A belt sander is a tool used by woodworkers that is designed to smoothen wood to get it ready for finishing or for smoothening round edges. This is a large tool, so if it is not handled carefully, it could cause personal damage to the user or to the wood being used. But choosing the right belt sander for your task can be challenging given the large variety that exists in the market. We bring you top 5 belt sander reviews so that you can make informed decisions.
Editor’s Choice: Generic Mini 1”x30” Belt Sander
Here’s a quick comparison table for you:
|Product||Generic Mini 1x30 Belt Sander||Black & Decker DS321||Makita 9903 Belt Sander||Hitachi SB8V2 Belt Sander||WEN 6321 Heavy Duty Belt Sander|
|Motor||3 Amp||7 Amp||8.8 Amp||9 Amp||7 Amp|
|Belt Size||1" x 30"||3" x 21"||4" x 24"||3" x 21"||3" x 21|
|Speed||820-1,475 ft./min.||800 ft./min||690-1,440 ft./min.||820-1,475 ft./min.||820 ft./min.|
|Weight||1.1 lbs||8.2 lbs||9.5 lbs||9.5 lbs||6 lbs|
|Check Price on Amazon||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
How to choose a belt sander?
A good belt sander is essential for woodworking and for DIY. It helps increase work productivity in a workshop. You can choose from many models in the market, depending on your job requirements. Its parameters of choosing a good one are:
- Size of the workshop: How large your workshop is will decide the size of belt sander you buy. Choose a small sander if your workshop is small, preferably below 7.3 kg. For larger workshops, choose larger sanders and use them for many other things, like sanding and polishing wood panels.
- What are your needs? Depending on the kind of work you do, choose an appropriate belt sander.
- Capacity of a belt sander: When choosing a belt sander, pay importance to the speed of the tool to get the full benefit of it. Test the machine to check for safe use and that it works well.
- Price of a belt sander: Rates of a good belt sander start from $40+, so be careful of what you buy.
Belt Sander Reviews
Generic Mini 1”x30” Belt Sander is truly made for the homeowners. At 3400 rpm this tool minimizes your workload to a great extent. The sandpaper can be rolled with a controlled speed over the revolving wheels. The variable speed limit allows the user to opt for different work speeds according to the task at hand. It comes along with a long rubber cord of about 12’.
It comes with 1-inch wide 30 inches long belt sandpaper. The sander runs with 120 VAC, 60Hz, 3.0 AMP, 360 Watts. A 1/3 HP @ 3400 RPM motor is fixed on the belt which can provide up to 3260 FPM. It has a 1-3/4” vacuum and 5”x5” aluminum table surrounding the belt. The table tilts up to 45°. A dust collection channel is included to collect all the dust.
The Generic Mini 1×30 Belt Sander works great for shaping knives and machetes. The 80-grit belt will help to sharp the knife and give a shiny finish on it with another belt, a leather one. Knife builders can use this for their production.
- Cheaper than many other brands.
- Built on rubber feet to minimize vibration.
- Adjustable tilting table and adjustable belt tracking options are included.
- The removable back plate allows setting the machine on an odd-shaped stock.
- Many of the parts are made of plastic that makes it less durable.
- Tracking the belt can be tricky for the new users. The bolt that controls it, you should not turn it all the way to the right, you need to keep balancing the bolt until you are satisfied with the result. Basically, you need to depend on your guess here.
Read our full review here.
Black & Decker has built this quality belt sander with innovative front rollers that will aid you to reach even the toughest corners of the surface. This 15.4 x 6.2 x 6.1 inches machine is made with the flush body design so that it works great on vertical surfaces. This 7-amp sander is great for homeowners as it is pretty compact and lightweight and doesn’t involve much technicality. The adjustable 3-position handle makes sure that you can hold it in the best possible position. A cloth dust bag holds all the dust. The package comes with a manual to guide every steps and how to use it for various purposes.
People can use the Black & Decker DS321 on vertical, hard to reach surfaces, like, on the floors, top of the counter, under kitchen cabinet, under railings, and table tops. Scribing, leveling a platform, freehand shaping, sanding a very rough surface – all these can be done with the help of this belt sander.
- The ergonomics of the sander allows it to reach even the tightest corners.
- The three-position handle allows the user to hold it according to his or her convenience.
- Cloth dust bag is easy to clean.
- If you are in budget, then this can be an option for you.
- The dust bag cannot catch large dust particles.
- The inner dust holder needs to be emptied very frequently, often within just 15-20 minutes of use.
- It overheats comparatively quicker.
Makita 9903 Speed Belt Sander contains the 3” x 21” belts and runs with the powerful 8.8 AMP motor. With only 85dB with variable speeds of 690 – 1,440 ft./min, this tool is quietest in its genre. There is an automated belt adjustment option, so you don’t need to adjust belt manually. A front grip option allows the user to hold it comfortably while working. It comes with a dust bag to keep the sawdust and a long cord, about 16.4 ft long, so it is easy to maneuver without sticking to a certain area.
Since the belt sander works great on many surfaces with ease, it is popular among homeowners. Wood workers, furniture makers, carpenters, deck builders, floor installers and general contractors who want a top quality belt sander will like the Makita 9903 Speed Belt Sander very much.
- Variable speed control dial helps to adjust the speed.
- You don’t need to worry about the belt tracking, it can be adjusted automatically.
- Works on both the vertical and horizontal surfaces.
- Portable, you can easily to carry it to places.
- Quieter than many other brands available.
- A little expensive.
- In spite of the dust bag, at times the dust blows out of the sander while using it.
- The maximum speed is lower than other brands.
