Best Belt Sanders 2017: Editor’s Top Picks And Reviews

Best Electric Belt Sanders Reviews and Buying Guide 2017

Sanding can be a painful and time-consuming job, particularly when you are sanding with your hands and some sandpaper. But you obviously don’t want to paint/stain/varnish on a messy surface, right? That’s the reason why belt sander cannot be ignored.

Thanks to advancement in technology, people have invented the electric sander, a powerful tool used to abrade wood, metal, and laminate fast and efficiently. However, if you are unfamiliar with these tools, you might have a hard time choosing one.

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You should learn how to choose the best belt sander? you definitely don’t want to get the wrong one since the price of an belt sander is usually expensive. But worry not, fellow DYIers! In this particular article, we will provide the list of the electric belt sanders.

Best Belt Sander 2017

This is the list of the products that will be reviewed in this article. Take a look at it to get information about the product details.

Image

Brands

Motor power

Size

Quality

Quality

Price

Rating

Makita 9903

8.8 Amps

3x21 inches

Auto belt tracking system, no manual adjustment required

B+

$$

Hitachi SB8V2

9.0 Amps

3x21 inches

Inexpensive belt sander with innovative design

B

$$$

Black & Decker DS321

7.0 Amps

3x21 inches

For low budget and light work

B

$$$$$

Makita 9403

11.0 Amps

4x24 inches

High-quality electric belt sander

B+

$

PORTER-CABLE 362V

12.0 Amps

4x24 inches

Strong and Big

B+

$$

PORTER-CABLE 371K

5.0 Amps

2.5x14 inches

Mini belt sander for light sanding work

B+

$$$$

Top 6 Belt Sander Reviews

  • Why are these product included?
  • How to choose the best electric belt sander

Why are these product included?

The product is categorized based on the power motor and the ability to perform specific task required for particular sanding job.

For light sanding work

Light sanding job, we include the cheap products with the ability to reach tight spaces and perpendicular surfaces. The belt sanders for this sanding job need to be light-weighted, small size; and only require moderate motor power. In this section, we recommend Porter Cable 371K and Black & Decker DS321

For average sanding work

Average means something in-between, thus, based on the specifications of each product, we decided to include Makita 9903 and Hitachi SB8V2. Both can perform a decent sanding job with firm belt tracking system which allows you to do sanding job without constantly adjusting the belt tracking.

Even though these belt sanders are recommended for average sanding job, the word “average” cannot fully describe the quality of both of them. These tools are pretty durable, and the designs are also innovative compared to their peers in the industry.

For heavy sanding work

This type of task required the most powerful motor in class, therefore, we include Makita 9403 and Port Cable 362V. Both of them possess 11 amps and 12 amps motors. They work with large belt allowing faster leveling. The weights of them ensure that the power tools can do the job without requiring extra pressure from the workers. They are designed for heavy-duty tasks.

Makita 9903 Review

Makita 9903 8.8 Amp 3-Inch-by-21-Inch Variable Speed Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag

Makita 9903 8.8 Amp 3-Inch-by-21-Inch Variable Speed Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag via Amazon

Makita is famous for delivering high-quality power tools with the innovative and effective design. Each product of Makita is guaranteed with a 30-days return warranty, hence, most of them come with a high price.

  • pros
  • cons

PROS

  • Quiet operation – Even though the motor power, as advertised, running at 8.8 amps, the belt sander still manage to operate at only 85 decibels; compared to others, it is pretty quiet.
  • Auto-tracking system – Thanks to the innovative auto-tracking system, the belt is always centered so you don’t need to waste time adjusting the belt tracking. With this feature, you can always maintain a straight position of the belt, allowing more precision.
  • Long power cord – The default power cord is up to 16 feet (approximately 4.9 meters) long, ensuring sufficient reach to most surfaces despite the further power outlet. In addition, you can save money by not buying the extension because of the short power cord.
  • Designed to reach corner – The unique design of this belt sander allows flush sanding to the corner of the wall using the nose and side of the sander.
  • Vacuum dust bag – To ensure the better working environment, the belt sander has a vacuum dust bag that can suck up a lot of dust without spraying it back to your face. You can do sanding job without using a mask with such powerful vacuum dust bag.
  • Durable and Sturdy – The belt sander is double insulated, meaning that the casing cannot give an electric shock, even if the wires inside become loose. It increases both the safety for the users of the electric belt sanders and the lifespan of the product.
  • Accurate & Maneuverable – The size of this belt sander is wide enough to cover sufficient amount of space, while still being narrow enough to make smoothing feasible. Additionally, the long power cord secures the reach to further places and those areas that are harder to reach with shorter power cord.

