Let’s start by saying that if you don’t already have a heavy-duty sander, the Makita 9403 should be the first model you consider. One single feature that supports this is a low noise level built into it’s design. Makita made it a point to engineer the quietest sander of this size, which makes it the right choice for indoor work as well as outdoor projects. But it has a lot more to offer than that.
Size and Power
The 9403 is not the biggest sander Makita makes, but it’s definitely in the heavy-duty class at 13 pounds and with an 11-amp motor. That’s a lot to hang onto for long periods, so the Makita is a workhorse more suitable to larger horizontal projects like floors or furniture than wall work or small parts. The 4″ x 24″ belt means it’s taking off 0.75 square feet at a touch. The 11-amp power makes it comparable to some larger, professional sanders, but the 9403 includes an easy variable speed dial so you can adjust its RPMs for the level you need.
The 9403 has a simple box-like design, but includes a pistol grip (with power trigger) at the back and a knob at the front for more control. It’s a shame that the front knob isn’t bigger; it seems undersized for the amount of pressure you can put on this sander. The pistol grip, however, allows you to put some weight into it, yet is thoughtfully angled so that you can maneuver it more easily without undue stress on the hand and wrist. The forward end also slants down into a small, jutting nose so that you can use it flush in right angles, like right against the baseboard when sanding floors.
The Makita 9403 comes with an 80-grit belt and a dust collection attachment. A small exhaust fan blows sawdust from under the blower into a cloth bag. On the plus side, the bag rotates easily so you can move it out of the way as needed; on the negative side, it’s a plain cloth bag, so it may not catch the smaller particles from higher, finer grits. Specially designed seals keep the dust out of the motor, but you should really be wearing a dust mask when you operate a sander like this.
Makita is known for smaller power tools, but with it’s power, the Makita 9403 would be welcome in a professional toolbox. It should be more than enough for the typical DIYer or home craftsman. It does so much, and is designed so well, that apart from a minor question mark or two, it will get your biggest, toughest jobs done with no problem – with minimal noise and mess.