The Black & Decker DS321 Dragster 7 Amp Inch by 21-Inch Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag is our best belt sander for this review due to its awesome features. Having dimensions of 15 in x 6 in x 6, it comes with medium grit sanding belt. It is extremely lightweight which weighs 6.5 lbs. It has a 3 position handle for better control and the front roller lets you reach narrow corners. The belt sander also includes user manual and comes with cloth dust bag.
On the pricier side, our step-up pick is the Makita 9403 4″ x 24″ Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag which comes with a belt that is 4 inches wide. It has 1,640 ft per min speed to remove materials faster and weighs 13 lbs. The belt sander’s front grip is large enough to keep user comfort and the overall construction is well designed to keep motor and bearings from getting debris. At only 84 dB, it is a very quiet sander among similar ones in the price bracket.
Meanwhile, our budget pick is the economically priced Black & Decker BR318 3-Inch by 18-Inch Low Profile Belt Sander which has a front handle design that is very comfortable and ergonomic. This small but ideal belt sander can be fit into tight and narrow spaces and it was designed to be 13% narrower than similar sanders of the same class. Furthermore, this tool can sand two times closer to adjoining surface edges. In addition, its dust bag is easy to operate, empty and clean.
A Little Background
We all know how hard it is to finely sand a piece of wood manually; especially if the task is very time consuming such as fixing furniture or home improvement. Sanding takes a lot of time and effort and since we are only human beings with limited powers, we get tired easily. This is where a power tool comes in handy.
A belt sander is an ideal power tool that automatically sands any piece of wood. With this belt sander, you can shape any wood or similar material; give it a contour to the user’s ideal designs. Belt sanders are equipped with sanding belts, which act like sandpaper that draws back and forth to automatically sand a piece of material that you want to work on. It can sand anything – from wood, to plastic, to metal, all depending on the type of belt sander and belt you have.
Belt sanders can range from small, portable ones to big, machine sized industrial ones. It all depends on the user on what is more suitable for his or her job when it comes to using a belt sander to finely smoothen any surface that needs to have an industry finish, or just for DIY home use in furniture or door repairs.
How We Picked
Picking the best belt sander is no easy task, but we have stuck to these criteria and guidelines to pick the best ones out there:
Does it come with a dust bag? Obviously, all belt sanders should have a dust bag or some manner of dust collection, since it IS a belt sander that sands any material, particularly wood. The dust bag should be easy to clean and maintain, and easy to open, attach and take out. It should be just the right size on the belt sander’s capacity to sand anything.
Is it easy to operate? The belt sander must be easy to operate because of the fact that we don’t want to have the same hassle as trying to sand a piece of wood more accurately and the fact that we are letting a machine do the job should mean that there should be fewer complications when it comes to getting the job done.
Can it reach narrow corners or perform rigorous tasks without wearing down easily? It all depends on what kind of sander you want. Do you want a portable sander? Then this sander should be easy to maneuver and can reach hard areas that are too tight or too narrow to reach with common belt sanders. But if you want a big machine for bigger operations then you might need table belt sanders to do the job.
Does it come with a sturdy belt? The belt is the brains and heart of the belt sander – make sure that the belt is not just working properly but also very durable to stand the test of many operations. It should be very efficient in sanding anything and make sure that the belt sander has various options for different belt types. The belt should also be of the same match as the material you are working on to avoid the belt being broken down easily. Use smaller belt size machines for small, DIY projects, but don’t expect them to last on larger, industry standard and wide scale projects!
Is the price all worth the belt sander’s features? List down all of the belt sander’s neat features and from there make a conclusion on which belt sander is more worth it for its price. There are thousands of options out there, but only a few will stand up to its name and high quality features, plus reliability, versatility, durability and worth for your money.
Are there more pros than cons for the belt sander? It is important that you also read the reviews as well as in other websites so that you will know that you are making the right purchase if more and more people say good things about the belt sander rather than bad remarks.
