Best Air Belt Sander in 2021 (Reviews and Comparison)

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When you have a large, flat sanding job that needs more than a simple hand sander, it is time to reach for a belt sander. These high-speed power sanders use a rotating sanding belt that can quickly sand down flooring, doors, cabinetry and more.

Belt sander designs have evolved and expanded over the years, leaving no shortage of options for professionals and serious DIYers. We compared top-performing models on the market to bring you our list of the best belt sanders based on performance and value.

COMPARISON CHART

IMAGE PRODUCT

Makita 9903 8.8 Amp 3-Inch-by-21-Inch Variable Speed Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag

Makita 9903 8.8
  • Low 85 db noise output.
  • Variable speed control.
  • Auto-tracking for continuous sanding.
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Dynabrade 14000 Dynafile Abrasive Belt Tool, For 1/8-Inch - 1/2-Inch Width x 24-Inch Length Belts,Teal

Dynabrade 14000
  • Wide range of available contact arms.
  • Variable speed.
  • Lifetime warranty.
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Astro Tools 3036 Air Belt Sander (3/8" x 13") with 3pc Belts (#40, #60 & #80)

Astro Tools 3036
  • Variable speed control.
  • Lightweight with non-slip grip.
  • Easy to change out belts.
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SKIL 7510-01 Sandcat 6 Amp 3" x 18" Belt Sander with Pressure Control

SKIL 7510-01 Sandcat 6 Amp
  • Pressure control technology.
  • Micro-filtration system for small dust particles.
  • Vacuum compatible.
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Makita 9903 8.8 Amp 3-Inch-by-21-Inch Variable Speed Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag

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Makita 9903 8.8 Amp 3-Inch-by-21-Inch Variable Speed Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag

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Makita 9903 8.8 Amp 3-Inch-by-21-Inch Variable Speed Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag

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Makita 9903 8.8 Amp 3-Inch-by-21-Inch Variable Speed Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag

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Makita 9903 8.8 Amp 3-Inch-by-21-Inch Variable Speed Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag

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Makita 9903 8.8 Amp 3-Inch-by-21-Inch Variable Speed Belt Sander with Cloth Dust Bag

Specification

Item Dimensions:11.63×5.63×6.19 in.
Grit Type:Medium
Voltage:110 volts
Power Source:Corded electric
Material:Plastic
Wattage:1010 Watts

The Makita 9903 3 in. belt sander is a classic design with convenient and powerful features. The 3×21 in. belt size is perfect for professional woodworking capacities, efficient at handling floors, decks, furniture and cabinets.

This model is a near-perfect blend of power and control. The comfort grip placement offers convenience and controlled maneuverability. The powerful 8.8 AMP motor is paired with a variable speed control to provide optimal control under any load.

WHAT WE LIKE

The Makita 9903 belt sander’s performance takes the stress off of big sanding projects. The auto-tracking belt system lets you sand for long periods without having to stop for belt adjustments. Meanwhile, the low 85 db noise level and optional dust bag keep the environment comfortable for extended periods. It also means less cleanup afterwards.

For a large sander, this model offers exceptional usability. The extended base allows the user to get flush with surfaces for wall-to-wall sanding coverage. Its grip placement makes maneuvering easy, giving the user complete control for smooth, consistent lines.

PROS

  • Powerful 8.8 AMP motor and max belt speed of 1440 ft./minute.
  • Low 85 db noise output.
  • Variable speed control.
  • Auto-tracking for continuous sanding.
  • Long 16.4 ft. power cord.

CONS

  • Not ideal for detailed sanding.
  • Heavier than other reviewed items.
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Dynabrade 14000 Dynafile Abrasive Belt Tool, For 1/8-Inch - 1/2-Inch Width x 24-Inch Length Belts,Teal

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Dynabrade 14000 Dynafile Abrasive Belt Tool, For 1/8-Inch - 1/2-Inch Width x 24-Inch Length Belts,Teal

Specification

Item Dimensions:16.2×5.7×3.2 in.
Grit Type:Medium
Voltage:N/A
Power Source:Air-powered
Material:Plastic/metal
Wattage:373 Watt

The Dynabrade 14000 Dynafile air belt sander is a precision sander for all kinds of materials. The unit is able to fit ⅛-½ in. belts, perfect for sanding in tight areas as small as ⅜ in.

With a huge variety of available contact arms, the Dynafile can easily and efficiently sand, polish, buff and grind. The wide array of applications include wood, metal, plastic, fiberglass, stone and rubber.

WHAT WE LIKE

The Dynafile may be lightweight but there is no shortage of build quality. Backed by a lifetime warranty, this model can deliver top-tier performance for years with proper upkeep.

With its versatility in shaping and finishing, the composite belt guard makes belt changes fast and easy. If you want one tool to handle a detailed project from start to finish, this sander has the range to meet your needs.

PROS

  • Wide range of available contact arms.
  • Variable speed.
  • Lifetime warranty.

