If you are a professional woodworker, then you most definitely know the importance of having a belt sander. For some reason, you might also decide to do a bit of home improvement on your own. Well, as long as there is some wood involved, you might need a belt sander to give your work a smooth finish.
There are several sanding tools available in the market for that can be used to smoothen up wooden surfaces. However, the belt sander is still the most commonly used perhaps due to its versatility and efficiency.
They come in different shapes and sizes and are also of different types but what really differentiates them is usually the sanding surface. Anyway, before we look at the different types of belt sanders, Whether you want to get the best orbital sanders or just a good belt sander, let us go ahead and see some of the things you will need to look for.
Things to look for when shopping for a belt sander
Just before you spend your hard earned money on a worthless product, below are a few things you need to consider first.
Well, in as much as sanding doesn’t always need that much power, it is still important to go for a tool that has a powerful motor. You should, therefore, remember to check the amperage.
It always varies with the different machine as some motors have an amperage of 6 Amp which is a bit low compared to others that come with an amperage of 10 Amp. Of course, both will still help you to smoothen your wooden surface but the one with the powerful motor will work with much efficiency hence giving you a better performance.
Have you ever purchased anything in your life without really considering the size? Well, belt sanders also come in different sizes, giving you the option to choose the correct size that suits you. If you want something that will be easier for you to control or handle when in your workshop, go for the smaller sized sanders.
They are usually quite compact and well designed for such tasks. However, if you are working on large scale projects or if you want a good machine that you can use for industrial purposes, the larger sized sanders will be a great choice. Smaller sized sanders will also be an ideal choice when you have to move to different sites or workstations.
Just like for the best orbital sanders, weight also matters when it comes to belt sanders too. This might seem to be quite obvious but it’s a point that most of us are usually not keen on. When you are shopping for any power tool that is going to be handheld while working, then it is always wise to consider the weight.
This is actually very important as it determines the convenience or the general experience you are going to have when using the tool. If the task you want to handle will require you to do an overhead or vertical sanding, then you should for sure pick a lighter tool for easy handling.
Lightweight sanders are also easy to carry from one point to the other as they are quite portable. Anyway, contrary to what many of us might think, heavy sanders are important too. I mean, they wouldn’t be making them if we don’t use them, right?
If you find yourself dealing with a misaligned board and you have to do a horizontal sanding, without any doubt you should reach out for the heavy belt sander. This also depends on the task want to use it for.
There are two types of Sanders when it comes to speed. The variable speed and single speed sander. However, the single speed sander is an old type and as you can see, it might not be a very good choice since you are not able to change its speed.
On the other hand, if you get yourself a variable speed sander, the fact that you will be able to change the speed makes it more efficient for different woodworking projects you might be having. You can also find other belt sanders having only 2 speed settings, high and low.
Others will also let you choose any speed that’s in-between high and low through a simple dial. Choosing a variable speed sander is more advantageous since it can be used on many different materials.
With power tools, you can always expect a bit of some mess after you finish using them and belt sanders are no exception. They often produce a lot of dust when being used thus you need to prepare for some cleaning job afterward.
If you often get too fatigued after sanding and all you want to do is to rest rather than clean up your work area, you will need to go for a machine that has a good dust collection mechanism. There are many of these tools that come with an inbuilt container for collecting the dust.
However, you need to make sure that you choose a machine with a larger dust container to prevent you from wasting your time by emptying it almost every time. Also, there are some other models that can allow you to connect directly to a shop vac. This would be a great choice for a person using the tool more often.
Well, we always want something that is much easy to operate, right? If time is among the things that you value in your work, then you shouldn’t be wasting any, especially when it comes to changing the belt. In short, go for a belt sander that allows for easy replacement of the belt.
While changing the belt, you need to make sure that it is tight enough. You might find other machines having automatic tracking while some come with a knob that you can also use. If your machine doesn’t use any of these, you can also do it manually with a lot of ease.
There are many other things that you can look for if you want to buy yourself a good belt sander, these are just a few of them. You can also decide to go into many details and check for things like the transmission of the machine, the handle, rollers and housing among other things as long as you will be able to find a good machine that will be worth your money. Without any ado, let us now look at some of the best belt sanders we have in the market.