What accessories does it come with? Belt sanders often come with accessories. These accessories can help you accomplish the job better and will also help in maintaining the belt sander to keep it frustration free and far away for the need of repair, provided that you regularly check and clean its parts and investigate for any signs of wear and tear.
Is the power tool very durable? Durability is an important factor when it comes to any power tool. The fact is that a belt sander must be highly durable when it comes to any operation, whether it’s just a simple DIY project or a large scale industrial project, sometimes depends on how the parts have been put together and what materials have been used to make the tool work.
Does the motor and user have protection against debris? Since sanders are very messy tools, there should be some sort of protective mechanism against saw dust and similar debris. The motor should be protected at all times – there is a plus point for belt sanders with dust blowers and cooling fans that not only cool down the motor but also blow the dust away from the motor. A design in which the motor is completely encased to keep the motor and bearings away from the dust will definitely add to its plus points as a reliable and mess-free belt sander.
Black & Decker DS321 Dragster 7 Amp 3-Inch by 21-Inch Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag
For our top pick as the best belt sander, we have the Black & Decker DS321 Dragster 7 Amp 3-Inch by 21-Inch Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag. This one has a 3 position handle for better control and it is equipped with a front roller that lets you reach narrow corners. It has overall dimensions of 15 in x 6 in x 6 and comes with medium grit sanding belt. Being ultra light weight at only 6.5 lbs, this belt sander also includes user manual and comes with cloth dust bag.
Being a sturdy and reliable 7 amp sander, its belt release lever helps to quickly change the sand paper. In addition to its user friendly features, it also has an adjustment knob for the belt to keep it in place. The belt sander’s color is black finish and overall, it is a very good sander for commercial and home use that is corded electric and runs at 120 V. This bare tool only belt sander is under a 2 year warranty.
Who Else Likes It?
The review states that the Black & Decker DS321 Dragster 7 Amp 3-Inch by 21-Inch Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag is good for vertical spaces and is very usable and reliable on the fact that it makes it easy to reach tight spots. The sander is okay to use for small jobs to large woodwork projects and it is very durable because of its size. Any user of the sander can maintain a clean work area using its dust bag. Overall, the review concludes that the Black & Decker DS321 Dragster 7 Amp 3-Inch by 21-Inch Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag is definitely worth its price. The only con is a smaller dust bag.
Another review from Belt Sanders HQ states that the Black & Decker DS321 Dragster 7 Amp 3-Inch by 21-Inch Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag is lightweight and very compact to use and has a very powerful motor. Having a top speed of 800 ft per minute, this awesome belt sander comes with a convenient saw dust bag. To add to user comfort, its swivel design allows you to rotate it to 45 degrees. Adding to its features, the front and rear handles are ergonomically designed and have nonslip feature. Convenience is the name of the game because its power cord is super long.
The Black & Decker DS321 Dragster 7 Amp 3-Inch by 21-Inch Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag falls under a 2 year warranty which is worth the price and the tool. Its 3 position handle gives absolute user comfort and allows better stability and control. Overall, it keeps work area clean and quiet. The only drawback is that it might be slower to get results from sanding.
The site Top Ten Reviews has also featured the Black & Decker DS321 Dragster 7 Amp 3-Inch by 21-Inch Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag and dubbed it as a tool that is very comfortable to use. The handle is adjustable with 3 positions and the single action lever for belt release is convenient for all types of sanding work. In addition, the dust bag is easy to operate and keeps workplace mess-free. The review recommends it and that it is good for light projects, especially for DIY home purposes. Overall, the review says that is has excellent durability for its price.
Flaws but Not Dealbreakers
The Black & Decker DS321 Dragster 7 Amp 3-Inch by 21-Inch Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag has only a few amounts of flaws. It has a small dust bag that most people think might not collect enough dust, but it all depends on how much you use the belt sander. According to very few users, it doesn’t finish the job as quick as other sanders.
