8 Best Belt Sanders of 2020 – Reviews & Comparison

By the time you’re reading, you’re probably clutching at straws on which sanding tool is right for you.

You ain’t alone, though. Most folks find it difficult settling on a specific belt sander, mainly because there’s a slew of options to choose from.

Anyways, this best belt sander review guides you on what’s right for you, in terms of your specific needs. So, let’s get right into it.

But, if you find this post a TLDR, you can always opt for our recommended belt sander, the Makita 9403 4X24, which has been dubbed the “beast” and offers the best sanding ever.

Belt Sander Reviews

1.  Makita 9403 4" X 24" Belt Sander

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As our recommended option, this sander is a real beast and can get rid of anything, leaving your surface clean and well-sanded.

The belt sander is meant for anyone and everyone – from home DIY users to carpenters, woodworkers, deck builders, and floor installers. The Makita 9403 is the best belt sander if you’re looking for something that’s not only fast but also reliable.

Although it doesn’t come with an automatic tracker, the 9403 sander balances perfectly. Once you’ve set it up, the sander works smoothly without veering off or anything.

You’ll love that it never gouges, and handles beautifully. This is attributable to its replaceable ceramic wear plate. The fact that it doesn’t gouge, it gives you the right balance, such that you can even run it with one hand.

Being a 4 by 24 inches machine, the Makita 9403 gives you the advantage of working on large and wider surface areas.

The sander features an extended base, which allows you to sand against the wall. At the same time, its 4-inch wideness, coupled with its 1640 FPM speed, guarantees a fast stock removal.

Regarding speed and efficiency, the 9403 belt sander features a lever control, which allows you to make quick and fast belt changes. This minimizes any delays as you work.

It also features an electronic speed control that makes sure the machine runs smoothly and at constant speed.

Its dust collector helps you keep your working area clean and dust free. The dust bag swivels at 360 degrees, making it easier to remove and put back without leaking any dust.

As a buying package, the Makita 9403 sander comes with one sanding belt. But you can always get an extra pack of Makita 4 by 24 sanding belts  at an affordable cost.

What We Loved

  • Doesn’t gouge and provides the right balance
  • Includes a lever control for quick and fast belt changes
  • Dust collector swivels at 360 degrees for easier replacement
  • Balances seamlessly

What Could Be Better

  • Included dust bag is a little bit small. But you can always explore your creativity and attach the sander to a vacuum hose for more dust removal
  • No auto-tracking feature

2.  Makita 9903 3" x 21" Belt Sander

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While the Makita 9403 is a beast machine perfect for professional sanding, the Makita 9903 has been designed for home users, and a bit for small-scale professionalism.

The best thing about the 9903 belt sander is its auto-tracking feature, meaning that you don’t have to worry about readjusting the belt when sanding.

Better yet, it has a variable speed setting. Unlike the 9403 version, this one lets you choose speeds between 690 and 1,440 ft./min. This allows you to work on different surfaces.

The variable speed changes offer the flexibility to work with different sanding grits, for different coarseness – from rough to smooth surfacing.

At the same time, due to the variability in speed, the 9903 can be applied on both wood and metal. This makes it an ideal belt sander for stripping paint or rust off a surface.

In essence, this model guarantees high-quality finishing in whatever project you may have.

Unlike the 9403 which runs on an 11 Amp motor, the 9903 runs on an 8.8 Amp motor, which further makes it suitable for smaller tasks compared to its counterpart.

Like many other Makita products, the 9903 is a quiet belt sander. The brand is known to create belt sanders that operate in silence. Never expect to get complaints from neighbors!

Finally, the Makita 9903 comes fitted with a dust bag, which works conveniently to keep your working area clean.

What We Loved

  • Automated tracking system is second to none
  • Noiseless operation
  • Variable speed capability for flexibility when working on different types of surfaces
  • 16 ft. long power cord offers enough space and room to work on

What Could Be Better

  • Duct collector seems poorly fit and is small. Gets filled very fast. However, you can remedy this with some basic DIY skills by fitting it with a vacuum hose
  • For the novice, it takes practice to get a hang of using it

3.  PORTER-CABLE 352VS Belt Sander

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I love the fact that the Porter-Cable 352VS comes with a variable speed. And just like the Makita 9903, it lets you work on different surfaces for greater versatility.

You can actually use it to remove some really heavy stock, while still sanding floor, as well as repairing and fine-tuning woodworking projects.

Although the 352VS belt sander is like two peas in a pod with the Makita 9903, especially in terms of effectiveness, they’re different in small aspects.

For instance, the Porter-Cable is different to the Makita 9903 in that its 8-Amp motor is housed right at the center of the platen. This gives you more balance and more stability.

