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Home renovation can sometimes seem daunting, depending on the size of the project you undertake. But the outcome will be worth it. So choosing the right tools is a vital part of the planning stage and are worth investing in. Having the right tools can ensure a slicker and more professional end product.
Belt sanders are multi-use power tools that are used for finishing and shaping materials, particularly wood. When it comes to deciding which belt sander to choose, you firstly need to decide whether a handheld or stationary belt sander will suit your project the best. We will delve into this consideration further down in this guide.
In this guide, we will discuss what a belt sander so you can understand why you need one for your current project (or if another tool would be more suitable).
Additionally, we will discuss what are the best belt sanders on the market at the moment in terms of features, price, and reviews from customers. All of which are important factors when evaluating the worth of a belt sander. On that note, let’s get started.
What is a belt sander?
Sanding is a process required in most renovation projects, we acknowledge it can be a physically tiring and considerably boring process, so it can be made much easier by looking at buying a power tool to save you time and energy.
A belt sander or strip sander is powerful and traditional sanding tools for shaping or smoothing materials, they can allow you to be more time and energy-efficient during your home renovation project.
You don’t have to be a DIY expert to use a belt sander, they are a simple tool that consists of a belt of snapper wrapped around two drums that move on a loop. There are various belt sizes and speed options to choose from, but that will depend on the nature of the project. They can be used to cover large surface areas.
If you decide to invest in a belt sander you must be aware of the power of the tool, as if not used properly it can scoop out the wood underneath the belt. However, this can be easily avoided if you continuously move the tool around and not put too much pressure when pressing downwards.
Why should you buy a belt sander?
Sanding is a long process, and we admit it is not a particularly enjoyable task. However, it is needed for a number of reasons which may affect the quality of your renovations. Belt sanders are useful for quick removal of wood, and can significantly reduce the time you would spend sanding by hand. In addition, they will create a professional look to your home renovations.
In order to create a smooth surface, you need to sand. A smooth surface drastically improves the appearance of the wood as well as it avoids potential splinters. Or if you are planning to paint over the wood, it is vital to create a smooth surface so that the paint glides over the surface easily, but remember to remove all of the dust afterward!
Belt sanders are highly powerful tools, which makes them more suitable for large scale projects, however, if fitted with fine-grit paper it can be used to obtain a smoothed out surface.
You might also be interested: Belt Sander vs Orbital Sander: Which is the Best Tool for You?
How do you use belt sanders?
To get the most out of your belt sander, it is fundamental to find a good technique, in order for the material to look visually appealing and to avoid damage done. A professionally proven and effective technique is to put minimal pressure on the sander and move the tool around the surface area slowly. You can prevent gouges by using clean and new belts, and ensure that the belt is kept dust-free to avoid a buildup.
Whilst using a belt sander, you must keep mindful of the safety precautions as they can be dangerous. To prepare, you should wear hearing protection and a dust mask to keep yourself protected from harm.
In regard to the tool itself, ensure that unplug the tool before making alterations to the belt. If you have long hair; it is safe to tie it back when sanding. Furthermore, clamps are an excellent way to keep the wood from sliding around.
Different types of belt sanders
There are many different brands of belt sanders on the market right now, so we are going to discuss the wide selection available. However, first, we will look at the two different types of belt sanders, which are both suitable for varied jobs.
There are generally speaking two types of belt sanders, similarly to most other tools. Handheld and stationary. The choice between the two is reliant on the nature of your project. The descriptions below should point you in the right direction.
Handheld: A handheld belt sander requires you to move it around the material you wish to sand down. Handheld belt sanders are often much cheaper than stationary sanders. They are also more suitable for smaller projects and weaker materials like wood.
There are certain features to consider when choosing a handheld belt sander, such as:
- Dust collection features
- Isn’t too heavy
- Clamps and stands
- Speed control features
Stationary: Stationary belt sanders or ‘benchtop sanders’ require you to move the material over the sanding belt. There are further options with a stationary belt sander as many stationary sanders are merged with a disc sander or they can be attached to a workbench. Stationary belt sanders are better suited for harder materials, such as aluminum, as they can be clamped down into place.
There are certain features to consider when choosing a stationary belt sander, such as:
- Strong construction for stability
- Includes dust ports
- Adjustable table and belt frames
Considerations For Belt Sanders
Choosing a belt sander can be difficult, as there are numerous factors to take into account. We have created a list of considerations to save you time, and in the section below we have provided a list of our best picks of belt sanders that will interest you.
