Nicknamed the “Dragster” because of its long tapered body and large rear/small front roller combination, the stylish Black & Decker DS321 offers some nice features for a price that’s the lowest in this group. Let’s start with the innovative design: Reducing the size of the front roller increases the overall length of the belt loop, giving the sander a nice long platen that puts more abrasive in contact with the work surface. Even more innovative, the Dragster has a sort of front “hatch” that opens above the front of the belt, allowing the tool to sand in very low or narrow spaces; say, the slats in a louvered shutter.
I liked the DS321’s front handle, which rapidly adjusts to any of three positions toollessly thanks to a built-in locking lever. Its rear handle and trigger are basic, but serviceable. The sander lacks variable speed control — a 7-amp motor runs the belt at a fixed 800 FPM. It also comes with an almost comically small dust bag, but it mounts with ease and is covered in a finer-woven fabric than most of the other dust bags. No vacuum hose adapter is available.
While the DS321 functioned well enough, it didn’t have a very solid feel when switched on and put to wood. Belt tracking was ponderous at best, and the small adjustment knob offered little control over the belt. I don’t think this sander would be a good purchase for someone who needs to do a lot of heavy sanding or precise work. But for light work, the DS321 is priced just right.