Best Belt Sander Reviews 2024 – 5 Top Picks

best belt sander

Whether or not you like sanding, it’s an essential step in a number of tasks. This primarily includes woodworking, and sometimes metal projects. Either way, doing it by hand often isn’t practical, especially when speed and power are necessary. In this case, a good belt sander is your best option.

If you’re unfamiliar with these tools, they have spinning belts that quickly and aggressively remove material like paint, stain/varnish, and watermarks. In this guide, we’ll cover some of these uses. But, most importantly, we’ll explore what we think are the best belt sander models for a variety of applications. 

best overall belt sander

Makita 11 Amp Belt Sander 9403

Makita 11 Amp Belt Sander 9403

  • Type: Handheld
  • Belt Size: 4×24
  • Power: 11 amps

Makita’s 9403 is our top choice as the best overall belt sander. For one, this model is powerful with an 11-amp motor. Indeed, we think the 9403 is worthy of heavy-duty projects. Moreover, it features a 4-inch by 24-inch belt that hits speeds of up to 1,640 feet per minute, allowing it to remove a lot of material quickly.

There’s also the matter of durability. Sanding can be downright filthy. That’s why we like the sealed-bearing design. It prevents dust and debris from reducing the sander’s lifespan.

Furthermore, the 9403 features a neutral position grip and front knob grip to promote control and maneuverability. It also features a low-clearance design that allows users to get closer to the wall with the nose or side of the belt when refinishing floors. The cord is over 16 feet long, making it great for shop and site work, and it features tool-free belt changes and tension adjustment. But, there is a downside—it’s 13 pounds.


  • Powerful 11-amp motor for heavy-duty sanding
  • Maximum speed of 1,640 feet per minute
  • Bearing sealed from dust and debris to improve tool life


  • The trade-off for power is heft—it weighs 13 pounds
best for woodworking

JET Stationary SG-96OS

Jet Stationary Belt Sander JSG-96OS

  • Type: Stationary
  • Belt Size: 6×48
  • Power: 11 amps

We’ve reviewed our fair share of Jet’s tools, and it’s a solid name with a 60-year history. The brand’s JSG-96OS is our pick for the best stationary belt sander. We like this model for its power and smart design as a belt and disc sander combo. Rather than the disc and belt running parallel to each other, the disc is 90 degrees to the belt, allowing more room for maneuverability. Also, the platen behind the belt sander is graphite-covered steel to reduce friction and heat for better longevity.

This model has other impressive features. For example, it has a powerful 11-amp motor and a tiltable rest for the belt sander, with positive stops at 45 and 90 degrees. That allows users to sand vertically, horizontally, or at any angle. However, the combination of power, design, and flexibility does make it more expensive than the other sanders on our list.


  • Large tiltable cast iron table with preset stops at 45 and 90 degrees
  • Graphite-covered platen to reduce heat and increase belt and machine life
  • 90-degree position between the disc sander and the belt sander for maneuverability


  • Pricier than most other models
best cordless belt sander

Milwaukee M18 FUEL 2832-20

Milwaukee M18 FUEL Belt Sander 2832-20

  • Type: Handheld
  • Belt Size: 3×18
  • Power: 18-volt battery

When it comes to truly portable sanding, battery power is the only option, and we think the Milwaukee 2832-20 is the best way to go. This model features a 3-inch-wide belt 18 inches in length, providing adequate surface area for most sanding tasks. It also features variable speed adjustments, allowing it to run between 750 and 1,350 feet per minute, and toolless belt changes.

This model uses the brand’s M18 FUEL batteries. It also features a brushless motor for plenty of power and battery life. And, while you won’t get the punch of a heavy-duty corded unit, the cordless platform offers the convenience of mobility and maneuverability.

Several other features make the 2832-20 a solid choice. For instance, there’s an adjustable front grip, dual-LED work light, and a universal hose adapter for dust control (it also comes with a dust collection bag). Remember that longer run times require larger amp-hour batteries, and they can get pretty heavy during all-day projects.


  • Cordless design allows users to take it anywhere without an extension cord
  • Brushless motor creates plenty of power for most sanding needs
  • Variable speeds with a max speed of 1350 feet per minute


  • Larger batteries that it might require might make it heavy to use 
WEN 7-Amp 3 in. x 21 in. Corded Belt Sander 6321

WEN 7-Amp 3 in. x 21 in. Corded Belt Sander 6321

  • Type: Handheld
  • Belt Size: 3×21
  • Power: 7 amps

DIYers looking for the best budget belt sanders should consider the WEN 6321. This model features a 3-inch-wide belt that measures 21 inches long. The sander’s 7-amp electric motor and 780-fpm belt speed are hardly mindblowing. But, in making our decision, we balanced both value and performance.

