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Belt sanders have become an indispensable tool for do-it-yourselfers, homeowners and professional handymen. They make tasks such as filing, roughing, sanding or flattening so much easier and faster. In general, they are mainly used for working with wood, but they can also used with other materials such as plastic or metal.

The development of portable models of belt sanders has opened a whole new world of possible uses for these tools. Larger and more powerful belt sanders have been relegated to industrial use, while smaller and much more portable devices have become an important tool for professionals and DIY enthusiasts.

Key Facts

  • They have become the perfect tool for do-it-yourselfers thanks to their amazing versatility. They can be small and portable, or larger sized units that are designed to remain fixed to a workbench.
  • They allow you to work on large surfaces easily, quickly and accurately. They are most commonly used with wood, but can also be used with other materials such as plastic or metal.
  • The possible uses of belt sanders are increasingly varied, including tasks such as polishing surfaces, quickly removing materials, roughing, smoothing and leveling.

Our Selection: The Best Belt Sanders on the U.S. Market

In this section we present the five best belt sanders currently available on the market. We have selected a wide-range of different models, that all offer great value for money. This means you can simply choose whichever one best suits your needs, and be sure that you are getting a quality tool.

TACKLIFE Belt Sander

This product is perfect for someone who doesn’t want to spend a lot of money, but still wants a belt sander with lots of features. It can be fixed to workbench, acting as a bench sander with a lock-on button. The 5 amp motor delivers great power to any sanding surface, delivering efficient removal and a high quality finish. Variable-speed knob with 6 dials enables you to match the best speed to the application from 0-560rpm.

This belt sander has great reviews from people who are amazed at the range of features offered by such an inexpensive device. It is simple to use, and has a great build-quality. This product is perfect for anyone wanting to do DIY projects or jobs around the home.

BLACK+DECKER DS321 Dragster

Here we have a similar product that has less features, but a more powerful 7 amp motor. This electric belt sander works close to the edge of adjoining surfaces. A retractable hood exposes the sanding belt for enhanced versatility, especially in tight spaces. Three-position adjustable handle provides comfort in different orientations, while its low-profile design has extended reach for maximum functionality. 

BLACK+DECKER is a world-leading provider of tools, with a loyal following of happy consumers. This product is no exception and has fantastic reviews from buyers. It is a quality tool from a trusted manufacturer that has a powerful motor. If you want something that is going to last a long time, this is the belt sander for you.

WEN 6515T Belt Sander

The WEN 1 x 30-Inch Belt Sander with 5-Inch Sanding Disc sands, smooths jagged edges and splinters on wood and lumber. With a 2.3-amp motor, users should anticipate speeds of up to 3160 feet per minute on the belt and 3450 RPM on the disc. Changing the spacious 1-inch-by-30-inch belt is a breeze, giving you the power to switch sand paper grits quickly and easily.

With a very low price, it’s natural to be suspicious of how good a product really is. However, users report that this tool is very reliable, durable and is super easy to use. If you want something with lots of features for a great price, this is the option for you.

WEN 6502T Belt and Disc Sander

Here we have another great product from WEN, which is more expensive but offers even better performance and more features. The sanding belt and disc are accompanied by a sturdy cast-aluminum work table. Included with the belt disc sander is a miter gauge for steady sanding on angled edges, and a 2.25 inch dust port to connect a dust extractor.

Buyers of this product are usually DIY enthusiasts who want something to use in their garage or home workshop. They report that this product works great and has so many functions they ended up finding many new ways to use it.

Makita 9403 Belt Sander

Here we have a belt sander that is suitable for professional handymen and people working in construction. It is the quietest belt sander in its class at only 84 decibels, a 4-inch-wide belt with a speed of 1,640 feet per minute for fast sanding. The solid construction seals the motor and bearings from dust contamination,  it has a large front grip that is positioned for operator comfort. It weighs only 13 pounds and has a one year warranty. The replaceable ceramic wear plate keeps maintenance time to a minimum and the low profile provides solid balance and less gouging. With a highly efficient dust collector, the grit stays contained.

Makita tools have a great reputation. This Japanese manufacturer of quality tools has made another great product with this belt sander. If you work professionally in the construction industry, you need tools you can rely on. If it’s a Makita, you know it will get the job done every time.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about belt sanders

When buying a belt sander it is important that you consider a number of factors, so that you chose the product that is best for you. If you don’t know a lot about these tools, you probably have a few questions. To help you make an informed choice, in this section we answer the most commonly asked questions people have about belt sanders.

Hombre lijando madera

A belt sander is a tool which is used is to polish, smooth and level different materials.
(Source: Stylephotographs: 98365742/ 123rf.com)

What is a belt sander exactly?

