The 10 Best Belt Sanders to Buy 2020

Reviews

Belt sanders are perfect for woodworkers who perform a lot of shaping, trimming, sanding applications, and more. Although it’s not considered as a “must-have” tool for DIYers and homeowners, it’s still an important part of any toolkit. The best belt sanders are real powerhouses which you can use for various projects from sharpening tools, refinishing surfaces, and everything else in between.

Just like any other type of power tool, belt sanders have their own strong points and drawbacks. This is why you should think of what features you need first before you spend money on any model. Think about the usual size of the projects you have and how much power you need to perform them.

In this article, we’ll provide you with the information you need before you make a choice. Later on, we’ll review some of the best products available now and who knows? The best belt sander for you may be one of those on our list. Read on!

Features to consider in Good Belt Sanders

Purpose
Belt sanders have several practical purposes. You can use them for smoothing, sanding, trimming, and shaping. Some people even use these tools to remove old paint or stains. Some models are also great for removing rust or paint from metal too.

Belt sanders come in all sizes and shapes so think about your own purpose for needing one. Think about the sizes of the projects you’ll work on then you’ll have a better idea of what belt sander to get.

Size
Just because a belt sander is big and powerful, that doesn’t mean it’s the best. Before thinking about the size of the tool, consider how you’ll use the belt sander and how frequently you’ll use it too. Professionals may benefit a lot from large, hefty, powerful, and heavy sanders.

But for homeowners, a more compact and lightweight model may suffice. Also, keep in mind that big and bulky tools require more space for storage. They may also need regular maintenance to keep performing well compared to smaller models.

Types
There are 3 major types of belt sanders. First, benchtop belt sanders are a type of equipment that’s stationary. They’re designed to be accurate, stable, and have powerful motors with a high RPM. Benchtop models usually combine both disc and belt sanding capabilities. Some benchtop belt sanders are fairly portable while others really heavy which means that you’d only situate them in one location.

The next type of belt sanders are the handheld ones, and they’re either cordless or corded. The differences among these models are in their form factor, weight, and power areas. Some handheld belt sanders are big, and these are ideal for heavy-duty work. But there are also lightweight ones which are easy to use and better suited for detail and finish projects.

Finally, the cordless belt sanders are the newest ones which have come out in the market. In fact, there are only a few brands which are widely available for purchase. They usually run on lithium-ion batteries and come with chargers.

Front, back, and center
When going through different products, check their various features one of which is the front nose of the tool. If you plan to work on detailed projects or with softer types of wood, then choose a tool that has a front nose with a round shape.

Also, check the centering system of the tool. No matter how powerful the belt sander is, if the belt doesn’t stay aligned, you won’t be able to work productively. Search for a belt sander which has a system that’s dedicated to track centering. This will save you a lot of time and effort while preventing any issues while you work.

Price
Since a belt sander is a type of power tool, you can think of it as an investment for your workshop. Think about how much you’re willing to spend and try to look for a model which fits into your budget. The good news is, there are different models available, and they come in a wide range of prices.

Depending on what you need, the different brands offer belt sanders with varying features. They have different prices, and this largely depends on the quality of the materials used in the construction of the tool. Also, a higher price may mean that the tool has a more powerful motor and some additional features.

The Best Belt Sanders 2020

1. Makita 9403 4″ x 24″ Belt Sander

Why we like it: What makes this one of the best belt sanders on the market is its power and quiet operation. In fact, it’s the quietest in its class as it only produces 84 decibels. The Makita 9403 has a belt that’s 4-inches in width, and its speed is 1,640 feet per minute which allow for faster removal of materials.

Editor’s Rating:

Efficient
This belt sander combines speed and power with handy features that are easy to use. It works quietly and quickly for efficient removal of stock. The Makita 9403 is perfect for general contractors, floor installers, carpenters, woodworkers, and all those who need a best-in-class model.

The belt sander comes with a powerful motor with an electronic for speed so it can maintain a constant speed while under load. It has a wide belt and a good speed allowing you to work more productively.

