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10 Best Belt Sanders in 2020

If you’ve ever sanded a piece of wood manually for a long time, then you don’t need us to tell you just how laborious and painstakingly time-consuming it is – you already know. However, what we will tell you is you no longer have to do it manually because the best belt sander will get the job done to perfection. Belt sanders are an excellent addition to your power tool arsenal if you do a lot of woodwork applications that require sanding for that perfect finish.

If you’re going to spend your hard-earned cash on a belt sander, then it should be worth your while. But with a plethora of sanders in the market, how do you tell the best and the worst apart? Don’t fret, below is a well-detailed review of only the ten best belt sanders you will find on the market today.

View The Best Belt Sander Below

1. BUCKTOOL BD4801 Bench Belt Sander

BUCKTOOL BD4801 Bench Belt Sander

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Featuring a 5 amp ¾ HP induction motor, the Bucktool BD4801 boasts an 8inch disc sander and a 36-inch sanding belt. It’s powerful enough to tackle heavy duty home projects that come your way. It tilts up to 90-degrees, which is a welcomed feature that allows precision sanding even on angled surfaces.

Buyers also love that it features a cast-aluminum base, as this helps dampen for vibrations for minimal user fatigue, and at the same time, offers stability. Unlike most units today, it has a safety switch, so you don’t have to stress about it accidentally turning on. While it lacks variable speed control, it makes up for that with its two cloth dust collection bag.

Pros:
+ It features two dust bags and a powerful 5 amp motor.
+ Has a cast aluminum body for stability
+ Tilts up to 90-degrees for precision
+ Features a safety switch

Why We Liked It – The Bucktool 4801 sander is an excellent buy as it’s both a disc and belt sander. Other than that, it has an aluminum body to dampen the vibrations and tilts up to 90-degrees for precision sanding.


2. Makita 9403 4″ X 24″ Belt Sander

Makita 9403 4

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If you have been buying power tools for a while now, then this entry shouldn’t surprise you. Makita is one of the best power tool manufacturers in existence today, and this belt sander packs a bunch of features that indeed live up to its reputation. Weighing only 13lbs and sporting a large ergonomic front grip, this model is incredibly comfortable to work with for hours. Operating at only 84 decibels, the Makita 9403 is reputed for being one of the quietest units you’ll come across.

While most units have stainless steel platens, this model has ceramic platens that significantly prolong the life of the sanding belt, since they don’t heat up as quickly as the latter. But overall, the most outstanding feature is its 11-amp motor, which powers it through the toughest sanding, giving you a speed of up to 1,640 feet per minute.

Pros:
+ A pretty lightweight yet powerful 11 amp belt sander
+ Surprisingly quiet
+ Conveniently placed dust collection bag
+ Ceramic platens prolong the life of the belt

Why We Liked It – For a unit its size and one that features a powerful 11 amp motor, the Makita 9403 belt sander is surprisingly quiet and lightweight. It’s also quite compact and has a cloth dust bag on the right for effortless sawdust collection in corners.


3. SKIL 7510-01 Sandcat Belt Sander

SKIL 7510-01 Sandcat Belt Sander

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This Skill sand cat is one of the most reviewed, and also best sanders and not just because of its affordable price, but for its features as well. Most buyers especially fancy its micro filtration feature, which efficiently captures fine dust particles created in the sanding process.

If this is the first time you’ll be laying your hands on a belt sander and worried you might use too much pressure, then don’t fret. This sand cat boasts pressure control technology. It’s powered by a 6 amp motor. Changing the sanding belt is seamless, thanks to the single lever quick belt feature.

Pros:
+ Incredibly beginner and overall user-friendly
+ Has a micro-filtration feature for a dust-free work area
+ Easy to replace the belt
+ Easy belt changes thanks to single lever quick belt change.

Why We Liked It – This Skil Sandcat unit is one of the best belt sanders for any woodworking beginner or hobbyist. It holds up pretty well in light jobs. It’s easy to replace the belt, features an auto-track system, and as for the price, it couldn’t be gentler on your tight budget.


