The 10 Best Belt Sanders

Sara Mandeed
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Belt sanders or drum sanders are used for shaping, smoothing and buffing hard wood, plastic, metal and laminate boards. They are significant heavy, workhorse tools that are not only unbelievably powerful but also extremely versatile. They are ideal for shaping curved surfaces and removing large amounts of wood with a single pass, and can also be used for buffing, polishing and finishing the most intricate works of art.

For those of us who spend a lot of time and effort on our woodworking projects and don’t want to go about it with a mediocre workshop tool, there are some things to keep in mind. A good belt sander should:

  • Have a wide belt
  • Have sufficient power for the dust collection system to be effective
  • Have an ergonomic design
  • Be portable and easy to use
  • Be affordable

In this article, we will discuss some of the best belt sanders for woodworking. We will take a look at the factors we need to consider before we buy, and take a look at some of the available models.

Mr. Longboard Belt Sander

NameCategoryProduct
Makita 9403 4" X 24" Belt SanderBest OverallMakita 9403 4" X 24" Belt Sander
Prostik W1307 2-Inch by 2-Inch by 12-Inch Abrasive Belt and Disk CleanerBudget PickProstik W1307 2-Inch by 2-Inch by 12-Inch Abrasive Belt and Disk Cleaner
Belt SanderUpgrade PickBelt Sander

1. Makita 9403 4" X 24" Belt Sander

Our rating: 9 / 10

Makita 9403 4" X 24" Belt Sander

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Pros:

  • Ergonomic, adjustable handle
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Sturdy construction
  • Sharp and effective sanding belt
  • Versatile – ideal for many types of sanding projects
  • Nonslip feet to prevent the machine from moving
  • Convenient dust collection system
  • Durable front rollers to prevent damage to the work piece
  • Quick-release lever for easy pad changes

Cons:

  • Some users complain about the power cord being too short
  • Customer service is reported to be lacking
  • Clamping design at the front is reported to be poorly structured
  • Wobbly design

If you need a high-quality belt sander for your home workshop, then the Makita 9403 4" x 24" Belt Sander should be right up your alley. This is one of the few belt sanders out there that we’ll recommend regardless of whether you’re a hobbyist or a seasoned professional.

This machine comes with a number of great features that make it a worthwhile buy. For instance, it features a specially designed clamping design at the front which makes it easy to secure the sanding belt. The front rollers also give you plenty of working room, and they also prevent your material from being nicked or scratched.

2. Metabo HPT Belt Sander

Our rating: 8 / 10

Metabo HPT Belt Sander

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Pros:

  • 1 – It is lightweight and easy to handle
  • 2 – Because it uses a tape roll, you can choose the dimension that you need
  • 3 – It comes with 5 pieces of 120 grit sandpaper, which is really nice

This belt sander can be adjusted in any direction. The sander can be used in both dry and wet situations as it is completely weatherproof. The grit that is used for the belt is not toxic and environmentally safe. It comes with a five year warranty so that you know quality is being delivered. The blade is sharp yet doesn’t leave any chips behind when sanding.

There is a centrifugal air system which is powered by a 9.0 amp motor. There are 13 different speeds to choose from. This belt sander allows you to increase and decrease the speed quickly. It comes with a nice (and comfortable) soft grip that is easy on your hands and fingers. The ergonomic design also ensures that you do not get tired while using the sander.

It is the best belt sander because it offers you everything you need in order to make your projects shine. This belt sander is made for those of you who need to get your projects done in a timely manner. This belt sander is only 9.1 pounds, so it is easy to use and transport.

3. Prostik W1307 2-Inch by 2-Inch by 12-Inch Abrasive Belt and Disk Cleaner

Our rating: 8 / 10

Prostik W1307 2-Inch by 2-Inch by 12-Inch Abrasive Belt and Disk Cleaner

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Pros:

  • Budget friendly
  • Can be used with any 1/8th inch by 2 inch by 12 inch belt and disk
  • Can clean a belt in two minutes

Cons:

  • Only comes with a limited 1 year warranty
  • The screws provided are too soft and tend to strip easily

Looking for a good belt sander that’s neither too expensive nor cheap? Then you can consider Prostik W1307 2-Inch by 2-Inch by 12-Inch Abrasive Belt and Disk Cleaner. It’s designed especially for cleaning the disk as well as the belt, which will ensure performance and longevity in your power tools as well in an industrial environment.

