It’s known that home projects are a serious thing to indulge in, and therefore, it’s important you have the right tools to help you along the way.
What’s a belt sander?
Belt sander is a tool that makes every sanding job easy and quick. Regardless of the sanding surface, belt sanders help you smooth and prepare it for following procedures. To help you choose, we’ve made a list of best belt sanders 2017.
Of course, this list consist different models, such as orbital finishing sander and belt disk sander combo. Without further ado, continue reading if you’re interested in finding the best belt sander for you.
Table of Contents
- Best Belt Sander Of 2017
- 1. Makita 9903 – Lower Noise Level Belt Sander
- 2. Hitachi SB8V2 – One Of The Best Long Lasting Belt Sanders
- 3. Black&Decker DS321 – Ideal For Detailed Projects
- 4. Makita 9403 – Best 4 x 24 Inch Belt Sander
- 5. Porter-Cable 362V – Highest Power And Speed
- 6. Porter-Cable 371K – Ideal For Sanding Up To Perpendicular Surface
- 7. Black&Decker BR318 – Best For Tight And Narrow Spaces
- 8. Astro 3037 – best for spot weld removal
- 9. WEN 6321 – Powerful Motor And Safety Lock-in
- 10. Hitachi SB8V2 – Factory Reconditioned
- Belt Sanders Buyer's Guide
- What is a belt sander?
- Types of belt sanders
- Things you should look in Belt Sander
- Sandpaper Grit Size & Appropriate Uses
Best Belt Sander Of 2017
Before we proceed to belt sanders reviews, let’s first compare the models to one another. We’re going to show you how can belt sanders help you with any kind of professional applications, but we also want to show you their specifications and features.
Naturally, when you decide to buy an electric sander, you want to take some time to research and learn.
For this reason, we bring you the list of the top 10 belt sanders 2017 in order to help you choose the one belt sander that would work the best for you.
|8.8 Amp||3 x 21||690-1,440 ft/min||9.5 lbs|
|Hitachi SB8V2||9.0 Amp||3 x 21||820-1,475 ft/min||5.3 lbs|
|Black&Decker DS321||7.0 Amp||3 x 21||N/A||8.2 lbs|
|Makita 9403 (Best for WoodWorking)||11.0 Amp||4 x 24||1,640 ft/min||13.0 lbs|
|Porter-Cable 362V||12.0 Amp||4 x 24||1,000-1,500 ft/min||17.4 lbs|
|Porter-Cable 371K||5.0 Amp||2-1/2 x 14||N/A||8.9 lbs|
|Black&Decker BR318 (Ideal for Detailed Projects)||N/A||3 x 18||N/A||6.0 lbs|
|Astro 3037||N/A||1/2 x 18||16,000 rpm||2.1 lbs|
|WEN 6321||7.0 Amp||3 x 21||13 ft/sec||6.0 lbs|
|Hitachi SB8V2 (factory reconditioned)||9.0 Amp||3 x 21||820-1,475 ft/min||11.25 lbs|
As you can see, motor, belt size, speed, and weight are a few of the most important belt sander specifications.
Furthermore, this table allows you to see all the differences and similarities of each model. Plus, it’s also easy to note the speed you get, as well as how heavy the tool is.
Of course, it’s not easy to buy a belt sander based only on the information in this table. For that reason, we’ve tested and reviewed each of these belt sanders. No doubt, best belt sander review allows you to see what exactly you get with each tool.
Not only that, but you can also learn a little about how a belt sander works. Finally, continue to our product reviews to learn all information about these powerful tools.
1. Makita 9903 – Lower Noise Level Belt Sander
We all know how noisy can get when you’re working with wood, especially when you’re doing something like sanding. If you mind too much noise, you should definitely consider this belt sander since its noise level doesn’t pass 84 dB.
Of course, we’ve measured the noise level at top speed, to make sure it’s true. Its belt is 3’’ x 21’’, which is kind of standard belt dimension.
Furthermore, the motor is 8.8 Amp, which means it’s a little more powerful than your basic belt sander.