A belt sander is a mechanical tool that is primarily used to quickly polish different materials. It is the perfect way to achieve smooth and level surfaces with high-quality finishes. They can be portable and small devices, or larger in size that can only be used in a fixed location. The majority of belt sanders are powered by an electric motor.

The main difference between these tools and other types of sanders is their superior power capability. They are specially designed for professional work, and function thanks to a band of sandpaper – that is stretched tightly by the pressure applied from rollers. When these rollers rotate, they generate the continuous movement of the sanding belt.

What are belt sanders used for?

Belt sanders can be used for lots of different jobs. They can be used for leveling, polishing or for sanding rough and splintered surfaces to make them smooth. Other possible applications are to match uneven blocks of wood, build decks and remove unwanted substances, like rust, from the surface of materials quickly and easily.

George HerbertBritish poet

“Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.”

What are the advantages and disadvantages of belt sanders?

Belt sanders offer many advantages. They allow you to work on large surfaces quickly and comfortably. They are also able to be used with different types of materials, for a wide-range of applications. They are precision tools,and guarantee high-quality finishes.

However, they do also have a few disadvantages. They must always be used very carefully, and the sanding belt must not be touched while the machine is operating. Most of them are electric, so it is necessary to connect them to a power outlet. The more powerful models requires a large economic investment.

Why is it a good idea to buy a belt sander?

Belt sanders help you to get much better results and in much less time. They are extremely versatile tools that are specifically designed for different types of carpentry work.

Advantages Disadvantages
They are very easy to use They must be used with care or can cause injuries
They are very practical Require a large financial outlay
They guarantee high-quality finishes You will need an air compressor, if you decide to buy a portable air sander
They are precision tools
They offer fast and even sanding

How do belt sanders work?

Belt sanders are very easy to use. They have a simple design consisting of a motor that powers the rollers, making them spin. The rotation of the rollers is what causes the continuous movement of the band of sandpaper. When the rotating sandpaper comes into contact with any type of material, it will begin to make it smooth, without the need to apply pressure.

The greater the speed of the rollers, the greater the speed the band will rotate, and therefore produce a smoother finish in less time. The thickness of the sandpaper is also an important factor that will determine the quality of the final result. The rest simply depends on the skill of the person who is operating the machine.

Uso adecuado de lijadora

Belt sanders must always be used carefully.
(Source: Sudsaithong: 86560542/ 123rf.com)

What kind of care do I need to take when using a belt sander?

Belt sanders must be used carefully, and according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, so that they are not damaged. This way you can keep using them for longer, without any decrease in performance. It is a good idea to regularly check the sanding belt for any possible splits, and always make sure that the rollers are properly aligned.

Unfortunately, the rollers will inevitably wear out over time. Whenever this happens, they must be replaced with a new set.

Another great tip is to vacuum the sander to remove any fine particles that may be difficult to clean. This will help to prolong the life of the sander, and prevent it from breaking down.

How is a belt sander used?

For starters, you should always carefully follow the instructions for use contained in the manufacturer’s manual. It is very important that you pay close attention to the safety measures indicated to avoid suffering any type of accident that could cause a serious injury. You should always make sure that you wear protective gloves, safety glasses and a mask.

Before you begin sanding, don’t forget that you first need to prepare the surface which you are going to be working on. To operate the belt sander, place it on the surface of the material, while holding it tightly, and start making slow movements across the area you want to sand. Try to make these movements as smooth as possible, and cover as large an area as you can in a singular motion.

What kind of belt sanders are available on the market?

At the moment there are two distinct types of belt sanders available on the market.

  • Portable belt sanders
  • Fixed belt sanders

This is a very broad generalization, and there are many variants that can be found within these two groups. For example, portable belt sanders can be classified as either electric or air powered.

Electric belt sanders work with an internal electric motor, while the air powered models do not have a motor, since they operate when powered by an air compressor. These air-powered tools are usually a cheaper, lighter and safer option. There are also portable electric sanders that are powered by an internal battery and can be used without the need of a power cable.

Shopping Criteria

With the big range of great products available on the market, choosing the belt sander that is best for you can be a little overwhelming. In this section we analyze the most important factors you need to consider before making your decision.  We hope that this guide will help make a somewhat tricky process much easier, so that you can select the belt sander that is perfect for you.

These are to most important criteria to consider before making your purchase:

  • Intended use
  • Size
  • Power
  • Sander size
  • Speed
  • Changing the belt
  • Brand
  • Accessories

Intended use

The type of belt sander you should purchase will mainly be influenced by how you plan to use it. A tool that is suitable for professionals, is probably not the best option for amateurs. Another important factor that you should consider is the frequency with which you intend to use it. Before buying, you really need to think about your needs.