The product is designed with a 2-inch by 2-inch format, 12-inch length and a 2-inch disk diameter. This will ensure that you’ll need to spend less money and energy searching for the right part. This product is a stylish mix of an abrasive belt, a 12-inch disk as well as a latch. It will be a perfect solution for all of your DIY needs.

It can fit all kinds of 1/8th inch by 2 inch by 12 inch belt and disk. This product can be a great option, especially if you’re looking for a little DIY work.

4. SKIL 7510-01 Sandcat 6 Amp 3-Inch x 18-Inch Belt Sander

Our rating: 8 / 10

SKIL 7510-01 Sandcat 6 Amp 3-Inch x 18-Inch Belt Sander

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Pros:

  • Great power-to-weight ratio
  • Very ergonomic design
  • Durable for long-term use
  • Easy to change belts
  • Great value for price

Cons:

  • Restricted to smaller projects
  • Doesn’t come with a dust collection attachment
  • Little vibration

The Skil 7510-01 is a belt sander that weighs only 6.2 lbs. While this is lightweight for most woodworking projects, like other deck sanders, it’s a little heavy for small projects.

It has a nice ergonomic design that’s comfortable to hold for prolonged periods of time. The belt changes are activated using the rocker switch on the top of the sander, which is also used to turn it on and off. The switch is ergonomic and easy to turn on and off.

It comes with a pressure control that can be used to match the velocity of the belt to the type of wood you are working on. So you can sand quickly through soft woods and slow down through hard pine say.

5. PORTER-CABLE Belt Sander

Our rating: 8 / 10

PORTER-CABLE Belt Sander

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Pros:

  • Variable speed control
  • Corded power makes it more powerful
  • Compact design with a nice grip
  • Includes a dust collection bag

Cons:

  • Dust collection bag is not well-designed
  • Some reports of faulty units or overheating
  • Not suitable for heavy duty projects

When you’re looking for the best wood belt sander, there are plenty of choices on the market so choosing the best is a tough task. We recommend the Porter-Cable belt sander with dust bag as it has a 9Amp motor power coupled with a variable speed for more accurate and efficient sanding.

The design is compact which means you can use it for longer projects without feeling uncomfortable. The unit is backed by a two-year limited warranty which gives an extra level of confidence in using it. It has a belt size of 3 x 21 inches and you can adjust the speed from 500 FPM to 1,500 FPM.

The belt sander comes with an integrated dust bag which prevents the dust and debris from going everywhere, a common problem with other belt sanders. This ensures the process and the surrounding are not exposed to dust and dirt.

6. TACKLIFE Belt Sander 3×18-Inch

Our rating: 8 / 10

TACKLIFE Belt Sander 3×18-Inch

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Pros:

  • Exceptional value and performance
  • Versatile belt sander that incorporates an array of features
  • Comes with complementary items (discussed below)
  • Dust collection is excellent
  • User-friendly controls
  • Medium-duty designs for medium-duty jobs (i.e. doing work on furniture)
  • Includes vacuum adapter
  • Easily converts to a bench sander
  • Variable speeds make it suitable for virtually any project

Cons:

  • Dust collection is not sufficient for some heavy-dust applications
  • The vacuum adapter can be a little tricky to use
  • You can’t use the variable speed feature when converting it to a bench sander

This is the ALL IN ONE Belt Sander that you must have! To give you a detail, this belt sander comes with a vacuum adapter with hose and a dust box! There is also a vacuum port on the sander to add the vacuum power.

