The 9 Best Belt Sanders in 2021 – Buying Guide and Reviews

There’s nothing too complicated about a belt sander. Basically, it’s a sandpaper loop that’s driven forward by a motor. Nevertheless, this straightforward tool is a highly versatile addition to a woodworker’s toolbox when it comes to sanding projects.

Many different woodworking projects need a certain amount of sanding to add the finishing touch. 

Sanding wood by hand is not the most enjoyable of activities. However, with the best belt sander to help you, all your sanding jobs suddenly become much easier. 

The choice of belt sanders is tremendous, so I wanted to do something to help save you time. I’ve examined what’s available on the market and trimmed your options down to ten of the best.

If you’ve got a project you’re keen to finish, my top choice is the Makita 9903 8.8 Amp Variable Speed Control Belt Sander. It’s one of the best available at the moment, so get your wallet out. 

If this isn’t for you, here the full run down on what are think are the best belt sanders in 2021:

My Top Picks for Best Belt Sanders 2021

To help me compile the following list, I’ve examined and considered many different factors. Power, variable speed control, dust collection, auto belt tracking, comfort, and ergonomics are fundamental characteristics. Here we go:

Top Pick – Makita 9903 8.8 Amp Variable Speed Belt Sander

This belt sander from Makita uses an 8.8 AMP motor, and to help the tool maintain a constant speed when under load, it’s controlled electronically. Depending on what you’re using it for, you can adjust the speed from 690 up to 1,440 feet per minute using the variable speed dial.

As well as using it for your woodworking projects, you can also use it to remove rust and paint and sand metal.

The low profile design improves the balance. Ergonomics are further enhanced by the front grip and the fact that it weighs less than ten pounds. An extra-long power cord means you’ve got plenty of play.

Belt sanders create a large amount of dust, but this tool makes use of a dust collection system and blower that removes it from your work area.

Another helpful feature is the extended base. Using the side and front roller of the belt sander, you’re able to achieve flush sanding with vertical surfaces, such as a wall.

The sander’s belt utilizes an auto-tracking belt system for increased accuracy. That removes the need for adjustment because it automatically tracks the belt.

The only thing I found disappointing about this tool was the one-year warranty. I would have expected a little more from such a well-known brand. 

Pros

  • Comfortable to work with.
  • Auto-tracking system for the belt.
  • Extra-long power cord.
  • Efficient dust collection. 
  • Low profile design.

Cons

  • Only one-year warranty.

Suppose you’re in the market for an affordable belt sander. In that case, this variable-speed sander is very efficient and versatile to use whether you’re building a deck, finishing wooden floors, or constructing cabinets. 

You’ll find it ideal for a wide range of woodworking projects. The 9903 is a belt sander that’s easy and pleasant to use and is very accurate.

Click on the following link if you want more details or would like to make a purchase.

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Top Premium Pick – Makita 9403 4″ X 24″ Belt Sander

Those of you who aren’t restricted by budget might want to look at the 9403 belt sander from the same brand as my top pick. The 4 x 24” is larger than many other belt sanders, which means it’s ideal for working on large projects. 

This belt sander is only single speed, but 1,640 feet/minute is fast enough to remove material quickly. Any dust and debris created by such an efficient sanding action are cleared rapidly by the dust collector and it has a dust bag that swivels 360 degrees.

The tool’s labyrinth construction protects the motor and bearings, so you don’t have to worry about the workings becoming clogged up.

You’d think such a speed would make the tool noisy to use, but this model has one of the lowest noise levels on the market. It’s a well-balanced tool thanks to its low profile, and the large grip at the front makes it easy to maneuver around.

The construction of this tool is very sturdy, but that does come at a price. It weighs 13 pounds, so you’ll be suffering from fatigue if you use it for long periods.

Pros

  • Efficient dust collection system.
  • Wide belt for increased sanding action.
  • Powerful motor.
  • Labyrinth structure.

Cons

  • Heavy construction.

This second sander in my list from Makita is agreeable to use, robustly constructed, and surprisingly quiet to use. 

The size of its belt makes it perfect if you need to sand large spaces. Its motor may have only one speed, but it’s very effective and removes material quickly. 

For additional info or to make your purchase from Amazon, click on the link below. 

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Top Value Pick – Metabo HPT SB8V2M 9 Amp Corded Belt Sander

Using a powerful 9.0 AMP motor, this belt sander can deliver no-load speeds between 820 and 1,475 feet/minute. The speed is adjusted using a dial that’s conveniently located to the right side of the main handle. 