4. RIKON Power Tools Belt

RIKON Power Tools Belt

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Although Rikon is a relatively new brand on the market, it’s power tools are at par with consumer expectations and this belt sander is no different. It’s both a disc and belt sander and is powered by a 2.3 amp motor, which gets the job done just as well. It comes with two dust ports, so you get one for disc sanding and one for the belt sander.

But the most outstanding feature is that the belt table is adjustable up to 45-degrees, which means it becomes pretty seamless sanding angled pieces. It’s also a relatively lightweight unit, weighing only 16 pounds, and measures a mere 13 by 15, so it doesn’t take up too much space.

Pros:
+ Cast iron housing for durability and stability
+ Easily accessible knobs
+ 45-degrees adjustable belt table
+ Compact design so it doesn’t take up too much space on your work area

Why We Liked It – It has both the disc and the belt sander, which makes it pretty versatile. It can be used on anything from light-duty sanding projects to more detailed sanding projects.

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5. EX ELECTRONIX EXPRESS Mini Belt Sander

EX ELECTRONIX EXPRESS Mini Belt Sander

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This is yet another one of the best belt sanders you will find on the market this year. It has an aluminum body not only for durability but for stability as well. You don’t have to worry about it tipping over when you’re busy sanding. It’s powered by a 3-amp motor, capable of making up to 3,400 rotations per minute.

This means it’s speedy and powerful enough to give you a smooth finish even when working on a very coarse surface. The EX Electronix mini sander is also pretty lightweight on top of that. It has rubber feet for dampening vibrations, and as such, minimizing user fatigue. The table tilts up to 45-degrees, which is an added plus when you need to create a smooth finish on a precise curve.

Pros:
+ An incredibly lightweight and compact unit
+ Easy to use hence ideal for beginners.
+ Belt table tilts up to 45-degrees
+ Great price tag

Why We Liked It – The EX ELECTRONIX mini belt sander is one of the most portable units in the market. It’ll also get the job done well, yet it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.


6. PORTER-CABLE Belt Sander

PORTER-CABLE Belt Sander

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Featuring an 8 amp motor, the Porter-Cable Belt sander is an excellent buy if you’re looking for a belt sander that’ll seamlessly take on both heavy duty sanding projects. It’s especially an excellent choice if you’re looking to gain more control over your projects, thanks to its variable speed control setting.

This unit also comes with a dust bag, which is perfect if you’ve got allergies. It’s also an ideal choice if you usually sand for a long time. It has a slightly elevated handle for a comfortable grip and a ball-bearing mechanism to dampen the vibrations.

Pros:
+ Features a variable speed control belt for easy control
+ A pretty ergonomic front-grip and anti-vibration design
+ Has a dust bag
+ Easy to flush sand on vertical surfaces

Why We Liked It – Next to its incredible performance, the next best thing about the Portable cable belt sander is its design. It features an ergonomic front grip, anti-vibration features and also has a long enough belt to allow easy flush sanding on vertical surfaces.


7. Metabo HPT Belt Sander

Metabo HPT Belt Sander

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Previously known as Hitachi sb8v2, the Metabo HPT belt sander is a product of one of the most revered Japanese power tool brands. Looking at its features, it’s safe to say it lives up to the brand’s reputation. At only 9.5lbs, this Hitachi sb8v2 belt sander is among the lightest you’ll find on the market today. The soft elastomer material on the handles makes it comfortable to work with, as it dampens vibrations and offers a comfortable front grip.

When it comes to performance, it features a 9 amp motor, which is sturdy enough for heavy duty applications, and at the same time puts you in control with its 820-1475 variable speed belt. Another notable feature is the dust collection bag. You’ll find it on the left side of the unit, so it becomes easy to collect dust when working on corners.

Pros:
+ V-belt system for belt efficiency and durability
+ Conveniently located cloth dust bag
+ Variable speed belt with speed dial
+ Has a tracking window

Why We Liked It – While it has a string of impressive features, what’s fascinating about this Hitachi sb8v2 sander is its compact yet highly functional design. It only weighs a little over 9lbs. Yet boasts the performance of heavy-duty units on the market today.


8. TACKLIFE Belt Sander Sanding Belts

TACKLIFE Belt Sander Sanding Belts

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This is one of the most reviewed Tacklife models and for a good reason. It comes fully equipped with all you need, so you don’t spend money buying any accessories separately. Other than that, it features six variable speed control features and a lock-in-switch, which is easy to control, especially when working on sensitive surfaces. With 14 rotations per second, this sander’s belt will help you get the job done not only fast but also perfectly.