My Recommendation

Overall, the product has very little downside to its operation. Only complaints are pointed toward the lack of replacement, off-balance issue and bad placement of the knob.

The price of the product is quite expensive but if you consider the performance, it worth the price since the product can be kept for a very long period.

However, you should be careful with the product. Even though it has a tough design, if you happen to break one part you won’t find the replacement for it.

In general, If you are willing to pay for the high-quality performance, you should buy Makita 9903.

Things We Liked

  • Quiet operation
  • Auto-tracking system
  • Long power cord
  • Designed to reach corner
  • Vacuum dust bag
  • Durable and Sturdy
  • Accurate & Maneuverable

Things We Didn't Like

  • No hard cage
  • Lack of the replacement
  • Off-balance issue
  • Bad placement of the speed adjustment knob

Hitachi SB8V2 Review

best electric belt sander reviews and buying guide 2017

Hitachi is a Japanese company whose name is well known around the world. Although belt sander production is just a small part of their business, they still manage to keep up with their competitors in the industry by distributing superb quality electric belt sander to the consumers.

  • pros
  • cons

CONS

  • Balance issue – Like Makita 9903, Hitachi SB8V2 balance often shifts to the left side, resulting in an uneven sanding job. To avoid such an issue, you need to apply more pressure down the material.
  • Tracking changes when heated up – As to tool heats up, the belt tracking also changes, requiring constant adjustment to keep the belt in a straight position.
When the belt breaks, the pieces tend to be blown into the far back edge of the drive wheel, cleaning off these pieces is a pretty time-consuming task.

My Recommendation

Even though it has a balance issue and tracking change problems, the price is what makes this belt sander competitive. With such powerful motor and innovative design, the belt sander only costs $129 which is pretty reasonable compared to its peers.

​In addition, the V-belt design and the high-quality material have boosted its durability, making it different from the cheap and easily broken one.

​With such price, the quality is still guaranteed by 5-years purchase warranty from the manufacturer. We strongly recommend this one if you want an affordable but trustworthy belt sander.

Things We Liked

  • Double life span
  • Variable speed switch
  • Handy speed adjustment
  • Transparent panel
  • Simple components change
  • Maneuverable
  • Better corner sanding application
  • Comfort grip

Things We Didn't Like

  • Balance issue
  • Tracking changes when heated up

Black & Decker DS321 Dragster Review

best electric belt sander reviews and buying guide 2017

Black & Decker DS321 Dragster 7 Amp 3-Inch by 21-Inch Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag via Amazon

Black & Decker Corporation is manufacturer from America, specialized in producing power tools, accessories, hardware, home improvement products and technology based fastening systems. Black & Decker is famous for its low price products.

  • Pros
  • cons

PROS

  • Easily reach tight spaces – Its ability to reach tight spaces is attributed by the innovative front roller; it also helps you cut down on the need for flush sanding.
The low profile design can reduce the amount of physical effort exerted on extending your arms for additional reach because such design already has an extended reach for you.
  • Easily reach vertical spaces – For a wall that made of wood, this is such a handy tool for sanding. Its unique design accompanied by its light weight is suitable for sanding vertical spaces.
  • Convenient size – The sander’s size is applicable from small to large woodwork. It can smoothly remove the material even in the rough surfaces; it works well for smoothing out uneven edges.
  • Easy to use – Optimum control is secured by a retractable, three-position handle. In addition, the paper is easy to replace as well, you only need to pull the belt release lever and utilize the adjustment knob to get thing changed.
  • Effective dust bag – Like other belt sanders, Black & Decker DS321 has a dust bag to clean up the sawdust, the dust bag has been reported to be working quite well.
  • Low price – It is the one with the cheapest price on this list. If you only do small work without willing to spend much money, it’s a nice tool for you.

My Recommendation

The price of this product is very competitive. Despite the fact that the price is low, the manufacturer still manages to put some useful features for this tool such as the dust collection system for a clean work, the front roller for reaching tight spaces, the comfortable handle for optimum control.

