Ever wondered how a wooden furniture or showpiece gets that smooth and finished surface? Yes, you guessed it right, it happens by using the device known as a belt sander. It is a handy tool used to shape wood or even remove paints and varnishes from old wood. Its quality to act as a stationary as well as a moving tool makes it versatile and a multipurpose machine. Sandpaper is rolled over a drum-like structure in a belt sander which helps to scrape off the excess wood to get the desired curves or simply used to make the surface levelled.

Product reviews:

1.Astro 3037, Air belt sander

Pros:

  •     Not too heavy or loud.
  •     Powerful machine with variable speed control.
  •     Easy to change belts.

Cons:

  •     Quick wearing of belts.
  •     Not suitable for hard metals.
  •     No cover on the wheel for the grip.

Summary:

This product is a reliable one when it comes to working on the removal of spot welding. It is a compact product with the capability to generate high power and usage. Its ability to set variable speed is useful while removal of unwanted substances. Marked at a reasonable price, this belt sander comes with three different 18-inch belts with different grit quality. Its added benefit is that it can also sand wood but it is recommended to first practice on the waste wood material before using it on the actual piece. Astro 3037 is a versatile tool that is user-friendly and comfortable in hand because of its convenient dimensions and hassle free functioning.

Features:

  •     A good device when it comes to removal of spot welding.
  •     Light yet powerful machine to use and is also portable.
  •     The cushioned wheel helps in easy sanding of the surface of the material.
  •     The belt tension lever and protection guard protects the tool as well as the user.

2.Black and Decker DS321

Pros:

  •     Easy to use
  •     Reaches the tightest of the corners.
  •     Controlled device with three different positions to handle from.

Cons:

  •     Generates less power.
  •     Takes longer time to generate desired results.
  •     Difficult to adjust the belt in the right position.

Summary:

The Black and Decker DS321 is an economical device that can be used for small jobs and non-complex works. With the addition of a dust collector in this device, cleaning up the work area after the job has been done has become a long lost talk. The built of the rollers allow the machine to reach up to the most difficult spaces of the areas and is able to sand the edges quite well.  From sanding old wood to round surface, you can pretty much use this device for anything. It is important to set the belt with the help of the knob so that it stays centred and doesn’t lose its while working on the surface. This product comes with a proper instruction manual and also a medium sized belt and dust collection bag, so it is recommended to read the instruction manual carefully before using the product in order to get the most out of it.

Features:

  •     Comes with a dust collection bag for easy removal of sawdust.
  •     Ideal for people who are keen to experiment at home.
  •     Its unique design of rollers and compact size allows sanding in the narrowest corners as well.
  •     Slightly on the heavier side but economical in utilization.

3.Porter Cable 371

Pros:

  •     The textured pattern allows a comfortable grip.
  •     Can work in different orientations.
  •     Does the job with accuracy and precision.

Cons:

  •     Can get really hot while using.
  •     Causes a considerable amount of noise.
  •     Heating up can cause damage to the product and it may breakdown.

Summary:

A sturdy and powerful machine complemented by a sophisticated design portrays a perfect outlook as well as the strength for optimum utilization. Its most attractive feature is its flexibility to move in any direction, whether perpendicular or sideways. This feature makes it versatile and multifunctional. The design is made in such a way that it is easy to handle to move around without worrying about the space it will occupy. The textured rubber provides an enormous grip that keeps your hand steady and also makes is easier to move in any direction. It comes with an auxiliary removable handle which gives a perfect grip when you need to use two hands instead of one. A wide range of belts are compatible with this machine but it comes with an 80 grit sanding belt. If used and maintained in a correct manner, this product can last for years and will continue to give results just as it never grew old.

Features:

  •     A removable auxiliary handle enables the user to get hold of the machine in a controlled manner.
  •     Easy and efficient to scrape of table tops and granite stones in a clean manner.
  •     Ideal size and weight are the main features of this machine which attracts customers.
  •     A durable product which can be used professionally without a doubt.

4.Hitachi SB8V2

Pros:

  •     Adjustable speed dial provided.
  •     Comfortable and easy to hold the handle for long hours.
  •     Wear and tear resistant V-belt improves life.

Cons:

  •     Poor quality of dust collection bag.
  •     The machine tends to lean towards the left.
  •     Causes gouges while working because of poor engineering.

Summary:

A quality product that comes with a trust factor from a company like Hitachi creates high hopes in the minds of users. This product fulfils all those hopes and delivers an excellent performance in terms of its usage and looks. An adjustable speed dial enables the user to increase or decrease the speed of the machine which not only ensures safety but also adds customization to the product. What sets this product apart from others is its durability. This product lasts twice the duration as compared to other standard belt sanders because of the usage of V-belt which is wear resistant. It also comes with a dust collection bag which helps you to work neat and clean. It is compatible with doing both woodwork and metal work and also helps in removing paints from the surface of the wood. The ease to use and conservation of time by removing more material in less time makes this product popular in the market.

