Professional Tool Reviews for Pros

Makita Cordless 3/8-Inch Belt Sander Review (XSB01)

Mini belt sander

Makita made a cordless version of their mini belt sander. The Makita cordless 3/8-inch belt sander (XSB01) comes standard with 3/8 x 21-inch belts. Able to get into tight spaces, this tool can sand wood, metal, and plastics extremely fast.


  • Small and lightweight
  • Easy to get into tight spaces
  • Fast material removal
  • Variable speed dial
  • Articulating arm
  • LED light that can be pointed to where you are working


  • No silicon carbide belts are available
  • Dust collection port is unusable

Makita Cordless 3/8-inch Belt Sander Fits In Tight Spaces and Removes Material FAST!

I hate sanding with an oscillating multitool. That’s because I have used Makita’s mini belt sanders in the past, so I know exactly how fast a small sander can actually be. The difference is kind of like the difference between your Dad’s old push mower you used when you were twelve and the Bush Hogs the highway department uses to mow the interstate. The Makita cordless 3/8-inch belt sander is so fast, you should practice on scrap material first. Skip this step and you could ruin your project by removing too much material the first time you use it. It’s a good thing it has a variable speed dial!

This tool erases wood like a magic wand. In art school, we used a 1-1/8-inch corded version of Makita’s mini belt sander to actually carve wood. The 3/8-inch Makita XSB01 cordless mini belt sander will do the same and seems just as powerful, only with cordless convenience. You can use this any time you would normally use a file or rasp to shape wood or metal.

In the photo below, I carved the handle of my wooden joiner’s mallet with a rasp and file to fit my hand. I would much rather have used Makita’s cordless 3/8″ belt sander if I had one at the time.

Makita XSB01 Belt Sander
When I built my traditional joiner’s mallet, I carved the handle with a rasp and file. I would have loved to have had Makita’s mini belt sander instead

Optional Narrow and Wider Belt Arms

Both 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch arms are available as optional accessories if you need to get into tighter areas or need a wider belt. Makita makes aluminum oxide belts. These are great for wood, metal, and plastics.

Pro tip: Aluminum clogs aluminum oxide belts very quickly. Rub beeswax on the spinning belts. This acts as a lubricant and prevents the aluminum from clogging the belt.

In art school, we used the 1-1/8-inch corded version of this sander with silicon carbide belts to sand marble and other stone. I looked everywhere on the Internet for 3/8 x 21-inch silicon carbide belts. No one seems to make this size. That means—at least for now—you can only use the Makita cordless 3/8-inch belt sander for wood, metal, and plastics. Hopefully, that will change in the future as this would be a fantastic tool for anyone installing countertops.

Makita sanding belts
Makita 3/8 X 21-inch aluminum oxide belts are available in 40, 60, 80, 100, and 120 grits. 1/4 and 1/2-inch arms and belts are also available

Sanding Metal

When cutting metal pipe or tubing with a torch, the side closest to the torch cuts clean. The inside is always a huge mess and often needs to be cleaned out. The Makita cordless 3/8-inch belt sander is the perfect tool for doing this in all but the largest stock. It is also great for cleaning up welds.

Most metal workers will instantly understand why they need one of these the first time they see one in action. Yes, using an angle grinder with a flap disk might be faster. However, this tool gets into places the grinder cannot. It’s also much safer and quieter than a grinder.

Metal tube
Cleaning up the inside of a metal pipe or a square tubing is a perfect use of the Makita 3/8″ Cordless Belt Sander. Many times an angle or die grinder is too large to fit, but a mini belt sander is perfect.
W.carter, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Adjusting the Angle of Attack

One of the best features of the Makita XSB01 mini belt sander is the various angle you can adjust the arm. With the flick of a lever, you can angle in from a straight tool to 90 degrees. It folds up even further than 90 degrees but that is only for storage/transportation.

Makita even thought to make the LED light tilt so you can point it in the direction you’re working. The side handle cannot be relocated to the other side of the tool. It is either on or off.

Dust Collection – My Only Complaint

On paper, the Makita XSB01 cordless 3/8” belt sander has a dust port. In reality. It does not. The dust port needs an adapter to fit a dust extractor. I ordered one. It arrived.

Insert heavy sigh here.

If you have played the dust extractor/shop vac game you know what I am about to say. Makita makes a dust port that needs an adaptor.

Unfortunately, the adaptor needs an adaptor.

No one makes an adaptor to connect this thing, or the first adaptor, to a dust extractor!

At this point, I own every adaptor made. The only solution to hook it up to anything is extremely unwieldy and if I let go, it will fall out. One day perhaps a standard size will come along! A much better solution would be a small, thin 36-inch hose that would go from the tool directly into a dust extractor—like maybe the one Makita makes! Just a suggestion.

Makita XSB01 belt sander Dust Port
The only negative thing I have to say about the otherwise great Makita XSB01 sander is the clunky dust port that needs an adaptor for the adaptor

Makita Cordless 3/8″ Belt Sander Price

Makita’s mini belt sander is available as a bare tool for $279 or as a kit with a charger and two 5.0 amp batteries for $479. On the surface that may seem expensive. However, there is nothing on the market in Makita’s class. A few other manufacturers make tools that appear to be similar but they do not have the power and performance of the Makita.

In art school, the corded version could withstand the daily use of multiple art students sanding stone for hours. The build quality of the cordless version appears to be the same standard. The warranty is three years.

Makita XSB01 Conclusion

If you are a welder or metal worker, this is a no-brainer. You are going to want this. I recently built the display below for the Polk Museum of Art and found the Makita Cordless 3/8” Belt Sander to be a fantastic tool to help me fit the buttons, shape the channels for the power cables and electronics, and the vent in the back. It was a huge help, and I used it more than I thought I would. I think any serious woodworker, cabinetmaker, or installer could make use of this tool.

Makita Cordless 3/8” Belt Sander Specifications

  • Model XSB01
  • 3/8 X 21-inch belt Standard – Optional 1/4 X 21-inch belt, and 1/2 x 21-inch belt
  • 4-5/16-inch working sanding lenght
  • Brushless motor
  • 18V
  • Electric break
  • LED Light
  • Variable speed control dial (1,960 – 5,600 ft./min.)
  • Dust port
  • Price: $279 (bare tool), $479 (kit)

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C. Mango

Hi Gregory,
I bought this tool recently and noticed out of the box that the arm that holds the belt is not exactly parallel to the housing. It extends out at a slight angle and I think is resulting in bad tracking. Could you confirm that the arm should extend exactly straight on your test model? Thanks!


Nice write up. Re abrasives: While you’re waiting for Makita to expand their abrasives offerings, an option is to order some custom belts. One person commenting online elsewhere said he was able to get some custom ceramic 3/8 x 21″ belts for roughly one dollar each from Sparky Abrasives in MN.

Last edited 11 months ago by Ken

what kind of runtime did the battery produce?

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