7. Belt Sander

Our rating: 8 / 10

Belt Sander

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Pros:

  • Highly durable
  • Works great both under and above the table
  • 360-degree swivel cord
  • Includes dust bag

Cons:

  • Not very lightweight or portable
  • Dust bag is not very effective

3,000 RPM by Bosch.

The Bosch belt sander is small and mobile, so you can easily attach it to a vacuum system for less mess when doing jobs. It is crucial to go for a sander with a dust bag as it will help to increase the likelihood of your material turning out smooth.

The sander comes with a 3/8 sheet capacity and no dust bag or vacuum adapter. This limitation is perhaps its biggest downside – but fortunately, you can purchase the adapter separately.

8. Makita 9903 8.8 Amp 3-Inch-by-21-Inch Variable Speed Belt Sander

Our rating: 7 / 10

Makita 9903 8.8 Amp 3-Inch-by-21-Inch Variable Speed Belt Sander

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Pros:

  • Easy-to-use dial
  • Efficient dust management
  • Long power cord
  • Durable design
  • Excellent warranty
  • Belt life indicator

Cons:

  • A little heavy
  • Basic tool for minimal sanding jobs
  • Loud operation

Our budget pick is the Makita 9903 8.8 Amp Variable Speed Belt Sander, a small and lightweight 8-amp model with excellent dust management for fast and efficient sanding. With its 3-inch-by-21-inch belt width, the Sander is suitable for polishing, fine sanding and stripping. The machine is powered by a high-torque motor that delivers up to 800w at 3450 RPMS and provides greater cleaning power for light to medium jobs.

The 9903 is ideally suited for stripping paint, finishes, and varnishes. It works best with natural, hard, and tough woods. The Sander comes with a tough and durable construction with larger, easier-to-use side handle for comfortable usage. It has a durable construction, light weight and can be used with an external dust bag for easy dust collection.

9. Ryobi P450 One+ 18V Lithium Ion 3 x 18 inch Brushless Belt Sander

Our rating: 6 / 10

Ryobi P450 One+ 18V Lithium Ion 3 x 18 inch Brushless Belt Sander

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Pros:

  • Easy to use, even for beginners
  • Extremely quiet operation
  • Lightweight tool for carrying purposes
  • Features a convenient dust bag
  • 18V lithium ion battery is included with the purchase
  • Operates with quality speed and plenty of power
  • Its brushless motor operates at 3,800 RPMs
  • The Ryobi P450 can handle a variety of wood surfaces
  • In addition, parts are available based on need

Cons:

  • Holding the sander without the included handles can be a little tricky
  • The dust bag could be larger than it is

When it comes to belt sanders, we’d be hard-pressed to find one that outperforms the Ryobi P450 One+ 18V Lithium Ion 3 x 18 inch Brushless Belt Sander. This is a lightweight (6.6 lbs.) sander that features a convenient dust bag for convenient dust collection.

It has a convenient dust bag for collecting dust while you sand, so you don’t need to worry about going outside to collect it. The dust bag is easy to empty and can be reattached for continuous use. It has an 18V long-lasting lithium ion battery that is included with the purchase. In addition, it has comfortable grip and is extremely easy to hold and operate.

10. WEN 6502 4 x 36-Inch Belt and 6-Inch Disc Sander

Our rating: 5 / 10

WEN 6502 4 x 36-Inch Belt and 6-Inch Disc Sander

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Pros:

  • Great for sanding medium-sized jobs
  • Versatile
  • Durable
  • Silent operation
  • Arrives well-packaged
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Cost effective
  • User-friendly by allowing adjustments

Cons:

  • The disc size is not as large as you expect
  • Takes a long time to get sandpaper in place and ready to use
  • The sander goes out of balance too quickly
  • The cast iron base is heavy

As our top pick for the best belt sanders, the WEN 6502 4 x 36-Inch Belt and 6-Inch Disc Sander with Cast Iron Base is an excellent machine. It comes with a dual speed power motor that runs at 6000 and 11000 RPM thus allowing it to be used on any material irrespective of the hardness.