Sturdy
Aside from being highly efficient, this belt sander is very durable too. It has a labyrinth construction which seals the bearings and the motor to prevent contamination. The Makita 9403 features a large grip at the front and a low level of noise for your comfort. Also, it comes with a dust bag that swivels 360° to allow for easier operation.

Easy to use
This model has an extended base which allows for flush sanding. Its belt is 4-inches in width and has a speed of 1,640 feet per minute for faster removal of stock. The tool’s front grip provides control and comfort, and the user-friendly lever control makes it easy to change belts. The Makita 9403 also has a wear plate made of ceramic which minimizes maintenance time, and it even has a dust collector that’s highly efficient.

Pros
  • Removes material at a faster rate thanks to the belt which has a speed of 1,640 feet per minute.
  • Made with a labyrinth construction which seals the bearings and motor from contamination.
  • It has a large grip on the front that’s positioned for your comfort.
  • It’s a relatively lightweight belt sander, and it comes with a warranty good for a year.
Cons
  • It may leave grooves on the material.

2. SKIL 7510-01 Sandcat 6 Amp 3-Inch x 18-Inch Belt Sander

Why we like it: This is an imported sand belter that features a Pressure Control Technology. This will warn you when you’ve applied too much pressure on the tool or the material. The SKIL 7510-01 has an Auto Track System which will keep the belt centered and always on track. Also, it has a micro-filtration system which captures then contains dust particles.

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Efficient
This stylish belt sander is highly efficient too as it’s able to sand any type of surface made of wood. The SKIL 7510-01 has a micro-filter dust canister which will help maintain the cleanliness of your work area. The Auto Track Belt maintains the alignment to keep the belt right at the center.

The tool also has a lock-on switch, flush edge sanding, a soft grip, and an attachment for a shop vacuum which can help control the dust as you’re sanding. It’s dust canister also has a clear view feature to remove guesswork as you would know exactly when to empty the canister.

Handy features
The SKIL 7510-01 has some unique and handy features which set it apart from the crowd. One such feature is the Pressure Control Technology which will give you an indication when you’re applying enough pressure for the type of application you’re performing. This is a very helpful feature, especially for beginners. Another excellent feature is the filtration system which can capture more sawdust and debris than other models.

Value for money
Aside from being highly handy and efficient, this belt sander also comes at a reasonable price. It’s the perfect tool for beginners, hobbyists, and DIY enthusiasts. Even though it’s relatively affordable, it still comes with some superior features which means that you’ll get great value for your money. The SKIL 7510-01 won’t break your budget, but it won’t disappoint you either.

Pros
  • The belt sander has a Pressure Control Technology which will warn you when you apply too much pressure.
  • Has an Auto-Track System which will keep the belt on track.
  • It has a micro-filtration system which contains and captures even the finest dust particles.
  • With this tool, you have a clear view of the dust canister, so you don’t have to do guesswork.
Cons
  • The motor can’t handle prolonged use.

3. Astro 3037 1/2-Inch x 18-Inch Air Belt Sander

Why we like it: This belt sander is perfect for spot weld removal. The Astro 3037 has a simple lever for belt tension. It has a variable control for the speed and a greater pulley space to allow for new, wider or thicker belts. It’s an industry-leading model which runs of 0.5 HP making it one powerful tool.

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Full-featured
The Astro 3037 is one of the most recent and popular products on the market. With it, you can eliminate spots welds faster and less costly than other standard methods. You can also use this belt sander for applications such as cleaning welds and metal prep. The tool has an adjustable arm for enhanced access using the included wrench.

The belt sander comes with a belt fitment that’s universal making it compatible with nearly all styles and brands. When you change belts, all you have to do is open the arm using the auto-latch feature. Then you can engage the auto-tension feature just by pressing the tool’s lever release.

Professional-grade
This high-quality tool is specifically designed for automotive work. It has lightweight frames making the Astro 3037 perfect for vertical, handheld use. Despite being a professional-grade model, this belt sander still comes at a reasonable price. It’s perfect for tough application such as sanding down spot welds which are hard to reach, exhaust pipe finishing, and more.