Given that it’s made of plastic, the 6321 isn’t as durable as many models. That said, this construction does result in a feathery 6-pound weight, making it a great (and affordable) DIY option. However, the dust port is square which will be difficult to adapt a dust collection system to, but it does come with a bag.


  • Extremely affordable price point makes it a great value
  • Compact and lightweight design, weighing just six pounds


  • Most of the construction consists of plastic parts
  • Square dust port isn’t compatible with dust collection
ingersoll Rand 360 Series Pneumatic Belt Sanders

Ingersoll Rand 360 Series Pneumatic Belt Sanders

  • Type: Handheld
  • Belt Sizes: .39×13 (313); .5×18 (418)
  • Power: Pneumatic

If your work involves an array of applications that require belt sanders, then chances are you can benefit from having a mini model. And, interestingly, there are pneumatic variations available. For this category, we like the Ingersoll Rand 360 Series. The lineup includes two models – the 360-313, and the 360-418.

Over the years, we’ve covered plenty of Ingersoll Rand equipment, from cordless ratchets and hammer drills to high-torque impact wrenches and engraving pens. Generally, our experiences with the brand have been positive. In this case, the nice thing about the 360 Series is that it’s ideal for quick sanding jobs or for addressing surfaces in tight spaces. It’s great for removing burrs and spot welds and for buffing out small spots in intricate metal or wood projects.

If you’re wondering whether you should choose the 313 or the 418, here’s the answer. Aside from a few minor differences, they’re essentially the same. Specifically, the 313 has a belt length of .39 x 13 inches and weighs 2.29 lbs. The 418 has a belt that’s .5 x 18 inches, and it weighs 2.4 lbs. However, both have belts speeds of 4,700 sfpm.


  • Affordable
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Ideal for quick tasks and intricate work in small spaces


  • Construction is not exceptionally robust (but, admittedly, we’re being nit-picky here considering its intricate applications)

Our Process and the Nitty Gritty

Why Trust Pro Tool Reviews

Ever check out a “review” site and you can’t tell if they actually tested the product or if they’re just “recommending” the Amazon top sellers? That’s not us. We won’t recommend anything unless we’d actually use it ourselves, and we don’t care who the primary retailer is. It’s all about giving you a legitimate recommendation and our honest opinion of each product.

Since 2008, Pro Tool Reviews has provided in-depth tool reviews, buying guides, how-to articles, and industry news in the construction and lawn care industries. We focus on professionals in the trades and our writers have the skills and experience to know whether a tool or accessory will hold up on the jobsite.

Each year, we bring in and review more than 250 individual products. Additionally, our team will put their hands on hundreds more tools at media events and trade shows throughout the year. If I recommend a work boot, that means I’d wear it myself (and perhaps I or one of our staff already does!)

How We Picked the Best Belt Sanders

A lot went into choosing this list of the best belt sanders. These powerful tools serve specific purposes, and we wanted to ensure that whichever models we suggest stand up to the rigors of a workshop, renovation project, or anything else our readers could throw at it. 

First, we dove into the features we knew DIYers and pros might need. Then, we performed hours of research to find models we felt had the right features and could meet our criteria. After that, we compared power, speed, and pricing to ensure that each model offered enough value. The models that passed our criteria were given awards based on their strengths. 

Other Recommendations from Brands We Trust

DeWalt 20V Max XR Belt Sander DCW220B

DeWalt 20V Max XR DCW220B

Whether you’re a Pro or a serious DIYer, DeWalt’s tools are generally worth considering. We think this position applies to the 20V Max XR Cordless Belt Sander. In addition to Milwaukee’s 2832, the DCW220B gives you another battery option to think about.

DeWalt equipped this tool with a high-efficiency brushless motor. From what they tell us, this component, combined with a 5.0Ah 20V Max battery should give you Pro-grade performance. Some of the standout features include a dust collection system (that functions at 95% efficiency), as well as a variable speed trigger and 25-speed selection dial.


  • Type: Handheld
  • Belt Size: 3×21
  • Power: 20V Max Battery (Not included)


  • Offers the portability of cordless
  • Brushless motor
  • Respectable belt size


  • A tad heavy at 9 lbs

Ryobi Corded Belt and Disc Sander BD4601G

ryobi corded belt and disc sander BD4601G

While Ryobi is still prominently positioned within the DIY market, the quality of their gear indicates upward mobility – certainly from my experience, anyway. For example, several models in their battery-powered riding mower lineup are giving competitors a run for their money. They have a couple of compelling options when it comes to belt sanders, as well. However, we think the brand’s belt and disc sander combo is the best pick of the two (there’s also a 3 x 18 in corded handheld – the BE319).