Since it sports an all-metal design, it is protected from any elements that may cause damage. You don’t have to worry about durability, coz its turgidity is enough to make it last for many years.

The best thing about the Porter-Cable 352VS is that you can use it for both industrial heavy-duty tasks and home tasks like smoothening cabinets. This is attributed to its 8-Amps motor and speed variability, which allows you to vary its usability.

Its speed adjustability varies between 850 fpm and 1300 fpm. This isn’t a far cry from the Makita 9903, whose speed varies from 690 to 1440 fpm.

Although the Porter-Cable 352VS works perfectly on soft and delicate surfaces, the Makita 9903 beats it with its lowest 690 fpm speed, which can handle even softer and more sensitive surfaces.

Nonetheless, since the Porter-Cable 352vs is more flexible in terms of speed, the finish of the sanding is fine-tuned to your gratification.

Other than its versatility, you’ll definitely love this sander’s handle grip. It’s positioned further away from the unit’s sanding pad to minimize vibrations – which is something lacking in the Makita 9903.

What We Loved

  • Trigger locks for comfortable holding while sanding
  • Ideal belt sander for industrial use
  • Handle grip situated far away from sanding pad for reduced vibrations
  • All-metal design guarantees durability
  • Features an adjustable speed dial, which lets you pick different speeds for different surfaces

What Could Be Better

4.  Hitachi SB8V2 Belt Sander

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For starters, it’s important to note that the Hitachi SB8V2 has been renamed to Metabo HPT SB8V2, which you can check  here .

If you’re looking for something that’s not gonna fatigue your hands, then this is exactly what you need. The Hitachi SB8V2 comes with a grip handle that’s been coated with an elastomer surfacing, which makes it soft and more comfortable to handle.

What’s even great is that the soft elastomer helps minimize sweat. Hence, if you’re sweating type, then you gotta have the Hitachi SB8V2 belt sander.

When sanding, the last thing you want is a heavy machine. Of course, you’ll hate something that’s difficult to carry around, won’t you?

The Hitachi SB8V2 is one of the lightest belt sanders in the market, weighing just 9.5 lbs. Thus, when it comes to portability, this belt sander beats the likes of Makita 9403, which weighs 13 lbs.

Despite being lightweight and portable, the Hitachi SB8V2 isn’t afraid to boast a variable speed of 820 to 1475 FPM. This is versatile enough for most sanding jobs, whether it involves preparatory work or fine-tuning the surface.

Better yet, thanks to the lower grit speed setting, the Hitachi belt sander helps you remove paint coatings.

What We Loved

  • Boasts  a variable speed of 820 to 1475 fpm for enhanced versatility
  • Grip coated with a soft elastomer for enhanced comfort
  • Relatively lightweight at just 9.5lbs for efficient sanding
  • Delivers smooth and highly polished finishing work

What Could Be Better

  • Complaints concerning electrical shocks have been reported. This is probably due to its design combination of plastic and metal
  • Dust collection system isn’t that effective

5.  Genesis GBS321A Belt Sander

best belt sander under $100

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The Genesis GBS321A has an outstanding advantage over the other belt sanders mainly because of its small stature, which allows for effortless accessibility into tight spaces.

This is augmented by its motor housing, which is flushed so you may use lateral edges of the sander to further reach inaccessible areas.

If there’s something really unique about this belt sander is its adjustable front handle, which gives you the comfort and stability you need while working it out.

Better yet, the 3 X 21-Inches belt sander is a great option if you’re looking for something that’s on a budget. With the affordable Genesis GBS321A price , you get more than what you’ve paid for, because it comes with all features other belt sanders have.

For instance, the machine’s 8-Amp motor operates a variable speed from 390 to 1180 ft./min, which is fairly a good speed. And although this may not give you the same outcome as a Makita 9403, the Genesis GBS321A is still effective, especially on delicate materials that need low speeds.

Compared to most belt sanders, this is the best choice for DIY uses around your house. And you have to break the bank to get it.

While its adjustable front handle offers comfort, this Genesis belt sander comes with an electronic speed control, which provides the kind of expertise you need for the best sanding finish.

You’ll also definitely love its quick belt changing. This is attributed to its single lever belt mechanism, which guarantees convenience. On top of that, the Genesis GBS321A belt sander features the auto-tracking belt system, whereby you don’t need distracting adjustments.

Finally, it goes without saying that its dust bag helps keep your working area clean and dust-free. The machine basically does a great job by cycling materials away from the belt.

