Best Belt Sanders Under $100 – 2021 Buyer’s Guide

Cody
| Last Updated: January 30, 2021

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Decent-quality sanders don't need to be expensive products; there are plenty on the market for under $100 that will do the job just as well.

Below is a rundown of how to pick out a decent sander for under $100, as well as our favorites. 

Hoping to cut right to the chase? Below are the best belt sanders under $100:

  1. Ridgid R2740
  2. Craftsman CMEW213
  3. Ex Electronix Express Belt Sander

Comparison Chart of the Best Belt Sanders Under $100

Product

Specs

Price

Ridgid R2740

  • Variable speed
  • Vacuum attachment
  • Weighs 5.8lbs

Craftsman CMEW213

  • 800 FPM Max
  • 3 position handle
  • Angled belt design

Ex Electronix Express Belt Sander

  • Best for the Money
  • 3400 RPM speed
  • Adjustable table angle

Black+Decker DS321

  • Best Sander for Cabinet Doors
  • 3 position adjustable handle
  • Retractable hood

Skil 7510-01

  • Transparent dust container
  • Pressure sensor
  • Auto track adjustment

Can You Find a Quality Belt Sander Under $100? 

It is possible to find a quality belt sander for under $100. Many people consider anything without a high price tag, and a branded name slapped on it to be low-quality. When in fact, many sanders under $100 outperform their expensive counterpart. 

The cheaper sanders might provide you with the bare minimum of what's needed when the more expensive sanders have many additional helpful features but aren't necessarily an essential requirement. 

How to Choose a Belt Sander 

Below are a few features we've identified to be common within high-quality belt sanders that you should keep an eye out for. 

Variable Speed Controls

Having control over the speed at which the belt sander operates is a beneficial feature to have. 

Different sanding tasks will require various speeds; if you have variable speed control, you'll have great flexibility over what tasks you can use your belt sander on.

Ideally, as many as possible. You don't want multiple sanders for different sanding tasks; that would be far too expensive.

Comfortable Grip 

Comfort is always an important feature when sanding, as you're using the sander for long periods. Keep an eye out for belt sanders with multiple grip positions, as this allows you to switch it up if your hand gets sore in one position. 

Soft-rubber is an excellent material for a handle as it reduces vibration and offers a firm grip; most quality sanders will use this material. 

Dust Containment 

Belt sanders cover a wide area and remove a lot of material, which creates a lot of dust. 

An effective dust containment system will help reduce particles entering your lungs and limit the cleanup time after you're complete. 

It can be as simple as a small box at the end of your sander or a vacuum attachment that sucks the dust straight into a bag. 

Review of the Best Belt Sanders Under $100 

Now that you know what to look for, we've included some of our favorites, which also help act as great examples of what a decent quality belt sander under $100 looks like. 

Best Overall
Ridgid R2740

PROS

  • Variable speed control
  • An effective dust containment system
  • The 3x18-inch belt will cover a large area
  • Soft-rubber multiple handle position for added comfort

CONS

  • Weighs 8.22lbs, a little heavy for long or extended use

Our Review

The Ridgid R2740 can offer you a variable speed control between 400 and 950 SFPM, which is excellent for anyone that needs to change the speed to suit different tasks. 

You'll benefit from the dust containment system as it simply consumes the dust from the bottom of the pad and collects it in the vacuum bag. 

This belt sander also covers a wide area as the belt itself is 3x18-inches. You can hold the sander with two hands for better control; the handles are wrapped in soft-rubber to offer greater comfort. The only downside with this sander is the weight of 8.22lbs, which can become sore on your arms after a while. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The area covered by the belt is what makes this sander stand out from the competition; you'll easily be able to remove material within a short period on any large workpiece by using this sander. 

Runner-up
Craftsman CMEW213

PROS

  • Fast and efficient material removal
  • Three-position handle for better grip options
  • Angled belt design allows for sanding closer to the wall
  • On-board dust collection reduces mess and respiratory risks

CONS

  • No variable speed control

Our Review

Offering the user a maximum of 800 FPM for fast and efficient removal of material, you'll have large workpieces sanded in no time. 

Not many sanders offer multiple grip positioning like this one; with three options, you can easily change it up if your hand or arm begins to fatigue; the handles are also covered in soft rubber.

