People generally acquire a belt sander in order to smooth out wood or shape it in a specific way that’s difficult to do manually or with any other type of tool. They are typically meant for big jobs at the beginning of the sanding process and can help a person cut down their work time drastically, as well as the amount of energy and force they must use.
Belt sanders aren’t meant to be used as a tool to generate fine woodworking, random orbital sanders are more ideal, but rather one that is more of a brute force tool that has the inherent ability to take off considerable amount of stock from the face of wood. Jobs that come to mind are smoothing out decks, porches or floors. Finding the best belt sander is no easy trick but through smart evaluation and research, it’s simple to locate one for the job at hand.
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What to Look for When Buying a Belt Sander
By understanding your needs, you will also be able to recognize which type of belt sander is necessary to complete your task. There are many belt sander reviews that will help you find the one perfect for your situation. However, there are three important benefits to consider when you’re ready to make a purchase.
- You may want to consider a variable speed motor to give you flexibility in how fast the belt rotates. This allows you to slow down to perfect certain details or speed up to get to an end result quickly
- Look for one that is well built, powerful, and heavy — one that will handle the bulk of the work without you having to push down hard to get the sander to work at its optimal performance. Some lightweight models are fine but may take longer to blast you through your entire project.
- Ideally the belt sander you purchase should contain a dust bag (or one that can be attached to a dust collection system) as you can count on the sander creating a big mess of sawdust.
Going Through the Best Belt Sander Brands
Combing through the various belt sanders available for purchase is not an easy task. We’ve isolated the top belt sander by brand to make your job simple, especially if you have a brand preference.
Makita Belt Sander – Makita 9903 8.8 Amp 3 X 21 Inch Variable Speed Belt Sander
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The Makita 9903 8.8 Amp 3 X 21 Inch Variable Speed Belt Sander is a very high end tool, meant to be used by people who frequently partake in wood projects or contractors that work in this specific field. It is highly dependable, heavy-duty variable speed belt sander that weighs approximately 10 lbs and can be relied upon for jobs that take minutes or hours to complete.
The Makita belt sander has a 8.8 amp motor but is also known to be the quietest belt sander in its class. It includes a unique design that allows it to be completely flush with the material being sanded and only puts off a sound of 85 decibels when in use. This Makita sander is a perfect one to invest in if projects are consistently coming up your house. For the full review of the Makita 9903, click here. Like Makita brand tools, but want a different size sander? Check out a preview of two 4 X 24 inch belt sanders by Makita.
Porter Cable Belt Sander – Porter-Cable 362V 4 X 24 Inch Variable Speed Belt Sander
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The Porter Cable 362V 4 X 24 Inch Variable Speed Belt Sander is an option chose by contractors worldwide. When purchased, it comes with a 100G belt, a dust bag, and a manual that gives owners instructions to start immediately. The powerful 12 amp motor makes sanding vertical surfaces an easy task to complete.
This Porter Cable belt sander weighs 15.5 lbs and contains an extremely strong motor, becoming completely flush with vertical pieces is effortless. This belt sander speed can be changed to cover 1,000 surface feet per minute to 1,500 surface feet per minute. This is a nice feature to have because different materials become smoother at different speeds. If metal needs to be smoothed out, the belt needs to be set at a slower speed. Porter-Cable is a top trusted brand that has provided homeowners with hours of successful projects and experiences. You can read more about this model by clicking here.
Ryobi Belt Sander – Reconditioned Ryobi ZRBE318 5 Amp 3 X 18 Inch Belt Sander
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This is a more affordable option for a person who won’t be using a belt sander on a daily basis. A nice feature included is the circular dust port which allows for the use of an external vacuum or shop vac, or the option to attach a dust bag to the tool. This allows for a tidier work space and makes cleaning up uncomplicated.
The tension release lever makes changing the sanding belts simple and the lock on trigger allows the sander to be used for longer periods of times. Repeated belt sander reviews indicate that Factory-Reconditioned Ryobi ZRBE318 5 is a top belt sander for a beginner handyman or one that has minimal projects to complete. While this is a factory conditioned Ryobi product, it simply means that it has been restored and reconditioned to be of optimal use to you, typically at a cheaper price. To learn more about this belt sander, click here for our in-depth review.