Pros:
+ Boasts six variable speed belt settings
+ Comes complete with all you need
+ Features a lock-in-switch
+ The dust bag is detachable

Why We Liked It – With most units, you may have to buy some of the accessories separately, but with this model, you have all you need. It’s also possible to convert it into a bench sander using the screw clamps for a stable working surface.


9. WEN 6502T Belt and Disc Sander

WEN 6502T Belt and Disc Sander

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Featuring a disc and belt sander, this is one of the best and also most versatile sanders on the market. It’s perfect for the professional woodworker as it features a four by 36 inches adjustable belt, making it ideal for all sanding projects. It spots a cast-iron base that dampens vibrations and keeps the tool stable the entire time.

The sanding process will be smooth sailing for you, and the finish even smoother. Its cast iron, and steel base housing also gives durability. What’s more, it features an extended blade guard and a miter gauge for enhanced control and precision, and a 2.5-inch cloth dust bag for a saw-dust free work area.

Pros:
+ Features an incredibly durable build
+ It’s both a disc and belt sander, making it exceptionally versatile
+ Has an adjustable belt
+ Boasts miter gauge and extendable blade guard for enhanced precision

Why We Liked It – For a belt sander its price, it sports an array of features you only find in pricier models. For instance, it’s both a disc and belt sander, an extended belt guard, and a miter gauge. At the same time, it’s a pretty durable unit as it boasts a steel and iron cast build.


10. Astro Pneumatic Tool 3036 Air Belt Sander

Astro Pneumatic Tool 3036 Air Belt Sander

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Are you looking for a belt sander that’ll enable you to smoothen out those out of reach areas on your projects? If yes, then the Astro Pneumatic tool is just what you want. Measuring only 16 by 18 inches, this belt sander is pretty versatile. It can be used to smoothen out just about any surface from regular wood, to hard to reach areas such as a car interior.

It boasts a belt tension lever, so it’s easy for you to make speed changes. It has an easy to use variable speed control switch. The handle is anti-slip as well for that perfect and comfortable grip and has three belts, each with a grit level.

Pros:
+ Compact design for easy access to hard to reach areas
+ Belt tension lever for seamless belt changes or replacements
+ Variable speed belt for control
+ It has variable grit levels.

Why We Liked It – Other than its compact design, the Sky Pneumatic belt sander comes with different grit belts, has a belt tension lever for easy belt changes, an anti-slip handle, and is easy to use.


Belt Sanders Buyer’s Guide

A belt sander can be the most versatile and also the best power tool in your arsenal, but if chosen without giving it thought, it can also be a waste of money. That’s why other than the list of best belt sanders above, we went out of our way to prepare a comprehensive buying guide so you can know what exactly makes the best belt sanders.

Type

Electric sander

There are two types of belt sanders as discussed below.

The Stationary Belt Sander

As the name implies, this type of belt sander is immovable and is meant to remain in one place. Also known as benchtop sanders, the belt is often on the top surface. To work with it, you need to put it on a stable work area and bring the workpiece to it. Given their design, stationary sanders are often heavier, come with powerful motors, and have a bigger dust bag. They’re heavier, noisier, and require regular maintenance. Stationary belt sanders are best used in commercial woodworking projects.

Handheld Belt Sanders

Handheld belt sanders are the complete opposite of stationary models. They’re usually very lightweight, making them highly portable. They also feature a compact design; perfect for sanding in hard to reach surfaces. Most of them also feature an easily replaceable, variable speed belt, and a dust bag for a cleaner working space.

Motor

The motor is usually the heart of any power tool. The sander might have a variable speed belt, but if the motor isn’t powerful enough, then it won’t give you the perfect finishes you want. With that said, the higher the amp, the better. If you mostly work on hard surfaces and take on projects that have a large sanding surface, then a belt sander with a motor that runs between 8 amp and 11 amps, such as the Makita 9403, is perfect. On the other hand, if most of your projects are simple home DIYs, then a belt sander with a 4 amp motor or a 6 amp motor will be okay.

