If you can consider belt sander reviews as something to go by, you will find that most sanders in the market are all the same with slight variations in design structure.
Sanding can a very tedious and time-consuming job but fortunate for us who have grown in the golden generation belt sanders have come to our rescue.
A Belt Sander is a power tool engineered to remove stock and ensure fine finish of a wood-work. Using a belt sander is supposed to be among the first step of working with wood surfaces. By using its fine-grit and moving belt, belt sanders can ensure a better shape and finish on your woodwork.
A belt sander is like any other machine it fastens the speed of the working process. It’s strong enough to enhance a swift removal of wood and also it’s flexible enough to pass through narrow edges shaping them in the process.
Working with a belt sander is quite simple you need not to be a professional you can make sanding your hobby and learn using a belt sander by yourself. People who have used belt sanders in the past have reportedly said that a belt sander saves a great deal of time and helps in bringing consistent desired results in their work.
Belt sanders have a wide range of models that we will discuss. We will take a look on each and every model available in the market along with its advantages and limitations.
Best 10 Belt Sander
BELT SANDER BUYING GUIDE
When you go out there in the market try to buy a belt sander, there are certain aspects you should be on the lookout for. Although a belt sander is either manual or automatic but in addition to that there are some extra factors to consider.
Let us discuss those factors one by one :
1.Weight and Power :
Talking about power you don’t require highly powered belt sander in most of the sanding work but if you can get extra power at no extra cost why not .It is good to have a belt sander that has 10 amps power so that you can have a wide range of power to operate with.
In terms of weight all belt sanders are used in their horizontal position hence weight might not be a problem. However while doing a massive home renovation work you might be force to use a belt sander in its vertical position, in such occasions you will be forced to choose a belt sander with a good weight rating.
An average belt sander machine weighs between 12 to 15 lb, so if you are to use a belt sander vertically you will have to go for a sander that weighs around 10 lb for easy handling.
2 . Size and Design :
They are different size of belt sanders in the market but belt sanders are classified into two sizes:3″*21″ and 4″*24″. The 4″*24″ is mostly used for heavy duty sanding and can be too difficult to control especially for a beginner. The 3″*21″ is very balanced, fast and produces a good power output.
What determines the size of a belt sander is the size of the belt in it. A larger belt size makes a sander heavier but quicker in finishing off work. You should a larger belt sander for heavy industrial type of work and smaller one for normal day to day sanding work.
3 . Belt Changing :
Sanders allow you to change belts very fast and easy. In order to change the belt you are suppose take the tension off it. When putting up a new a belt make sure you track it. Although some sanders may come with automatic tracking, manually tracking is not that difficult.
4. Speed :
Back in the 1990s most sanders that were there had only a single speed of operation. Today belt sanders have variable speed that ranges from 500 fpm to almost 1500 fpm. I will consider a variable speed sander a better option compared to a single speed sander. A variable speed sander can be very handy if you intend to use it on a variety of applications. If you are to going to work on hard wood surfaces a variable speed sander is what you require. On the other hand a single speed is not that disadvantage because you change to fine grit and still work on fairly hard wood surface.
5 . Dust Collector :
What discourages the most about sanding it is the dust that settles on the workshop. Manufacturers have device a clever way of dealing with this problem by fitting belt sanders with a dust collector in form of an on-board dust bag. Although this feature comes at an extra cost it is worth every penny. Some sanders comes detachable bags so can empty once full. Buy a belt sander that has a dust collector.
6 . Comfort :
In everything that you do in life you should value your comfort. Belt sanders are designed differently some have adjustable handles to help you get into tighter work spaces. People with large hands prefer flat front handles to provide additional grip and control.
TYPES OF BELT SANDERS
1 .HANDHELD ELECTRIC BELT SANDERS
These are most common belt sanders. They are termed as corded since they require plugging into a wall socket. It contains an electric motor producing 6 to 10 amps.
The main advantages of corded electric belt sander power supply is continuous no issue of low battery. The corded sander faces a limitation in terms of the working space, it is limited to the area where the cord can reach.
2. HANDHELD CORDLESS BELT SANDERS
They have a battery that requires charging. Cordless are very suitable for light use only. Sanding requires a great deal of power that drains battery very fast some model last only for 20 minutes.
If you are thinking of buying a cordless belt sander buy it with the right kind of battery this will help to extend battery life. Most commonly used battery nowadays Lithium ion because it recharges quickly.