With a motor like this, it will take you significantly less time to complete certain tasks. No doubt, this is always useful to help save time. In addition, its speed range goes from 690 to 1440 fpm (feet per minute).
As you imagine, this speed range allows you to match speed to whatever application and task. Another thing that we loved about this belt sander is its vacuum bag. More precisely, this powerful tool features a vacuum bag that sucks up all the dust, preventing it to end up all over the place.
Even though Makita says you’ll get from 690 to 1440 fpm, it appears that’s false. More precisely, customers have complained that if you set your tool any lower than max speed, you won’t be able to do any work.
Normally, when you see its 1440 fpm, you think that would be enough for the majority of tasks you’d need a sander for. However, this tool in particular performs best on max speed setting.
To be honest, the best thing about this belt sander is the fact that it’s quiet. For sure, it’s a feature worth appreciation. Other than that, the overall tool is quite good. It’s lightweight, easy to use, features a long power cord, etc. At last, keep it on max speed setting to achieve the best results.
2. Hitachi SB8V2 – One Of The Best Long Lasting Belt Sanders
Hitachi really did a good job here in creating a belt sander of variable speed and series of useful features. First, its belt is 3 x 21 inch and it’s wear resistant. No doubt, this means longer life. Another useful feature is the front window that’s completely clear, allowing you to have full insight in what you’re doing while sanding.
Of course, we could call this belt sander professional-grade, but that doesn’t mean you can simply use it for some small DIY projects. Its motor is 9 Amp and that means you can work on anything from steel, paint, wood, etc. The wear resistance guarantees that the tool will last you a long time.
On another hand, Hitachi covers this belt sander with 5-year warranty, just in case something goes wrong. Also, if you visit Hitachi website, you’ll find replacement parts there.
Furthermore, the variable speed control makes it easy for you to switch between speeds while working. Overall, the tool is easy to maneuver with since it features soft grip handles.
In addition, it also reduces vibration, which is something you should always pay attention to. Finally, the tool is powerful, lightweight, and easy to work with.
As you’d expect, customers mostly complained about the how the outer body is plastic. In our opinion, this doesn’t take away from the quality of the tool. Simply, the plastic used here is top quality and hard to break.
Simply, people fear that, since it’s plastic, the tool won’t last a very long time. Another common complaint is that it doesn’t come with a stand, although you could say that it’s kind of top heavy.
No doubt, this is a high quality tool that’s going to last you a long time. In addition, it’s easy to work with, lightweight and it features 5-year warranty. Truly, there’s rarely a deal better than this one.
Don’t be confused by the fact that it’s made of plastic, because you won’t even notice that. However, it does miss a stand, but all the other features make up for that.
3. Black&Decker DS321 – Ideal For Detailed Projects
This Black&Decker Dragster is another standard 3 x 21 inch belt sander of low-profile design. The thing with this low-profile design is that it allows you to have a better contact with your surfaces.
In addition, it features a front roller that allows you to sand tight areas, corners, etc. No doubt, we must mention its retractable hood. This feature makes it easy to do any kind of detailed work and project. Because it’s so lightweight and compact, it’s actually perfect for any small places and delicate projects. Plus, there’s no need to lift any heavy objects since you can easily sand underneath them.
Although this tool is quite powerful, don’t expect it to perform as well as advanced sanders. Reason for this is its 7 Amp motor that will do good with some DIY projects. If you’re concerned about comfort, know that this sander features adjustable handle with 3 different positions. Conveniently, just flip the action belt release lever in order to change belts.
Finally, there’s also a dirt bag, which may be considered small, but it has a zipper for easy access.
Some customers who used this tool have experienced the tool making weird noise after some time of use. Interestingly, the tool doesn’t stop or break, but it makes the annoying and weird noise. Unfortunately, we don’t know why this would happen.
However, if it does happen to you, we suggest you contact the brand. At last, they can always help with whatever issues you’re having with the belt sander.
Generally, it’s a solid and good belt sander. If you’re just going to do some work around the house, or start some kind of smaller DIY projects, you’ll do good with this sander. If you’re someone who does heavy-duty projects, you’re better off with another model. At last, it performs well, it’s lightweight, and very easy to use.
