When you work on wood surfaces, you will realize that the result that you will have is dependent on the type of tools that you have. Having the best belt sander is one of the best decisions that you can make. This is a powerful tool that allows you to shape and finish your woodworking projects in a uniformed manner. You will love the fact that these tools are gentle, yet quite aggressive. Any type of wood can be shaped using a belt sander and you can now work like a pro.
Finding a belt sander will save you time and money and the beauty of this tool is that it can be used by both professionals and DIYers. If this is the first time that you are shopping for one, you need not worry, as this buyer guide will teach all that you need to know. I have even covered some reviews so that you can end up making the right decision and buying the best rated belt sander. Please read on to the end and you can be sure to find something that is within your budget.
What Can You Do With A Belt Sander?
If there is one tool that is known to be versatile, then it must be the belt sander. This is a multipurpose sanding tool and when you have it you can enjoy a wide range of services. When you have a smaller model, it will be commonly used for scribing, when you want parts to fit perfectly. You can also use the sander for a laminate countertop. When you have the right belt sander, then you can be treated with multiple uses and this applies to all stages of experience.
As you may have noticed, this is a tool that is used for trimming, leveling surfaces and sanding surfaces that are very rough. However, this is not all that you can do as you can use the belt sander for shaping and freehand rounding. If you are looking for fast and efficient wood removal, then you will need to find the best value belt sander. The powerful tools have the capacity to handle coarse grits. One thing is for sure, when you have this tool, you will find a use for it.
The Best Belt Sander On The Market In 2018
Professionals and novices alike have come to love this tool as it serves quite a number of purposes. However, when it comes to buying, it is rather a daunting task, since there are so many models and brands that have been presented on the market. This can be confusing and this is why I took the time to test a number of models and narrowed down to the top 5. I believe the ones that I have picked and reviewed in this guide, represents the needs of different people. As such, I firmly believe in the end you should get the best belt sander for the money.
Here are my top choices!
Makita 9403 4″ x 24″ Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag
The Makita 9403 is one of the top rated tools on the market and one of the strengths that it has is the power that it produces. This is a model that comes with a very powerful motor that has belt speeds of up to 1,640 feet per minute. This is quite fast and will give you adequate material removal to get the desired result at the end. Besides this being a powerful model, you will also be impressed with the fact that it has very low noise levels and as such, you can enjoy a quitter operation on this 4 x 24 belt sander.
You will definitely notice the unique design that the tool hand and this will make it easier to sand walls that are flush. It comes with a large front grip, which is designed to give you maximum comfort. As a way of increasing your convenience during operation, the power cord is on the upper part and as such, it will not distract you or get in your way during the sanding process. It comes with a 4 inch wide belt, which allows you to remove stock pretty fast, with the tool.
The construction of this model is quite impressive as it includes Labyrinth motor and bearing seals, which prevent any contamination. It comes with an 80 grit abrasive belt, which enhances the efficiency of the tool. There is a ceramic wear plate, which is replaceable and this will reduce the need for frequent maintenance. There is a dust bag, which swivels 360 degrees and this gives you more convenience when you are working. This sander has a double insulation which makes it durable and enhances your comfort.
- The powerful 11amp motor allows the 4 inch belt to turn at speeds of 1,640 feet per minute, which gives you the fastest stock removal.
- The seals are made of a labyrinth and this is ideal for durability and also protects the bearings and motor from contamination.
- This is the best belt sander as it comes with a large front grip and the power cord is also on the upper portion to give you a smooth operation.
- While it is one of the most powerful sanders on the market, it has very low noise levels of 84dB, which give you a quieter operation.
- You will love the dust bag as it swivels 360 degrees giving you the convenience required to carry out your operation.