Makita 9403 4″ x 24″ Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag
Having a belt that is 4 inches wide, the Makita 9403 4″ x 24″ Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag is our step-up pick. This belt sander has 1,640 ft per min speed to remove materials faster and its front grip is large enough to keep user comfort.
Weighing in at 13 lbs (shipping weight of 15.4 lbs), the belt sander also has a swiveling dust bag up to 360 degrees to clean the work area better. The overall construction is well designed to keep motor and bearings from getting debris. Working at only 84 dB, it is a very quiet sander among similar ones in the price bracket. This belt sander runs on 115 V or 11 amps and has an overall length of 13 7/8 in. It can be used to flush sand walls due to its unique design and is also equipped with a double insulation which further protects the belt sander. Adding to that, the cord placement on the handle’s upper portion makes it very convenient.
Measuring 13 in x 5 in x 8 in dimensions, the Makita 9403 4″ x 24″ Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag is an excellent choice for a corded electric belt sander that is a bare tool that comes with attachments. Coated in colored teal finish, this awesome price for value belt sander is under a 1 year warranty and 30 days satisfaction guarantee and the package includes an abrasive belt and a dust bag.
Black & Decker BR318 3-Inch by 18-Inch Low Profile Belt Sander
Having a front handle design is very comfortable and ergonomic; the Black & Decker BR318 3-Inch by 18-Inch Low Profile Belt Sander is our budget pick. This sander can be fit into tight and narrow spaces and is designed to be 13% narrower than similar sanders of the same class. Adding to that, it can sand two times closer to adjoining surface edges, which makes it very convenient.
Running at 6 amps, the sander’s dust bag is easy to operate, empty and clean. With the sander weighing in at 6.6 lbs, it also has an auto tracking belt design. With dimensions of 14 in x 7 in x 7 in, the black coated Black & Decker BR318 3-Inch by 18-Inch Low Profile Belt Sander is a corded electric sander that is a bare tool only. Coming with a 2 year warranty, it is a highly-recommended, good and economical sander.
Best Wheel Belt Sander
Makita 9741 Wheel Sander – 7.8 Amp, 3500 RPM, 4 3/4in. x 4in. Wheel Size
With a 7.8 amp motor to run and smooth out wooden surfaces, the Makita 9741 Wheel Sander – 7.8 Amp, 3500 RPM, 4 3/4in. x 4in. Wheel Size is a reliable belt sander that comes with a sanding flush to wall feature. The sander’s center of gravity is very low, making it very convenient to use. Adding to its user friendliness, it also has electric brake for easy wheel stop and it has 3,500 RPM.
The belt sander includes hex wrench (2 ea.) and also comes with nylon brush wheel. Coated and colored in teal finish, the Makita 9741 Wheel Sander – 7.8 Amp, 3500 RPM, 4 3/4in. x 4in. Wheel Size is a bare tool only with a voltage of 115 V. It weighs 9.3 lbs and has 7 in x 12 in x 7 in dimensions overall.
Best Air Belt Sander
Astro 3037 1/2-Inch x 18-Inch Air Belt Sander with Belts
Being the perfect tool for spot weld removing, the Astro 3037 1/2-Inch x 18-Inch Air Belt Sander with Belts is another awesome belt sander that runs at 0.5 HP. It is a variable speed control air sander with a belt tension level that is very simple to operate. Its horsepower is considerably high among its class of belt sanders of the same price.
Its air consumption is 4 CFM and has a free speed of 16,000 RPM, making it a truly remarkable belt sander to use for super speedy operations. Having a 1/2 in x 18 in belt size, the Astro 3037 1/2-Inch x 18-Inch Air Belt Sander with Belts also features a nonslip grip of the handle. Its protection guard puts user at ease. The belt sander has overall dimensions of 15 in x 3 in x 2 in and weighs 2.1 lbs. When you order the package, it includes a set of sanding belts (40 grit, 60 grit and 80 grit) so it is a good buy for its price.
