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.
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.
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.
Auto belt tracking system, no manual adjustment required
Inexpensive belt sander with innovative design
For low budget and light work
High-quality electric belt sander
Strong and Big
Mini belt sander for light sanding work
The product is categorized based on the power motor and the ability to perform specific task required for particular sanding job.
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
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.
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.
If you are about to purchase a belt sander then put all these factors into consideration. It’s important since a belt sander costs a lot of money, thus, you don’t want to get the wrong one.
Weight should not be a bother if you are performing horizontal sanding. However, if your job includes perpendicular surfaces, you need to lift the belt sander up in order to do the job; this is the time when the weight becomes matter.
For vertically sanding job, a machine weighs below 10 pounds will be carried much easier than those with 12 or 15 pounds.
The power of a belt sander is measured in amperages. For light sanding work, the ideal amperage should be from 5 amps to 8 amps. On the other hands, a serious sanding job requires at least 8 amps or above. Extra motor power might cost you more money, so consider carefully before you are paying for extra power.
The belt sander size is determined by the width and the length of its belt. The larger the size, the heavier the tool, but in compensation the larger tool finish the work faster.
The common sizes are 3x21 inches and 4x24 inches. The former size is easy to control since the speed, weight and power is balanced, suitable for amateurs. The latter size is used for heavy duty sanding job, which might be difficult to control.
Get the larger one if you need an industrial grade belt sander. Otherwise, use the smaller model for your free hand or vertical on-site work.
The old model belt sanders usually have only one speed of operation. In modern days, most belt sanders have variable speed ranges from 500 to 1500 feet per minute. Some allows two distinct speed modes, but the more preferable ones are those with speed dialers, capable of operating in any speed in-between.
Variable speed sander is ideal for variety of applications. However, like power, speed costs extra cash. If you are running a tight budget, a single speed mode belt sander could be fine. You can adjust the stock belt to a finer grit to manipulate the aggression of the single speed belt sander.
Most belt sander allows worker to change the belt easily by just taking the tension off. However, there are belt sanders that don’t feature such basic need.
Each time you need to change the belt, you have to bring the belt sander to the service center. Of course, this might cost you some fee. Keep in mind to consider the belt changing feature before buying one.
After putting the belt in, make sure to track the belt properly. An inappropriate belt tracking might result in uneven job because the belt is not moving in a straight position.
For a clean work environment, most belt sander has the dust collection system using a dust bag. Other belt sander manufacturers even offer vacuum system.
Unless you own one with vacuum system, make sure the bag is large enough to collect all the dust, and the clip must be tight so the dust won’t come out.
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.
This is the big downside because once one part of the tool is broken, you have to buy the entire new tool, or you might have a hard time finding the particular replacement that fits.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This might happen because you don’t follow the instruction or your technique is not accommodated with the operation of the belt sander. Either way, you’ll need to re-evaluate the way you works with the belt sander.
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.
Another product from Makita with some different features from the Makita 9903 but it is still able to keep an excellent performance.
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.
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.
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.
This beast mode power will get you burning through any flaws and bumps in any surfaces. The belt sander is specialized in fast leveling.
In addition, the motor is located over the platen for maximum performance of the belt sander.
On top of that, since the wire o-ring clip is difficult to open it is time-consuming to empty the dust bag. Also, part of it at the opening overlaps and catches dust.
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.
Besides producing a powerful tool, Porter Cable also manufacturing mini belt sander, which is Port Cable 371K.
The service fee costs about one-third the price of the tool itself. More importantly, keep in mind that the belt replacement cost is not covered by the warranty.
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.
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.
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