When it comes to power tools that can save you time, effort, and money, there are few that can match belt sanders. These effective tools make use of sturdy belts that have the capacity to remove material from the edges or corners of a surface. They are designed to undertake various woodworking projects and have become an essential part of every professional carpenter’s toolkit. In this guide, we will delve into the main features of these tools and we will outline the advantages of having the best belt sander in your arsenal.
Things to know before buying a belt sander
The market offers a wide selection of options and if you are not very familiar with these tools, identifying the one that is suited for your needs might be a daunting task. Before opting for a particular model, it is essential that you have a firm grasp of how these tools operate and what you can expect from them. Here are the main factors that you need to keep in mind:
The weight of the device
When working with a belt sander, being able to maneuver the device with ease is extremely important. Some projects will require hours of work, so the unit has to be light enough to ensure maximum comfort and portability. It is advisable to avoid the bulky belt sanders that are likely to cause hand tiredness a few minutes into the project.
The quality of the handle
This factor is almost as important as the weight of the belt sander itself. The sander needs to have a handle that is both comfortable and sturdy, which will allow you to have a tight and secure grip on the device. Ergonomic handles are particularly effective in that aspect due to the fact they are specifically designed to fit the contours of the human hand.
Power of the motor
When it comes to power, you ideally want a motor that can generate enough horsepower to handle most of your projects. However, it is essential to keep in mind that too much power might actually compromise the stability and precision of the tool. From our own experience, we can safely state that 6 to 8 AMP is the ideal range.
Using a belt sander is bound to create some dust in your work area. To prevent this from happening, you should opt for a model that features some sort of dust collection mechanism.
Best Belt Sander Reviews
1 – Makita 9403 4″ x 24″ Belt Sander
- Quietest belt sander in its class: only 84 decibals
- 4 inch wide belt with a speed of 1,640 feet per minute for fast material removal
- Labyrinth construction seals motor and bearings from contamination
- Large front grip is positioned for operator comfort. Variable speed control dial...
When buying a product from Makita, you are assured of getting a certain level of quality that is difficult to find elsewhere. The 9403, in particular, sits at the top of the totem pole when it comes to affordable and effective belt sanders. Whether you are a professional or a hobbyist, this well designed machine is guaranteed to exceed your expectations and deliver the kind of performance that you strive for in your workshop.
This unit is equipped with a sturdy belt that boasts a speed that exceeds 1,600 feet per minute. Its capacity to remove layers of wood from various types of surfaces is simply peerless at this price range. More impressively, the Makita 9403 achieves this without producing the grating noise that is often associated with this kind of power tools. At only 84 dB, it is easily one of the quietest belt sanders on the market.
While this machine is far from being the most compact and lightweight option out there, it more than makes up for it in build quality and durability. Moreover, the solid and heavy construction gives it extra stability, which comes in really handy when working on a wide array of projects.
- It boasts an extra long and heavy duty cord
- The affordable price
- The belt is remarkably fast and durable
- The noise levels that it produces are very low even at full speed
- The heavy and sturdy construction gives the machine more stability
- It is effective on most types of surfaces
- Comes with a comprehensive set of instructions
- The machine is relatively heavy compared to some of its direct competitors
- The bag features some plastic parts that look quite flimsy and cheap
2 – WEN 6321 7-Amp 3 in. x 21 in
- 7-amp motor rotates the belt at over 13 feet per second
- Compact design weighs in at a mere six pounds to limit the fatigue of the user
- Includes a detachable dust bag to minimize clean-up
- Lock-in safety feature allows for continuous sanding without requiring a...
WEN is a name that pops up every time a budget power tool is mentioned. The brand has firmly established itself as a market leader when it comes to entry-level products in this niche. The WEN 6321 constitutes an ideal introduction to this line of work and it is perfectly tailored to the needs of DIY enthusiasts. While it doesn’t have the plethora of features that mid-range and premium models have, it still has all the necessary attributes that are needed for an adequate level of performance.
