Harbor Freight Spindle Sander

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Forum topic by Tom posted 01-23-2016 01:44 AM 1001 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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127 posts in 484 days

01-23-2016 01:44 AM

I’ve been looking at getting a spindle sander for a while and got a coupon for a HF for $99. While in the store I was asked by two people if I was considering the warranty. I asked them is it that low quality? They wouldn’t say yes or no but emphasized if it broke in the first 2 years I had it they’d replace it.

Question: is this possibly junk that I should just save my $$, do I spend $20 on a warranty, or do I just keep it and roll the dice to see if it breaks in the first 3 months I have it?

23 replies so far

View jmartel's profile


6475 posts in 1574 days

#1 posted 01-23-2016 02:14 AM

It’s way underpowered. Mine hasn’t broken yet, though.

Buy the Rigid one that’s a combo spindle/edge sander. Much better.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

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4049 posts in 1623 days

#2 posted 01-23-2016 02:28 AM

Extended warranties are almost pure profit for retailers, which is why they push them so hard. Most defects will be discovered early, within the standard warranty period.


-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View tomd's profile


2022 posts in 3194 days

#3 posted 01-23-2016 02:37 AM

I have had one for several years now, don’t use it much but no problems.

-- Tom D

View AZWoody's profile


680 posts in 648 days

#4 posted 01-23-2016 02:40 AM

It s way underpowered. Mine hasn t broken yet, though.

Buy the Rigid one that s a combo spindle/edge sander. Much better.

- jmartel

I have that and the edge sander is great but the spindle sander is a weak point in my opinion. The sleeve always wants to spin on the spindle and was very frustrated. I ended up buying a dedicated free standing spindle sander.

View JayDee70's profile


19 posts in 741 days

#5 posted 01-23-2016 02:51 AM

I have this WoodCraft WoodRiver bench-top which if you catch it on sale it is less then the HP unit. I have used it for about a year or so and have had no problems with it. There are others that look just exactly like it except color and I think the Rigid is one of them. I have never had one so I can’t directly compare but it seems to have power enough for my needs plus I have never had any trouble with the cylinder slipping unless I have forgotten to tighten down the retaining nut. H,YMMV

-- JD, KY, On FaceBook at

View rwe2156's profile


2126 posts in 904 days

#6 posted 01-23-2016 12:51 PM

Spend an extra $100 and get the Ridgid.

Oops someone already said that.

Check CL I’ve seen a couple for <$100 in my area.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View JeffP's profile


573 posts in 815 days

#7 posted 01-23-2016 01:04 PM

For big machines that cost a lot, buying “the best one” vs. “getting by with the cheapest one” can be a daunting decision. It’s one that most of us have pulled out hair over.

With a low cost tool like a spindle sander, I think it is much easier. When the best one is still cheap, it is to me a no-brainer.

For that reason, I give a +1 to the Rigid model already mentioned. Even though it is not the least expensive, it is still dirt cheap and works really well.

-- Last week I finally got my $*i# together. Unfortunately, it was in my shop, so I will probably never find it again.

View Tennessee's profile


2410 posts in 1938 days

#8 posted 01-23-2016 01:05 PM

I own two of the old style, which look identical to the Grizzly offered for $134.95.

They both run great, and although I also have the Rigid combo, I use it almost exclusively in belt mode. The two HF units I both bought with coupons for less than $90 each.

About 18 months ago, Harbor Freight changed the design, going to what they have now:

Almost immediately, the reviewers started complaining that it was underpowered, and a fair amount of them were failing. I personally thought about buying a third since I use them a lot but when I saw the reviews I did not buy another. I would stay away from the new style. Maybe go with the Grizzly, which I believe is the old HF unit in new paint.

-- Paul, Tennessee,

View bbasiaga's profile


732 posts in 1419 days

#9 posted 01-23-2016 02:33 PM

My brother has one of the HF units. I suspect it is the newer type. He isn’t a heavy user but he seems pleased enough. That is kind of the deal with HF. You spend less, and it may not be perfect. But if its something you don’t use all the time it may be worth it.

There is always a consideration that you should stay away from any of the ones that look identical, if you don’t trust one of them. Its because they are identical. The HF, Grizzly, Craftsman, Jet etc likely all come from the same factory. Higher priced brands may hold them to higher specs, or upgrade small things like belts and motors. But structural flaws are likely to be shared by all. ]


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View dhazelton's profile


2294 posts in 1720 days

#10 posted 01-23-2016 02:40 PM

I bought one and it was DOA no matter what outlet I tried it on. I took the bottom off to see if the switch wasn’t wired in or something simple and saw how dinky the motor and workings are. ALL the mass is in the top. I found a barely used JET for $200 and was much happier – metal gears in an oil bath versus the plastic gears on the HF.

As far as a warranty, if I was going to use the living heck out of it chances are up there that you will kill it within 2 years, so I say get the warranty.

View Tom's profile


127 posts in 484 days

#11 posted 01-23-2016 05:55 PM

The model I got was 62146 and the one on the HF site is 69257. It looks like it is the “newer” model with the red plastic bits instead of the yellow. I did look at the Rigid belt/spindle sander and watched some YouTube reviews of both…and I’m starting to think the Rigid is the better option even if 2x as much since it’s more than twice the functionality of the HF tool. I’ve checked CL for used…but the selection is pretty thin…as in one that’s an hour drive away. I could get my wife to agree to the $100 for the sander…but $200 is pushing it. Might have to pick up some OT to justify the extra $$ I want to spend.

View conifur's profile


955 posts in 575 days

#12 posted 01-23-2016 06:28 PM

79$ on sale with a rebate, I have one from Menards, same thing as HF I suspect, no problems.

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

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Steve Peterson

317 posts in 2506 days

#13 posted 01-23-2016 07:16 PM

The casting of the old design may be the same as the Grizzly, but I bet HF uses a smaller motor to hit a lower price point.

-- Steve

View JayDee70's profile


19 posts in 741 days

#14 posted 01-23-2016 07:30 PM

For those that might be interested, some research.
I was looking for a digital version of the manual for my WoodRiver spindle sander but could not find one so got to wondering if the manual for a different brand would be just as good. I down loaded three different manuals for similar looking machines and review them and found that they were pretty much identical except for the first page showing the brand name. Yes there were some differences in the text but they all covered the same subjects in their on ways but when you get to the parts list and exploded views they were identical right down to the item numbers. For example item (57) is the wheel(cam) that raises and lowers(oscillates) the spindle. So I think I have usable manual(s) for my WoodRiver machine. Just a quick google of “oscillating spindle sander” found no less then eight more or less identical machines plus another group of similar ones but with round table tops that I would bet a dime to a doughnut are also identical and may even have the same workings inside as these. Several of these are reviewed on Amazon and if I were in the market for another one I would forget the brand name and go with the best reviewed one. WoodRiver BTW gets pretty good reviews. Here is combo pic for reference.

-- JD, KY, On FaceBook at

View PeteStaehling's profile


30 posts in 543 days

#15 posted 01-23-2016 07:44 PM

Some months ago when I was looking into a spindle sander. I was considering the Rigid, but I saw numerous reviews that said the motor was either DOA or failed within a week.

I then bought a Triton. It has worked well for me. It looks just like the Grizzly to me.

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