3. TABLE-MOUNTED BELT SANDERS
They are commonly known as stationary belt sanders. They are very different compared to handheld even they are totally used in a different way .Stationary belt sanders are mounted on a four legged table or a bench.
Table-mounted belt have narrow and small belts. They mostly use belts which are between one or two inches in width. Table mounted belt sanders always have a small bench sitting up against the sanding belt.
Most of stationary belt sanders have a sanding belt together with a sanding a disc. Sanding discs have an average of 4 to 6 inches in width.
4. PNEUMATIC BELT SANDERS
They are the most unpopular type of belt sanders. They are mainly used for specific application. Like the name suggests they are steam up by compressed air. They require an air compressor. They are small in size compared to the other type of belt sanders.
This type of belt sander is not variable but very powerful. They are mostly used on hard metal like aluminum and steel. Their main function is metalworking.
BEST BELT SANDER
1. MAKITA 9903
It is a middle range model for woodworkers. It carries an 8.8 amp motor that ends up producing a lot of power that can transform an entire house in terms of renovations. It is a variable speed machine. It contains the 3″*21″belt making it the best machine for handling light jobs. The Makita 9903 is less noisy with 85 decibels. It has an auto-tracking system that helps to keep the belt straight. Also this model comes with its own dust collector.
What I know with Makita brand quality is guaranteed. Otherwise its price ranges from $250-$300 on Amazon.
2. MAKITA 9403
This model is very similar to the 9903 but it uses the 4″x 24″ belt. It has 11 amps hence it is a more powerful device than the 9903.Also it comes with its own dust collector and it is less noisy with 85 decibel.
Its price is slightly higher than the 9903 but for better power and performance it is worthy.
This brand has its own class in the making of belt sander machines. This model has a 12 amp motor along with 4″x24 belt. The Porter Cable is the most durable machine compared to other model from other brands. The Porter Cable comes with a clothing dust bag and a front handle. It has manual belt tracking with knob for belt adjustment. It contains open noses allowing flush sanding. With 12 amp electric motor you have to be sure it is a variable speed.
It has a fair price of $224 on Amazon which is good.
If you are a professional and looking for a medium duty machine to handle your sanding project this will be the most suitable for you. It has a well though-out design and build with great performance to maintain its own class. This machine is light and well balanced enabling it to reach into sharp corners.
It has manual belt tracking and an adjustable front grip for easy handling. It carries an 8 amp motor enabling it to handle fairly hard wood surface. This machine is quite noisy but vibration free. Flush sanding is possible in this but from the side not the front.
One limitation in this model is that its corded hence can only operate on a limited space.
This a benched type of belt sander very suitable for people with limited space. It is very powerful like any other belt sander. It runs on a 1/2 horsepower motor which powers up the belt and disc to a good speed without eating up all the stock. The belt is 4 inches wide and the disc has diameter of 6 inches.
Rockwell as a brand has put all efforts in making their machine look so different and classy.
This is a great belt sander for a learner. It got only a 5 amp motor so it is not that powerful and also it has a quite a small sanding surface. The belt in it has a 3″x18″ inches in dimension. All the same it has dust bag and a front grip. Flushing sanding is not possible in this because it has lip on the front.
Its sole purpose is handling those light sanding jobs. Professionals will not be happy with such a machine but it is great tool for beginners. With only $43 you can start you sanding practice with this.
This is another machine for those who are new to sanding. It has a low price and standard basic features that can encourage first timers.
This model uses 3″x18″ belt and a 6 amp motor. It contains a front grip but flush sanding is not possible with this machine. Belt tracking is automatic and it is a single speed belt sander.
This is another belt sander of its own kind which features a front grip and cloth dust bag. This has a variable-speed control. It contains a 9 amp motor making it a relative a powerful machine. The belt is 3″x21″ inches so it much more of a medium duty machine.
Flush sanding is possible with this model. With this 9.5 pound machine Hitachi is proving to become one of the top decorated brands.
This is benched belt sander. It has a 1″x30” belt along with 4 discs which is very good for woodworking. It is powered by 1/3 motor which is fair enough for fine woodworking projects.
On Amazon it cost around $133 which is good.
This post has highlighted so many things like what a belt sander is. Nowadays they are a lot of wrong information about products but the main reason I dedicated my time to writing this post is to guide you through in selecting the best belt sander for you sanding project. From the above well researched information we can see what determines your sanding output is having the best suited machine which you select after considering a number of factors.
All you require to start your sanding project is all here. Good luck with your next sanding project.I hope you have enjoyed this post and it has help you make an informed decision regarding belt sanders.