It is powered by a decent seven amp motor that delivers a speed of around 13 feet per second. The belt can operate on most surfaces and offers a number of convenient qualities such as ease of replacement and full adjustability. Some other practical features include the removable bag that facilitates the cleaning process and the Lock-in safety mechanism that allows for continuous sanding without necessitating a constant grip on the trigger.
Despite its lightweight feel, the WEN 6321 is durable enough to handle the rough conditions of any workshop. In fact, WEN is so confident in their product’s sturdiness that they are offering a generous 2-year warranty to all their customers.
- It is the best belt sander for people on a tight budget
- It has a decent motor relative to its size and price point
- The belt sander is equipped with an effective lock-in safety system that facilitates sanding
- The removable bag makes cleaning easy
- The sanding belt is easy to change
- The extended front roller enables you to reach tight corners and confined spaces with ease
- It doesn’t have variable speed
- The vent gets clogged easily
3 – BLACK+DECKER DS321 Dragster 7 Amp 3-Inch by 21-Inch Belt Sander with Clot Dust Bag
- Stanley - Black & Decker
- Quality Tools
- New Unused
- Included Components: (1) DS321 Sander, (1) Medium grit sanding belt, (1) Dust...
This affordable unit is mostly designed for home use but it is still versatile enough to do the job in the workshop too. This option is perfect for experienced users who prefer to take the DIY route rather than seek the assistance of a professional. This tool’s effectiveness is mostly rooted in the fact that Black+Decker has managed to successfully trim the fat from it by excluding all the superfluous features that add nothing to the intrinsic value of the unit and sticking to the essential attributes, leaving you with a compact and affordable power tool that can deliver exactly what you need from it. Weighting just below seven pounds, the DS321 is easy to store and maneuver.
This belt sander features a unique front roller design that enables you to reach tight spaces and corners in a quick and easy manner and with minimal effort. More importantly, the DS321 is one of the few entry-level models that boast a retractable handle. This feature provides you with superior maneuverability and allows you to have easy control over the unit when working on different projects around the home. Additionally, the belt sander is equipped with a good dust collection system that helps clean the area and maintain proper work conditions.
- The retractable handle gives you great control over the tool
- It is perfectly suited for home use
- The dust collection system is decent for the price point
- The design is efficient and compact
- It is easy to maneuver
- The front roller design makes working in tight spaces possible
- This belt sander is extremely loud
- It is not powerful enough to handle heavy work
4 – Hitachi SB8V2 9.0 Amp 3-Inch-by-21-Inch Variable Speed Belt Sander
- Hitachi Power Tools has renamed to Metabo HPT. Same great tools, with only a new...
- Variable speed dial adjusts speed from 820 1,475 feet/min for improved...
- Soft elastomer grip surface on the main and auxiliary handles for a comfortable...
- Tracking window improves visibility of sanding surface and sanding belt during...
This model from industry heavyweight Hitachi has a lot going for it. Between the sturdy belt, the front tracking window that provides an unmatched visibility, and the variable speed feature, this belt sander has you covered from all angles. The SBBV2 is a substantial upgrade over the previous model and it offers several improvements when compared to its predecessor, namely when it comes to power and durability. The quality that it delivers can only be described as professional grade. It is equipped with a great 9 amp motor, which gives it the power that is necessary to remove wood, steel, and paint from any kind of surface. Furthermore, this belt sander has low maintenance requirements and comes with a great warranty from Hitachi
Another great thing about the Hitachi is just how easy and convenient it is to use. The speed can be quickly adjusted with a flick of a button and the ergonomic handle provides a comfortable and secure grip that contributes to eliminating vibrations and reducing hand fatigue during long projects. The aforementioned front window plays a significant role in enhancing the efficiency of your work by giving you an unobstructed view and making steering a much easier task.