Grizzly Belt Sander – Grizzly H6070 Belt and 5-Inch Disc Sander, 1 x 30 Inch
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Many belt sander reviews immediately state that this is one of the best 1×30 inch belt sanders that money can buy. Featuring a belt and disc sander-in-one makes this a top competitor in the market. By including both types of sander in one useful device, it allows the user to work on the most intricate and detailed projects. Rounding out the smallest edges as never been easier with the Grizzly H6070 Belt and 5-Inch Disc Sander.
This variable speed belt sander from Grizzly features a motor of ⅓ HP and the revolutions per minute equal 3450. This means that the sanding belt will spin the equivalent of 3450 each minute the belt sander is turned on and in use. This is considered a high rpv when compared to other similar products in the market. Another beneficial component of this tool is that both the belt sander and the disc sander tilt to 45 degree angles to ensure you get the smoothest edges on the smallest piece of wood. For more detail, take a closer look at the Grizzly H6070 Belt Sander.
Black and Decker Sander – Black & Decker BR318 3 X 18 Inch Low Profile Belt Sander
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This is considered the best belt sander for use in tight spaces or for use on narrow pieces of wood. It is low profile and easily accommodates the hard to reach places that a normal belt sander would not be able to reach. The Black & Decker BR318 Low Profile Belt Sander has a comfortable front handle design and is lightweight when compared to the competitors in the market. Weighing only 3.6 lbs allows the user to easily maneuver the tool while sanding the wood. Black & Decker is a household name and is trusted throughout the country to deliver the best experience.
The dust bag that is included with the sander makes cleanup easy and keeps the mess to a minimum. It also features an auto-tracking belt design which ensures the sand belt stays on the device when in use. Black and Decker also offers one year warranty against any malfunctioning or defective parts that the tool may encounter after purchase. Read our full review of the Black and Decker BR318.
Jet Belt Sander – Jet 708599K 6-Inch/12-Inch 1-1/2 Horsepower Open Sand Belt/Disc Sander
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The Jet Open Sand Belt/Disc Sander is a very powerful belt sander that is a combination of disc and belt sander. It is designed to bring professional quality sanding to any type of setting. The device is set on an open steel stand, and both belt and disc sanders run on a centrally balanced and completely encased induction motor. The motor is prewired for 115 volt outlets.
The 2 horsepower motor delivers great speed and power to the sander. The sander belt rotates at 2500 SFPM and can be adjusted to operate vertically as well as horizontally. The 12 inch disc sander operates with efficiency with very little vibration. The meter slotted cast iron table employs a tilting capability which helps to accommodate any type of sanding application.
The thumbscrews are unique and can make the tracking adjustments really quick and fairly consistent. The belt life has been increased by the platen made of graphite, which reduces the heat being created. The switch pad of the device can be locked, making the device really safe to work with. Check out this sander in more detail as well as a 2 X 42 inch belt and disc sander by Jet.
Ridgid Belt Sander – Restored Ridgid ZRR2740 3 X 18 Inch Variable Speed Belt Sander
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At $100 new, this factory conditioned unit by Ridgid comes fully restored and that’s the beauty of buying used. You’re getting a product that has been completely renovated and tested to work perfectly in your hands, for a fraction of the cost. This 3 x 18 sander contains a 6.5 Amp motor belt and is gear driven for increased power and durability. It’s certainly a comfortable sander to use with a soft grip handle and a belt adjustment to assist in rolling the belt to the very edge of the sander.
It’s more powerful than it looks at first glance, well built and easily outperforms many 3 x 21 inch sanders, while being lighter to boot. It contains a helpful feature in twin fans — one keeping the temperature of the motor down while the other collects the accumulating dust. It has a convenient 12 ft all rubber cord with cord wrap to help with mobility.
Skil Belt Sander – Reconditioned Skil 7510-RT 3 X 18 6.0 Amp Belt Sander
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This factory reconditioned belt sander by Skil gives you affordability right out of the gate as you’re getting a restored sander for half the price of a new Skil. This is certainly a bare bones basic sander — one that is affordable but comes with a lack of frills you can expect from a top of the line sander. There’s no speed adjustment but this heavy duty Skil sander gets the job which is — bottom line — exactly what bargain hunting belt sander owners are looking for.
Many have reported that the sander comes looking practically brand new, can handle hours of work at a time, and has a surprisingly efficient dust filter. Its 6.0 Amp motor helps push through the tough job with an auto track belt alignment that keeps the belt where it should be without losing it’s center position. There’s a lock that can be enabled to keep the sander running without needing to depress the trigger.
