Top 10 Best Shop Fox Sanders

What Real People Are Saying About The Shop Fox W1831

Some flaw but okay for the price

Since I produce quite a few curved cuts among other for templates I figured that I want a spindle sander. Prior to buying this particular product I looked at a model sold by Harbor Freight and read some reviews on Amazon for similar products.
Bottom line was that I couldn’t find a presumably better sander in that price range. Also, for whatever reason I assumed that Shop Fox was a US brand, what might be correct, but it turned out that the sander in build in China, which is not necessarily a quality issue, but.
First thing I ran into concern the rubber drums. Predominantly because of mostly larger radius curves I’m using the 3” drum. So that the first one I installed. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to tighten the (M10-1.25) nut enough to get sufficient friction on the sandpaper sleeve. Even with very light sanding pressure the sleeve would run up the drum. Hmmm. I tried more tightening, but it wouldn’t work. Utilizing calipers, I measured the drum bulging (expansion) at top, center, and bottom w/ and w/o tightening. Result was not a big difference. Sandpaper sleeve measured close to 3” thus seemed to be okay. The other drums (2”, 1.5”, 1”, and 0.75”) did okay, means the sleeve would stay put. Then I measured the rubber hardness (durometer) of all drums. Turns out that the rubber compound of the 3” has a higher hardness compared to all other. Also, the shape factor (cross sectional area vs. free expandable surface area) of the 3” drum is a factor, resulting in relative less bulging for that drum compared to all other. Contacted the distributor (WI) and they agreed to ship a new 3” drum.
BTW the provided tool (presumably 16mm for ISO M10) was too small, just shy of 16mm.
Other things related to drums: For the 6 sleeve sizes 3”, 2”, 1.5”, 1”, 0.75”, and 0.5” they provide 3 washers to distribute the pressure from the nut. The 0.5” sleeve sits directly over the spindle w/o a drum. The washer sizes (OD) are 1.78”, 0.83”, and 0.59”. Per their instruction the 1.78” washer is to be used on the 3 largest drums. Problem here is that this washer “crushes the 1.5” sandpaper sleeve. I immediately took another washer close to 1.5”. The smallest washer is to be used on the 0.5” and holds directly the sleeve down, which I think is okay and the only option since there is no rubber drum.
Spindle: M10 nut that came with it is low quality, thread not accurately tapped. I immediately replaced it. Squareness spindle vs. sander table. 89some degrees but not hair close to 90 degrees. Same goes (as expected) after the drum is installed.
Cast iron table: I cleaned oiled table surface and replaced with paste wax to get some longer lasting rust prevention plus lower the friction. Flatness: Straight edge on different location showed some wiggling. Feeler gages show up to 0.4mm (thickness of 4 pcs copy paper) deviation from flatness. Concerning the table shape, afterwards I think I would prefer a round table with the spindle being in the center to get the same support regardless from what angle I use it. On this model most of the table support is at the rear of the sander, at least that's the way I use it, with the On/Off switch towards me.
Dust collection good: Connected relatively small shop vac to dust port on rear of sander. Didn’t leave hardly any saw dust on table surface. I btw used only the 3” sanding sleeve.
Noise: Not really quiet but not that loud that it made me measure the decibels. Pretty much in harmony with all my other noisy tools
Overall this thing does what I expect it to do and is a little below my expectation because the above. 4 stars reflects the my opnion about price performance ratio. Again, it’s a relative low-cost sander. As of now I'm waiting for a new 3" drum and hope this things keeps running for a good amount of hours.
Update May 2019: sander is still going strong, no issues. I use it frequently (just rounded curves on 8 Adirondack chairs). Company was very helpful resolving the issue I had in the beginning with the 3” drum. They quite immediately shipped a new drum, which works w/o any problems.

Great Product
  • mack - October 7, 2013

This particular model is sold by many companies under many names. I have tried other sanders and find this one to be the best in the price range. A professional carpenter would probably want a bigger/better model, but this one works fine for us garage carpenters who like to putter around. I have a black belt in puttering and this machine does the trick for me. Other models in the same price range have smaller motors, don' oscillate very far and are poorly engineered. I owned two others in the same price range. This one is the best. The nut on top of the spindle lets you tighten the rubber backing under the sandpaper, so that it doesn't spin and lose traction. The others have very hard rubber backings that you cannot tighten and expand, which allows the sandpaper tube to ride up and off the spindle.

Good machine for sanding curves!

I love this thing! I had a Rigid EB4424 oscillating belt/spindle sander (the one sold at HD for ~$200) and this is so much better as an oscillating spindle sander. That should go without saying thought since any tool tailored to only one specific task should perform better than a tool made to do many. Regardless this is a nice little machine.

~ basically NO SETUP. Unpack it, attach a spindle with a sanding sleeve, plug it in, and start sanding.
~ runs nice and smooth. It spins quite a bit faster than the Rigid which adds to its utility over the Rigid one.
~ very well balanced. I don't know if you can adjust the spindle for balance because mine was nearly perfect out of the box so I didn't bother trying.
~ I love that it comes with a 3" spindle over the 2" of the Rigid. You might not expect it, but that extra inch makes all the difference... ("That's what she said!" Anyone? Huh? Huh?)
~ It is surprisingly light. I would normally say that is a con because it speaks to the small size of the motor, but I don't think a bench top unit like this NEEDS a huge 1hp motor. If you are bogging this spindle sander down, you are either applying too much pressure (trying to remove too much material too quickly) or you should buy a larger free standing unit. The light weight means it will be easy for me to tuck this into a cabinet and keep it out of the way until I really need it for the occasional project.
~ The dust collection works surprisingly well in my test even with a tiny little shop vac. I did however find that the port did not fit my small shop vac hose because it is a 1-1/2" port. I used this small Stanley unit:

The Stanley is a 1-1/4" hose so it doesn't fit snugly inside the dust port on the sander. My temporary solution was duct tape and once it was sealed, even that tiny vac pulled enough air that there was hardly ANY noticeable dust on the deck of the sander. I am sure once I figure out an adapter situation and use my standard dust collection or shopvac up it will perform even better.

