A belt sander, sometimes called a strip sander, is basically just a loop of sandpaper wrapped around two cylinders propelled by a motor. They are generally used in the early stages of a project, as they are less of a precision tool and more meant for aggressively removing the coarse, top-level surface of a given material, whether that be wood, plastic, or metal.
There are many types of belt sanders. Most come with a set of common features, such as a dust collection system or an ergonomic handle. Other models come with more unique features, such as an automatic belt tracking system or a metal housing construction for greater durability.
Below, we’ve listed ten of the best sanders you can buy today. We’ve described their best features, as well as some of the drawbacks, to ensure that you find the sander that best suits your needs.
Check out this quick list of our favorites if you’re in a hurry, or continue scrolling to see our full top 10 list with reviews of each sander.
- #1 Makita 9903 Variable Speed
- #2 Metabo SB8V2 Handheld Belt Sander
- #3 Makita 9403 Belt Sander
- #4 WEN 6502T Belt Sander
- #5 WEN 6321 Budget Belt Sander
- #6 Black & Decker DS321 Belt Sander
- #7 SKIL 7510-01 Hand Held Belt Sander
- #8 TACKLIFE PSFS1A Belt Sander
- #9 Ridgid ZRR2740
- #10 Porter-Cable 362V Belt Sander
With that said, here are the best belt sanders you can buy that are awesome for woodworking and as well for other applications like knife making or sharpening.
1: Makita 9903 Variable Speed
The Makita 9903 is one of the best sanders on the market. It’s an extremely useful tool that has not only the power and speed you’re looking for, but it’s easy and intuitive to use as well. Despite boasting a powerful 8.8 AMP motor, it’s relatively quiet, running at only 85 dB. It also comes with a variable speed control dial, allowing you to adjust the speed from anywhere between 690 and 1440 feet per minute.
In addition, it includes an automatic tracking belt system, meaning the sander will not only know if the belt is slipping off the rollers, but it will automatically make any adjustments that are needed, allowing you to continue your work uninterrupted.
The dust collection system is clean and efficient, and the cord length comes in at 16.4 feet, giving you plenty of room to maneuver around the workshop. The ergonomic handle and low profile design of the body also allows you better balance and control. The Price of 9903 is at the upper end of the price spectrum, but you’re getting what you pay for in a quality instrument.
2: Metabo SB8V2 Handheld Belt Sander
The Metabo SB8V2 is a great sander that falls in the middle of the price range. Its basic features include a 9 amp motor and a durable V-belt, making it a good option for both DIY and heavier duty projects. It also includes a five year warranty, giving it excellent value for the price.
Something that is unique about the SB8V2 is that it is built with a clear plastic tracking window that allows the user to see exactly where the edge of the belt is from a comfortable upright position. It includes a good sized dust bag, and the ergonomic handles are made with elastomer, a high-quality elastic material that reduces vibration and increases all around control. The V-belt eliminates the need for a belt adjustment system while increasing the lifetime of the belt itself.
Some users have reported that the SB8V2 is a bit on the heavy side, that the dust collection bag is a bit too small, and that the power cord could stand to be a bit longer.
Overall, this a great mid-range sander good for anyone who is looking for a little more versatility.
3: Makita 9403 Belt Sander
Here’s another great sander from Makita, this time the 9403 model. It has a four inch belt and a speed of 1,640 feet per minute, making it one of the most powerful sanders on this list. The ergonomic front handle gives you maximum control, which is important since it’s definitely one of the heavier duty sanders we’ve included. The body is built with labyrinth construction, sealing the motor and bearings safely inside and ensuring that no dust will get in and affect the inner workings. Part of what makes this model great is that it is built to last. The 9403 also comes with its own dust collection system.
Some customers have complained that the included dust collection system is too small. In that case, it may be worth hooking up to a shop vacuum. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself pausing your work more frequently than you want to empty out the bag.
This is one of the most expensive sanders we’ve included, and definitely overkill for the casual woodworker. However, for the professional, you’ll find a powerful and reliable woodworking tool in the 9403.
4: WEN 6502T Belt Sander
Originally, we had the Porter-Cable 352VS Belt Sander which is both affordable and durable, great for the casual woodworker. Now that’s discontinued, we’ve found a suitable alternative wen 65021. It’s a Two-in-one sanding machine with a 4-by-36 inch belt and a 6-by-6 inch disc.
The housing is made entirely of metal, which is a fairly uncommon feature as far as sanders go. But because they’re made of sturdier material, the walls of the housing of the Wen 65021 don’t flex the way they do on sanders with plastic housing, which ultimately allows the user to maintain better control over the sander.
Though it does not have an automatic tracking belt system, the sturdy metal housing also keeps the belt more centered and not as likely to slide off the rollers. This machine does have a 2.25″ dust collection port, keeping it out of your way as you maneuver around whatever material you’re sanding. Although we found some complaining that the dust port is unnecessarily flimsy and is bolted to the side. Overall, this is a really well-balanced sander, and the vast majority of users report a smooth operating experience.
