Over the course of my drywall-contracting career I have tried a lot of tools and quite often I end of asking myself, “what they were thinking?” Others, like the ones that I’ve reviewed here on Tools of the Trade have made me appreciate manufacturers with good product development and knowledge of the drywall industry. Full Circle is one such manufacturer; they have been in the drywall sanding business for many years. Their tools are thoroughly tested before a consumer ever gets their hands on one.
I’ve been using Full Circle’s Radius 360 sanding system for many years, and have liked it for its versatility. So when I saw that Full Circle developed a dust-control version of this system, I wanted to try it out. The Radius 360 Air is very similar to the regular Radius 360 sander, which is the only pole sander I have used for years. Both systems offer quick easy movement and full range of motion.
The center part of the sander where the handle attaches, called the hub, is detachable so that a different hub can be attached. Changing the hub converts the pole sander into a hand sander. The hose, which has a very flexible end, attaches to the handle of the hand sander hub and easily rotates 360 degrees. The hose connects to any shop vac and is not an obstacle to the sanding process.
The other sander included in the kit called a Flex Air sander can be used as a pole or hand sander using the interchangeable hubs. This rectangular shaped sander is great for general sanding but is designed for smaller jobs, detail sanding, and getting into tighter places such as inside corner edges.
Other features of the Radius 360 Air include the use of regular radius 360 sanding discs; no need for holes in the paper or using sanding screen. The brushes around the disk contain the dust which is directed to the edges of the disc where it is sucked away. This part of the tool called the base moves independently of the shroud for even greater smoothness of movement and the best dust control sanded finish.
The Flex Air is the perfect tool for corner and detail sanding. The “no flip” patented pole swivel is designed to keep the Flex Air in a working position for ease of use and uninterrupted sanding. It uses specially made sandpaper and pads, which are available in a variety of grits.
Verdict: Like its predecessor, the Radius 360, this dustless version is incredibly versatile and durable. I like the ability to change sanding heads depending upon the work I’m doing, and I like the improved mechanism by which the sandpaper attaches to the Flex Air. The brushes around the circular head do a good job containing dust and don’t leave marks on the drywall. And all-in-all, each of the heads did a really nice job containing and capturing dust. In the end, I would recommend this system to anyone who sands drywall regularly – either by hand, or with a pole.
The entire system consists of:
(1) Radius 360° Air Dustless Sanding Tool
(1) Flex Air Dustless Sanding Tool
(1) 2-piece Pole Assembly
(1) Orbiting Adapter Handle
(1) Hose Assembly with assorted fittings for vacuum connections
(1) Set of Radius 360 Sanding Discs: 150, 180, 220 Grit
(1) Set of Flex Air Sanding Paper: 150, 180, 220 Grit
(1) Pair of Flex Air Foam Abrasives: Fine and Medium
Price: about $180
Myron Ferguson is a drywall contractor in Middle Grove, N.Y., author of several books on drywall best-practices, and presents drywall clinics at JLC Live.