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Belt Sander Reviews: Complete Buyer’s Guide

Which is the Best Belt Sander on the Market? Read our complete guide where we review the top Belt Sanders with all the Pros & Cons
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Is your deck looking worse for wear? Do your kitchen cabinets need refurbishing? Sanding is one DIY task that we love to hate. Using a sanding block and sanding paper on a large job is laborious. It takes you hours to finish the job, and your arm aches for days afterward.

Fortunately, there’s a power tool that can help you speed things along with your sanding tasks while reducing your operator fatigue. Belt sanders are handy tools to have in the workshop, and they have plenty of use in woodworking and other DIY jobs.

With so many models of belt sanders available, how do you select the right one to suit your needs? We put together this review of the best belt sanders available, just for you. This guide unpacks the features and user experience of each of the top sanders and makes recommendations of the best sanders to suit your task, budget, and experience level.

Read through our belt sander buying guide for helpful tips on selecting the right belt sander for you, and make an informed purchase decision on the best machine to suit your application.

Our Top Picks for the Best Belt Sander

We spent hours with these belt sanders to round up the best three models in this review.

Best Pick: The Makita 9903 Variable Speed Belt Sander

Makita 9903 8.8 Amp 3-Inch-by-21-Inch Variable Speed Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag
  • Powerful 8.8 AMP motor; only 85dB
  • Variable speed control dial (690-1,440 ft./min.) enables user to match the speed to the application
  • Auto-tracking belt system tracks belt without adjustment
  • Innovative design for sanding flush to wall with nose and side of sander
  • Front grip design for comfortable operation

The Makita 9903 is our top choice for the best overall belt sander in this review. This power tool makes a fine addition to the toolbox of any DIY enthusiast looking for a premium tool that has excellent performance and long service life.

Contractors will also love the robust durability of the high-power 8.8-Amp motor and efficient sanding action of the Makita. The sander maintains its speed, even under load, and the electric speed control dial lets you fine-tune the sanding action to suit your application.

There’s no need for ear safety when using the Makita, as the 85dB output from the machine doesn’t damage your hearing.

Overall, the machine has the power you need for any size sanding project, while maintaining a user-friendly experience that gives you excellent control over the machine during operation.

Runner Up Pick: Porter-Cable 362

PORTER-CABLE Belt Sander with Dust Bag, Variable-Speed, 8 Amp, 3-Inch-by-21-Inch (352VS)
  • Variable-speed belt sander with cloth dust bag; variable-speed dial 850-1,300 SFPM
  • Belt and gear drive system transfers power from the motor to the sanding belt
  • Designed for flush sanding up to vertical surfaces; dust bag swivels 360 degree
  • Fingertip belt-tracking knob; quick-release belt-change lever
  • Motor is located over platen for maximum performance and perfect balance

If you’re looking for the Rolls Royce of belt sanders, then choose the Porter-Cable 362. While the price tag on this machine is steep, its 12-Amp motor makes it the most powerful in this review and suited for the toughest sanding jobs.

The semi-industrial design of the Porter-Cable 362 means that contractors can use this machine as well. The design of this sander features placement of the motor over the sanding plate, providing the best balance to the sander. This design minimizes torque-kick on startup while providing excellent control during operation.

The heavy-duty steel body gives the machine a robust look, and you can expect to get a long service life from this machine. For DIY enthusiasts that have to have the best, the Porter-Cable 362 is the best option for your workshop.

