It doesn’t matter if you’re a home improvement enthusiast, woodworker, or general contractor, a belt sander is a tool you’re going to need and use in many projects, from refinishing wood floors, cabinets, and tables to grinding metal and removing an old finish.
That being said, a belt sander can be quite a hefty investment, so it’s a good idea to do your research before taking the plunge. Depending on the type of work you want to do, the sander that’s best for you will vary.
Below are the best belt sander models on the market, their pros and cons, and the things you need to know when buying a new belt sander.
Makita 9403 Belt Sander
This belt sander will power through any job you need it for, from resurfacing and refinishing wood furniture to evening out large surfaces. It’s incredibly versatile and works equally well for professional and amateur construction, woodworking, and home improvement jobs.
The sander is one of the quietest on the market, with a maximum volume of 84 decibels. For comparison purposes, that’s about as loud as a blender or garbage disposal. The relative quietness of this sander means that you won’t have to wear earplugs while operating it.
Quick and Powerful
This sander’s belt measures 4 inches wide and moves at a speed of 1,640 feet per minute, making it incredibly powerful and capable of working through large surfaces as quickly as possible! If you need to sand large surfaces like a floor or table, this is a good choice.
This sander also features an ergonomically-comfortable large front grip and an innovative design that allows it to operate flush with walls and corners, making it very flexible and easy to use. Even if you’re planning on using it for long periods of time, you’ll still have a comfortable and functional sanding experience.
A Popular Sander
The Makita 9403 Belt Sander is beloved by many woodworkers, contractors, and home improvers who love that it’s well-balanced, quiet, and powerful without gouging or damaging delicate wood surfaces.
Its only flaw is that its vacuum bag may not be large or strong enough to contain the dust from large projects such as decks, tables, and patio furniture.
BLACK+DECKER DS321 Dragster Belt Sander
This belt sander is the perfect tool to finish any home improvement, woodworking, or outdoor furniture project. It’s designed to be compact and easily maneuverable, but still sturdy enough to complete even your most ambitious tasks.
Comfortable to Use
The sander features a high-performance 7-amp motor, which provides maximum power and performance without compromising maneuverability. Its handle is adjustable to three different positions, allowing you to change your grip to the most comfortable position for you.
Sands Close to Edges and Walls
Additionally, this sander’s belt is designed at a unique angle, which allows you to extend your reach three times closer to the edges of walls and corners. If you’ve ever been frustrated by other sanders’ inability to handle adjoining surfaces, this sander is for you!
With each package, you’ll receive a belt sander, a medium grit sanding belt measuring 3 inches by 21 inches, a dust collection bag, and a handy instruction manual.
Great for Small Projects
The BLACK+DECKER DS321 Belt Sander is great for use on small projects (such as removing paint or wood stains), small hobby projects, and evening out wood surfaces. Despite its small size, it works powerfully and quickly and is also relatively quiet.
However, some users have experienced issues with its auto belt tracking system and dust bag, which will detach if not secured properly.
ELECTRONIX EXPRESS Mini Belt Sander
This miniature belt sander is great for sanding small pieces of wood and for sharpening knives, saws, and other cutting tools. If you’re looking for a tool that’s small enough to handle delicate materials, but still strong enough to get the job done quickly, look no further!
The mini sander features a 3-amp 1/3 HP motor. The belt measures 1 inch by 30 inches and moves at a rate of 3,400 RPM, a brisk speed that will quickly sand or sharpen any material you need it to.
This sander’s table measures 5 inches by 5 inches and can also tilt up to 45°, making it the ideal surface to support any piece of wood or blade. The overall sander itself is also extremely lightweight, making it even more portable.
All Parts Included
In each package, you’ll receive a mini belt sander, one 80-grit belt measuring 1 inch by 30 inches, a power cord, and an instruction manual.
Great for Sharpening Blades
The ELECTRONIX EXPRESS Mini Belt Sander is great for shaping, grinding, and sharpening not only knives, but also katanas, machetes, axes, hand cutting tools, and any other kind of blade. The belt is very easy to change, and it operates quietly and sturdily without needing to be bolted down.
The only downside is that it won’t work very well for large-scale projects involving wood since its belt size is quite small.
Makita 9903 Belt Sander
This belt sander is a wonderful tool for woodworkers, carpenters, furniture makers, and deck buildings. Its world-class engineering design and powerful motor will make quick work out of all of your woodworking projects, no matter how big.
Adjustable Speed Settings
The sander features an 8.8-amp motor, which works hard to smooth unfinished wood surfaces without overheating. Also, the belt speed can be adjusted anywhere between 690 and 1,440 feet per minute, allowing you to fine-tune this sander to the exact speed that works for you.
