Porter-Cable 362v Belt Sander Review
The Porter-Cable 362V is a high-powered, variable speed belt sander ideal for contractors and dedicated craftsmen.
Its large size, heavy weight and tremendous twelve amps of power make it somewhat too much for the casual woodworker, although this excess of oomph will be quite welcome to those who need to get big jobs done.
A mostly-metal construction and very heavy-gauge parts enable it to work for long hours and endure suboptimal working conditions, as well as the occasional bumps and scrapes that are inevitable on the job.
At 16 pounds it may be too heavy for many operators to use on walls or boats, but this weight is welcome when sanding floors or leveling large surfaces.
The entire construction of the Porter-Cable 362V revolves around making the tool able to work very hard for a very long time, both on individual jobs and over the course of many jobs.
Not only is most of the device made from steel, but it is also made from thick, heavy-gauge steel, unlike most modern lightweight tools. Those parts which must be plastic, for example, the front handle, are made out of thick, heavy plastic to enable them to last as long as possible.
The interior of the machine has a labyrinth design to prevent dust from entering key components, as well as to optimize the venting of heat.
A cloth dust bag is provided, although it small volume will require that it be removed regularly or replaced with a connected shop vac or another large reservoir for the dust.
It is, however, sufficient for most quick jobs, and emptying is easy and fast, enabling the operator to rely purely on the bag for many jobs.
The amount of dust produced by the Porter-Cable 362V, due to its extraordinary power, is substantial, and so the operator will need to work hard to maintain proper sawdust management to keep the job site safe.
The considerable amount of dust produced also makes it suboptimal when working on slanted or vertical surfaces, but proper technique and keeping the machine below eye level should enable it to complete most vertical tasks.
Large and powerful
The flush design of the device makes it ideally suited for the floor, allowing it to work up against walls or other vertical surfaces.
Its large belt surface area, as well as its heavy weight and extraordinary power, make it most at home on floors, since it can work very large surface areas in a small amount of time.
The heavy weight, plus the two-grip system, enables operators to maneuver the machine skillfully, but the heavy momentum helps to keep the device from getting out of control or from making an uneven sand of the floor.
The adjustable speed options permit an operator to adjust the machine to fit the situation at hand, just as the quick release enables the speedy changing of sandpaper to adapt to changing conditions.
Stubborn bumps and other projections can quickly be worn down with high-speed movement of a high-grade paper, transitioning to much smoother paper and lower speed in seconds when the situation calls for it.
Safety is also engineered into the design.
The placement of the bag, to the side of the device, helps prevent it from getting in the way during work, as does the adjustable nature of its attachment.
The wire, located at the base of the handle, is designed to keep itself out of the way of the machine, although as with all sanders it is safest for it to be pushed instead of pulled to prevent the wire from being unintentionally dragged into the device.
The efficient vacuum and bag system helps prevent dust from accumulating or entering the eyes, and the belt itself is designed to remain under the device under use such that it prevents the belt from coming into contact with loose hair or clothing.
The nature of this design makes it difficult to work against some surfaces from the side.
However, a smaller, lower-powered device would likely be more optimal for such work.
What we liked
What we didn't like
In the end, the Porter-Cable 362V is a very heavy duty tool, designed and engineered to enable the operator to power through large jobs with the maximum amount of labor reduction.
While much too big and cumbersome for most vertical applications and small jobs, it is nonetheless more than suitable for large jobs such as leveling a floor or resurfacing a table.
Its adjustable speed and quick-change belt are ideal tackling a variety of large jobs, or for transitioning from rough work to detailed finishing over the course of a single workday.
It is thus an optimal machine for contractors or other persons who will need a belt sander that is heavy-duty and versatile, as well as incredibly powerful.