In this guide we’ll take a look at the best belt sanders for DIY.
I've compared performance, features, build quality and cost
to give you my top recommendations.
In this guide we’ll take a look at the best belt sanders for DIY.
What Is The Best Belt Sander?
More Detailed Belt Sander Reviews
This super powerful Makita belt sander will make light work of even the toughest sanding jobs – even floors and decking.
The sander has a powerful 1,010-watt motor and variable speed control meaning it can take care of tough sanding as well as more detailed work. It has a variable belt speed of between 210 up to 440 m/min to allow you to adjust it for the best finish on tough jobs such as paint stripping down to more delicate tasks. The design of this sander means you can sand right up to the edges of walls which is really handy when sanding floors.
But the best thing about this sander is that it only produces 85 dB noise, which is pretty quiet for a belt sander and it also produces very little vibration. This means you can keep using it for hours on end without getting fatigued. I would still recommend using ear defenders but at least you won’t annoy the neighbours too much. The dust bag is also very effective and large enough that it doesn’t need emptying too often. The machine can also be connected to a dust extractor for use in the workshop. The auto-tracking belt keeps the sanding belt aligned and the belts are easy to change. It is suitable for use on wood, plastic or metal.
This is a powerful machine, and suitable for professional site use. However, it doesn’t run away with you and the variable speed makes it easy to handle for a variety of jobs.
This Bosch belt sander ideal for removing material on large surfaces such as doors, worktops and floors. It is suitable for use on wood, plastic or metal. The 710-watt motor and 350 m/min belt speed provides plenty of power and gets through the job quickly but it does not have a variable speed control. The ergonomic design makes it comfortable to use and easy to control.
The sander is fitted with a microfilter system and a dust box that is really easy to empty. This makes the job far less messy than with some belt sanders. However, the dust box does fill up quite quickly. At 90 dB it is a little noisier to use than the Makita.
When fixed to a workbench this sander can also be used in the workshop for stationary work with attachments that can be purchased separately. It comes with one sanding belt and this is easy to fit.
This powerful belt sander is ideal for both amateur or professional cabinet makers providing plenty of power and ease of use.
This Lumberjack belt sander has a 1010-watt motor and 120-380m/min belt speed making it capable of even tough sanding jobs. This variable speed model allows you good control when sanding. At high speeds, it is quite noisy but at lower speeds, it is reasonably quiet. The item comes with 3 sanding belts and a dust bag. Overall this sander is great value, light and easy to use.
This Black+Decker belt sander is small and light to use but has a 720-watt motor making it powerful enough for tough sanding jobs. The angled design means you can work right to the edges of floors which saves time and effort switching to a less powerful sander for the edges.
The belts are easy to change, and the automatic belt tracking keeps them in place. The machine is also relatively quiet in use; however, the dust collection bag is not very effective.
This sander is ideal for jobs such as refinishing worktops and doors or removing paint, however for floors and decking a more powerful machine will get the job done more quickly. It is good value for money though, and perfect for many DIY jobs.
The Tacklife belt sander has a 600-watt motor and six variable speeds from 170-250m/min. Whilst it is not as powerful as some of the previous items, for a budget model it does a great job. The kit comes with 12 sanding belts plus clamps so you can fix the sander upside down to a workbench to work on smaller pieces.
The dust collection box is pretty ineffective; however, you can attach this sander to a vacuum cleaner, which makes a big difference and means you can use the tool indoors without too much mess.
Overall this is a great budget option for a variety of sanding DIY tasks.
Belt Sander Buying Guide
Belt sanders are the ideal tool when you have large, flat areas to sand. This makes then perfect for refinishing doors, large items of furniture and even decking and flooring. A belt sander is also much cheaper than a floor sander and doesn’t run away with you as much. Belt sanders can also be useful for refinishing garden furniture, removing paint and fixing a sticking door.
Nothing beats the power of a belt sander when you have large surfaces to sand, especially if they are very rough or you want to remove old paint and varnish. Belt sanders use sanding belts that are fitted over two cylindrical drums. The motor on your sander drives the rear drum and spins the sandpaper making this a really fast and effective way to get a smooth finish on large areas.
When choosing a belt sander, the motor size is a major consideration. The higher the motor, the more powerful the sander will be. You should also check the speed which is measured in metres per minute (m/min). The higher this number, the faster the drum will spin and the more effectively the sander will work.
Other useful features to look for include an auto-tracking belt system which will keep the sanding belt aligned and saving you the hassle of having to stop to realign it when it slips.
A variable motor is another option that can be useful. If you are sanding floors and decking, then one speed will be fine, however, for smaller jobs such as tables, doors and worksurfaces then a variable speed gives you more control and ensures you don’t damage the item.
If you are sanding floors or decking that runs up against a wall, the choose a sander with an angled design that will allow you to get right up to the edges. This will save you having to switch to a smaller, less powerful sander to finish the job.
An effective dust extractor is an important feature of a belt sander, especially if it is to be used indoors or in a workshop. Belt sanders create a lot of dust and can make a mess of the whole house if they do not have efficient dust collection. You can choose one with a dust box or bag, or one that can be connected to a vacuum clear or dust extractor.
If you would like to use your sander on smaller items in the workshop, or for rough sharpening tools, then look for a model that can be fixed upside down to a workbench.
I want to use a belt sander to sand a floor. What do I need to know to do this correctly?
When sanding wooden surfaces, you should always sand parallel to the grain to avoid scratches. Start with a rough grit sandpaper, such as 60 grit and gradually progress through finer grits such as 80 and 120 to achieve a smooth finish. I would not recommend using anything rougher than 60 grit sandpaper as this can easily gouge wood and create scratches that are difficult to remove.
One danger of using a powerful belt sander is that it can gouge out wood if it gets out of control. I would recommend buying a sander with variable speed so you can choose the speed you are most comfortable with. This will allow you to use the most effective speed at which you are able to retain complete control of the machine.
I am planning on buying a belt sander to refinish my kitchen work surfaces. What other jobs could it be used for afterwards
Belt sanders are great for smoothing flat surfaces, but they are also excellent for scribing a line in materials to make a perfect fit. They can be used to remove excess wood from doors to stop them sticking. You can also use a belt sander to round off wood and remove sharp edges. In addition, when fixed to a workbench they can be used on smaller items and can even rough sharpen tools.
What safety precautions should I take when using a belt sander?
Belt sanders create a lot of dust, so even with a good dust collector, you should wear a mask. This is particularly important if you are working with fibreboards such as MDF as these create fine dust that can damage the lungs
Check that the trigger is on the off position and not locked on before you plug in the tool and always unplug the tool before changing or adjusting the belt.
Clean the dust bag or box regularly and remove it before you sand metal. Sanding metal can create sparks that could set the sawdust in your collection bag on fire.