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Ridgid Gen5X 18V Brushless Belt Sander Review – R86065B

Cordless Belt Sander

The days of poor performing cordless tools have passed.  Today many tools using a battery platform have similar performance to corded models.  Woodworking and construction are seeing a “boom” in tools that are cordless, but also feature some more options added for the user’s health and safety.  While looking at the Ridgid 18v brushless belt sander, we found that the new air filtration technology is a big step up for people who use sanders indoors.  The dust collection on this model works exceptionally well when the bag is emptied often.  This can help reduce simple reactions, allergies and even cancer that could be caused from long term exposure.

While the safety factor is a huge part of this tool, the fact that this is the first cordless belt sander overshadows health.  This tool does have the power to match many of the other Ridgid corded belt sanders on the market.  Like the related corded models, much of the unit is plastic.  That is not a surprise as most tools are these days.  The belt sander feels like it is built well and it performs great.  The belt track knob does stick out a bit in the lower area close to the bottom of the sander and in our YouTube video we beat up on it a bit to make sure there were no concerns of it breaking.

Features

  • Brushless motor
  • Variable speed dial: 400-935 FPM
  • Belt size: 3″×18″
  • Adjustable belt tracking
  • Adjustable forward handle
  • 1-1/4″ dust port and dust bag
  • Tool-free belt change

Battery Life

A belt sander is a tool used to remove material, be it wood, paint, varnish, metal or just about any type of stock that can be sanded.  It takes a significant amount of power and this tool does deliver the power without much issue.  We did find that over an extended use of multiple batteries that the air cooling the motor gets hot and blows directly on your forward hand.  In most cases, people would choose a corded belt sander for that long of a job.  In testing, we also found this sander to be fairly hungry for batteries.  While using a 4.0Ah battery, we could fully drain a battery in around 5 minutes while working with pine.  Bumping up to the new 5.0Ah battery, we could get 8-10 minutes of run time while sanding a wide flat board.  If you decrease the load by a significant amount, sanding plywood edges, we found you might get 15 to 20 minutes from this tool with the 5.0Ah battery.  That is not too bad, as long as you have multiple batteries in your shop and have the time to charge one while using another.  Many people will not use this tool more than a few minutes and move on to another task.  Since this is a bare tool, we want to let you know that having more than one battery is needed to keep the shop moving and a compact battery is not going to cut it on this tool.

Overall

We were really impressed with the performance and layout of the tool.  The few items we initially noted to be “weak” we quickly proven to hold up to abuse.  The only item that we could ask for improvement on is the trigger lock.  In order to engage the trigger lock, you must use a second hand.  The small button was not easy to push in, especially if you have large hands.  We enjoyed the dust collection as this tool does make a lot of dust to collect!  Being able to connect it to a 1-1/4″ vacuum or dust collection system is a bonus.  If you are in the Ridgid 18 volt line and have larger batteries, this tool is one to consider.  It is currently priced at $149.00 at Home Depot as a bare tool.

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