4. Makita 9403 – Best 4 x 24 Inch Belt Sander
Unlike the review above, this belt sander review is about a little more heavy-duty belt sander. In combination with 4 x 24 inch belt, its 1640 fpm speed will impress you.
No doubt, Makita did a good job with this sander and you’ll rarely find better sanding tool than this one. Its handles are multi-positions, plus it also comes with a long power cord and ergonomic design. Of course, this means comfort and ease of use.
In addition, heavy-duty 11 Amp motor is something that makes this a top tool to have in your workshop. Even though it’s heavy-duty, you’ll be able to do any tight corners because the tool has exposed nose.
Finally, this top quality belt sander will perform as well as any benchtop belt sander. If you’re often doing big projects, you won’t regret if you invest in this professional tool.
Sadly, dust bag seems to be less than top quality. More precisely, most people were very disappointed after experiencing the dust bag elbow breaking.
At last, nobody really knows why or how is this happening, but it’s important you know. In our opinion, nothing can go wrong if you’re treating the dust bag with ease and patience.
If you’re serious about your projects and require a top quality belt sander, you should definitely give this model a try. It’s not only heavy-duty but its belt is 4’’ x 24’’, which makes it that much better.
If you operate carefully with the dust bag, you won’t have any kind of problems with this tool. Finally, give it a try if you’re looking for something to last you a long time.
5. Porter-Cable 362V – Highest Power And Speed
No doubt, Porter-Cable created this tool for everyone who is in need for a professional belt sander. Since it’s heavy-duty and professional grade, you do have to know how to use a belt sander prior to handling this tool. Its motor is 12 Amp, which is what gives you all the professional power.
In addition, motor is over platen. For this reason, the tool achieves max performance and balance. Its design allows it to sand even vertical surfaces with ease. That’s not all, because you’ll also get variable speed dial that’s located on the handle. This allows you to adjust speed from 1000 to 1500 fpm. Furthermore, quick release belt change lever is also near for extra convenience.
Finally, the tool includes a dust bag assembly, 100G belt, and operating manual. Importantly, dust bag swivels at 360 degrees, so it always stays out of your way while you’re working.
Most common critic is about the power cord. More precisely, because this belt sander features multi-directional sanding, the power cord can sometimes end up on the open side.
Normally, this means that it’s very easy to pull the cord up into the belt and destroy it. Please, be careful so this doesn’t happen. Unfortunately, this is a design fault, but a customer came up with the idea to tape some plastic around the cord to help keep it out the way.
No doubt, the high speed and professional power of this belt sander help it meet the standards of any benchtop belt sander.
Furthermore, it’s easy to use because everything you need is right there near your hand. Plus, you get the multi-directional sanding and 1500 fpm. No doubt, if you need a top-notch belt sander, this is a good option.
6. Porter-Cable 371K – Ideal For Sanding Up To Perpendicular Surface
This Porter-Cable tool is slightly different from the one you saw in the review above. More precisely, it offers a little more comfort and ease of use, and therefore, it deserves to be on our list. Its body is texturized and rubber, which means it provides non-slip and comfortable grip. Of course, you already know how important it’s to have a tool that’s not slippery.
In addition, you can easily sand up to perpendicular surface thanks to its flush side. Furthermore, it also features metal components that provide durability. Normally, if you’re looking for a belt sander of professional grade, this is definitely the one to try.
Plus, it’s dust-sealed, and its recessed switch is what offers easy access. This also means there’s no unintended turn-offs that are always so annoying. No doubt, another useful feature is removable auxiliary handle. This is exactly what provides control when you need to use both hands.
What happens to most users is their tool overheating. Simply, if you use it for too long at the time, it might get very hot. On that note, some people even said that their tool was smoking. Of course, this is not a joke, and is potentially dangerous.
In our opinion, the best thing to do is contact the manufacturer. At last, they’ll do their best to help you fix the issue.
Porter-Cable knows how to make a tool that’s durable, versatile, and easy to use. If you want a belt sander that’s impressive and performs well with all kinds of tasks, this is a good way to go. Keep in mind that you must be careful when it comes to this overheating issue, but other than that, this is one quality belt sander.
