The list of features for the Makita 9903 8.8 Amp Variable Speed Belt Sander is impressive. For its size it has a powerful 8.8 amp motor that is surprisingly quiet; it rates at only 85dB. It has a dial controlled variable speed feature that allows you to tailor the sander’s aggressiveness with the job at hand. Adjustable speeds range from 690 feet to 1,440 feet per minute. The belt system is self-tracking with no need for continual adjustments, which is a favorite feature of consumers.
This sander is designed to function flush to the wall with its side and nose aligned. The grip is a front-grip which is more ergonomic and causes less fatigue for the operator. The attached dust bag is generously sized without getting in the way and makes for easier breathing as well as a cleaner work space. This model comes with a longer than the usual power cord at 16.4 feet, which adds to ease of use and maneuverability within any size work space.
This unit sands metal, wood and removes rust and paint easily. The belt is a 3 x 21 inch abrasive belt. Belt changes are quick and painless; just a quick lever release, then slip the old belt off and the new one on and it’s up and running again with minimal downtime. One downside to this model is the optional sanding frame; at a retail price of $114 it’s a bit pricey and consumers have found it to be discontinued on the manufacturer’s site. This optional part can still be purchased from other sources.
Weighing in at 9.5 pounds, this is a well-made piece of equipment, but not so heavy that it wears you out too quickly. It is double-insulated, which makes it quieter, but also more durable when being banged around in a workshop environment. It comes with one 80 grit abrasive belt, which is about mid-grade; more belts will be needed in varying grits to complete a job start to finish as no sander belt is one size fits all.
The self-adjusting tracking really does perform well on the job, even after changing belts no further adjustments are needed. The trigger lock button is easy to set but is tricky to lock and unlock during operation with either hand. Heat doesn’t seem to bother this unit; even when the belt gets hot the tracking stays in line. Even with heavy pressure this sander does not waver.
The top of the sander was designed so that the operator can flip it over, sit it on its top and use the moving belt as a stationary sander. It is very versatile and stable. The dust collection feature is strong and reliable, although some consumers have had difficulty ordering replacement dust bags from the manufacturer. By design this sander is made to be clamped to a table or workbench for added versatility without sacrificing stability.
The Makita 9903 8.8 Amp Variable Speed Belt Sander comes with a one year manufacturer’s warranty that guarantees it to be free of defects from materials and workmanship. The warranty is good for one year from the original date of purchase. Any defective tool must be returned to the Makita factory or an authorized service center. The country of origin is Japan.