Easy to use
This tool can be an exceptional addition to anyone’s toolbox. It’s versatile and easy to use. With the Astro 3037, you can perform different kinds of sanding tasks. The belt sander provides unparallel control thanks to the lever that’s easy to adjust, With this lever, you can set the appropriate angle each time. It also comes with variable speed control for superior grinding.

Pros
  • It’s a versatile tool that comes with an adjustable arm and adjustable speeds.
  • Has a simple tension lever and it’s perfect for spot weld removal.
  • Runs on 0.5HP, and has variable controls for speed, and more pulley space.
  • Includes 40, 60, and 80 sanding belt grits.
Cons
  • Some issues with shipping and delivery.

4. Ridgid ZRR2740 6.5 Amp 3-in X 18-in Heavy Duty Variable Speed Belt Sander

Why we like it: This superior belt sander comes with a high-efficiency system for dust collection with its twin fans. One of the fans will cool the motor while the other fan starts collecting the dust to make your work area clean and free of debris. The Ridgid ZRR2740 has handles with a soft-grip feature to minimize vibration and increase your comfort.

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Durable
This belt sander comes with a robust motor which means that it’s powerful enough to handle even the toughest jobs. It has a dial for controlling the variable speeds. This comes with electronic feedback which matches the speed to the removal rate you need. Then you can maintain the speed under load to ensure consistent results.

The Ridgid ZRR2740 is of high-quality materials making it durable and tough. It has a vacuum adaptor which can fit a standard hose for a work environment that’s virtually dust-free. It also has an Automatic Belt Tracking system for improved alignment.

Easy to use
The Ridgid ZRR2740 has a variable dial for speed with an electronic feedback feature. With it, you can match the tool’s speed to the removal rate you desire. Also, the electronic feedback can help maintain the speed of the motor to provide you with consistent results every time. The tool has flush sanding capabilities even against vertical surfaces.

Efficient
This tool has a cord that’s 12-feet in length and is of rubber. Also, the cord comes with a cord wrap for enhanced convenience and durability. Its efficiency comes from the powerful 6.5-Amp motor belt that’s driven by gears. The Ridgid ZRR2740 has accessible brushes which you can quickly service for reduced downtime.

Pros
  • The handles have a soft-grip feature to reduce vibration and increase comfort.
  • The belt sander has an all-rubber cord and a cord wrap that’s 12-feet long.
  • It features an automatic tracking tool to adjust the belt for better alignment.
  • Powered by a 6.5-Amp motor gear and belt for additional durability and power.
Cons
  • It makes a lot of noise, especially after some use.

5. TACKLIFE 3 × 18-Inch Belt Sander

Why we like it: The TACKLIFE belt sander has a robust motor to deliver a powerful and effective performance each time. It includes more than 10 sanding belts of aluminum oxide. With this model, you can handle various projects. The tool also has screw clamps so it can act like a sanding platform for more flexibility and convenience. This is a lightweight tool that minimizes fatigue while working.

Editor’s Rating:

Effective
This belt sander has a 5-Amp motor for you to deal with a wide range of applications, even the tough ones. It even comes with 2 screw clamps which means that it can also work as a sand platform when you flip it over. The TACKLIFE tool even comes with 13 sanding belts, so you don’t have to purchase them separately.

This is an effective tool with a highly efficient system for dust collection. This feature collects up to 90% of the dust to keep your workspace clean. It has an improved handle for user comfort and superior grip.

Easy to use
Aside from the sanding belts, this tool comes with 2 kinds of sandpaper so you can achieve various matte effects. The TACKLIFE comes with variable controls for speed and a lock-in switch so you can match the tool’s speed to the removal rate that you need. The tool maintains its speed even under load to provide you with consistent results.

Affordable
This is one of the more affordable models available yet. It comes with some excellent features. These include the robust motor, the screw clamps, and the vacuum adaptor and dust box which are already attached to the tool. Aside from the lock-in switch, the TACKLIFE also has a knob for speed setting that comes with 6 dials.

