Best Belt Sander Reviews 2017 – 2018

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As far as the sanding world is concerned, belt sanders are the kings of the jungle, or at least the big, powerful gorillas of the wild. Why is this article using that particular comparison? It’s because like a gorilla or a lion, it makes quick work of your project for good or for ill. It can save you a lot of time or completely destroy your workpiece and delay your woodworking endeavors instead of hasten it depending on how well you use a sander.

Before looking for the best belt sander that money can buy, you should know how to handle a sander first. Keep on reading so that you can make this wild and out-of-control ape do exactly as you want it to without it running amok. Belt sanders can be frustrating to use.

However, once you figure out how to use them, it’s all smooth sailing from there. You’ll be able to sand multiple materials in the shortest amount of time by picking the right sander and learning how to best use it.

Remember, these tools are known as multiuse or versatile equipment. Their applications are myriad as many belt sander reviews would point out, and they include freehand shaping and rounding, leveling surfaces like replacement board to a hardwood floor, sanding rough patches, and trimming to a scribed line. Even the coarsest grits are no match against the sanding capabilities of the belt sander. Wood removal is also a breeze with this power tool. They’ll make short work of most any material in ways than a vibrating or orbital sander could not.

PictureModelEditor RatingsOur Review
Black & Decker DS321 (4.4 / 5)
151+ Reviews
Our Review
Hitachi SB8V2 Variable Speed Belt Sander (4.4 / 5)
72+ Reviews
Our Review
Makita 9403 Belt Sander (4.8 / 5)
132+ Reviews
Our Review
Black & Decker BR318 Belt Sander (4.1 / 5)
74+ Reviews
Our Review
Makita 9903 Variable Speed Belt Sander (4.8 / 5)
157+ Reviews
Our Review
PORTER-CABLE 362V Belt Sander (4.7 / 5)
42+ Reviews
Our Review
Ridgid R2720 3-Inch X 21-Inch Belt Sander (3.6 / 5)
13+ Reviews
Our Review

Best Belt Sanders Reviews

Black & Decker DS321 Belt Sander

For less than $100, you can get your own Black & Decker DS321 Dragster Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag. During time trials, its personal worst in sanding course and tough material to perfect smoothness was three minutes and twenty-four seconds. Meanwhile, its personal best is two minutes and forty-four seconds.

The Black & Decker DS321 is a definite mainstay when it comes to the best belt sanders around because of its undeniable ability and consistency when it comes to sanding out various materials. It might not be as fast as the Hitachi SB 8V2, but this 7-amp, 6.9-pound sander still packs a great punch at a cost-effective price regardless.

Its specific gifts include vibration-free sanding (which is impressive for a seven-amp motor) and tenacious dust collection. Meanwhile, its front handle offers complete control of the linear sander power tool and enables you to adjust its power and sanding intensity without getting an extra tool to help you out with it.

Indeed, many reviews are impressed by all its quality specs. However, it does have several things going against it. Craftsman and Hitachi use up less energy yet offers more power than a Black & Decker. The results from the DS321 Dragster are satisfactory, but it takes several minutes more to get there. See the detailed Black & Decker DS321 Review

Hitachi SB8V2 Variable Speed Belt Sander

There’s not much bad that can be said of the Hitachi SB8V2 Variable Speed Belt Sander. It can smoothen out surfaces within a 1:56 at its slowest and 1:14 at its quickest. It weighs around 10.2 pounds, uses up to 9 amps of power. There’s not much to say or dislike about the Hitachi SB 8V2.

This Hitachi offering isn’t just one of the best belt sanders around. It could very well be the best sander overall in this category thanks to its sanding speed. Simply put, it won over construction workers everywhere with how powerful and accurate it is when it comes to smoothening out surfaces without creating gouge marks on the material afterward.

The Hitachi SB8V2 showcases its abilities in various surfaces because it has a variable speed dial on the base of its handle that enables the user to dial back its sanding speed so that it won’t ruin what it’s sanding.

As you get better at using this appliance, this belt sander review is confident that you’ll be able to master the device and avoid ruining the things you sand, thus you end up with perfectly sanded items that normally take hours to smoothen out get cleaned up in minutes or a little over a minute. Aside from its various applications, it also has a soft grip sub and main handles that give you complete ergonomic control of the power tool. See the detailed Hitachi SB8V2 Review.