The BD4601G won out thanks primarily to its size and versatility in detailed woodworking. This 120V stationary model features a 4 x 36 in. belt and a 6-in. disc. For enhanced accessibility, you can position the sanding bed vertically or horizontally (0 to -90 degrees). We also like the steel base for added stability.


  • Type: Benchtop
  • Belt size: 4×36 in
  • Disc size: 6 in
  • Power: 4.3 amps


  • Belt and disc options
  • Plenty of adjustment capability
  • Reasonably priced


  • Light on power

Grizzly Industrial Knife Grinder, Sander, and Buffer G1015

Grizzly Industrial Knife Grinder, Sander, and Buffer G1015

Knifemakers looking for a quality belt sander should check out the Grizzly G1015 Knife Grinder, Sander, and Buffer. This model features a 2-inch-wide belt that’s 72 inches long, spinning at speeds up to 3600 FPM, allowing it to grind burrs, sharpen edges, and shape metal quickly and easily. The body is cast iron, making it durable and stable when placed on a benchtop. 

Two areas are ideal for knifemaking work. The rest at the front of the unit allows for a stable surface for grinding, and the 9-inch platen behind the belt prevents the belt from flapping and stretching during use. It’s also worth mentioning that this model can also be fitted with a grinding or polishing wheel. The downside is that there isn’t a port to connect dust collection.


  • Type: Benchtop
  • Belt Size: 2×72
  • Power: 14 amps (1 horsepower)


  • Long belt stays cooler and sharper while grinding tough materials
  • Capable of being fitted with a grinding or polishing wheel
  • Powerful 14-amp motor is suitable for heavy-duty tasks


  • No dust collection hook-up 

Metabo HPT Belt Sander SB8V2

Metabo HPT SB8V2

Metabo HPT’s SB8V2 is a great option for anyone looking for a high-quality handheld belt sander. This sander features a relatively compact design and weighs just 9.5 pounds, making it easy to handle for all-day sanding. It also features a clamp-on dust collection bag to remove particles before they can become airborne as well as toolless belt changes.

The Metabo HPT SB8V2 uses a 3-inch-wide belt that measures 21 inches long, and it’s powered by a 9-amp motor. The SB8V2 also features variable speeds with five settings up to 1475 feet per minute (though the adjustment knob is in an awkward position). This sander’s design allows it to sand flush against a wall or corner, making it a great option for detailed work as well as floor sanding.


  • Type: Handheld
  • Belt Size: 3×21
  • Power: 9 amps


  • Lightweight and relatively compact design for all-day sanding comfort
  • Variable speeds with 5 settings up to 1,475 feet per minute
  • Design allows it to sand up along walls and corners


  • Speed control knob at the bottom of the handle in an awkward location

Rikon 6″ x 48″ Belt / 10″ Disc Sander 50-120

Rikon 6" x 48" Belt / 10" Disc Sander 50-120

When it comes to outfitting a woodworking workshop with an affordable but high-quality belt sander, Rikon’s 50-120 is near the top. This model features a 6-inch-wide belt that provides a lot of surface area for sanding boards and joints to a flush, smooth finish. It also has an automatic belt tensioning system to keep the belt securely in place while running. There is also a 10-amp motor to power the belt as well as the 10-inch sanding disc, and a dust collection port for connecting to the shop’s system. 

This model features a removable support fence on the belt sander for safety and stability as well as a rest with an angle guide for the disc sander. These anchor points provide the perfect base for carefully manipulating woodworking pieces to get the best possible finish. It also has a durable cast iron base, but the combination weighs 87 pounds, so this model is more likely to live on a bench than be stored away when it’s not in use.


  • Type: Benchtop
  • Belt Size: 6×48
  • Power: 4.3 amps


  • Stable platform with cast iron base for smooth, consistent sanding
  • Automatic belt tensioning spring ensures the belt stays put
  • Built-in disc sander with rest for fine-tuning


  • It’s very heavy (87 pounds), so it will likely live on the bench

Things to Consider When Buying a Belt Sander

Before just buying the first belt sander on sale, it’s important to know a few things about these tools. The following are some of the most important factors to consider when shopping for the best belt sander. 

Types of Belt Sanders

Handheld Belt Sanders

Handheld belt sanders are portable tools with powerful motors. They’re heavy and feature two handles to help users keep a secure grip. However, they’re excellent for quickly removing finish from large objects like furniture or the edges of a hardwood floor. They’re also handy for scribing boards or sanding the edges of doors to fit properly.

