Best Belt Sander Buying Guide

Best Belt Sander Buying Guide

There are a few jobs that are made infinitely better with a power tool, and sanding is definitely one of them. While you could spend hours of your time sanding away by hand, when you have the best power belt sander in your arsenal you save yourself time, money, and energy, and get a far superior finish than you could achieve.

Although we know just how important they are, shopping for them can be a whole different story. Firstly, you need to consider what jobs you’ll use them for and in what capacity, and from there you’ll find countless other specifications.

With the use of this buying guide, though, you can hopefully weed out the good from the bad and find something that suits your professional and home projects perfectly.

The term belt sander covers such a variety of power tools, but the main thing to remember is that you can tell a belt sander by the continuously moving belt covered with a sanding surface. They’re usually heavy and powered by electricity, and can be very large for jobs such as sanding floors or smaller models that can reach into tight spots.

Belt Sander Moving

From there, belt sanders have a number of features that you’ll need to consider depending on what you need from this power tool.

Thankfully, the cost of power tools continues to go down as manufacturers find easier ways to make them more affordable which means the days of hiring contractors or power tools is over. We can show you the top features to consider and our choices for the best power sanders to suit all kinds of budgets and handymen.

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Why You Should Choose Your Belt Sander Carefully

When you’re shopping for any power tool, you really need to put a lot of thought into it. While there are a few brands out there that guarantee a quality product, there’s nothing to say they’ll suit every type of job or user.

Belt sanders are usually divided into two groups, the stationary and the handheld, and for the purpose of this buying guide, we’ll be focused on the handheld style that suits domestic and small professional use.

Choosing the right belt sander is essential because it has to be ideal for the jobs you’re using it for. Here are a few ways you can use a belt sander and why it’s important to select the right one to suit your projects and jobs.


Anyone that works with wood and has to make sand their pieces on a finer level will know the importance of a belt sander as compared to doing it by hand. These usually require something like an orbital sander that’s capable of fitting into tight spots.

Working wood

Floor Sanding

The most popular use of belt sanders for the home repair enthusiast is to sand floors, so it’s better to use a larger model for this. These help to strip away old varnish or make a smooth layer so you can refinish wooden floors. Some people buy a belt sander just for this job specifically as it’s far cheaper than hiring a contractor to do it for them.

Fixing Doors And Cupboards

If you have any doors or cupboards that swell up in warmer weather, a quick run over with your belt sander means you can remove a fine layer to get it working like new again. This makes them level so they can close without jamming and it means you don’t have to replace the door completely.

Stripping Paint

Rather than manually sanding away old paint jobs, a belt sander can be a quick fix. Whether you’re wanting to strip paint from walls, floors, doors, or other furniture, this power tool is the best way to do it without fuss.

Stripping Paint from House

Whether you think you’ll be using your belt sander for just one main job or a variety of odds and ends, there’s the right belt sander out there to get it done. Once you know the types of work you’ll be using it for, you can then move onto the finer details and consider the other features too.

Must Have Features For Your Belt Sander

The term belt sander can have a number of meanings and cover such a wide range of tools, and for this reason, you need to be aware of the possible features before you go ahead and purchase one.

Depending on the operator, type of materials you’ll be working with, jobs you hope to do, and how long and where you want to use your belt sander, there are countless variations of features to consider before finding the right one.

Dust collector

No matter the material or object you’re sanding, it’s going to make dust. Most belt sanders are equipped with a dust collector port and you can either attach a bag to these or a vacuum. The aim is to keep your workspace clear of dust, but you should always use safety protection gear as well.

Belt Sander with Vacuum attached


The size of the belt on your sander will determine the ground it can cover, so for larger jobs bigger is best. For more ornate work, you can sometimes purchase belt sanders with a triangular top that can get into tight corners.

However, the material on the belt will determine what it’s best for and can include paper or cloth. These then come in varying degrees of grit which will have different effects on the finish.


The power of your belt sander refers to the power of its motor and depending on whether it’s commercial or domestic use this can differ greatly. Most domestic belt sanders start at around 6Amp with professional grade going from around 11Amp and beyond.

Belt Sander Power

Shape And Style

There are a few main types of sanders including orbital, belt, and oscillating. However, for home use and portable sanders, the belt and orbital are most effective at getting into smaller spaces or stripping back floorboards and other materials.