For a serious sanding job, we would not recommend this one. The consumer's target of this product are the people who occasionally need to do sanding job, and usually, it’s only light sanding. Those people won’t be willing to pay too much for something they don’t use frequently.

By and large, if you work on a small sanding project, and don’t mind adjusting the belt tracking then you should totally go for it.​

Things We Liked

  • Easily reach tight spaces
  • Easily reach vertical spaces
  • Convenient size
  • Easy to use
  • Effective dust bag
  • Low price

Things We Didn't Like

  • Small dust bag
  • Belt tracking changes
  • Weak plastic cage
  • For light work only
  • No variable speed

Makita 9403 Review

best electric belt sander reviews and buying guide 2017

Makita 9403 4" x 24" Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag via Amazon

Another product from Makita with some different features from the Makita 9903 but it is still able to keep an excellent performance.

  • PROS
  • CONS

PROS

  • More powerful motor – The motor is running at 11 amps which are more powerful than Makita 9903. Such power has boosted the speed of the belt sander up to 1640 feet per minute. In addition, the belt for this tool is 4-inches, running such large belt with the high speed makes it capable of clearing large areas.
  • Quiet operation – Even with such high power, the machine still manages to run without emitting much noise. The tool only emits the sound of 84 decibels, which is 1 decibel lower than the Makita 9903’s; even though Makita 9903 motor power is only 8 amps, much less powerful than the power of this one.
  • Easy belt replacement – The lever control is easy to use, allowing the worker to change the belt at ease.
  • Comfort grip – The large front grip is appropriately positioned to provide a comfortable grip for easy control.
  • Motor and bearing protection – Motor and the bearing are the most important components of the belt sander; one is for the speed of the belt sander, the other is for the smooth operation of the sander.Knowing such importance of both components, Makita offers a Labyrinth construction seals motor and bearings from contamination. The sealing will extend the lifespan of the tool.
  • Innovative dust bag design - Dust bag swivels 360° for more convenient operation; it is tough, detachable so that emptying the bag should be easy.
  • Long power cord – Like Makita 9903, the included cord is very long that you don’t need an extension cord, and it also provides further reach when the power outlet is too far.
In addition, the placement of the power cord is located on the upper portion of the handle so it won’t get in the way. The manufacturer obviously wants to distribute maximum operation convenience to the consumers.
  • Firmly centered belt - Although it has no auto-tracking system, the belt can stay centered once adjusted and does not need any subsequent adjustment. The belt of the machine can track and run smoothly; it’s possible to control this belt sander one-handed, making it suitable for flat panel work.
  • Double insulated – To strengthen its durability and safety, Makita makes the machine double insulated, protecting it from electric shock.

My Recommendation

There is nearly no complaint about a technical aspect of this product. You have to pay more but you get what you deserve. For serious sanding work, we recommend using Makita 9903. We rate this product the best one in our list.

Things We Liked

  • More powerful motor
  • Quiet operation
  • Easy belt replacement
  • Comfort grip
  • Motor and bearing protection
  • Innovative dust bag design
  • Long power cord
  • Firmly centered belt
  • Double insulated

Things We Didn't Like

  • Expensive

Porter Cable 362V Review

best electric belt sander reviews and buying guide 2017

PORTER-CABLE 362V 4-Inch by 24-Inch Variable Speed Belt Sander via Amazon

Porter Cable focuses mostly on the power of the belt sander. However, is power the only thing that determines the quality of a belt sander? No? Let’s see.

