Best Belt Sanders 2017

Best Belt Sanders 2017
4.8 (95.71%) 14 votes

Best Belt Sander Reviews

best belt sander reviewsBelt sanders are a great choice if you want a powerful, multi-use sander that can handle everything from small tasks all the way up to demanding ones. Their size varies from medium to large, although they are always bigger than the small and compact sanders but they are still easy to handle and boy are they powerful. You can take care of large surfaces very quickly with these machines due to their wide and lengthy sand paper belts. You’ll find that belt sanders are not only strong and sturdy but that they can run a long time without changing belts or stopping the machine, they endure a tough job very well. For an amateur or occasional user, a belt sander ensures a quick and good looking result, it’s a breeze to completely sand a small object or surface and their straight belt helps to not leave any marks or scratches. For the experienced or professional sander it’s usually a must-have tool in your sanding arsenal due to its versatility and potency – ready for you to pick up anytime to quickly start or finish a job. Look at it as a trusty sidearm that never tires.

I’ve used quite a lot of belt sanders throughout the years, some I have are on the smaller side and others are bigger but more versatile as the belts go in front (similar to a chainsaw) instead of being below which gives them the ability to sand hard to reach tight spots and makes them my favorite of the two.

There are a lot of brands that offer quality belt sanders but I’ll only list the ones that are true and tested, actually worth the money and of course top quality in not only power but also the materials used to construct them and how well they perform at any given task. Let’s take a look.

Best Rated Belt Sanders

Machine Black & Decker Dragster WEN 6321 Generic Mini PORTER-CABLE 352VS Makita 9903 Makita 9403 Makita 9031 Makita 9032 3M 28366 Kalamazoo 1SM
Price $ $ $ $$ $$ $$ $$ $$ $$$ $$$
Power 7 AMP 7 AMP 3 AMP 8 AMP 8.8 AMP 11 AMP 5 AMP 4.4 AMP 0.6 HP 0.3 HP
Belt Size 3x21 Inch 3x21 Inch 1x30 Inch 3x21 Inch 3x21 Inch 4x24 Inch 1-1/8x21 Inch 3/8x28 Inch 1/2x18 Inch 1x42 Inch
Type Handheld Handheld Stationary Handheld Handheld Handheld Handheld Handheld Handheld Stationary
Power Source Electric Electric Electric Electric Electric Electric Electric Electric Electric Electric
Warranty 2 Years 2 Years No 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year No 1 Year
Availability Shop at Amazon Shop at Amazon Shop at Amazon Shop at Amazon Shop at Amazon Shop at Amazon Shop at Amazon Shop at Amazon Shop at Amazon Shop at Amazon


Belt Sander Reviews

An in-depth analysis and opinion of each belt sander seen above.

Black & Decker DS321 Dragster 7 Amp 3-Inch by 21-Inch Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag

My father swore that Black & Decker was the best brand you could get. After trying this belt sander you’ll understand why he said it. The Dragster is a good and insanely inexpensive belt sander that features great power output, an appealing and ergonomic design and a cloth dust bag to keep your work area clean. Although the build materials are on the low end and easy to damage, it’s still well built like any other Black & Decker machine and will satisfy anyone that’s looking for a simple, entry-level belt sander. Keep in mind that it lacks a few more advanced features like variable speed and I’ve found it to be quite loud and sadly the belt tends to move from side to side, needing to be adjusted often. All in all, the Dragster is the best belt sander under $100 available on the market.

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WEN 6321 7 Amp Heavy Duty Belt Sander with Dust Bag, 3″ x 21″

This entry-level incredibly inexpensive belt sander from WEN features great power output, an appealing and ergonomic design and a cloth dust bag to keep your work area clean. Although the build materials are on the low end and easy to damage, it’s still well built and will satisfy anyone that’s looking for a simple, entry-level belt sander. It’s lightweight and easy to handle which ensures that you won’t feel fatigued after using it but keep in mind that it lacks a few more advanced features like variable speed or belt tracking and I’ve found it to be a bit loud. All in all, the price tag makes it very appealing and it’s a good beginner’s belt sander.

