In woodworking and wood carving, there is only so much basic sandpaper can do. For me, sanding is a meditative process, but sometimes when I wish to make the best of my finish at the end of the project, I prefer power sanders. To choose the best belt sanders for woodworking and especially those for wood carving, there are so many viewpoints to consider starting with the type of sander, the size, etc. In this post, I covered the main criteria that help me choose a power sander for my project, and the best belt sanders reviews based on my personal experience.
- WEN 6502T 4.3-Amp 4 x 36 in. Belt and 6 in. Disc Sander
- Best for strong sanding of hardwood. Durable and strong motor, but not portable. Among the best disc and belt sanders for under 500 dollars.
- Makita 9403 4 x 24 Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag
- The best tool when it comes to a clean, smooth, and silent job. The motor is strong, but sometimes a bit aggressive.
- BLACK+DECKER Belt Sander with Dust Bag, 7-Amp, 3-Inch by 21-Inch (DS321)
- Best price plus a powerful engine, this handheld tool can be adapted to any project you are working on.
- SKIL 7510-01 Sandcat 6 Amp 3 x 18 Belt Sander with Pressure Control
- Best for delicate projects that need special attention over the pressure, stability of the belt, and clean surface while polishing.
- WEN HB3216 7-Amp 3-by-21-Inch Variable Speed Combination Handheld
- Best for woodworkers who often change the material they work with. Great for both hardwood and softwood.
- Price not available
- Astro Tools 3036 Air Belt Sander (3/8 x 13) with 3pc Belts
- Best for detail sanding for surfaces, edges, and corners that need to be approached from different angles. Very comfortable to hold.
A couple of weeks ago, I was polishing and sanding my most recent project – the round table for my workshop – and I was using the clamps to hold the wood still. For power sanding, even with a small belt sander, there is always a risk of damaging your project if it isn’t held tight. I also published my reviews on clamps in the post Top 7 Woodworking Bar Clamps Review, perhaps you find it helpful for choosing the one for you. For the edges of the table, I used a scroll saw to create small wooden circles, which I then painted and glued on top of the project. I found a really good scroll saw, I recommended it here: Best 6 Scroll Saw – Reviews. After sanding the project to make smooth surfaces, I used wood stain to paint the wood and make it beautiful. Choosing the wood stains for the final touch was not an easy task, and you can see how I made the choice for the stains in another post I wrote Top 7 Stains for wood Ultimate Review.
Things you need to know before buying a belt sander
Essentially, there are two types of belt sanders – the handheld ones, and the bench-mounted. The handheld sanders are portable and you can use them wherever you want in your workshop, and I must say I actually prefer my mini belt sander to the larger ones.
The coarse grit belt of a belt sander is used to smoothen any surface very fast, and it is better than any other sander especially when it comes to hardwood projects. One of the criteria I consider when choosing portable belt sanders is weight. Power sanders can be quite heavy and when you need to hold them while sanding this can be a significant obstacle.
An important thing to pay attention to when it comes to these tools is tracking. This means that the belt shouldn’t wobble too much from side to side, as it can be easily damaged this way, so the two pulleys should be well-aligned. The best belt sanders nowadays have automatic tracking and you don’t have to bother adjusting it yourself.
When it comes to the power of these tools, you need a strong motor that can last for a long time. A good power tool should also not overheat on you, slowing you down in your work. Another thing that helps me decide which power sander to buy is its handle. As you know, I think the handles of the woodworking tools are their most important parts, since I enjoy carving for a long time and I need the handles to be comfortable for long use.
And last but not least, I have been paying attention to the price of each tool, estimating the overall value of each one. In these best belt sanders reviews, you can find my thoughts on the quality of the tools, plus whether they are worth the buy depending on the kind of work you want to do with them.
WEN 6502T 4.3-Amp 4 x 36 in. Belt and 6 in. Disc Sander – Flexible tool for a variety of small and medium-size projects
This WEN belt sander is a versatile tool, a two-in-one option that includes a 4×36 inch belt plus a 6-inch disc. The belt tilts up to 90 degrees, so you can use it vertically if you need to. A great plus with this tool is that the vibration is really minimal, mostly due to its iron base that is strong, and very durable.
The motor is quite strong, achieving about 3600 rpm, so you can sand rough wood as well. Although, because of the motor power, this tool is quite heavy (it weighs about 40 lbs), so it is best to pick a place in the workshop where you want to use it. The tension release mechanism also allows me to change the belt easily, plus the tool includes a dust exhaust port and the miter gauge.
- A two-in-one tool includes a disc sander.
- The belt can be used horizontally and vertically.
- A strong motor, good tension release, and the miter gauge in one tool.
- The vibration is reduced to a minimum.
