A good belt sander is a great addition to your home improvement tools, especially if you do a lot of painting jobs. A belt sander prepares and finishes the surfaces of materials like wood, which is an important step if you want smooth and professional-looking results when you apply paint. If wood surfaces are not sanded down, there’s a good chance you will see unsightly swirls or end up with small bubbles after you are done applying the paint. It’s a great investment so you would want to go out of your way to find the best one.
When checking out belt sanders in the market, your head might reel from the sheer number of choices you have out there. It can be intimidating to buy, especially if you are worried that you are buying the wrong choice.
In a quest to find the most reliable and the best belt sander, we checked out various products in the market and what people have to say about them. We managed to identify the best belt sanders with high ratings, good reviews, durable features and great price tag.
Our Recommendations for the Best Belt Sander
Many customers swear by these products:
- Makita 9403 Belt Sander
- Hitachi SB8V2 9-Amp Variable Speed Belt Sander
- Makita 9903 Variable Speed Belt Sander
Find out more why these are doing so well in the market today:
1. Makita 9403 Belt Sander
If you are looking for a heavy-duty belt sander that will last for years and will be a great ally to your painting or staining projects, you need not look further. This is the ideal product for you. It performs like a pro, besting many other more expensive and commercial belt sanders out there. It’s a great investment for hobbyists, carpenters, homeowners and professional contractors.
You will be amazed at how well-engineered this belt sander is. In fact, many customers still own its predecessor and still use it for various purposes. It has a good motor power to get any sanding job done. So, whether you are working on a big project like your deck or you are working on something smaller, it’s a great product to rely on.
Many of the customers like its powerful blower. It gets rid of fine dust particles. It comes with a dust extraction bag that should work well for smaller projects but for bigger ones, hooking it up to a shop vacuum should provide better results. The blower, however, will dispense the need for a vacuum. You can hook up a vacuum hose instead to redirect the particles to a gallon with just the use of its blower.
It can save even severely scratched up wood surfaces. There were customers who revived their deck with this machine rather than just install a new one. It can save you a lot of money.
It’s very easy to use. Customers said they did not have issues with the sanding belt as it does its tracking flawlessly. Users did not need to do adjustments to the tracking screw.
It also prides itself in being one of the quietest belt sanders out there. You won’t have to worry about disturbing the neighbors while using this machine.
It doesn’t gouge even when working on gnarly surfaces.
This machine is quite heavy. It requires a lot of arm muscle so if you get tired easily, this might be cumbersome to use. It might also be difficult to control if you are not used to handling heavier machines.
If you are not careful, the cord can get in the way and get under the machine.
The price can be a bit steep if you are on a tight budget.
2. Hitachi SB8V2 9-Amp Variable Speed Belt Sander
It’s hard to find a belt sander with the same price that has good quality construction and powerful functionality. If you like your surfaces finished but don’t like to deal with a lot of clean-up later, get this. It gets the job done minus the mess from the sanding. It’s a suitable choice for homeowners who are serious about doing home improvement projects like painting and staining as well as professionals offering services for sanding decks and other surfaces.
Customers commented on how powerful this machine is. It truly does a great job sanding surfaces. Many have tried this on their decks and ended up with great results even with minimal effort.
It is well-built. Customers used it multiple times in the past and did not have issues when it comes to its parts. The metal frame gives it added durability.
It is also ergonomically designed. Aside from being easy to maneuver, it also has controls placed in the right places. The grip has a rubber coating, so you won’t suffer from hand fatigue easily.
Many customers like how they can do sanding jobs for a long time without pausing to get rid of dust. Its dust collection capacity is more superior than cheaper products out there, reducing all that hassle when doing sanding work.
The variable speed feature comes handy when sanding different surfaces. For instance, you can easily switch to a slower speed when nearing the end. You can switch to any speed you prefer with just the use of an adjustment knob.
It’s also easy to control. The belt tracks do not stray, so you aren’t getting a sander that goes everywhere. Customers also like how easy the installation of the belt lever is. Not all belt sanders out there have this advantage.
Some users said they experienced electrical shocks. While it’s a rare occurrence, it can still be painful and bothersome.
There are also reports about the dust bag not having a great seal. This could end up with dust spewing everywhere.
Some customers might also have difficulty getting used to it. There are people who commented that the motor is not balanced and tends to graze the left side area of the belt.
3. Makita 9903 Variable Speed Belt Sander
Smooth operations without producing irritating noise – these are the best things you can get from this belt sander. It might be pricier than your average belt sander but with its power and performance, you wouldn’t regret forking out those extra bucks for a well-made machine like this. Home improvement enthusiasts and contractors doing all sorts of work like painting and deck staining can rely on this mean machine.