  • PROS
  • CONS

PROS

  • 20 percent more power – The motor runs on 12 amps, which is twice as much as the regular motor of 6 – 8 amps. With such power, it possesses the strongest motor in the list.
This beast mode power will get you burning through any flaws and bumps in any surfaces. The belt sander is specialized in fast leveling.
  • Balanced design – The weight, the size and the powerful motor guarantee a comfortable and controlled experience; the size is wide enough to cover large areas; the weight makes sure that pressure is applied evenly and appropriately on the surfaces without demanding for extra effort from the worker; the powerful motor makes sure that the belt sander runs smoothly and effectively.
In addition, the motor is located over the platen for maximum performance of the belt sander.
  • Comfortable grip – Porter Cable features a comfortable trigger grip for a worker to rest his hands on it while operating such heavy belt sander.
  • Large dust bag – Since the tool is used for heavy work the amount of dust coming out is huge, therefore, the dust bag must be large enough to collect all the dust. The large-capacity dust bag swivels a full 360 degrees that it won’t get in the way.
  • Durable – Consider how powerful the tool is, it needs to be protected with high-quality material so it won’t get torn apart by the power it has.
  • Handy speed-dial placement – Brilliantly, speed adjustment dial is placed on the rear of the handle, allowing fast speed adjustment. The adjustment rate ranges from 1,000 to 1,500 sfpm.
  • Easy belt replacement – Like other manufacturers, Porter Cable tries to minimize the complication of the belt change process. The commonly adopted quick-release belt change lever secures the fast belt change at ease.

My Recommendation

The main purpose to get such powerful tool is for heavy sanding job. The price is expensive as you are paying for superb power and speed.

​Since the dust bag being leaked out too often, make sure you prepare yourself a good mask to avoid the dust spraying into your face.

By the way, measure your arms strength if you must use this tool for sanding ceilings and walls since the tool is heavy and large. Overall, the tool performs a decent job and is pretty worth the price.​

Things We Liked

  • 20 percent more power
  • Balanced design
  • Comfortable grip
  • Large dust bag
  • Durable
  • Handy speed-dial placement
  • Easy belt replacement

Things We Didn't Like

  • Too heavy to lift
  • Bad heat pumps placement
  • Awful dust bag placement

PORTER-CABLE 371K Review

best electric belt sander reviews and buying guide 2017

PORTER-CABLE 371K 2 1/2 by 14-Inch Compact Belt Sander Kit via Amazon

Besides producing a powerful tool, Porter Cable also manufacturing mini belt sander, which is Port Cable 371K.

  • PROS
  • CONS

PROS

  • Well protected – Rubber sealed, the belt sander can withstand exposure to dust, protecting its components from depreciating due to dust.
  • Non-slippery grip – Thanks to the textured rubber sealing, most part of the belt sander is quite grippable, except for the sanding belt areas of course.
  • ​No accidental turn-off – It is harder to accidentally turn off the machine because the power button is more recessed, making it harder to touch it by accident; continuous operation is strongly secured.
  • Support two-handed operation – When safe and quick sanding is needed, two-handed operation is supported by the unique frontal handle serving as an auxiliary grip.
  • A Strong metal component inside – Although the outside of this belt sander is full of plastic, inside the cage, there are strong metal components that ensure the strength and durability of the power tool.
  • Easy to carry – Surprisingly light-weighted, the machine only weighs 8 pounds (0.45 gram), providing an easy heft. It can be carried around to get into areas that larger belt sander cannot reach.
  • Work well on perpendicular surfaces – Thanks to the flush side and its compact, 2-1/2 x 14-inch belt, this instrument can conveniently crawl up to 90-degree angle surfaces.

My Recommendation

This is a mini power tool suitable for light sanding work where constant breaks are allowed for the machine to cool down. It definitely cannot be used for serious sanding work.

Prepare a durable belt since you don’t want to get an inexpensive replacement at the service center. Get gloves to prevent the heat from burning your hands.

If you constantly need to sand tight spaces, perpendicular surfaces, use this tool accompanied by a couple of breaks during work.​

Things We Liked

  • Well protected
  • Non-slippery grip
  • No accidental turn-off
  • Support two-handed operation
  • A Strong metal component inside
  • Easy to carry
  • Work well on perpendicular surfaces

Things We Didn't Like

  • Too heated up
  • Belt tracking changes
  • Can’t replace the belt on your own

Conclusion

As you can see, when purchasing a belt sander, we have to consider many aspects such as size, shape, unique feature, safety, and power. There are mini belt sanders for light sanding work and strong belt sanders for a heavier one.

The belt sander market offers us fellow DIY-ers many products with a price range of 50$ to 200$. Base on your budget and purpose, choose the most suitable one for yourself.

According to the information we’ve gathered, and through our in-depth analysis, we rate Makita 9403 as the best product in this list.

About the Author Kevin Smith

Hi, i'm a coffee addicted guy and i love my home so that i create this website to discuss about luxury home stuff and how to improve our lifestyle with stuffs.

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