A product of the European school of power tool design, the Bosch 1274DVS looks more like an ultramodern locomotive than it does a belt solid sander. That’s in part due to its in-line-motor design, with its motor mounted lengthwise directly over the belt. With almost the entire weight of the tool centered directly over the belt, the 1274DVS is the best balanced sander in this group. An added bonus of the unit’s flat-topped body design is that it can be clamped upside down on a bench and used as a stationary sander — brilliant!
The 1274DVS handles are basic, but serviceable. The front handle is removable, allowing the tool to sand closer to a vertical obstruction, such as the wall when sanding a floor. The Bosch 3x21 has a very nice cast-alloy platen covered with a graphite-impregnated pad. The pad noticeably reduces friction between the platen and belt. The down side is that the graphite rubs off onto the inside of the belt, making it difficult to see the belt’s grit designation and directional arrows. Both of the Bosch’s rollers are sealed on the ends — a nice touch that keeps sawdust from accumulating inside them.
The 1274DVS comes with a smallish flat rectangular canvas dust bag and a vacuum hose adapter, but when used, the hose protrudes so far out that it makes the sander awkward to use.
In terms of handling, the lightweight and easy maneuvering Bosch was my hands-down favorite. If you often sand small parts or must sand vertical or even overhead surfaces, this is the belt sander for you. Despite having the lowest-rated amperage motor in the group, the Bosch turned in a middle-of-the-pack performance in terms of sanding power.