I love working with wood.
This is why I love the madness belt sander.
What is the belt sander?
The belt sander is a work tool that allows material to be removed from unfinished surfaces (therefore raw) generally of medium-large dimensions, with the aim of making them smoother.
The smoothing action takes place by means of a rectangular base roller on which abrasive tape is applied with precise characteristics that depend on the type of processing to be performed.
The machine is the ideal way to work on several surfaces and on different materials, such as already painted parts that need to be painted again, but not only. A belt sander finds its main foundation in the roughing operations, to then arrive at a surface finish gradually and with further steps.
Guide to choosing the best sander
An indispensable working tool for doing excellent DIY jobs is definitely the belt sander. Before going into the in-depth analysis of the tool, you should know that its usefulness is not only aimed at smoothing wood, as it is perhaps easier to imagine, but also for other materials, such as metals or ceramics.
The proposals that are found online and in stores are of various kinds and for this you have to pay the utmost attention to the choice. The purpose of our fantastic and detailed guide is precisely to help you in the preferential orientation between the different models, based on your hobby and work requirements. You can also read our special reviews of some of the best sanders on the market, both for bricolage and for those who use this tool for work.
In general, the sanders are divided into four categories: orbital (or roto orbital if they are rotating, with round abrasive discs), belt (with abrasive belt), bench-top tape (similar to the previous ones but with fixed installation on a work bench ), micro sanders (for high precision work on small surfaces). The purpose is the same, but the type of operation changes. Those of small dimensions and suitable for particularly accurate work are also called grinders. Except for the counter, the others have the advantage of being portable and therefore much more practical.
The evaluation parameters for the choice of the sander
Before choosing the belt sander, you must be clear about some of its typical characteristics and above all you must make an assessment of your needs. The choice of the best product is fundamentally influenced by this parameter, which is subjective.
Much depends on how much you use the belt sander, what materials you will be working on, what types of work you will do. The answers to these three questions will already help you to filter the available models and reduce the choice to only some of them, discarding others.
Now let's move on to an analysis more related to the tool.
today the trend for products dedicated to hobbyists or in any case semi-professional is to have a tool powered by rechargeable batteries. Small artisans and DIY enthusiasts certainly prefer this type of food to benefit from greater practicality.
Alternatively there are wire sanders with current connection which, compared to the previous ones, are a bit more limiting in terms of freedom of movement, but guarantee a continuous operation avoiding the danger of remaining without battery charge.
Who uses the tool at home and has a corner dedicated to DIY, may also prefer this last solution. Otherwise, a professional who has to use the belt sander in complicated positions or in unlikely places will prefer the rechargeable one to avoid having the problem of the power connection cable.
Body and structure
The optimal choice is the one that manages to combine performance, practicality and ergonomics, favoring a tool as light as possible. It must also be said that a sander must be resistant and sturdy, especially if designed for semi-professional or professional use: the amount of work it has to perform must be supported and supported by the structure of the tool as well as by its motor.
The body of the belt sander must include parts made of materials that comply with safety regulations, must be able to guarantee a firm grip and have the right heat protection.
Type of abrasion
to better explain the concept let's start with the orbital sander, which in general is the most widespread. It performs the sanding operation thanks to special discs (or rotating blades) equipped with abrasive surfaces, which, in contact with the material to be processed and according to their degree of abrasiveness, are able to do the job.
The abrasion is carried out with resistant materials suitable for the type of work to be carried out. There are available diamond disks with maximum hardness, silicon carbide characterized by medium-hard resistance and finally corundum to work on softer surfaces. For belt sanders that operate at high speeds or for materials that generate high friction, diamond products offer great resistance to high temperatures and are therefore recommended for these types of applications.
If you need more tenderness, you can opt for abrasive discs made of sandpaper of different grain depending on the work you need to do (in truth not applicable on all sander models). Usually their application is very practical and fast as it is possible with the special hooks or with the Velcro (at a slightly higher cost).
The grain indicates the degree of polishing that can be obtained, from the roughing that occurs with coarser grain, to the finish that instead is characterized by requiring a finer grain. These differences are captured by reading on the packaging the number that indicates precisely the type of fabric: from the lowest to the highest one passes from roughing to finishing.
Speaking of belt sanders, which is the object of our analysis, the same considerations apply in all respects to the abrasive belt.
the motor of a belt sander is important and the power varies according to the kind of model. Logically, for a mainly bricolage activity, few Watts will be available, but for highly professional jobs it is possible to arrive at the availability of 2 Kilowatts.