The belt's design is at an angle that allows the sander to work closer to the wall. The dust created is sucked through the bottom of the pad and straight into a vacuum bag. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The multiple gripping options are what make this belt sander stand out from the rest. Multiple gripping points will allow the user to switch their arms around and significantly reduce the likelihood of fatigue, especially with a weight of 7.7lbs; this is a genuine possibility. 

Best for the Money
Ex Electronix Express Belt Sander

PROS

  • Weighs just 1.1 lbs
  • Table tilts 45-degrees
  • Powerful 3400 RPM sander
  • The compact size means it can fit on any worktop

CONS

  • It will tip if leaned on

Our Review

This compact and lightweight belt sander can be placed on any worktop, weighing in at just 1.1lbs, you can move it around wherever you need. It might be small, but it packs a punch as it provides a speed of 3400 RPM, more than enough for a sanding job. 

If you require the sander to work at an angle, this can be done by tilting the table up to 45-degrees. The only issue with this product is that you can easily lean on the sander, and it could tip over because it's so lightweight. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The lightweight design and compact size are what make this product stand out the most. Considering that it's made to sit on a benchtop if you've got a small workshop or garage that doesn't have much space, this sander would be ideal to have.

Editor's Pick
Black+Decker DS321

PROS

  • Weighs just 6.5lbs
  • Three-position handle
  • The front roller allows you to reach tighter spaces
  • Angled design means it can get closer to the material

CONS

  • The dust collection system isn't as effective

Our Review

There are quite a few benefits to using this product. To start, the angled design offers the user the chance to get closer to the workpiece, providing maximum functionality. 

Suppose you ever find yourself getting sore from a continuous operation. In that case, you can switch your position up thanks to the three-position handle. 

Not like the weight is a problem as it's only 6.5lbs. The front roller on this sander can allow the user to reach into areas other sanders can't get to, like tight corners or small spaces. 

The only downside to this sander is that the dust collection system isn't as effective as other belt sanders mentioned. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The front roller provides the user with the flexibility of sanding tight corners and small spaces, a common issue for sanders the same size. You'd usually need a smaller detail sander with a finger attachment to get into those spots; thankfully, it can be done all in one with this sander.

Honorable Mention
Skil 7510-01

PROS

  • Contoured, soft-rubber handles
  • Pressure controls reduce damages
  • Lock-on button reduces aching fingers
  • Transparent dust container allows accurate measurement

CONS

  • No variable speed controls
  • The small front nub handle isn't very comfortable

Our Review

Dust containers are an essential aspect of sanding; without them, you'd have plenty of cleaning up and particle-filled lungs; that's why this container can be considered one of the best. The transparent design removes all the guesswork from when to clean it out and can be connected securely. 

The pressure monitor stops the user from applying too much pressure to a workpiece, easily damaging the material. The sensor will alert you whenever too much pressure is applied. 

The lock-on switch allows you to remove your finger from the switch during operation, which is useful for those with arthritis and similar ailments. The user will also benefit from the contoured, soft-rubber handles, which provide comfort over prolonged periods. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The pressure controls are what set this product apart from the rest featured here today. Applying pressure can be pretty subjective, and everyone's understanding of pressure is different. This is why the pressure controls are such a useful feature as they'll alert you when you're applying too much force. 

What is a Belt Sander, and What is a Belt Sander Used For? 

Belt sanders are quite versatile tools and can be useful on many carpentry tasks; below are just a few of the most common ways they can be used. 

Finishing

Belt sanders are powerful tools that quickly remove material. However, suppose you can control the speeds and switch out the sandpaper grit. In that case, they can be easily used for refinishing old painted furniture

Shaping

Belt sanders are powerful tools that are great for removing vast amounts of material within a short period, therefore shaping wood. They also tend to have multiple grip positions that allow the user to control the tool better. 

Large Surfaces

Belt sanders are on the larger side and usually have a larger belt, allowing you to cover a wider material area. Belt sanders are excellent for large, flat surfaces like doors because they can complete the task in far quicker times than a smaller sander. 

How Much Is A Belt Sander?

Most belt sanders can cost between $40 and $150. However, you can easily get a high-quality belt sander for under $100 if you know what you're looking for and where to look. 

Belt Sander Troubleshooting 

Problems can arise for your portable or installed belt sander for many reasons. We've included some of the most common below. 