The 6502 is also flexible, allowing you to use it with a range of belts and discs. The construction of this sander is unique; it comes with a convenient spindle lock system that allows you to replace the belt and disc in seconds. The disc sander can be spaced away from the belt for easy sanding free-hand.

11. Genesis GBS321A Single Lever 3" x 21" Variable Speed Belt Sander

Our rating: 5 / 10

Genesis GBS321A Single Lever 3" x 21" Variable Speed Belt Sander

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Pros:

  • Lightweight with under 12 pounds
  • Available in three different models
  • Vacuum to help keep the dust to a minimum
  • Easy to use and clean up
  • Comes with a 2-year warranty

Cons:

  • A little more expensive than other belt sanders.
  • No tool-free adjustments
  • Warranty only covers parts

We find the Genesis GBS321A to be the best belt sander. It's a single-speed belt sander which can be acquired in three different configurations. The first is the bare belt sander, the second is the sander with vacuum, and the third is the sander with vacuum and a dust collection bag. The sander works great due to its single handle for use with a glove.

This sander is equipped with a durable aluminum plate that is 3 inches wide and will sand everything from wood to metal. The belt speed is adjustable and ranges from 10-300 RPM. The front of the sander features a bumper and front handle. You can use the bumper to help get into irregular spots, and the front handle gives you more control for a vertical sander

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What size belt sander should I buy?

If you're not going to be doing a lot of sanding, then I'd suggest a model that has a drum diameter of 6" to 8". If you're a professional or hobbyist a drum diameter of 8" to 12" will suit you better.

My Personal Favorite, The DEWALT D26451K 6-Inch by 51-Inch Belt and 6-Inch by 24-Inch Disc Sander Kit (pictured left).

I personally own this one and I love it. I use it for everything, and think it's more than capable of doing whatever job you need it to do.

I use it for sanding door stiles, sanding curves on molding, and sometimes even sanding deck material in smaller spaces where a flooring sander simply won't do.

However, if all you need is a belt sander, then there are cheaper options.

Which is the best Makita belt sander?

Makita has a wide collection of belt sanders. The two models of belt sander that look most attractive are Makita 9903 and Makita 9227. Both of them offer an impressive amount of power. This power is unmatched by the competition.

Makita 9903 is a 14-amp sander. It is very quiet and produces less vibration than other belt sanders. Additionally, it has a large pad that measures 4 x 21 inches. With two speeds, this tool enables the user to work for long hours without feeling fatigue. It also induces less strain on your hands.

Makita 9227 is a 120-Volt belt sander. It is a variable speed tool that reduces irritation on the hands. Therefore, it prevents blisters and tiredness. The construction of this tool makes it durable. It allows an optimum usability, and you don’t have to worry about it falling apart.

What can a belt sander be used for?

The belt sander can be used for finishing, shaping, and smoothing a wood product. While it can also be used for removing paint, if you should find yourself in such a position, it is recommended that you do this with very light strokes and at an angle. When sanding, it’s always important to try to be consistent with going against the grain.

Finally, when sanding, always wear a mask, and make sure to keep eye and ear protection on at all times.

What is the best sander to use on a deck?

The orbital sander is your safest bet. This will have more power and will remove more wood in less time than a piece of sandpaper by hand. An orbital sander will likely be your best option if you plan on sanding your entire deck down. Another option, which might save you some money, is to rent a belt sander from a local tool shop.

Conclusion

Buying a belt sander can be just as important as buying any other power tool. Homeowners and tradesmen alike use belt sanders to help with cutting, shaping, and working with large pieces of wood. We’ve put together this guide to help make your buying decision that much easier. There are many great choices available but the 10 we’ve chosen as the best are all top selling models that should fit just about anyone’s needs.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Makita 9403 4" X 24" Belt SanderBest OverallMakita 9403 4" X 24" Belt Sander
Prostik W1307 2-Inch by 2-Inch by 12-Inch Abrasive Belt and Disk CleanerBudget PickProstik W1307 2-Inch by 2-Inch by 12-Inch Abrasive Belt and Disk Cleaner
Belt SanderUpgrade PickBelt Sander