Features:

  • Comes with an elastomer grip surface which is soft and easy to hold.
  • A unique tracking window is provided for a better view of the surface that is being sanded.
  • Easy to manage because of the variable speed knob provided to vary the speed according to need.
  • Comes with a powerful 9 ampere motor for all the heavy work to be done.

5.Makita 9403

Pros:

  •     Least amount of noise produced.
  •     Efficient in the removal of material and easy to use.
  •     Well balanced and the belt stays centred.

Cons:

  •     Large size can make it difficult to use and move.
  •     Consumes a lot of electricity because of the high voltage motor.
  •     The bag needs to be emptied out frequently when sanding large pieces of material.

Summary:

This particular product is the best in the market when it comes to 4 inches belt sanders. Equipped with a 4X24 inch belt, this machine is full on packed with power and strength because of its ability to work with heavy materials. It is purely used for industrial use or by skilled carpenters to set examples of fine craftsmanship. It is highly insulated which makes it secure and increases its lifetime to a great extent. A handle in the front and at the back is provided to get that perfect grip for both the hands. Metalwork, large scale carpentry, and floorings are done with the help of this belt sander. It comes with a heavy motor that ensures the power to remove the desired material in a small amount of time. It is a surprising fact that in spite of being a heavy industry machine it is one of the quietest you will find in the market.

Features:

  • An efficient and convenient tool with is the 11amp motor that imparts heaps of power to the machine.
  • A long cord provided makes it easy to plug it at distant switches without the use of extension wire.
  • Best in the market as far as 4-inch belts are concerned to do all the strenuous industrial work.
  • The dust bag swivels 360 degree that makes its position easy to adjust and also the changing of the belt is easy.

6.Makita 9903

Pros:

  •     Powerful yet low on noise
  •     Come with adjustable speed and efficient belt tracking.
  •     Provides a relaxed grip both in the front and back.

Cons:

  •     It is a slow tool considering the power the motor uses.
  •     Has the problem of bogging down when in contact with wood.
  •     High cost as compared to the quality of the product.

Summary:

Another competitor in the 3-inch belt sander market is this product by Makita. Providing you with efficient performance and durable parts, this machine has the capability to match with your metal, wood, and rust and paint removal needs. A powerful device with least amount of noise in its category, it surely is a class product. You can easy adjust the speed of the sanders by simply rotating the knob and also the belt tracking is automated which makes it’s centred on its own. With automatic belt tracking, the level of precision and accuracy increases to a considerable level. It comes with a clamp which makes it easy to convert it into a stationary belt sander to work with on a bench. Its innovative and unique design makes it one of the best belt sanders available to customers.

Features:

  • Has a powerful motor fitted inside it and a properly insulated body which increases its utility and life?
  • An overall useful product with a dust bag, abrasive belt and 80 grit sanding belt inside the packaging.
  • Light in weight and also makes less noise as compared to other 3-inch belt sanders.
  • Comes at a great price with all the features of a good belt sander you could ask for.

7.Porter Cable 352VS

Pros:

  •     Lever present for an easy and quick change of belt.
  •     The high and variable speed offered for sanding.
  •     Entirely made up of metal which makes it solid.

Cons:

  •     The dust bag is not up to the mark.
  •     It gradually slows down in speed and regains only after shutting down.
  •     The bag and cord are ill positioned.

Summary:

Porter Cable’s model number 352VS is a speedy machine. With the highest speed of 1300 SFPM, this machine is ideal for working fast in the least amount of time. An easy to release belt lever is added for a trouble free experience of changing the belt of the belt sander. The look of the product is strong and reliable because of its all-metal body with perfectly positioned handles for that firm hold while working with it. An 8 amp motor generates a decent amount of power for all the modelling work, cabinet work or other jobs requiring fine tuning. Provided with a 3X21 inch sander belt, this model is the most versatile and competent product available in the market.

Features:

  • The fingertip belt tracking knob makes it easier to position the belt onto the right track.
  • No extra effort required moving it belt sander; it slides back and forth very smoothly.
  • You can control the speed very easily with the help of the knob and the highest speed is massive.
  • Maximum performance is delivered because of the motor being placed on the platen for balance.

Basic Knowledge For Choosing A Good Belt Sander

If you wish to give your wood an artistic touch then this tool is what you need. An average home owner’s least favourite thing is to do a carpenter’s job on their own but with the help of belt sanders, this task has become way easier. The old school machines equipped to work with wood used to create a mess everywhere but modern day belt sanders come with a container or pouch to collect the sawdust it produces, therefore, you not only get a clean finish on the wood but also a dust free atmosphere.

