Best Belt Sanders in 2021 – Complete Guide

Cody
| Last Updated: January 30, 2021

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Belt sanders are among the most common types of sander you'll find; they can be used on a whole range of tasks, like removing material or shaping a workpiece.

Below is a guide on how to find the best belt sanders currently available. 

Hoping to cut right to the chase? Below are the best belt sanders:

  1. Jet 708597K
  2. Grizzly Industrial H8192
  3. Powertec BD1030

Comparison Chart of the Best Belt Sanders

Product

Specs

Price

Jet 708597K

  • Adjustable belt and disc sander
  • Heavy duty and durable
  • Quick-lock belt handle

Grizzly Industrial H8192

  • Narrow belt
  • Adjustable tracking knob
  • Reinforced rubber feet

Powertec BD1030

  • Best Belt Sander Under $100
  • Tiltable table
  • Rubber feet

Proxxon 38536

  • Smallest Belt Sander
  • Elongated body
  • Anti-vibration

Jet J-41002

  • Best Belt Sander for Knife Making
  • Angle adjusting miter gauge
  • Removable platen

Rikon 50-122 Belt Sander

  • Best Wide Belt Sander for Small Shop
  • Solid aluminum legs
  • 6 x 48-inch belt

Bucktool BD4801

  • Best Belt Disc Sander
  • Multiple dust ports
  • Angle tilting up to 90-degrees

How to Choose a Belt Sander - Belt Sander Buying Guide

Like with any top of the range product, there will be a standard that each tool will meet to be considered top of the range. Below are some features that you'll commonly find on a high-quality belt sander. 

Variable Speed Control 

Managing your belt sander's speed is important; and different tasks will require various speeds. You don't want to have multiple sanders that operate at different speeds; you'll want one versatile belt sander that you can fully control. 

Belt Width 

The width of your belt is important if you're going to be sanding wide workpieces; if you're using a slim belt, it will take forever to complete something like a cabinet or door—the wider the belt, the more suited to larger workpieces. If you're sharpening a tool using your belt sander, a narrow belt would be suitable. 

Portable Or Static Unit? 

You can either get a portable, handheld belt sander or a unit placed somewhere in your workshop; the portable belt sander is good for tradespeople who are constantly on the move with various jobs. In contrast, a static unit can be placed in a hobbyist's garage or a carpentry workshop. 

Review of the Best Belt Sanders 

Now that you know what features to keep an eye out for looking at some great examples of high-quality belt sanders. If you're ever struggling to find your own, why don't you purchase one of our favorites below. 

Best Overall
Jet 708597K

PROS

  • Wide belt sander for larger pieces
  • Dust collection vacuum attachment
  • Dual sanding unit with great versatility
  • Suitable speed for many sanding tasks

CONS

  • Default dust collection isn't as powerful

Our Review

The dual sanding unit weighs in at a staggering 119.7lbs, which may be a problem during installation but will certainly give the user peace of mind regarding stability and security. The 6-inch belt sander is suitable for larger pieces due to the width and will provide the user with 2258 RPM. 

While the disc sander is 9-inches and offers a speed of 1775 RPM, the great thing about having two sanders in one unit is, of course, the versatility and the option to complete multiple tasks in varying difficulties or requirements. 

The unit gives you the option of attaching a vacuum hose, which will be much more effective than the default dust collection system, which would be the only downside to this belt sanding unit. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The width of the belt is what makes this product stand out from its competitors. A 6-inch width is suitable for many tasks, whether it be sharpening a knife or sanding down larger workpieces like cabinets or doors. Narrow belts wouldn't be able to get the job done as effectively or as fast. 

Runner-up
Grizzly Industrial H8192

PROS

  • The angles can be adjusted
  • Has a relatively portable weight
  • Reinforced rubber feet for added stability
  • Two dust ports provide more effective containment

CONS

  • Not suitable for larger workpieces

Our Review

This sanding unit provides you with a 1 x 42-inch belt and an 8-inch disc sander, with both of their tables capable of tilting 45-degrees to the right, great for hard to reach areas. The unit offers decent power with a ⅓ HP, 110V, single-phase motor that will give you a speed of 1725 RPM. 