Pros
  • Has screw clamps so you can turn the tool into a sanding platform to give you more flexibility and convenience.
  • The tool has a knob so you can choose the speed settings according to your tasks.
  • Comes with a vacuum adaptor and a dust box to keep your work area clean.
  • It’s perfect for sanding different materials, and it’s suitable for polishing and drawing applications.
Cons
  • Some claim that the motor isn’t very powerful.

6. BLACK+DECKER DS321 Dragster 7 Amp 3-Inch by 21-Inch Belt Sander

Why we like it: This imported belt sander comes from one of the famous brands in the industry which means that it’s guaranteed to be a superior product. The BLACK+DECKER DS321 is a high-quality tool. It has an innovative roller on the front to help you reach tight corners easily. Also, it has a retractable handle with 3 different positions for superior control.

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User-friendly
The tool’s front roller helps reduce your need to perform flush sanding. The BLACK+DECKER DS321 is a 6-Amp tool making it powerful enough for professionals and DIY enthusiasts as well. It’s a compact and lightweight tool that has convenient features such as the retractable handle and the dust collector to maintain the cleanliness of your workspace.

Design
The BLACK+DECKER DS321 has some excellent design features. Its body has a flush design so you can sand in vertical surfaces and in corners. This tool is easy to control thanks to its small size and its handles which are of plastic. This model comes with a dust bag, a sanding belt, and a user’s manual.

When you need to change paper, use the lever for belt release and the adjustment knob. The latter makes sure that the belt always stays in the appropriate position. Its dust collector will keep your space mess-free for enhanced visibility.

High-quality
With this belt sander, you can change belts quickly and easily thanks to its quick-release button. The BLACK+DECKER DS321 has a wide trigger and a big handle which provides you with better control even when using it at different angles. It’s a lightweight model that you can use for longer periods of time without experiencing fatigue.

Pros
  • The front roller has an innovative design so you can easily reach the tightest corners.
  • The handle has three possible positions, and it’s retractable for better control.
  • Includes a dust bag, a sanding belt of medium grit, and an instruction manual.
  • It also has a dust collector to keep your work area clean.
Cons
  • The dust collector tends to stop working after some time.

7. WEN 6307 Variable Speed Detailing File Sander

Why we like it: The belt sander features a dial for its variable speed which you can set up to 1,8000 feet per minute. It has an Auto-Tracking belt system which doesn’t need any adjustments or tensioning. You can pivot the belt of the WEN 6307 in order to meet the needs of your project. Changing the belt is easy too, thanks to the tool-free installation.

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Versatile
With the WEN 6307, you can make tight corners smooth and create contours in various materials such as metal, plastic, and wood. It has a narrow belt which you can pivot up to 55-degrees for different projects. This tool allows you to switch between grits easily thanks to the tool-free changing system. Also, the dial allows you to change the speed as needed.

Practical
This is a handy tool with a great design and powerful performance. The WEN 6307 has a special design which allows you to handle the smaller projects. It has a dust port attachment for you to hook it up to an efficient system for dust collection. This model even comes with 3 sanding belts with abrasive textures to increase its versatility.

This is a compact, handheld belt sander which you can maneuver easily and work with for longer periods of time. It’s also designed for awkward angles and tight spaces making it very flexible.

Design
The WEN 6307 is slimmer and shorter than other models without compromising its performance. It rotates up to 1,800 feet per minute, it has an adjustable handle, and it can pivot too. All these features ensure that you have total control over the tool even when trying to reach narrow spaces.

Pros
  • Has variable speed settings from 1080-1800 feet per minute.
  • The belt system has an auto-tracking feature, so it doesn’t need adjustments or tensioning.
  • Has a tool-free installation for the belt making the process quicker and easier.
  • Includes an adjustment for the dust port, 3 sanding belts, and a 2-year warranty.
Cons
  • It tends to come apart when dropped, so you have to be careful with it.