Budget Pick: Genesis GBS321A

Genesis GBS321A Single Lever 3" x 21" Variable Speed Belt Sander with Adjustable Front Handle and Dust Collection Bag
  • VERSITILE - Low Profile Design gets into tight spots| Make quick work of smaller projects that need aggressive sanding!
  • QUICK-CHANGE - Single Lever Quick-Change Belt Change | Save time changing belts on your next DIY project with the tool-less sanding belt change!
  • PERFORMANCE - Variable Speed for incredible versatility | Control the speed of sanding with the variable speed feature!
  • CONTROL - Adjustable Front Handle for Comfort and Control, Flat-Side for Tight, Flush Sanding | Sand exterior and interior doors, door jambs, cabinet surfaces and doors, and wood hand rails to prevent splinters and prepare for paint or stain!
  • ACCESSORIES – Includes Dust Bag, and One (1) Sanding Belt | Everything is included to start your next DIY project with the Genesis Belt Sander!

If you’re looking for the best value sander in this review, then you won’t find a better deal than the Genesis GBS321A. This versatile and powerful machine does everything that you would expect a belt sander to do – at an affordable price.

Some people might think that the lower price tag means inferior quality. While the Genesis doesn’t have the same condition as the Makita or Hitachi, it still gets the job done. For those DIY enthusiast that only want a belt sander for a few projects each year, then the Genesis is the ideal option that won’t break your bank account.

Top 10 Best Belt Sanders

We looked at the best belt sanders available and came up with these ten models. When evaluating the best belt sander’s features, we looked at the following criteria.

  • User experience.
  • Noise levels.
  • The efficiency of use.
  • Design and handling.
  • Service life.

All of these factors play a role in picking the best belt sander in this review. You can skip to the conclusion if you want our recommendation on the best overall belt sander, the best value model, and the best premium model belt sander in this review.

Makita 9903 Belt Sander

For those DIY enthusiasts that demand the perfect balance of performance and ease-of-use, the Makita 9903 variable speed belt sander is a great choice. This machine is ideal for woodworking projects, and it makes a good machine for semi-industrial use as well.

You can use the Makita to sand decks, furniture, or floors without any hassle. This machine is durable enough for semi-industrial use and will make an excellent addition to a carpentry workshop.

The powerful 8.8-Amp motor n the Makita allows operators to maintain a consistent speed on a variety of surfaces, even when you’re placing pressure on the machine for a tough job. The variable speed control lets you fine-tune your sanding speed for any application, producing the perfect finish every time.

The sander also features an auto-tracking belt system that keeps the correct tension on the belt at all times, ensuring you don’t move off of your sanding path. The innovative design of this sander allows the belt to come flush with the side of the machine. This feature comes in handy when you’re trying to sand against a wall or skirting board.

We like the fact that the Makita has the quietest operation in this review. The machine has a total output of 85db while operating, so it won’t damage your hearing with extended use. The large, ergonomic front grip on the sander lets you keep control of the machine with ease, and the low-profile design of the Makita enhances your control over the sander during operation.

The sander comes with a dust collection bag, and you can hook it up to a shop vacuum for best results in keeping your workshop clean of sawdust and debris. This model features a 16.4-foot power cable, allowing you to cover large surfaces such as floors without the need for an extension cable.

The Makita 9903 variable speed sander would suit DIY enthusiasts that find themselves regularly working on woodworking projects. This machine is robust enough to stand up to semi-industrial use as well, making it an excellent choice for contractors and professional artisans.

  • Strong 8.8-Amp motor.
  • Variable speed settings.
  • Auto-tracking on the sanding belt.
  • 4-foot power cable.
  • An expensive machine for DIY use

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Genesis GBS321A Belt Sander

If you’re looking for a machine that offers plenty of performance, with an affordable price tag, then the Genesis is your best option in this review. This sander has a fast and versatile operation, with an 8-Amp motor that offers powerful sanding action on a variety of surfaces.

This belt sander is not the best choice for contractors and is best suited for DIY use around the home. Use it on your woodworking projects, like restoring furniture or sanding your deck. The electronic speed control is efficient and effective, letting you tailor your speed for the best finish on your sanding surface.

The Genesis comes with the same flush design on one side of the sander’s body, allowing you to sand against walls, skirting, and cornices.