Stationary Belt Sanders

Stationary belt sanders are larger tools that stand on the floor in a workshop. They generally have larger belts than handheld models, and they either sit atop a cabinet or a set of legs. These models are generally heavy-duty and excellent for woodworking and refinishing smaller items that the user can hold while sanding.

Benchtop Belt Sanders

Benchtop belt sanders fall in between handheld models and stationary models. These models are usually heavy-duty belt sanders, but they need to be portable enough to fit on a benchtop or store away when they’re not in use. For this reason, they’re generally smaller than a stationary sander but heavier than a portable model. 

Power and Size

Motor Power

When it comes to electric belt sanders, power is typically labeled by amperage, or amps. This refers to how much power the motor draws. The higher the amperage, the more powerful the tool. For portable belt sanders, 6 to 7 amps may be sufficient, but 8 to 9-amp models are better for heavy-duty use. For benchtop and stationary models, 10 to 15 amps is ideal. 

Keep in mind that there are cordless models, as well, and their power output is determined by voltage rather than amperage. Common systems include 18, 20, and 36-volt battery systems. 

Belt Size

Belt sizes can be tricky, as they come in various widths and lengths. Common widths include 2, 3, or 4 inches. Common lengths include 18, 21, 24, and 36 inches, with other various sizes available as well. The larger the belt, the more material the sander can remove at once. The smaller the belt, the easier the sander will be to control.

Speed Control

Speed control can also be a concern. Most models are not adjustable, however, some models have adjustable speed dials built in, allowing users to choose how fast the belt spins and, subsequently, how much material the belt sander will remove.  It’s important to note that larger belt sanders will generally have slower maximum speeds, as their larger belts remove a lot of material even at low speeds. 

Dust Collection and Filtration

Dust Bag vs. Dust Port

There are two main dust control options: a dust port or a dust bag. The bag attaches directly to the other sander and does its best to catch all of the dust that the sander creates. This is excellent for portability’s sake, but they’re not as effective as connecting a dust collection system to the dust port and using suction to remove the dust. 

Durability and Build Quality

Materials Used

A lot of a tool’s durability comes down to the materials used in its construction. Tools that are primarily plastic will be lighter-duty and less durable than those that use heavier-duty materials. When it comes to stout materials, look for tools made with cast iron, aluminum, and steel. But, it’s important to note that most tools will have at least some plastic parts to save money and weight. 


It’s also worth considering the tool’s warranty period. Some tools may offer 90-day warranties, which don’t necessarily bode well for their longevity. Others might cover the tool for a year or up to 3 years, depending on the manufacturer. 

Limited lifetime warranties also exist, which means that the tool will be covered under warranty if the user met certain criteria during ownership. For example, the tool must not have gotten wet. These warranties also won’t cover wear and tear damage.

Price Range and Budget

Entry-Level vs. Professional Models

Prices for belt sanders can range from around $100 to well over $1,000. Freestanding, stationary models can be even more. Tools with entry-level price tags are generally less durable but can serve the purpose without a big investment.

Pro-grade tools are much more expensive but they’re designed to last much longer than entry-level tools. Pro tools can often be serviced and repaired as well. 

Value for Money

There is a value proposition to consider. The best tools for the job aren’t always the most expensive, and this is true with belt sanders. If a belt sander can do the job, but contains some plastic parts, doesn’t boast of big power, and doesn’t carry a major brand name, it might still offer enough value for the money to be worth it. Conversely, a very expensive tool might be the best belt sander on the market, but if the user only needs it to sand the edge of a door quickly, the expense is certainly not worth it. 

Common Uses of Belt Sanders

Belt sanders are great for removing material, but they’re not just for sanding wood or removing polyurethane and stain from hardwood flooring. Here are some of the best ways to use a belt sander.

Woodworking Applications

Smoothing and Shaping Wood

Belt sanders can be great for smoothing rough wood. When sanding with the grain, they can remove wood fibers and rough textures quickly. Progressively moving to finer grit sandpaper can result in a very smooth surface.

Belt sanders can also be used to shape wood to contours. They can be used to create a bowl shape in the seat of a wooden chair or to scribe a panel to fit the contour of a wall. Furthermore, if a woodworking joint is slightly askew, a belt sander can quickly knock the edges down to create a flat joint.

Removing Paint and Varnish

Belt sanders can easily remove paint and varnish from materials like wood and metal. The uni-directional nature of the belt quickly cuts through the finish and removes it. This is a chemical-free alternative to paint stripper—a major plus for some folks.

