When most people start furnishing their home workshop with the tools it needs, the last thing they think about is buying a belt sander. That’s because some people don’t think it’s a tool that they are going to need. However, this usually changes when the homeowner or the DIY enthusiast realizes that the best belt sander can be a useful tool for a number of different projects.
These tools can not only be used to prepare surfaces for painting but can also be used for tasks such as removing rust and sharpening tools as well. And this makes it a tool that deserves more attention than it receives. In order to give it the attention it deserves, I’ve decided to go ahead and list 10 of the best belt sander models currently available. Hopefully, this will spark some interest in this useful but long ignored tool.
10. Genesis Variable Speed Sander
This tool can be used for just about every sanding job from helping to smooth wood for furniture to finishing cabinetry and woodwork. It has a powerful 8-Amp motor that’s equipped with an electronic speed control that ensures the tool produces a constant speed, even when it’s under load. This product also has a 6.5-foot power cord, an auto-tracking belt system that tracks the belt without adjustment and a dust collection bag that can be used to reduce the amount of dust kicked into the air. Which makes this 3-inch by 21-inch sander a powerful tool for the home workshop.
9. Grizzly Belt & 5-Inch Disk Sander
With a name like Grizzly, people can’t be blamed for thinking this is a tool that’s powerful and durable. Fortunately, these people probably won’t be disappointed. This 1-inch by 30-inch sander features a powerful 1/3-HP single-phase motor that can produce up to 3,450 RPM. It’s also a tool that’s both a belt and a 5-inch disc sander, which makes it a good unit for contour sanding or for dry sharpening tools. Its belt sanding table size is 5-1/8-inch by 5-1/8-inch and its disc sanding table size is 4-inches by 7-5/16-inches and this tool features an idler roller guard and a removable belt plate.
8. Porter Cable 2.5-Inch By 14-Inch Compact Sander
This compact sander is designed not only to be portable but also to be easy-to-use. It has a textured rubber body that gives the user a good grip and makes it comfortable to use. It is also made from metal parts that ensure this tool is durable enough to handle even professional jobs. Other key features of this tool include a dust-sealed and recessed switch, a flush side which ensures that sanding can be up against perpendicular surfaces and removable dust port to help the user keep their work area as clean as possible.
7. Hitachi 3-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Sander
A useful tool for paint removal and for use on both steel and wood, this 3-inch by 21-inch variable speed sander is equipped with a number of features which are worth mentioning. It has a soft grip surface on the main handle which allows the user to hold it securely and comfortably. It also has a water-resistant V-belt that ensures this tool has a long service life and a tracking window that improves visibility as it sands a surface. This tools variable speed dial allows its speed to be adjusted from as low as 820 feet-per-minute all the way to 1,475 feet-per-minute.
6. Wen 3-Inch By 21-Inch Corded Sander
Although this corded sander is compact in size and lightweight, it still has enough power to get most jobs finished properly. It has a 7-Amp motor that drives an 80-grit sanding belt at over 13-feet per second, which is enough power for sanding wood and it has a dust-collection bag that helps reduce dust kicked into the air. Some of the other features which can be found on this tool include a trigger that’s lockable, a tracking adjustment knob and a protruding front roller that allows it to reach edges and into confined spaces.
5. Porter Cable 4-Inch by 24-Inch Sander
This sander is equipped with a number of features which make it powerful and easy-to-use. It has a 12-Amp motor and a variable speed dial that allows the user to select from 1,000 SFPM to 1,500 SFPM, depending on the job they are working on. Its motor is located right over its platen, which ensures that it’s well balanced so it can achieve the best performance possible. It also comes with a 100G belt, a dust-bag that helps reduce the amount of dust in the air and a belt-tracking knob. All in a unit that’s easy to hold and to use.
4. Astro 1/2-Inch by 18-Inch Air Sander
This 1/2-inch by 18-inch sander is designed with more pulley space so that thicker belts can be used on it. It is also quite powerful with the ability to generate a 16,000 RPM belt. It’s a pneumatic tool that is well constructed and only weighs around 2.2-pounds. This tool consumers about 4-cfm of air, on average, while it’s being used with an air pressure of 90 PSI. This tool is good for removing spot welds quickly and efficiently. Just hook it up to an air compressor and it can be effectively used on metal products.
3. Makita 3-Inch By 21-Inch 8.8-Amp Sander
This sander is designed with the user in mind and it has a number of features which make it a powerful and easy-to-use tool. It has an 8.8-Amp motor, a variable speed control dial that allows the belt to move anywhere from 690 feet-per-minute and 1,440 feet-per-minute. This tool is also equipped with a 16.4-foot long power cord that gives the user more than enough cord length for sanding and a dust bag to help keep dust in the air down to a minimum. The sander is also equipped with an auto-tracking belt, a front grip that’s easy-to-use and is double-insulated.