Users commended this machine for its superior and smooth operations. It doesn’t snag and just glides fluidly on a surface. Some users even commented on how Zen-like this is to operate. And since it doesn’t produce irritating noise, at least not as much as the other belt sanders out there, it’s really a joy to operate.
Many users also didn’t exert too much effort directing it. It follows its tracks without issues. It’s so powerful that you don’t need to push it down too much to guide it. Even when you use different grits of belts, the performance and quiet operations still doesn’t disappoint.
The cord is also longer than standard cords that come with most belt sanders. Those who are working in wider spaces or have an outlet that is located farther away in the room will find this an advantage. This is also good if you don’t want the cord to snag under the belt.
This works effortlessly on surfaces. There are even those who tried using it on especially hard wood, which other cheaper belts might find difficult to finish. It has also been designed intelligently. The platen is larger than the belt width. This design prevents the machine from eating up the belt, which can happen in standard designs of belt sanders.
Dust collection is seamless as well. You can work on any project without worrying about dust flying everywhere.
Some users find that the motor exhaust tends to expel air towards the machine’s operator. It doesn’t seem to interfere with the sander’s functionality, but some might find this annoying.
There were also reports about the sand bag falling off easily. Some users rectified this by securing it better or finding a better spot for it.
Some users wished this came with a leveling attachment. When they work on a larger surface, they had to go out of their way to keep it level.
Still not sure which one to get?
If you are looking for a heavy-duty belt sander that you won’t have problems using for different materials, get the Makita 9903 Variable Speed Belt Sander. It has great build and impressive power, so you can use it without putting in too much effort. It also produces great results – gets rid of materials with ease.
The Makita 9403 Belt Sander is a close second. It’s just as reliable and heavy-duty as the previous Makita model. However, if you don’t like how heavy the 9403 is, you might find the 9903 a better option because it seems to be lighter in weight.
These two models are close in price range. We suggest shelling that extra money to get a belt sander as reliable as these two.
The Hitachi SB8V2 9-Amp Variable Speed Belt Sander is a less expensive alternative. It has a good performance as well, making this perfect for different kinds of sanding projects, big or small. The mechanisms are also straightforward and didn’t require tweaking. It just might fall a little bit short when it comes to durability but with proper care and proper usage, you should still be able to get more usage out of it.
Belt Sander Buying Guide
Even with these belt sanders already hand-picked for you, you still might find it intimidating to narrow down your options to just one. We suggest keeping the following things in mind, so you can choose the one that will truly work for your needs:
Go for the ones with a variable speed feature as opposed to one with a constant speed. Variable speed settings will allow you to match the pace of the belt sander to your particular needs. For instance, if you are working with a belt sander for the first time and you’re still getting the hang of it, you can set it up to its lowest speed setting and once you are more familiar with how it works, set it to a higher speed setting so you can get the job done faster. This also comes handy when working on narrow areas or near the edges of the surfaces.
You don’t want dust particles to fly and settle everywhere in the room. That is what the dust bag is for. It catches the dust particles to reduce the mess and clean-up you will have to do later. A good, heavy-duty belt sander will have a reasonably-sized dust bag that will do its work but be careful not to get something with a bad design as the dust bag might not work in catching dust particles at all.
Sanding is an inherently noisy job. Whether you are working indoors or outdoors, you would want to use a belt sander that produces comparatively lesser noise. It’s easier to work this way. Generally, the cheaper the belt sander is, the noisier it gets because it lacks the mechanisms that prevent it from becoming too noisy. Go for something that has an anti-noise feature.
Easy to Use
Many belt sanders are difficult to use at first because they are heavy. If you are not used to handling power tools, you might find belt sanders daunting. However, there are actually some brands and models of belt sanders that are engineered in such a way that they are easier to glide on surfaces so there is no need to grapple with the machine in an effort to make it work better. Check the belt tracks if they are solidly in place and read reviews. Find out if other people experienced difficulties in getting the belt sander to follow its tracks.
With belt sanders, you get what you pay for. If you buy something cheap, you will also get cheap results. You might not even get a lot of uses from that product. This is why it’s better to spend a bit more money on something with more reliable construction and performance, especially if you plan on using your belt sander often for your construction projects or your job.
Do check out our recommendations to save time on researching for the best belt sander for your needs. You can also visit our homepage to find more helpful reviews and product recommendations, so you can go shopping for your DIY and construction tools with confidence.