Belt Sander with High RPM
Generic Mini 1 x 30 Belt Sander 3400 RPM
If you want a good table belt sander for your workshop, the Generic Mini 1 x 30 Belt Sander 3400 RPM is a good starter for you. It has a vacuum diameter of 1 3/4 inches and it has a 5 in x 5 in table size. Packing with a lot of power, the belt sander’s 1/3 HP motor runs at 3,400 RPM, which is significantly high.
Adding to its user comfort, the belt sander’s table can be tilt up to 45 degrees. This belt sander measures 1 in x 30 in. Weighing at 1.1 lbs, the Generic Mini 1 x 30 Belt Sander 3400 RPM has overall dimensions of 14 in x 10 in x 10 in and has a corded electric design.
Variable Speed Belt Sander
Factory-Reconditioned Ridgid ZRR2740 6.5 Amp 3-in X 18-in Heavy Duty Variable Speed Belt Sander
The Factory-Reconditioned Ridgid ZRR2740 6.5 Amp 3-in X 18-in Heavy Duty Variable Speed Belt Sander might be your choice if you’re just looking for a good belt sander for your workshop. It runs on a 6.5 amp motor and in addition, its 12 feet all rubber cord comes with a cord wrap. User comfort has never been this good because its handle is soft grip to provide user comfort and convenience. The dust collection makes use of twin system which is highly efficient and this allows the motor to cool down using the fan while collecting dust on the other side.
The Factory-Reconditioned Ridgid ZRR2740 6.5 Amp 3-in X 18-in Heavy Duty Variable Speed Belt Sander weighs 7 lbs, has an AC power source and measures 12 in x 6 in x 6 in dimensions. When you order the belt sander, it comes with 80 grit sanding belt, user’s manual and dust bag and is made with bearings.
Has a Contact Wheel
Kalamazoo 1SM 1″ Belt Sander, 32 lbs, 1725 RPM, 1/3 HP Motor, 1″ x 42″ Belt, 4″ Contact Wheel
Weighing in at 32 lbs, the Kalamazoo 1SM 1″ Belt Sander, 32 lbs, 1725 RPM, 1/3 HP Motor, 1″ x 42″ Belt, 4″ Contact Wheel is a good belt sander to consider for any workshop. It has a 4 in contact wheel and runs on 1/3 HP motor with 1 PH. It is proudly made in the USA.
Being a bare tool only, this belt sander has 1 in x 42 in belts and has a 3 in x 3 in table. In addition, the table can be tilt to suit user convenience. The Kalamazoo 1SM 1″ Belt Sander, 32 lbs, 1725 RPM, 1/3 HP Motor, 1″ x 42″ Belt, 4″ Contact Wheel includes a belt supporter and its cord is up to 8 feet. Overall, this is a very well recommended tool that is good for wood, metal, composite or plastic materials.
Best Combo Sander
Grizzly G0547 Combo Sander with 6-Inch Disc Belt, 4 x 36-Inch
If you want a convenient and powerful combo sander then look no further than the Grizzly G0547 Combo Sander with 6-Inch Disc Belt, 4 x 36-Inch. Having a table size of 6 1/4 in x 8 7/8 in, this sander runs on a 1/3 HP motor with 3,450 RPM single phase speed and it has a 6 inch disc size. The belt sander’s base is made from sturdy cast iron – the size of belt is 4 in x 36 in.
Weighing at 39.3 lbs, the Grizzly G0547 Combo Sander with 6-Inch Disc Belt, 4 x 36-Inch has 10 in x 22 in x 12 in dimensions and is made from sturdy steel. It also has a single knob tracking feature and has up to 90 degrees rotation for belt platen. Adding to its features, it also has a dust port for disc and belt that measures 2 1/2 in. Being an AC power source bare tool, this belt sander is a good buy.