Ridgid ZRR2740 6.5 Amp 3-in X 18-in Heavy Duty Variable Speed Belt Sander (Certified Refurbished)
Get the Ridgid ZRR2740 and be able to handle all the tough jobs that require professional sanding. This particular model comes with a powerful 6.5 amp motor that gives it enough power to help you in fast removal of stock. You can easily adjust the speed to suit your task, using the variable speed dial. This is also loaded with an electronic feedback and this will be able to match speed to the removal rate that you desire. This is a sure way to get the best results. You will have a clean work station as this tool comes with an onboard vacuum adaptor, which will fit into a standard 1-1/4 inch.
This is a 3 inch belt sander is quite efficient. It comes with a twin fan high efficiency dust collection system that will work in the best interest of the tool. One fan will collect the dust, while the other ones work to cool the motor as you keep working. The soft grip handle will give you increased comfort and a steady grip. You will not suffer from the vibration effects of the tool. There is a 12 foot power cord that has a rubber wrap and this will enhance the durability and convenience.
The automatic belt tracking system is another feature that I found to be quite impressive as it will automatically adjust the belt to the center of the plate for easier alignment. The fact that the tool comes with a flat face will make it possible for you to flush sand vertical services. There are accessible brushes on this sander and this will reduce the downtime. Changing belts is easier as it is has a tool-free release mechanism.
- This belt sander comes with 12 feet all rubber cord and it has a cord wrap, which increases the durability and convenience.
- The twin fan high efficiency dust collection system is also quite useful as one fan will cool the motor while the other one will keep collecting the dust.
- The model run on a 6.5amp motor belt and gear drive, which gives it maximum power and durability.
- The soft grip handle increases your comfort when you are working and decreases the vibration.
- This tool comes with an automatic belt tracking tool, which makes alignment easier as it will adjust the belt to the center of the plate.
Hitachi SB8V2 9.0 Amp 3-Inch-by-21-Inch Variable Speed Belt Sander with Trigger Lock and Soft Grip Handles
The Hitachi SB8V2 carries quite a number of features and this is why I had to include it as the best belt sander. It comes with a powerful 9 amp motor, which is convenient and powerful enough for the most stubborn material removal. This allows the tool to at no-load speed of 820 to 1,475 feet per minute. As such, this becomes an ideal sander for paint removal, wood and steel. The wear resistant V belt on this sander makes it last 2 times longer than the standard belt sanders.
The dust bag for this model is located on the left side of the tool and this improved the dust collection. This will reduce any chances of having airborne debris and as a result, you will have a very clean work environment. Since the main body is flush and the belt pulley is on the right, this makes corner sanding much easier, when using the tool. There is a variable speed dial and this means that you can easily adjust the speed of the tool, depending on the task that you have.
The soft elastomer covered grip is on both the main and sub handles and this will enhance your grip and comfort when working on tough surface. This is ranked as a professional grade tool and when you invest in it, you can be able to use it for a number of applications. This is one of the sanders that comes with improved and innovative features that makes it easier to drill, cut or even fasten. This is a tool that is worth investing in and you will enjoy using it for various applications including woodworking, metalwork and other sanding tasks.
- This is the best 3 x 21 belt sander as it comes with a wear resistant V-belt, which prolongs the life of the tool, to double that of the common models.
- There is a variable speed dial on this tool and as such, you can adjust speeds from 820 to 1,475 feet per minute.
- You will have a secure hold when working with this model as it comes with a soft elastomer grip surface on both the main and additional handles.
- The dust collection bag is on the left side and this improves corner sanding operations and also maintains a clean work environment.
- The tracking window on the tool will give you good visibility of the surface that you are sanding, which ensures the best results.
WEN 6502 4 x 36-Inch Belt and 6-Inch Disc Sander with Cast Iron Base
A good number have been searching for a reliable tool for sanding activities, to no avail. However, I bumped into the WEV 6502 and I loved everything about it. This tool makes the whole process of sanding much easier and will remove all unwanted and jagged edges efficiently. It comes with a 4.3 amp, which works with the ½ HP motor to give you enough power to handle the toughest loads. Even when you use it for larger loads, you can be sure that it will not be bogged down.
