Best Wide Belt Sanders for Small Shops (2021 Reviews)

Cody
| Last Updated: January 30, 2021

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If you run a carpentry shop or create your furniture, the chances are you've heard of a wide belt sander.

These sanders are an advantageous asset for anyone involved in woodwork.

Below is a rundown on how to find a high-quality wide belt sander.  

Hoping to cut right to the chase? Below are the best wide belt sanders for small shops:

  1. Makita 9403
  2. Grizzly Industrial H7760
  3. Shop Fox W1855

Comparison Chart of the Best Wide Belt Sanders for Small Shops

Product

Specs

Price

Makita 9403

  • 84 decibel noise
  • 1640 FPM
  • Internal dust protection

Grizzly Industrial H7760

  • Coolant tray
  • Adjustable work light
  • Magnifying eye shield

Shop Fox W1855

  • Best for the Money
  • Belt and disc sanding unit
  • Adjustable belt angle

Metabo SB8V2

  • Best Sander for Cabinet Doors
  • 820 - 1475 FPM variable speed
  • Elastomer grip

Wen 6502T 

  • 0 - 90-degree belt tilt
  • Includes belt and disc sander
  • Anti-vibration design

Why Are These Wide Belt Sanders Great for Small Shops? 

There are a few ways in which your wide belt sander can be considered high-quality. Below are a few features that make great quality sanders stand out from the average sander. 

Comfort Is Key

Being comfortable while operating your belt sander is an integral part of using a sander. Try to look for those with soft-rubber handles and multiple gripping positions for a comfortable operation. 

The soft-rubber helps reduce the effects of vibration; internal ball bearings also help with balance and vibration. A lock-on switch can also benefit those with arthritis and other similar illnesses as you do not have to extend your finger for long periods. 

Sands Larger Items

Wide belt sanders are used within carpentry shops worldwide because of how quickly they can sand larger items. 

Workpieces like doors and cabinet pieces can all be sanded down within a few passes of this machine. In contrast, this would take you much longer doing the same task but with a smaller electric sander. 

Variable Speed Controls 

An important aspect of any sander is that you can control the speed settings. If you can control the speed, this allows you more flexibility in what sanding tasks you can carry out—ultimately saving you money on other sanders at different speeds. 

Review of the Best Wide Belt Sanders for Small Shop 

Now you know what to look for, it's important to show you some examples of great wide belt sanders. Below are some of our favorites and great examples of what a high-quality wide belt sander looks like. 

Best Overall
Makita 9403

PROS

  • Belt covers a 4-inch area
  • Contamination is non-existent
  • A vacuum attachment can be used
  • Quieter than most wide-belt sanders

CONS

  • Is pretty heavy

Our Review

The Makita was voted our favorite for a few reasons. The belt covers an area of 4-inches wide; this means that sanding doors or larger workpieces will be done faster than ever before. 

You can either attach a bag to the end of the sander or a vacuum, which is exceptionally effective in keeping the place clean. 

The internal design of this sander ensures that no dust will clog the motor or other parts. 84db is loud, but for a wide-belt sander, this is relatively quiet. The only issue is that it weighs around 13lbs, which can be a pain to carry around. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The stand out feature for this product is the internal design makes it much harder for any dust to affect the overall operation. Many sanders have a sealed on/off switch, but the Makita takes it one step further. If you've ever had to remove dust from a jammed motor, you understand how valuable this sander is. 

Runner-up
Grizzly Industrial H7760

PROS

  • Has a belt and grinder
  • Doesn't take up much space
  • The light makes it easier to work
  • The shield protects and enhances your vision

CONS

  • You can't maneuver it around

Our Review

There's nothing better than a multi-functional tool; the static unit has a belt sander and grinder to add more flexibility in the tasks that you can work on. 

The shield protects your eyes from any sudden shards and magnifies your view to help your work become more precise.

If you have lighting issues in your workshop, this sander and grinder also come with a built in adjustable light source. It's also relatively compact, which makes it easy to find a home in your workshop. 

