The best belt sander should fill a variety of use niches, including heavy sanding and light polishing. The motor has to supply enough energy that the tool will not bog down during use, but a powerful motor also needs to be adjusted for light work, so variable controls are essential for everyday use. This list of top-rated belt sanders is rounded out by a dual-sanding system that gives you more performance, because a belt sander can’t do every sanding job alone.
The Makita 9903 is our pick for best belt sander for jobs that require a high degree of performance. The high speed motor will provide anywhere from 690 to 1440 feet per second of belt spin, and includes an auto tracking mechanism to prevent the belt from working itself off. For situations that require a lot of movement, such as sanding a floor, the Makita includes a 16 foot cord that allows you do the entire room from a single outlet. A little debris on a freshly sanded work area can be a problem, which is why this model includes a cloth dust bag to reduce the cleanup.
Makita produces some of our favorite power tools, and the 9903 is a great example of how they earned the reputation as one of the best tool manufacturers today. The sander is built job site tough, and the only major complaint that surfaces again and again is the weight of the unit, regardless of the fact that the weight of the tool is actually a plus in heavy sanding environments. Built for heavy use, this unit will work well on everything from household furniture refinishing to heavy duty floor or metal sanding.
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The Hitachi SB8V2 is a little more powerful than our top belt sander, with a variable speed belt spin ranging from 820 to 1475 feet per second. It features a few innovative advancements, including the elastomer grips and the time saving tracking window that lets you know the belt is riding true. To prevent muscle fatigue, the soft grip coating on the handles provides you with an easy, comfortable grip that outperforms competitors.
Because of the weight and design, this unit may be difficult to get the hang of initially, but remember that it is a heavy duty tool designed for more experienced users, so that learning curve may slow down beginners.
The WEN 6502 is an excellent belt sander for stationary use. It features a heavy duty motor which controls the 36 inch belt, but there is also a built-in 6-Inch Disc Sander that is powered by the same motor. The belt can be adjust from 0 to 90 degrees tilt for increased usability, and the cast iron base will hold the sander in place for long material handling or extended tasks.
On long projects, the tilt of the belt can be locked in place with the special set screw and included allen wrench. To help you get more done in less time, the WEN 6502 is built with a tension lever for fast belt changes. WEN has been in business since 1951 and has become recognized as one of the most responsive tool manufacturers of the day. To this end, the company reacts quickly to complaints or problems and seems to take a genuine interest in making every customer a happy one.