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Last updated on December 20th, 2020
As a woodworking professional, metal worker or DIYer, any given project will surely call for some sanding and one type of sander that often comes in handy is the portable power filer sander. Perhaps you want to sand down some steel tubing, do some sanding in a very confined or awkward space; you can’t really do without a file sander. If your use to manually doing this with a hand file, then this powered version is a game-changer, the sort of tool you didn’t know you needed until you tried one.
But unless you’re a true tradesman, you may be puzzled by the wide range of power file sanders out there. We have, therefore, compiled this ultimate guide to help you choose the best power file sander that suits your needs. This guide focuses upon 5 of the top-rated file sanders in the UK. In addition, there’s a comprehensive buyer’s guide with all the information you need when shopping around.
Before we get into it, I want to point out that our best pick by Makita, other models including our Runner-up are simply not in the same league. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for, this is certainly true to power file sanders but read on to learn more.
Among the five models that made it to our list, the Makita 9032/2 Power Filing Sander is our Best Pick overall. This 500W sander is designed to handle the most challenging jobs, making it perfect for professional tradesmen. Speed is up to 1,700m/min, which is also unrivalled by no other file sander.
However, if the Makita is too pricey, and if you aren’t ready to invest that much, or just want one to use for an odd job, you can step down to our Runner-up, the Black + Decker KA900E Power Sander. Affordable and with so many reviews backing up its outstanding performance, it makes a great companion to any DIYer.
Now let’s get into the finer details of each model below:
An ergonomically designed file sander, it enables sanding and filing in confined and awkward areas as do all models. Various sanding belt widths and sanding arms are available for this model to further assure a broader range of filing and sanding applications. However, not all these accessories come with the device and purchasing them only adds to its already hefty price tag. Just leave this one to professional tradespeople or those who need a quality tool who can invest enough into performance. Overal these tools pay for themselves several times over with the time you save not having to do a job manually.
Its 350W motor is still powerful enough to accomplish a wide range of tasks, especially when it comes to removing stock. Thanks to a screw operated belt tracking, operating this sander is pretty much a doddle and so is belt changing – it comes with 3 of them. Everything just seems right with this tool, making it the second-best filing sander after the Makita model.
Reviews of the Top 5 Power File Sanders
1. Makita 9032/2 Power Filing Sander
Makita is a top manufacturer of professional power tools, and so it’s no surprise that one of its models made it onto our list. Our number one pick the Makita 9032/2 Filing Sander is equipped with a 500W motor with variable speed control as well as the ability to maintain constant speed under load, to provide up to 1,700 metres of sanding per minute. Now that’s impressive and no other model even comes close to those performance metrics. However, it’s expensive compared to most other models but its performance is on another level.
Thanks to its adjustable sanding arm that pivots up 100 degrees, this filing sander can access confined and awkward areas with ease, thus eliminating the need for using a manual file sander which can take much longer by hand. It also comes with different sanding arms as well as various sanding belt widths in the form of 6mm, 9mm and 13mm, however, the sanding belts are not included so that an extra cost to consider but it does make it more versatile. This assures a broader range of filing and sanding applications. There’s an easy knob for adjusting the belt tracking whilst the belts are a breeze and quick to change.
The use of double insulation ensures it quite in sanding terms and better protected in general for wear and tear. The lightweight and sleek belt sander also feature a Makita dust collection to assist in keeping your work area clean.
Last but certainly not least, Makita offers a 1-year warranty for this product, but you can get two years if you register your product online with them within 30 days of purchase so don’t forget to do this as soon as you buy one.
- High-quality premium tool/
- Offers variable speed control and constant speed under load.
- Different sanding belt widths available.
- Delivers high performance sanding with 1700m/min.
- Easily adjustable arm for easy access in hard-to-reach areas.
- Supplied with sanding belts of various widths to suit different needs.
- Lightweight and easy to use.
- Comes with a 2-year warranty upon registration for peace of mind.
- Fairly expensive.
With this Filing Sander, Makita has one of the most sought after file sanders currently on the UK marketplace. It’s a high performing file sander that spins at 1,700m/min to get jobs done in a fraction of the time it would take you to do it manually. The sander can also maintain the maximum speed under load, and the addition of variable speed control ensures you can work a bit slower on delicate materials or intricate projects.