It is important to use the correct techniques to get the desired results. By using the machine in the right way you are not only getting the action you wanted but also increasing the life of the machine. As this sand roller of the machine rolls continuously, it is advised to move the belt sander in a uniform manner so that unevenness and depressions in the wood can be avoided. To even out the edges the best technique that can be used is to place the planks of wood parallel to each other and then work on the edges with the help of a belt sander.

Available in 4 different sizes, belt sanders can be used as an industry as well as home equipment. The size of the belt sander depends on the size of its belt, 3X21 inch being the most used size because of its compact and convenient design. 4X24 inch belt sander is used for industrial purposes where heavy and large sheets of wood are used but its size causes a huge problem while using it.

Benefits:

1.Convenient to use:

For low scale usage, belt sanders come as a handy tool. Some of the belt sanders can even be used with the help of a single hand. It is not a complex machine to use and comes off as a utility product where shaping of wood is concerned. This power tool eases up your work to a great extend as it is operated on electricity and no serious manual strength is required to operate it.

2.Best for the scrapping of surface:

Belt sanders find their most usage when it comes to flattening surfaces or creating finishing touches on wood. It removes the discarded material from the surface of the wood and gives it a smooth texture. Even if your wood is painted or is mounted with a metal, belt sanders have the capability to get rid of them too. The levelling of the surface is done in an even manner without leaving any gaps in between.

3.Swift and sturdy:

This is a powerful machine and it reflects in its finished products. With a single stroke, it can manage to get rid of the unwanted surface and leave a perfect levelled finish on the surface. It is not a time-consuming task to operate this machine, in fact, it saves a lot of your time and manual labour.

4.Fit for many jobs:

Due to the wide range of variety available in the market, belt sanders find themselves doing multiple tasks. You can find its usage in renovating old wooden furniture, removal of paints and marks from surfaces or even giving final touches to doors or floorings. It is the best tool when it comes to rounding up the corners wooden sheets. Belt sanders are even used to smoothen out soft metals.

How to find the best belt sanders:

Buying the best belt sander can be a task to ponder upon. Firstly, you need to define a purpose for the need of the belt sander as there is a different belt sander for different purpose like for small-scale use you will fit into a compact variety of belt sanders whereas if your requirement is for heavy duty materials then bulky and powerful belt sanders are used. Once the purpose is set then you can segregate the available belt sanders by the dimensions of the belt and sanders.

A 3-inch wide belt can perform a maximum number of operations that you would want from your belt sander. The three-inch belt comes in three varieties; made for different purposes. A 3X18 inch sanding belt is ideal for amateurs, trying their hand at fixing things, because of its compact size yet powerful impact. The widely used belt sander has to be the 3X21 inch belt sander because of its excessive utility and ability to even work on heavy materials with balance and precision. 3X24 inch belt sanders are wide in terms of their belt size which makes them bulky and difficult to use. It requires a little extra effort to gain the desired results from this particular belt sander. The price of these machines can go up to 250-300$.

There are some other belt sanders like 4X24 inch which are solely designed for industrial purposes where huge and heavy materials are used and on the contrary, the perfectly portable 2-2 1/5 inch belt sanders are also made to give you’re a lighter experience. Once you have chosen the belt size, it is important to choose the right sandpaper corresponding to it. To get a smoother and perfect surface with a fine finish and no scratches, you should use 80-120 grit sandpaper. Try not to use coarser sandpaper as it will leave the surface with marks and scratches.

How to use it correctly:

In order to maintain your machine and make it last for a long time it is very important to use the suitable techniques when working with it; same is the case with belt sanders. It is important to know your machine first before using it in order to get the best output from it. A technique that should be followed while using belt sanders is to not put unnecessary manual effort on it. Let the sanders do their work by themselves, if extra effort is put then it may lead to a removal of the necessary material as well. Dirty belts are the worst enemies are removing the gouges on painted surfaces. It is a better practice to first sand the entire piece of wood and then cut the desired length for uniform removal.

It is very important to follow safety measures while using belt sanders because at the end of the day it is a machine run on electricity and you need to be careful while using it.

  • The loose grip can cause serious consequences as it may turn around in any direction with the help of its own force.
  • Always use headphones or ear plugs while using it and even if there is a dust collection bag attached with it, still use a mask to avoid inhaling harmful materials.
  • Make sure you switch off the machine directly from the power supply after you are done using it.
  • Changing the belts of the belt sander is a tedious job so one needs to be careful while doing it to avoid any injuries.
  • Using belt sanders on metals can generate sparks and these sparks can create a fire, so make sure that you use belt sanders in a gradual and controlled manner by switching them off at small intervals of time.