The sanding belt feature auto-tracking and a belt tensioner that ensures you always have full control over the machine. The quick-release belt lever is handy for easy belt changes, and the dust collection bag keeps your workshop clean of sawdust and debris.

The large, ergonomic front handle also gives you plenty of control over the machine during operation.

This belt sander offers tremendous value for money for the DIY enthusiast. If you only use a belt sander a few times a year, then why spend money on too much machine for your needs? The Genesis offers you everything you need in a belt sander at an affordable price point.

  • 8-Amp motor.
  • Variable speed dial.
  • Quick-change single lever.
  • Auto-tracking.
  • 5-foot power cable.
  • Not suitable for semi-industrial use.

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Porter-Cable 362 Belt Sander

For those contractors and carpenters that need more power from their belt sander, the Porter-Cable 362 is the perfect professional tool to add to your workshop. This sander has a footprint of 4″ x 24″ with variable speed control over a massive 12-Amp motor.

The Porter-Cables all-steel body gives it a rugged appearance that lets you know it’s ready to go to work. This machine rips into any surface with ease, stripping paint in seconds. If you’re going to sand a deck or a large area, this sander has the motor to get the job done without overheating.

The variable speed dial on this Porter-Cable model lets you select speed settings between 1000sfpm to 1500sfpm, with a manual belt-tracking dial to let you make adjustments as you go. The sander also features a quick-release lever for easy belt changes and ergonomic handles for easy control over the machine during operation.

The 360-degree swivel head either attached to a dust bag, or you can hook it up to your shop vacuum for efficient and effective housekeeping.

The Porter-Cable 362 is a professional-grade piece of equipment and best suits carpenters and DIY specialists that find themselves using a belt sander on most of their projects. DIY enthusiasts will also enjoy this sander, but it’s a bit of overkill for most DIY projects.

  • Powerful 12-Amp motor.
  • Swivel dust spout with a collection bag.
  • Quick-release belt changes.
  • Fingertip tracking dial.
  • Variable speed control.
  • 6-foot power cable.
  • Not suitable for newbie sanders or DIY enthusiasts.
  • An expensive machine for DIY use.

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Makita 9403 Belt Sander

This belt sander offers you plenty of power, and we like to think of it as the big brother of the Makita 9903. With the 9403 model, you get a colossal 11-Amp motor that capable of ripping through any material you place it on. This machine gives the 12-Amp motor in the Porter-Cable a run for its money.

This model is suited for professionals that are looking for the best semi-industrial equipment they can find. Makita is one of the world’s premier manufacturers of power tools, and the range of belt sanders on offer from the company is the best the market has to offer.

However, while Makita is the best money can buy, you’ll have to spend plenty of your hard-earned cash if you want to afford one of these machines.

Still, if you’re a contractor looking for a reliable belt sander that you know won’t let you down for years to come, the 9403 from Makita is your best option. The machine comes with the same exhaust that hooks up to your shop vacuum, and electronic speed control found on the 9903.

The 4″ x 24″ sander comes with a 4″ wide belt, reaching speeds of 1640ft./min.

If you’re a contractor or professional woodworker looking for the best belt sander available, the Makita 9403 is hands down, the best belt sander in this review. However, if you’re a newbie that’s looking for a sander to handle a few DIY jobs a year, look at the 9903 model instead.

  • Powerful 11-Amp motor.
  • 360-degree swivel dust spout and collection bag.
  • Low noise output.
  • Double-insulation.
  • An expensive machine for DIY use.

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Black & Decker DS321 Dragster

Another affordable option for DIY enthusiasts is the Black & Decker Dragster. This belt sander features a 6-Amp motor that’s suitable for light to medium use on DIY projects. This machine does not have the motor to stand up to semi-industrial use, so it’s not a good choice for contractors.

However, Black & Decker have a reputation for making reasonably affordable power tools. The company delivers on its reputation with the Dragster.

