In this guide we’ll take a look at the best belt sanders for DIY.
We’ve compared performance, features, weight and cost
to give you our top recommendations.
What Is The Best Belt Sander?
In a rush? Here’s my top choice…
The best belt sander for the UK market!
After trying out all these belt sanders, our favourite is still the Makita 9404/2. It’s a heavy-duty and solidly constructed belt sander with more than enough power and variable speeds for all sorts of tasks. You can mount it to a bench or jig to turn it into a super-useful bench sander as well.
Things to Know Before Buying a Belt Sander
When you need to remove a lot of material from something like floorboards or decking, you’d be mad to try and attempt it with sanding blocks and elbow grease. Electric belt sanders are ideal machines when you need to prepare surfaces quickly and easily.
There’s nothing more annoying than running out of cable when you’re working on a big job- even though the best belt sanders come with up to five-metre-long cables, they can still be too short. As battery powered tools have become more common, belt sanders haven’t been left behind. You can get all the power of a corded sander without being held back by cables. But belt sanders are incredibly power hungry and will only last a matter of minutes before they need recharging.
One of our favourite things about belt sanders is that they’re incredibly versatile tools. You can swap out belts in seconds and tackle different materials and use different grits depending on the job. When it comes to grits, the smaller the number, the more course the belt. 40 grit is for removing a lot of material and 200, for example, is for much finer work.
We’re firm believers in variable speed belt sanders. You can get the job done with a single speed unit, but we think the best belt sanders come with variable speed controllers. You have more control over how much material you’re removing and the heat you generate while working.
Everything I Recommend
More Detailed Belt Sander Reviews
Makita 9404/2 Belt Sander Review
The best belt sander for the UK market is the Makita 9404/2 belt sander because it’s a superior heavy-duty tool that has variable speed control and is relatively quiet for such a powerful machine. As you’d expect from Makita, this is the best sander for floors and decking that we’ve come across.
The motor is tough enough to take on the biggest jobs, and you can choose the belt speed from 210 m/min to 440 m/min. The unit itself has a low profile and is compact for such a powerful belt sander. But what we really like is how easy it is to handle- the grips are well shaped and allow you to be precise when you’re working on wood or metal.
Changing belts can be done in seconds, the dust extraction system is great and it’s easy to adjust the tracking if you need to. What makes this the best belt sander for woodworkers though are the threaded holes in the side of the metal housing- you can attach the belt sander to a jig and use it safely upside down, turning it into a quality bench sander.
Bosch PBS 75 A Belt Sander Review
German tool masters Bosch have been trusted by tradespeople and DIYers alike for over a century. We were excited to get hold of their PBS 75 A belt sander in their green range of quality tools for DIYers.
First off, this is a big belt sander- it’s nearly 55 cm long and the big front grip means you hold it low down to the workpiece, but the bulky stylings aren’t just for looks- you can flip the belt sander on its back and use it as a bench sander as well. The auto-align feature works well so you don’t have to fiddle with adjusters either.
The 750-Watt motor should be powerful enough for tough jobs, it’s one of the best belt sanders for wooden floors after all. The only thing that really let us down is the lack of variable speed- it’s one of the more useful features found in the best belt sanders and we wish that Bosch had added to this otherwise excellent machine.
Ryobi R18BS-0 One+ Cordless Belt Sander Review
We’re big fans of Japanese tool brand Ryobi, and especially their ONE+ range of cordless power tools that all share the same battery type. The R18BS-0 belt sander is the best cordless belt sander that we’ve tried out, and with a belt speed of 250m/min it offers all the power you could ask for, and all without annoying power cords.
It’s a chunky but compact sander that makes use of a clever adjustable front handle to save on overall body size- and it means you can play around with the settings to make it comfortable no matter how long or short your arms are. The drawback of this design is you can’t easily mount it upside down as a bench sander.