Such power means you can use it to sand wood, polish steel, and remove rust and paint. The tool also uses a V-belt, which is resistant to wear.

The tool features a dust bag for collecting dust and keeping your work area free from debris, but unusually, it’s located on the tool’s left side. What this means is that you’re able to sand in the corners.

In terms of comfort, this sander weighs in at only nine pounds. The handles feature an elastomer grip which is soft, flexible, and provides good grip.

 To help you get into the tightest spots, you’re able to adjust the position of the belt. A handy plastic cover lets you check the belt’s position. 

There appear to be a few problems with the belt needing constant adjustment. However, the transparent window means you can quickly check on its alignment.

Pros

  • Variable speed control.
  • Wear resistant V-belt.
  • Dust collection system keeps work area free of dust and debris.
  • Can sand in corners.

Cons

  • Belt needs tracking adjustment.

This Metabo belt sander is powerful enough to tackle a wide range of finishing jobs, including paint removal and sanding steel. You can adjust the speed to match the application, and it’s straightforward and flexible to use. 

For more details and prices, check the link below. 

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Makita 9032 Belt Sander, 3/8 x 21, 4.4 A

Belt sanders aren’t just useful for large projects. You might want a sander for more detailed work, furniture making, and fine carpentry. 

A 4.4 AMP motor powers it, and you can control the speed electronically in order to maintain a constant speed when you use it under load. There’s a dial to adjust the speed from 980 to 5,600 feet/minute.

You can improve the tool’s versatility by changing the arm. Assemblies are available in three different sizes: 1/4”, 3/8”, and 1/2”. The sanding arm is also adjustable, and you can pivot it 100 degrees and reach into awkward places. It only weighs three and a half pounds, so you should have no issues with user fatigue.

When you need to adjust the belt, it’s effortless. You can change the belt’s tracking by turning a knob.

Using different size arm assemblies is a bonus, but you have to purchase them separately. That being said, they are readily available online.

Pros

  • Great for detailed sanding applications.
  • Adjustable sanding arm.
  • Easy to carry and use.
  • User-friendly belt adjustment.

Cons

  • Different arm assemblies have to be purchased separately.

This featherlight belt sander performs excellently in confined spaces. The speed is variable so that you can adjust it according to the application. It’s incredibly versatile because you can swivel the sanding arm 90 degrees downwards and 10 degrees upwards.

For additional information about this product, follow the link below.

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Makita 9924DB Dustless Belt Sander, 3 x 24

At the other end of the scale is the 9924DB, also from Makita. The powerful motor is 7.8 AMP, and it can deliver 1,300 feet/minute. You’ll find this sander very useful for building decks, installing flooring, wood panels, carpentry, and woodworking applications.

Some features help to increase the life of the tool, such as its ball-bearing construction and ceramic wear plate that you can replace. 

It’s an easy and comfortable tool for you to use. Characteristics include the balanced design, sturdy handles including a front grip, and an extended base plate that allows you to get close to the wall when sanding. The power cord is extra-long, so you’re not going to be too restricted in where you can use it.

Disappointingly, this belt sander doesn’t have an adjustable speed. The bag for collecting dust is also on the small side for such a powerful sander. Variable speed is not critical for all applications, and you’ll need to empty the dust bag more frequently than you’d possibly prefer.

Pros

  • Extended base plate.
  • Sturdy construction.
  • Powerful motor.
  • Extra-long power cord.

Cons

  • Small collection bag for the dust.
  • Speed not adjustable.

This tough belt sander from Makita delivers the perfect combination of power and speed. It includes several helpful features such as the quick-release lever for changing the belt, extendable belt, and changeable ceramic belt. 

Click on the following link for more details and pricing information. 

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SKIL 7510-01 Sandcat 6 Amp 3″ x 18″ Belt Sander with Pressure Control

Designed with smaller jobs in mind, this SKIL belt sander is only 3” x 18” in size. It’s relatively lightweight at just six pounds, and its low profile means it’s well-balanced. To help make using it more ergonomic, there are two handles for a firmer grip. 

An unusual feature is a system that lets you know when you’re putting too much pressure on the sander. It has an automatic pressure-control system that provides feedback for the user through an LED warning light. 

