Sandpaper is an essential for anyone with a large woodwork project. Whether you’re using it by hand or hooked into a tool, it is the easiest way to achieve a smooth finish on anything you’re working on.
Speaking of tools with sandpaper, one of the most important ones is the belt sander.
The belt sander, sometimes called a strip sander, is a tool that runs a loop of sandpaper over two rotating drums. Think of a treadmill, except the tread is made of sandpaper.
If you’ve never bought a belt sander before, it can be tough to know which one to go for. Trust me, I understand. We’ve all been there.
Well, worry not! This article is here to recommend some great belt sanders for you. Whether you’re looking for something on a budget, or something heavy-duty, I’ll show you one to go for.
Ready? Then let’s dive in.
Detailed Reviews of the 4 Best Belt Sanders
Makita is a brand well-known for the quality of power tools they make. Sometimes a brand is all the assurance you need. But I’ll never just go by the brand’s name alone. I’ll show you what this packs to make it a worthy buy.
First of all, this Makita belt sander is quite a big model. Big isn’t always better, but if you plan to sand large planks, then this will definitely come in handy. The belt measures 4 by 24 inches, making it the largest belt on the list. That same belt can move at 1640 feet per minute, which means stripping material will be little hassle.
Belt sanders aren’t generally quiet but this one is the quietest one among its peers, despite that 11-amp motor. If you’ve used a belt sander and you can’t stand how much noise it makes, this is likely to make a fantastic upgrade.
Both the handle and the front grip are built for comfort. They’re sized appropriately to let you sand comfortably, even for extended periods.
Of course, with its large belt, it is not surprising that it is heavy. This model weighs 13 pounds, so you may start to feel fatigued after working with this for a long time, though the build of the handles helps to counteract that.
|Large belt size||Very expensive|
|Operates quietly for its size||No variable speed control|
|Grips are comfortable to hold|
|Excellent build quality|
This is a really good belt sander, and I’d probably be recommending it with zero reservations if you can afford it, but the lack of variable speed control is somewhat mind-boggling. This is mostly because models three times as cheap as this come with that feature. I don’t think it’d have hurt for us to have that.
But let’s say you have never needed that, and you never will. Then it’s easy. If you’ve got the money for this, go straight ahead. The build quality is terrific, which is no surprise.
If you’re frequently sanding large planks and other large wood structures, then a bigger sander like this is a premium choice. Of course, with that size comes weight, so you should keep that in mind from a comfort standpoint.
You’ll find it hard to use a belt sander without buying a single add-on. Most of the time, the accessories that you buy will be new sanding belts of different grits. That’s why this Tacklife model is great for the fact that it comes with 13 sanding belts straight out of the box.
This is a 3-inch by 18-inch belt sander, so you get seven 80 grit and six 120 grit sanding belts, all of them the same dimensions. This is great because it means you can get straight to sanding without any delay. If you sandpaper wears out, then there’s some more right in the box! That’s the price of 13 sanding belts that you don’t need to worry about.
Speaking of accessories, the sanding belts aren’t the only thing you get with this. This comes with two screw clamps which allow you to turn this into a bench sander just like that! Honestly, that’s cool.
And considering the fact that this is one of the cheapest sanders on the list, it’s really hard to hate on it. It is on the small size, but if you don’t need a giant sander, there is a whole lot of money to save here.
Despite the entry-level price tag, the performance here is great too! It doesn’t have an 11-amp motor like the Makita, using a 6 amp motor instead. Despite that, it carries its weight nicely. The variably speed control lets you dial things up to 560 RPM!
It has a detachable dust collecting box, too. That is a lot of value.
|Very affordable||Relatively small|
|Has variable speed control|
|Comes with a lot of accessories|
|Has an attachable dust box|
A smaller belt sander isn’t for everyone, but I believe this one can change a lot of minds for the value that it brings.
You get a belt sander, 13 belts, 2 vacuum connectors, and 2 metal clamps. Then there’s a detachable dust box, and of course, the actual belt sander. You get all of that for far less than $100. You’ll have an extremely hard time trying to say that that isn’t incredible value.
And unlike the Makita model which costs over six times as much as this, you get variable speed control. This is such a basic feature that I expect most well-priced sanders to have.
And here’s the mic drop: despite the price, you have a 24-month warranty. Need I say more?
When you sink money into a power tool, you’re not thinking of how you’ll have to replace it in two years. Nope. What you want is a tool that will last you as long as you need it to. This is where heavy-duty sanders like the Metabo HPT SB8V2 come in.
A powerful 9-amp motor is what is behind the scenes pushing the 3-inch by 21-inch sanding belt. This is smaller than the Makita, but a bit longer than the Tacklife. This is the perfect size for anyone who doesn’t need a big belt sander.
You don’t get a truckload of accessories, but you do get a dust bag that makes cleaning up saw dust a lot easier. It’ll also help keep too much from getting into the air and irritating your airways.
There’s variable control on this unit as well, allowing you to adjust speed as low as 820 feet per minute, or up 1,475 feet per minute.