 Makita 9403 Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag

Makita 9403 Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag is a worthwhile purchase for woodworkers everywhere because of all its important specs. For one thing, it operates at only 84 decibels, making it the quietest belt sander in its class. For another thing, this 4-inch-wide belt ensures fast material removal with its 1,640 per minute speed.

Furthermore, you can always count on the Makita 9403 because it cares enough about operator comfort to have a large ergonomically designed front grip with prime positioning and overall function. Makita also trusts the longevity of the Makita 9403 with its one year warranty.

The Makita 9403 is ensured to last until at least a year, or you can get a refund or a replacement depending on the policies and conditions of the warranty. This 13-pound belt sander powerhouse might be one of those tools you’ll seldom use, but when you are in need of it, you can’t substitute it with anything else.

It’s the only thing that can remove significant amounts of stock post-haste. The Makita 9403 Belt Sander is one of the most powerful and efficient sanders you can get your hands on that you’d want to buy for other reasons as well, such as its easy belt change and amazing belt tracking. It’s no one trick pony of a belt sander, to be sure. Read the detailed Makita 9403 Review.

Black & Decker BR318 Belt Sander

There are many reasons to buy your own Black & Decker BR318 Belt Sander, chief among the facts that it can fit into tight spaces, it’s 13% narrower compared to the competition, it sands twice close to the edge of adjoining surfaces to ensure a closer and smoother fit every time, and its dust bag is quite easy to empty.

Arguably, the main claim to fame that the Black & Decker BR318 has is its comfortable front handle design, which is always a high priority among belt sander enthusiasts, woodworkers, and metalworkers who are in need of an efficient sander that they can control properly without damaging their hands.

The Black & Decker BR318 has always been a belt sander favorite because it’s lighter than even several lightweight Black & Decker sander models and has a low profile front roller that allows you to sand close into tight spots with ease. It can be tricky to maneuver the sander, but its design allows for the right amount of flexibility for most sanding-related circumstances. What’s more, this newer roller is an improved design from earlier B&D models in that the rollers are slightly above the sanding pad, which reduces unnecessary and unusable sanding area, limiting it to the areas where actual belt sanding can take place. Read the detailed Black & Decker BR318 review here

Makita 9903 Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag

With a very affordable price tag, the Makita is able to compete with these powerful belt sanders by offering loads of benefits and quality specs. The Makita 9903 Variable Speed Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag proves itself to be a close competitor of fellow Japanese power tool manufacturer Hitachi in terms of results.

Its best time was a minute and forty seconds and its worst time was two minutes and thirty seconds. What this means is that unlike the “inefficient” Ridgid R2720, the Makita 9903 makes more use of its 8.8-amps for its motor. You’ll also get to operate it comfortably due to the ergonomic design of its front grip and its handy long 16-feet power cord that allows you to sand all over your site.

Simply put the Makita 9903 is a high-performance belt sander known for its convenience, accuracy, and efficiency. It even comes complete with a dust collection bag, an auto-tracking belt system, and the standard variable speed control dial that allows you match the speed of your belt sander with the surface you’re clearing up.

Makita’s 3 x 21-Inch Belt Sander is a great marriage between speed and power. Although in terms of cost it’s only outdone by Ridgid R2720 or the PORTER-CABLE 362V, it proves its value by being versatile and consistent enough for use by general contractors, deck builders, floor installers, furniture makers, carpenters, and woodworkers. It’s the choice of the pros, making it one of the best-in-class belt sanders out there that deserve a place in this cream-of-the-crop list. Read the detailed Makita 9903 Belt Sander review.

Porter-Cable 362V

Priced at between $200 and $230, the PORTER-CABLE 362V Variable Speed Belt Sander is a more pricey offering in this list that matches the price range of Ridgid R2720. As for the time trials, its best time was 1:48 and its worst time was 2:30.

It’s not among the fastest of the bunch, but it certainly made it in this review nonetheless for being fast enough to count as an excellent example of a premium-grade belt sander. It suffers from the same shortcomings as Ridgid seeing that it has a 12-amp motor yet it’s outdone by Hitachi’s 9-amp offering. Then again, Hitachi beats just about every sander in this article anyway.

Regardless, the all-metal and durable Porter-Cable 362V still has a lot going for it in terms of a balanced design (such as locating the motor over the plate to make it more convenient to do your sanding jobs). It has the requisite variable speed dial that’s placed in the handle and you can easily adjust in order to make gouge-free sanding results every time.