8. WEN 6321 7-Amp 3 in. x 21 in. Corded Belt Sander

Why we like it: This is another powerful belt sander from the WEN brand. It comes with a 7-Amp motor which rotates the belt at 13 feet per second. The WEN 6321 also has a compact and lightweight design which minimizes fatigue while you use it. This model comes with a dust bag that’s detachable making clean-up an easy task.

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Lightweight
This WEN 6321 belt sander has a compact design and a lightweight. You can use it comfortably even for long periods of time without experiencing fatigue. It has a powerful motor which allows the tool to strip paint, deburr jagged splinters, and finish edges easily. The high-power motor allows for faster and easier removal of materials.

This tool has a roller on the front which extends past the housing’s edge so you can use it to reach and to sand tight corners. It has a lock-in feature for safety which allows you to sand continuously without having to grip the trigger switch constantly.

Heavy-duty
This is a sturdy tool with a robust motor. Despite its weight of 6 pounds, it’s powerful enough to perform various tasks easily and quickly. The WEN 6321 comes with a lever for belt release to make changing sandpaper easy too. The included dust bag minimizes cleanup while the adjustment knob helps you align the belt correctly as needed.

Handy extras
This tool has a sanding belt with a quick release feature which makes it easy to swap sandpapers and adjust grits. It has a roomy dust bag which can catch the debris from your workpiece which so you don’t have to clean up after. The front roller of the WEN 6321 helps you reach those confined spaces and tight corners.

Pros
  • The compact design of the tool minimizes user fatigue.
  • Includes a dust bag that’s detachable to keep your work area clean.
  • The tool’s lock-in feature for safety so you can sand continuously without having to grip the trigger constantly.
  • It’s a high-quality belt sander that comes with a warranty that’s good for two years.
Cons
  • The included dust bag is relatively small.

9. Hitachi SB8V2 9.0 Amp 3-Inch-by-21-Inch Variable Speed Belt Sander

Why we like it: The belt sander has a dial for adjusting the variable speed. This improves the manageability of the tool while working. The auxiliary and main handles have soft, elastomer surfaces for a secure and comfortable hold. The Hitachi SB8V2 even has a tracking window which allows for visibility of the sanding surface.

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Powerful
This tool comes with a powerful 9-Amp motor which allows for tough applications such as material removal. It has a no-load speed of up to 1,475 feet per minute making it ideal for removal of steel, paint, and wood. The service life of the Hitachi SB8V2 is 2x longer than the standard models.

This belt sander improves corner sanding applications. It has a dust bag on the left side and a belt pulley on the right side. The main body of the tool has a flush design, and it also comes with some upgraded features.

Compact
The Hitachi SB8V2 is a compact and lightweight belt sander with a lot of superior features. These include a dial for variable speeds, soft grip handles, and a tracking window. Since the bag for dust collection is on the left side, this improves corner sanding work. It has a V-belt that’s wear-resistant and drives the sander for twice the tool’s service life.

Durable
This is a tough, durable, and powerful belt sander. With all its features and unique design elements, it still comes at a reasonable price. The tool has a powerful 9-Amp motor making it suitable for DIY and heavy-duty applications. To give you a better visual of the sanding line to improve your control. It comes with ergonomic handles which minimize vibration and enhance comfort.

Pros
  • The grip surface of the auxiliary and main handles are of soft elastomer for comfort and security.
  • It has a tracking window which allows visibility of the sanding surface.
  • The dust collection comes mounted on the side to improve applications such as corner sanding.
  • A V-belt that’s wear-resistant drives this belt sander to double its service life.
Cons
  • Some customers don’t appreciate the location of the motor.

10. Genesis GBS321A 3-Inch-by-21-Inch Variable Speed Belt Sander

Why we like it: Finally, this belt sander is highly versatile even with its low-profile design. You can use the Genesis GBS321A even in tight and narrow spaces. The tool has a single lever which allows you to change the belts quickly and easily. It even has variable speeds for added versatility. The high-performance tool is easy and comfortable to control making you more productive.