When it’s blinking, you know you have to ease up on the pressure if you want the best finish. In addition, this system also helps to increase the life of the belt. The tool uses an auto-track system, so you don’t have to stop and make constant adjustments.

The SKIL uses a dust collector that can capture the smallest particles of dust and sawdust, providing virtually dust free sanding. The canister used for collecting the dust is clear, so you don’t have to guess whether it’s full.

The downside with this tool is that the dust canister is far too flimsy and much too small for the job. You can easily overcome this issue by swapping it for an aftermarket container with a bigger capacity.

Pros

  • Pressure control system.
  • Transportable and easy to use.
  • Dust collection system can capture microparticles.
  • Auto track system ensures the belt is centered.

Cons

  • Dust collection bag is on the small side.

Some bells and whistles make this tool stand out, such as the pressure control technology and auto belt adjustment. However, it’s the vacuum and micro-filtration system that has prompted a place in my list. The capture chamber ensures your workspace is spotless at all times. 

For more information about this product or to check pricing, click on the following link.

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Ryobi BE319 6 Amp Portable 320 Feet / Minute Corded Belt Sander

For putting the finishing touches on woodworking projects, this sander from Ryobi should hit the spot. It’s a great tool to have in your toolbox, and the 6 AMP motor delivers enough power for a range of finishing jobs.

It’s undersized and light enough for you to use it anywhere, and because it’s just a little over 6” tall and weighs a tiny bit more than six pounds, you should find using it enjoyable.

The tool has two handles that are rubberized, so you can keep a firm grip and enjoy an agreeable position on the handles, even if your palms are sweaty.

There’s an simple to use tension release lever, meaning quick and easy belt replacement. Another feature is the tracking tool that keeps the position of the belt finely tuned. 

Unfortunately, the speed is just 320 feet/minute, which means you need to be patient and take it slow when using it.

Pros

  • Easy to carry and compact.
  • Tool-less belt change.
  • Tracking tool keeps the belt in position.

Cons

  • Sanding can be a slow process.

The BE319 is a tool that’s well-suited for many jobs around the house and in your workshop. It may have only one speed, which happens to be slow, but as long as you’re patient, this sander will perform adequately. Its size and weight make it an excellent tool to have if you need to use it in awkward spaces for short periods. 

For pricing details and to purchase this tool from Amazon, click on the link below. 

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BLACK+DECKER Belt Sander with Dust Bag, 7-Amp, 3” x 21” (DS321)

If you need a sander because you’ve got lots of finishing jobs to do around the house, Black and Decker’s 7 AMP sander could be what you need. It’s ideal for sanding down cupboard edges or cabinet doors, for example.

It’s a lightweight and portable sander that can deliver 800 feet/minute thanks to the 7.0 AMP motor. Weighing in at just 6 pounds, you’ll find it relatively easy to use for long periods. Even if you’re working overhead, worker fatigue shouldn’t be a problem.

An innovative design of the roller at the front means you’ll easily be able to reach into the tightest of corners. To help you control the tool while sanding, there is a 3-position adjustable handle. The tools flush design also allows you to sand right into tight spaces. 

To keep your work area clean and improve visibility, the dust collection bag efficiently removes any debris and dust.

The only thing that lets this sander down is that the motor is not very powerful. There are far more powerful belt sanders out there, but if you’re not attempting large-scale projects, 800 feet/minute shouldn’t be an issue.

Pros

  • 3-position adjustable handle.
  • Effective dust collection.
  • Can be used in tight corners.
  • Small and easy to carry.

Cons

  • Motor is lacking in power.

If you’re in the market for a belt sander with an affordable price tag and features that make it great for use around the house, this Black and Decker could be what you’re looking for. It weighs a mere six pounds, and you’re not going to be left with arm ache, even if you use it overhead.

Click on the following link if you want more information or are ready to make your purchase.

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WEN 6321 7-Amp 3 in. x 21 in. Corded Belt Sander

This budget-friendly sander has a 7 AMP motor capable of spinning the belt at 820 feet/minute. Such speeds mean you’ll find it useful for all your regular sanding or sandpapering projects. 

One of its essential features is the protruding front roller, increasing the versatility of the tool by making it possible to sand into tight corners. It allows you to access and sand in the tightest of corners. 

A lock on button means you can keep sanding without the inconvenience of holding onto the trigger.

The spacious dust bag means you can keep your projects and your workshop clean, but you don’t need to keep stopping to empty it. 

