The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide to Belt Sanders

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Belt Sanders Buyers Guide

If you regularly complete woodwork jobs, such as working on furniture or renovations around your home, then you will understand the frustration of trying to sand down large pieces of material. It can take a massive amount of time and effort, plus you never manage to get a completely flat surface at the end of it! The best option in this situation is to purchase a belt sander. A belt sander can be moved along a wide range of materials, with the sanding belt rotating at the same time, so that they material can be sanded smoothly and evenly.

In A Hurry?

We know that your time is precious, so we have compiled all the most important information that you could need right here so that you can get out and purchase the belt sander that is right for you.

Best Pick – Bosch PBS 75 A Belt Sander

Bosch Home and Garden Belt Sander PBS 75 A (710 W, in carton packaging), Green
  • Fitted with the Bosch microfilter system for efficient built-in dust extraction. Perfect handling – easy to control thanks to improved ergonomics and compact design
  • Automatic belt tensioning system makes changing the belt quick and easy
  • Manual belt alignment is not required as the belt is automatically held in the correct work position while sanding
  • Can also be used for stationary work. Robust housing – high quality and stability due to aluminium components
  • Compact design, improved manageability and handling of the tool

Last update on 2024-05-27 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Why Purchase A Belt Sander?

There are many reasons why having a belt sander is a good idea for anyone wanting to complete woodwork DIY in their homes. Not only can belt sanders come in handy for woodwork projects, but also just for general DIY around the home, or home renovations. For example, laying flooring, planing doors and fitting kitchens.

The main benefit of a belt sander is the time and effort that it will save you from traditional sanding methods. An average belt sander used for sanding wood will work at around 4000 rotations per minute. As fantastic as you may be at sanding (and we’re sure you are!) it would just be impossible to work at this speed without the use of belt sanders! It will reduce the time in which it takes you to complete jobs exponentially! Not only this, but the effort that goes into manually sanding is incredible! You would be pushed to complete the same amount of work as a belt sander in one go, without having shredded fingers and collapsing with exhaustion!

As if this wasn’t enough, belt sanders will also improve the finish that you can expect on your jobs! Their design means that they will ensure a smooth and even finish (providing they are used correctly!). Yes, there will always be times when manual sanding is needed, for more intricate or detailed areas of woodwork, but in general, a belt sander will save you time, money and manpower!

What is the Right Type of Belt Sander for Me?

There are many different types of belt sander to suit every need, however broadly speaking they are broken down into two categories – Stationary/Benchtop Belt Sanders and Handheld Belt Sanders.

  • Stationary/Benchtop Belt Sanders – These types of belt sanders are fixed in position, as the name suggests, meaning that you move the material to the belt sander, instead of moving the belt sander to the material! This does mean that they will be less portable, and will also tend to mean that there are fewer places that they can be used. However, it isn’t all bad – stationary/benchtop belt sanders will usually be bigger, and therefore more able to take on stronger materials where more ‘umph’ is needed to complete the job!
    • Stationary or Benchtop Belt Sanders can also be broken down into two further categories – Combination Belt Sanders and Spindle Belt Sanders. Combination Belt Sanders are multipurpose tools that will be able to complete a variety of jobs due to the different tools that come fitted under one appliance. Whereas spindle sanders are essentially a cylindrical sander that rotates, allowing you to touch the material against this at any angle to rub away the parts of the material that you don’t want.
  • Handheld Belt Sanders – Again, it really is clear in the name…handheld belt sanders are portable belt sanders, where you control the movement of the sander, and the material that you are working with is fixed in place. So essentially the exact opposite to stationary belt sanders! They will usually be cheaper than their stationary counterparts, due to them being considerably smaller. They are much better suited to jobs where portability is an issue, or for jobs that require more detailed movement of the equipment due to them being freehand tools. However, this does mean that they are better suited to smaller jobs and can be more prone to user error!
    • Again, handheld belt sanders can also be broken down into two further, broad groups – corded and cordless. Cordless handheld belt sanders will add to the portability of your tool, meaning that you can work almost anywhere. But, they are also usually more expensive and likely to be less powerful!