What We Loved

  • Single belt lever plays a vital role in changing belts
  • An 8-Amp and low speed settings are effective for working on delicate materials
  • An adjustable front handle provides flexibility and comfort
  • Motor housing is flushed so lateral edges can be used to access tight and inaccessible spaces

What Could Be Better

  • Not advisable for semi-industrial use

6.  Ridgid ZRR2740 Heavy Duty Variable Speed Belt Sander

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The most unique (and probably the best) feature about this sander is its twin fans – one for collecting dust and the other for cooling the system to prevent overheating. This amazing feature is unavailable in most belt sanders.

Therefore, if you need a tool that’s gonna work long hours, then the Ridgid ZRR2740 is just right for you.

Although it isn’t the cheapest option on this list, the sander is a great value for your money. It has all the features you’ll find in high-end brands like the Makita 9403 – but at an affordable price.

The sander has been designed specifically to suit DIYers who prefer doing their own home improvements. With the 6.5-Amp motor, the Ridgid ZRR2740 offers enough power to run variable speeds between 400 and 950 fpm.

Its front and back handles are befitting to provide soft grips and minimize vibrations. This also increases comfort.

When using the Ridgid ZRR2740 sander, you don’t need to worry about the alignment, thanks to its auto-tracking feature.

Also, it has a vacuum adaptor which can fit a standard hose for a work environment that’s virtually dust-free.

The Ridgid Heavy Duty sander comes with brushes that are easy to access for maintenance purposes.

Replacing the sanding belts is also easy, because the ZRR2740 offers a tool-free belt release. Note that this uses 3 by 18 sanding belts .

I love the fact that it comes with an electronic display to let you know the speed you’re using. This way, you can maintain speeds consistently under different loads.

What We Loved

  • Soft grip handles increase comfort and reduce vibrations
  • Includes two fans – one for the dust collector and the other for cooling it off
  • A standard 12-inch long rubber cord allows for mobility
  • Entails a vacuum adaptor that fits a standard hose comfortably
  • Auto-tracking feature ensures hassle-free alignment
  • Tool-less belt change mechanism

What Could Be Better

  • The motor isn’t as powerful, hence ideal only for home users
  • Somewhat noisy

7.  WEN 6321 Corded Belt Sander

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If you’re looking for something on a budget, you shouldn’t look anywhere further than Wen 6321 belt sander. This is the cheapest belt sander on this list.

Despite its price tag, the Wen 6321 has a lot more to offer. For instance, the sander’s belt runs on a 7-Amp motor, which turns the machine at a single speed of 820 ft./min.

The best thing about the tool is its 6lbs weight which makes it one of the lightest belt sanders out there. It’s surprising how this tool even works at that weight. But still, it’s effective enough.

Other than its lightweight feature, the Wen 3 X 21 inches sanding tool is great for accessing tight spaces. And this is attributable to the front roller on its belt, which can expand past the top edge.

Experiencing hand fatigue during operation is a thing of the past. It comes with an ergonomic front handle that makes it comfortable to hold. And even though it is not adjustable, the handle offers ample grip to hold down the sander.

Thanks to an on-lock button, you get to have full control over its balancing. Better yet, the Wen 6321 sander features a tool-less belt removal technique. And you can tighten and loosen the belt by using an adjustable knob on its side.

The sander also features a dust bag that keeps your sanding process clean. As a variable speed setting is lacking, the Wen 6321 isn’t meant for commercial use. But it’s great for home DIYs.

It comes with one 80-grit sanding belt. You can get a pack of 3 by 21 sanding belts  with variable grits from 80-grit to 400-grit.

What We Loved

  • Lock-on power switch guarantees continuous sanding without disruptions
  • Wen 6321 is very lightweight
  • Front handle is very ergonomic and comfortable
  • Very pocket friendly
  • Front roller expands to the top edge for accessing tight spaces 

What Could Be Better

  • Not  a variable speed tool
  • 7-Amp motor isn’t suitable for heavy duty projects

8.  TACKLIFE Belt Sander

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This is the belt sander you need to get if you don’t want to go through the hassle of buying a new set of 3 x 18 sanding belts. The Tacklife PSFS1A sander comes with 13 pieces of 80- and 120-grit sanding belts.

One very unique thing about this belt sander is that you can actually turn it upside down and clamp it onto your workbench, thus providing a stable sanding platform. This is possible using the two clamps that come with it.

At the same time, once you’re done, you can easily unclamp the sander and use it the normal way.  

It is a variable speed sander, which allows you to sand different types of surfaces. However, since its maximum speed is 560 rpm, you shouldn’t expect this sander to operate on a professional level.

Nonetheless, for its price tag, you’re getting a really great machine. And compared to the WEN 6321, which is also just as affordable, you’re at the advantage of getting the extra 13 pieces of sanding belts.

