- First of all, the unit has a twin-fan system. Most belt sanders have one fan that serves both for exhaust and motor cooling. That one fan system is usually sufficient for cooling the motor, but sometimes comes up wanting for effective dust collection. For that matter, many belt sander users have had to stop and rest their tool because the motor heated up to the point of concern. It does not happen often but sometimes with unusually hard surfaces or very fine grit belts, the motor will start to overheat.
- Either way, neither situation is a concern with the ZRR2740. The two fan system is definitely a bit overpowered, but it makes for a great dust collection system (see below) and keeps the motor running at max efficiency.
- Like many belt sanders, the ZRR2740 has a variable speed control feature. This means that the speed of the motor can be adjusted to control the amount of power the sanding belt is using to remove material. The variable speed function is helpful to prevent gouging and runaway. However, this feature is usually found on higher amperage motors. A 6.5 amp motor does not really need a variable speed control, except for on the softest materials.
TOOL DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
The ZRR2740, despite having less powerful components in other areas, is a solid tool. The housing is made of one of the most durable plastics on the handheld power tool market. This is not thin flimsy plastic. This is molded, textured, heavy-duty plastic—about as solid a product as one will find on a belt sander without going to metal housing. Of course, the plastic housing helps keep the cost and the weight down.
The design of the tool is fairly standard. The ZRR2740 has a rear pistol-grip design with a trigger switch. This setup is common and ergonomic. The ZRR2740’s pistol grip sits parallel to the bottom of the tool. Often, the grip will be tilted upward at a slight angle to help the user apply forward pressure to the tool. So the orientation of this grip might mean more downward pressure and less forward pressure. However, this design also means the user’s wrist is resting in a more natural position, reducing overall user fatigue.
There is a soft plastic forward grip for the left hand to rest on while using the tool. The use of a softer plastic on both the rear and forward grips is a nice touch. Again, this helps reduce user fatigue and makes using the tool more comfortable overall. The forward grip is a must-have for any handheld belt sander.
The ZRR2740 is a midweight belt sander, weighing in at 8.2 pounds. This is heavier than a light-duty household sander but lighter than the fifteen pound industrial models that are available. The heaviness of the tool means the user does not have to apply much pressure for the sander to work effectively. However, the drawback is that the sander is difficult to use in a vertical or upside down position.
The ZRR2740 has a lip at the front end of the belt sanding area, meaning it would not be usable for flush sanding.
The ZRR2740 has only a 6.5 amp electric motor. This is probably the biggest drawback to this particular belt sander. With all the heavy-duty components, the tough housing, and the nice features, a more powerful motor would have put this sander at the top of its class. Instead, the 6.5 amp motor will occasionally find the user wishing for more power, even if just a little bit.
6.5 amps is enough for sanding light woods in any application. It can be used on hardwoods but the tool must be rested intermittently, and the user must take it slow to avoid bogging down the motor. Also, the less powerful motor means more attention must be paid to keeping the belt clear of gunk. Finer grit belts are not recommended for motors this size.
The cord on this electric motor is twelve feet long. It’s a nice bonus. Such a long cord means some jobs can be completed without having to lug around an extension cord.
The ZRR2740 has a 3”x18” sanding belt. This is a relatively small belt but still very useful. This is the most common size, making it easier to find than the larger belts available. Normally, a smaller belt size achieves more power per square foot from the tool; however, the ZRR2740’s 6.5 amp motor can only get the belt up to 950 square feet per minute. This may seem a little low to some users.
The belt has a simply, no-tool removal system. Simply open a lever, the wheels on each end of the platen move towards each other a small bit, and the belt slides off.
The ZRR2740 has a top-of-the-line dust collection system. Again, this really goes back to having a dedicated fan just for dust collection. Most fans are pulling double duty, with dust collection coming in second as a priority. Not so with the ZRR2740. Some users may find themselves emptying the dust bag pretty frequently, though. Consider hooking a hose in there and running the dust into a larger container if the sander’s going to be used on any larger projects.
Ridgid did a good job outfitting the ZRR2740 belt sander with professional-style features and heavy-duty components. The twin-fan system really sets this unit apart as far as features go, and the housing is unusually tough for plastic. It’s a shame that Ridgid chose such a small motor because the ZRR2740 has the potential to be a favorite amongst professional contractors as well as DIYers. In the end, it makes a great tool for limited belt sanding use. Ridgid backs it up with a one-year warranty, so users can expect great performance out of this sander overall