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How to Choose a Sandblaster for any Project

As you know a sandblaster is a helpful tool to prep or clean a variety of surfaces. Whether its removing paint and powder coating or creating a profile for a coating to adhere, sandblasters are one of the fastest and most common tools to properly prep a surface.  With so many options out their it can seem overwhelming to select the right type for you, this guide will cover some of the common considerations you should think about when choosing a sandblaster.


First Factor when choosing a sandblaster – What Blast Media Will You Use

The first potential factor to consider is the blast media you want to blast with.  If you are wondering what media would work best for your sandblasting you can check out our guide on blast media selection here.  Or review the chart below for a general overview.

Media Type

Common Uses

Crushed Glass

Paint removal; surface profiling for paint of steel, and other hard surfaces

Coal Slag

Coal slag is also good for paint removal and surface preparation of steel,


Soda blasting is suited well for surfaces that will tend to warp like car hoods and other thin metal bodies, as well as restoration work


Garnet is effective at surface prep and can have the added benefit of being very fast at removing contaminant

Steel Grit

Steel media is best if you can recover your blast media as it can be recycled up to 100 times


The reason the blast media you choose will matter when choosing a sandblaster is because some medias work best with special valves.  A few brands offer valves that are described as being able to use any blast media.  For Clemco blast pots and other competing brands their will usually be a valve that is for consumable medias like coal slag, crushed glass, or garnet. These are often called sand valves, though sand should not be used.  Other common valves are those designed for lite weight media like baking soda or similar powdery blast media.  Finally, you have valves that are generally designed for a variety of medias from crushed glass to grit to even soda.  Below are photos of each valve type.

Sand Valve

This is the standard valve for consumable blast media like crushed glass, coal slag, or Garnett

classic blast machine

Auto Quantum Valve

This type of valve is used to allow pressure hold designs and allow for abrasive cut off switch options. The valve can be used with about any media, though is not ideal for everyday use of soda.

auto quantam valve

Manual Quantum Valve

This is like the Auto Quantum Valve but will not allow abrasive cut off or pressure hold setups.

6 cuft classic blast machine

Lightweight Media Valve

A lightweight media valve has a unique angle that helps media not to clump together. It is ideal for soda blasting or other lightweight blast media.

 3 cuft classic blast machine

Second Factor – How long do you want to blast between refills?

The second factor to consider is the blast pot size.  In general blast pots will be listed in cubic feet sizes.  Each cubic foot of blast media will allow for about 3-5 minutes of blast time before requiring a refill.  These means if you want a 30 minute blast period you need about a 6 cubic foot pot or larger.  Knowing that each cubic foot will provide about 3 – 5 minutes of blast time will let you properly consider what sandblaster size will be best for you.

Third Factor – What safety remotes and options do you want

The third factor to think about is how much blast hose you will want to run off your blast pot and what kind of additional options you may want.  There are two common types of remotes that blast pots can use, pneumatic or electric powered remotes.  If you plan on using your blast pot with over 100 feet of hose, electric remotes are important because they will prevent any delay in shutting the blast pot off if you release the safety remote.


In addition to electric vs pneumatic remotes you will also want to consider whether you want to include options like an abrasive cut off switch or a pressure hold design.  The abrasive cut off switch option requires an additional line to the safety handle and allows blast media to be turned off, this can be used to clean blast media off your product before painting it and usually costs a few hundred extra dollars more than a standard blast pot. 


You also should consider if you want a pressure hold design.  A standard blast pot uses a pressure release design where the pot depressurizes every time you release the safety handle.  A pressure hold design maintains the blast pots pressure even when the safety handle is released and will only fully depressurize when you open a release valve. This type of blast pot can be ideal for frequent starting and stopping when blasting. 


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