This belt sander has everything you need to finish your DIY woodworking or carpentry project. While we wouldn’t use it for sanding a deck, it’s still an excellent tool to add to your DIY workshop. This model is lightweight and compact, and we like the front roller on the machine that lets you get into tight spaces.

You get more control over the machine using the retractable three-position handle, and a quick-release lever to replace your belts. There’s a tracking adjustment knob, and a dust collector bag included with the set. Black & Decker offer a 2-years manufacturer’s warranty on the machine for your peace of mind.

This machine is an affordable choice for DIY enthusiasts that only use a belt sander a few times a tear. The machine doesn’t have the motor to stand up to extended use, but it’s an excellent tool for DIY projects. The unique design of the machine featuring the front roller and the ergonomic three-position handle make this tool a win for any DIY carpenter.

  • 6-Amp motor.
  • Dust bag included.
  • Retractable handle with three positions.
  • Front roller
  • Quick-release lever and tracking dial.
  • 6-foot power cable.
  • Motor will not stand up to heavy-duty use.

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WEN 6502 Belt Sander

WEN is synonymous with manufacturing some of the world’s best power tools.The 6502 belt sander is no exception to the fine quality this company puts into the design and manufacture of its power tool range.

The 6502 features a cast-iron base and a 2-in1 sanding function with a large, 4″ x36″ belt and a 6″ x6″ disc belt that tilts to a 90-degree angle. The WEN comes with a 4.3-Amp motor that spins at 3600-rpm, providing you with a versatile sander that’s capable of assisting you with a variety of sanding jobs in your carpentry workshop.

The solid cast-iron base stabilizes the machine during operation, and you don’t get any movement or wobbling during use.

The dust port connects to your shop vacuum, and the sanding disc comes with a sanding table that features 45-degree beveling and a removable miter gauge.

This professional-level sander is ideal for finishing jobs on carpentry projects. It suits the professional-level carpentry expert that is looking for a versatile and comprehensive machine. The dual sanding action between the belt and the sanding disc is a unique feature in this review, and any professional should take a look at this outstanding piece of equipment.

  • Beveling work surface.
  • Swivel dust port.
  • Cast-iron construction in the base.
  • Removable miter gauge.
  • 6-foot power cable.
  • An expensive machine for DIY use.

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Powertec BD1500 Belt Sander

The Powertec is a more affordable version of the WEN, and we like the 2-in-1 sanding action from this machine as well. The Powertec BD1500 sander is an excellent tool for finishing your woodworking projects and is a great power tool to add to your DIY workbench.

The Powertec comes with a disc size of 5 inches, and a belt size of 1″ x30″. The powerful 2.5-Amp motor runs the disc at 3,450-rpm, producing enough power to handle any professional carpentry project.

You get a 4″ x 7¼” tilting table design with the Powertec, similar to the WEN, including tilting side tables that bevel to 45-degrees, and a miter gauge. The machine features two 1.5-inch dust ports to keep your workshop clean, and backplate and roller guard.

The Powertec is a DIY solution to the WEN, and it belongs in the workshop of any DIY carpentry enthusiast. You get all the functionality of the WEN, without the steep price tag.

  • Dual 1.5-inch dust ports.
  • Tracking adjustment dial.
  • Tilting sanding table.
  • Removable miter gauge
  • 5-Amp induction motor.
  • 6-foot power cable.
  • Not all DIY enthusiasts may require a disc sander as well.

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WEN 6321 Belt Sander

The WEN 6321 belt sander is an excellent option for contractors that are looking for a reliable and robust machine for multiple tasks. WEN fits this dander with a 7-Amp motor that performs like a 12-Amp motor.

WEN always outdo themselves when it comes to manufacturing quality power tools. However, you can expect to pay a hefty price for this power tool, and imported quality from WEN is well worth the money if you can find it in your budget.