- A heavy tool, that you can only use for small projects that you need to bring to the machine.
To Sum Up
This strong tool is very durable and it comes at a good price. You can truly achieve a lot with it, however, only with projects that aren’t overly big and in a set environment in your workshop where the tool is based.
Makita 9403 4″ x 24″ Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag – A strong power sander with excellent vibration control
This Makita belt sander is the best when it comes to vibration reduction. The whole sanding process goes smoothly and quietly with this sander, while the tool is not too heavy and easy to move around for polishing any surface you need around the house.
The handle is D-shaped and easy to use, made to be used for a longer period of time until you are properly finished sanding. Another good perk about this tool is that it comes with a cloth bag for collecting dust, so in the end, you have a very smooth and clean sanded surface in front of you.
- A strong motor, but not as loud as other sanders.
- Comfortable ergonomic handle.
- It is equipped with an efficient dust collector to make your job clean.
- Not as heavy as most other tools.
- The belt is not very reliable and sometimes it can damage the surface you are polishing.
- It is an expensive tool for quality.
To Sum Up
All things considered, this is one of the best quality belt sanders, without a doubt. It gets the job done, but you need to be careful about using it for long since the motor gets wild and you can lose control over the belt. It is also a very expensive tool.
BLACK+DECKER Belt Sander with Dust Bag, 7-Amp, 3-Inch by 21-Inch (DS321) – Comfortable and powerful tool for any demanding project
From BLACK+DECKER we here have a super powerful motor, which is by far one of the strongest I have used when it comes to wood carving power tools in general. The belt itself is very thin and designed in a way to easily approach any tricky surface when you need a reliable craftsman belt sander.
There are other perks to explain why we cannot talk about best belt sanders and not mention this bad boy. The retractable hood as a part of the belt design can expose the sanding belt, even more, to reach the fine edges and corners when you need it. The dust collector is also included, and the handle, which can be used in three different positions, is quite comfortable as well.
- An excellent quality engine, very powerful and durable.
- The belt can be adjusted in many ways to approach the unapproachable surfaces and areas.
- The handle has three positions and it is comfortable to grip.
- Super cheap handholding tool.
- The belt can get wobbly and you need to re-adjust it from time to time.
- The dust collector is not as practical as with some other tools.
To Sum Up
For a really good price, you can get this Black and Decker belt sander from Amazon and enjoy using it every single day. I personally love this tool, despite the flaws it has because it is very strong and super flexible.
SKIL 7510-01 Sandcat 6 Amp 3″ x 18″ Belt Sander with Pressure Control – Gentle power sander, easy to use for polishing
What makes this tool qualified to be on the list of top best belt sanders is the pressure control, which is the main feature of this well-designed power sander. This means you have full control over the pressure you put onto wood while sanding. This way your work is protected from potential damage.
This sander also comes with an automated tracking system, so the belt will stay stable of you and you can be confident while working on your project. The dust port has microfilters that remove dust from your way and you have a clear view while sanding.
With the previous tool on this list, this SKIL sander is one of the best easy to use belt sanders, and it is also very cheap.
- Pressure control helps you adjust the pressure over the wood.
- The belt is fixed with an auto-tracking system, so it is safe and reliable.
- Quality dust port for clean polishing.
- Portable and easy to use.
- Very cheap tool.
- Even though it is easy to use and offers a lot of control, it is not as comfortable to hold and navigate.
- The engine is quite strong, but not very durable.
To Sum Up
Among my favorites, SKIL products are among the best small belt sanders. This tool has a good power engine of 6 amp, and it is excellent for delicate work where you need to be careful not to make any sudden movements and potential damages. Not the most versatile tool, but among the cheapest ones you can find for sure.
WEN HB3216 7-Amp 3-by-21-Inch Variable Speed Combination Handheld – The best choice for craftsmen who work with a lot of different material
Apart from tension and pressure control, speed is another important factor that makes a valuable difference between the two power sanding tools. WEN products are, overall, the best belt sanders for woodworking, and this one, in particular, offers the speed variety that opens many possibilities for sanding various materials.
This is a light belt sander best for craftsmen who work regularly with both softwood and hardwood. The powerful engine allows great control for working with really strong wood types, but you can adjust the speed based on the material and the effect you wish to achieve from sanding (removing excess wood, polishing, etc).
- Very strong and durable engine.
- Portable handheld belt sander, easy to hold and use.
- Speed variety allows different project types.
- Good for softwood and hardwood.
- When we talk about the best wide belt sanders, you should always know they are difficult to use for detail polishing and sanding.
- The tool itself is not very versatile, it consists of compounds that are easier to break than some other tools.
To Sum Up
Good choice if you are working with wide surfaces that are made of both hardwood and softwood. This tool enables you to adjust to any type of activities from delicate to rough sanding, and it is a nice addition to your workshop toolset.