Power

Using belt sander

Besides the motor, another very essential power-related factor to consider when shopping for the best belt sander is the source of power ideal for you. Note that a sander can be powered by either electricity, a battery, or an air compressor. All three are excellent options, and once again, it comes down to your preferences.

For instance, if you’re looking for the utmost portability, a battery-powered unit is more recommendable. But if you’re looking for incredible power and performance, then a pneumatic one, such as the Astro pneumatic model on our ten best belt sanders list above, is a great choice.

Belt Sanders Size

Sander belt sizes are not created equally. They vary in width and circumference. The most common sizes you’ll come across include 3 inches by 18 inches, 3 inches by 21 inches, and 3 inches by 24 inches among many others. Note, bigger isn’t always better. The size you go for should depend on the application in question.

For instance, if you’re looking to strike a balance between speed and power, then a 3 inch by 21 inches belt size is ideal. It’ll complete DIY projects seamlessly, and at the same time, it’s powerful enough for light professional projects. If this is the first time you’re using a belt sander, then a model with a smaller 3 by 18 inch belt is a perfect fit for you.

Sander Speed

The belt sander speed is equally as essential as the motor. This is because the higher the belt speed per minute, the faster the unit works. Most belt sanders feature a speed between 900 and 1,600 surface feet per minute. But note, high speed doesn’t always equal a perfect finish. In that light, you have two options; a single speed and a variable speed sander.

With a single-speed sander, you cannot change the speed of the unit. Single-speed units are great when working on high density and coarse wooden surfaces. They are, however, not the most recommendable as they don’t offer you flexibility. In other words, you have to work according to the pace of the unit. With a variable speed sander, on the other hand, you get to adjust the speed according to your liking. This is ideal as you get to change the speed settings, depending on the surface you’re working on.

Dust Collection

While all woodworking tasks tend to produce dust, none of them outdo the sanding process. It is, therefore, crucial you opt for a belt sander with not only the best variable speed and motor, but also one that features a dust bag. While at it, be sure to check whether the dust collection bag design is compatible with your vacuum for more efficient dust management. This is especially essential if you’re allergic to dust.

Grip

Woman carpenter woodwork

As with any other woodworking project, comfort is essential in sanding, as well. You cannot get a smooth finish if you’re not comfortable enough while sanding down that piece of wood. It’s essential that you also go for a belt sander with a comfortable grip. This is particularly essential if you’re going to be using the sander for a long time, or if most of your projects require sanding down a large surface.

Price and Warranty

If a particular belt sander ticks all the boxes above but you don’t have the money to afford it, then it will be no good use to you. With that said, it’s vital that you also consider your budget so you can review belt sanding models within your price range. Note, when it comes to the price, you shouldn’t just dwell on affordability. You should also consider whether that particular unit offers you value for your money. For instance, it should offer speed control, sport an 8 amp motor, be easy to change the belt, and come with at least a single dust bag.

Besides price, it’s also wise to consider the warranty of the unit. The longer it is, the more confident you can be in its quality. This is because if a brand is confident enough in its product, it’ll offer an extended warranty.

Essential Belt Sander Safety Tips

Woman using belt sander

Compared to other power tools, belt sanders are relatively safe. However, this doesn’t mean they can’t cause you harm. By following the tips below, you can ensure that it never happens.

  • Unplug the Sander when Changing Belts – Changing the belt is an unavoidable part of using the belt sander. To ensure you don’t end up with a scar and a sad story to tell, make sure you unplug the sander before you change belts. Also, be sure to unplug it before you empty the dust bag. We know doing this slows you down, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Other essential safety tips include:
  • Sand away from your body
  • Use both hands
  • Wear a dust mask
  • Clean the sander before you work with metal
  • Inspect the sanding belt before you use the sander

Conclusion

Sanding is sure a tedious woodworking task, but it’s also the thin line between a perfectly smooth finish and a course, hurriedly done finish on your projects. In other words, it’s an unavoidable task if you want to create pieces that leave everyone talking. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be as boring and as time-consuming as it used to be, thanks to the belt sanders.

With our detailed review above, you will not only walk away with the best belt sander but also learn how to buy one after assessing the best sander reviews and get the best value for your money.

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