This machine is compact and lightweight, weighing less than 6-pounds, limiting operator fatigue on extensive jobs. The WEN also comes with a trigger lock for effortless operation. Make sure your belts stay on track with the tracking adjustment dial and swap out belts quickly with the quick-release lever found on the side of the machine.

The extension on the front of the machine lets you reach into tight spaces and corners to finish your job. The WEN also comes with a dust bag to help you keep your workshop clean, as well as an 80-griot sanding belt fitted to the machine. WEN offers replacement belts in packs of three.

The WEN is the ideal belt sander for a contractor or DIY enthusiast that’s looking for a reliable machine with top-quality performance. The only drawback of this machine is the price tag, but you know that you’re buying the best when you purchase a WEN machine.

  • 7-Amp motor.
  • Safety lock.
  • Quick-release belt lever.
  • Tracking adjustment dial.
  • 6-foot power cable.
  • An expensive machine for DIY use.

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Hitachi SB8V2 Belt Sander

Another international power tool brand synonymous with quality is Hitachi. When it comes to performance and reliability, Hitachi power tools are on the top shelf. The SB8V2 belt sander from Hitachi features a powerful 9-Amp motor that capable of tearing through the most robust materials in seconds.

The sanders variable speed control allows you to tailor the sander speed to match your material, giving you the best performance on paint, wood, plastic, or metal. We think that the Hitachi is on par with the Makita in terms of performance, reliability, and pricing, and it’s hard to choose a winner between the two.

With the Hitachi belt sander, you get a trigger lock to reduce operator fatigue, as well as a front tracking window to let you know your sanding in the right direction. The dust bag fits the left side of the machine, giving you better control of the sander during operation, keeping the collection bag out of your way.

The wear-resistant V-belt in this sander is robust and durable, with Hitachi claiming it will last for twice as long as other manufacturer’s. The ergonomic design and elastomer grip on the handle gives you superior operator control over the machine.

If you’re looking for a top-quality belt sander, then it’s hard to choose between the Hitachi and the Makita. The Hitachi has everything any DIY enthusiast or professional carpenter needs in their sanding project. While the price tag may be a little steep for this machine, you can relax in the confidence that you’re buying the best, and it will probably be the last belt sander you ever need.

  • 9-Amp motor.
  • Variable speed knob.
  • Left-side dust bag mounting.
  • Wear-resistant V-belt.
  • Tracking window in front.
  • 7-foot power cable.
  • An expensive machine for DIY use.

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Porter-Cable 371

The Porter-Cable 371 belt sander is the smaller sibling of the 362 that we reviewed earlier. This compact belt sander is lightweight and offers superior user control in tight spaces and corners.

The 371 will suit both the DIY enthusiast and some contractors as well, with the lightweight and streamlined body weighing less than 6-pounds. This sander has a 2½” x 14″ footprint, making it one of the most compact machines available.

You get all the premium features you would expect from Porter-Cable, such as a textured body grip, and a removable auxiliary handle for enhanced operator control. The 5-Amp motor offers decent power and will suit any DIY project without giving you any hassles. However, we don’t recommend you use this for extended periods, as you might burn out the motor.

The Porter-Cable has a flat side on the machine, allowing you to sand up against walls and skirtings. The unique recessed design of the dust-proof power switch ensures that you don’t accidentally turn the sander off during operation.

This model is a great belt sander for DIY enthusiasts that are looking for a lightweight and compact machine at an affordable price point. Some contractors and professional carpenters might also benefit from the slimline design of this belt sander as well.

  • Compact and lightweight.
  • 5-Amp motor.
  • Ergonomic textured grip.
  • Auxiliary handle for double-handed use.
  • 8-foot power cable.
  • The sander motor not suitable for heavy-duty use.