An adjustable arm along with sanding belts of different widths plus the ease of changing the belts makes it a good device for both DIYers and professionals. The overall construction is excellent, especially since the tool features double insulation for added safety whilst being lightweight enough to use for hours. Its dust collection facility is also something to appreciate.
So overall, this model is a great choice for anyone who’s after performance, though you have to dig deep into your pocket to buy one. Overall though, for professionals, we think it still others value for money when you consider how much time you will save.
2. Black + Decker KA900E Power Sander
The Black + Decker KA900E power sander is another great option, especially because it’s very much affordable and with the backing of 1,000+ reviews on Amazon at the time we did our research. This model is outfitted with a 350W motor to enable quick stock removal from sanding down old paint to removing rust and simply a little sanding task in a confined space. It has variable speeds that will let you work with finesse when needed or full power to remove that rust. Adjustable speed also makes it easy to sand different materials, including wood, plastic, plaster, ceramic tiles, masonry, and metal, just about any material you can think of.
What’s more? You actually get 3 belts to use for jobs such as shaping wood and sanding down edges, cleaning out apertures, filing down screw heads and nails, removing rust, smoothening curved surfaces, shaping ceramic tiles, sharpening blades and any other job you can think of where you need to sand in awkward and tight spaces.
One cool feature offered by this power filer sander is the screw-operated belt tracking, which helps prevent the belt from coming off the roller during operation. Overall, this sander has a narrow arm for quick material removal in hard-to-reach spaces, while the cyclonic action dust container allows convenient dust collection for clean workspace, no dust bags or connecting to a dust collecter/vacuum.
- Ideal for DIY enthusiast and general home use.
- Comes with a powerful 350W motor for optimal stock removal.
- Features variable speed control for maximum control while sanding different materials.
- Includes an efficient dust collection system to ensure a neat work area.
- With screw-operated belt tracking to ensure belt never comes off the rollers.
- Easy to reach confined spaces thanks to a thin arm.
- The supplied belts aren’t that high-quality as they may break under too much pressure. (However, at least it comes with belts to get you started)
Now, this affordable file sander is a fantastic offering for DIY projects. It goes on with its business pretty well with a 350W motor delivering adjustable speeds from 900 – 1600 rpm. You can do a lot with its 13mm sanding belt, including sanding, shaping, filing, sharpening, and rust removal. In addition, it has a great dust management system for a fantastic work environment which removes the need for bulky dust bags or dust collecters.
All things considered, the Black + Decker KA900E Power Sander is a powerful device that’s designed to remove plenty of material quickly. The popular sander is owned by thousands of users and you won’t regret becoming the latest to join the bandwagon. Overall a great affordable model that gets the job done.
Read next: Best belt sanders for removing stock fast
3. Evolution Power Tools Precision File Sander
The Evolution Power Tools Precision File Sander is perfect for sanding, filing and grinding tools and blades. It has an adjustable sanding arm that can span 120 degrees to make it easy, reaching confined areas such as outdoor locks. The file sander can also help at removing rust. Something we did notice is that this may be a white label type product marketed as Evolution power tools as it is very similar if not identical to Katsu version with the exception of the colour. That being said, most find the quality good which is a good start but then so are most Evolution Power Tools we have reviewed in the past.
With variable speed control ranging from 300 to 1700 rpm, the device offers maximum control over a number of materials, including wood, plastic, ceramics, metal, masonry and just like all the other models in this lineup, any material you can think of that needs sanding down. Also, there are three sanding belts, including 80, 100, and 120-grit, which further makes it perfect for use on different materials. Just so you know, the coarser the paper is, the faster it sands a surface and with minimal effort.
Another good thing with this device is that it comes with two sanding heads. One is a single-wheeled head that’s suitable for flat surfaces, and the other is a twin-wheeled head, which offers great performance on angled surfaces and just makes the job that little bit easier and effective although were not sure it makes that much of a noticeable difference.
Also supplied is a dust box for effective dust collection. It comes in handy when removing paint or sanding wood or plastics. Weighing 1.75kg, this tool is far from heavy and thus easy to handle without pain. The product comes with a 2-year warranty for peace of mind too.
- Compact and lightweight for hassle-free handling.
- Adjustable sanding arm allows you to work in a comfortable position.
