Thanks for taking your time to read our reviews on the best belt sanders that are currently available on the United Kingdom marketplace. We all know that sanding can be a lot of hard work for very little reward. Belt sanders were designed to take a bit of that elbow grease out of a job. They are a pretty straightforward tool but a great idea.
In their most simple form, they are really just a loop of sandpaper that's driven round in a circle by an electric motor. While that sounds very basic, it works extremely well for all types of woodworking.
We would say that this tool will save you hours, if not days, of time over the years. They can easily take off too much material so just be careful with this type of tool. You cant "un-sand" so just be aware of that. These are basically heavy duty tools for the fast removal of stock and to help make surfaces smooth. They are used for doing large wooden areas such as kitchen cabinets, floors and decks.
So we now know that belt sanders are large sanders used for the bigger and tougher jobs on large areas. It is also worth pointing out that belt sanders do take a bit of getting used to. They are heavy and as the name would suggest come with belts that will require changing.
It is a fact that many woodworkers buy these and are then actually afraid to use them. That is because they can quickly remove stock, and often far too quickly. They can indeed be a challenge to use, but with a little practise, these can be a super tool to use. There are three golden rules to follow before buying a belt sander.
Belt Sander Buying Tips
- Bigger really is better - this refers to the size of the belt (4 x 24 is ideal as it covers a good area of wood)
- Variable Speed - (It gives you a ton more control) - We recommend a slow speed with a fine belt grade for absolute control
- You really do need good dust collection as these remove a lot of wood and sawdust
Many people also choose to rent one of these out rather than make a purchase, if for example, they only plan on doing one major project. That is a good idea if you only plan on using this for a one-off larger task. Mainly these are used on wood, but they can also be used on laminates, plastics and metals.
Just below you will see our top 5 list of belt sanders. However, we also know you are busy, so if you don't have time to read our full review, we would highly recommend the Bosch PBS 75 A Belt Sander
Best Belt Sander by Buyer Rating
The top 5 are as follows:
Bosch PBS 75 A Belt Sander
Black + Decker KA88GB Belt Sander, 720W
Makita 9404/2 Belt Sander 240V
Einhell TC-BC 8038 800 W Belt Sander
Belt Sander TACKLIFE 600W
Just below, we have also completed some summary reviews on each of these, so as you can see which is the best option for you.
No 1 - Bosch PBS 75 A Belt Sander Summary Review
- 90% customer satisfaction with 76% of all buyers giving this model a full 5 star review
- Fitted with the Bosch microfilter dust extraction system
- Automatic belt tensioning system makes changing the belt quick and easy
- Manual belt alignment is not required as the belt is automatically held in the correct work position while sanding
- Can also be used for stationary work. Robust housing – high quality and stability due to aluminium components
- Compact design, improved manageability and handling of the tool
No 2 - Black + Decker KA88GB Belt Sander, 720W Summary Review
- 88% Customer Satisfaction
- Black + Decker belt sander that makes light work of sanding jobs
- Sander allows you get a close finish without scuffing skirting boards
- The handle can be adjusted into three different positions to give you ultimate control
- Effortlessly set and maintain the belt in the operating position you want.
- Cyclonic action dust canister to collect any loose dust
No 3 - Makita 9404/2 Belt Sander 240V Summary Review
- 88% buyer satisfaction rating
- Variable speed control
- High power for stock removal
- Flat top for inverted applications
- Long cable for sanding runs
- Belt Size 100 x 610 mm
- Ampere - 8.8
- Long 16.4 ft. power cord for easier maneuverability
- Low noise (84dB) for operator comfort
- Dust bag
No 4 - Einhell TC-BC 8038 800 W Belt Sander Summary Review
- 86% buyer satisfaction rating
- Designed for easy and quick sanding belt change
- Exact belt position with precision adjustment
- Dust extraction system and dust bag
- Includes 1 sanding belt
- Excellent value at this price
- 2 year warranty and full after sales service
No 5 - Belt Sander, Jellas 1000W Electric Sander Summary Review
- 92% buyer satisfaction rating
- 1000W high power and 6 adjustable speeds (120 - 400m / min)
- The power cord is 3 meters long, no extension cable will be needed.
- 75 x 533mm sandpaper for larger sanding area
- 6 kinds of grit, from coarse to fine, covered all grit grade in P40# P60# P80# P120# P180# P240#, totaling 12 sheets include the one attached on the machine.
- Comes with one more rubber belt and pair carbon brushes, which prolongs even double its service life.
- This sander can be directly connected to the vacuum cleaner without adapter (32mm and 35mm vacuum cleaner ports both fit). The dust bag is easier to remove than dust box and no dust spilled during disassembly.
- Has a self-locking switch, so there is no need to hold the button for a long time
Belt Sander Full Buying Guide
In this buying guide we are going to be discussing one of the most popular options which is the belt sander. These are generally viewed by woodworkers as big powerful sanders, which can quickly remove a lot of wood.
As such they are classed as "aggressive sanders." They are the best power tool for leveling and smoothing rough boards very quickly.