Best Edge Sander
JET 708447 OES-80CS 6-Inch 1-1/2-Horsepower Oscillating Edge Sander, 115/230-Volt 1-Phase
Measuring at 32 in x 7 in and weighing in at 270 lbs, the JET 708447 OES-80CS 6-Inch 1-1/2-Horsepower Oscillating Edge Sander, 115/230-Volt 1-Phase has a belt that measures 6 in x 89 in. The belt can move up to 3,900 ft per min and is able to make accurate curves, angles, bevels and flat surfaces.
The belt sander runs on 1 1/2 HP, has a pre-wired voltage of 115 V and a wired single phase motor voltage of 230 V. Adding to its awesome features, it has an oscillating action to increase productivity and work efficiency . The sander’s aluminum drum is 4 1/2 in diameter and its design is awesome – it has a TEFC or totally enclosed fan cooled motor design.
Having a 4 inch port size, the JET 708447 OES-80CS 6-Inch 1-1/2-Horsepower Oscillating Edge Sander, 115/230-Volt 1-Phase is made from sturdy cast iron at 18/9 amps. It also includes an efficient dust port. Having 50 in x 26.5 in x 20 in product dimensions, this corded electric belt sander comes with various attachments for user convenience. It has a whopping 5 years limited warranty, which is significantly higher than most belt sanders in our list.
Other belt sanders that did not make it to our list had not much information about their pros and cons, meaning they weren’t rated as much as these belt sanders on our list. Some of them are too pricey or too cheap, and some of them don’t offer any special feature at all, which makes them not worth buying.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the advantages of using a belt sander?
A: This article from Do It Yourself says that a belt sander is a very easy to use power tool and is great for removing unwanted residue on the surface of the material. In addition, belt sanders can be very fast in working on materials as they can be used on a wide variety of projects, especially those that consume too much time. Belt sanders are good for removing paint, house and furniture renovation and are greatly advisable for removing wood stains. They are also good for getting round edges or smooth corners on furniture and are easily adjustable power level depending on the usage of the belt sander. Overall, they are easy to use for soft materials and does the job more accurately.
Q: Which projects are belt sanders more advisable to use on?
A: According to this article from SKIL Tools, it is advisable for furniture projects, working on cabinets and finishing and making curves and radiuses on wood. Belt sanders have the ability to correct mistakes on wood carving and it can easily smooth any surface. It is also ideal for shaping or forming wood pieces and crafting them and home improvement projects in general. Also good for repairing doors that are sticking, belt sanders make it easy to remove excess material from the edge of the door. Overall, they are ideal for removing old paint, varnish, stain or for repainting jobs.
Q: How do I take care of my belt sander?
A: This article from Ickler gives some recommendations on belt sander maintenance. You need to take care of the belt, replace it when it is worn out to avoid skipping or jumping and overall, perform regular checkups on the belt. You should look for cracks on the belt to avoid wear and tear. You should also refer to the user manual for belt replacement. In addition, you can also clean the surface of the sanding belt with belt-cleaning stick.
Next, you should also inspect the rollers by removing the belt and make sure they are lined up correctly to avoid misalignment and skipping. You should also check the platen on the sander’s underside. Last, but not the least, the platen is important as a shock absorber and the sander’s weight support. Platens can be replaced when overused so it’s a good idea to check them as well. You should also regularly vacuum your belt sander to remove debris and wood dust.
Wrapping It Up
As a whole, the Black & Decker DS321 Dragster 7 Amp 3-Inch by 21-Inch Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag is our big winner for the best belt sander because it is not just economical but also sturdy and has no major cons at all. It is the perfect belt sander for both DIY and industry use.
Jen Miller is a former electrical engineer and product specialist with more than 20 years of product design and testing experience. She has designed more than 200 products for Fortune 500 companies, in fields ranging from home appliances to sports gear and outdoor equipment. She founded Jen Reviews to share her knowledge and critical eye for what makes consumers tick, and adopts a strict no-BS approach to help the reader filter through the maze of products and marketing hype out there. She writes regularly and has been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, The Huffington Post, Tiny Buddha and MindBodyGreen.