If you still feel as though you need more information before committing to a belt sander that is right for you then keep reading. We have provided more information below on the features to look out for and some top tips to aid your purchase!

Best Budget – Tacklife 600w Belt Sander

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Belt Sander Features to Look Out For

Here are some of the main features to look out for when purchasing a belt sander. We have also included individual sections for stationary and handheld belt sanders, as depending on the type that you are looking to buy will determine what is going to be important for you to look for.

  • Power – The power of your device is incredibly important, too little power will make it very difficult for you to complete the task at hand and leave you wishing you had just stuck to manual sanding! The type of belt sander that you are purchasing will obviously determine the optimum power that you are looking for, however, they will vary from as little as 100 watts to as much as 1200 watts. You will usually find that the more watts a belt sander has, the more revolutions it will be able to achieve in a minute – which will, in turn, affect how fast it can complete the job.
  • Size – The size of your belt sander is important for a number of reasons. The bigger the tool, the bigger the area that it will be able to sand at any one time but this will equally mean that it is less portable and easy to manoeuvre. Therefore, it is important to consider what you are more likely to need from your belt sander and choose a tool that works best for you. Handheld belt sanders tend to come in two sizes – 3” x 21” or 4” x 24” – but stationary belt sanders can come in a variety of sizes. Look not just at the size of the tool but also the belt width! You could find that you choose a large, bulky tool that has a smaller belt width – which would leave you carrying around a massive tool, that doesn’t help you complete the work any quicker!
  • Speed – It is important to look for a belt sander that has options to change the speed. Quicker isn’t always better, it would be easy to think that the more rotations the faster the job will be completed – in some cases this will be true, but in other more complicated jobs, it will just lead to damaged materials and you becoming frustrated. The speed of your belt sander is usually defined in either rotation per minute or feet per minute. Be sure to consider this when looking for different belt sanders as you could end up comparing models on completing different units of speed!
  • Dust ports – The quality of dust port will either make your life considerably easier or considerably harder. A large, well-working dust port will collect most of the debris that you create when working with your belt sander, so that you have less to tidy up afterwards (and so there is less harm to you) whereas a poor quality dust port will need emptying regularly, or may only remove certain types of debris. For large stationary belt sanders, you may have the option of attaching a dust extractor to remove even more of the dust.

Stationary Belt Sanders

  • Stationary belt sanders will usually be expected to complete much tougher jobs than their handheld brothers, therefore it is even more important to choose one that is made out of the correct materials, such as cast iron or aluminium.
  • Adjustable table – gives you more options on the jobs you can complete and the angles you can work with.
  • Adjustable belt frames – This will, again, add versatility to your tool, allowing you to move the belt from horizontal to vertical (and for some models even at a more slanted angle).
  • Platform guides – this is something that you would be hard-pressed to find with a handheld belt sander, as you will likely be working on varied surfaces. Make the most of having one with a stationary belt sander and choose the one that will help you in all types of woodwork jobs!

Handheld Belt Sanders

  • Yes, we have been raving about the greatly reduced amount of effort that is required with belt sanders, compared to manual tools, but this doesn’t mean that they are not still tiring to use, especially when completing larger jobs. Find a model that has a high-quality grip design so that you are able to work for longer, and with improved comfort.
  • Most handheld belt sanders will use sanding methods that need changing more regularly than stationary models – therefore it is important to choose a model that has simple changing methods to save you time and effort!
  • Lightweight – This is very important when looking for the best handheld belt sander for your money! Chances are if you’ve opted for a handheld belt sander then you are wanting a model that is portable and easy to manoeuvre – so choosing a model that is more lightweight will assist in this!
  • Stands – Some handheld belt sanders offer the best of both worlds, coming with clamps and stands that allow you to secure the tool in place, turning into a smaller version of stationary/bench belt sander. Perfect for those of you that are still unsure which type is right for you!