2. Kalamazoo 1-Inch by 42-Inch Sander
Designed to be used to sharpen metal sharp-edged tools, this sander has the features to accomplish the job in no time whatsoever. It has a 1-inch by 42-inch aluminum oxide belt, a 1/3-HP 115-Volt single-phase motor that can produce a speed of up to 1,725 RPM and comes to a nice long 8-foot long power cord. All of which makes this an ideal tool to keep around any metal workshop or for any DIY enthusiast to keep in their tool collection. And since it only weights around 32-pounds, it’s portable enough to be carried from the shop to the house and back again.
1. Makita 3/8-Inch Variable Speed Sander
Accuracy, convenience, versatility, and control can all be found in the Makita sander. It has a variable speed control dial that allows the speed of the unit to be dialed in from 980 feet-per-minute up to 5,600 feet-per-minute and has an adjustable arm that can pivot 100-degrees to get to hard to reach locations. Another feature found in this unit includes a dust collector that keeps airborne dust down to a minimum. And since this unit only weighs 3.5-pounds, it’s the right size for using in small areas and can be easily taken from home to the job site when it’s needed.
A Guide To Belt Sanders
Belt sanders are extremely useful tools that every homeowner or DIY enthusiast can benefit from having in their tool collection. They can be used for making rough surfaces smoother, for leveling off surfaces, for shaping materials or for removing paint. And that’s only a small selection of the tasks that a belt sander can be used for. There’s a whole lot these tools can do.
As great as these tools are, however, consumers will only find them useful if they buy a quality model. If they buy one that’s not suited to the task at hand or is made of inferior components, then the consumer is not going to be happy with the job it does. That’s why we’ve decided to write this guide so that all of our readers can buy the best belt sander for their needs and use it effectively.
Buying A New Belt Sander
The first thing that we’re going to do in this guide is to talk about how to buy a new belt sander. Fortunately, the process isn’t difficult and will take only a few moments of a person’s time for them to decide which one is right for them.
Think About The Sander’s Belt
When people are choosing a multipurpose belt sander, they often mistakenly think that the bigger the belt on it the better it is and that’s just not the case. The best multipurpose belt sanders are often in the 3-inch class, and these machines come in several different lengths. If you need a compact one, then a 3×18-inch will suffice, and if you need a midsize sander, then a 3×21-inch belt often works best. However, if you need a large sander, then you’re probably going to want to consider sanders with a 3×24-inch belt. Of course, there are also larger sanders available, but those tend to weight a bit more and are generally used for smoothing wide surfaces. On the other end of the spectrum, there are smaller belt sanders that only use 2.5-inch wide belts, and those are pretty easy to use because they’re light.
Choose A Belt Grit
What’s more important than the size of the belt is the grit of the belt. For most purposes, consumers are going to be using 80 to 120 grit belts for most of the jobs they use the sander for. Some people may also use 50-grit belts, but grits that are coarser than that should be avoided because they can cause deep-set scratches in the material being sanded. However, as we said, most people are going to be using 80 to 120 grit belts for their DIY or home sanding needs, so that’s all the consumer really needs to consider.
Features To Look For In A Belt Sander
Now that we’ve spent some time talking about the most important features of a belt sander, it’s time to turn our attention to some other features that the consumer should consider before plopping down their hard-earned money on a new sander. Let’s take a look at a few of these features that should be considered, shall we?
- Look for a sander with aluminum or cast iron body for maximum durability and stability
- Larger width belts make sanding larger pieces easier
- If the sander ships with belts included, it allows the consumer to use it right out of the box
- Platform guides can shape wood into proper angles
- Adjustable belt frames allow the consumer to handle vertical or horizontal sanding jobs easily
- Dust ports ensure that the project is easier to clean up after sanding.
Using A Belt Sander
Having covered everything important about buying a new belt sander, we thought we would change gears and spend some time talking about how to use these tools effectively. Okay, this won’t precisely be a detailed guide to the use of a belt sander, but it will provide some much-needed tips that will help our readers understand how this tool is operated.
- Always read the sander’s manual for best results
- Always make sure that you wear the proper safety equipment
- Choose the right belt for your sander so that you don’t damage your workpiece
- Make sure to use the right grit belt for your project.
- Keep the sander clean so it remains in good condition
- Check the platen regularly for cracks
- Ensure the sander is off before turning it on
- Keep your workpiece clamped so it does spin towards or away from you
- Replace the sandbelt regularly
- Turn off and unplug the sander before replacing its belt