Keep in mind that you must be careful when it comes to this overheating issue, but other than that, this is one quality belt sander.
7. Black&Decker BR318 – Best For Tight And Narrow Spaces
In this case, Black&Decker claims that this belt sander is 13% more narrow than the most of other belt sanders on the market. With that said, this makes it easy to reach tight and narrow spaces, and we can always appreciate that. On that note, you can expect it will sand up to 2 times closer to the edge of any surface you’re working on.
In addition, it features a dust bag that is quite easy to empty. Of course, when it comes to emptying dust, it’s important that you have the least contact with it.
Also, the tool features a front handle design that’s comfortable and provides good grip. Because it’s powerful and easy to use around small areas, we simply had to review it for you.
Unfortunately, there’s no way you can lock the tool at slower speed. This isn’t a big issue and it doesn’t take away from the product itself, but it is a minor critic after all. Since you can only lock it in the fastest speed, be careful while working in any slower speeds.
There really isn’t any other belt sander like this one, and it’s simply because it reaches all the tight areas. Not only that, but it’s easy to use, empty dust bag, and it’s lightweight. If you’re okay with sanding at various speeds without locking the tool, you’d be very pleased with the results it delivers.
You’ll quickly notice that this review is a little different, and it’s because we haven’t come across a belt sander such as this. The best thing about it it’s definitely how great it’s for spot weld removal. If that’s something you’re doing more often than not, you probably know how important it is to have the right tool. The sander also features belt tension lever that’s quite simple.
In addition, its speed control is variable and you’ll also notice increased pulley space. Naturally, this space is perfect for thicker belts. It works with 0.5 HP and 16000 rpm while weighting only 2.1 lbs.
The only issue here is that Astro goes through belts quite quickly. This is happening because of how the tool is designed. More precisely, the wheel doesn’t have any cushioning, which essentially makes it easy for belts to wear fairly quickly. Since many people complained about this, Astro is currently working on redesigning the tool to deliver better results for its customers.
Because it wears belts so quickly, we suggest you purchase it only if you’re not going to use it as often. No doubt, this great-quality sander will impress you with its abilities. However, if you’re looking to use it often, you’re going to have to replace belts just as often.
9. WEN 6321 – Powerful Motor And Safety Lock-in
Now, this belt sander features a 7 Amp motor which isn’t the most powerful motor on our list. However, it’s powerful enough to rotate the belt at 13 fps and more. You must admit that’s impressive.
In addition, its compact design and lightweight are what makes it so easy to use. Another quite useful feature is a dust bag that’s detachable. With this, you can easily empty all the dust without any hassle.
Furthermore, the tool features safety lock-in that makes it possible to sand without constantly griping on the trigger.
Finally, if you’ve never used any WEN tools, don’t worry, because they offer 2-year warranty for this belt sander. Plus, they’re backed by some skilled technicians, so customer service is always a breeze.
Even though the dust bag is detachable and easy to empty, many people claim that it’s poorly designed. More precisely, it’s said that it doesn’t collect as much dust. Because its dust collection is as bad, customers fear that the motor itself could burn up quickly, too. Keep in mind how important dust collector is for you before you opt for this model.
In our opinion, this is a good belt sander for DIY projects. With those, you usually don’t use the tool for a long time, and there’s not as much dust. Other than that, this is a good sander that will impress you with its abilities and ease of use.
10. Hitachi SB8V2 – Factory Reconditioned
In the review above, you can find the Hitachi SB8V2, which is essentially the same tool only this one is factory reconditioned. In this case, you get 3’’ x 21’’ belt sander with variable speed settings, plus a belt that’s wear resistant. In addition, the tool also features tracking window that provides visibility while you’re working. It’s professional, durable, powerful, and performs aggressively on all kinds of surfaces from steel to paint.
Its variable speed makes it easy to switch from one speed setting to another. Furthermore, it features soft grip handles that make the tool easy to operate. For this model, you can also find replacement parts on manufacturer’s website.