Best of the Rest

BLACK+DECKER 720 W Angled Belt Electric Sander for Adjoining Surfaces, KA86-GB
  • included components: 1 x Black & Decker KA86 belt sander power source type: Corded

Last update on 2024-05-27 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Einhell TC_BS 8038 TC-BC 8038 E Belt Sander | Strip Sander With Tool-Free Belt Change, Auxiliary Handle | 800W Band Sander With Dust Collector Including 1x P80 Grinding / Sanding Belt, Red
  • Designed for easy and quick sanding belt change
  • Exact belt position with precision adjustment
  • Dust extraction system and dust bag
  • Includes 1 sanding belt

Last update on 2024-05-27 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Makita 9911/2 240V 76mm Belt Sander
  • High capacity sanding and dust collection
  • Variable speed control dial
  • Unique design for flush sanding to a wall
  • Flat top design allows the sander to be turned and used as a bench top tool
  • Auto tracking belt system

Last update on 2024-05-27 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Top Tips for Your Belt Sander

  • Choose a model with noise reduction technology – many belt sanders are rather noisy devices. Look for models that boast noise reduction elements – this will save you having to purchase such expensive ear defenders!
  • Two-step switch activation – This is an important safety feature as means that your device will not end up being “accidentally” switched on.
  • Always read the manual and instructions before using your tool.
  • The higher grit of the belt the smoother the finish. The best practice is purchasing belts of different grits so that you can change depending on the job that you are completing. Also, make sure to change your belt as soon as it starts to wear – this will avoid overworking the tool and affecting the quality of the job.
  • Be sure to remove any debris or dust from your belt sander after each use. Checking for any cracks or breaks and that your rollers are level is equally important for the smooth running of your belt sander.
  • Always wear safety glasses, ear protectors and gloves when using belt sanders to protect yourself from any debris or accidents.

Alternative Options

If you are unsure whether a belt sander is the right option for you and you are looking for a little more flexibility in the jobs that you can complete then it may be that you need a belt and a disc sander in one. We have compared some of the best belt/disc sanders to help you make the right choice. We have also reviewed the Ryobi One+ Palm Sander if you are wanting a smaller tool for the job!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use my belt sander on metal as well as wood?

Most belt sanders are advertised as being used on wood, however, the sander itself, in theory, can actually be used on metal as well. This all depends on the belt that you have attached to your belt sander – a belt suitable for wood won’t be suitable for metal, and vice versa. It is also important to consider the belt speed, at a speed that is suitable for metal will likely burn wood.

 What warranty do belt sanders come with?

Belt sanders will usually come with a 2-year warranty. However, some do offer extended warranties – particularly if you register your tool online! This is well worth doing, as it will normally take about 2 minutes but can extend your warranty by up to 2 years!

Do you have to press down hard when using a belt sander?

No! It is really important not to press down hard on the material when using a belt sander. This can damage the belt or the sander itself. Simply move the sander along the material and allow the belt to do the work! It is also important not to hold the sander in one place for any length of time.

About Thomas Paxton 368 Articles
Hey there, I'm Thomas Paxton, your Tool Guru with a Twist! I've been knee-deep in the world of tools since I was a little tinkerer in my dad's shed. Now, I'm running my own website where I share my passion for tools and gardening products through buyers guides and insightful tips. I've got the knowledge and experience to break down complex concepts into simple, easy-to-understand language. I purchased Tools Review from Mike Jones at the start of 2023, he has done a sterling job of building the site and I hope I can continue in his success! When I'm not writing guides, you'll find me in my garden or garage, putting my skills to work and pushing the boundaries of creativity. So, whether you're a pro or just starting out, join me on this adventure, and let's conquer DIY projects together!

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