The two dust ports are 2-inches wide and can effectively remove dust during operation, ensuring a clean workplace. If you're ever worried about the unit's security due to vibrations, you'll not need to worry with this product as it has reinforced rubber feet for added stability. 

The weight of 63lbs should also help with stability while also making it easier to move around the workshop. The only issue with the sanding unit would be that it's not suited for large workpieces due to the belt sander's smaller size. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

If you're ever re-arranging the workshop due to the lack of free space or doing the odd renovation as part of your job, you could easily stick this in the back of the van or move it around the workshop. The small size and relatively lightweight design make this product more realistic to move around. 

PROS

  • The plate can be tilted
  • A vacuum can be attached
  • Will effectively sand curves
  • Reinforced feet will absorb vibrations

CONS

  • Narrow belt suits just small workpieces

Our Review

The ⅓ motor on this belt sanding unit can offer 3260 RPM, which is more than enough for sanding tasks. These speeds will create plenty of dust, which is when the vacuum port will come in handy to keep your workplace clean. 

If you're ever working with an awkward workpiece, whether that be in the form of tight spaces, corners are annoying angles; you can tilt the plate to a 45-degree angle and remove the backplate, which can help with corners or various shapes. 

The reinforced rubber feet will keep your unit stable, especially since this product only weighs 13.32lbs, one accident and you could see this belt sander fall to the ground. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The fact that this product is under $100 is the real benefit for the user. You'll receive all of the same features and advantages as other expensive competitors. This particular belt sander would greatly benefit a first-time buyer. 

PROS

  • Adjustable belt arm
  • Variable speed controls
  • An incredibly lightweight design
  • Great maneuverability and control

CONS

  • Can become uncomfortable after prolonged use

Our Review

This belt sander's elongated body is a great advantage for those looking for an easily controlled and maneuverable handheld sander. 

The full sander weighs just 3.94lbs, an incredibly lightweight sander capable of carrying around in your tool bag wherever you go. 

To provide greater flexibility in using the product, it can be adjusted within a 60-degree angle. You can also take advantage of the variable speed controls, ranging from 12 to 25 FPS. 

The only downside with this product would be that it soon becomes uncomfortable after prolonged use.  

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The portable application of this belt sander makes it special and a great benefit for the user. You'll be able to carry this around in your tool bag or carry it around the construction site thanks to the lanyard attachment. 

PROS

  • Solid and stable construction
  • Dual sanding unit for greater versatility
  • Adjustable miter gauge locks common angles
  • Removable platen allows you to sand larger objects

CONS

  • Non-adjustable speed

Our Review

This dual sanding unit has a disc sander that operates at 3,450 RPM and a belt speed of 3,100 SFPM. These speeds will certainly cause some vibration, which is why the steel base and reinforced rubber will greatly reduce it significantly, allowing you to operate without any issues. 

If you ever need to sand or grind at an angle, the miter gauge can be adjusted to lock into common angles. The platen can also be removed to suit larger objects. The belt is 2 x 42-inches while the disc sander is 8-inches. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The versatility of this sanding unit speaks volumes and will be a great asset for the user. Not only will this product sand a workpiece effectively, but you'll also be able to polish, sharpen, and grind while taking advantage of the adjustable angle tables. 

Best Wide Belt Sander for Small Shop
Rikon 50-122 Belt Sander

PROS

  • Suitable for larger workpieces
  • Adjustable Disc angles up to 90-degrees
  • Strong and stable stainless steel construction
  • A belt sander can be switched to either horizontal or vertical

CONS

  • Lack of adjustable angles for a belt sander

Our Review

A suitable sanding unit for those working on larger workpieces has a wide 6 x 48-inch sanding belt and a large 10-inch disc sander. The disc sander operates at 2510 RPM, whereas the belt sander provides a speed of 1836 FPM. 

When working with materials with awkward shapes or corners, adjustable angles can make all the difference, which is why the manufacturer has included adjustable disc angles of up to 90-degrees. The belt sander can be switched to either a horizontal or vertical position. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The weight and size of this wide belt sanding unit are what impresses most people. Weighing 87lbs with a size of 31.5 x 22 x 41.5-inches, it's ideal for someone working in a small workshop where free space is rare. Typically wide belt sanders are far larger and heavier than this. 

