Which Is The Best Power File? 2022 Buyers Guide

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A power file is going to be your new best friend if you are regularly completing woodwork jobs or DIY at home! They are regularly used by professionals and with good reason! A power file is basically a strip of sandpaper which is then rotated around a central machine so that it can file down different wooden surfaces. This is going to massively reduce the amount of effort that you need to put into sanding down pretty much any job tat you are working on. When working with our power sander we have also found they make it much easier to get enough friction in those harder to access places!

There are so many occasions when a power file is going to come in handy – so we created this article with some of the best power files that we have found!

Best Pick – Ryobi R18PF-0

Sale
Ryobi R18PF-0 18V ONE+ Cordless Power File (Body Only)
414 Reviews
Ryobi R18PF-0 18V ONE+ Cordless Power File (Body Only)
  • 3-Sided sanding Belt allows for intricate work - ideal for sanding and shaping a variety of materials such as wood, Metal and tile
  • 18 volts powers belt rotates up to 630m/min with variable speed control
  • Tool-less tension locking lever and belt tracking dial for quick belt fitting and adjustment
  • Slim line and ergonomic handle design allows easy manoeuvrability and intricate sanding in extremely tight spaces
  • Supplied with sanding Belts (13mm x 457mm)

Last update on 2022-07-22 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Only Got 5 Minutes?

Hopefully we have persuaded you enough by now that you need a power file! It seems crazy that you are no doubt using power tools for your drilling, hammering and cutting, but still chafing your skin filing by hand!

Power File Features

If you are ready to move ahead with the times and purchase one of these tools then keep reading for all that you need to know about the power file features you should be looking for!

Power

The first thing that you need to consider is how your power file is actually powered and the amount of power that it is going to be able to offer you! Almost all power files that we found were powered with electricity, and better still, many of them are battery powered so you don’t need to worry about trailing wires or being close to a power source! As they are only small tools they will have a low enough voltage (usually around 18V) to allow them to be used from a standard plug socket – so this is one less worry for your mind.

However, if you do opt for a battery powered model then make sure to consider the running time, as some will only be able to work for around 45minutes to one hour before they need recharging (although this can easily be resolved by just purchasing two battery packs). It is also worth checking whether the battery and charger actually come with the power file, as some models don’t and this then increases the initial outlay that you are having to make!

TOP TIP: If you purchase a corded power file then make sure to check the length of the cord. You are going to need some movement when working, and a longer cord will allow you the flexibility to achieve this!

We found that motor powers range quite considerably in the power file market, so if you know that you are going to be putting your tool to the test and will be working with some tougher materials then this is something that you are going to need to consider. We would recommend around 400W or more for if you need a truly powerful power file. However, there are models down to around 200W that will be able to complete most jobs that you would be wanting to complete, just maybe not with quite the speed and power you would get from the bigger competitors!

Speed

Obviously speed is going to be important – although lets be honest, any speed at all is going to be faster than manually filing down a surface, which is what we presume you were doing before! Power filers will usually advertise varying speeds, as the speed will largely depend on the type of material that you are working with. Tougher materials, or surfaces with a number of lumps and bumps will require a much slower load speed than softer, easier to file, materials. This can make it difficult to compare models based on speeds, as you are looking at varying speeds from as little as 200MPM (metres per minute) all the way up to nearly 2000MPM – which as you can see is a massive difference!

TOP TIP: Opt for a power file that offers variable speeds. This will allow you to complete a much more professional job and offer greater flexibility in the materials that you work with. They are also perfect for anyone that is new to working with power files as it gives you time to adjust to the speed at which the filing can be completed.

Sanding Area Size

The sanding area size determines the area that you will be able to sand at one time. Obviously a larger sanding area means that you are going to be able to work with bigger areas at once, but sometimes a smaller sanding area is better for those more delicate and precise jobs that you are completing. We found that sanding areas tended to be around 120mm-200mm. 

Weight

Power files are nice and light tools that are also relatively compact in size, so this isn’t something that you need to worry too much about! However, the lighter you can find a power file the longer you will be able to work for before you become fatigued, so this could have an impact if you are working for extended periods of time. Models range from just under 1kg, up to around 4kgs.

Belt/Sanding Arm

The belt that comes with your power file is the part that actually does the filing. This is moved back and forth by the motor in the tool to actually file the material that you are working with. All power files will come with a belt, but some come with multiple belts of varying strengths to be able to work with different materials. This will save you a fair bit of money as it will be a good while before you are having to buy replacement belts.

We would recommend looking for models that are compatible with curved sanding arms – even if they don’t come with them as standard as long as they can be connected this is what matters. A curved sanding arm will massively increase the types of jobs that you can work on, as will allow filing or sanding on handrails or tubes for example.

Look out for models that have quick and easy methods for replacing the belts, as on some we found this to be rather fiddly and frustrating!

TOP TIP: Make sure that you purchase a power file that works with standard measurement belts. Otherwise you will find yourself having to purchase belts directly from the manufacturer for all future purchases which could cost you more.

Best Budget – Silverline Silverstorm Power File

Silverline Silverstorm Power File Belt Sander With 12 Sanding Belts 13mm x 457mm
219 Reviews
Silverline Silverstorm Power File Belt Sander With 12 Sanding Belts 13mm x 457mm
  • Silverline Silverstorm Power File Belt Sander With 12 Sanding Belts 13mm x 457mm
  • 1 x Silverline 247820 Silverstorm 260W Power Belt File 13mm
  • includes 2 x Belts plus
  • 1 x Pack of 5 Silverline 740136 Sanding Belts 80 Grit (Medium) 457 x 13mm
  • 1 x Pack of 5 Silverline 199545 Sanding Belts 60 Grit (Coarse) 457 x 13mm

Last update on 2022-07-22 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Power Features for Power Files

So now that you know the key aspects that you need to consider before purchasing a power file, it is important to consider some of these extra features that you make you thank us even more when you first use your power file!