In addition to power, another fact to be taken into serious consideration in order to choose the best sander is the number of revolutions per minute: the choice should be based on products that are able to supply at least 7,500 rpm to make use of a good tool management and to have a finishing degree that is at least discrete (for belt sanders the value is also expressed in meters per minute, indicated with m / min).
In general, the higher the level and the target, the more powerful the engine and the revolutions per minute increase. In all honesty we must say that it is usual to find some models that highlight high rotation regimes to attract the attention of the consumer, but this is not always the only data on which to rely.
To give an example, in order to better help you understand the concept, it's like when you see a digital camera that focuses on its resolution megapixels, a parameter that is actually one of the least important for product selection.
Best Belt Sander 2019 (Final Guide)
The belt sander is ideal for processing the surfaces of wooden, metal and other materials, with the aim of improving their degree of finish. The products that the market offers are innumerable but not all are suitable for each type of processing.
The possible features that a belt sander has can be different between apparently similar models and can make a difference. Here are some of our suggestions for the best belt sanders in the industry, with real reviews, analyzes, pros and cons.
Bosch PBS 75AE belt sander
- Powerful and robust belt sander: for a high removal rate on large areas
- Perfect maneuverability: easy driving thanks to improved ergonomics and compact design
The Bosch PBS 75AE belt sander is characterized by its practicality and ease of handling during use, thanks to its compact dimensions and good ergonomics, which are also thanks to a valid and solid construction. This makes it easier for those who take control of a belt sander for the first time. Some users complain, in contrast, an excessive disturbance during use due to a noise level that is not really among the best in the category and that in situations of prolonged use could also annoy.
Bosch is a leading brand in the sector and this certainly communicates confidence in the product, in assistance and in spare parts. If the need is to remove a massive dose of material by performing roughing work, as is usually the case with belt sanders, Bosch PBS 75AE identifies itself as the ideal answer to this need. The change in workable materials does not scare this product, which can adapt to both wood and metal, as well as fiberglass or other materials.
We have already mentioned the sturdy and solid construction and it is not a trivial matter for a product dedicated to hobby and DIY, especially if the aspect of handling is favored by the presence of two handles to ensure greater control. The electric motor is powered by current (220 Volts) and equipped with 750 Watts, with an adjustable speed of the belt which can vary up to a maximum of 350 m / min starting from a minimum of 200 m / min. The adjustment takes place thanks to a system that Bosch has electronically developed and patented.
The control uses a sensor that perceives the degree of heat that develops during the machining of the surfaces, allowing continuous adjustment of the operating regime. The start-up is called soft start and is distinguished by gradually increasing revs to avoid the initial backlash.
The other available functions are also highly respected, such as the tensioning and centering of the abrasive material in tape. In addition, convenient adjustment is allowed to allow working in the most difficult parts and sanding with greater precision.
An important functional component is the vacuum collection of the powder and this Bosch PBS 75AE belt sander has a well-functioning microfiltration system that keeps the tool clean by limiting the dispersion in the action area. Everything is collected in a visible container that is occasionally emptied.
The purchase package is also well equipped with useful accessories, such as the transport and storage case, abrasive belts, a template for working, a special support that also allows you to fix the Bosch PBS 75AE belt sander to a work bench , then using it in a fixed manner.
It is not among the cheapest, but certainly with an expense of less than 200 euros, it is possible to have a work tool of absolute value, with a good range of accessories and a total weight of 3.5 kg.
PRO: constructive solidity, adjustable speed, easy to use, ergonomics, dust collection, versatility of use, trolley adjustment, ideal for beginners but also for professional seeds, initial equipment, start-up soft start.
CONS: operating noise.
Einhell RT-BS75 belt sander
Einhell RT-BS75 is a very good quality belt sander with a very advantageous price of a few tens of euros.
The ergonomics and the adjustable handle according to three different levels are the main features of the instrument, which is also very simple to use, even in positions that are not really comfortable from a physical point of view. Unlike the Bosch belt sander reviewed above, the use of this model is typically DIY-oriented and it is unthinkable to have it available for heavier and more continuous processing over time.
What raises the consideration is certainly the possibility of having the speed regulation (from 300 to 400 rpm), certainly a function that is difficult to find in the products of the economic or entry level range. Then there is the aspiration of the dust and an interesting datum referred to the engine power. A consideration that is instead moved, in a negative perspective, is that when working at speeds close to the maximum value, the tape tends to wear out quickly and therefore the use should be partialized or otherwise managed.
