Picking the best belt sander isn’t just about picking the one with the top speed or the one with most features. The best belt sander should be a combination of all these specifications. It should be economical, reliable, efficient and most important of all, it should be perfect at sanding. There are several good tools of this class, but the one that sells the most is considered the best and to discuss the best sellers of this year, let’s begin our review with Black & Decker’s DS321 Belt Sander, which is undoubtedly the most affordable tool available in its class.
Black & Decker DS321
This product is unbelievably effective and consistent in sanding different materials and is as affordable as they come. The DS321 Dragster is a 7-amp, 3 by 21 inch belt sander, which is equipped with a cloth dust bag. It’s counted as the top product in its category and rightly so, as it offers features like vibration-free sanding, efficient dust collection, and its front handle provides complete control of this power tool and lets you adjust sanding intensity and power. It’s true that its competitors consume less energy compared to the Black & Decker DS321, but it’s one of the most affordable high-quality sanders available.
Makita 9403 Belt Sander is an 11-amp powerful sander with worthy features, with the cloth dust bag being one of them. Its operation noise is as low as 84dB, making it one of the quietest sanders available. It’s a 4 by 24 inch power tool, but it generates a speed of 16440 per minute that ensures fast removal of material. With a front grip design, it offers optimum comfort and prime positioning. Makita also offers a one-year warranty on this belt sander that promises high quality and efficiency in any case. It weighs only 13 pounds and costs $240 on online purchase. The price might seem too much for a tool you’ll rarely use, but it also offers features such as easy belt change and belt tracking and it’s a product that’ll last for a long time and be efficient and functional every time you use it.
Hitachi offers a model that doesn’t leave much to be said as it does the talking through its performance and high speed. With a record best time of 1 minute and 56 seconds at its slowest and 1 minute and 14 seconds at its fastest, Hitachi SB8V2 offers the fastest surface smoothening action. It weighs 10lbs and only uses 9 amps of power. Priced at an affordable $150, this product packs a punch like no other belt sander out there. Its speed and price make it a contender for the top spot. Its impressive sanding leaves no gouge marks and is useful for different surfaces as it is equipped with a speed dial to vary the speed depending on the surface to be smoothened. The sub and main handle offer a soft and easy grip that gives you full control of the sanding process. Hitachi SB8V2 is the perfect belt sander as it smoothens surfaces in less than two minutes and gives perfect sanding results, which makes it the top belt sander available in the market.
Black & Decker BR318
Another Black & Decker product make the list of the best belt sanders as the BR318 is a low-profile sander. It can easily fit into tight spaces as it is 13% narrower compared to some competitors. With a 3 by 18 inch frame, it provides the sanding action twice when it’s close to the edges of two adjoining surfaces to guarantee a smoother and closer fit after every action. An easy-to-empty dust bag and a comfortable and good-grip front handle design make it an easy-to-operate and user-friendly powertool. It’s lighter than most lightweight sanders, while its low-profile roller makes it easy to sand in the tight spots.
Black & Decker is known for providing sanders that are competitive as well as affordable compared to other products in the market. The BR318 is no different as it offers all these features for a price range of $30-50, which is one of the reasons why two of Black & Decker products are part of this list.
The Porter-Cable 362V is one of the more expensive belt sanders available, compared to Black & Decker and Hitachi. It has a 12-amp power rating that doesn’t beat Hitachi’s 9-amp power rating. However, 362V does get close regarding speed as time trials show that its best is 1:48 minutes, which may not be the best on the market but is still worth mentioning. Regardless of that, it’s a durable and all-metal belt sander that offers a balanced design and variable speed dial for easy speed adjustment. It’s also perfect for flush sanding on horizontal as well as vertical surfaces. It’s a safe choice for sanding heavy-duty materials without having to worry about the damage that the 362V sander might go through. It costs $200, which may not beat the Hitachi SB8V2, but it knocks many competitors out of the park in terms of speed and performance.
Going through this article must have shown you that there are two main types of models available. One is the affordable type that may not offer the top speed or most accurate sanding but provides good value for its price. This kind of sander, to be more specific both Black & Decker belt sanders, are ideal for people who’ll not use the tool very frequently and only need it every once in a while.