Finally, you get stable tracking, easy and effective sanding, all in one tool. Let’s not forget to mention it’s also pretty lightweight, which is always a plus.
Even though the dust bag works perfectly, it will try and get in your way while sanding. Of course, this could be dangerous and you should definitely be extra careful about that. Also, the device itself is lightweight but its top is significantly heavier than the rest, which causes the tool to want to fall over.
No doubt, you can’t go wrong with this Hitachi tool. Really, we all know Hitachi and how long they’ve been around. Other than that, the tool is of quite good quality and performs very well. We like it the best because it sands pretty much any surface you want.
Belt Sanders Buyer's Guide
It’s only normal that you need a little guidance when buying a woodworking tool for the first time. Understandably, it’s because there are so many different models on the market that makes it so hard to choose only one.
If this is the case, don’t worry because we’ve prepared a guide for you. More precisely, continue reading if you want to know how to use a belt sander, what types exist, etc.
What is a belt sander?
Belt sander is something that no carpenter or DIYer would ever be without. Simply, the tool is essential in woodworking, but in every other sanding project, too. Imagine having to sand large areas by hand. It would be a nightmare for sure.
For this reason, we use belt sanders to save time and do a better job. Furthermore, you can do trimming, sanding rough surfaces, shaping, leveling surfaces, freehand rounding, etc. Keep in mind, their action is linear, unlike vibrating and orbital sanders. The way it works is simple. It has an electric motor that powers drums on which the sandpaper is mounted on.
Types of belt sanders
Stationary, or otherwise known as benchtop belt sanders, are large belt sanders mounted on a bench. Simple as that. These tools are more cost efficient in the long run even though they’re more expensive. Most of the time, these are used for larger projects. For example, you can use them on tables or other large movable objects. Simply, you won’t be able to use them on floors since they’re not movable in that way.
Typically, those who are new to inversion therapy should only do a few minutes a week. As your body adjusts and your muscles grow, you gradually add more time.
Handheld belt sander is what we use for most sanding jobs around the house. These are smaller than stationary and they come in different shapes and sizes. Here, the sanding belt is on the bottom, which makes it possible to sand surface such as floor. You can also find different speed settings with different models. Naturally, if motor is high speed, you can expect it to sand surfaces that are a bit more aggressive. In some cases, these belt sanders can be used upside down, but make sure to check that prior to purchase.
Things you should look in Belt Sander
When looking for a belt sander, it’s important that it’s equipped with the right features that are useful to the customers. Essentially, features are what makes us choose one belt sander over another. Simply, always keep in mind the type of project you’re doing and the type of material you’re working with. This will help you opt for features that will help you deal with the work ahead of you.
Size and shape
This factor depends very much on the size of the project you’re using it for. Of course, they can be small and handheld, benchtop sanders, and belt disc sander combo. Furthermore, use larger belt sanders if you’re a professional woodworker, contractor, carpenter, furniture maker, etc.
Mostly, professionals choose powerful and large tools with high Amp motor. If, however, you need a sander for a smaller job, you can go for something less powerful and small. Normally, small belt sanders are easy to hold, and control. Ideally, these are also good for detailed work and small spaces. In our reviews above, you can find different small, handheld belt sanders that can make detailed work a breeze.
You can only imagine the type of mess that sanding leaves behind. Our suggestion is to always purchase the belt sander with dust collector. Luckily, most manufacturers make belt sanders with dust collector and you can find many in our reviews above. Typically, dust collector is a dust bag, or even a canister. In our opinion, this useful feature makes a big difference since dust is always dangerous to be around.
Though, make sure to get a dust bag that’s large enough just so you don’t have to constantly empty it. In some cases, you can even take the bag off and connect a vacuum to it. However, for this you’re going to have to look for a shop-vac attachment and purchase it separately. Of course, if you’re looking to use your belt sander often, this is a good feature to look for.
If you want to avoid mess and dust, this is a good way to go. More precisely, this kind of attachment will allow you to get rid of absolutely every dust debris.
What it does is it vacuums all dust into tank, keeping your workspace air clean. Finally, this can make your work much easier since it helps you get all that dust away leaving your workspace fresh and clean of dust and debris.
