The Best Six Sanding Machines on the Market
‘Man is a tool-using animal. Without tools, he is nothing, with tools he is all.’ – Thomas Carlyle in the novel Sartor Resartus.
A Bit of History
When it comes to floor sanding equipment there are two major players – Bona and Lagler. Both are companies with a long history and are well-respected within the industry.
In Swedish ‘bona’ means ‘to polish’ and they are also known as the creators of the waterborne finish. The business itself has been founded in 1919 but makes its first more serious step in the manufacturing of floor sanding equipment around a decade ago. It was at that point that the company purchased the Swedish manufacturer called “Orebro” and re-branded their equipment. Now it’s closely tied to the Italian company “Kunzle & Tasin”, in order to solidify its marketing positions even more.
Founded in the distant now 1956 by Eugen Lagler and his wife Gerda in Germany, the company is the first of its kind. Lagler invented the endless belt sander and with the creation of his legendary Hummel in 1969, he revolutionised the flooring industry. Lagler’s equipment is known for its power and consistent results.
Keep in mind, no matter what our personal opinion may be on certain products both companies provide very competitive and high-quality equipment. There is no ‘good’ and ‘bad’ here. More like ‘great’ and ‘even better!’. We will try to point exactly why we like or dislike certain machines without going too far into the technical parts. In our opinion, simpler is better.
Compared to the regular Bona Belt, this one comes only in 8’’ variation. A wider drum will be great for smooth surfaces but when it comes to rough sanding the process will be slightly more difficult. Bona Belt HD is obviously built for maximum power and for such purpose a smaller drum is the optimum choice. This model is created with convenience in mind. Easy to break down, easy to reassemble, easy to change sandpaper.
2. Hummel Belts Sander
When it comes to raw strength, Hummel flat out beats the Bona Belt HD. With a sanding drum speed of 2400 rpm, compared to the 1850/2050 drum revolutions, Lagler’s machine is the superior choice. In terms of weight, it is a few kilogrammes lighter (79 kg. ), whereas the Bona Belt HD 3.0 with a 2.99 kW motor weighs 83 kg. Just like the other sanders, this one can also be disassembled to ease the transporting process.
3. Pallmann Cobra II Belt Sander
This one is the latest in the series and still relatively new. It is more powerful than both Bona Belt HD and Hummel with a drum speed of 2,600 rpm. All of this comes with the accordingly high price tag. Its weight can also be considered a downside (96 kg). Some users complained it has a ‘soft start’ and have trouble starting in cold conditions and apparently it’s heating up quite fast during work. But since we did not test it personally we cannot confirm.
4. Bona FlexiSand PD 1.5
The defining feature of this machine is the fact that it contains a unique four head drive plate and is extremely good at removing sanding marks. In addition to this it is incredibly lightweight (45kg) and easy to handle and very manoeuvrable. As it seems to be the case with most Bona products the equipment was designed to be used with pleasure. You really have to struggle to find a downside.
5. Lagler TRIO
Again, in terms in overall design and convenience, this machine is inferior to Bona FlexiSand. However it has to be noted, that the TRIO is a dedicated multi-head floor sanding machine, whereas the FlexiSand is a buffer with a multi-head attachment (so it’s a 2 in 1 machine). Lagler’s machine has three sanding disks compared to FlexiSand’s four, but the difference in disk speed is quite significant. Bona’s machine only has 147 rpm while Lagler TRIO goes as far as 600 rpm. In terms of pure power, TRIO is significantly ahead. However, one of its downsides is also the weight (78kg) which is almost double that of FlexiSand, but it splits in 3 easily transportable parts in under 2 minutes.
Both machines are great and some may argue that four discs are better than three but in our opinion, Lagler TRIO offers more than Bona FlexiSand, despite the rather clumsy design.
6. Edge Sanders - Bona Edge XL
When it comes to edge sanding equipment there is only a single truly viable choice – Bona Edge XL. It is the most popular in its class and for a good reason. Simple, powerful (3000 rpm) and small enough to fit in tight spots thanks to its extended sanding arm (220mm). Bona edge comes equipped with a light for those hard to reach, dark places and its own dust collection system.
In our personal opinion, convenience is not enough to make up for loss of power. Bona Belt HD has lower drum pressure and the belts are more expensive. It is still an excellent piece of sanding equipment with which you can do a fine job but it’s simply overshadowed by a better product.