What is the Best Belt Sander? (Handheld Models and More) (2022)

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Many woodworking projects require sanding rough surfaces, so it’s not surprising why most woodworkers would seek the best belt sander in the market. However, you should know that it’s a popular power tool with countless available options. 

If you need help choosing a good belt sander for your project, here are some recommendations from our experts to narrow your selection. 

Premium Option
RIKON Belt Disc Sander
Editor’s Choice
Makita 9403 Belt Sander
Budget Option
RYOBI P450 Belt Sander
RIKON Belt Disc Sander
Makita 9403 Belt Sander
RYOBI P450 Belt Sander
• Adjustable Belt Position
• Type: Belt & Disc Sander
• Angles: 0-90 degrees
• Disc Speed: 2510rpm
• Power: 8 amps
• Cast Iron and Steel
• Motor Power: 11 amp
• Belt Size: 4 inches
• Noise Level: 84dB
• Dust Bag Inclusion
• Labybrinth Design
• Electronic speed control
• Brushless Motor
• Reusable Dust Bag
• Belt Position: 5
• Speed: 850 FPM max
• 9-amp Motor
• Lithium Battery
Premium Option
RIKON Belt Disc Sander
RIKON Belt Disc Sander
• Adjustable Belt Position
• Type: Belt & Disc Sander
• Angles: 0-90 degrees
• Disc Speed: 2510rpm
• Power: 8 amps
• Cast Iron and Steel
Editor’s Choice
Makita 9403 Belt Sander
Makita 9403 Belt Sander
• Motor Power: 11 amp
• Belt Size: 4 inches
• Noise Level: 84dB
• Dust Bag Inclusion
• Labybrinth Design
• Electronic speed control
Budget Option
RYOBI P450 Belt Sander
RYOBI P450 Belt Sander
• Brushless Motor
• Reusable Dust Bag
• Belt Position: 5
• Speed: 850 FPM max
• 9-amp Motor
• Lithium Battery

Reviews of the Top Belt Sanders

1. Makita 9403 Belt Sander

Sanding surface in tough conditions requires a reliable speed adjustment, which this Makita belt sander model certainly has. On top of that, this sanding machine is made of a labyrinth design and double insulation that protects its motor from fine dust particles. 

Unlike typical sanding belts, Makita 9403 Belt Sander runs with a powerful 11-amp motor that ensures consistent speed even when handling heavy-duty projects. 

Upon closer inspection, our team noted that this unit has a 4-inch sanding belt that can operate up to 1640 feet per minute. And since it has quick belt changes, this belt sander excels in completing the sanding job quicker. 

What We Like

What We Don't Like

2. RIKON Belt Disc Sander

Some may think buying a belt sander means needing more bench or tabletop space—but that’s not the case with RIKON Belt Disc Sander. This powerful tool comes with its own stand and runs with a 1-HP motor. 

Its sanding belt can run over 1800 RPM, while its disc operates up to 2500 RPM. Given that it can tilt from 0 to 90 degrees, it’s not surprising that many professionals prefer this heavy-duty belt sander. 

This belt sander has different dust collection port options, so you’ll need to switch vacuum hoses between its belt and disc functions. 

What We Like

What We Don't Like

3. RYOBI P450 Belt Sander

Unlike other belt sanders in this list, RYOBI P450 is a lightweight tool that operates with a long-lasting lithium battery. You’ll find it easy to use when sanding against adjoining surfaces because this unit has its motor placed in front. It’s also the reason why it’s best used on vertical surfaces. 

During the tests, we didn’t have a problem using its dust collection bag and attaching the vacuum to it. Thanks to the reliable adjustment knob, its 3-inch belt remains in a tight position while sanding surfaces. 

Since it’s light, it’s the right belt sander to buy if you’re working on projects that require you to move around the workshop. 

What We Like

What We Don't Like

4. Makita 9903 Belt Sander

At first glance, we can tell that Makita 9903 belongs to the most popular belt sanders section because of its auto-tracking belt system. It also has a variable speed control dial, allowing it to run from 690 to 1440 ft per minute. 

It’s a variable speed belt sander, so users can expect this tool to provide more versatility than single-lever belt sanders. The unit’s 3-inch belt can easily sand through hard-to-reach areas thanks to its flush design. 

Besides its auto track system and variable speed settings, Makita 9903 is also known for having a larger dust bag than typical sanders, perfect for extensive cleanouts.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

5. Metabo HPT SB8V2 Variable Speed Belt Sander

Different projects have different sanding methods, so a unit like Metabo HPT SB8V2 with a variable speed dial setting is ideal if you want all-around sanding equipment. Its controls allow users to adjust speeds up to 1,475 feet per minute, which is more versatile than models with only one-speed configurations. 

On top of that, this Metabo HPT belt sander comes with a powerful 9-amp engine. Not only will it provide long-lasting performance, but it also helps prevent machine bogging and overheating. 

If you inspect closely, you’ll notice that the handles are ergonomically designed, making them comfortable to use for long hours. 

What We Like

What We Don't Like

6. WEN 6502T Sanding Belt

If you’re seeking products with the most number of belt sander reviews, you should check out WEN 6502T Sanding Belt. True to its popularity, this model delivers a stable sanding performance which is highly owed to its durable cast-iron base. 

It’s a corded belt sander housing a 4-by-36-inch belt, which users can freely adjust horizontally or vertically in accordance with their project demands and requirements. Besides that, this WEN belt sander is accompanied by a support table that allows beveling from 0 to 45-degree angles and a detachable miter gauge. 

What We Like

What We Don't Like

7. Skil 7510-01 Belt Sander

Skil 7510-01 may not be as expensive as other belt sander options, but this unit includes a pressure control technology that gives any material an optimal finish. 

