Should I Buy Makita 9403 Belt Sander? Check Our Review

Should I Buy Makita 9403 ? Read Our Review

The Makita 9403 is a reference belt sander used by many professionals. It is a fairly old model released in 1999, but still contains features seen in more modern belt sanders. Over the years, this Makita belt sander paved the way for modern belt sanders and help set a high standard for others to follow. But is this product still worth the money? How well does it perform? Those are common questions we often receive about this model. Without further ado, let’s find out if this Makita belt sander is worth the money or not.

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The motor in the Makita 9403 is one of its biggest attraction. It was a powerful 11 Amps motor that gives it a lot of power while sanding even the toughest material. Indeed, it can sand softwood and hardwood with equal ease. It has enough power to turn the massive 4 inches wide belt with almost no effort. When fitted with a low grit sanding pad it will remove a lot of material in a less time. In addition, the motor is equipped with a constant speed load system that prevents this unit from stalling, even under heavy load.

Makita 9403 4

Overall, the sheer power of this Makita belt sander is enough to give you a huge boost in productivity. The power is also indicative that this model is better suited for preparatory work like removing paint and veneer on material rather than finishing work. Furthermore, despite being a very powerful belt sander, Makita 9403 is still relatively quiet at only 84 dB. At this noise level, it is still tolerable and allows you to work without using a noise canceling headset. Lastly, the bearings and seals help keep vibrations at a minimum as well as keep debris and contaminants away from sensitive moving parts. This helps boost its longevity.

Speed:

Speed is where this Makita belt sander is not the most versatile power tool for sanding. It does not come with a variable speed control and limited to only one no-load speed setting of 1640 ft/min. At this speed, it shows that it will remove material very fast especially when retrofitted with a lower git sanding pad of less than 80 grit. When equipped with a sanding pad of 100-grit, it will quickly deliver a very smooth and polished surface.

Additionally, the constant speed mechanism delivers a linear speed throughout the sanding process allowing you to get a professional and consistent finishing quality.

Finishing Quality:

As we have hinted before, this model is better suited for preparatory work like removing paint and veneer rather than used as a finishing sander. However, when equipped with a higher grit sanding pad (80 grit or above) it will deliver a very smooth and polished surface. The lack of a variable speed control means that this model is less versatile, and if you are mostly looking for a finishing belt sander then this model is not the ideal solution. Something like the Hitachi SB8V2 or Makita BO4556K are preferred, despite they have a much smaller motor power.

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User Friendly:

  • Grip: This Makita belt sander is designed to be a user-friendly sander that puts convenience on the forefront. It has a comfortable and large front grip that has enough surface area for the hand to comfortably sit on and grab for long hours. It does not have an elastomer surface, however Makita made sure that the plastic material used are themselves comfortable to the hand.
  • Vibration: Despite having such a powerful motor, this belt sander does not produce a lot of vibration, at least to an extent that makes it uncomfortable to hold. However, note that due to its sheer power you will definitely feel some vibrations especially when working on high-density material like hardwood. There is simply no way around it. On the bright side, it is still a very accurate and maneuverable belt sander.
  • Lightweight: At 12.6 lbs, this Makita belt sander is definitely not the lightest sanding power tool we have reviewed. In general, belt sanders do not need to be light power tools. But in the off chance that you need a portable belt sander and need to carry it to the job, we think that 12.6 lbs is still a fairly reasonable weight that is still quite portable.
  • Feeling of user: Being an older belt sander, this model has a little bit difficulty competing with more modern belt sanders in terms of ergonomics and handling. Don't get us wrong, it definitely gets the job done but we believe that there are better and more ergonomic models like the Hitachi SB8V2 out there.

On the plus side, the 4 inches sanding belt is large and generous enough to make sanding a fast and efficient process, especially for preparatory work. In fact, the large sanding belt of 4 inches in this model easily makes up for it when compared to more ergonomic 3 inches belt sanders.

Dust Collection:

Makita includes a generous dust collection bag with this model. It is conveniently placed to the right top side of this belt sander making it more maneuverable when doing corners. At the same time, it helps to keep the sanding surface clean from dust and debris. Furthermore, the dust bag has a 360-degree swivel that easily allows you to move it to a more strategic position in case you need a clearer view on your sanding. This is an excellent feature that we wish more modern belt sanders would incorporate.

Other Features:

  • Power cord: The power cord is located at the upper side of the handle for more visibility and convenience to the user. It simply does not get in the way while sanding in awkward positions.
  • Front handle: The front handle is made entirely out of plastic and offers an additional and more comfortable grip/position while sanding for extended periods of time.

  • Air vents: The motor pack has air vents for better air circulation and more heavy-duty action.

Price of Makita 9403

In our opinion, we think that the price of the Makita 9403 is a little bit on the expensive side. However, it still remains reasonable but more expensive than other competitive belt sanders like the Hitachi SB8V2. Our advice is - if you can afford this model then go for it. It will serve you well as an excellent preparatory work belt sander. Furthermore, you can choose to buy this belt sander or upgrade to 4 “kit” variants that provide different sanding pad grits of 60-grit, 80-grit, 100-grit or a 30 pack mix of various grits for even more versatility.

Pros/Cons of Makita 9403

Pros:

  • Decent build quality with solid plastic and aluminum.
  • Front handle and a large back handle for an ergonomic holding position.
  • Very powerful 11 Amps motor with constant speed control.
  • Large 4 x 24 inches sanding belt for maximum sanding efficiency.
  • Ability to change sanding pad fairly easily.
  • Option to buy different paper grits for more versatility.
  • Adjustable and 360-degree swivel dust bag.
  • Low noise at only 84 dB.

Cons:

  • Does not have a variable speed control and speed is limited to only 1640 ft/min
  • A little bit on the expensive side.

What Does It Include?

You do not get many accessories when purchasing this Makita belt sander. In fact, it is limited to only one sanding pad of 80-grit and a dust bag. Accessories are definitely not this unit’s strongest suite. But this is a recurring observation we see with even modern belt sanders. Manufacturers tend to skim a bit on the accessories unless you choose to go with much more expensive premium belt sander models.

Who Should Buy Makita 9403 ?

Due to the lack of a variable speed control, and the presence of a very powerful 11 Amps motor, we feel that this belt sander is mostly suited for preparatory work like removing veneer or paint on material rather than finishing work. Additionally, if you usually work with raw lumber and need a powerful portable belt sander for surface polishing then this is an excellent model to get. For finishing work, consider models like the Hitachi SB8V2 or Makita BO4556K instead for more versatility and superior ease of use.

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Tom Bradly
 

My entrepreneurial journey started in 2006, when I dropped out of university. I wanted to work with my hands, to build things. Now I mix my background with computers with my first-hand experience with woodworking to provide insights into the tools I like best. I love everything about woodworking and have been building stuff for over 20 years of my life. I hope to pass some knowledge and expertise.