- The Hitachi is equipped with a powerful 9 amp motor that can handle heavy applications
- The machine is easy to maintain
- The heavy duty construction ensures the durability of the machine
- The front tracking window provides you with tremendous visibility while working
- The handle is robust and easy to grip
- It comes with a great warranty
- The convenient speed control
- The dust bag is poorly made
- The machine is a little bit heavier than we would like
5 – PORTER-CABLE 352VS 8 Amp
- Variable-speed belt sander with cloth dust bag; variable-speed dial 850-1,300...
- Belt and gear drive system transfers power from the motor to the sanding belt
- Designed for flush sanding up to vertical surfaces; dust bag swivels 360 degree
- Fingertip belt-tracking knob; quick-release belt-change lever
The last model in our list is probably the most durable of them all. Unlike the vast majority of belt sanders on the market, it is mostly constructed from sturdy metal rather than the more commonly-used reinforced plastic. This gives the Porter-Cable a unique ability to withstand constant exposure to all the elements that are present in the workshop. On top of enhancing the durability of the machine, the metal construction can also act as an effective heat diffuser that maintains temperatures at an optimal level during sanding.
This unit is powerful enough to handle a wide range of heavy applications and sanding projects. Its motor produces a substantial amount of torque and its variable speed means that you can use it for smaller projects such as working on wood cabinets in your home. The speed varies between 850 and 1,300 RPM and it can be adjusted using a conveniently-placed dial. As far as precision is concerned, the Porter-Cable 352VS is equipped with several features that contribute to enhancing the accuracy of the machine and making it easy to use. These features consist of an adjustable belt tracking knob, a ceramic aluminum oxide belt, and a quick-release belt change mechanism.
- This machine is made from metal and it boasts one of the sturdiest frames on the market
- It does not overheat even during heavy work
- It is extremely precise
- The motor has variable speed
- It comes with a heavy duty 100g ceramic aluminum oxide belt
- It is backed by a 3-year warranty
- It is a little bit noisy
- The dust collection is not that great
Safety Tips when Operating Your Belt Sander
With its ease of use and the quality of output, the belt sander machine has turned out to be one of the most favorites to most carpenters who want to make their end result excellent. Although it is a great machine, it can cause serious injuries to you as the user if you don’t maintain it. It has been noted that faulty machines are the major cause of injuries.
As a pro, you definitely know the important of working with a properly maintained machine. However, for novice and DIYers, there I need to know what they need to do to keep their belt sander in perfect working condition. Here are some of the tips:
- Regularly checking the rollers
You should always ensure that the belts are well aligned and sit properly on the rollers. You should align the rollers too to ensure that your belt doesn’t slip off and fell when operating the machine. On the side of the belt sander, there is a knob which you should use in adjusting the tracking of the belt. Always ensure the belt is running well to avoid damages at all cost. Your manufacturers’ manual is a great resource.
- Periodically vacuum your machine
Sawdust in sticking in your belt sander machine is one major culprit that can easily destroy your machine and cause it to malfunction. Most of the modern belt sanders machines usually come with a belt sander vacuum adapter which is meant to remove the dust from the machine as it operates. If your machine lacks this important part, you can contact your manufacturer for advice.
- Changing your belt
Anytime you notice signs of wear and tears or any other damages, then you will need to replace the belt. It is very dangerous to operate your belt sander with a worn out belt. In order to change the belt as required, you will need to follow the manufacturer’s guide in the manual. That’s why it is important to buy from a credible manufacturer.
- Regularly checking the platen
When you are changing your belt, ensure you check some cracks, scratches, dents, wear or tears on the platen. Platen usually sits between the belt and shoe of your machine. It usually acts as the shock absorber of the belt sander machine. It also supports the weight of the machine and constantly the belt will run over it. Frequent use of belt sander will eventually cause much friction on the platen causing wear and tear.
If you are truly serious about your work, you really can’t settle for anything less than best belt sander for the money. The models that we reviewed are excellent and cover every budget category. Read the belt sander reviews attentively and make your decision, you won’t regret investing in one of these powerful tools!
Last update on 2020-04-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API