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Easy to use
This tool combines versatility and power with user-friendly features making it one of the best belt sanders on the market now. It works with less noise while still removing stocks efficiently. The Genesis GBS321A has a design that makes it perfect for floor installers, carpenters, deck builders, and others who need a consistent and reliable tool.

This belt sander has a powerful motor and a speed control that’s electronic which guarantees consistent speed even while under load. It has an Auto-Tracking belt system which keeps track of the belt without the need for adjustment.

Versatile
The Genesis GBS321A works quickly, efficiently, and you can use it for different tasks. It’s a reliable tool that will provide you with consistent results each time. The 8-Amp motor of this tool operates with a constant speed thanks to the electronic speed control feature. Also, you can use the dial for variable speed control to match the tool’s speed to your task.

Design
This belt sander has a design that’s low profile and will provide you with superior balance. It has a flat side which means that you can use it in tight spaces and for flush sanding applications. The quick-change, single lever feature ensures minimal downtime in order to increase your productivity. The Genesis GBS321A also has a dust bag that will help keep your workspace clean.

Pros
  • It’s quick and easy to change the belt as thanks to the quick-change feature of the single lever.
  • The variable speed allows this belt sander to be highly versatile.
  • You can adjust the front handle to improve the control and comfort of the tool.
  • Comes with handy accessories so you can start working on your projects.
Cons
  • The bag attachment isn’t very sturdy.

Guide to Buying the Best Belt Sanders

These are the best belt sanders available in the market now thanks to their design, features, and reasonable prices. Of course, there are some things you need to consider first before you make your choice. With these factors in mind, you’ll be able to find the best product which will suit your own personal preferences.

What important factors should you consider when buying belt sanders?

Weight
Beginners may not realize this in the beginning, but holding a heavy object while working for long periods of time may cause hand fatigue. So, if you plan to do a lot of projects which require working for prolonged time periods, it’s best to choose a lightweight belt sander.

Although some of these models have good portability, it’s still important to check their weight. Do this so that you know whether or not the tool is light enough for you to handle without experiencing fatigue.

Grip and comfort
The next factors to consider are the tool’s grip and comfort level. Aside from choosing a tool that’s light enough to handle comfortably, choose one which has a good grip. If the tool feels good in your hand, you’ll feel more comfortable working with it.

Features
All models of belt sanders have standard features such as the tracking system, dust bags, and more. But the best belt sanders come with added features to make them more superior and efficient. Some have unique features such as a pressure control system, a clear window, quick locks, dials for variable speeds, and others.

Belt sander safety tips

When it comes to power tools, a belt sander is one of the safer tools used in woodworking. Still, it’s important to learn how to handle them well to prevent any injuries or damages to the tool itself. Here are some practical safety tips for you:

Use a dust mask
When you breathe in dust, it’s both unsafe and unpleasant. When working, belt sanders tend to produce high amounts of dust, so it’s best to use a dust mask. Wear this even if your belt sander has an efficient dust collection system.

Clean it first before working with metal
Some users may not know this, but sanding metal may create sparks. When mixed with sawdust, this may start a fire in your workspace. That’s why it’s important to clean the tool first before working with any kind of metal material.

Unplug it first before cleaning or making changes
This is an important safety tip that no one should ignore. Unplugging the belt sander first before changing the belt, cleaning it or even emptying the dust bag will ensure that you’re safe while doing these tasks.

The Verdict

Although some people don’t really think of purchasing a belt sander, it’s also an essential tool to have in your workshop. There are different factors to consider when choosing such a tool. Belt sanders are highly versatile, handy, and a definite must-have for DIYers, amateurs, and for professionals. We’ve reviewed some of the best belt sanders available on the market now, and they all have varying features.

Make your selection based on your needs, the projects and applications you plan to do, and your preferences. Also, it’s important to learn how to use a belt sander safely and appropriately so you can avoid any work-related injuries. From a buying guide to user tips and actual products, we’ve provided you with all the information you need!