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Other Best Selling Options

Bestseller No. 1
WEN 6502T 4.3-Amp 4 x 36 in. Belt and 6 in. Disc Sander with Cast Iron Base
  • Two-in-one sanding machine includes both a 4-by-36 inch belt and a 6-by-6 inch disc
  • Belt tilts anywhere from 0 to 90 degrees
  • Sturdy cast iron base prevents any heavy vibrations
  • 4.3 Amp motor provides up to 3600 RPM
  • Tension release lever provides for simple changes between sandpaper grits
SaleBestseller No. 2
TACKLIFE Belt Sander 3×18-Inch with 13Pcs Sanding Belts, Bench Sander with Variable-speed Control, Fixed Screw Clamps, Dust Box, Vacuum Adapters, 10Feet (3 meters) Length Power Cord PSFS1A
  • 🏡【2 In 1: Bench & Belt Sander】 Provided with two metal screw clamps, TACKLIFE belt sander can be turned over and fixed to table, acting as a bench sander, lock-on button helps to free your hand, providing more convenience and flexibility.
  • 🏡【13Pcs Sanding Belts】 Come with 6pcs 120 grits and 7pcs 80 grits aluminum oxide sanding belts, saving your money, meeting the requirements for your different projects. Metal clamping lever for easy and quick sanding belt change.
  • 🏡【Power & Variable-Speed Design】5 Amp motor offers great power to the sanding surface, delivering efficient removal and high quality finish. Variable-speed knob with 6 dials enables you to match the best speed to the application from 0-560rpm.
  • 🏡【High Performance Dust Collection System】The dust collecting box is detachable, can be easily installed and removed, easy to clean dust. Two vacuum dust adapters, 32mm and 35mm make it possible to connect your vacuum cleaner, reaching the perfect dust collection effect.
  • 🏡【Notes & Full Package】When meeting the problem that the belt slipping, adjust the screw at the bottom to a proper position, then the belt will run in track. Full package: TACKLIFE PSFS1A belt sander; 13pcs sanding belts; 2 screw clamps; 2 vacuum adapters; user manual; 2 Year Customer Support.
Bestseller No. 3
SKIL 7510-01 Sandcat 6 Amp 3-Inch x 18-Inch Belt Sander with Pressure Control
  • Pressure control technology warns user when excessive pressure is applied
  • Auto track system keeps belt centered on track
  • Micro-filtration captures and contains fine dust particles
  • Clear view dust canister removes guess work of when to empty canister
  • Single lever belt changes
Bestseller No. 4
WEN 6321 7-Amp 3 in. x 21 in. Corded Belt Sander with Dust Bag
  • 7-amp motor rotates the belt at over 13 feet per second
  • Compact design weighs in at a mere six pounds to limit the fatigue of the user
  • Includes a detachable dust bag to minimize clean-up
  • Lock-in safety feature allows for continuous sanding without requiring a constant grip on the trigger
  • Backed by a two-year warranty and a nationwide network of skilled technicians
Bestseller No. 5
BLACK+DECKER Belt Sander with Dust Bag, 7-Amp, 3-Inch by 21-Inch (DS321)
  • Stanley - Black & Decker
  • Quality Tools
  • New Unused
  • Included Components: (1) DS321 Sander, (1) Medium grit sanding belt, (1) Dust bag
  • Innovative front roller allows you to reach even the tightest corners with ease

The Best Belt Sander Buyers Guide

A belt sander is a fantastic power tool for stripping old paint and reconditioning surfaces. A belt sander takes the effort out of a job, allowing you to let the machine do the work. If you find yourself doing plenty of woodwork around the house, then a belt sander is an indispensable tool that you need in your tool chest.

There’s a variety of tasks that suit belt sanders, from stripping paint to smoothing edges and finishing woodworking projects.

However, not all belt sanders are equal in performance and service life. Some machines are designed for occasional light use, while others can take on more robust semi-industrial projects like sanding your deck.

Belt Sanders Buyer's Guide
Belt Sanders Buyer’s Guide

You need to select the machine that’s the right fit for your application. If you buy a DIY tool, and try to use it regularly for heavy-duty tasks, you can expect it to pack up on you after a few hours of use.