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PORTER-CABLE 352VS 8 Amp 3-Inch-by-21-Inch Variable-Speed Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag

Porter cable delivers again with a great belt sander that matches professional features such as variable speed, dust bag 360º rotation and amazing belt tracking with possibly the best price point in the market. The sanding pad size is 3-Inch-by-21-Inch, ensuring a quick sanding process and I see this machine as the definition of bang for your buck. It features a beautiful design, common to all Porter-Cable machines, and the build quality is very solid, featuring an all-metal housing which is something I value immensely. This means that this machine will be there for you no matter what, making it hard to damage and even giving you an extra push on the sanding due to the weight. My favorite aspect of the 352VS has to be the quality job it does at belt centering, anyone who’s used belt sanders will agree that constantly having to re-center the belt is one of the worst and most frustrating issues you have to deal with but this machine completely fixes that problem. As a bonus, it’s easy on the ears and the metal body helps to really dissipate the heat, keeping the machine at a good temperature. Great belt sander for beginners and professionals alike.

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Makita 9903 8.8 Amp 3-Inch-by-21-Inch Variable Speed Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag

I’ve grown accustomed to Makita always delivering quality products, I tend to like them a lot since they hit all the marks of a good machine and this Makita belt sander is no exception. Not only is the 9903 the best belt sander for woodworking but it’s also the best belt sander for the money you can get. The newer version of their classic belt sander, the 9903 features a very powerful motor (8.8 AMP) that loops a 3-Inch-by-21-Inch sand paper belt to ensure a quick and strong sanding experience and variable speed to go along with it. One thing I enjoy immensely is this machine is the auto tracking belt system, it automatically centers the belt without needing constant adjustments which I’ve found to be a staple of any good belt sander. It has a dust bag that works very well in keeping the air and surfaces clean and it is one of the quietest belt sanders I’ve ever used in my entire life. It’s easy to handle, doesn’t strain your arms and it has a durable build quality plus a very long power cord which is a nice little bonus that shows they care about the user. The Makita 9903 is my favorite belt sander of its type (sand paper pad below the machine) and with very good reason. It’s a potent, smooth and extremely accurate machine that will win a spot on your favorites as soon as you use it.

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Makita 9403 4″ x 24″ Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag

A variation of the formerly reviewed 9903, the Makita 9403 features a 4 inch by 24 inch belt sander and it has been rightfully dubbed “the best 4″ x 24″ sander on the planet”. It presents all of the common Makita features such as durable high quality build materials and power like no other. The belt tracking system makes sure that the belt will not move and stays centered without needing for you to adjust it constantly. The dust collection on this thing is one of the best I’ve ever seen, effectively keeping your object and the air dustless and clean. Just like the other Makita belt sander, it’s quiet, effective and potent, making it the best of its class.

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Makita 9031 5 Amp 1-1/8-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Belt Sander

Compact and lightweight, the Makita 9031 is a great front facing belt sander. It uses a 1-1/8-Inch by 21-Inch sanding belt, variable speed and great power for its size (5 AMP). Having a front facing belt makes it easier to sand hard to reach spots and irregular shapes and coupled with how lightweight this machine is, it makes for a versatile sander that offers excellent maneuverability. Great build quality meets smart design as well, it has a very well thought out multi-position side handle to ensure a comfortable and easy sanding experience and also a lock-on button for continuous operation. While it is a compact machine, the belt width is surprisingly large and as a result it makes sanding a surface quick. When it comes to smaller and more compact front facing belt sanders, the 9031 is the top choice.