Works with Walls and Corners
Unlike other sanders, which have trouble working on projects with walls and corners, this innovatively-designed belt sander can function with its nose or side flush to any wall, allowing you to sand every last inch of any shelf, cabinet, floor, wall, or box.
With each package, you’ll receive a belt sander, a 3 inch by 21-inch abrasive belt, and an included dust bag to trap any debris or sawdust created by your sanding. That’s everything you need to complete any home improvement or woodworking task!
The Makita 9903 Belt Sander has earned rave reviews, especially because of its incredibly quiet operation, which functions at an absolute maximum of 85 decibels. Other than that, the belt’s auto-tracking capabilities work seamlessly and the machine’s ergonomic handle minimizes discomfort.
However, some people have found that the attached power cord is too long, which is only a minor inconvenience.
SKIL 7510-01 Sandcat Belt Sander
This compact belt sander is a solid tool for any home improvement projects, from refinishing floors to smoothing splintery stairs. It works on any kind of wood surface and is surprisingly powerful, especially given its compact size and affordable price tag.
Easy to Operate
The sander has a 120-volt voltage and a single belt speed of 1,050 rotations per minute. It also features a generous 6-foot power cord and weighs in at a compact, lightweight 8.2 pounds, making it a breeze to operate, even for long periods of time.
Pressure Control Technology
The sander also features pressure control technology, which warns you when you’re applying excessive pressure while operating the machine. That way, you won’t have to worry about accidentally gouging or damaging your wood surfaces with your sander ever again!
Auto-Track and Micro-Filtration Systems
In addition to its pressure control technology, this sander even has auto-track and micro-filtration systems, which keep the belt from skewing or de-centering and filter out stray dust particles to keep your sanding experience as clean and mess-free as possible.
Small, Yet Effective
The SKIL 7510-01 Belt Sander is beloved by experienced woodworkers and amateur home improvers alike. Its small size makes it easily storable, but it’s still powerful enough to get large sanding jobs done. Plus, it features an excellent shock absorption system, so you won’t experience uncomfortable vibrations.
The clear dust collector does tend to fill up quickly, though, especially if you’re sanding large pieces of wood or entire floors.
TACKLIFE PSFS1A Classic Belt Sander
This combination of belt sander and bench sander is extremely versatile and can handle materials as diverse as wood, glass, ceramic tile, and metal. Also, it comes with 13 different sanding belts, which is a nice and unexpected bonus.
The sander features a 5-amp motor and a belt that rotates 14 feet per second, allowing it to perform incredibly effectively and powerfully. Moreover, by attaching the two included screw clamps, you can transform this sander into a sanding platform, doubling its functionality.
To augment its versatility even further, this belt sander also features a speed setting knob that allows you to adjust between 6 different speeds, as well as a locking switch that lets the sanding belt run continuously without relying on a trigger.
In each package, you’ll receive one sanding machine, six 120-grit belts, seven 80-grit belts, two screw clamps, a dust box, and a vacuum adaptor. The 13 included sanding belts allow you to adjust your sander to accommodate different kinds of projects and extend the value of the overall package, preventing you from having to buy replacement sanding belts so soon.
The TACKLIFE PSFS1A Belt Sander is one of the best for its price, especially for at-home use. The sanding belts are incredibly robust and easy to interchange, the included clamps multiply the sander’s possible utility, and the locking switch makes large projects incredibly easy to complete.
If you are working on a large-scale project, you may need to be careful to securely attach the dust box. Otherwise, it might fall off and make a mess of your workspace.
WEN 6502T Belt and Disc Sander
This sanding machine has two functions in one — it works as a belt sander and a disc sander, giving you double the flexibility and the most bang for your buck. Together, they’ll be able to handle all of your sanding needs!
The sander features a high-powered 4.3-amp 1/2 HP motor, which is enough to handle your heftiest projects without slowing down or overheating. Additionally, the sand belt can rotate up to 90°, which allows you to work at the most comfortable angle for any of your projects.
Sturdy Base and Versatile Sandpaper
The base of this sanding machine is made of solid, durable cast iron, which provides a stable foundation for your work without creating uncomfortable vibrations. It’s also sturdy enough to stand on its own without needing to be bolted down. Plus, the sanding belt and disc sander are made of 80-grit sandpaper, a perfect moderate texture for both heavy sanding and more delicate smoothing.
Comes with Everything You Need
In each package, you’ll receive the sanding machine itself, an 80-grit sanding belt and disc, a beveling work table, an extended safety guard, a 2.25-inch dust port, and a miter gauge.
