RYOBI PSD101 Belt Sander

RYOBI PSD101 Belt Sander Review

How many times have I wanted a miniature belt sander to reach into a tight space because my full-sized belt sander just will not fit or is too cumbersome to use? I know the most effective way to remove the material is with a belt, but before I ran into the PSD 101, I reluctantly picked up a multi-tool with a sanding head to make do. Thankfully, that circumstance is no more. Ryobi released just such a small-scale belt sander RYOBI PSD101 Belt Sander. This tool is part of the newly released line of Ryobi One+ tools.

RYOBI PSD101 Belt Sander ls Ideal in Small or Narrow Areas

The PSD 101 really works well when space is tight. I recently cut off some bolts on a Unistrut partition and the cut left a sharp edge. The PSD 101 was ideal in this case. The head fits into the limited area and it worked just like a file would in softening those sharp corners. In fact, I have seen the tool called a “Power File” on the European tool websites.

In any case, the belt stood up well in this application and I made quick work of this task.

The RYOBI PSD101 Belt Sander has proven quite capable and effective in these kinds of situations as well as on benchtop tasks.

First Impression

RYOBI introduces the ONE+ HP 18V Compact Belt Sander. The powerful motor produces a range of belt speeds from 880 to 2,065 ft. / min. That’s enough speed range to sand lightly or to remove a lot of material, if desired.

Measuring just 15.6 in. long, the belt sander is compact and lightweight-ideal for one-handed operation and sanding in tight spaces. It is easy to use the Belt Sander two-handed.  For this configuration, the wide motor housing provides a handle-like grip to ensure the tool is stable for increased accuracy.

The RYOBI PSD101 Belt Sander is part of the RYOBI ONE+ System of over 175 cordless tools that all work on the same battery platform. Backed by the RYOBI 3-Year Manufacturer’s Warranty, this ONE+ HP 18V Cordless ½” x 18” Belt Sander comes with 60 Grit, 80 Grit, and 120 Grit belts, and an operator’s manual. Ryobi sells the batteries and chargers separately.

RYOBI PSD101 Belt Sander Features

  • Variable Speed Dial for various applications
  • Tool-Free Belt Change for user convenience
  • Up to 90 minutes of run time (using a P108 4Ah Lithium-Ion Battery, not included)
  • Lock-on switch for continuous use
  • Ergonomic Design for tight spaces
  • Compatible with all RYOBI 18V ONE+™ Batteries
  • Part of the RYOBI 18V ONE+™ System of over 175 Cordless Tools
  • 3-year manufacturer’s warranty
  • Battery and charger sold separately
  • 2 lbs.
  • 15.6 in. length
  • MSRP: $79 as a bare tool
  • INCLUDES: (1) PSD101 18V ONE+ Cordless 1/2″ x 18″ Belt Sander, (1) 60 Grit Sand Paper Sheet, (1) 80 Grit Sand Paper Sheet, (1) 120 Grit Sand Paper Sheet


Using the RYOBI PSD101 Belt Sander

When you need the removal capabilities of a belt sander in tight spaces, the PSD 101 is the tool to use. Recently, I finished gluing a table assembly with chamfers between the legs and apron. I applied a water-based stain and noticed that the grain in the chamfers raised up after drying. It was one of those times when having the right tool made a difficult situation much easier. Within seconds, I had taken the raised grain down to a smooth finish with the 120 grit belt. The PSD101 saved me a lot of time and aggravation. The tool was simple to control and fit perfectly into the 90-degree chamfer space.

RYOBI PSD101 Belt Sander Helpful Features

The RYOBI PSD101 Belt Sander has a variable adjustment for the belt speed and it is a smooth speed transition for the entire adjustment range. You can adjust the amount of material you remove by this adjustment. However, I do find that I mostly operate the tool full-throttle. Only when I feel like the smaller speeds might benefit me in the work do I back off the belt speed.

The PSD 101 has a lock-on switch, which allows you to concentrate on the work rather than worrying about whether the trigger is depressed. You engage the lock-on when the trigger is engaged and the lock-on is released by re-engaging the trigger. I appreciate that feature as I found myself turning the sander over and changing positions often to reach tight spots. The lock-on keeps it running at all times.



The variable speed lever is located on the top of the tool and gives an ample range of belt speeds. The adjustment is easy to change with your thumb and stays where you put the adjustment. The range of belt speeds extends from 880 to 2065 ft./min.

The length of the belt sander is 15.6 inches. There is no adjustment between the body of the tool and the drive mechanism. This can take away from some of the usefulness of the sander. However, the PSD 101 is a light tool at 3.2 lbs without the battery. So it is easy to use for extended periods of time.

I used the Belt sander with a 4.0 am-hr. battery. In a no-load condition, this combination ran for over two and one-half hours before I ran out of time and needed to stop the timer. I understand that Ryobi publishes a run-time of 90 minutes for this combination. For that duration, I assume that result must have been under a modest load condition. In any case, I cannot imagine a scenario where 90 minutes would not suffice for this type of tool before needing a battery change.

Ryobi sells a replacement package of three belts, one of each grit size for $4.99.



One slight issue I noted happened when I used the belt sander upside down with the trigger depressed. When I released the trigger, I found that the skin on the top of my hand got caught in the space between the trigger and the body of the sander. While it is not sharp enough to cut the skin, It will get your attention when you release the trigger! I would like to see a re-think of that design.


I really liked the RYOBI PSD101 Belt Sander for its convenient size and configuration. I have used it on several other sanding tasks and thought it was a great tool for those tasks. Certainly, I will not be sanding down any large surfaces with this tool. However, I can sse it assisting with glue removals and smoothing down some “mistakes” that occasionally creep into my work.

I highly recommend this tool as a niche sander for when I need material removed in small or tight areas.

About the author

Stan Durlacher

Stan has been involved with Design and Construction in the commercial industry since 1975. He is currently the President of Design and Construction for a major St Petersburg, FL developer. Before that, he was a Project Executive for a prominent Boston Construction Manager, building high-rise apartment and office buildings. One of the hallmarks of his career has been innovative problem-solving. As Assistant Secretary of Transportation for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Stan was instrumental in bringing the hydro mill slurry wall machinery and technology to Boston in the 1990s for use on the Central Artery Third Harbor Tunnel Project. Stan has been an avid woodworker since college and brings an innovative point of view to this field. Before Florida, he owned an 1886 farmhouse near Concord, Mass, and his skills and time were never idle for long. His barn and attached spaces serve as his ever-expanding workshop. Stan is a self-avowed tool hound. In 2013, Stan decided to design and build his own CNC router. This machine has become a centerpiece of his woodworking and craft focus. Stan will share many of the ways that this innovative technology has solved many current problems and how CNC will begin to impact the woodworking and home renovation businesses.

All posts by Stan »

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Product reviews on this site contain our opinion of a product or service. We will always strive for objectivity and transparency in our reviews. Our goal is to provide readers with honest, objective information based on our own experiences. We never have and never will accept payment in exchange for a positive review. Many of the products that we review are provided to us for free by a manufacturer or retailer. In some cases, we also have advertising or affiliate relationships with manufacturers and retailers of products and services we review. For additional information please visit our additional disclosure policies.