What’s more, your belt adjustment for this powerhouse ranges from 1,000 to 1,500 SFPM. You can use it for flush sanding of both vertical and horizontal surfaces to boot. With such a powerful motor, it is possible for you to sand through more heavy duty material without worrying about damaging the sander itself. Read the detail reviews of the Porter Cable 362V Belt Sander.

Ridgid R2720 Belt Sander

Although the Ridgid R2720 Belt Sander is a tad on the expensive side, it still performs its duty impressively when everything is said and done. During a time trial on how fast the Ridgid’s belt sander can sand away surfaces, its best time was 1:39 and its worst time is 2:54 seconds, which means it’s quite the decent catch for a hefty 11.3-pound power tool that consumes 10 amps of power during every use.

On that note, it’s one of the more aggressive sanders you’ll ever get your hands on, but you’ll always be in full control thanks to its soft-start trigger. You’ll most certainly appreciate its vacuum-like dust collection as well.

On the right side of the Ridgid belt sander, it has a true flush-sanding ability as well. However, even with the ensured power and cleanliness of the Ridgid R2720, it does have its respective drawbacks.

For something so expensive and powerful, it’s kind of limited in what it offers in terms of results. It’s not living up to its full potential and you’re not really getting the most value for your dollar. It’s not worth every penny if other comparable belt sanders that weigh less and cost less can smoothen out surfaces much faster than the Ridgid R2720. Its 10-amp motor isn’t being utilized to its fullest capabilities, in short. You can also induce chattering and slippage by simply leaning into the machine. Read the detailed Ridgid R2720 Review

Best Belt Sander Buyer’s Guide

Linear sanding is where it’s at when it comes to the belt sander. The fact that you can smoothen out surfaces using what looks like the power tool version of a clothes iron gives it an edge against vibrating and orbital sanders. You’ll get good-looking results every time you sand with the grain of your wooden surface even against the coarsest grits.

That’s what you should be on the lookout for when choosing the right belt sander among this seven top picks by this article. Even though time trials have been conducted on each of these sanders, it cannot beat out you having to test the sanders and see the results yourself, so take the time trials with a grain of salt and use your own experience as the ultimate judge for these power tools.

Admittedly, the belt sander isn’t as essential as a radial arm saw or a nail gun in the homeowner’s arsenal. Nevertheless, even if it’s considered the egg beater of the power tool field and you’d rather save money by investing in sand paper and patience instead, many DIY enthusiasts have this in their toolbox (just like many kitchens probably still have an egg beater included in their pantry or utensil holders).

A good multipurpose belt should have at least a belt that’s three inches wide. If the machine has narrower or wider belts, then they’re made for specific tasks (like sanding wooden floors or corroded steel). Large sanders have 3 by 24-inch belts, midsized sanders have 3 by 21-inch belts, and smaller sanders have 3 by 18-inch belts.

Conclusion

The ultimate tool for the job that’s recommended by this review is the Hitachi SB8V2 followed by the Craftsman 315.117261 by virtue of time trial results and (lack of) drawbacks when everything is said and done. They’re even the most cost-effective choices around, with Craftsman being the cheaper of the two yet offering similar results and proving itself to be almost a five-star power tool had it a better dust collection scheme. The SB8V2 is the standard that all other belt sanders strive to live by. The rest of the tools vary in terms of price, motor efficiency, and even speed in the time trial. However, they can be outdone in terms of application, motor amp, and belt size.

Some can outdo Hitachi in terms of their best time, but the SB8V2 is more consistent with its end result even at its worst time. Many of the more expensive tools are the bigger ones with high-amp motors as well. At any rate, if you wish to purchase Hitachi or Craftsmen alternatives, the rest of the belt sanders included in this article are there to suit your needs. Just remember that in terms of belt size, the larger tools are best used for smoothing out wide surfaces (like a floor or a wall, for example), while the smaller ones are for DIY or woodworking and crafts applications. The smallest and most lightweight sanders of the bunch are perfect for scribing and shaping.

Just remember that in terms of belt size, the larger tools are best used for smoothing out wide surfaces (like a floor or a wall, for example), while the smaller ones are for DIY or woodworking and crafts applications. The smallest and most lightweight sanders of the bunch are perfect for scribing and shaping.

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