If you want a tool for professional use, we recommend that you opt for a high-end model even if it has a higher price. You need a belt sander that will last, and won’t breakdown when you need it most. However, if you are a DIY enthusiast and do not plan to use a belt sander very often, it is probably OK to go with a cheaper model.

Size

When it comes to belt sanders, size does matter. The dimensions and weight of the sander will determine how portable it is. Even if you decided to buy a portable model, less weight and size will always equal greater ease of use and greater ease of transport. Before buying a large belt sander, you really need to consider if you need something super powerful, because it will be less practical and convenient.

Working for many hours with a very heavy piece of equipment can be very tiring. It is even possible to end up with an injury as a result of repetitive overexertion. It is clear that, except in very specific cases where extra power is required, a belt sander that is very heavy is not going to be the best option.

Lijadora industrial

There are different sizes of belt sanders available on the market.
(Source: Schindl: 38796813/ 123rf.com)

Power

The amount of power you require depends on the type of work you are planning to do with the sander. In any case, we recommend that you choose a tool with a power rating of at least 500 W. Remember that higher power means faster performance, resulting in a smoother finish with less effort. However, it will also mean you will consume more electricity, resulting in a higher electricity bill.

With a low power tool you can only work on wood and polish certain types of metals, while using a powerful belt sander will allow you to work almost any material and ensure you achieve more professional finishes. However, purchasing a more powerful unit will require a larger financial outlay.

Sander sizer

This is a factor you cannot overlook. A sander that can accommodate larger belts with a greater surface area will mean less work, time and effort for the same task.

In general, the width of sanding belts usually varies between 3-4″, with a length of 17-24″.

Speed

The speed of a sanding belt is one of the key criteria to consider when deciding on one model or another. The tasks that a sander is capable of performing, will depend on the velocity at which the rollers can rotate, and how precisely this speed can be adjusted. Additionally, faster speed means you can do the same job in less time.

Generally the unit of measure used is feet per minute (ft/min). However, sometimes it is possible that the speed of rotation of the rollers is indicated as well. If this is the case, it is usually indicated in revolutions per minute (rpm). Feet per minute will give you more accurate information about the actual performance of the belt sander, so you should pay more attention to this specification.

Changing the belt

The method by which the sanding belt is changed is an important aspect you should definitely take into consideration when buying a belt sander. We suggest that you opt for a tool that offers a quick and easy replacement process. These days most of the latest models have fairly easy ways of changing belts, but it is still an important thing to check before making your purchase.

Brand

Currently on the market there is a huge range of belt sanders on offer from many different manufactures. It is important that you choose a trusted brand with a reputation for high quality standards. Keep in mind that the best manufacturers will always offer superior customer service. Brands that manufacture high-quality products, are usually more popular with consumers, which is why it’s always important to read customer reviews as part of your selection process.

The guarantee offered by the manufacturer is also a very important consideration to take into account. Always opt for a product that includes at least a two year warranty. Some of the most popular and trusted manufactures of belt sanders are: Virutex, Black & Decker, Bosch, Makita, Diverse and Einhell.

Accessories

The best models out on the market usually include different accessories. Some of the most common are: a retractable cable, a vacuum bag for collecting dust and replacement sandpaper belts. Some models will also include a carry bag for transporting the belt sander.

If you are interested in a portable belt sander, it is still a good idea to check that it also has the ability to be fixed to a workbench. The type of included accessories is not the most important aspect to consider when making your purchase, however it is not something you should overlook either. Again, think about how you plan on using your new belt sander, and then consider which accessories you may actually use and which ones your probably don’t need.

Summary

Belt sanders are versatile tools that allow you to work with a wide-range of different types of materials such as wood, metal and plastic. Jobs like polishing, sanding, leveling or cleaning away surface materials can be performed much more efficiently and easily using one of these tools. There are lots of great options available on the market right now that do not require a large financial investment, so there has never been a better time to get yourself a belt sander.

When choosing the product that is best for you, it is important to understand how these tools operate, and to consider how you intend to use it. As with any type of purchase, it is always advisable to take into account the price and brand of a product, and also the warranty offered by the manufacturer. The most important specifications of these machines to determine performance capability are the power rating and the operating speed of the sanding belt.

Hopefully this guide has been useful for you. If so, please be sure to leave us a comment and share it with your friends, family and anyone else you think might be interested in learning more about belt sanders.

(Source of featured image: Isaac74: 90270800/ 123rf.com)

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Our writers and editors at THEGOODESTATE.com focus on making your life easier by selecting the best available options on the U.S. market of everyday objects and supplements.