Thinking of starting a collection of useful power tools? Or maybe, are you contemplating of becoming a DIY enthusiast? Clueless about what piece of equipment you should purchase first? While the possibilities can be endless, one that you might want is a belt sander, which many people consider as the gorilla of the sanding world.
In the rest of this guide, I will help you to pick from the best belt sanders that you can find in the market. The options are limitless, but this does not go to show that you can choose whatever is the cheapest or the first product that you find. By being an intelligent buyer, there is an assurance that you will find one that delivers superior functionality and performance.
What is a Belt Sander?
Sanders can be confusing, especially if you are buying one for the first time. For the uninitiated buyer, the abundance of the options that are available in the marketplace will easily lead to confusion. Among others, belt sanders are some of the most common that you will find.
There are many types of belt sanders and you need to look for one based on the task that you need to complete. There are best belt sanders for knife making and woodworking, among other tasks. They work in various ways.
In a nutshell, a belt sander is a useful tool in the rapid removal of wood. This is unlike in the case of most sanders made for finishing projects. If you need to smoothen a surface, such as wood, a belt sander does the first step. The next steps will require either a random orbital sander or a palm sander.
What are the Types of Belt Sanders?
As you evaluate the possibilities that will confront you, it is important to be familiar with the types that are available and determine which one is best for your needs:
- Stationary Belt Sander: Also called benchtop belt sander, these are huge ones and are attached to a bench. This is meant for large-scale applications and professional jobs. It is more expensive, but it is more efficient in the long-term.
- Hand-held Belt Sander: If you need one that is lightweight and compact, which is ideal for small-scale jobs, this is the right belt sander for you. It is a common choice for many novices. If there is a need to, you can even transform your portable belt sander into one that is bench-mounted.
What are the Benefits of a Belt Sander?
Here are some of the good things about a belt sander, which will provide you with good reasons to have one:
- Easy to Use: Compared to other types, the use of a belt sander is pretty much straightforward and nothing that is too much to handle for a beginner. You will need to exert minimal effort as there is no need for a lot of tilting and pressure.
- Works Quickly: Another good thing about using a belt sander is the fact that you do not need to have the luxury of time. It performs an aggressive action, allowing it to quickly sand a lot in no time.
- Multi-functional: This is perhaps the best thing about belt sanders. They can be used in more ways than one, such as refinishing metal and wood, fixing a problematic door, making a knife, removal of stain from wood, and old furniture renovation.
Best Belt Sander 2018 Comparison Table
Black & Decker DS321
Below are five of the products that are worth taking a look at. To make it easier to pick one, Home Okatu will identify some of their top features, as well as a few of their pros and cons.
Makita 9903 Variable Speed Belt Sander
Makita is a name that is synonymous with powerful and high-quality tools, making this one of my top choices within the product category. It is a 3x21-inch sander, making it a lightweight and portable choice. This is perfect even if you frequently sand outside of your home.
The sander comes with an 8.8-amp motor, which is powerful enough to tackle different DIY tasks without requiring too much on your end. To make it even more comfortable to use, it produces only 85dB of noise, making it quieter than most of its counterparts.
Its low-profile design is one more thing that is worth mentioning. With the latter, it is well-balanced and easy to hold. To add, there is also an extended base. For better depth control, you can also use a sanding shoe, although the latter is an accessory that you must purchase separately.
As one of the best belt sanders for woodworking, this is an exceptional product because of the variable speed control dial, allowing you to adjust its performance based on what the task requires. You can adjust the speed from 690 to 1,440-foot per minute.
Lastly, to provide you with peace of mind, the manufacturer is offering a 30-day refund if you are unhappy in any way with how this belt sander performs. There is also a one-year warranty.
· Operates without making a loud noise
· Easy to keep dust out of the work area
· Equipped with a long power cord
· Dust bag attachment can easily fall off
· Can bog down in some instances
Hitachi SB8V2 Variable Speed Belt Sander
Equipped with a 9-amp motor, this is one of the best belt sanders that can deliver impressive performance in different tasks. You will love how it comes with an adjustable speed, which you can set anywhere from 820 to 1,475-foot per minute.
In terms of comfort, you won’t go wrong with this product as well. It is equipped with a grip surface that is made from soft elastomer, which will allow you to easily hold the unit. Nonetheless, there are some instances wherein you might find yourself easily losing balance.
It is also worth noting that it comes with V-belt drives that are water-resistant. This prevents the internal components from being wet. The end result is that it offers better wear resistance, making it useful even through the years.
If the components ever get damaged, you do not need to immediately get rid of the entire belt sander. The manufacturer makes sure that there are replacement parts that are easily available.
The clear front window is an intelligent design feature that makes it better. This will provide you with a clear vision of the surface where you are working. You will easily steer the sander in the direction that you intend to and will result in a better consistency.
· Speed can be customized based on specific tasks
· Durable construction
· Has an impressive dial that makes it easy to adjust speed
· Dust collector may experience some problems
· Maybe hard to balance at times
Powertec BD1500 Belt Disc Sander
This belt sander is equipped with a 1/3 HP motor. This is less powerful than most of the higher end options that you can find in the market. Nonetheless, it will be suitable for most hobbyists who expect to do small-scale tasks. Especially considering its price point, this is another option worth considering.
It is also impressive since it is built with dual dust ports. The latter enables the unit to have better dust collection. The outcome is that the work area will be a lot cleaner, as against others that can create a lot of mess.
For better precision when sanding, the work table of this product can be adjusted from 0 to 45 degrees. This will allow you to set the miter gauge based on the position of the table that is best for the task.
