With a streamlined shape that’s somewhere in between a racecar and a futuristic train, the RIDGID R2720 has an in-line motor layout similar to the Bosch. However, its raked body that’s lower in front than in back (due to different sized rollers) doesn’t allow the tool to be inverted and used as a small stationary sander. Both of the RIDGID’s handles have comfortable rubber overmolds, and the front pommel handle adjusts to any of three positions, to accommodate the task at hand. The tool’s trigger (which is padded with rubber overmold) snaps on and off crisply, but I found the switch lock button nearly impossible to set with the side of my thumb, as I’m used to doing with other belt sanders. The R2720’s variable speed dial is well-positioned atop the rear handle, but was very stiff and difficult to rotate.
The R2720 has absolutely the nicest, most solidly built front roller suspension of any belt sander. For belt changes, it features an overmolded lever that’s easy to use.
Like the Bosch, the RIDGID’s canvas dust bag attaches to the left-hand side of the sander, but its bag has greater capacity. The R2720 doesn’t come with a vacuum hose adapter, nor is one available. When put to wood, the RIDGID R2720 felt good in my hands, had excellent balance and was very easy to control. But even though it boasts the highest amperage motor (10 amps) and the fastest belt speed (1,500 FPM), the RIDGID just didn’t seem to sand as aggressively as the DeWALT or Porter-Cable. I also didn’t much care for the RIDGID’s unique soft-start motor electronics, which ramp up motor speed gradually. There was also a glitch in the RIDGID’s dust collection: The fan that blows sawdust into the bag also blew dust out of the air vents on the body.