Belt Sander Comparison
Black & Decker
PORTER CABLE 371K
Black & Decker BR318
|4 x 24||3 x 21||3 x 21||3 x 21||2.50 x 14||1 x 30||3 x 18||3 x 21||1.13 x 21||0.5 x 18|
|SFPM||1,640||850 – 1,300||820 – 1,475||800||2300||3400||660||390 – 1,180||656 – 3,280||1,640|
|13.9 x 5.5 x 8.3||14.2 x 8 x 10.2||14.6 x 9.6 x 8.3||15.4 x 6.2 x 6.1||15.4 x 9.2 x 7.2||14.5 x 10 x 10||14 x 7 x 7||14 x 5.8 x 5.8||3.5 x 15 x 6.7||15.5 x 3.5 x 2|
Belt Sander Buying Guide
Things to Consider Before Purchase
When you are shopping for a belt sander it is important to know the types of projects you will be using the sander for. Think about the kind of jobs you will need your sander for and determine what kind of power and features you will want. Knowing this information before you purchase ensures that you don’t choose a belt sander that isn’t strong enough to handle what you will be doing with it.
- Size – The size of the belt sander you choose is very important. If you will be using it inside cabinets or in tight corners, you don’t want to get a bulkier, larger sander. If you will be working a lot with larger pieces like furniture, you may even prefer a stationary sander. If you prefer a handheld sander, you want it to be as light as possible without sacrificing power or performance.
- Dust Collection – When you are doing heavy sanding jobs dust is a major concern. Most sanders will have some kind of dust elimination system whether it is the ability to attach to a shop-vac or it will have a dust bag that attaches to the sander itself for dust collection. Having a good dust collection method will help reduce the amount of dust flying around your workshop and being inhaled, which is not good for you.
- Variable Speed – Many belt sanders have variable speed options that you can use to adjust the sander to specific jobs. Single speed sanders are good for light and infrequent sanding jobs. If you do a lot of sanding and the jobs are on the heavy side, you will want a variable speed sander which overall has more power than the single speeds.
Benefits of Using a Belt Sander
- Belt sanders are lighter than other types of sanders, which means they can be taken out to use and then stored away when you’re done, very quickly.
- Belt sanders are great for reaching difficult spots and you will have more control over the tool to cover the smaller areas easily and more accurately. The compact nature of a belt sander makes it a very popular tool to have.
- Belt sanders are a great choice for removing undesirable materials from surfaces such as paint or varnish without damaging the surfaces underneath. You will need to have the sander on the right setting and use a steady but firm hand.
- Workers like belt sanders because of the speed in which they sand larger jobs such as deck furniture, hardwood floors, floorboards, and many other larger sanding jobs. This is the a tool of choice because of their ability to handle sanding jobs faster than other types and are great for handling the initial major sanding of an item before the smaller details are handled.
Types of Belt Sanders
There are two basic types of belt sanders on the market: Stationary and Handheld. We have outlined the two types below and offered information about each so you understand the differences between the two.
Stationary Belt Sander – Stationary belt sanders are designed to stay in one place and you bring the items to the sander to sand. The sanding belt in a stationary belt sander rests on top of the surface of the sander. Stationary belt sanders are much larger and heavier than their handheld counterparts.
If you actually mount the sander to the workbench, it is known as a bench sander. This type of sander is designed for larger, commercial jobs. They can be used to sand both wood and metal and are most often used for tables and other objects that can be moved.
Handheld Belt Sander – Most of the sanding jobs that you will encounter are accomplished with a handheld belt sander. These are smaller than the stationary sanders and come in many different sizes and shapes that will accommodate many different tasks. The sanding belt on a handheld sander is located on the bottom of the sander so the surface can be applied to the stationary object you want to sand.
It is good for sanding floors and patios or decks due to the moveable nature of the sander. Handheld belt sanders will have different size belts as well as different motor speeds. The high speed motor will sand a surface much more aggressively than a slower motor will. Having the ability to choose multiple speeds gives the user more control over the sanding process and will allow them to adapt the sander to the project being sanded.
Types of Sandpaper Grit
Belt sanders have either paper or cloth belts that can be changed when they wear down. The different belts will have varying types of grit that ranges from extremely fine to very coarse. The higher the number, the finer the grit will be. Choosing the right grit will depend on the type of project that is being worked on. You wouldn’t want to use a coarse grit paper on a finishing project.
- Very coarse – Has very large grit and powers through surfaces very fast. You will need to be careful when using very coarse grit. When it is combined with the power and speed of the belt sander, it can completely ruin the surface you are sanding.
- Coarse – Coarse grit in not as abrasive as the very coarse grit and is good for sanding items that require a lot of sanding. Be careful using coarse grit because you can easily over sand the item and ruin the finish. Coarse sandpaper is suited well for sanding metal.
- Medium – Medium grit is considered a good all purpose paper. It’s used most often for wood projects and is the first type of grit used when you are preparing a project to be painted or varnished. It can also be used for removing marks and rough spots in wood and removing paint from surfaces.
- Fine – This is the paper of choice for getting projects ready for finishing. It is also used often to remove stains from plaster or water stains from wood. Although the finer tasks may not be suited to using a belt sander unless the user is highly experienced in handling the belt sander so no damage is caused.
- Super Fine – In the majority of cases, using super fine grit is simple to polish or buff the item after everything else in the process has been done. If you have a project where you don’t plan on staining or varnishing, super fine grit adds a nice shine to the item and a softness that many love. It can also be used to polish certain metals as well.
There are many types of belt sanders available on the market today. The best way to find the perfect one for your needs is to first know what those needs are. Next, make sure you know the features that you want in the belt sander you choose. Things like power, SFPM speed, size, shape, and extra features all will help determine the best belt sander for your projects.
The information in this buyer’s guide and the reviews we provided of the top three belt sanders will help save you a lot of time when it comes to researching. You have all the knowledge you need to look at the different belt sanders available and make an informed decision that will provide you with the performance and results you want from your sanding projects.
- Makita – http://makitatools.com/en-us/
- Porter-Cable – http://www.portercable.com/
- Hitachi – http://www.hitachipowertools.com/