Hands down the best thing about this belt sander is that it’s cordless- even the longest cables get in the way when you’re sanding long pieces of wood, metal or plastic. Going cordless makes this the best portable belt sander you can get. The only gripes we have are a lack of variable speed and a fiddly tracking wheel.
Lumberjack EBS76 3″ Electric Belt Sander Review
Wolverhampton based Lumberjack Tools have three decades’ experience making a whole range of quality woodworking tools, which is probably why the EBS76 belt sander looks like a chainsaw without the chain on.
It’s a beast of an electric belt sander with a large 1010-Watt motor that puts out a massive up to 380m/min belt speed, more than enough to make short work of wood, metal and plastic surfaces using the three included sanding belts.
The chainsaw-type front handle is adjustable which makes it really easy to handle when you need that extra bit of precision, and the front flap can lift up if you need to get into a really tight spot. And if you fold the front handle down, you could probably run it upside down without too much trouble.
Jellas Electric Belt Sander Review
This futuristic belt sander from tools pro’s Jellas is one of the best budget belt sanders we’ve taken a look at. The big 1000-Watt motor means it can keep up with the big boys, but the six variable speeds are what sets it apart from the competition.
It’s comfortable to hold and the non-adjustable front handle is far enough forward to make it a comfortable belt sander to use over long periods. Belt changing is easy, but it doesn’t look like you can easily mount it upside down to make a belt sander. It’s a shame because the trigger lock is easy to set and would make bench sanding a breeze.
For the money, this is one of the best belt sanders you can get hold of- it’s well balanced and doesn’t vibrate too much. The dust collection port is effective, but it doesn’t come with a dust bag, so you’ll have to plug directly into your shop vacuum.
Einhell TC-BC 8038 Belt Sander Review
One of the more recognisable budget power tool brands on the UK market, Germany’s Einhell make honest tools for a fair price. We tried out their TC-BC 8083 belt sander and found it to be a handsome and compact tool that can remove a lot of material quickly.
The handles are well placed and are easy to hold on to with rubberised grips at the front and back. The belts are easy to change and the 800-Watt motor is just about strong enough to keep up with heavy sanding tasks on wood, plastic and even metal.
They throw in a dust collection bag, which is a nice touch, but it’s an awkward shape to try and mount upside down so we wouldn’t try to use it as a bench grinder. The one included belt is of decent quality though and means you can use it straight from the box.
Black+Decker KA86 Belt Sander Review
One of the biggest names in DIY, BLACK + DECKER have been making tools for more than 100 years The KA86 belt sander isn’t the biggest or most powerful on our list but it’s great for precision jobs and is easily one of the best belt sanders for small tasks.
It’s less than half the weight of most of the belt sanders on our list, so it’s ideal for when you need precision rather than raw power- even so the 720-Watt motor is powerful enough for putting a dent into wood, plastic and even metal surfaces.
You don’t need to fiddle with the auto-tracking mechanism, but the body feels a bit plasticky and there’s no way to adjust the handles or the belt speed either. You get a sanding belt included and the dust bag seems to do a good job of collecting the dust, so it’s an overall good purchase.
Belt Sander FAQs
You should check the instructions that come with your belt sander, but most tools work in a similar way. On the side of the belt sander will be an arm that you can use to remove the tension from the belt. Once the belt is loose, you can pull it off. When replacing a belt, look for the directional arrows on the belt and sander, and always make sure the arrows line up.
Sanding belts are made by gluing a strip of abrasive material into a loop- the leading edge needs to be facing away from the direction of travel or it can work loose. A loose belt can come undone suddenly and whip the user, causing injury.
If your sanding belt is taking a long time to remove material and is producing excessive heat, it’s time to replace it. You can test how much grit is left by comparing an old belt to a new one.
Belt sanders can be noisy, so you should always wear ear protection. Even if your belt sander comes with dust extraction, you should wear a suitable mask to avoid breathing in fine particles and eyewear in case of flying debris.