Best Belt Disc Sander
Bucktool BD4801

PROS

  • Adjustable belt angles
  • Stable and anti-vibrational designs
  • Multiple dust ports to keep space clean
  • Suitable for both narrow and wide workpieces

CONS

  • The vacuum port tends to get stuck to the hose

Our Review

An incredibly powerful dual-sanding unit, providing the user with a belt speed of 2161 FPM and a disc speed of 3450 FPM. You can tilt the table with the miter gauge next to the disc sander, as well as adjusting the sanding belt up to 90-degrees. 

The belt itself is 4 x 36-inches, perfectly suited to a range of sizable workpieces. The unit also sports two dust ports to keep your whole set up dust free when using a vacuum. The only issue with the vacuum port is that it can sometimes stick to the vacuum hose. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The small design might make you think that it's not exactly powerful, but you'd be wrong. This little unit packs a serious punch. This sanding unit would be a great addition to a workshop that's got little free space. 

What is a Belt Sander? How Does a Belt Sander Work?

A belt sander operates a sanding belt that moves in a linear motion faster than most other sanders on offer. The high-speeds are great for those that want to remove larger quantities of material in a short period. 

The width of the belt is also important for that same reason. You can either get a portable, handheld belt sander or a static unit; both have their benefits and downsides. 

Belt sanders are quite versatile tools as they can also be used to grind, polish, ,finish, and sharpen. 

What is a Belt Sander Used For? 

As we mentioned, belt sanders can complete various tasks and aren't just for sanding. Below are some of the most common tasks that belt sanders are used for. 

Material Removing 

The aggressive speeds of a belt sander allow users to remove vast amounts of material in such short periods. If you want to carry out such a task, it's recommended that you equip the sander with a 40 or 60-grit sandpaper, which is known as coarse sandpaper. 

Sharpening 

Not many people know that you can use your belt sander to sharpen your hunting or cooking knives. You just equip the sander with 180-grit sandpaper and ensure your holding the blade at an angle. 

Finishing 

If you can control the speed at which your belt sander operates, you can give the workpiece a smooth and professional finish. A sandpaper grit of 80 to 120-grit would be suitable for that task. The portable, handheld belt sander provides the user with better control while shaping and finishing. 

Belt Sander Safety - Key Aspects to Remember 

Ensuring your safety and those around you is a number one priority, and most of the time, your tools come with safety features to reduce the chance of accidents. But, that risk is never zero. Therefore, please take the time to memorize the safety tips below. 

Keep Hands At Safe Distance

Never let your hands get too close to the sanding belt while operating the machine. One wrong slip and you could end up with some nasty burns or even ripping your fingertips off. 

If you're sanding a piece of wood, keep one hand at the base of the workpiece and another on the side while always maintaining the distance between your hand and the belt. 

Wear Suitable Protection

Hazards such as dust inhalation and material chipping off and hitting you are common. This is why you should ensure you're wearing a dust mask and eye protection. Earplugs might also be necessary if you're operating a machine louder than 80db for 10 minutes or more continuously. 

Safety When Changing Belts

You need to have the power shut completely off when changing belts; one wrong move can end in disaster. 

You should also take care in placing the belt on the sander the correct way, as the wrong way could damage the sander and anyone standing around it. You can check this by viewing which way the arrows point underneath the belt. 

Belt Sander Troubleshooting - Common Hurdles You May Encounter

Belt sanders can sometimes be confusing tools to operate, especially when you don't have much experience with belt sanders. Below are some common issues and their solutions. 

Material Burns

An ageing or damaged belt can often cause material burns that can easily be fixed by swapping belts. However, if the problem continues, you might want to take a deeper look into why it's happening. 

Dust Build-up 

Dust can build-up due to clogging of your internal components; you need to be regularly checking and cleaning out your internal parts. If you have a dust guard, this should protect the inside of your sander. But, you should still be checking regularly. 

Removal Rate Issues

When working with wood, beginners tend to skip the sequence they're meant to follow. However, this can result in a lack of material removal or too much material removal. Always stick to following the sandpaper grit sequence. 

If you're working on a small wooden piece, start with a 60 or 80-grit to shape the piece, then with each pass, move up a grit, for example, 80, 100, 120, and then finally 150-grit to provide a smooth finish.  