Knowing what sander suits what tasks is crucial if you want to avoid a costly repair to your machine, or a replacement of the sander altogether.

It’s important to note that manufacturers warranties only cover manufacturing faults with the tool. Therefore, if you try to use a DIY sander to do a heavy-duty job, the manufacturer will not refund you for your purchase, or swap your machine for another model.

Belt Sanders Explained

Belt sanders are powerful power tools that can help you turn a sanding job that would take hours, into a task that takes a fraction of the time. Sanding surfaces using a sanding block and paper will take forever. In most cases, people using this method will develop pain in their wrist, elbow, and shoulder from the effort involved with the job.

A belt sander turns a tough job into an easy afternoons work. The machine works with a motor driving a sanding belt around two rollers at the front and the back of the tools sanding track. Belt sanders come in varying motor sizes, from 5-Amp to 12-Amp, to suit your application.

Most sanders will also offer some form of tracking control, allowing you to avoid the belt slipping off the machine, or catching as it spins around the rollers. You’ll also get variable speed control to help you customize the finish on your woodworking job.

Is It Challenging to Use a Belt Sander?

If you have some level of DIY experience, then a belt sander isn’t very challenging to use. You might get a kick in the handle from the torque of the machine during startup. If you’re dealing with a motor that’s stronger than 5-Amps, you’ll need to make sure you have both your hands on the machine when you pull the start trigger.

Learning to work the tool properly requires you to let it do the work of stripping or sanding, while you provide direction. It’s essential to wear safety glasses during operation and keep your eye on what the front of the machine is doing, not the back.

Belt sanders aren’t the best tools for fine finishing work, especially if they have a high-power motor. Learning to control the machine in tight corners is challenging if your machine is a bit on the bulky side.

Using Belt Sanders
Using Belt Sanders

But if you want a sander for stripping and refurbishing wooden surfaces, then a belt sander is the best bet. You need to learn how to apply even pressure across the surface of the belt and let the machine do the work for you. By placing too much pressure on the front or back of the sander, you’ll develop a scooping effect on the surface.

Light pressure and guidance are all you need to smooth out the roughest surface or remove old paint.

Find some old scrap wood in your workshop and practice using the sander before you try it out on your DIY projects.

What DIY Applications Suit a Belt Sander?

Typically, you’ll use a belt sander in the initial stages of your project. The sander helps to remove old paint, varnish or sealer from wood, and remove burrs. A belt sander has a high-power motor that spins the belt at high rpm, providing an aggressive stripping and sanding action.

You can use a belt sander to shape woodworking projects and finish your designs to an extent. The most common belt grits used in belts for these machines range from 40 to 100. There are a few models designed for fine finishing, but generally, belt sanders are not known for a finishing touch.

Can You Use a Belt Sander to Sand Your Deck?

You can use your belt sander instead of renting a floor sander to refurbish your deck. If you have a small to a medium-sized deck, then a belt sander is the ideal tool. The machine allows you to get into the corners and between the flooring slats where a floor sander wouldn’t be able to go.

Decks also create minor depressions in high traffic areas over the years, and using a floor sander might result in an uneven finish to your deck. A belt sander allows you to concentrate on each plank in your deck, producing a smooth finish that’s ready for staining or sealing.

However, for the fine finishing work on your deck, it’s best to rely on other tools like a palm sander and sanding sponges to get to the areas where your belt sander hangs up or can’t reach. Start the sanding of your deck using a 40 or 50-grit sanding belt, and then finish it with an 80-grit belt. Depending on the size of your deck, you might require multiple belts. Most retailers sell original belts for use in your machine, and they come in packs of three or five.

Is a Belt Sander Suitable for Use on Hardwood Floors?

If the hardwood floor in your lounge looks like it could use some tender loving care, then it’s fine to rely on your belt sander to refurbish the wood back to its former glory. A floor sander is probably a better tool for the job, provided that your floor is not old, and it doesn’t have any warped boards.