Broken Belt - There are many ways someone could break the belt, but the most common way is by dirt or solid rock entering the machine as the wood hasn't been cleaned. This can easily be solved by wiping down the wood and ensuring it's clean. 

Belt Burns - If you're noticing burn marks on the wood that you're working with, this could be friction caused by old or damaged belts. This can be fixed by replacing the belt. It can also be caused by using the wrong grit for a particular task. 

Belt Sander Safety 

Safety should always be your number one priority. We've included some of the most important safety tips you should follow when operating a belt sander. 

Ear and Eye Protection

Belt sanders can be loud, and after constant and regular use, this can easily affect your hearing. A small set of earplugs can significantly reduce your chance of hearing loss. The same goes for eye protection, as sanders can easily throw chips of wood into someone's eye. 

Protection from Dust

The primary safety tip for operating a belt sander would be to protect yourself from dust. Any sander will create dust and release toxic particles into the air, especially when removing paint. 

A dust mask and an effective dust containment system will go a long way in keeping your lungs free from these particles. 

Sandpaper Changeover 

When switching sandpaper, turn the device entirely off. This might be tedious in the short term. Still, it'll save you from ripping your fingerprints off when the belt sander accidentally starts halfway through a sandpaper change.

Comparison Overview 

Sanders don't all have the same features; there are plenty of differences between them. In the section below, we'll show you some of the key differences and similarities between the most commonly owned sanders. 

Orbital Sander vs. Belt Sander 

The main difference between these two sanders is how they operate. Orbital sanders have a rotating pad, whereas belt sanders operate in a linear motion. 

Orbital sanders are better for more detailed finishing work. In contrast, belt sanders remove too much material to be used for finishing, unless it's on a large workpiece and you can control the sander's speed. 

Belt Sander vs. Palm Sander

Palm sanders can be different shapes but are all relatively small sanders that can be used for detail and precision work. 

Palm sanders are great for getting into small spaces and often come with finger attachments that can access even smaller areas. As we know, belt sanders are much larger and made for material removal tasks and shaping. 

Belt Sander vs. Planer

Belt sanders are an electronic tool, whereas a planer is operated manually and removes one layer at a time. Planers are useful tools for smoothing small areas of thicker material to properly even the workpiece out. Belt sanders are more helpful in removing a finish. 

Belt Sander vs. Disc Sander

Disc sanders are like belt sanders in the sense that they're typically installed as a stationary unit. They tend to operate alongside a belt sander.

However, you can have a portable version like a belt sander. A disc sander operates with a disc-like motion at very high speeds. 

How to Use a Belt Sander 

Belt sanders are relatively easy to operate. But if you're new to sanding, please refer to our guide below.

  • You firstly want to ensure that you're using the correct sandpaper.

  • Before turning the sander on, make sure you're wearing all of the necessary safety equipment. 

  • Place the sander onto the workpiece that you're planning on sanding.

  • Squeeze the trigger and begin sanding up the wood straight away; you should ensure that this is going in the wood grain direction.

  • To get the best results, make sure the sander remains flat, and the wood is secured by a clamp so that it doesn't shift during sanding.

If you want to follow a visual guide on using a belt sander, please follow the YouTube video below. 

How to Change a Belt on a Belt Sander 

Some slight variations depending on the belt sander, but the majority can be changed in the same way. Below is a step by step guide on how to change the sanding belt. 

  • To change the belt, you want to release the tension switch; this will release the belt.

  • Remove the old belt and slide the new sanding belt on. Check the inside of the belt; it'll show you either one or two arrows. The arrows will dictate which direction the belt has to operate.

  • To ensure that the belt is on correctly, hold your sander vertically and squeeze the trigger; you can adjust the tract if necessary. 

Conclusion 

All of the information you need to find a quality belt sander for under $100 is in the article above. It can be daunting first to find and, secondly, operate a belt sander for under $100. But, you'll get there with the information we've provided. 

Cody

My name is Cody and I've been a writer for Tool Tango for quite some time now. I've always had a knack for building things with my hands and creative writing, so being able to combine the two has been great. I love being able to give back to the DIY-community, while also learning a thing or two along the way. When I'm not writing, I enjoy watching Netflix with my girlfriend, fishing, and working in the shop.