It has the lock-in feature that maintains speeds through rough conditions for guaranteed consistency. Also, the Tacklife PSFS1A boasts of a tool-free belt, which enables quick-release.

Although the unit is small sized, its dust collection bag is large enough to hold lots of dust. This keeps your workplace at least 90% dust-free.

Unlike the Ridgid ZRR2740, the Tacklife PSFS1A sander comes with a 10-ft power cord that gives you enough mobility to work on.

When it comes to weight, the Tacklife is comparable to the Wen 6321, which offers an equally lightweight machine at 6 lbs., thus reducing hand fatigue.

What We Loved

  • Extra sanding belts available as standard
  • Easy to clamp it upside down on your workbench
  • Speed variability is perfect for use in different surfaces
  • Great value for your money
  • Very lightweight and portable thus appropriate tool if you are always moving a lot

What Could Be Better

  • Gets bogged down when too much pressure is applied
  • Variety of sanding belts are limited to 80 and 120 grits

Buying Guide for Belt Sanding Tools – What to Look For

Now that you have the list of belt sanders, you might have already chosen what’s best for you. Or, maybe you have two or three tools that are fairly identical, and you can’t make the final decision on what’s best for your needs.

Well, don’t worry, coz there are factors you can consider before buying the best belt sander. This buying guide will help you find out the differences in various sanding tools that you ought to know.

Basically, this is a very informative guide on what to look for. Okay, let’s cut to the chase and get right to it.

  • What’s The Tool’s Motor Power? 

These are always measured in amperes (Amps), and the larger the figure the better. It is always advisable to go with a really powerful belt sander, mainly because the more powerful it is, the smoother your work-pieces are gonna be.

The downside to going for highly powered tools is the expense. Most sanding tools with motor powers higher than 11 Amps cost an arm and a leg. But, they are totally worth the cost.

Therefore, if you want something that’ll sand on hard surface, then you’ll have to incur the cost. As a rule of thumb, try to consider what you might need to trade off, and perhaps take other factors into consideration – like speed operation. 

  • Is the Sander’s Speed Variable or Single?

This is what you need to ask yourself every time you’re shopping for a belt sander. You definitely need something that’s gonna offer different speeds for different results, especially when working on variable types of surfaces.

There are sanding tools that can run up to 1640 ft./min (Makita 9403) while others can only reach 560 ft./min (Tacklife PSFS1A). You need to understand your main objective while choosing a sanding tool. Is it gonna be used for mainly DIYs, or is it gonna be for professional use?

You ought to know the answer to such questions. This way, you’ll find it easier picking the right belt sander. But then again, such differences in speeds also come with different price tags. So choose wisely.

  • What’s The Size of the Sanding Tool?

The size of the sanding tool determines whether the tool is befitting for use in tight spaces, or not.

It is important to check out its size and shape before clicking that buy button. Still, you need to be careful of its size, especially if you’re buying online. Why?

Because you might assume the sanding tool is small-sized only to realize it isn’t as you expected once it arrives at your doorstep.

Therefore, it’s always crucial to check out the best belt sander reviews before making any decision.

  • What Does It Weight?

As a rule of thumb, it’s imperative to opt for a lightweight belt sander that still offers the power you need. However, these two factors (weight and power) always interchange themselves, whereby the lighter the tool, the less powerful it is likely to be.

Thus, if you feel like buying a sander that isn’t heavy, then you better trade off its motor power, which is likely to be less in terms of Amps.

Having a lightweight sander tool eases portability and enables you to move around from one place to another.

  • What’s The Capacity of Its Dust Bag?

You need to ask yourself, “How much can a dust bag hold?” You don’t want a dust bag that keeps filling up every time you are sanding something. Ideally, get a dust collection system that’s gonna operate longer without needing frequent cleanups.

I think a fairly large dust bag is right for you. And if you aren’t satisfied by the dust bags of most belt sanders, most of which are small anyways, it’s recommendable to opt for a unit whose dust bag can be replaced with a vacuum hose.

  • What’s The Warranty Period?

When choosing a belt sander, durability is a significant factor. It goes without saying that the longer the period, the better. And if a sanding tool comes with a longer warranty period, it most probably means the brand is sure of its machine, and that you won’t have to worry about faults.

Final Verdict

Now that you have our recommendable top eight (8) belt sanders and the buying guide to help you pick what’s best, all I can say is break a leg finding what befits your needs.

The likes of Makita 9403  and Portable-Cable 352VS are great options for professional users. These two models never disappoint!

However, if you are looking for something that’s pocket friendly and great value for your money, then the likes of WEN 6321 and TACKLIFE  belt sanders are impeccable options worth considering.

Last update on 2020-08-04 at 01:45 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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