RIDGID GEN 5X 18V Belt Sander

RIDGID GEN 5X 18V Belt Sander

Manufacturer: RIDGID
Model number: R86065B
Price: 149.00
Power source: 18 Volt
Motor size: Brushless

RIDGID GEN 5X 18V Brushless, 3 x 18 Inch, Belt Sander R86065B Review

RIDGID’s latest development, the RIDGID GEN 5X 18V Belt Sander, is bound to get carpenters excited, especially since it follows on the tail of their cordless router. We recently took the  RIDGID GEN 5X 18V Belt Sander to the job-site, as well as played around with it in the shop.

Belt Sander Applications

Belt sanders are commonly used for sanding and cleaning applications such as:

  • Sanding wood
  • Sanding metal, plastics or other material
  • Smoothing rough boards
  • Scribing
  • Chamfering
  • Rounding edges
  • Removing rust, varnishes and stains

I don’t often use a belt sander, and when I do it’s usually for a short period of time. For this reason I was excited about the possibility of a cordless belt sander.

RIDGID GEN 5X 18V Belt Sander First Impression

My first impression of the RIDGID GEN 5X 18V Belt Sander, I  noticed that looked and felt pretty much like my corded version. There’s not a lot of extras or features other than it’s a cordless tool, with a brushless motor! That should be enough, right?

The RIDGID sander uses a 3” x 18” sanding belt. It has all the standard features, such as a lock on button for sanding for extended periods of time, a variable speed dial, a belt tension lever and a tracking knob. When equipped with a 5.0 Ah battery, it weighs 7.5 lbs.

Adjustable Front Handle

One fun feature I noticed was that the front handle [called a Pommel] is adjustable. To adjust the handle you need to use the on-board Hex wrench to completely remove a set screw in the handle. The handle slides up or down to three possible adjustment groove locations. These three grooved locations allow the set screw to engage.

Dust Collection

The RIDGID GEN 5X 18V Belt Sander comes with a dust collection bag that works best when emptied at the half full mark. The bag slips onto a 1-1/4” dust port that also accepts a vacuum hose for dust extraction and collection.

I connected the RIDGID GEN 5X 18V Belt Sander to my workshop dust collection system and sanded some mahogany stock. The belt sander was very efficient at pulling the dust of the belt and directing it to the vac hose.

RIDGID claims it’s dust collection is 90% efficient. Usually sanding mahogany will cause me to sneeze in a short time of sanding it. There was minimal dust on the Mahogany piece when I was done sanding and no noticeable dust in the air.

RIDGID GEN 5X 18V Belt Sander Specification

  • Brushless motor
  • Variable speed dial: 400-935 FPM
  • Belt size: 3×18
  • Belt tracking dial
  • Adjustable handle – 3 positions
  • Integrated dust bag and dust port
  • On-board Hex wrench storage
  • Weight: 7.5 lbs with a 5.0 Ah battery

Using the RIDGID GEN 5X 18V Belt Sander

The RIDGID GEN 5X 18V Belt Sander is lighter, more comfortable, and more maneuverable than I anticipated. We found all of the adjustments easy to operate. The belts attach, detach and adjust quickly.

When sanding we found the sander motor was powerful enough to quickly remove stock, and allow for a normal sanding feed rate. The side profile of the sander is flat which, allows the user to get close [flush] to edges.


Belt sanders tend to have a loud “whinning” sound. We did a quick test around the RIDGID GEN 5X 18V Belt Sander unit, as well as, at operator ear height. We found the decibel levels to average at 104 decibels and top out at 107.5 MAX.   While not loud in job site standards, earing protection is recommended.

RIDGID GEN 5X 18V Belt Sander

RIDGID GEN 5X 18V Belt Sander Runtime 

Everyone always asks how long will the battery last, and all tend to doubt that it will last long. Before testing this sander I thought about what would be acceptable to me as well. I came to the conclusion that 15-20 minutes of sanding would be more than adequate for what I do with a belt sander. We decided to find out…

Testing Runtime

We built a sanding test rig out of birch plywood. This rig kept the sander in place, while running, and a strap held the sander down on the sanding surface. We tensioned the strap slightly to give it a slight downward pressure. The tool was then equipped with a fresh 5.0 h battery.

Our reasoning on applying slight strap pressure was predicated on the fact that normal use of a belt sander relies on the weight of the tool. But let’s face it, there are times where we bear down on our tools.

The strap simulated slight downward pressure but not abuse. We ran the sander continuously during this test, while we all recognize that the tool would not normally be operated continuously that long, we felt it was a reasonable metric.

We ran two runtime tests and averaged 22 minutes of runtime. Periodic checks of the tool body, motor housing, handle, wheels and battery indicated average temperatures ranging from 70-90 degrees. The tool never got hot.


Overall construction of the RIDGID GEN 5X 18V Belt Sander seems durable, with the exception of the belt tensioning knob. I can see this knob getting bumped or damaged on a drop.

How Much and Where to Buy

The RIDGID GEN 5X 18V Belt Sander sells at Home Depot and online for $149.00 as a bare tool. It is available this January 2017.


We were impressed with the RIDGID GEN 5X 18V Belt Sander enough that it has found a home in my foreman’s tool van, next to the RIDGID cordless router.

RIDGID has turned up the gas on their last few tool releases. If you’re invested in the RIDGID battery platform you will want this sander. If you’re looking for a tool company that offers a full range of innovative jobsite solutions, that are durable, powerful and well priced, then you need to look closer at RIDGID!

RIDGID GEN 5X 18V Belt Sander Video Review




About the author

Rob Robillard

Robert Robillard is a remodeler, general contractor, and principal of a carpentry and renovation business located in Concord, Massachusetts, and serves as the Editor of Tool Box Buzz and founding editor of A Concord Carpenter . Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review - Tool and Product Review - Video Channel, , where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the remodeling industry. The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

http://www.aconcordcarpenter.com/@https://twitter.com/robertrobillardRob Robillard

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1 Comment

  1. […] has already reviewed the RIDGID cordless belt sander here, so I’ll look at RIDGID’s cordless ¼ sheet and random orbital sanders […]

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