Variable Speed

Some belt sanders come with one fixed speeds and others are referred to as variable speed. Usually, a variable speed belt sander is ideal as it gives you greater flexibility and greater control over the project you’re working on.

variable speed control in belt sander

These are the main features to consider when purchasing a belt sander, and you’ll note that every model should list where they stand in terms of these. Depending on the user and the types of projects you’ll be operating your sander with, some of these features may be more important than the rest.

Top Choices For Best Belt Sander

As there are hundreds of options available for belt sanders all with their own specifications and features to suit all types of users, narrowing down the search to just the best can be time-consuming.

This is why we’ve compiled a list of the best belt sander for the money, and divided them into those under and over $200. This means you’ll be able to find one to suit your budget and needs with the reassurance that you’re choosing a quality product.

Best Belt Sander Over $200

If you’re willing to spend a little over $200, you’ll find yourself with an even bigger selection of belt sanders to choose from. However, just because it costs more doesn’t mean it’s going to be better. Here are our top picks for belt sanders over $200 each with their own special selling point.

Porter Cable 362V Belt Sander

It should be no surprise to see the Porter Cable name here as they’re known for making some of the most innovative power tools Americans have ever seen. Their 362V Belt Sander is a serious device that would suit commercial and professional use as well as those who want to get jobs done around the home, thanks to its intense 12Amp motor.

This is best suited for sanding up to vertical settings and can get your materials as flush as possible with minimal effort from the user. This can be fully customized to suit the operator with variable speed setting that adjusts from 1000 to 1500 square feet per minute and a quick release belt change lever that makes it simple to use.

Porter Cable 362V Belt Sander



Although it has some great features, there is one area that could do with improvement and this is the dust collector port. The bag that it comes with doesn't seem to seal as well as it could, so you’re better off attaching a vacuum instead to keep your workspace clear. This small issue aside, though, and there’s nothing else to fault.

Don’t be fooled into thinking this machine could be easily operated by a first timer, as due to its powerful 12Amp motor it can be a little heavy to handle. With that being said, if you don’t want to mess around with subpar levels of power then you’ll be more than happy to invest a little more and get the quality of Porter Cable in your belt sander.

Makita 9403 Belt Sander

As another of the most trusted names in power tools, the Makita range of belt sanders never fails to disappoint, and this is especially the case with their unique 9403 Belt Sander. This amazing device is not only powerful, but it boasts some of the quietest operating sound levels you’ll find of any power tool in its class so it’s ideal for those who work late hours or early mornings.

With a 4” x 24” belt on deck, there’s more than enough room to tackle most jobs you can throw at it and because it’s so powerful it would suit anyone in a commercial setting or those at home.

Woodworking, cabinet making, furniture making, deck building, and general contracting can all be done with minimal fuss when you put your trust in the Makita 9403 Belt Sander and it’s one of the best handheld belt sander models you can find.

Makita 9403 With Cloth Dust Bag



This machine is quite heavy compared to others, so it’s best to be used by someone who knows what they’re doing in terms of belt sanders. Due to its weight also, you may prefer to avoid vertical surfaces unless you can be sure you have a steady hand at all times during operation.

However, some users have put this weight to work in other ways which means they don’t have to apply as much pressure to their sanding jobs just to get results.

It’s no wonder that Makita has made another quality power tool that could just as easily fit into a professional or home setting with ease, and this amazing belt sander is perfectly in line with the class they produce. The Makita 9403 Belt Sander is not only a powerful device, but it runs so quietly that you don’t have to worry about disrupting anyone else as you work.

Best Belt Sander Under $200

Looking for the best budget belt sander doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice on quality or power, as these three models will show you. These each represent the best value belt sanders that would still make the most expert home handyman happy to own.

Porter Cable 352VS Belt Sander

This is a more cost friendly belt sander as compared to the other from this famous brand on our list, but it’s not without its own great qualities too. The Porter Cable 352VS Belt Sander has a powerful 8Amp motor powering it with variable speeds that can go from 850 – 1300 square feet per minute.

When you consider the low cost this is quite exceptional, especially considering it has the Porter Cable name behind it. Provided you’re happy to use this just for home projects and heavy stock removal, sanding floors and other home improvement jobs then this has just enough power.

Be aware, though, that the dust collection port isn’t as quality as the rest of the device and to make matters worse it only fits Porter Cable products so you can’t hook a regular vacuum to it. This can be problematic for those jobs that make quite a lot of dust.