In the event that you need to change the belt in this 6 inch belt sander, it will be quite easy and requires no tools. This makes it easier to switch sandpaper grits as needed, without wasting any time. You can easily make unique shapes as the belt will tilt from 0 to 90 degrees and as such, your needs will be well accommodated. There is heavy cast iron base, which gives this sander the stability that is needed to precise sanding. There will be no vibrations or wobbling when using it.
In addition to all the amazing features, there is also a 6 inch sanding disc, which enhances the functionality of this sander. In a bid to ensure that your workplace is always clean, there is a dust collection port on the machine. As such you will attach your preferred dust collector to handle the debris effectively. With this model, you will also get a spacious working table that is equipped with a removable miter gauge. This has beveling capabilities of 0 to 45 degrees, giving you the liberty to work on your project conveniently.
- You will notice that this is not your ordinary sander, but a 2 in 1 tool as it comes with a 6 inch disc and a 4 inch belt.
- The 4.3 amp motor delivers up to 3600 RPM and this will provide you with all the power that you need to handle any sanding task.
- The base is made of a sturdy cast iron and this is advantageous in that it will be stable and will prevent heavy vibrations during the sanding process.
- With this model, you will have more versatility in that the belt is adjustable and tilts from 0 to 90 degrees.
- There is a tension release lever that will make it easier to change the sandpaper grits to suit your project.
SKIL 7510-01 Sandcat 6 Amp 3-Inch x 18-Inch Belt Sander with Pressure Control
The SKIL 7510-10 is another tool that passes as the ideal sander due to the features that it carries. When you have this model, you can be able to sand any type of wood surface easily. It makes the work area quite clean as it comes with a micro filter dust canister and as such, you do not have to worry about saw dust and debris. The belt on this model will always be at the center since it has an auto track belt alignment. You are assured of the best results in your work as a result of these features,
You will love the technological advancement of this 3 x 18 belt sander. It uses a pressure control technology, which will warn you when you apply excessive pressure on it. This means that it has a safe guarding mechanism that will prevent any case of overloading. There is a switch to lock the tool on or off and this gives your ultimate control. While it weighs 8.2 pounds, it comes with a powerful 120 V motor that is able to deliver speeds of up to 1050 RPM when loaded. The vacuum adaptor is included as part of this tool.
If you are looking for a tool that can help you achieve flush edge sanding, then you should go for this particular model. It has a soft grip that will ensure that your hold and grip is secure and comfortable. The single lever belt changing mechanism makes it much easier to change the belts on the go. There is a clear view dust canister that will eliminate any guesswork when you wish to remove the dust. The attachment for the vacuum is convenient and can accommodate the stand vacuum cleaners.
- This qualifies as the best belt sander in that it uses pressure control technology. This will warn you when you attempt to overload it.
- This is one of the models that has a single lever belt changes, which makes the whole process easier.
- The auto track system is essential on this sander and it works to ensure that the belt is always at the center and on track.
- There is a micro-filtration dust collection system and this will be able to capture and contain even the tiniest saw dust.
- The dust canister has a clear view and as such, when you need to empty it, you will not have to use any guesswork.
How Do You Pick the Right Belt Sander Machine?
When it comes to the choice of the right belt sander, there are many factors that should be put into consideration. There are many experts who have suggested a couple of things that you should consider. However, in my case, I looked at the most critical features that would define your sander. Here are some of the features that you need to be keen on when shopping for the machine:
- Power and Weight
The motor of the sander is what will determine the amount of power that your sander will have. It is essential to understand your needs in the best way possible so that you can settle for a model that has the right amperages. Most ideal models will have motors with 6 amps to 10 amps. When considering the power output, you need also to check the weight that you are getting. Do intend to use it for vertical sanding? Then you need to be keen on the weight and go for something that is less than 10 lbs.
- Size and Design
When it comes to the size of the sanders, it is worth noting that they are classified according to the size of the belts. The common sizes are 3 x 21 and 4 x 24 inches. The 3 inch model may be good for beginners as it gives the best combination of balance, speed and power. The 4 inch sander, on the other hand, is used for heavy duty sanding. Go for a model that has an appealing design and one that is comfortable to handle as well. I recommend picking the right size, according to the tasks that you need to handle.