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Makita 9032 4.4-Amp 3/8-Inch Variable Speed Belt Sander

This is the very next model after the previous 9031 and as such it also features a front facing sandpaper belt. The build quality is top notch as Makita has grown us accustomed to and it’s a potent and durable machine as well. The difference comes in the shape and overall handle of the machine, also that it’s very commonly used for metalworking as well due to the great ability to remove welding marks and enough power to either remove material or polish a surface. First of all the belt is thinner but it spans out much more in the front without any handles, this means that it is unbelievably great to reach hard to get spots. It presents itself as a compact sander much like the previous one and also features variable speed. An amazing perk that this machine has is the belt tracking knob, centering the belt is as simple as turning it. At 3.5lbs it’s lightweight and easy to maneuver but it still has a lot of power, reaching speeds of 5,600ft/min. The belt itself is thinner than the before mentioned model but you can switch it to 3 different widths, 1/4-Inch, 3/8-Inch or 1/2-Inch to suit your needs. In short, while it doesn’t have enough belt width to deal with very long surfaces, it trades that off for the ability to reach any tight spots of an object. If you want a powerful, versatile front facing belt sander that can sand hard to reach areas, this is a great option.

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3M File Belt Sander 28366, 6 HP Motor, 14-9/16″ Length x 5-61/64″ Width x 2-15/16″ Height (Pack of 1)

When it comes to file belt sanders (front facing belts), this is the top of the line. The 3M File Belt Sander has the most powerful motor in the market and it’s a top notch quality machine, from the build materials to the durability and performance. It’s mostly used for metalworking instead of woodworking, and enjoyed by collision repair technicians and bodyshop workers all around the world as it delivers amazing weld spot removal, deburring, cleaning, blending and finishing in tight areas. It has a great ergonomic design, it’s easy to handle and it has 8 different arm attachments to maximize its versatility. For woodworkers, you’ll most likely be better off with the before mentioned models but for metalworkers this is an indispensable tool.

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Generic Mini 1 x 30 Belt Sander 3400 RPM

Of all the benchtop belt sander reviews I’ve written I’ve never encountered a cheaper stationary belt sander in my life. With an insane price point and surprisingly good power output, the Generic Mini Belt Sander is a decent entry-level machine. I’ve found it hard to center the belt quite a few times, it doesn’t feature a sturdy and durable body and it can’t exactly keep up with highly demanding tasks but for the price you really couldn’t ask for more. It’s a beauty for some tasks, for hobbyists it’s the best belt sander for sharpening knives that you can get and with this price tag it’s without a doubt the best belt sander for beginner knife making as well. Looking for a very inexpensive solution for simple and light sanding tasks? This is it.

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Kalamazoo 1SM 1″ Belt Sander, 32 lbs, 1725 RPM, 1/3 HP Motor, 1″ x 42″ Belt, 4″ Contact Wheel

Looking for a stationary belt sander? Look no further, the Kalamazoo 1SM is famous for a reason. It has been dubbed the best belt sander for knife making and I personally add that it’s the best belt sander for knife sharpening as well.It has top notch build quality and durability, power that can face any challenge you bring to the table and its versatility means that it can adapt to anyone – from the professional woodworker to a knife sharpener, this machine has you covered. The 1″ x 42″ sanding belt turns a tedious long task into a quick and easy one and the Baldor 1/3hp direct drive motor is a beast that won’t back down no matter what. While it’s not the cheapest solution, it’s one that’ll be there for you whenever you need without fail.

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My Recommended Combination Sander

My personal recommendation for a belt sander is without a doubt the Makita 9903. While all of these are incredible machines the Makita 9903 gives me power and response like no other. I use it in nearly all my woodworking jobs and not only is it a fine piece of equipment but it is a beauty to handle and a pleasure to work with. It’s the best belt sander on the market, it makes the sanding experience fun and easy and the price for this amount of quality is unbeatable.

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Those are in my opinion the very best belt sanders you can buy right now. Reliable, well-built, strong performance and the most bang for your buck. I hope you enjoyed the best belt sander reviews and that I was able to clear any doubts you had about these machines and find you the best one. Thanks for reading!

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