A both durable and powerful sander made by the Hitachi, this tool takes its place in our belt sander reviews. The 3 inch by 21 inch belt sandpaper runs with a 9.0 AMP motor. This pro-level hand-held belt sander has a unique transparent window so the user can see the surface the tool is being worked on. It can provide speed 820-1,475 ft/min. The handle grip is made of elastomer which takes cares of the security and the comfort of using it. To replace the belts there is a push lever, which is unique to most of the brands out there.
Wood, paint or steel, the belt sander works on any of these and can remove any of these. Hitachi SB8V2 is best for any type of rough surfaces, even vertically.
- Lightweight, easy to carry.
- Adjustable speed picking option included.
- Belt replacing steps are easier.
- Comes with a 5-year warrantee which is better than other brands.
- The company sells individual parts of this sander, so you can replace a single part of the whole machine if you need to.
- The tool is handy to carry around, but the package does not include a carry-bag.
- The belt may slide into left to right.
- Unlike other brands, the dust collection bag works well.
The heavy duty belt sander by WEN has a motor with 7 AMP. The 3 inch by 21 inch belt can rotate 13 foot per second with this power. The machine can be switched on and with the lock-in-safety feature, it doesn’t need to be held on the trigger continuously. The roller is extended at the front to ensure that it gets to the toughest corner on the surface. An ergonomic handle at the front gives the user a better grip on the tool.
Construction guy who works on smoothing a rough surface, strips off paints, debars jagged splinter can use the WEN 6321 Heavy Duty Belt Sander. It is the best for intricate detail works, resurfacing or heavy material removal.
- Lock-in-safety feature ease the usage.
- A better speed quality brand for sanders.
- Weights only 6 pound, so it is easy to move around while the switch is on.
- Detachable dust bag makes the cleaning easy.
- To prevent the unnecessary vibration, the case is built with iron.
- Not convenient to move frequently.
- Some people do not like the iron surface because of the heavy weight.
- Not so great with heavy loads.
- The compact design makes the engine weaker and slightly vulnerable.
How to use a belt sander
Here are the steps to use this tool for the best results:
Place the wood you are going to work with securely on the workbench. Wear your safety gear, such as gloves. Switch on the motor of the belt sander while taking care that the wood you want to sand is away from you. Let the motor come to full speed before you bring it in touch with the wood. Use a coarse belt to begin with and when you wind up, check that you sand with a fine grit.
Now, take the end of the sander down to meet the wood and ensure that your grip on the rear handle (with which you will control the sander) is firm. Once this is done, start pushing it forward. Transfer the rest of the tool onto the wood in a smooth move. Let the sander go back and forth in smooth motions. Let the front handle be the guide to take it across the wood.
Why do you need a good belt sander?
There are many uses of belt sanders, such as:
- They are big and powerful tools in the world of sanding.
- They are time-saving.
- They can be used for several purposes, such as when the motor of a power sander turns hot; when belt sanders make a noise, it means it’s yearning for a change; and if your power sander switch is in on position but nothing happens, it means your motor brushes are worn out and need a change.
Palm sander vs. Random orbit sander vs. Belt sander – which one should you choose?
You can perform a tedious chore quickly and well if you have the right tools and sandpaper. Here’re some ways by which you can decide whether you need a belt sander, orbital sander or random-orbit sander.
The fastest method of sanding wood to smoothness is to use electric power sanders. There are many kinds of sanders in the market these days, but given below are the details of three highly versatile sanders: belt sanders, orbital finishing sander and random-orbit sanders. Using any of these handy power tools, it is easy to sand any surface.
Belt Sander: A belt sander is ideal for smoothing large and flat surfaces with high speed and great strength. This large and heavy woodworking tool comprises sanding belts made up of strong coarse cloth that spans two cylinder-shaped drums. While the front drum spins on its own, the tool’s engine powers the drum at the back of the sander. A lever that releases tension lets the user put the belt on to the drums.
Levelling out flat boards requires you to sand parallel along the grain of the wood to be scratch-free. It also keeps the sander in constant motion so that there’s no sanding in a depression. If you need to level out wooden boards’ narrow edges, belt sanders are best for these. At such times, it pays to sandwich several boards and sand them in one go. Also called gang sanding, this technique saves time and gives good results.
A belt sander is perfect for removing old stain, varnish or paint. There are four sizes of belt sanders, of which the 3×21-inch model is highly prized for its speed, power and balance.
Orbital Finishing Sander: This is a quiet, lightweight finishing sander that can be controlled using one hand. Neither can you damage the wood piece with this kind of sander, nor is it useful for removing heavy stock. It’s best for very smooth wood sanding, curving sharp edges, etc.
Orbital sanders or quarter-sheet sanders are so-called because they use just a quarter of a 9×11″ sheet of standard sandpaper. Two springy clamps press the sandpaper down against the flat pad of a sander. The pad pulsates forming orbits or circles, letting you sand where you want.
Random-Orbit Sander: The random-orbit sander lies between the orbital finishing sander and the belt sander. Though there are a lot of similarities between the random-orbit sander and the orbital sander in terms of the names sounding similar, the tools having similar design and the compressed frameworks with round shaped palm-grip tops. Still, the difference lies in the orbital sander having a square sanding pad, while the random-orbit sander comes with a circular pad.
Due to this, the random-orbit sander’s round pad moves in circles as in the case of an orbital finishing sander, while also spinning in circles. This makes it effective for removing stock and for very fine sanding. Since the pad both pulsates and spins together, there isn’t the customary swirl that orbital sanders are known for.
A random-orbit sander may not remove wood with the speed of a belt sander and it may be more tough to handle than its orbital finishing counterpart, yet it is the most versatile portable electric sander. They are one-handed and have a palm-grip shape and are most preferred by DIYers, so this is the one to go with.