5 Best Belt Sanders
Of course from the name, you can definitely know that this tool has a variable speed setting. With a power of 8.8 Amps, the motor is just powerful enough to give you a great performance. With this power tool, you can be able to regulate the speed of the tool due to the electronic speed control mechanism that it uses.
It is also designed to work with great balance with an extended touch on the base design thus making it possible for you to sand flush back to the wall. if you are looking for a comfortable handling, try this tool as it comes with a well designed front grip just for your convenience.
You also don’t need any special training for you to use this machine, it is much easy to figure it out hence it is considered as one of the best for your woodworking projects. This best performance is also attributed to by the fact that it uses an auto-tracking mechanism which increases the accuracy of the tool. Generally, this is a versatile sander suitable for carpenters or the general contractor.
Variable speed setting.
Has auto-tracking belt mechanism.
Long power cable about 16 ft.
Shorter warranty period.
This is also another good belt sander from Makita. It is relatively larger than the previous machine and this makes it a good choice when dealing with bigger jobs. Even though it is limited to only one speed, it is still fast enough to give you quality results.
Did you say you don’t usually like tools that produces much noise when being used? Well, with this machine, you don’t have to worry about noise as it operates quietly. It is also has a great build design which is solid enough to protect the tool from getting damaged easily.
This means that it is durable and can serve you for a long period of time. It seems like this brand cares much about the comfort of the user when handling their tools. Just like the previous one, this tool also has a large handle to give you a comfortable grip while working.
This machine appears to look very much the same as the one above as they come from the same company. However, they differ in terms of speed and also the fact that one has variable speed. All in all, this tool offers more speed compared to the one above.
Comes with a dust bag.
Longer and wider belt size
A bit expensive
If you just want something that you can use for simple repairs in your shop or just a tool that you can keep at home and pull it out whenever you want to do a bit of home improvement, this right here is your guy.
At only 8.2 pounds, this machine has a motor then runs on 7 Amp worth of power which is just enough to give you 800 ft/min in terms of speed. This machine also comes at an affordable price thus you don’t have to worry about your pockets getting drained.
The tool features a front roller design which makes it possible for you to reach those tough areas. You also don’t have to worry about the handling of the machine as it comes with a handle that can be fixed in three different positions just to give you maximum control over the sander. Also, there is a dust collector attached to the machine just to make sure that you don’t leave a mess at your workstation.
Come with a dust collector.
Retractable 3 position handle.
Not quite powerful.
Has single speed.
User comfort seems to be the real deal with these tools and apparently, no machine does it better than this belt sander. This is because it has a soft elastomer grip on the handle.
Well, it doesn’t just bring offer you comfort, it also ensures a good quality work since it is a variable speed belt sander which means you can be able to adjust the speed to the level suitable for your work.
This tool also uses a V-belt that is really strong and also wear resistant. This means that it can be able to serve you for a long period of time without having to replace it. Weighing around 9.5 lbs, this machine produces speeds of 820 to 1475 ft/min with a 9.0 Amp motor. Additionally, it also has a tracking window and a dust container attached to it. This helps in keeping the environment clean by keeping the dust produced.
Has variable speed settings.
Comes with a 5 year warranty period
Has a tracking window.
A bit difficult to use it on smaller surfaces.
This is also another great belt sander with a variable speed setting just like the one we’ve just seen. It has an 8 Amp motor that can be able to produce speeds of about 390 to 1180 ft/min. As you can see, it also has the lowest speed in this list for the variable belt sanders.
This makes it a better option when you are handling materials that require low speed when sanding. The machine also features a great design that makes it quite versatile hence can be able to reach even the toughest spots.
It also supports a single lever belt change which makes it even more convenient when you want to replace the belt. The handle is made to be adjustable just for maximum comfort. It also uses the auto-tracking system and comes with a dust bag.
Variable speed settings.
A wide speed range.
Uses the auto-tracking mechanism.
Supports quick belt change
The dust bag isn’t made of a good material.
Well, whether you are a professional or not, you should go shopping when you already know what you want to buy. Do your research before to protect yourself from the hungry business persons who might just be interested in your money. Make sure you purchase the correct tool for the right job. As said before, there are things you should be looking for before you buy the machine, if you have no idea, you can contact the professionals and get help first before spending your money on something you might regret purchasing later.