These sanders use a linear action, (not orbital) and as long as you sand with the grain, you will get a very good sanding result.
The single benefit of using a belt sander is that it is fast and can save you hours of time. The downside of using a belt sander, is that in the wrong hands, it can wreck many home projects.
In this buying guide we offer you the best advice if you are new to belt sanders, or if you own one, and have been left disappointed with your purchase, or lack of knowledge in how to use it effectively.
Types of Belt Sander
Belt Sanders come in three main types or styles:
- Handheld/Portable - These are belt sanders that you bring to the wood surface that you want to sand such as a floor or decking
- Stationary (fixed) - where you bring the material to the sander and the sanding belt.
- Combined Belt/Disc Sanders - Typically these sanders can be mounted on a work bench and are often referred to as bench sanders. This fixed bench sander can be a belt only, but more commonly they are combined with a disc sander. (We have explained the difference later in this article)
It is also worth noting that many of the newer portable belt sanders can now simply be turned upside down and can then be used as a bench sander. Some even have screw holes where the sander can be fixed to the bench.
Main Uses of a Belt Sander
Belt sanders are used for a number of different sanding tasks. They fall under the general classifications below::
- For fast sanding of very rough surfaces
- For leveling surfaces
- Freehand rounding and shaping
- With the right type of belt they can be used to remove rust and paint from metal, though this is a rare use of a belt sander
Because they have a lot of power and can handle coarse grits, they excel at the rapid removal of wood.
More specifically they are used for:
- The beginning stages of the sanding process to quickly remove material
- Sanding large flat surfaces such as doors and tables
- They can be used for trimming, leveling, and shaping wood
- To quickly remove paint, stain, varnish and other finishes from wood
- Sanding wooden floors
- Sanding stair cases
- Sanding decking boards
When a belt sander is fitted with a fine grit sand paper, it can create a well finished surface.
Who Would or Should Buy a Belt Sander?
It is fair to say that the majority of home owners will never own a belt sander. Carpenters and experienced DIY people will almost certainly own one as they are a versatile tool.
The only time that you really need to consider using one is for particular projects around the home. We have listed those above and generally speaking most home owners will buy one if they plan on working on wooden floors, stairs or an outside deck or fence. There is also the option to rent one out, and that is a good option if it is just for a small project around the home, such as sanding down one floor.
As we mentioned earlier, anyone who enjoys doing DIY will want to have one of these in their tool kit. Amateur and professional woodworkers will certainly own one of these and most likely that will be a combination belt and disc sander.
Which Brands Make Belt Sanders?
All of the major tool brands make belt sanders and combo sanders. These include:
Which Sizes of Belt Sanders are Available?
This size refers to the actual size of the belt or sandpaper attachment that goes on to the sander. This is measured in inches and usually as the width of the belt and the overall length of the belt.
It is usually expressed as 3" x 21" when 3 is the width of the belt and 21 is the full length of the belt.
- 1 x 30
- 1 x 42
- 2 x 42
- 3 x 18
- 3 x 21
- 3 x 24
- 4 x 24
- 4 x 36
- 6 x 48
The most popular of these are the 3 x 18 and the 3 x 21. That is because it covers a big enough area and remains relatively easy to control.
If you opt for a combination sander then as well as the belt size there will also be a disc size. The normal sizes for those are
Belt Sander Buying Tips
Belt sanders are really designed for sanding large, flat areas and can be used for so many different jobs. They are perfect for doors,floors, furniture and so much more. They can also be used for removing paint or just tidying up and old wood.
Motor size, or power, is a major consideration when buying a tool like this. Actually power and speed work hand in hand, together to produce the best sander. The larger the motor and faster the speed, the more effective the sander will be.
We also tend to look if there is an auto-tracking belt system to keep the belt straight, this saves you having to keep stopping to realign the belt if it keeps slipping. .
Always go for variable speed motor and look for a soft start option. This provides a lot more control and ensures you don’t cause any damage or take too much material off. A one speed sander may be ok for a large job on a flat area but it really limits this type of sanders usefulness.
Dust extractor is an essential feature of a belt sander, as a lot of dust is produced and normally you will be sanding inside a house or in your workshop. There is the option of a dust bag but the best solution is to connect to a vacuum cleaner as this will hold a lot more than the small bags.
Finally you might find it handy to get a belt sander that can be fixed upside down to a workbench.
How to use a Belt Sander
Belt Sanders vs Combination Sanders
A combination sander is actually a pretty cheap upgrade to a standard bench belt sander.
To explain this, a belt sander that is fixed, used to be the only choice available. Manufacturers realized that by adding a rotary disc sander it would make this a more useful tool for many people.
That is what is now referred to as a combination sander or a combo sander.
The difference in price between a bench belt sander and a combo sander is not that big, so if you believe that feature would be of benefit to you, then it is wiser to buy the combination tool.
Hopefully you have found this information on belt sanders useful. If you are not sure that this is the type of sander for you then check back to our Types of Electric Sanders article for some more ideas.