A belt sander will help you do the finishing work around the skirting and fireplace, or the heating lines. Always remember to sand with the grain of the wood to avoid damaging the material. Keep your belt sander moving in a backward and forward motion, and use long strokes.

Changing the Sandpaper on Your Belt Sander

Replacing the belt on your sander is a relatively straightforward process. However, if you want to ensure the best service life from the belt, the installation process is essential.

Your sander will have a quick-release lever on the side of the machine, typically between the two rollers. Pull out the lever, and the sanding belt goes slack, allowing you to remove it from the sander.

When installing your new belt, you’ll notice that the track on the sander has directional arrows that match up with the directional arrows on the inside of the sanding belt. It’s critical that you don’t install the belt in the wrong direction, or it will snap when you try to sand.

You might also notice that the belt starts to move around after a few minutes of continuous use. As you use the belt, it stretches, and you’ll need to adjust the tension to keep the belt from slipping off of the rollers. Some machines offer auto-tensioning, while others require you to do it manually.

Belt Sander FAQ
Belt Sander FAQ

Tips for Using a Belt Sander Correctly

Each belt sander in this review has unique features and offers a different user experience. However, most belt sanders all have the same operational functionality. Here are a few tips we can give you for the safe and effective operation of your belt sander, regardless of the model you choose.

  • Always ensure that you start the sander before you place the machine onto the sanding surface. Starting on the surface results in the machine catching and jerking forward. It could get away from you, or damage the sanding surface.
  • Always ensure that the bottom of the machine is parallel to the surface when placing it down.
  • Keep the sander moving in operation to avoid dishing occurring in your sanding surface.
  • Avoid pressing down onto the sander. The weight of the sander is usually enough to strip or sand any surface. All the sander requires is light pressure for guidance, and if you decide to put more pressure on the machine, you could end up ruining your material.
  • Always move the sander with the grain of the wood, or you could ruin the material as well.
  • Make sure that you always adhere to the best safety practices when using your belt sander. Eye protection is necessary to avoid chips and splinters getting in your eyes, requiring you to take a trip to the emergency room.
  • Respirator equipment is also necessary if you’re working in an enclosed area. While most of the belt sanders in this review come with material dust bags, some of the sanding dust will get in the air around you, and you don’t want to breathe that into your lungs.
  • Some of the sanders in this review come with a swivel dust spout that allows you to hook them up to a shop vacuum.
  • Always ensure that you have control over the machine at all times. Some of the models in this review come with ergonomic handles or extensions to give you better control over the sander while reducing operator fatigue in your hands, wrists, and arms.

As a final tip, always make sure your machine is off before you plug it into the electrical outlet. Many of the models in this review come with a trigger lock. If someone accidentally locks the trigger while the machine is off, when you plug it in, it will run away from you and damage the sander, as well as surrounding equipment.


Choosing the right belt sander for your application can be confusing if you don’t know the differences between models. This belt sander review rounds up the best products on the market and presents you with three solutions to meet your carpentry needs.

After reading the buyer’s guide, you’ll have the information and insight you need to make an informed purchase decision on the right belt sander for your carpentry needs. We researched the best options to help you save time and money on finding the best belt sander to add to your workshop.

Whether you’re a newbie to woodworking or a seasoned professional, there’s a model in this review to suit your level of experience and project requirements.

Robin Watson

Robin owns his own Landscape Gardening company based in the UK and has over 10 years professional experience working outdoors, creating beautiful landscapes for his clients in the UK. He is also a keen garden-grower and maintains his own fruit and vegetable gardens. He also has a level 3 Certificate in Practical Horticulture from The Royal Horticultural Society and is currently working on his first book about gardening. Contact him at

1 Comment

  1. Thanks for your comprehensive review and helpful information. Appreciate your time and effort in providing this info., as it will save me the same.

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