Alongside shop-vac attachment, workspace ventilation also helps you get rid of dust and keep the air surrounding you clean. Of course, this is important and you should be quite serious about it.
As you probably understand, dust is a major issue when it comes to sanding projects, especially big ones. Therefore, keep in mind the size of your project when looking for a belt sander.
Now, this is the fun part. Motor speed is what makes the tool sand different surfaces in different speed and quality. Of course, this can go up to 1,500 ft. per minute.How to decide on motor speed? Simply, think about what type of work you’d be doing most often.
If you’re only going to do some minor sanding around the house from time to time, you don’t need a very powerful or fast machine. However, if you’re a professional and almost all your projects are big and demanding, then you do need something of a little more speed.
Essentially, fast motor gets the job done quickly. Our suggestion is to look for variable speed setting, just so you can pick and choose what speed you want at what time.
Comfort and handle
When choosing a handheld device, you simply must choose what’s comfortable. No doubt, this also includes noise levels. Simply, you’re maybe going to use your sander for a long time, so it’s important that you’re completely comfortable during that time.
However, this factor depends on what you’re used to and what you consider comfortable. There are large, flat handles, rounded knobs, top handles, etc.
At last, make sure to pay attention to where the handles are, as well as knobs, and switches. In addition, some belt sanders feature adjustable and detachable handles. Finally, look for whatever is comfortable for you.
Warranty is always important and it’s no different in this case. Simply, and especially when it comes to large tools like this, you want to be able to test it out and return it if it doesn’t work well for you.
Warranty is also important because it helps you get help if there’s something wrong with your tool. Most of the time, when the sander is under warranty, you can get it fixed in no costs.
Finally, different manufacturers offer different warranty deals, and really, no rules apply. In our opinion, the best is to get the most extended warranty as possible.
Type of project
No doubt, this is also an important factor when choosing a belt sander. More precisely, when you think about the type of project, you can decide on the type of sander much easier.
Simply, if you’re working on smaller projects, you’re probably going to be okay with a smaller and less powerful belt sander.
However, if you’re working on something large, you definitely need a belt sander that’s a bit more professional and offers better results and more power.
Sandpaper Grit Size & Appropriate Uses
Check out our table of appropriate uses for each sandpaper grit. If you’re unfamiliar with the type of sandpaper grits and what they’re used for, this will help you a lot.
Below you can learn which grit is used for what type of material and purpose, so continue reading if you want to learn all that.
Sandpaper grit size
Very coarse grit
This is typically from 20-40. More precisely, these have a large grit and can push through surfaces quickly and with no problems. Once you combine them with speed and power, you can expect it to do an extraordinary job. However, be very careful when working with this coarse.
This one goes from 80 to 120. In most cases, this sandpaper is used between varnish coats when preparing wood. Not only that, but you can use it to buff stains or remove stains in wood. Because these are such delicate tasks, you can easily overdo them unless you have a fine grit sandpaper such as this. Also, make sure to have a light hand, because too much pressure is also something to avoid.
Super fine grit
We consider super fine grit everything from 120 to 220. No doubt, there’s not much use for this grit sandpaper because of how fine it is. Most of the time, it’s used solely to polish in finishing touches. Use them to sand over wood for clean and smooth surface when you don’t want to varnish the item. In addition, you can even use it to polish metal.
Hopefully, we were able to help you pick one power tool from our list of reviews. At this point, we’re sure you’ve chosen the right belt sander or belt disk sander combo for your needs and expectations.
Regardless of whether you’re a woodworker or metalworker, sanding large surface isn’t easy and it’s plain boring. However, if you own the right tool to help you do it, you can be done with it quickly and without any hassle.
Keep in mind that different projects require different sanding. Also, you should think about the material you’re working with, since that has to do with the type of sander you should choose.
At last, it was a pleasure creating the best belt sander review for you and therefore, we hope you find it useful in your quest to find the perfect belt sander.
Have you ever used a belt sander? Do you prefer handheld or benchtop belt sander? What’s your opinion on belt disk sander combo? Please, feel free to join the conversation in the comment section below.