Easy to Use
The WEN 6502T Belt Sander has so many benefits, including relatively quiet operation and amazing versatility. Plus, it’s effortless to switch out the sanding belt and disc, making this machine ideal for the amateur woodworker.
However, you may find that the dust port disperses sawdust all over your work area, which might be a pain to clean up.
What Is a Belt Sander?
A belt sander uses a continuous loop of sandpaper to sand large surfaces. They’re generally used for wood, but can also be used for non-ferrous metals like aluminum.
Depending on the grit of sandpaper used, belt sanders can aggressively even out surfaces during the beginning stages of projects, remove paints or stains, or smooth out surfaces during the later stages of projects.
Smaller belt sanders are often handheld, but larger sanders are generally mounted onto a workbench for more stability.
7 Things You Must Consider While Buying a Belt Sander
1. What size of belt sander do you need?
The size of the belt sander you need will depend on the type of project you want to use it for. Most belt sanders measure 3 inches by 21 inches, which is a good moderate size that will probably work for most home improvement or woodworking projects.
If you need to sand a large surface, such as an entire floor, look for a sander with a belt that measures 4 inches by 24 inches. If you only need a belt sander for delicate work, such as hobby woodworking or sharpening knives, look for a smaller, thinner belt size.
2. What materials are you going to use your belt sander for?
Again, belt sanders are best suited to a specific range of materials. If you’re going to try to sand down ferrous metals, like cast iron or wrought iron, a belt sander isn’t the best choice.
However, if you’re planning on working on materials like sturdy wood or aluminum, a belt sander will work just fine. Keep in mind, because belt sanders are quite powerful and aggressive, they might be too strong for delicate or fragile furniture.
3. What grit sandpaper will work best?
Most belt sanders come with at least one sandpaper belt. If possible, try to buy a belt sander whose included sandpaper belt is the right grit for your project. The higher the grit, the more delicate the sandpaper.
If you want to create a smooth, flawless surface on your furniture or floors, look for sandpaper with a high grit. Lower grits are coarser and more powerful (great for removing paint or powering through large surfaces), but they might destroy delicate furniture. Be careful to choose grit sandpaper that works for you.
4. What is your price range?
As is the case with most appliances, the more expensive models are generally more powerful and come with more bells and whistles. However, there are still quality belt sanders available at any price range.
The most affordable models will run you around $30 to $50, excluding shipping. These sanders tend to be smaller, with fewer attachments and added features. They’re perfect for the amateur or occasional woodworker.
Larger, more complex, and more powerful models might run you upwards of $100, but they’re worth it if you’re looking for a heavy duty belt sander or are planning on using your sander for commercial work.
5. Will you be using your belt sander for heavy-duty work or occasional home repairs?
Regardless of whether you’re looking for a belt sander that can perform hardcore jobs or a belt sander that’s better suited to amateur woodworking or light home repairs, it’s very important to read the reviews for any sander that you’re considering.
Some sanders are just not powerful enough to stand up to heavy-duty commercial work, which means that you’ll quickly run through them and end up having to buy a replacement.
On the other hand, other sanders are too powerful for occasional at-home work and might end up damaging your furniture, doors, and stairs.
6. What motor power is best for you?
A belt sander’s overall power capacity goes hand-in-hand with its motor power. The higher the amperage rating, the more powerful the motor is, and the more powerful the sander is.
If you just want a sander that can do DIY at-home work, look for an amperage between 6-9 amps. If you want a sander that’s powerful enough to perform at a commercial, professional, or heavy duty level, you’re going to need a motor amperage of at least 10 amps.
7. Do you want variable speed settings?
Not all belt sanders have variable speed settings, which allow you to control the speed of the belt itself. The slower the belt, the more delicate the sanding process.
The higher speeds will increase the belt sander’s power, allowing it to make quick work of tough layers of paint, stain, and glue. Variable speed settings will definitely increase your belt sander’s versatility, making it better suited to professional or commercial work.
However, if you’re just going to be doing at-home repairs, the added cost of variable speed settings might not be worth it.
Benchtop vs Handheld Sanders
Depending on the type of work that you want to do, either a benchtop or a handheld belt sander will be best for you. If you want to resurface floors, doorways, or tabletops, you should absolutely spring for a handheld sander.
These sanders are much more portable, allowing you to move them around large, immobile surfaces like floorboards and stairs. If you want to sand objects that are more movable, like pieces of wood or metal, then you should buy a benchtop sander.
This way, you won’t have to lug an entire sander over to the relatively small piece of wood or metal you’re trying to sand, and can just bring your materials over to the stationary sander instead.