The Ultimate Guide In Choosing The Best Belt Sander

There are only few people who are into sanding, and if you are one of them then you are part of the minority. It could be time consuming, a bit tedious even, and at times, uninteresting. But it’s very important, and if left out you could be disappointed with the outcome. But the good news is that manufacturers have created different type of belt sanders for different needs. There’s some for wood, metal, and lamination.

Best Belt Sander
Makita 9903
  • Motor: 8.8 AMP
  • Belt size: 3" x 21"
  • Speed: 690-1,440 ft./min
  • Noise level: 85dB
  • Weight: 9.5 lbs
  • Warranty: 1  year
Best Belt Sander
Makita 9403
  • Motor: 11 AMP
  • Belt size: 4" x 24"
  • Speed: 1,640 ft./min
  • Noise level: 84dB
  • Weight: 13 lbs
  • Warranty: 1 year
Best Belt Sander
  • Motor: 8  AMP
  • Belt size: 3" x 21"
  • Speed: 390-1,180 ft./min
  • Noise level: 95dB
  • Weight: 8.9 lbs
  • Warranty: 2 year
Best Belt Sander
  • Motor: 4.3 AMP
  • Belt size: 4" x 36"
  • Speed: 800-1,000 ft./min
  • Noise level: 85dB
  • Weight: 41.4lbs
  • Warranty: 2 year

5 Best Belt Sanders 2017

Makita 9903
Best Belt Sander

Makita 3x 21 sander has one feature that every user actually notice, it has measurement of 84db noise level even if it is on its highest speed. It also has a vacuum bag that actually sucks up dust without blowing it all over the workspace. This is one of the sanders that you could really rely on.

Makita 9403
Best Belt Sander

This one is built for heavy duty jobs. Its side handles are multi positioned and it’s cord is long enough. If you’re wondering what it scored for ergonomic design, it’s 9403. It’s also ideal for sanding every inch of wood board because its nose is exposed. If you’re looking for a heavy duty, professional grade tool then this one would be great for you.

Genesis GBS321A
Best Belt Sander

This sander has a low profile design which gives maximum balance and grip even when you are aiming to reach high corners. It’s weight is lighter compared to the others but it provides a good belt tracking. For better operation and control, it’s grip is adjustable. This machine is really comfortable to operate because it’s not really that noisy and it seems as if it’s vibration free. For this tool, you pay for what you are getting.

Rockwell RK7866
Best Belt Sander

If your work area isn’t very spacious then benchtop tools would be the best for you, especially if you are hungry for power. Rockwell RK7866 has a ½ horse power motor which runs the disc and belt to a strong speed which is enough for smoothing and not scorching but at the same time quickly removes stock.

Using a belt sander

Belt sanders face a very challenging job, it’s definitely a workhorse because no matter how tedious the job it has to do is, it just grinds its way through it like it’s nothing. And when you’re new in using one, you’d probably be thinking why you reached this far without ever thinking about using it. Now before you even start using one, make sure that you take the time to get familiar with it. Since it could be heavier than what you usually use, expect that it could take time to get familiar with.

And when it comes to adjusting the belts, changing it, and other stuff you have to do regarding it, you have to learn it because I’m sure that’ll be something new to you. So how do you get familiar with it? Try using it on metals, different texture of woods, soft, hard, and other materials that you would be using and have actually worked with, with a different tool before.

Take note that before you make contact with your work piece you have to turn it on, and right after you take it off, you have to turn it off. Make sure the paten is parallel to your work piece when you lower the sander to it. And to avoid dishing out your work piece make sure that you should be moving because the tool itself is heavy, therefore it applies pressure. So basically you just guide it through what you want to achieve. So if you leave it in one spot it could damage it.

Belt sanders vs Random Orbit sanders vs Palm sanders- Which one is better?

There are a lot of different types of tools for sanding, and when a time comes when you have options on either to use you might feel lost. So let me tell you more about them to let you know which is better.

Belt Sanders

This type of sanders has a belt that runs continuously which stays between three pulleys or a couple more. It has a drive pulley which drives it and an idler pulley which is in charge of guiding it. Most of them has a feature that keeps the belt in the middle to make sure it doesn’t wander off when it’s in use. This pulley could be aggressive in removing stock in a fast pace. If you’re aiming for that then this would be best for you.

Palm Sanders

Palm sanders are also called finish sanders. It consists of a sandpaper attached to its square pad found on the bottom of the sander. It also has special clamps to keep it in. If you are looking for a more affordable option, you can use a standard size sheet of sand paper and cut it to fit perfectly. It really works best in finish work and sanding corners. And if you are looking for a more economical option the this one is for you.

Random Orbit Sanders

This type of sander is a mix of two sanders, an orbital and a disc sander. It’s pad moves in small orbits when it is turned on. When the pressure on it is changed, the speed at which the freewheeling disc also changes. This is the reason why this sander leaves almost zero visible swirl marks. This tool gets compared with belt sanders a lot because it also has the ability to remove stock quickly. So if what you’re looking for is something that has it all, can do the job of an orbit and disc while removing the swirl marks, then a random orbit sander would be a good choice for you.

Types of Belt Sander

Belt sanders have two different categories:

An In-line belt sander

This belt sander is characterized by having a low profile type of design and a box-like housing with a low center of gravity. In other words, this tool isn’t likely to tip whether you are removing scratches, flattening panels, or even removing nicks. The motor of this type of sander is set parallel to the sanding belt. It also has a platen which supports the area of sanding and a lever to release the belt. And because it has a flat top, you can use it upside down, or attach it to a bench like a compact stationary sander. These machines are usually small and light medium duty machines.