And of course, that build. This is a very good-looking sander. So, if it’s not only durability and great quality you want, this Metabo unit also has its good looks going for it.
|Has variable speed control||Variable speed doesn’t go very low|
|Comes with a dust bag Belt is a decent size|
|Belt is a decent size|
|Very good build|
This comes at an easy-to-digest price, so it’s not hard for anyone who needs to buy it to make that purchase. The real question is, should you?
Well, if you ask me, it depends on what you need.
The motor in this is 9 amps and at its lowest variable speed setting, it is still running above 800 feet every minute. At its very highest, it is ridiculous. For anyone who is massively skilled with a sander and can easily handle one at high speeds, this is a fantastic product.
Some users also have issues with the dust bag that comes with this. It seems not to collect the dust efficiently in many cases.
And then as regard durability, this is perhaps the most durable sander you’ll see today. That metal build is one way to inspire confidence, but the five-year warranty is a completely new story.
This is a belt sander that is built to take care of corners and the finer details of whatever you’re working on. The belt is only half an inch wide. That is incredibly narrow. That is exactly what lets it get into those tight spots though.
There’s a small 2-amp motor running behind the scenes here. It is able to power the entire mechanism to run at speeds of 1800 feet every minute. With variable speed control, you can bring that down to 1080 in a snap.
To get that finer detail sanded properly, you’ll also need versatility. The fact that the belt system on this can rotate up to 55 degrees makes it clear that precision is not to be joked around with.
This sander comes at an impressively low price. It is not the kind of sander that is great for everyone, simply because many people won’t end up buying this for the detailing of their house under construction. It’s not hard to fork out the money for it, if that’s a necessity.
And three belts are bundled with this out of the box. That’s another big pro.
|Comes with three sanding belts||A bit loud|
|Pivoting head allows for more precision|
If you’re a very serious woodworker or hobbyist who crafts a lot of things from wood, then I’d say it might be worth going for this. The cost is far from prohibitive as you’ll forget you paid for it in a week!
Despite that and some heating issues, this gets the job done splendidly. Getting at the corners of your new wood builds won’t be as hard as it’s always been. The pivoting head will make this seem deceptively easy.
The lightweight sander can also be used to sharpen blades. Of course, the belts will last much less time this way.
The warranty on this belt sander is two years long. Considering the price, I think you shouldn’t hesitate if this caught your eye. Just go for it!
Can you sand your own floors?
You definitely can. But just like every other job that you can hire a professional for, should you? That’s the real question.
It mostly comes down to how much you’ll have to pay a pro to get the job done for you. If you’re already very handy with a belt sander, you’ll probably be tempted to take it on yourself.
My recommendation? Do it!
It’s hard to beat the feeling of undertaking a big DIY project on your own and nailing it. Sanding your floors and doing it well will instantly be noticeable to anyone who walks in. You’ll get to be proud of the good job!
My one piece of advice is not to skimp on the materials. Get a quality sander, preferably a standing one, and use good lacquers. The quality stuff might be expensive, but if you already have a good sander, it’ll likely be cheaper than a professional.
The Difference Between Orbital and Drum Sanders
There are two major kinds of sanders. There’s the belt sander, and then there’s the orbital sander.
All of the sanders on this list are drum sanders. These use sandpaper wrapped around a drum or two, which rotate in the same direction to rotate the sandpaper.
Drum sanders are cheaper and also less intense than drum sanders. Also known as jitterbug sanders, these use a sheet of sandpaper attached to a plate which oscillates randomly as you move it around a surface.
There are quite a few differences between these different kinds of sanders.
|Orbital Sander||Drum Sander|
|Generally more affordable||Tend to be more costly|
|Good choice for beginners and DIYers||Better for people with experience|
|Has a lighter sanding effect||Can be used for heavier tasks and even metal|
|Less damaging to surfaces||Can cause damage if care isn’t taken|
|You can use in any direction||Must be used along the wood grain|
|Produce more dust||Produce less dust|
|Work relatively slow||Can finish a job much faster|
How to Sand Floor Edges
No matter who you ask, you’ll probably here that sanding the edges of the floor is their least favorite part of the job. That’s understandable. It is a real annoyance as regular belt sanders tend not to be able to get up right against the wall to tackle those edges.
Don’t bother using your regular sander to get the edges. You’ll just end up stressing yourself out!
There’s a special kind of sander known as an edge sander, or an edger. These are built to get real close to the edges in a way that regular sanders can’t.
You don’t need to buy one either. There are numerous services that rent these out. You probably won’t use it enough to justify buying one of your own, to be honest!
This video will teach you how to use an edge floor sander just right!
There are numerous reasons why you might be looking to get yourself a good belt sander.
Are you a DIYER or a contractor frequently working with wood? Is it about time that you get to refinishing your floors? These are popular reasons why you might be looking for one of these, and hopefully, one of the products above tickles your fancy.
If you’re finding it hard to decide between them, I’ll give you two recommendations!
My top choice here for the average person is the Tacklife model. The low cost and the many accessories it comes with allow for major savings and major performance at the same time. This will be well-suited for most people.
My second choice has to be the Metabo HPT. It costs about twice as much as the Tacklife and doesn’t come with all the accessories, but with its build, it will last you a very long time. Metabo’s five-year warranty shows their confidence in that.
Hopefully this article has shown you a thing or two about belt sanders. Thanks for reading!