Once you’re ready to take your woodworking hobby beyond the basic manual tools like chisels and hammers, it can be easy to fall down a rabbit hole of increasingly niche and expensive power tools. The only thing worse than making do without the right equipment is throwing away money on a tool you realize you never needed in the first place. But of all the useless power tools out there, sanders are not one of them. Sanders are among the handiest power tools to have, and they vary considerably by size, power, and function.
What To Consider Before Buying A Belt Sander
Two major kinds of power sanders are orbital and belt. Neither is inherently better than the other; they serve different functions. Orbital sanders use a round disc of sandpaper to gently and evenly remove wood. They’re great for detailing and finishing. Belt sanders get their name because they use a belt of sandpaper that rotates around spinning wheels, similar to a conveyor belt. Belt sanders are powerful and heavy. They’re less precise than orbital sanders, making them best suited to situations where you need to clear a lot of wood.
This doesn’t mean that belt sanders are imprecise, though. You can also use a belt sander for scribing. Scribing, or coping, refers to shaping the edge to make it flush with another edge. If you’re joining a piece of wood to a wall with an angled edge, you can use a belt sander to get the right shape. Overall, belt sanders are best for situations where you need to even out and smooth a lot of wood. If that sounds like something you need, we’ve picked out some of our favorite belt sanders. They include options from top brands like Black+Decker and Skil, as well as budget buys.
How We Chose The Best Belt Sanders
When choosing the best belt sanders, we turned to trusted brands like Makita, Black + Decker and SKIL. We also looked for features like included dust bags, and some of the options below have bonus accessories like a variety of included sanding belts. These are the belt sanders to buy right now.
1. Makita 9403 Belt Sander
This compact belt sander from Makita is a great addition to any DIYers kit. The comfortable grip makes it easy to securely hold and control the sander while you work, and the large dust bag collects the wood dust, making cleanup easier. It’s a powerful option, but that doesn’t mean it has to be noisy — the 11 amp motor is designed to produce 84 decibels. That’s not whisper-quiet, but it’s not hideously loud, either.
Pros: Compact and convenient. Includes dust bag. Comfortable grip for secure control.
Cons: Dust bag is small, and will fill up fairly quickly for big jobs.
2. BLACK+DECKER Belt Sander
Black + Decker is one of the top consumer power tool brands, but the brand’s reliable standard of quality does not have to come at too steep a price. This affordable belt sander from the brand comes with everything you need to get started. There’s the sander itself, a dust bag, and a medium grit sanding belt. It has a robust 7-amp motor for heavy-duty jobs, but the small front roller makes it adept at doing detailed work and reaching small spaces.
Pros: Reasonably priced but powerful sander with a 7-amp motor. Features an angled end, making it easier to reach small spaces.
Cons: Can have a tendency to overheat with extended use.
3. SKIL Belt Sander
SKIL makes the kind of tools that are affordable and easy-to-use but won’t get you laughed off a construction site. It has a 6-amp motor, giving it decent power. Its 3-inch wide belt is smaller than many of the other picks, which mostly have 4-inch wide belts. That makes it well suited for smaller jobs. One of the best features is the electronic control feedback system, which helps reduce the risk of overexerting or applying uneven pressure. The dust collection box is clear, allowing you to see when it fills up. There’s even a filter to keep smaller particles from escaping.
Pros: Clear dust collection system allows you to see how much dust you’ve collected. The electronic control feedback system reduces the risk of overexerting.
Cons: Dust collection system doesn’t totally capture all of the dust.
4. CRAFTSMAN Belt Sander
The rounded handle on this Craftsman belt sander makes it easy to securely hold while you work, and the angled belt makes it easy to reach tight spaces. When the belt is worn out or you need a finer grit, you can easily swap out the belt without the use of tools. The integrated dust bag means you won’t make a big mess while working on your projects.
Pros: Integrated dust bag. Angled belt for adjoining surfaces. Ergonomic handle for a secure grip.
Cons: Belt can slip somewhat.
5. Metabo HPT Variable Speed Belt Sander
This sander from Metabo HPT, formerly known as Hitachi Power Tools, has a powerful 9-amp motor for tackling serious jobs. The variable speed dial allows precise control, whether you need speed or precision. The included dust bag is also effective and collecting wood without losing too much, and you can also hook it up to a Shop-Vac.
Pros: Powerful 9-amp motor with variable speed control for a precise result.
Cons: More expensive than some comparable belt sanders.
6. TACKLIFE Belt Sander
This economical belt sander from Tacklife is a great option for casual DIYers. It’s one of the most complete kits on this list, making it easy to get set up right away and get to work. There are 13 different sandpaper belts included in multiple grits, and screw clamps are included if you want to mount the belt sander. There’s a small dust box attached to the unit for efficient dust management. The 5-amp motor has a variable speed knob, so you can easily set the speed you need.
Pros: Economical option that includes plenty of accessories, such as sanding belts.
Cons: Not as powerful as some other options.
7. WEN Belt and Disc Sander
Tools that are powerful are great. Tools that are inexpensive are great. Tools that can perform multiple functions are great. Tools that check all three boxes? That’s hard to beat. This tool from WEN features a 36-inch belt sander and a 6-inch disc sander. It provides 4.3-amps of power, topping out at a total RPM of 3,600. Many belt sanders are handheld, but this is designed as a compact tabletop option. Another impressive feature is that the belt tilts between 0 degrees and 90 degrees.
Pros: A lightweight tabletop option that’s highly versatile; it functions as a disc sander and as a belt sander. Belt sander can tilt up and down for added versatility.
Cons: Not as durable as some other picks.