Top 5 Best 8 Amp Motor Sanders

What Real People Are Saying About The Makita 9903

Silky smooth and quiet - it is a keeper

I've restored and made furniture and cabinets for 40+ years and have owned many different sanders, of all types. Most of my hours were spent on a Rockwell - Porter Cable 503 belt sander (it's the worm-drive sander that looks looks a locomotive). Compact and powerful, the 503 is my gold standard for belt sanders, but is just too heavy and too powerful for this old man. After it snagged on my t-shirt and crawled up my chest, nearly strangling me to death - I knew it was time for a change. (By the way, this is why old men grow beards - without one, I would be chinless today.)

My first mistake after that incident was to go to the "Lo"cal big box home improvement store and get a different Porter Cable (352VS) sander. As soon as I unboxed the thing, I knew it was junk. The front roller was way too stiff and the fit and finish on the thing were horrible. When I ran the thing, it screamed so loud, I was afraid it would destroy what is left of my hearing. It was returned within an hour, and I suggested that they send it back to the vendor as defective, or at least awful.

Needing to keep working, but fearing for my life, I checked Amazon and saw that the Makita 9903 had mostly positive reviews. I've used only Makita cordless tools ever since they went to LXT, but only have one Makita corded tool - an angle grinder that just refuses to die. I considered the 9920 because it takes the same size belts that I'm used to, and I've got quite a few of them in stock - but since it has the same size motor as the 9903, I was afraid it would bog down when I get rushed and do the thing you're never supposed to do (I burned up my first 503 that way, and still feel the guilt to this day).

>>>Sorry for the long pre-ramble, the "actual" tool review begins now.<<< I returned the first one Amazon shipped, as it arrived damaged. It was sent via USPS in the original (thin cardboard) box from Makita and nothing else. The box is weakest on the bottom, which happens to be the most vulnerable part of belt sanders. Since the sole plate was bent, it was useless as far as I was concerned. What a shame they didn't spring for a second box to ship it in, as I'm pretty sure they have some boxes lying around. The second one was kid-glove delivered by Amazon's own delivery service, and it arrived in pristine condition. Having read some reviewers' comments that the thing is heavy, I was shocked at how light it is. It has a wonderfully long cord, which is truly a plus for belt sanders because you really don't want that snag between the factory cord and extension cord while sanding. It spoils the Zen, and ruins the bliss. When I first fired it up, I was surprised at how quiet was, and how smoothly it ran. Being used to heavy sander with tremendous torque, I was disappointed with how little "pull" it had. I thought I had chosen a light duty model for sure. But when I checked the oak I'd sanded and emptied the dust bag - I was amazed. This tool, somehow, removes a lot of material with very little noise, rattle, and effort. Kudos to those who designed it! In an effort to catch up with my work backlog, I've used this sander daily for the last two weeks. It is a definitely a keeper, silky smooth, quiet, and effective in a way that I do not understand, but am happy for. While it is a plus that there are two metric-tapped holes on one side of the tool, I wish they offered a graphite sole plate. Porter Cable has them for the 503, and believe me, once you use a belt sander with a graphite sole plate - it is very hard to go back to a stiff steel one.

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Excellent belt sander

This summer I chemically stripped the varnish off 100+ year-old maple flooring and needed to sand the floor boards. The room is really small so I decided that instead of renting a floor sander I'd try using a belt sander. After reading lots of reviews on Amazon, I decided on this one. I've owned two belt sanders - the first one worked okay but it was old and the wiring started on fire. Then I made the mistake of buying a cheap one and it had a loud whine and the belt wouldn't stay on track no matter what I did. I hated using it so ended up selling it for $5 at a garage sale.
This Makita sander is simply awesome. It's very powerful - for the most part I just guided it and didn't have to bear down at all. I was also able to fairly easily level off a few boards that were higher than adjacent ones but I had to be careful - to start with I bore down too hard and made some grooves that I had to even out. It's pretty quiet and just sounds like a quality machine, if that makes sense. The auto-tracking feature works perfectly, I went thru at least 10 belts of various grits (the 3M purple ones...) and never had one problem with the tracking. The dust bag works well, too, but I ended up attaching it to a small shop-vac instead so I didn't have to keep emptying the bag.
I am so glad that I bought this one - it was worth every penny, I would definitely buy it again, and the floor looks great.

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Incredible power and control. The high ratings are deserved.