~ somewhat small oscillation range. That is kind of standard for these bench top units and given they are essentially all the same overseas manufactured unit re-branded for each seller, its not surprising. I just means you will have to flip the sanding sleeve over occasionally to wear it evenly.
~ one thing that slightly annoyed me is they made specific slots to store all the little throat plates, spindles, and even the wrench, but they didn't include any place to store the extra washers included for the smaller spindle sizes! I hoped they might fit over the little spindle spikes but alas, they do not. So now I am left with three small washers that I need to make sure to not lose if I want to use the smaller spindles.
~ I would have preferred the more standard shopvac 2-1/4" port. Not because you necessarily need the power for effective dust collection, but just because its more common and I wouldn't have to now go find an adapter. I believe this is what I need?

I will update this review once I find out...

Overall, this is a great little machine for the hobbyist woodworker! Maybe even the more casual professional if you don't find yourself sanding curves everyday. Its nice and small so you can tuck it away until you actually need it. I would absolutely rate it five stars if it weren't for the dust collection port size and the lack of storage for the easily lost washers! I would certainly buy it again despite those small gripes.

UPDATE 1/17/2016:

It took a while, but I finally got around to purchasing that adapter and wouldn't you know it doesn't fit. Shucks... I haven't found a replacement yet, but I haven't really looked. I removed the link to help reduce confusion. I also added a couple pictures of the first project I sanded with this sweet little dity! See those sick smooth curves on the legs...

I've been using this sander now for a couple months ...

I've been using this sander now for a couple months. The sanding sleeves seem to hold up quite well and there have been no issues with performance. Most of my sanding has been on exotic hard woods (zebrawood, bubinga, purple heart, etc.). The dust can be an issue since it pushes back up through the face plate if you do not have a vacuum connected (I have not used a vacuum), but it has not affected the use of the product. I have not had any issues with excessive heat. The spindle seems to run straight and true.

Built to last with plenty of power.

I confess I was disappointed the first time I used this tool-- I like to enjoy new tool purchases for as long as possible, to savor the fun of setting up a new tool, getting it calibrated to my needs, and then using it on whatever project prompted its acquisition. This tool was ready to go out of the box and was so efficient at doing the job for which I'd purchased it (smoothing bandsaw marks out of interior curves in red oak), that within 10 minutes of opening the box, the job was done and I was already looking for a place to store this until the next project. Where's the fun in that?

In all seriousness, this is a great tool that performs better than expected. Determined to have some fun with it before putting it away, I did test it on various scraps of wood and was pleased that it did not bog down even when sanding 3" thick hard maple. The adjustable nut on the top of the spindle did a great job compressing the rubber spindle sleeves to make sure the sandpaper tubes stayed on. The work surface provides plenty of space for my needs. I would have saved myself considerable time on prior projects (and likely had better end results) if I had purchased this tool sooner-- it beats the heck out of making a different curved sanding block to hand-sand the inside of every curve.


People's Choice

These Are Some Of The Highest Rated Shop Fox Sanders Available Today
Shop Fox W1855 featured image

2. Shop Fox W1855 Disc & Belt Sander

  • (7 Ratings)

The Shop Fox W1831 was definitely our number one Shop Fox Sanders. Having said that, there were a handful of other very premium Shop Fox Sanders we wanted to showcase here that barely missed first place.

Shop Fox is yet another leading producer of Sanders. They make the tool next up on our rundown. Shop Fox's Disc & Belt Sanders are no exception. It was fantastic to check out the W1855. I was very satisfied using this tool!

The Shop Fox W1855 Disc & Belt Sander, at $147.50 is an especially excellent Sander for the price. If you uncertain about our number one selection, I'd consider the Shop Fox W1855 next. It's a high quality tool at a terrific price.

Full Shop Fox W1855 Review

Shop Fox W1855 Features

Motor: 1/2 HP, 120V, single-phase, 3600 RPM

Belt size: 4" x 36"

Disc size: 6"

Table size: 6-1/4" x 9"

Cast-iron base

Besides the selections we researched above, I would take a look at the W1712 by Shop Fox and the W1838 by Shop Fox. Both these tool manufactures are regarded as a couple of the leading producers of high quality Sanders. Each of these distinct tools earned very good customer ratings as well. The Shop Fox received a user rating of 3.0/5 as contrasted against the 3.2/5 star rating given to the W1838 by Shop Fox.

The W1712 by Shop Fox comes with several features you might not experience on competing Disc & Belt Sanders. For example Heavy-duty miter gauge. The W1838 by Shop Fox although, is very competitive with 1/3 HP, 120V, single-phase and even Sanding belt size: 2" W x 27" L.

Each of these couple tools make an exceptional decision if you're shopping for Shop Fox Sanders

Honorable Mentions

There are a handful more fantastic Shop Fox Sanders for sale. Listed here are a number to go with if the options above don't be a good fit for you. We uncovered a plenty of terrific options available to buy. The Sanders we rated above are the best we could find. That doesn't mean there aren't several more fantastic Shop Fox Sanders.