Porter Cable 352VS Review



This sander is definitive proof that you don’t need to spend more than $200 to get a quality product and it’s one of the best cheap belt sander options you have. There’s no need to spend hundreds just to get power, so while it doesn’t have a 12Amp motor like the more expensive ones there’s just no need for that kind of torque when you’re using it around the home.

Everything about the Porter Cable 352VS Belt Sander just works together to make a seamless product. There’s no tricky adjusting when you want to change speeds, the belts can be replaced easily, and the auto-tracking is perfect, so this is a great choice for those new to belt sanders as well as seasoned professionals.

For a more compact and slightly less powerful belt sander that can still make your life a lot easier, put your trust in the Porter Cable 352VS Belt Sander and you won’t be disappointed.

Ryobi ZRBE319 Belt Sander

Ryobi is no stranger to making power tools, and it’s likely that most American homes will have at least one of their products lying around. Their compact and lightweight ZRBE319 Belt Sander is a prime example of how they manage to get so much quality and strength into such a small design, and this small belt sander is the home handyman’s dream.

The Ryobi ZRBE319 Belt Sander comes in well under the $200 mark, and it has a powerful 6Amp motor that is ideal for small time jobs around the house. Although it’s not variable speed, it does have a no load speed of 820 feet per minute so it’s no exactly weak, and for the home user, this should be more than efficient.

Ryobi ZRBE319 Belt Sander On White Background



The belt is 3” x 18” so it’s compact and lightweight and the low profile design makes it far easier to get into tight spots than some of the bigger models. This makes it great for home renovations particularly, and because it’s so affordable you can completely justify purchasing one rather than hiring a contractor for hundreds of dollars just to do the same job.

If you’re looking for the best entry-level sander to help with odd jobs and restoration projects around the house, you won’t be disappointed with the Ryobi XRBE Belt Sander. Provided you’re using it here and there for small projects and don’t intend to spend hours and days working with it, it’s a handy and lightweight way to tackle your sanding needs.

Black And Decker Dragster

As one of the most trusted names in power tools, Black and Decker have created one of the best budget friendly belt sanders with their amazing Dragster model. The Black and Decker Dragster Belt Sander has 7Amps of power behind it and is one of the cheapest models you’ll find for home use, without giving up anything on quality and performance.

The best thing about the Black and Decker Dragster Belt Sander is the innovative front roller. This handy little addition to the machine means you can get into tight spots that others just can’t do, which makes it a treat for anyone doing home renovations.

Black & Decker DS321 Dragster On White Background



However, don’t expect to get as much power as the more expensive makes as you can only use this now and then throughout the day without pushing it too far.

The Dragster even has a retractable three position handle so it suits all types of users which means you feel totally in control. For anyone who’s never used a belt sander before this would be an ideal choice for your first purchase, and you can see by its number one seller ranking online that thousands of other customers agree.

Changing the paper on the belt is simple too with just one function, adding even further to the ease that this belt sander offers. If you want a trusted name in power tools and a lightweight but functional belt sander to help you out around the home, you can’t go past the Dragster Belt Sander by Black and Decker.

The Verdict

Whether you’re a home handyman fanatic always looking to improve and repair things around your house, or someone who needs a reliable and powerful tool with them through the work day, there are a few key belt sanders out there that you can trust.

All backed by some of the most trusted names in power tools, you can be sure you’re getting the very best no matter what features and specifications you’re after.

After considering all of the options, though, we’ve found some clear winners in each of these price categories for the best portable belt sander. These represent the top pick in general for the chosen budget, but if you find any of the other options have that one feature you’ve been looking for then there’s nothing to stop you from going with that instead.

In terms of the best belt sander costing over $200, the winner would have to be the Porter Cable 362V. This is by far the most powerful machine and would suit commercial and professional users best, however, there’s nothing stopping you from using it at home if you’re looking for absolute power.

Blue Wood Sander On Wood

For the cheaper options coming in under $200, the best choice would be the Porter Cable 352VS. This company has shown that they know how to make a quality belt sander to suit all budgets and needs, and this compact and lightweight belt sander is the home handyman’s dream.

Although the Black and Decker Dragster was a close second, it just couldn’t compete in terms of usability and power.

No matter which of these options you choose for your toolkit, you’ll wonder how you lived so long without a quality belt sander by your side. With the right choice, you’ll make light work of sanding floorboards, crafting furniture, and working with wood, and all without too much heavy lifting on your part.

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