery-powered belt sander also features automatic belt tracking, a tool-free belt tracking knob, dual-LED lights, a tool-free belt change lever, and a lock-on button.”
A solid grip is very important in a belt sander. As you know, control is paramount. The ergonomic handle/grip design will prevent unnecessary strain on your hands. And the adjustable pommel is a big plus. I have noticed that for relatively quick jobs hand strain isn’t an issue. However, with extended belt sander use, you come to appreciate the grip features more and more.
Reiterating the point about control, the Milwaukee Cordless Belt Sander features an adjustable pommel. This flexibility accommodates a variety of grip styles, sizes, and orientations in which you may need to place the belt sander to complete a job. Do not underestimate such allowances for versatility. Power and output amount to little if they can’t be applied at the proper angle in a tight spot. The adjustable pommel also allows you to make contact with your material at the front of the sander as well as the bottom.
Since different materials and applications require different sanding belt speeds, the belt sander offers varible speed settings from 1350SFM to 750SFM. A thoughtful add-on feature that helps you to not overdo a surface with excessive sanding.
The Milwaukee Cordless Belt Sander features well-placed LED lights to illuminate your work area. When there are uneven grooves and possibly varied materials that respond differently to a belt sander, these LEDs come in handy.
Roller alignment, belt tension, wobble, and other performance snafus haunt even the best sanders. Tracking issues need to be addressed promptly, or else there is the risk of compounding the frustration, expense, and delays associated with jobs requiring a belt sander. Easy-to-reach adjustable tracking is part of the good design this Milwaukee Cordless Belt Sander delivers.
Adequate dust collection provides a safer work environment and less clean-up time. The Milwaukee Cordless Belt Sander provides the option of either a dust management bag or you can utilize the universal hose adapter to hook up to a dust management vacuum system. Milwaukee claims over 80% dust collection.
Milwaukee Cordless Belt Sander Performance
Based on some trial runs, I can say that the Milwaukee Cordless Belt Sander works great. Generally, it is easy to use. It doesn’t matter if you are taking off a lot of material or just a little, it’s easy to control and use this sander.
Milwaukee Cordless Belt Sander Value
At the time of this writing, this belt sander, Model 2832-20 is $279.00 at The Home Depot. A similar product from RIDGID costs $268.00, a very small price difference. Note that some belt sanders like those sold by RYOBI can be had for about half the price, at $139.00. However, this lower-cost sander is geared towards residential and personal use, while Milwaukee caters to tougher professional-grade jobs.
Milwaukee Cordless Belt Sander Wrap Up
Overall, the belt sander is a nice addition to the M18 FUEL™ line-up and possibly to your tool stockpile as well. It is powerful and portable. And several of its features (adjustable speed, adjustable pommel, toolless belt change, etc.) make it a great overall belt sander. The fact that it is also cordless makes it just about a must-have tool for the carpenter, remodeler, and/or professional woodworker.
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