Obviously, with a handheld device, you have a lot more control over angles and how you sand the workpiece. However, with a static product that sits on your worktable, this isn't possible, which is the only downside to this particular unit. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The additional features like the magnifying eye shield and the light source are great extras that increase this product's value. It does all that's necessary and then some more. Any professional carpenter would be happy with this in their shop. 

Best for the Money
Shop Fox W1855

PROS

  • Fairly sturdy and stable
  • Is a belt and disc sander
  • The belt sanders angle can be adjusted
  • Quick-release belt lever makes belt changes easier

CONS

  • Weighs a solid 38lbs

Our Review

Two for the price of one with this Shop Fox unit. The full unit is made from cast iron, which ensures the safety of the product from any accidental falls. Offering 3600 RPM for both the disc and belt sander, the belt sander can be adjusted to a 90-degree angle. 

Coming in at a weight of 38lbs, there's not much chance of toppling this unit over. Another key benefit is the quick release belt lever, which makes changing the belt faster and without hassle. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

After years of use, many belt sanders tend to get a bit battered and bruised. However, with the cast iron casing, that's not an issue for anyone who owns this sanding unit. The weight also means that moving this product even after an accidental fall isn't very likely. 

Editor's Pick
Metabo SB8V2

PROS

  • Offers a variable speed control
  • Soft grip handles provide comfort
  • Tracking window allows a better view
  • Is relatively lightweight and easy to carry

CONS

  • Non-effective dust system

Our Review

An ergonomic soft rubber grip is the key benefit of operating this particular sander. If you're going to be using this device for a few hours, it's best to be comfortable for most of it. Although it only weighs 9.5lbs. 

The variable speed controls can provide speeds between 820 and 1475 RPM, which can be used on an array of tasks. During operation, it's important to know what you're sanding. Hence, the tracking window is a great help for keeping an eye on what you're sanding. 

The only issue would be that the dust system isn't exactly perfect, as it can sometimes make more mess than the actual sanding process. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

Being able to control the speed of your belt sander is an important aspect of any sanding task. By having control over speed, the belt sander can be used for more than one job.

There are various tasks within carpentry that require different speeds. Therefore, the more control over the speed, the better flexibility you have as the user. 

Honorable Mention
Wen 6502T

PROS

  • Wide area coverage
  • Simple to use tension release
  • Includes a belt and disc sander
  • The belt can tilt to a 90-degree angle

CONS

  • No variable speed control
  • Not great customer service

Our Review

A two-in-one product is always going to offer some great value. The belt sander can offer a speed of 1900 FPM, and the disc sander provides 3600 RPM, more than enough for any sanding task. 

The only issue with that is you can control the speeds, it's just a fixed speed for both. Another benefit of this product is that the belt can be tilted to a 90-degree angle, allowing you to work around sanding at a difficult angle. 

The belt itself covers 4-inches in width, which will sand most common workpieces quickly and with ease. To change belts, the simple tension release system will offer a quick change of sanding belts with no hassle. 

The only issue found with this product is the lack of any speed control. We felt it was important to highlight that customer service has been a common issue among many customers seeking refunds or replacement parts. 

What Makes This Product Stand Out?

The easy to remove belt system is a unique feature, meaning there's less hassle involved in changing your sanding belt. With a simple flick of a tension release system, you're ready to remove the belt and slide another on to then continue work. This is a feature that allows the sanding unit to stand out from the competition. 

What is a Belt Sander Used For? 

Belt sanders are useful tools for your small workshop or even your garage for any DIY projects. Below are just a few ways in which they can significantly impact your productivity. 

Shape Large Workpieces 

The belt sander is wide enough to shape large wooden workpieces within minutes. They're great for doors, cabinets, and much more. All you have to do is insert your desired grit and adjust the speed, and the sander will do the rest. 

Painted Wood

Removing paint from wood can be a slow process with a handheld electric sander. However, this wide belt sander does all the hard work for you. It'll be able to remove any paint and previous finish from any flat wooden surface. 

