Hitachi SB8V2 Belt Sander Review
The Hitachi SB8V2 offers an excellent compromise between the demands of both the casual woodworker and the busy contractor, meeting the requirements for both without any significant compromises.
While it might be too big and powerful for the smallest jobs and too small and weak for the biggest, it nonetheless proves itself very capable for the vast majority of jobs.
It is surprisingly versatile, with its adjustable speed enabling it to remove large or small amounts of material as needed, and its robust construction enabling it to work hours in a day for many years.
Indeed, its v-belt construction, combined with a layout designed to eliminate the entry of wood dust into the machine, helps ensure that it can work for long hours without disassembly-based maintenance and that parts are slow to wear due to heat and friction.
Maximum comfort and variable speed
The handle grips on the Hitachi SB8V2 are designed for maximum comfort, with the use of soft elastomer handles to optimize handling.
This, combined with its relatively small size, adjustable speed, and carefully controlled power enables the Hitachi SB8V2 to be used for a long time without repetitive stress injuries.
The design of the machine is also intended for long-term safety.
Unusually, the power cord juts out of the top of the machine, preventing the wire from touching any part of the Hitachi SB8V2 as it drops to the floor.
The belt is flush and behind metal guards wherever possible, to reduce the risk of loose hair or clothing getting caught in the machine during operation.
However, the front is left free, to permit the machine to be used for flush sanding and touch-ups using the forward drum.
Big dust bag
The dust bag is much larger than on similarly sized models, reflecting the expectation that the machine will be utilized for long periods and on large jobs.
The mounting point for the dust bag is a standard size, and with the proper attachments and adjustments it can be connected to any standard shop vac for the truly large jobs or just to reduce overall cleanup time.
Placement of the bag on the left side of the machine makes it easier for flush work against surfaces to the right of the machine, improving usage and accuracy when working in tight corners.
The bag is also kept flush, enabling left-sided grinding and reducing the machine's footprint when working in tight areas.
However, the design of the machine is primarily intended for flush sanding to be conducted along the right side, and it performs better when used in that manner.
It will still need to be emptied regularly to function at full efficiency.
Great tracking window
The well-placed tracking window enables the operator to keep an eye on the belt at all times, helping to prevent belt slippage or breakage due to misaligned tracking.
The tracking window also enables the operator to observe any changes in the belt's color, structural integrity, or any other potential complications that might prompt an alignment check or a belt replacement.
Replacement and adjustment of the belt is simple and easy, with a strong emphasis towards ease of use.
Belts of varying grains can be quickly and easily swapped out, and the Hitachi SB8V2 is designed to accommodate standard sized belts that are readily and cheaply available.
Likewise, the oversized and very comfortable handles provide superior grip and control, even when dealing with unwieldy surfaces, making this sander ideal for sanding down badly warped or damaged wood.
They are also useful in maneuvering the machine along vertical surfaces for the removal of wallpaper or paint, where the large, comfortable grips prevent the machine from sliding or being dropped due to an awkward angle.
What we liked
What we didn't like
The construction of the Hitachi SB8V2 is very high quality, as evidenced by the device's five-year warranty.
While most machines have a warranty for a year or two, the Hitachi SB8V2's full five-year warranty is indicative of its exceptional build quality and the longevity of its v-belt.
Its 9-amp motor and 1,475 ft/min top speed are more than powerful enough for most applications, and it is big enough for sanding floors, boat hulls, walls, and other large surface areas.
While it is too large for more delicate furniture work, its adjustable speed, which can go as low as 800 ft/min, enables it to do much of the extensive work without removing too much material too quickly to be useful.
This makes it an excellent all-purpose belt sander for novice woodworkers, professional contractors, and anyone in between, all while hitting a price point intermediate between low-end models and more expensive heavy-duty units.
This makes it an ideal first tool for beginners, a primary tool for most intensive woodworkers, and first among several options held by a professional contractor.