When changing the sanding belt, there is no need to struggle. It is designed to be user-friendly. Nonetheless, it should also be pointed out that there are some adjustments that can be quite tricky to do on the first time of use.
· Comes with an affordable price
· Excellent performance in terms of durability
· Durable construction despite being economical
· Can be quite noisy
· Making the initial adjustments can be difficult
Grizzly H6070 Belt and Disc Sander
Looking for a belt sander that you can use at home for light-duty tasks? This is one option that should be part of your list of choices. The 1/3 HP motor may seem to be too little for some, but in fact, for most common projects, it has more power than what will be necessary.
In terms of portability, you will also find this product to be impressive. It has a width of one inch and length of 30 inches. This five-inch belt sander will offer optimal portability, which makes it perfect for projects that you must complete outdoors.
For versatility, you can tilt the table of this belt sander up to 45 degrees so that you can customize its sanding position.
There are also two dust ports in the belt sander for optimal dust collection. This means that you do not have to worry a lot about the mess that it can create within the work area.
Lastly, it has a motor with a speed of 3,450 RPM. One thing that initially held me back from this product is the fact that the speed is non-adjustable. Nonetheless, for many beginners, this should not be too much of a concern.
· Versatile sanding applications
· Setting up the sander is an easy task
· Lightweight and portable body
· Load capacity is minimal
· Some plastic parts may easily break
Black & Decker DS321 Dragster Belt Sander
Your search for the best belt sanders under $100 stops the moment you find this product. More than the budget-friendly price, it is made by Black & Decker, which is one of the most reputable brands in the global market for power tools.
The 6-amp motor of the unit guarantees the best sanding outcomes in many tasks. If you are into home improvements and DIY tasks, among other things that require a belt sander, you will love how its motor is capable of delivering optimal results.
For your comfort, it is designed with your needs in mind. One that I personally love is the compact body and low-profile design. Even when sanding in low spaces, this will be exceptional. You will also not feel too much fatigue, even when it is used for an extended period of time.
There is also a conveniently located belt release lever. With this, you will be able to remove and replace the sandpaper easily.
· Excellent mechanism for dust collection
· Sleek construction for ease of use
· Low-profile design
· Dust bag has a limited size
· Bearings can become noisy and squeaky
How to Choose a Belt Sander
It is a given fact that the options for the best belt sanders will be almost endless. Nonetheless, this does not need to be an excuse for you to pick just any model. To come up with a more intelligent decision, I suggest that you consider the following factors:
- Reviews: Similar to buying any other product, a good starting point would be the feedbacks from other people. It would be wise to use their real-life experiences and opinions to weigh down the possibilities. Go online and look for belt sanders reviews to make a well-informed choice.
- Size: To determine which size is best for your needs, you need to think about the project where you will use the belt sander. The large ones are usually for professional contractors working on big projects.
- Ease of Use: There are many things that can contribute to a belt sander being user-friendly. Among others, one of the most important is that the manner of changing the paper should be as effortless as possible. It should also be easy to hold and must not lose balance.
- Portability: If you are a DIY enthusiast, choose a lightweight and compact belt sander. This means that you can bring and use it anywhere. To add, this also means that it will not result in too much fatigue as it will be easier to handle.
- Comfort: If they weigh more than what you can handle, you will end up being uncomfortable. With this, choose one that is lightweight enough so that even after several hours of work, you will still feel comfortable.
- Variable Speed: Most of the older models have a single speed. If you want one that is more versatile, you need to pick a model that comes with an adjustable speed that can be easily customized through a dial that is strategically-positioned.
- Care and Maintenance: It is essential that you exert effort to preserve the quality and functionality of the belt sander. See to it that the product will not be too demanding in terms of the care that it needs to retain its best performance.
- Dust Collector: When you are sanding, dust can be produced and can contribute to the mess in the work area. Look for a belt sander that has an impressive dust collector, which often comes in the form of dust bag or canister.
- Warranty: Belt sanders are not free from problems. There can be an issue with its motor or some of its parts. If the product comes with a longer warranty coverage, this means that you can be confident that the manufacturer or seller will stand by the quality of their product.
Tips on Using a Belt Sander
The best belt sanders do not guarantee the best outcomes. To be highly satisfied with the results, below are some of the most important things that you need to take into account:
- Wear a dust mask when you are working. It will also be a good idea to have goggles to protect the eyes. Even if there is a dust collector, you need to protect yourself.
- When it is time to change the sandpaper, make sure to take off the plug. Having no electrical current means that you can work on it safely.
- Keep moving the belt sander when sanding, preferably in a uniform direction. If you work on a single part of the material for a time that is longer than necessary, you might end up creating a hole, especially when you are working on wood.
- Choose the right sandpaper. They are available in different grit sizes. Choose grits that will be appropriate for the task that you have in mind. A coarser sandpaper should be used for heavy applications.
- Pay attention to the amount of dust that has been collected. Ideally, you must empty the bag once it reaches ¼. It can be a threat of fire. To add, you also need to make sure that you are working in an area that has proper ventilation.
For more tips on making the most out of the belt sander. You can read How to use a belt sander and this is a short video that you might find to be useful:
In sum, if you are looking for the best belt sanders that are available in the market, Makita 9903 stands out from the rest. Compared to the other four, it can deliver exceptional power without compromise. From its ergonomic design to its silent performance, it is indeed an option that can provide the best bang for the buck.
Read more: Best Benchtop Sanders 2018