- Firstly you must look at a product that will last you longer than your project, as you will be able to reuse it whenever you need it. Durability is vital. On this note, it will be worth your time to look at the warranty on your product, most of the better power tool brands will offer a higher warranty and more reliable product.
- Another consideration is how powerful the product is, as you want a product that will last the duration of sanding without slowing down as it gives the material a more professional and consistent look. Technically talking, you should look for a product that is rated between 0.5-3.5 amps.
- Size is a factor you must consider. If you are looking at buying a handheld belt sander you don’t want to choose a product which is too big for you to work with and to carry around. Size is also a matter when you are looking at the sanding belts; handheld sanders come in 2 sizes. 3 x 21 and 4 x 24 inches. The smaller option (3 x 21) is more appropriate for delicate work.
- During the course of your renovations, you don’t want to be overspending when you don’t need to, so set yourself a budget for how much you want to spend and look within that price range. Handheld belt sanders tend to be cheaper.
- Our final suggestion for factors to consider prior to buying a belt sander is the speed of which it can go up to. The faster a product can go, then the more time-efficient it will be, however, you must be able to control the tool as well whilst in use.
The Best Belt Sanders on the Market
Now we will look at some of the best belt sanders on the market at the moment. This will help you decide which sander will be the best for you. We will review each product based on the following:
- Pros and Cons
- Customer Feedback
The Black & Decker KA86 Belt Sander is a well-made product, from an established brand with an excellent reputation for affordable and powerful products. This belt sander is powerful with a 720 watts motor however, it doesn’t take heavy and has been highly acclaimed for detailed work.
The product is well designed, as it is equipped with an angled belt which enables the user to sand joining surfaces. Also, the automatic belt tracking ensures that the belt doesn’t leave the rollers, which saves time.
- A light product at 1.4 kilograms
- 240 volts and 720 watts
- Powered via cording
- 2.5-meter cord
- The dust bag comes with the product
Pros and Cons
Made out of plastic (flimsy)
Good for detailed work
Doesn’t come with belt sanders
A dust bag isn’t completely effective
Built-in dust bag
Angled belt design
What other customers have to say
We looked at many reviews for the Black & Decker KA86 Belt Sander, and common comments we found are listed below.
- Great for detailed and close up work
- Well made
- Not as noisy as other products
- Doesn’t work well for strong materials
Overall, buyers of this product have rated the Black & Decker as 4.0 stars out of 5.0. The few negative reviews focus on faulty products, that have broken after just a few uses.
The TACKLIFE Belt Sander 900W provides an easy to use the tool, which is simultaneously affordable and powerful. It can be utilized on an array of materials, and with a built-in dust collector, it means that not as much mess is caused.
A feature that is appealing about this product is that it can be used either as a handheld sander or bench sander, as the product arrives with two screw clamps. The tool can be set up to 750 RMP, so at this high speed, it will save you time. If you decide this product is for you, a further advantage is that you will receive a two-year guarantee, but this is not extendable.
- Multi-angle table
- 13.3 kilograms
- 350 Watts
- Double dust extraction ports
Pros and Cons
Difficult to replace the belt
Effective dust collecting
A lot of vibration
What other customers have to say
We looked at many reviews for the Silverstorm 972660 and common comments we found are listed below.
- Little quality control
- Some issues with delivery
- Well made product
- Specifically good for smoothing out wood
The Silverstorm 972660 scores a respectable 4.0 out of 5.0 stars. Issues tend to surround the quality control, rather than the product itself. However, there is an overwhelming amount of positive reviews, that suggest the tool is cost-effective and useful.
All of the products we have reviewed for you are all excellent and the best belt sanders on the market right now. However, we do have our favorites…
Our favorite stationary belt sander is the very powerful Triton TSPST450. Although this is an expensive tool, there are many appealing features such as dual-action rotating, a 3-year guarantee, and the durability. This product can also be used on an array of materials, regardless of how strong they are, which means you can utilize it for numerous projects.
From the handheld belt sanders, we looked at our favorite is the Black & Decker KA86. A standout feature is the use of it either as a handheld product or it is adaptable to be stationary. Furthermore, it is an extremely powerful tool, which has excellent smooth results within a short period of time due to the speed. The Black & Decker KA86 has brilliant customer reviews and is an affordable option.
Choosing the right tools for your home renovations can be a tricky process, especially when on a budget. When choosing a belt sander to ensure you consider the specific tasks you are using it for, and how often you will use it after.
Our favorite belt sanders may not be right for your project and others may suit you. We hope you have found this guide useful, however, if you have any questions – feel free to get in touch! We are happy to further help you decide on the best belt sander for your home renovations.
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