Astro Tools 3036 Air Belt Sander (3/8″ x 13″) with 3pc Belts – An excellent thin sander for surfaces that are hard to reach
Astro Tools really know how to design the best small belt sanders, and this one is a top-notch design. It doesn’t surprise that it is one of the best-rated belt sanders online, and this is mainly to a very unique design that enables you to use it for detail sanding and approaching any surface possible.
The belt on this tool is thin and large, while the tool itself is lightweight and easy to hold and control in different positions. The handle is reinforced with rubber, to make it easy and comfortable to hold and make sure it won’t slip on you while you are using it. Three belts are included, with grit from 80 to 120, so you can adjust them based on your needs.
- A lightweight tool, easy to hold and use.
- The ergonomic handle is reinforced with rubber to prevent slipping.
- Three sanding belts with different grits are included.
- The variable speed option makes it easy to adjust to different projects.
- Not the most versatile tool.
- Not the most affordable handheld sander.
To Sum Up
So, I wouldn’t say these would be the best hand belt sanders there are, but they are really good for what their purpose is. With this kind of belt size, you can really achieve a lot with small projects and projects with many corners and edges. It is not very cheap, so you should know upfront whether you require a tool like this or not.
aikeec Mini Belt Sander Electric Grinder Knife Apex Edge Sharpener – Corded fine grit belt sander for table use
Now, even if this tool is designed to be stated in one place because it is very light and can be moved anywhere, I can easily say it is among the best portable belt sanders, but for sure one of the best corded belt sanders there are.
The engine is strong, it achieves high speed while being surprisingly strong. The body is made of steel, very strong and resilient. The vibrations with this tool are reduced to a minimum with padding, but you can also screw the machine onto your desk if you only need to do sanding in your workshop.
The tension is controlled with the abrasive wheels holding the belt, and it will stay firmly in one place throughout the whole process. The angle of the table can also be adjusted.
- A lightweight sander can be attached to the table as well.
- Strong engine with high speed.
- A versatile tool, stable and durable.
- Tension and vibration are well-controlled, plus the tool is very quiet.
- This tool is not to be used for any detail sanding, only for larger projects.
- There is only a fine-grit type for polishing included, not for excess removal.
To Sum Up
When we compare this tool with other belt sanders corded best ones on this list, this is a quality tool that is designed in a very simple way making it easy to use. It doesn’t include any special features, but it is one of the best cheap belt sanders at the end of the day.
The best belt sanders you can find are the ones that are doing the work you want. Sometimes it is your priority to work with a tool that has pressure control, while in other cases you consider the speed variety to be essential. The best belt sanders for woodworking are primarily the ones with a strong and durable engine because craftsmen use sanding all the time and you need your tool to last for decades. This is why sometimes the price is not as relevant when you think of this as an investment for your workshop, and over time a good quality tool that is pricey is better than several cheaper ones that you need to get. I hope you have enjoyed my best belt sanders reviews, and that they helped you choose the best one for you.
What is a power belt sander for?
A power belt sander can be used for both removing excess wood with the rough grit sandpaper, but also for polishing delicate projects. If you are sanding your projects regularly, a power sander makes your work easier by doing the work for you with better speed and more control.
How much does a normal belt sander cost?
The prices of belt sanders vary depending on whether we are talking about a portable or a corded device. Heavy machines designed to take up room in your workshop, which you use regularly, can cost anywhere between $50 and $500, and they are generally more expensive than portable ones. Handheld sanders can be found for as cheap as $30, but some of the best ones are usually about $60+, which is often a good price for the product value.
What type of sanders is better?
When it comes to choosing whether you want the stationed or handheld sanders, your choice should depend only on your needs. Think about what kind of projects do you usually do, and purchase the best sander for that kind of work. Pay attention to the most important aspects of each product, mostly to the power of the engine, handle comfort (if it’s a handheld device), the versatility of the rollers, speed variety, and flexibility of the tool parts.
What is a disc belt sander?
A disc power sander is essentially a rotating disc covered with sandpaper. These tools are usually designed for smoothening the edges of your project, or very thin wooden surfaces. Some belt sanders such as WEN 6502T also include the disc, so you can achieve more with two different grits of sandpaper on the belt and the disc. Belt and disc sanders’ best prices are sometimes if you purchase a 2 in 1 option.
How do I know when it’s time to change the sandpaper in the belt sander?
Belt sandpaper is just like any other sandpaper you are using in woodworking or wood carving. As soon as it doesn’t give the results you are looking for, it means it is time for a change. You can check the grit from time to time with your fingertips when the machine is off, to be sure. If you are using it regularly, be ready to switch the belt frequently.