With a motor that’s not quite as powerful as some models, you might find this sander disappointing as it’s not suitable for heavy applications. Nevertheless, for such an affordable price, you’re still getting a lot of sander for your money.

Pros

  • Lock-in feature for security.
  • Budget-friendly price.
  • Light weight design limits fatigue.
  • Sands in tight corners.

Cons

  • Motor not as powerful as some other belt sanders.

This is a sander that comes with an affordable price tag, but you’re not missing out on too many of the more valuable features. You can lock the trigger in place. Its design is light and efficient. Changing the belt requires no tool, and it comes with a very roomy dust bag. 

For pricing information and to make your purchase, click on the link below. 

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What to Look for When Choosing the Best Belt Sander

Before you start looking for the best belt sander, you must consider and compare many factors. To help you understand exactly what to look for, I’ve produced this useful guide.

The Power

Not a massive amount of power is required when you’re sanding. But that doesn’t mean you can disregard a sander’s power specifications. 

A belt sanders motor can range from 6 AMPS right up to 10 AMPS and possibly more. The higher the amperage, the more efficient the sander will be. It’s also likely to outperform belt sanders with much lower amperage.

If you want to learn a little bit more about amps, watch this video:

That being said, a high amperage tool is going to cost more money. 

Variable Speed

Belt sanders with variable speed are far more versatile as you can set the tool’s speed to match the material you’re sanding. 

Some sanders have just two settings, low and high. On the other hand, there are also belt sanders with a variable speed dial that allows you to choose various speeds in between. 

Dust Collection

Belt sanders are notorious for creating plumes of dust. This means lots of clearing up when you’ve finished, but it can also be a danger for your health.

Therefore, an efficient dust collection system is vital, but make sure the collection part of the system is large. Otherwise, you’ll have to keep stopping to empty the bag or canister. 

Some models include an adapter or dust port to which you can connect your vacuum. This system is the best, especially when you’re using your sander often or have a big project to finish. 

Auto Belt Tracking

For a sander to work efficiently, the sanding belt has to stay centered. If it runs out of alignment, it can rub against the tool’s housing and possibly damage the belt or the sander. There’s also a likelihood that the belt will run entirely off the machine. 

Belt adjustments can be made by hand, but a much better system is auto belt tracking. The belt stays centered automatically.

Another type of sander is an orbital sander. Adjusting the belt is not an issue because it uses sanding discs rather than a belt. An orbital sander is better if you’re simply finishing a project rather than stripping down a piece of wood.

Belt Changing

A simple belt changing system will mean you can increase your productivity. When you need to change the paper, you won’t waste time looking for the right tool and be able to get back to work much quicker. 

Weight

When you’re purchasing a hand-held tool, its weight can be a deciding factor, especially if you plan to use it for long periods or sand at awkward angles. 

If you’re sanding overhead or vertically, choose a sander that weighs very little because it will be easier to handle and less strain on your arms and wrists. 

Comfort and Ergonomics

You’ll need to use a lot of effort to keep your belt sander under control, even if it’s compact and underweight. It’s therefore crucial that the tool is undemanding to use, there is more than one handle, and the handles are well-placed. 

Some belt sanders come with an adjustable handle handle, allowing you to tailor the tool to the project you’re working on.

A sander that is not heavy will be more maneuverable. If the tool has a lock-in switch, you’ll be able to sand continuously and not need to grip the lever. 

One last thing with regards to ergonomics is the noise a belt sander makes. Sanders are one of the many tools that can damage your hearing if you use them for extended periods. Any kind of noise reduction feature would be beneficial.

Warranty

It’s always best to choose a tool with an extended guarantee. While one-year warranties are standard, some brands offer much longer warranties. 

Conclusion

The best belt sander for you will depend on how you plan to use it. When you purchase the right one, you’ll be able to work safely, correctly, and more efficiently. 

On the whole, whatever belt sander you buy will perform the same primary function. Nonetheless, there will be differences, however subtle, that you should consider. 

All the brands and models on my list come highly recommended, but if you want me to narrow it down to one, in particular, I’ll stick my neck out and put forward the Makita 9903 8.8 Amp Variable Speed Belt Sander.

It has all of the most essential features: a powerful motor, variable speed, low profile, auto-tracking system, extendable base, and front handle. 

I'm a mechanical engineer by trade but my passions are woodworking, tools and DIY.

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