Despite the all-metal housing, this is not the most powerful sander and is certainly not meant for industrial use. However, given that it is one of the most affordable models on the market, it’s a great option for those who have a lighter sanding job ahead of them.
5: WEN 6321 Budget Belt Sander
The WEN 6321 is a lighter model of sander ideal for household and DIY projects. It has a 7 amp motor that moves the belt along at a steady 820 feet per second, and comes with an extended front roller that allows you access to corners and other tight spaces while keeping your hands safely out of the way. The ergonomic handle features a trigger lock-down button, allowing you better control and also saving you the energy of having to hold down the trigger yourself.
The adjustment knob makes it very easy to increase or reduce the tension of the sanding belt. Lastly, the 6321 comes with a detachable dust collection bag and an 80-grit sanding belt.
Obviously, this is a lighter sander meant for more casual users who might just be doing projects around the house, so woodworkers with a more involved project will want to look elsewhere for heavier duty models. WEN is a great company known for their excellent customer service, and that, along with the lower price tag, makes this a great value sander for the woodworker on a budget.
6: Black & Decker DS321 Belt Sander
The DS321 from Black & Decker is another affordable sander great for smaller projects. But even though it is on the lower end of the price range, it still comes with some great features. One example is the adjustable handle, which makes this sander much easier to maneuver in tighter spaces while keeping your hands out of the way.
The compact body design allows you to get in and around corners and edges. The DS321 comes with a dust collection bag and a 100 grit sanding belt. Weighing in at just six pounds, it’s a light option that won’t wear you out too quickly.
There are a few downsides to this model. Due to the lower power, if too much pressure is applied to the surface, the sanding belt will actually slow down. It also does not come with a variable speed control.
That said, this is still a very highly rated sander and as long as you know what to expect, it’s the perfect option for some of your lighter projects.
7: SKIL 7510-01 Hand Held Belt Sander
The SKIL 7510-01 is one of the older models on this list, but it is nevertheless still a great machine that offers excellent value at an affordable price. It has a four-and-a-half star rating on Amazon, making it one of the best liked sanders on the market.
The SKIL 7510-01 comes with some great features. It is built with pressure control technology, which means the sander warns you if you are pressing down too hard on the surface. This model also includes an automatic tracking belt system, so you don’t have to worry about the belt getting off center.
The micro-filtration dust collection system ensures that even the finest of dust particles are contained within the dust collection canister. Another nice feature that is relatively unique is that the dust canister is see-through, so no more guessing at when it needs to be emptied.
While the 7510-01 is not the best sander for heavy-duty use, it is among the most popular options for casual users.
8: TACKLIFE PSFS1A Belt Sander
Tacklife is an up-and-coming brand that has produced some great products so far. Their PSFS1A Belt Sander is a great example. It’s another light model, so if you have a heavier-duty project, you’ll want to check out some of the more powerful sanders on this list. However, if you are doing some smaller DIY or home-based projects, this sander is a great option.
The PSFS1A is a lighter sander, weighing in at only six pounds. It comes with a variable speed control and lock-in feature, so you can adjust the speed to suit any surface. This sander also comes with its own dust box and vacuum adapter, so you can hook it up to the shop vacuum if you need to. Lastly and most uniquely, the PSFS1A comes with two screw clamps that allow you to turn it over and attach it to a table, turning it into a sanding platform.
This is a lighter model, so putting too much pressure on the surface will cause the sanding belt to slow down. But as long as you know what to expect of it, this is a fantastic and very well rated option for home use.
9: Ridgid ZRR2740
The Ridgid ZRR2740 is a light sander that still packs quite a bit of power despite its relatively small motor. It’s a great sander that offers good value for the price.
The ZRR2740 boasts a twin-fan system. One fan is responsible for cooling the motor, while the other pushes dust into the dust collection bag. This helps with overheating and allows the sander to run for longer periods of time. It is also one of the quietist sanders in its class, great if you have concerns about disturbing the neighbors.
While it is a great sander, the ZRR2740 is definitely best for lighter projects, so not ideal for professional use. For the casual user, however, it offers great value and performance.
10: Porter-Cable 362V Belt Sander
The 362V belt sander is a powerful machine built by Porter-Cable. One of the sturdiest sanders on the market, it’s a great option for professionals and users with heavy-duty projects ahead of them.
The most notable feature of the 362V is its sheer power. It comes equipped with a 12 amp motor, allowing you to sand through even the coarsest of surfaces with no trouble at all. The variable speed dial allows the user to adjust the belt speed to anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 feet per minute, and there is also a belt and gear drive system to help keep the speed consistent while in use. Because the housing is made of metal, there is no flexion to interfere with your sanding. The housing also absorbs heat, giving the sander a longer lifespan. The ergonomic handle allows for greater precision, and the quick release levers make the changing of the sanding belt a simple endeavour.
Users have reported that the dust collection bag is a bit small. The 362V does weigh in at fifteen pounds, making it one of the heaviest sanders on this list. However, since it is an industrial-grade instrument, a little more heft is to be expected.
This sander is definitely overkill for the casual woodworker, but for the professional, there’s no better option.
It’s finally upto you to decide which sander to buy. You can’t go wrong with the choice of above belt sanders.