The second kind is, of course, the more powerful yet expensive belt sander that offers top speed, smooth and spotless sanding as well as other added features such as a good grip and low power rating. This is ideal for people who have to regularly use the sander and in that case, it’s better to spend more on these products, specifically the Hitachi SB8V2, as they will last longer and deliver top performance throughout.
How to Use a Belt Sander
A handy tool for woodworkers
If you indulge in a lot of woodwork as a hobby or profession, you need to have quality equipment with you. It is only then can you ensure that your final product has the right level of finesse and is an epitome of perfection. Among the various tools that prove to be rather beneficial when it comes to woodwork, one is a belt sander. However, if you are to extract the maximum benefit from the equipment, you need to make it certain that you know how to operate it correctly. If you are not aware of how to operate the equipment, not only would your work be affected, but your safety would also be put in jeopardy. Thus, how to use a belt sander is something that you need to be completely aware of before you make use of the product.
The uses that it can be put to
Before we move on to discuss the manner via which belt sanders should be used, let us first talk about the benefits that you can gain if you make use of this piece of equipment.
You will find this to be a rather handy tool for scribing. With the help of this equipment, you can sneak up on a curved line and ensure a perfect fit. If you are working on a laminate countertop, you will need to make it certain that the direction of the belt is such that it pushes the laminate down. You can also use this product for the purpose of trimming and sanding rough surfaces. It can also be used for leveling surfaces and shaping. This equipment is rather effective when it comes to the rapid removal of wood. The sanding action that you get from this piece of equipment is a lot more linear than what is provided by other options that are available for this purpose.
A good technique is the only way
If you are looking to use the belt sander to provide perfection to your work, the only thing that will work in your favor is the proper technique. Without it, you will not be able to get the results you are looking for. When you are operating the sander, remember that you should not push it down with force. Its own weight is enough to get the work done. Proceed with the sander at a slow speed and do not let the pool dip. While working, do not try to tip the sander or change its speed or direction. It is a good idea to put the cord over your shoulder so that it would remain out of your way.
Take some precautions
While it is true that belt sanders are safe as a whole, a few precautions still have to be taken to ensure that no harm befalls you.
For one thing, these machines can be rather loud and thus, it is a good idea to be equipped with a hearing protection. Ensure that you wear a dust mask while doing tasks such as sanding so that the dust particles do not trouble you. Remember to unplug the sander before you change the belt or empty the dust bag. Also, keep in mind to vacuum the dust out of the equipment before using it on a piece of metal. Ensure that whatever piece you are working on is securely attached.
Working with the sander
Before you turn on the sander, ensure that the belt is placed in an appropriate manner. If you are using the belt that has a preferred direction, do not forget to adjust it accordingly. You will find an arrow on the inside of the belt, indicating the direction. Once you turn on the sander, hold it up and check to see if the belt rubs against the housing or is working on the rollers. Next, you would need to adjust the tracking knob to ensure that the belt is centered on the rollers. Speed adjustment can be done as per your requirement.
It is prudent that the belt you are using is clean as failure in this regard would have an adverse effect on your work.
While the dust bag of the belt sander provides satisfactory dust collection, you can still ensure better results by attaching a long and soft hose along with a vacuum. This would ensure that no dust in the air is present to trouble you and you will not have to go through the trouble of emptying the dust bag frequently.
It is also a good idea to opt for a stand that would support your woodwork. The stand would make it all the more convenient for you to work.
Look for the best quality
When we talk about woodwork, there is a certain level of finesse that we are hoping to achieve. We do not want our work to come out sloppy. If it is perfection that you are looking for, there are certain actions you will have to take responsibility for. The first thing is to ensure that you get your hands on the highest quality of belt sanders. This is something on which no compromise should be made as this is the factor that would decide how your work will proceed.
Once you have gotten your hands on the best quality of belt sanders, you need to endeavor to keep it in the best condition. In order to do so, you will have to ensure that the belt is kept clean and the dust bag is frequently emptied. It is also necessary that you are well aware of how to operate the equipment and have taken all the necessary precautions. If you ensure all this, you will be able to acquire the maximum benefit that belt sanders have to offer.