Hitachi Belt Sander – Hitachi SB8V2 3 X 21 Inch Variable Speed Belt Sander
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This 3 x21 inch Hitachi belt sander is known to carry a lot of power in a small package, weighing just under 10 lbs, but composed of a 9 Amp motor with variable speed for all your small, medium, and tough sanding jobs. With a no-load speed of 820 to 1,475 feet per minute, it’s an ideal belt sander for every single job on your plate whether it be wood, steel, or paint removal.
The variable speed control can be adjusted on the fly and corner sanding is much easier now that the dust bag is situated on the left side of the sander with the body flush with the belt pulley on the right. A useful dust collection bag takes in all airborne particles and maintains a clean work area for long hours of use. Hitachi has one of the best warranty’s in the business — a 5 year replacement period if the sander contains defects in materials and/or workmanship.
Rockwell Belt Sander – Rockwell RK7866 Belt Disc Sander
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Don’t sleep on this heavy duty 45 lb belt disc sander by Rockwell, a 1/2 horsepower unit that comes with a 4 X 36 sander and 6 inch disc sander. The belt platform tilts from 0 to 90 degrees for both horizontal and vertical sanding, a nice touch for various projects. The cast aluminum sanding table adjusts from 0 to 45 degrees for beveled edges.
The belt can easily be exchanged or modified with the adjustable belt tensioning mechanism, and you won’t be sorry with the 4.3 Amp motor that is reliable for all your difficult projects. Also included is a 45 degree miter gauge and Allen key for additional benefits.
Craftsman Belt Sander
Bosch Belt Sander
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How to Use a Belt Sander
A belt sander is best used by allowing the motor to run until it’s at full speed. Using both hands, one on the trigger handle and the other stabilizing the unit on the forward handle, slowly allow the sander down onto the property.You’ll want the rear roller to contact the wood initially, with the rest of the sanding face to contact the wood to follow.
Be prepared to maintain firm control as the belt will then grab ahold of the wood and drive the sander forward. Your main focus now is to keep the sander moving with the grain of the wood in a consistent motion, because even a very coarse belt will take off the stock fast.
Take your time and move slowly while checking your progress. Maintaining light pressure and working in small increments is better than attempting to tear through the wood because that can cause more harm than you anticipated, leaving you with more repair work.
How Belt Sanders Make Life Easier
When the goal is to smooth out rough surfaces, the high speed and swift strength of a belt sander will do the trick with ease. They use abrasive cloth sanding belts with sandpaper of different grits from coarse to very-fine, which run on continuous loops over two cylindrical drums. The motor on the sander is in charge of running the rear drum with the front drum spinning on its own. A new belt can be added/replaced and centered through the use of a tension release level and tracking adjustment knob.
Belt sanders, typically either handheld or stationary variety, are great for taking off old finish and help prepare the wood for staining, painting, or other types of finishes. They are convenient for projects around the home, such as refinishing outdoor furniture or slicing off a portion of a stuck door. With the proper amount of force from the belt’s friction, you will find getting down to a completely smooth surface is within reach.
The Many Belt Sander Uses
A belt sander comes in different sizes: 3 x 18, 3 x 21, 4 x 24, 6 x 48, 1 x 30, 1 x 42, all of which are capable of handling at-home projects. This tool has a variety of functions and is ideal for forming curved shapes when turned upside down and used as a stationary sander. This multi-purpose tool can be used for scribing, sanding very rough surfaces, and also leveling or rounding out surfaces. They are extremely handy when replacing deck boards or planks in wood flooring. The sander helps match the new board with the old one by rounding it out to match the older boards.
If you want to get down to a deeper layer on a wooden floor, a belt sander is a great choice, especially if the joints in the wood are creating some unevenness. Consider using it on a small home project such as a deck repair to a larger home project such as a basement renovation. Identifying what you will specifically be working on and how frequently you plan on using a belt sander will be major factors that will affect which size tool will be the best to invest in for the long run.
We hope these belt sander reviews will help you gain a clear image of the top brands on the market and ones that you’ll get the most bang for your buck with. Hopefully the listing above can help you make an informed decision on which the right brand to meet your needs. You’ll also find a page dedicated to different sizes of belt sanders, helpful for particular projects you have in store. Feel free to contact us with any questions along the way.