Belt Sander Tips, Tricks, and Hacks for Success

Many master carpenters could show you a trick or two, or you even could learn them through years of experience. But, who's got time for that when you could learn them in 30 seconds by taking a look at our tips and tricks section below. 

Sand The Grain

Sanding with the grain will reduce the likelihood of any scratch marks or inconsistencies. Most beginners will make the mistake of sanding anyway they want, and it usually results in disaster. 

Keep It Flat

When you're sanding, it's easy to sometimes apply more pressure on one side than the other; this can tip your workpiece and result in an uneven sanding job. Always take great care and concentration on keeping your workpiece level. 

Use A Vacuum

If you're working on a large workpiece and removing a large amount of material, you're best using a vacuum; this will effectively remove all the debris and dust created, keeping your workspace clean and tidy. 

Don't Stop Moving

As soon as that sander touches your workpiece, it should keep moving and not stop until you're happy with the outcome. If you suddenly stop for longer than a few seconds, it can create an uneven surface, which would render the workpiece unsalvageable. 

Belt Sander Comparison 

Carpenters and DRYers use a common selection of sanders; we've compared those types of sanders to each other to give you an accurate overview of their benefits and downsides. 

Orbital Sander Vs. Belt Sander

Orbital sanders are better suited to lighter work like finishing than the belt sanders' more aggressive approach, which is suited for material removal. Belt sanders tend to be used on larger workpieces compared to orbital sanders, which are used on smaller wooden tasks. 

Belt Sander Vs. Palm Sander

The biggest difference between a belt and a palm sander is the size and weight. Palm sanders are designed to finish and reach tighter areas, in contrast to the belt sander, which is too bulky for small spaces. Palm sanders often come with an oval head or finger attachments to sand small spaces and tight corners. 

Drum Sander Vs. Belt Sander 

A drum sander's design can be described as being an elongated circle. They can either be a handheld sander or a static unit. Drum sanders are suitable for finishing and even shaping a workpiece. However, they're not the best at material removal. 

How to Use a Belt Sander 

If you're looking to master using the belt sander, you must understand how to properly operate your belt sander like a professional. Please take a look below to see our guide on how to use a belt sander. 

  1. Firstly unlock the tension lever and slide the suitable sandpaper onto the sander. Ensure the arrows underneath are pointing in the direction that the sander spins. 
  1. Test it out and adjust the tracking knob accordingly.
  1. Ensure that you're sanding with the grain and that it's moving at a steady pace and as flat as possible. 
  1. You can move the sander in a zig-zag motion so long as it's with the grain. If you're working with a narrow workpiece, try joining them up with other narrow workpieces, and that way, you can sand a wider surface for better stability while also completing double the work. 

Be sure to refer to the video below for a full overview of what was just described:

How to Change a Belt on a Belt Sander 

If you're just starting with a new belt sander, follow our guide on correctly changing the belt. Please don't just wing it as you could easily break the tool. 

  1. Release the tension from the tension lever by pulling it back; this will allow you to pull the current belt off. 

  2. Once the old belt is off, you will then slide the new belt on by first looking at the belt underneath to determine which way the belt should be positioned. 

  3. The belt-positioning is determined by the direction in which the arrows on the underneath are pointing. If the belt arrows point to the left, you know that this belt can only be operated by rotating to the left. You can sometimes get belts that are bi-directional. 

  4. You can now re-adjust the tensioning lever. Give the trigger a few squeezes to ensure it's realigned properly; if not, you can play around with the alignment knob.  

Conclusion 

Choosing a high-quality belt sander will provide you with a versatile tool that can complete a whole variety of tasks. If you ever struggle with finding one, feel free to check out the belt sander's we've featured above. 

People Also Ask

Below we've answered some of the most commonly asked questions regarding belt sanders. 

How Much Is A Belt Sander?

It depends on if it's a handheld or static unit belt sander. If you take our featured belt sanders as an example, this can be as low as $100 and as expensive as $950. Handheld belt sanders are on average between $30 and $200. 

How To Measure Belt Sander Belts

The easiest way to measure the belt is by laying the belt flat out, measuring it, and then doubling that measurement to accommodate the full loop size.