- Variable speed from 300 to 1700 rpm for optimum control over various materials.
- Supplied with 3 sanding belts to suit various applications.
- Comes with single and double wheeled sanding heads.
- Covered by a 2-year warranty for peace of mind.
- Needs time to get used to as the belts can be brutal on wood.
This file sander does exactly what it says – precision sanding, making it perfect for finishing edges of curved wood or metal work. Moreover, the speed is easily controllable to allow finesse operation and the device can easily be handled through spaces with limited access.
The adjustable sanding arm makes things a lot easier too, whilst the dust bag is also handy in its own right. The supplied sanding belts make it a versatile tool that works different materials and 2-year warranty means you’re covered in case of any issues.
Now, the Evolution Power Tools Precision File Sander is a highly-rated product that is also affordable, so there’s no doubt that you’ll love it. Overall we think its a great alternative to the Black + Decker model.
4. Ferm Precision Belt Sander
The Ferm Precision Belt Sander is another versatile precision sander that comes at a competitive price too but it wins of coming with the most sanding belts included. It makes its case with 12 sanding belts in the form of P40, P80 and P120 along with three different sanding arms; 8mm sanding arm, 13mm sanding arm and another curved 13 arm.
Wondering what they are all for? Well, the 8mm option is a narrow grinding arm that is suitable for precision sanding on narrow areas as well as sanding keyholes. The 13mm sanding arm is perfect for larger surfaces and deburring in corners. Thirdly, the 13mm curved arm is truly multifunctional, making easy work of sanding curved surfaces like handrails or tubes. This arm also has a short nose for working small surfaces.
The device has an ergonomic construction that gives you optimum control over your work, with the end goal of precise sanding results. This is further enhanced by variable speed control ranging from 1070 – 1650 m/min, allowing you to meet different material requirements.
Belt changing is easy to do, and no tools are required; simply push a button and voila! The tool comes with a 3m long power cord to ensure a great degree of movement, and there’s a convenient dust collection bag as well as a storage cage for easy packing. Clearly, the design and features of this model are hard to beat, especially when you consider the price.
- Ergonomically designed to ensure great control over the machine.
- Adjustable speed control for optimum performance on every surface.
- Easy, tool-less belt changing.
- Powerful 400W machine that gets jobs done quicker.
- It is supplied with a wide range of sanding belts.
- Includes 3 different sanding arms for various applications.
- The bar tends to vibrate, and this may hinder precision sanding.
This power file sander is one of the most complete machines in its class with lots of accessories. You get a whole lot of features including multiple sanding belts, three practical sanding arms, a storage bag, and a 3m long cord, which are really the outstanding features of this machine. Even its 400W electric motor is quite more powerful than some other models in the region of 350W. Let’s not forget the impressive speed of up to 1650m/min for super-fast sanding action.
However, some users aren’t that happy with the overall performance. For instance, the bar’s vibration can compromise precision, whilst the storage bag doesn’t seem to fit the entire tool unless it’s slightly disassembled. Nevertheless, this model should suffice for light-duty jobs and is worth considering for those on a budget.
5. Silverline Silverstorm Power File Belt Sander
We finish this round-up with the Silverline Silverstorm Power File Belt Sander which is a popular name in the class of budget power tools. It has a sleek and narrow construction, the tool’s file arm is adjustable to various angles to suit your purposes. There’s also a wide range of speeds to choose from.
As one of the most lightweight file sanders, it weighs less than a kilogram and so you should find it easy to handle even when sanding into hard-to-reach areas. The sander comes with an impressive 12 sanding belts which are 13mm x 457mm of different grit levels, and they are all easy to fit and change due to a quick tensioning system.
Another crucial feature is a vacuum dust extraction adapter that lets you connect a dust bag to prevent dust from flying all over the place. The integrated motor delivers just 260W of power, which does the job, albeit not being as powerful as the other models above. However, the product comes with an unparalleled 3-year guarantee, which tells a lot about its durability.
- Ideal for DIY enthusiast and home use.
- Sleek and narrow lightweight design.
- Extremely lightweight and perfect for reaching confined areas.
- Easy belt changing thanks to a quick tensioning system.
- Adjustable file arm angle to suit different applications.
- Variable speed control for precision sanding.
- 3 years warranty for peace of mind.
