Belt Sander Reviews in 2020 [Our Reviews & Comparisons]

Belt Sander Review
Sanding is far from the most glamorous part of woodworking. There are no serious changes, no cutting or painting, no saws or hammers to wield. Many novice woodworkers will be tempted to skip sanding altogether, but tellingly, experienced craftsmen will make sure to sand thoroughly no matter how tiresome it might be.

Anyone who does decide to sand their project will find a powerful ally in mechanical sanding machines. These machines are a little bigger than the average electric drill and are built to take the sanding experience from hours of work with sore shoulders and seared or scratched hands to a chore of a few minutes with a small machine.

Belt sanders, in particular, are a constant friend to a carpenter, smoothing out splinters, rounding corners or edges, and getting joints or grooves to fit together when cutting too thick or narrow. Handheld models can often double as an electric planer, saving you the cost of owning and maintaining two tools. The standalone can often be found integrated into a larger machine with the same effect.

Even beginners will likely be familiar with the vast selection presented to anyone interested in getting a new power tool of any description. Belt sanders are no exception, so we’ve picked out five of the best to help you make the right decision.

Related Article: Best Belt Sander in 2020 [Our Reviews & Comparisons]

 Belt Sander Reviews – Comparison Table

PRODUCTFEATURESLATEST PRICE

TOP PICK

1. WEN 6321

  • Extra length belt
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Protruding front roller reaches recessed areas
  • Ergonomic handles
  • Lock-on trigger keeps the machine going without need to hold it
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2. PORTER-CABLE 352VS

  • All-metal housing
  • Fully variable speed control
  • Belt stays centered well
  • 360 degree dust nozzle
  • Quick-release lever for belt change
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3. BLACK+DECKER DS321

  • Relatively affordable
  • Lighter than most comparable tools
  • Three-position front handle
  • Elongated front roller
  • Flush side belt for working near walls
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4. Genesis GBS321A

  • Balanced weight and power
  • Tough plastic housing
  • Low profile for tighter areas
  • Adjustable front handle
  • Extra belt and dust bag included
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5. Metabo HPT SB8V2

  • High endurance
  • Good dust collection
  • V-belt drive lasts longer
  • Elastomer grips are comfortable and secure
  • Adjustment knobs hold position well
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6. Hitachi SB8V2

  • Powerful motor
  • Tracking port
  • Elastic grips
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7. POWERTEC BD1500

  • Dual dust ports
  • Cast aluminum table
  • Minimal vibrations
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8. Makita 9903

  • Powerful motor
  • Highly durable
  • Good tracking
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Our Best Belt Sander Reviews and Comparisons

1. WEN 6321

Product Highlights

A rugged sander with a tough body and plenty of power to back it up.

Features

  • 7 amp motor
  • 21” belt
  • 6lbs
  • 820’ per minute

What We Like About WEN 6321

This sander is made for heavier jobs and has a longer belt and higher RPM to make sure that they get done

What We Don’t Like About WEN 6321

This item is sold as the tool only, with no accessories, replacement parts, or storage case included.

PROS

  • Extra length belt
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Protruding front roller reaches recessed areas
  • Ergonomic handles
  • Lock-on trigger keeps the machine going without the need to hold it

CONS

  • Poor dust collection
  • No storage case

2. PORTER-CABLE 352VS

Product Highlights

This tool offers the most durable hull in its class around a flexible motor array.

Features

  • 10.75lbs
  • 8 amp motor
  • 21” belt
  • Up to 1300 rpm

What We Like About PORTER-CABLE 352VS

The transparent tracking port lets you keep this machine on course, no matter what material you’re working one.

What We Don’t Like About PORTER-CABLE 352VS

The motor in this model has been reported to be suspect, occasionally failing inside the first six months of use.

PROS

  • All-metal housing
  • Fully variable speed control
  • Belt stays centered well
  • 360 degree dust nozzle
  • Quick-release lever for belt change

CONS

  • Awkward dust bag placement
  • Motor can fail quickly

3. BLACK+DECKER DS321

Product Highlights

Black and Decker are sure to turn up in any real discussion of power tools and appear here with a budget sander that can handle any job you throw at it.

Features

  • 7 amp motor
  • 6.5lbs
  • 21” belt
  • 2 year warranty

What We Like About BLACK+DECKER DS321

T This sander offers competitive performance for a price well below that of similar tools.

What We Don’t Like About BLACK+DECKER DS321

Although it will get the job done, even the fastest setting is still much more ‘slow and steady’ than some carpenters will like.