Finishing and Polishing

Belt sanders can be used to remove scratches and scuffs in metal and other materials. This can help prepare woodwork for finishing, or polish metal to a bright, shiny finish. Watchmakers and knifemakers often use them to create the base polish before finishing with a polishing wheel. 

Metalworking Applications

Grinding and Deburring

Belt sanders can quickly remove burrs and rough edges from cut metal. They simply place the cut edge against the spinning belt and allow the belt to grind down the edges. 

Surface Preparation

Users can also prep the surface of metal materials for paint or other finishing techniques. A belt sander can help remove oils and other impurities from the surface of the metal, creating a clean slate for primer, paint, anodizing, chroming, and other finishing treatments. 

DIY Home Improvement

Refinishing Furniture

The most tedious aspect of restoring and refinishing furniture is removing the finish, whether it be the paint covering the wood or the stain soaked into it. Belt sanders can do a great job of removing these materials quickly. They’re not ideal for tight, detailed areas, but they can make quick work of wider swaths.

Restoring Floors

Before a floor can be restored to its former glory, all of the existing finish, grime, and gunk needs to be removed. The best tool for this job is a floor sanding machine, but when it comes to small repairs or getting into areas where a sanding machine won’t fit, a belt sander is just the ticket. 

Safety Considerations When Using a Belt Sander

Belt sanders are powerful machines and they can make quite a mess. Safe operation is a must.

Protective Gear

Safety Glasses and Respirators

Airborne dust and particles are some of the chief concerns when sanding. To protect themselves, users should wear safety glasses to keep debris out of their eyes and dust respirators to keep dust out of their airways and lungs.

Hearing Protection

Belt sanders are loud, sometimes reaching 90 dBA at top speed. Users need to protect their hearing against these tools. Ear plugs and ear muffs are good options. Look for products that reduce the decibel level by at least 20 dBA to fall into the safe range while sanding.

Operating Safely

Proper Belt Tension

Ensure that the belt tension is set correctly. In most cases, this means simply ensuring that the belt release lever is completely seated. If the belt continues to slide side to side, check that lever. If it continues, you might need to increase the tension on the adjustment knob (usually on the side of the sander) to ensure that it has the proper amount of tension to keep the belt securely in place. 

Avoiding Kickback

For wide belt sanders used in cabinet shops, material can kick back at the user. This happens if the feed belt is covered with dust. To prevent this, always run dust collection and ensure that the belt stays clean. 

Also, for sanders with exposed drums (often used for sanding in tight confines, touching the material with the “nose” of the sander (the top of the front sanding drum), the front of the sander can kick back at the user. To prevent this, users should keep any nose guards in place, use two hands when sanding, and avoid touching the material with the top of the sanding drum. 

Maintenance and Inspection

Cleaning and Lubricating

Keeping belt sanders as dust-free as possible is a major concern. Users should use compressed air to blow any dust build-up out of their belt sanders, including the ventilation grill for the motor and any other small holes in the housing. 

Most of the bearings in modern belt sanders are sealed, which makes lubrication difficult. But, a few drops of penetrating oil on the bearing can help quiet them down and keep them cool. Just be sure to wipe off any excess lubricant so it doesn’t stain any exposed material while sanding.

Checking for Wear and Tear

Be sure to inspect the belt sander for any wear and tear. This means checking the cord for breakage or fraying, as well as the belt drums for rips, breaks, or missing material. Also check for broken levers, switches, or dials before use. These items may be covered under warranty, but otherwise, it may be better to replace the sander. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Belt Sanders

What Are the Different Grits for Sanding Belts?

There are several different grits for sanding belts. They include 40, 60, 80, 100, 120, 150, 240, 320, 400, 600, 800, and 1,000 grit. 

How Do I Replace a Sanding Belt?

  1. Unplug the sander
  2. Turn the sander upside down so the belt is facing the ceiling
  3. Open the belt release lever
  4. Slide the belt off the sander
  5. Use compressed air to blow any residual dust out of the sander
  6. Slide the new belt onto the sander, centering it in place
  7. Close the tension release lever

Can I Use a Belt Sander on Metal?

Yes, belt sanders can be used on metal. They’re often used to sharpen and repair knives, remove finish, and polish metal.

What Safety Precautions Should I Take?

There are three pieces of safety equipment that you should use with a belt sander. They are eye protection, hearing protection, and a dust mask. Also, be sure to check the belt sander for wear and tear before each use. 

Are Belt Sanders Suitable for Beginners?

Belt sanders can be very aggressive so users need to be careful when using a belt sander in order not to remove too much material too quickly. In most cases, a new user can get used to their new sander in a day or so. 

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