Create Your Own Furniture

Many small carpentry businesses begin to branch out into creating their own branded furniture; a wide belt sander is the ideal large sanding unit to create your own line of furniture. It dramatically increases productivity, which in turn keeps prices down. 

Belt Sander Safety Rules

Safety should always be your number one priority when operating industrial machines like a wide belt sander. Below are some of the most important safety tips to follow when operating this sander. 

Safety Equipment

With any piece of equipment, you should be wearing safety equipment such as ear protection for the continuous loud noise coming from the machine. Other items include safety glasses for any wood that splinters off and a dust mask to keep particles from entering the lungs. 

No Loose Clothing

Anyone working with machinery should know that you should not be wearing loose clothing such as ties or unbuttoned shirts. The loose clothing could easily get stuck in the machine, resulting in severe injury or death. 

Keep Hands Away 

Never get too confident when you can put your hands. Never have them reach into the device unless the machine is switched entirely off from the main power source. Do not put your hands anywhere near the sanding belt during operation. 

Can You Really Find a Quality Belt Sander That's Affordable? 

Most high-quality belt sanders are expensive and filled with extra features that aren't a necessity when it comes to sanding. The majority of people confuse 'More means Value' to justify paying vast amounts of cash. 

When in fact, there are plenty of less feature-heavy wide belt sanders out there with lower prices that do the job just as well, if not better, than their expensive, feature-heavy counterpart. 

There's nothing wrong with going for a sander with various features because they are genuinely helpful. But, these features make life easier; the task can be done without them, which is why, if you're looking for a beginners belt sander for your shop, you might as well get it at a more affordable price. 

How Much is a Belt Sander

Belt sanders can range from $60 to $250 in most cases. However, there are plenty of high-quality wide belt sanders out there at a reasonable price, which doesn't have many fancy and unnecessary additional features. 

How to Change Sandpaper on a Belt Sander 

Changing a belt sander is relatively simple once you get the hang of it. Below is a step by step guide on how to change the sandpaper on your belt sander. 

  • Firstly you want to remove the old belt from the sander. You do this by pulling on the tension lever, releasing the belt for you to then slip the old one off and the new one on. 

  • Slide the new belt onto the pad. You want to put the belt in the correct direction, which can be deduced by looking at the inside of the sandpaper belt. You should see an arrow that points in the direction it has to run. 

  • Once you believe it's in the right direction, do a simple test to check. Have the sander sit vertically and squeeze the trigger. Sometimes the belt will have an arrow facing each way; this means it can be operated in any direction. 

  • You can now begin sanding down any workpiece.

Belt Sander Tips, Tricks, and Hacks for Success

Carpentry is considered an art form for many people, and with every art form, there are many tips, tricks, and techniques to get things just perfect. Below are some of our tips, tricks, and advice on operating your belt sander. 

Move With The Grain

If you sand with the grain, this reduces the chance of any marks or scratches. If you're moving the sander around erratically, this will leave all sorts of issues and rough patches on your workpiece. There are sanders out there that you don't need to sand with the grain, but always operate with this rule in mind to be on the safe side. 

Check The Belt Direction

Checking the direction of which way the belt can operate is essential. If it only works moving to the right and it's in the opposite direction, it'll grip on to the material and fly away from your hand. 

This could cause damage to you and your sander. You can check the direction by looking on the inside of the sandpaper belt; it'll have arrows pointing in one or two directions. If it points in both directions, it can operate in either direction.  

Keep The Sander Flat

If you're using a belt sander, it can be easy to start putting too much pressure on one side, and it slightly tips; it's crucial always to keep the sander flat. The reason is that if you have it at an angle, it can give you an uneven finish on the workpiece. 

Conclusion 

After all the information we've provided, you should have everything you need to make an informed decision. Understanding belt sanders is somewhat scary at first, but all you need to do is follow what we've shown you above, and you'll be fine. 

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.