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Belt sanders are designed to remove large amounts of material without much resistance. Typical applications include sanding decking, desks, doors, pallets etc. If you want to smooth a rough pallet or remove a layer of coloured paint from a wooden door, a belt sander will do that with ease.
In a hurry? Check out the table below to quickly review the main features of three popular belt sanders.
At a Glance: 3 of the Best Belt Sanders Comparison Table
Belt Sander Buyer’s Guide
As I mentioned at the top of the page, belt sanders are a no-nonsense tool that remove material (especially softwood) very quickly. They can also be used for removing metal and even sharpening chisels and other tools.
The sandpaper for one of these machines comes in the form of a belt, called a ‘sanding belt’. The belts are available in various widths and lengths and typically in packs of three or more. You can buy them in your local DIY store or online.
Printed on the inside of the sanding belt, you’ll find an arrow. In most cases, you’ll find an arrow on the side of the belt sander too. The arrows indicate the correct way to fit the belt to the sander so there’s no way you should ever get it wrong.
Some manufacturers make belts for use in either direction. These are usually indicated by way of displaying arrows pointing forwards and backwards on the inside of the sanding belt.
Sanding belt sizes
- 76mm (width) x 533mm (length)
- 100mm x 610mm
- 76mm x 457mm
How to add, remove or change the sanding belt on a belt sander
Changing the sanding belt is a simple three-step process. On the side of the belt sander, you’ll find a tension lever. This adds or removes the tension required to keep the sanding belt in place. Releasing the lever adds the slack needed to remove the old belt and replace it with a new one
Here’s the simple three-step process:
- Release the tension lever on the side of the machine
- Remove the old belt and replace it with a new one (make sure you have the correct size for your machine – check the manual for the proper dimensions)
- Switch the tension lever back to its operational position so the belt is tight around rollers
Adjusting the tracking on manual belt sanders
Once you have the new sanding belt in place and it’s nice and tight, turn it over so the machine’s bottom-up. You want the sandpaper to run in a straight line. To make that happen, you might need to adjust the tracking.
Somewhere on the machine, you’ll find a tracking knob that you can adjust if the sandpaper belt isn’t running in a straight line. A quick turn of the knob usually sorts out the problem.
You’ll need to switch on the belt sander and use your eye to judge how straight the sanding belt’s running. Adjust the tracking knob until it’s running nice and straight.
How belt sanders deal with dust extraction and collection
Most belt sanders come with a detachable bag for collecting the dust from the sanded material. While these bags are a good starting point, sometimes it’s easier to attach your machine directly to a vacuum cleaner or professional dust collector.
Useful belt sander features and accessories to look out for
- Clamps for attaching the belt sander to a bench so you can use it upside down in a fixed position
- Variable speeds
- Lock-on button so you can release the trigger without losing power to the machine
- Automated tracking adjustment (available on newer machines)
- Power cord length if buying a corded belt sander
5 of the Best Belt Sanders
This list is regularly and automatically updated with the items displayed in order of popularity, starting with the No1 bestseller.
- Fitted with the Bosch microfilter system for efficient built-in dust extraction. Perfect handling – easy to control thanks to improved ergonomics and compact design
- 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
- 【High Efficiency】 - Under the 1000W high power and 6 adjustable speeds (120 - 400m / min), Jellas belt sander offer flexible speed for derusting, stripping paint and polishing, suitable for...
- 【Larger Grinding Area】- 75 x 533mm sandpaper for larger sanding area, also with higher grinding efficiency; Six kinds of grit, from coarse to fine, covered all grit grade in P40# P60# P80# P120#...
- 【Giving You Just What You Need】 - The electric 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...
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- 【Tips】Please replace the sand belt in the direction indicated by the arrow in the pictures. You will get a very cost-effective product and manufacturer warranty for 2 years from date of purchase.
- 【2 in 1 Bench & Belt Sander】Equipped with two metal screw clamps, electric belt sander can be turned over and fixed to the table, acting as a bench sander.
- Designed for easy and quick sanding belt change
- Exact belt position with precision adjustment
- Dust extraction system and dust bag
- Variable speed control
- High power for faster stock removal
- Flat top for inverted applications