Although it’s still considered one of the cheapest belt sanders of 2022, its lower price tag didn’t stop its manufacturers from adding a pressure sensor to its system. Thanks to this, the chances of wearing and gouging the unit’s abrasive belts are lesser.

There’s also no need to make excessive adjustments during the sanding process because this belt sander has an auto-tracking system that keeps belts aligned.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

8. Galax Pro Belt Sander

There’s no denying that the Galax Pro belt sander provides a powerful sanding performance, especially with an 8-amp motor under its belt. It runs with six-speed adjustments, so we were able to make quick belt changes without any hassle. 

Unlike some best belt sanding tools out there, this unit is heavier. But don’t mistake that as a bad thing because it keeps the machine balanced when dealing with vertically inclined surfaces.  

Its lock-on trigger is the feature we liked the most in this belt sander as it allows undisruptive operations. 

What We Like

What We Don't Like

9. Craftsman CMEW213 Belt Sander

Sanding into adjoining areas isn’t a problem for Craftsman CMEW213 because it has an angled belt design specifically made for that dilemma. 

Despite being sold at a lower price, you can count on its adjustable handle and select among three positions to experience utmost comfort during operations. This unit is also aided by a 7-amp motor engine that runs 800 feet per minute at a no-load setting. 

And did you know that this unit is made of impact-resistant plastic materials? If you’re sanding materials for extensive hours, this material type could lessen the weight you need to bear during the process. 

What We Like

What We Don't Like

Belt Sanders Buyer’s Guide

Power

You may not know, but your belt sander’s motor engine power highly determines what kind of sanding tasks you can take on. Typically, we would recommend belt sanders with a 4 to 6 amperage rating if you’re working on easy projects. 

However, handling tougher materials for long hours should lead you to buy sanders with 8 to 12-amp motors. 

Speed

Your sander’s speed settings determine how fast the operation will go. Most of the time, you’ll see it labeled with “no load” specifications, which means it’s the speed you’ll get when the machine isn’t in contact with the material yet. 

We suggest buying products with variable speed configurations if you want most speed adjustments and control over your sanding equipment. It’s also helpful when you’re constantly working with different materials. 

Handheld or Benchtop Belt Sander?

As their names imply, handheld sanders are more portable than benchtop options. Because of this, users will find handy ones more suitable for longer materials and less expensive than its alternative. 

However,  it’s important to note that benchtop sanding belts are more accurate in terms of results. On top of that, these units have more compatibility with accessories and are easier to control. 

Overall, the one you need to choose depends on the project you’re working on and the available space in your workshop and storage. 

Standard or Mini Belt Sander

If you scan the market often, you’ll know that standard belt sanders are handheld tools with a belt under their grip—which is its main difference from mini sanders. These models have belts placed in front of the handle, typically used for areas that normal-sized sanding tools can’t reach.

Corded vs. Cordless Type

When you buy bench-top sanders, expect them to be corded as they require more power than handheld ones. However, not all handheld units in the market are cordless. 

During our tests, we figured cordless belt sanders are more suitable for repetitive sanding work. On the other hand, cordless units are meant for projects that require you to move around.

Motor (Brushed or Brushless)

Cheaper models tend to be equipped with brush motors. However, if you want a long-lasting power tool that produces less heat, the best belt sanders to consider are the ones made with brushless motors.

Dust Collection System + Vacuum Attachment

Using a belt sander without a dust collector is one of the things you should avoid[1] in your workshop. As you may know, sanding produces sawdusts that pose health risks and adds additional cleaning duties, which you can prevent if your tool has a reliable extraction system and shop vac connection.

Design and Comfort

Not all sanding processes are done quickly. So if your project requires long hours of sanding, you better get a tool with an ergonomic handle. Some handle materials include cushions that absorb vibrations during the operations that lessen hand fatigue. 

Extra Features

Sometimes, manufacturers include features like trigger locks and indicators to give users more ease during the sanding operations. These things aren’t crucial to the process, but having them gives your tool extra convenience points. 

Price

Although beginner-friendly models are often priced at $100 or below, these options offer adequate sanding capacity and performance. Premium handheld models could shoot up to $400, depending on the power and capacity you’re looking for. 

On the other hand, benchtop belt sanders are also priced as low as $100 and as high as $800. 

Uses of Belt Sander

The main purpose of belt sanders is to smoothen the surface of rough timber. These tools work faster than using typical sandpapers or hand planing. Besides that, you can also use belt sanders for curving scribed lines or edges. 

How to Use a Belt Sander + Must-Know Tips and Tricks

First of all, there’s no need to push your belt sander down during operations. You may not know, but this tool can sand this material without needing more pressure.  

Additionally, you should maintain the speed as you sand across the wood. If you don’t do that, you’ll get uneven sanding results.

FAQ

What brand of belt sander is the best?

The best brand of belt sander is Makita. Not only because it offers powerful motor options but also because users can use its selections in different sanding applications and projects. 

Is a belt sander worth the money?

Yes, a belt sander is worth the money. These tools remove roughness on materials faster than doing it manually, and they also offer less aggressive methods than orbital sander options. 

Is belt sander better than orbital?

A belt sander is better than an orbital if you’re working on a larger project and flatter material. However, orbital sanders are ideal for more precise and angular sanding requirements. 

Our Top Pick For a Belt Sander:
Makita 9403

After the tests conducted by our tool experts, we unanimously chose Makita 9403 as our top pick among the best belt sanders on our list. Despite the higher price range, this tool proved its value with its powerful 11-amp motor, quiet operation, and a unique labyrinth design that provides longer machine life. 

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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