- Variable Speeds
In the beginning, Sanders would only come with a single speed operation. However, most of the modern models have the option of providing variable speeds from 500 to 1500 feet per minute. When buying your tool, find one that allows you to have different speeds, which you can control. This means that you need to pick a model with a speed dial so that you can easily define the speeds that you would wish to run the sander.
- Dust Collection
Sanding jobs will have a whole lot of sawdust and debris. As such, without an effective dust collector, you will end up with a messed work area. To be able to contain the dust, go for the model that has a good dust collector. In most cases, models will have a canister or a dust bag and this is a feature that you do not want to ignore. This will also increase productivity and your safety as the work area is clean and you do not have to keep stopping to clear out the debris.
- Handle and Grip
Comfort is one of the features that you can ignore when it comes to power tools operated by hand. You need to go for a sander that gives you the best comfort. While you may pay attention to the best budget belt sander, do not compromise on the grip and the handle. You need to go for a model with a soft and ergonomic grip. This will give you proper cushioning when you have to work for extended periods. You should get one that fits snugly in your hands, to give you ultimate control.
When you buy the best belt sander, you need to be cautious and observe safety when using it. As a way of enhancing your safety, here are some tips that you should bear in mind, when working with these machines:
- Always wear goggles or a face shield when using the tool.
- For extreme dusty operations, you need to wear a dust respirator
- Before connecting the tool to power, ensure that it is switched off.
- Always switch off the sander and disconnect it from power when you need to make adjustments or changing the belt.
- Make it a habit to inspect the sander before any task. Replace any belts that are worn out.
- Always make sure that you only install belts that are the same width as the pulley drum.
- During the operation, keep your hands away from the sanding belt to avoid injuries.
- Make use of both hands when sanding so as to have full control of the machine and enhance your safety.
- Keep the power cords away from the surfaces that are being sanded.
- Take some time to clear the dust from the vents and motor in given intervals.
- Ensure that there is a dust collection unit when working with the sander so as to keep the working area clean.
- Resist from applying too much pressure on the sander, during the operation as that affects performance.
- Clamp the stock in place so as to avoid any movement.
- Never cover the air vents on the machine when sanding.
- Do not overreach the surface and always ensure that you have proper body balance and footing.
Frequently Asked Question
Q: Can I use a belt sander to shape and sand stainless steel?
A: Yes, you use your belt sander for shaping and sanding stainless steel. However, you need to ensure that you have right belt and sand paper so as to get the expected result.
Q: Is my tool made of bushings or bearings?
A: Most of the models of belt sanders are made to run with bearings. However, you may need to check with the manufacturer if it has bushings.
Q: What are the noise levels of the belt sanders?
A: Ordinarily, the modern models are designed to be quiet and have very low noise levels. You should always confirm with the manufacturer on the noise levels.
Q: Will I get a carry case when I purchase a belt sander?
A: Hardly would you find a belt sander that has a carrying case. In most cases, you will be forced to buy a case separately.
Q: Can I use a sander to level my tree stumps so as to make a table?
A: While the belt sander may work in removing parts of material on a tree stump, it may take a lot of effort. You can use other saws to trim and then use the sander for leveling.
If you have come this far, you should be able to get a belt sander without a problem. This is an essential tool that will make all your professional and DIY tasks have a great difference. I have given you all that you would need to make a decision. Taking all the recommendations into account will make the process of finding the right tool much easier for you. Please follow this guide religiously if you are keen on getting a quality sander.
From the 5 models that I have reviewed on this guide, I recommend the Hitachi SB8V2 9.0 Amp 3-Inch-by-21-Inch Variable Speed Belt Sander as the best belt sander. This guide is so informative and you can help your loved one with this information, please feel free to share it around. I wish you good luck as you go out shopping for a sander.