Dust Collection

Anyone who completes jobs that involve sanding knows that it makes for messy work – this is unavoidable! So you can imagine the amount of dust that is collected from a tool that is going to halve your filing time (or even less!). Look out for power files that come with dust collection built in, and one that is easy to empty and clean afterwards, as this will not only save you filing time, but clean up time afterwards. Some models, however small, even offer the option of connecting to a vacuum if this is how you prefer to work!

We also found that the best dust collection methods helped to improve the finish that you achieved on the material you were working with as the area was always clear of dust and debris!

Adjustable File Arm

Look out for the most flexible file arm you can find as this will pay off aplenty when you are completing more intricate jobs! If you think of the many ways that you need to move your own arm and hand into when manually filing, well then you need a power file that is going to achieve as many of these angles as possible too! The thickness (or thinness more accurately) of your file arm is also going to be important, as the thinner the file arm, the tighter spaces that you will be able to get into. It is unlikely that you will be able to complete an intricate filing job solely with the use of your power file, but if you can purchase one that will complete as much of the surface area as possible then you are a fair part of the way there!

Grip, Comfort and Design

If you are opting for a power file then the idea is that it makes your life easier. This means that you need to look for a model that is designed with this in mind, which can occur in numerous different ways. Look out for features such as:

  • Ergonomical, comfort grip that makes your tool easy to hold for extended periods of time – you will usually find this involves rubber or some types of heavy-duty foam
  • Even weight distribution – A power file is a bit of an usually shaped tool, which can lead to uncomfortable weight distribution. Look for models that have taken this into consideration to reduce fatigue when you are working.
  • Easy to access and use switches. You want these to be close to the grip, with the variable speeds easy to understand and lock into position. Some come with specific “lock on” features which allows you to work continuously without even having your hand on the switch. This will allow you to maneuver the tool into more hard to reach places without affecting the speed and movement of the belt.
  • LED signal lights – These are especially important if you opt for a battery powered model as they will give you a signal when the battery is running low so you can be prepared for breaking to recharge, or to just swap the battery over.
  • Noise and vibration – If you know that you are going to be using your power file for extended periods of time then it may be worth opting for a model with noise and vibration reduction. This will help to reduce fatigue when you are working, allowing you to work for longer periods of time. It also avoids any lasting damage to hands and ears that DIY’ers can find from some tools!

Best of the Rest

Sale
BLACK+DECKER 350 W Electric Powerfile Sander , KA900E-GB
1,557 Reviews
BLACK+DECKER 350 W Electric Powerfile Sander , KA900E-GB
  • Powerful 350 W motor for optimal stock removal
  • Variable speed for optimal control and finish when sanding
  • Cyclonic action dust canister ensures efficient dust collection
  • Screw operated belt tracking

Last update on 2022-07-22 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Sale
Evolution Power Tools 062-0001 Precision File Sander, 400 W (230 V), Orange/Black, 6.89 in*16.54 in*4.13 in
546 Reviews
Evolution Power Tools 062-0001 Precision File Sander, 400 W (230 V), Orange/Black, 6.89 in*16.54 in*4.13 in
  • Adjustable sanding arm for comfort (120 degree)
  • Variable speed provides optimum control (300-1700 rpm)
  • Slim-line design, lightweight and portable
  • Three sanding belts included
  • 2 years limited warranty (only valid if purchased in the UK)

Last update on 2022-07-22 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

FERM Precision Belt Sander - Power File - 400W - Variable Speed Control - Vacuum Adapter - With 3 Sanding Arms, 12 Sanding Belts and Storage Case
517 Reviews
FERM Precision Belt Sander - Power File - 400W - Variable Speed Control - Vacuum Adapter - With 3 Sanding Arms, 12 Sanding Belts and Storage Case
  • The ergonomic design give users maximum control over the machine
  • Variable speed control for optimum sanding performance on every surface
  • Easy to change sanding belts without tools
  • The precision belt sander from FERM is the most complete sanding machine in his class
  • This 400 Watt machine is extremely comfortable and suitable for precision tasks.

Last update on 2022-07-22 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you get air powered power files?
Yes! Although mains and battery powered power files are more common, there are some pneumatic power files available on the market if this is what you are looking for. As a general rule, they will offer you more power, quicker filing and the flexibility of being able to work wherever your air compressor can go, so if you already have an air compressor to hand then they are well worth considering.

What materials can I use a power file on?
This really depends on the belt and also the power that you have with your power file. In theory, providing you have the right belt and power file for the job then you should be able to work with any type of wood, most plastic and metals!

Do all power files come with dust extraction?
No! So this is something that is well worth checking for before you buy! Many come with some level of dust extraction, but this isn’t always up to the task. Look out for models that offer good quality dust extraction and a large enough extraction bag to hold the dust whilst you are working!

What warranty comes with a power file?
Most power files come with a 2 or 3 year warranty (sometimes extended if the product is registered with the manufacturer. Remember to check whether the warranty is purely covered for home users – if this is the case you may find yourself becoming unstuck when trying to claim on your warranty if the tool is considered to have been used more than appropriate for the warranty cover!

Can you make a power file?

There are lots of videos and tips on making your own power files. It is possible to use some of your current tools to make a power file however they are never going to be as reliable or powerful as a real power file. Personally, if you are completing a lot of wood work you are much better purchasing the real deal!

  • Performance
  • Features
  • Ergonomics
  • Value

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