The Best Bench Sander RoundUp. Ridgid, Grizzly, Harbor Freight.

Ok, for those who hate long blog posts I’ll just spill the beans now.  The winner is China!

Not long after Ridgid released their OEBSS (because I’m going to get carpel tunnel typing Oscillating Edge/Belt Spindle Sander every time), anyway, not long after releasing this it quietly became the defacto standard for most serious to semi-serious woodworkers.  There were no long tirades or pitched forum battles to discuss it.  It just… WAS.

For those of you who don’t haunt forums such as Lumberjocks, Sawmillcreek and others let me put it to you this way.  Every week someone new to the art of woodworking stumbles into the forums begging for advice on “What is the best ____ for the money?”  Ask about table saws and you might as well be asking what the best religion is.  Ask about bandsaws and now your are only stirring things akin to asking what the best car brand is.  Asking about drill presses is like asking about the weather.  But ask about the best bench sander and you will get as heated a debate as if you had asked what time it was.  The most common response is usually something like “Buy the Ridgid eos”.  EOS is End of Story for you non interweb types.  I have literally seen guys who will disparage each other’s mothers over which table saw is best agree without caveat on the Ridgid sander.

Apparently the guys at Grizzly agreed as well.  Which is why a few years ago they released, what can only be called the two door coupe of OEBSS’s.  It’s like they took the Ridgid, put it in the dryer on High and came back 30 min later.  The Grizz is slimmer, lighter and has very slightly better specs.  You do give up a miter slot and about 25% working space.  Honestly a fair trade as I found the Ridgid to be a space hog on my already crowded bench.  And I never did use that miter slot.

But just looking at these and you have to think… Ok, not twins but these two share some DNA right?  Well just do the old Google two step while typing in the words Kingstar Oscillating Belt Spindle Sander.  You will find a very blue looking sibling to the Grizz.  So I did some sleuthing and even called Kingstar on the pretense of ordering some of these bad boys.  I asked them to send me an invoice/order form.  Sure enough the blue version of the Grizzly sander was right there.  The big surprise was right above that.  Right there, on their form was the Ridgid OEBSS.  And I do not mean a “blue” version of it, I mean IT.  In full Ridgid orange livery with Ridgid badging in full display.

I had expected to find something akin to the 14″ bandsaw situation.  You know where the blueprints have been passed around like a cheap… well you know, it gets around a lot.  I’m not judging, I’m just say’n.  I was not expecting to find that the same company that builds the Ridgid sander was brazenly selling a kissing cousin to their competitors and/or me in this case.  And just Wen you think it can’t get any crazier, it does.

Ok, I don’t want to spoil the whole story.  Check out my video for the final reveal.


Ridgid Sander:

Wen Sander:




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