PROS

  • Relatively affordable
  • Lighter than most comparable tools
  • Three-position front handle
  • Elongated front roller
  • Flush side belt for working near walls

CONS

  • Ineffective dust pickup
  • Belt does not center well

4. Genesis GBS321A

Product Highlights

The Genesis sander has been reengineered to include several ergonomic and mechanical advantages.

Features

  • 8.5lbs
  • 21” belt
  • 8 amp motor
  • Up to 1180 feet per minute

What We Like About Genesis GBS321A

This sander is built as an improvement on more traditional models, with a newly reinforced plastic housing and multiple changes to the tool’s shape to make it easier to use.

What We Don’t Like About Genesis GBS321A

The dust bag zipper is relatively fragile and can fail easily.

PROS

  • Balanced weight and power
  • Tough plastic housing
  • Low profile for tighter areas
  • Adjustable front handle
  • Extra belt and dust bag included

CONS

  • Fragile dust bag
  • No rear kickstand

5. Metabo HPT SB8V2

Product Highlights

Although no longer known as Hiachi, Metabo tools still deliver the same uncompromising performance that made that brand so popular.

Features

  • 21” belt
  • 9 amp motor
  • 9.5lbs
  • 1475 feet per minute

What We Like About Metabo HPT SB8V2

All parts of this product were made to be the best, making it stand out from other tools in terms of performance and durability.

What We Don’t Like About Metabo HPT SB8V2

Quality costs more and it shows – this tool is a bit more pricey than the competition.

PROS

  • High endurance
  • Good dust collection
  • V-belt drive lasts longer
  • Elastomer grips are comfortable and secure
  • Adjustment knobs hold position well

CONS

  • Exceptionally expensive
  • Internal insulation can occasionally fail, sending a harmless but irritating static jolt through exposed metal portions of the machine.

6. Hitachi SB8V2

Product Highlights

This tool can handle more than just wood – the Hitachi motor can grind metal or paint as well.

Features

  • 9 amp motor
  • Nearly 1,400 ft/s
  • 9.5 lbs
  • 21” belt

What We Like About Hitachi SB8V2

This tool can handle more than just wood – the Hitachi motor can grind metal or paint as well.

What We Don’t Like About Hitachi SB8V2

This is among the heavier models, weighing in at nearly 10lbs.

PROS

  • Powerful motor
  • Tracking port
  • Elastic grips
  • V-belt drive for longer tool life
  • Variable speed control

CONS

  • Bad dust collection
  • Belt comes out of alignment frequently

7. POWERTEC BD1500

Product Highlights

A standing machine that is a cut above other belt sanders in terms of power and durability.

Features

  • 30” belt
  • 2.5 amp motor
  • 3450 rpm
  • Two dust ports

What We Like About POWERTEC BD1500

This machine is a combination disc and belt sander, making it your one-stop destination for finishing projects.

What We Don’t Like About POWERTEC BD1500

As a standing machine, this will suffer serious constraints in the context of a larger project.

PROS

  • Belt and disc functions
  • Dual dust ports
  • Cast aluminum table
  • Minimal vibrations
  • Integrated miter gauge

CONS

  • Stationery
  • More costly than other sanders

8. Makita 9903

Product Highlights

This is a well-rounded machine that strikes a solid balance between the many different facets that you want in your power tools.

Features

  • 8.8 amp motor
  • Up to 14,140 ft/min
  • 21” belt
  • 9.5 lbs

What We Like About Makita 9903

This machine ticks most of the boxes that a tool owner will be looking for, with a powerful motor and good tracking in a compact frame.

What We Don’t Like About Makita 9903

The vacuum hookup for this machine is awkward, and not compatible with most common brands of shop vacuums

PROS

  • Compact design
  • Powerful motor
  • Relatively quiet operation
  • Highly durable
  • Good tracking

CONS

  • Relatively heavy
  • Does not come with a storage box
  • Feature3

Conclusion

These tools can help you power through sanding in no time, whether trying to get a new project ready for painting or stripping old paint from your deck or car. Pick one that fits your budget and is suitable for the task at hand.

When considering your choice of a sander, make sure you take into account what kind of belt it uses. Belts need to be of exactly the right length for the sander they are being used on. A deviation of even an inch can result in the belt not fitting or rapidly becoming fouled in the rollers.

Another factor in determining your replacement belts should be what they will be used on. Different surfaces and kinds of paint will need a different grain of belt or belt material, so be careful to match the belt to the job before you buy.

One point that many people overlook when dealing with sanders is that they are in many ways similar to power saws or angle grinders even though they do not have blades or discs. A belt sander is still a powerful tool, and an active belt can rapidly abrade skin or clothing in a hurry.

On top of that, the rollers are moving at considerable speeds, as is the belt between them. Treat a belt sander with the same caution as you would any power tool.

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