Best value in 3x21 belt sanders

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Forum topic by gfadvm posted 04-21-2011 01:02 AM 9271 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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14940 posts in 2714 days

04-21-2011 01:02 AM

Topic tags/keywords: sander

Is the Porter Cable at 169$ a MUCH better tool than the B&D for 59$?I know its better but is it 110$ better? I have finally just about killed my B&D and need to replace it.Thanks for your input.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

14 replies so far

View Mickey Cassiba's profile

Mickey Cassiba

312 posts in 3056 days

#1 posted 04-21-2011 02:36 AM

I’ve had a PC 352VS for many years. It’s an older moldel, a type3. It was built in-house, with only the electrical parts outsourced. At type5, there were many outsourced parts, and it was pretty much a piece of junk. T6 and later, are manufactured in Mexico with parts from who knows where. Mind you I’m not bashing foreign made tools, I have a few I’m tickled with. I am advising caution. QC in the new PC is way less than it could be. As to a frame, I’ve got an old Rockwell A3(same as a PC 504) 3X24, with a shop made stand I got out of an old Popular Mechanics article. Works great.

-- One of these hammers oughta fix that...

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2700 days

#2 posted 04-21-2011 03:27 AM

I have a PC that uses a 3×21 belt. I think if I had it to do over I would get the 3×24 belt. I bought mine about 2 years ago. I got it at CPO. I really can’t remember what I gave for it but I thought the price was right at the time. I replaced a 4×24 Sears Commercial grade that was about 35 years old. This little Porter Cable is a delight to use. It runs a little faster and is a lot lighter to handle. I like it but have used it a limited amount so I can’t tell you how long it will last.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2714 days

#3 posted 04-21-2011 03:43 AM

Thanks for the input.Not sure what model the PC at HD is but Im sure the new arent as good as the older ones.Just like us old LJs!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2995 days

#4 posted 04-21-2011 04:13 AM

I have an old Wen brand 3×18 belt sander that is about shot; I’m considering a replacement as well because I cannot find parts anymore and it had no form of dust collection (was made in the 1960s). I’m really thinking about the big 4” x 24” belt sanders. I find my Ridgid 5” random orbital sander does anything the 3×18 belt sander did with a lot less dust. But, for pure hogging off a lot of material quickly I think bigger is better.

By the way, I recently saw some remanufactured Porter Cable 3×21 belt sanders for $89. If I can find that link I’ll post it.

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 3571 days

#5 posted 04-21-2011 05:53 AM

I.think you would be ahead in the long run with the PC. Neither PC or BD puts out as high quality tools as in the past but I think the current BD is made far cheaper and might leave you looking for a replacement sooner then you like.

-- .

View cabmaker's profile


1735 posts in 2833 days

#6 posted 04-21-2011 06:08 AM


View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2995 days

#7 posted 04-21-2011 07:36 AM

Here’s the link for the refurbished Porter Cable belt sander. It was $67.88 instead of $89.

View devann's profile


2246 posts in 2717 days

#8 posted 04-21-2011 07:51 AM

I had a PC many moons ago but nothing last forever. Has mentioned above I’ve too have had some problems with the Mexican made PC motors. That said Three years ago my brother purchsed th BD 3×21 called the Dragster. I liked it so much I bought myself one around 18 months ago. They’re both still ruinnig without any problems. His has some threaded brass inserts in the front handle so I made a “Dragster seat” so that it could be mounted to the jig and used as a benchtop sander on the job. On mine they seemed to stop making it that way but I could put in my own inserts.
We really like the little wheel on the front, it makes short work of sanding counter tops in for a scribe fit to the wall. For my $0.02 I’d buy the BD dragster again.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View Mickey Cassiba's profile

Mickey Cassiba

312 posts in 3056 days

#9 posted 04-21-2011 09:41 AM

The belt sander in the link is a Mexican unit…the silver paint is the give away.
As to ‘the Dragster’ I think that the little front roller is a cool innovation. If I were in the market for another belt sander, I’d be looking at one of those.

-- One of these hammers oughta fix that...

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3183 days

#10 posted 04-21-2011 02:38 PM

When I got my BD dragster, I did so despite my preconceived notion against BD products and a few spotty reviews. It’s actually turned out to be a decent product…and if I were to review it, it’d get between 3.5 and 4 stars. You do have to monitor the tracking screw at the front to make sure the belt stays in place, but it hasn’t ever been a big problem for me.

I think it’s a nice value tool. The PC might be better (certainly older ones would be)...but I think this is one of those tools where you won’t miss out much by going the cheaper route.

-- jay,

View MrWoodworker's profile


65 posts in 2619 days

#11 posted 04-21-2011 03:07 PM

I would say it depends on how much use it will see. For occasional use, and if you aren’t running it for long periods of time the Dragster is a pretty nice design for the money. Get it really heated up and it has a tendency to self destruct pretty quickly. My biggest complaint about the dragster is the belt tracking… Its about as predictable as a hillbilly on meth.

I have rarely, and I’m not sure if I’ve ever, been disappointed that I bought the higher quality tool. I’ve often rued the day I bought a cheaper one.


View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2714 days

#12 posted 04-22-2011 03:59 AM

Thanks for all the advice/comments.Crank,I think you helped the most.Much appreciated.Ill order it tomorrow unless their shipping is outrageous.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View PCM's profile


135 posts in 3069 days

#13 posted 04-22-2011 04:22 AM

I have a PC 4 X 24 inch belt sander which is an excellent tool. I also have an old wen 3×18 inch which though much smaller does not come close to sanding a panel flat; the PC does this easily. If I was looking for a 3×21 I would give the Bosch a good look.

View andy49's profile


24 posts in 2501 days

#14 posted 04-23-2012 05:06 PM

Hey guys – would appreciate a little help from my friends at LJ. I have a very old Crafstman “Commercial Dustless, 2 spd ” 4X24 belt sander, Model # 315.22670. Grandpa – you mentioned having an old craftsman…......similar to mine perhaps? The thing is a beast, was given to me many years ago from a fellow sawdust maker’s widow after he passed away from cancer. I cannot find any manual or other info for it buit thought I saw some comment online about old belt sanders like mine require periodic oiling. ??? Obviously this isn’t the case on newer stuff.

I would imagine it is from the early 70s. Thing is rated at 1.5 hp.

Any help whatsoever on info/manual as well as the oiling issue is greatly appreciated.

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