Transverse belt sander

For this type of sanders, the motor is locates transversely above the belt and across the width machine of the sander. Because of this setting, more power is driven. And a reduction gear placed right behind the drive gear would reduce the speed to a speed enough for driving the belt. It also has a fan located at the back of the motor to collect the dust and put it to the dust bag. What a lot of people used to using different types of sanders say that these are easier to handle than others. Because of its motor placement this sander sands more aggressively because of its weight.

How Do You Pick the Right Belt Sander Machine?

Before you buy a belt sander, let’s look at the basic features it should definitely have.

Weight and Power

For most sanding jobs, power isn’t really needed, so let’s not add this to the priority. But if you’re willing to pay good then extra power is something nice to have. So make sure to compare the motor amps for those in the same price range. Now, just like power, weight isn’t really something serious to consider. Why? Because it’s mainly used in a horizontal position. But if you’re going to renovate your hom and really use it around then you might use this vertically and even overhead. If that is the case then make sure to pay attention to the weight ratings. A 10lbs sander would be way easier overhead than a sander that weighs 12 to 15 lbs.

Size and shape

There are a lot of different sizes of sanders out in the market, but most belt sanders come in 4” x 24” and 3” x 21”. The latter is a bit difficult to control and not ideal for beginners but it gives the best mix of speed, control and adjustments. So for this, if you are going to use it vertically then pick the lighter ones. And if you are after a mechanical belt sander then pick the heavier one.


Way back when sanders were still a bit new, they were just operated with one speed. But most have adjustments made possible for the speed. They go from 500 fpm to 1500 fpm, and some even two velocities of operation, and some have speed dialers. It all depends on where you will be using your belt sander. If you want something that’ll have an admirable effect on hard wood, expect it to be too harsh on pine wood. So before buying, take time to think of all the possible materials you will more likely use it on. If you aren’t sure, go for a solitary speed so you can use it on both.

Changeable belts

Most of the sanders out in the market allows you to change the belts as easy as possible and all it would actually take is to remove the strain and drive it back, afterwards you’re already again. When you attach the new belt, make sure you track it, just the way you would track a sharp edge on a band saw. Some belt sanders already have things programmed but some has to be customized. But don’t worry because they have customizable handles to make tracking easy.

Dust Collector

If you’d be doing a lot of sanding jobs at home then you have to make sure you invest on a dust collector. It’s important not just to make sure you don’t get dust all over the place but also for your health. Make sure you get one that’s big enough so you won’t have to cut the momentum every time you have to empty the dust bag into the trash.

The Handle and Comfort

When it comes to hand worked control instruments, don't forget to consider your comfort. And the rate of noise it produces is included there too. You may give your belt sander something to do for an expanded timeframe, so you better make sure that it gives you unrivaled comfort. It is for the most part subjective, depending not just on the sort of handle you are used to but also on the shape and size of your hands. For example, the back and front handles on the Elu sanders are a touch excessively near one another for somebody with huge hands, therefore it wouldn’t be ideal for big hands. Additionally, carpenters with substantial hands incline toward vast, level, front handles over adjusted handles due to the additional grasp and control it provides. Some actually find the best handle instruments less demanding to lift on and off the material and simple to use around without any help. Focus on handles and position of switches, handles and knobs specifically for you total comfort. Certain belt sanders have handles that can be balanced in a few ways or even segregated to get into more tightly work spaces. Remember, you wouldn’t be able to use your sander for a long time if you aren’t comfortable.


Belt sanders are magnificent machines and they don't shift extraordinarily starting with one model then onto the next as much as other power tools available in the market. But still, make sure you consider other peoples opinion in purchasing a sanding instrument that meets your necessity and offers extreme comfortability. All the more essentially, purchase a top notch instrument you can manage the cost of and it will give quite a long while of uncommon administration.

7 User Comments:

Marcus Korey

November 29, 2017 at 04:00 am

Personally I like Belt sanders more than other type of sanders. I’m using a transverse now because I need more power and it’s really helping me achieve my project goals.

Anthony Thomas

November 29, 2017 at 12:50 am

I remember when belt sanders used to have on speed only and you had to put in much more effort to make sure you’re project doesn’t get damaged. I agree that they are important when you choose a belt sander because they really play an important role.

Tim Lewis

November 27, 2017 at 02:10 pm

I’m using the Makita 9903 and I’m amazed that even if it’s on full speed the noise isn’t too much to handle. I’ve also encountered dust bags that blew the dust everywhere in the past and so far my 9903 hasn’t done that to me yet.


November 26, 2017 at 11:40 am

I’ve tried a lot of different bench top belt sanders and Roxkwell RK7866 didn’t disappoint me at all. It has everything I need for my little work area.

Mark Simmons

November 23, 2017 at 12:10 am

I agree that sanding could be very tedious and time consuming. Coming from a girl, when you see you finished project it pays off. A lot of people don’t believe me when they see my work, thanks to belt sanders the work isn’t really that hard.


Nomveber 22, 2017 at 09:35 pm

This article really helped me choose which sander to get. I got the Genesis and it didn’t disappoint me. Thank you!


November 20, 2017 at 10:20 pm

So, I’m planning to do a DIY home renovation project and came across your page. Thanks for letting me know the different type of sanders, all along I thought it was just one type. Hehe keep it up!

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