CONS

  • Not ideal for heavy sanding or large areas.
  • Slightly heavier than other reviewed air belt sanders.
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Astro Tools 3036 Air Belt Sander (3/8" x 13") with 3pc Belts (#40, #60 & #80)

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Astro Tools 3036 Air Belt Sander (3/8" x 13") with 3pc Belts (#40, #60 & #80)

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Astro Tools 3036 Air Belt Sander (3/8" x 13") with 3pc Belts (#40, #60 & #80)

Specification

Item Dimensions:14×4.25×2.5 in.
Grit Type:Medium – High
Voltage:N/A
Power Source:Air-powered
Material:Plastic/metal
Wattage:N/A

Cost-effective performance is an apt description for the Astro Tools 3036 air belt sander. Its simple design lends function and comfort to precision jobs. While it may not have the range of use as the Dynafile, it is a high-quality and low-cost solution for a variety of sanding needs.

The 3pc kit comes with three belts — 80 grit, 100 grit and 120 grit. One pack can handle everything from coarse sanding to fine sanding for smoothing out surfaces.

WHAT WE LIKE

The 3036 is an inexpensive option that forgoes bells and whistles for simple practicality. It still offers variable speed control within a stout but lightweight 2 lb. shell for working different surfaces without fear of damage. This pairs with a comfortable, non-slip grip to give the user total control in one hand.

The 3pc kit covers a wide range of sanding needs all in one package. And if you need to change a belt, the simple tension system makes swapping grits out quick and easy, even if they are newer, thicker belts. With the performance this model provides, you can swap into grits for everything from delicate woodworking to smoothing down welds or sharpening mower blades.

PROS

  • Relative low cost.
  • Variable speed control.
  • Lightweight with non-slip grip.
  • Easy to change out belts.

CONS

  • Strictly for sanding/grinding.
  • Loud operation.
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SKIL 7510-01 Sandcat 6 Amp 3" x 18" Belt Sander with Pressure Control

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SKIL 7510-01 Sandcat 6 Amp 3" x 18" Belt Sander with Pressure Control

Read More

SKIL 7510-01 Sandcat 6 Amp 3" x 18" Belt Sander with Pressure Control

Read More

SKIL 7510-01 Sandcat 6 Amp 3" x 18" Belt Sander with Pressure Control

Read More

SKIL 7510-01 Sandcat 6 Amp 3" x 18" Belt Sander with Pressure Control

Read More

SKIL 7510-01 Sandcat 6 Amp 3" x 18" Belt Sander with Pressure Control

Specification

Item Dimensions:12.25×6.25×5.75 in.
Grit Type:Medium
Voltage:120
Power Source:Corded electric
Material:Plastic
Wattage: 720 Watts

SKIL’s 7510-01 Sandcat is a next-gen sander, full of smart control features for quality results. Fitting 3 in. belts, the Sandcat can handle larger projects like floors, cabinets or countertops with ease. The auto track belt system works constantly to prevent slippage and its flush edge design allows you to get tight against walls when sanding down floors.

WHAT WE LIKE

Special innovations in the 7510-01 bear less focus on power and more on delivering the results you want. Pressure control technology alerts the user if they are pressing too hard. This keeps the surface consistent, ensuring a professional finish.

The system boasts exceptional dust management. The micro-filtration system reduces expulsion of small particles into the air. The upgraded clear-view canister lets you know exactly when you need to empty it. You can even hook it up to a vacuum to keep the air clear throughout the entire project without stopping to empty the dust canister.

PROS

  • Auto track belt system for continuous sanding.
  • Pressure control technology.
  • Micro-filtration system for small dust particles.
  • Vacuum compatible.

CONS

  • No variable speed.
  • Less power than the Makita 9903.
  • Relatively short life span.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a belt sander used for?

Belt sanders are used for a variety of applications needing high-speed, high-capacity sanding. They are commonly used to precision sand to a scribe line for a perfect, smooth cut or to sand down rough, uneven surfaces.

Belt sanders rapidly remove layers, so they are perfect for covering large areas quickly. If you need to refinish a floor, for example, a belt sander would be ideal. However, they can also be used to reshape material or rough sharpen tools like axes and shovels.

Belt sander vs orbital sander – What’s the difference?

Belt sanders and orbital sanders are both high-speed power sanders but have slightly different designs and applications. While a belt sander uses a running loop of sandpaper, orbital sanders use spinning sandpaper discs. 

Because of their greater ability to finesse difficult corners, odd angles and round edges, orbital sanders are better for detailed work on small areas, such as furniture. However, because of the swirl marks they leave, surfaces usually requiring finishing after sanding to improve the look.

Belt sanders are more powerful than orbital sanders so they are ideal if you have high capacity sanding needs for large, flat surfaces. If you need to strip off a lot of wood, belt sanders will perform better than orbital sanders. The belt run also benefits the aesthetics, as the sanding pattern aligns with grain to retain the natural look of the wood.

Our Pick for Best Belt Sander

The Makita 9903’s unmatched power and longevity make it the clear choice for best belt sander. The comfortable use and variable speed control give the user stress-free control even during the most demanding jobs. If you want a machine to handle any major sanding project without losing performance, the 9903 is your best bet.

A belt sander can save hours of hard labor and create a more consistent texture than manual sanders. It is an essential addition to the professional’s toolbag, and ambitious amateurs vying for a professional-looking floor at home would be smart to make the investment. For more information on choosing the right belt sander for your project, contact us today.

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