- Limited power.
If you’re looking for a very lightweight file sander that will also help you facilitate access into hard-to-reach areas but on a budget, then the Silverline Silverstorm Power File Belt Sander is worth considering.
The model has a slim and ergonomic design, and it is far less heavy than many other file sanders on the market but it’s not as powerful which is the trade-off. If you have light work tasks to do, then this 260W device would make a good consideration, thanks to its agility and versatility.
A power file sander is a very handy device to have in your arsenal. Manual filing or sanding can be a tedious task that often causes arm ache. So a good filing sander will take out the hard work and allow you to work in comfort for extended periods.
Power file sanders come with a long thin arm that is adjustable for easy access into confined places. This attribute makes them perfect for jobs such as car repairs, engineering, and removing large amounts of material in awkward places or just lighter sanding around on the home or DIY projects. Some come with sanding belts, but you can always buy different grade sanding belts as your job demands.
That said, what factors should you consider when looking for a filing sander? Let’s break them down below:
Generally, a tool with a greater power rating handles tougher jobs than those with lower power ratings. When it comes to a file sander, this could not be any truer. To put in good perspective, the Makita 9032/2 Filing Sander is faster and more aggressive in sanding than the Silverline Silverstorm Power File Belt Sander with just 260 watts of power. This also means that Makita’s performance should result in more efficient smoothing of a rough area and perhaps more importantly, can handle heavy work loads.
Sanding belt dimensions
This refers to the full length and width of the sandpaper belt. Most products come with belts of different sizes so as to suit different sanding needs. For instance, the Ferm Precision power belt sander comes with a 455mm x 8mm and 455 x 13mm sanding belts.
Although the difference in width is a mere 5mm, it could make a major difference when trying to cover a larger surface a lot faster in a more confined area or position. The length is actually what calculates into the speed of sanding in the form of how many metres the belt can cover in one minute. Sandpaper belts also ought to come in different grits as this makes it easy to meet the end goal requirements. So consider these factors to better understand how your file sander will perform.
Belt speed control
Not every other task requires your sanding belt to spin at full speed. Therefore, the ability to control the speed allows you to apply a certain level of finesse when necessary. It additionally increases the versatility of the file sander. So make sure that the sander you select has a variable speed control. All the models in this post have, so it’s certainly a good start for you.
Dust collection system
Sanding is usually a messy job, but that doesn’t mean that your work area can’t be tidy. The secret is a dust collection bag, which can trap debris and sawdust produced when sanding wood. Some models even feature dust extraction ports, which can be connected to a vacuum or dust extractor to get rid of dust. In short, make sure that the model you want to purchase provides a way of dealing with dirt.
Convenience of use
Although power file sanders are generally portable, there still exist slight differences in construction, weight and size. For instance, the Evolution Power Tools Precision File Sander weighs around 1.8kg, whilst the Silverline Silverstorm Power File Belt Sander weighs less than 1kg. In this case, someone who needs a very lightweight power file might opt for the latter but it is less powerful too.
A compact and ergonomically designed tool will also allow you to handle tasks for a long time without getting tired, as well as enable you to easily get into hidden spaces. The ability to quickly and effortlessly replace the belt is another thing that contributes to the ease of use of a file sander.
A few models will come with a carry bag, which is useful as far as storage and transportation go. It’s not really an essential thing, but good to have since it will make it easier to keep your bits and pieces together.
Our Final Conclusion
A power file sander or simply power files, are a great versatile tool for any sanding and filing jobs at home or workshop. Their slim profiles allow them to get into the tightest of spaces, and they have plenty of power to shift virtually anything.
Now that you are armed with the knowledge of some of the best power file sanders, you’ll be in a good position to select a suitable power file, which is presumably what you were looking for in this page.
We highly recommend the Makita 9032/2 Filing Sander for heavy-duty jobs because it offers unmatched power, outstanding speed control, a highly adjustable arm, 2-year warranty upon registration and finally perhaps, more importantly, very reliable.
For all sorts of DIY jobs, the Black + Decker KA900E Power Sander will never disappoint. It’s the best in class, with a 350W motor, three replacement sanding belts, a dust collection canister, and variable speed control. Moreover, this model is small on budget, but big on performance.
So that’s it from us, happy sanding!
Last update on 2021-05-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API