This little sander is fantastic!!! Most of my power tools are Makita or Dewalt and I’ve always enjoyed the quality and design of the brands. I have only had this a short while and used on a few projects so far. Each use has been comfortable and you can “feel the quality” in the tool. My first use was to shape/fit a scribe on a maple butcher block counter top and it took out that hardwood like it was chalk.

About the only knock I can find is the cord. This is equipped with a cord much longer than necessary. I’m going to use an extension cord if I’m that far from a power source. I don’t need to plug into my garage and work upstairs. Also why most mfg’s don’t mold a cord clip into the plug I will never understand. In a good note like all my other Makita corded tools they use top of the line SO cord so the flexibility is 1st rate.

Great addition to the workshop. Looking forward to years of use.

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Great sander!
  • Mike - November 19, 2018

I purchased this sander to replace a 25-year old Ryobi BE321 on which I've put about 100,000 miles (and it's still going).

I was concerned the Makita would not be balanced because of the motor/drive belt housing extending from the left side of the sander body, but this turned out not to be an issue. The sander is well balanced. The ergonomics are different than the locomotive style BE321, but did not take long to get used to while using the sander. Belt change is easy, and there is plenty of side-to-side track adjustment of the belt. Dust collection is very good, and I like the clip that holds the bag closed--zippers on dust bags eventually clog with dust and stop operating.

I used this sander while making two sets of bunk beds using red oak lumber, which involved extensive sanding from 120 grit through 220 grit of all the components.

The only operating caution to note on this sander is a slight nose-down pressure is required to counter-balance the hand pressure on the operating grip. Otherwise, the nose wants to rise up off the work piece.

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You get what you pay for, and you get a lot with this sander!
  • cwm9 - December 5, 2018

This sander is amazing. No vibration of note, quite enough I use it without earplugs, sanding belts stay on even when if you sand side-to-side or put more pressure on one side than another, the motor is strong, unit is fairly light-weight, and it works really fast. If I have any gripe it's that the included belt didn't last very long, but you can buy sandpaper from anyone you want.

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People's Choice

These Are Some Of The Highest Rated 8 Amp Motor Sanders Available Today
PORTER-CABLE 352VS featured image

2. PORTER-CABLE 352VS Belt Sander

  • (141 Ratings)

The fact is that the Makita 9903 was the 8 Amp Motor Sanders that we ranked most highly. Nevertheless, there were several other truly premium quality 8 Amp Motor Sanders worth showcasing here that barely missed the mark.

PORTER-CABLE is another top maker of Sanders. They produce the tool next up on our lineup. PORTER-CABLE's Belt Sanders are among their premier products. It was great to try the 352VS. I was very satisfied with this tool!

The model 352VS Belt Sander by PORTER-CABLE, at $169.00 is an especially exceptional Sander for the price. The PORTER-CABLE 352VS is really a solid option. Of you are unsure about our top selection, I'd suggest you opt for this Sander.

Full PORTER-CABLE 352VS Review

PORTER-CABLE 352VS Features

Variable-speed belt sander with cloth dust bag; variable-speed dial 850-1,300 SFPM

Belt and gear drive system transfers power from the motor to the sanding belt

Designed for flush sanding up to vertical surfaces; dust bag swivels 360 degree

Fingertip belt-tracking knob; quick-release belt-change lever

Motor is located over platen for maximum performance and perfect balance

8 Amp motor, ac only

variable-speed dial 850-1,300 SFPM

Belt and gear drive system transfers power from the motor to the sanding belt

Apart from the option we already included, I would definitely evaluate the 9404 by Makita and the 9920 by Makita. Both Makita and Makita are thought to be some of the premier makers of high quality Sanders. Each of these distinct tools earned great end user ratings as well. Customers gave the 9404 an average score of 4.4/5 stars. You can liken that to the Makita 9920 which boasts an average rating of 3.6/5 stars.

The Makita 9404 offers some really choice features like Power Tools and Accessories. The 9920 by Makita by comparison, is very competitive with Power Tools and Accessories and even Country of manufacture: Japan.

I can easily suggest either of these 8 Amp Motor Sanders

Honorable Mentions

If the 8 Amp Motor Sanders above fail to cut it, we have a few other selections that may likely fit you better. We identified numerous great Sanders during our review. The Sanders we ranked above are our favorites. That being said, the Sanders you're about to see deliver a number of distinct features on top of the fact that they are all highly rated 8 Amp Motor Sanders.