The engine power of 850 Watts is definitely good, even though it is a low-priced product, and the collection of sanding dust inside a special container is certainly a considerable plus, even if many users report that a cleaning of the filter in short time intervals.
For the price at which it is offered, the Einhell RT-BS75 belt sander can also be of interest to a small craftsman who likes to keep a spare tool in the van, in case the main one shows signs of slowing down.
Cable operation limits use in terms of portability and this is undeniable, but it cannot be considered a real disadvantage given that the model belongs to the category of electric sanders.
The practical space to wrap the cable facilitates the repositioning of the tool, helping to keep the work environment tidy. The purchase package has a content that puts the subject in a position to be immediately operational, also supplying the abrasive paper. The total weight is 3.1 Kg and this already makes us understand the hobby nature of the product, which however is solid and well built.
PRO: ease of use thanks to the adjustable handle, dust collection container, motor power, adaptability to different materials, robustness of the materials, adjustment of the belt rotation speed, quality-price ratio very advantageous.
CONS: excessive consumption of abrasive paper at maximum speed, filter cleaning too frequent, not recommended for heavy work of a semi-professional nature.
Skil 1210AA belt sander
- Powerful 650 Watt motor and high belt speed for large-scale material removal
- The "Automatic belt centering" mechanism (ABC) always keeps the belt in perfect position
The 650 Watts of motor power must absolutely not make you think of a low power compared to other competing models: in fact the motor, in fact, represents the beating heart of this machine, which combines the right power with an enviable working precision from more expensive models and blazoned.
Among the best belt sanders, this Skil 1210AA is certainly to be taken seriously for mainly domestic use, even if it does not disdain more important works on large surfaces. In this his bimane handle helps sanding and facilitates control.
The operational precision is almost entirely due to the advantage deriving from the self-centering of the belt, a peculiarity capable of making you work with precision and without empty passages. A note of merit must be assigned to the design: we are certainly not talking about a piece of furniture or contemporary art, but working with a nice-looking belt sander certainly helps and stimulates its use.
A defect, however, is directly related to this aspect: as it is built, it is difficult to work in reverse (for example on surfaces that look downwards), especially due to the impossibility of firmly grasping the handle and maintaining operational safety. This means that if you have to polish the ceiling of your home or paint a roof over, you better shift the focus to alternative models.
The constructive aspect is definitely valid: good plastics, good assembly and good durability. The Skil 1210AA belt sander conveys a great sense of solidity, an impression confirmed by other user reviews that have made use of it.
An important aspect, especially for those approaching the tool for the first few times, is the rapid change of the belt.
Even the model under analysis, like the previous ones, uses a dust suction bag.
This aspect is fundamental to avoid breathing micro particles harmful to the respiratory tract and to have a clean work environment. There are several sanders, even in the low-cost range, which integrate a suction system. The value relative to the number of revolutions is fixed at 300 m / min, which is a high value anyway. Good weight too, managing to stay under 3 kg, to the advantage of a better operating comfort.
PRO: ergonomic design, bimane grip for greater control, dust extraction bag, constructive solidity, precise and reliable motor, value for money, self-centering of the abrasive belt.
CONS: Difficulty in operating with the tool upside down, non-adjustable belt rotation speed, not recommended for professional processing.
Matrix belt sander 130400050
The name is certainly reminiscent of a completely different sector (recalling a famous cinema colossal), but the product deserves an analysis, if only because it is built with very robust and well assembled plastics, even if the design is not its main strength.
Also in this case we are faced with an economic product dedicated mainly to domestic work. The aesthetic form is conditioned by the handle which guarantees excellent grip on any type of occasion.
On the other hand the collection of abrasion dust reveals some defects, as evidenced by different users: the system is not perfect and tends to create an overheating area on the grip point, especially if the Matrix sander 130400050 is used for a long time interval in a continuous way.
The motor is electric with wire and has a power of 800 Watts and the belt can travel up to 300 m / min. The risk that someone has identified is the awareness that there is the possibility of creating depressions on the worked surfaces if you are not able to adequately manage the power supplied: lingering too much on one point can therefore be risky.
Better to pass quickly and smoothly. The supplied cable is only 2 meters and this greatly limits the use of the instrument. It also does not have a suitcase supplied, which consists of a set of abrasives and a dust collection bag.
There is not much to say about this product as it is very simple in its construction and in its operation and does not even have many features available, but it is certainly a good purchase to be able to begin to polish some portions of simple surfaces. The use for grinding of complex and articulated parts is not recommended.
PRO: Advantageous price, good construction, robust quality plastics, good assembly, powerful motor.
CONS: improved dust extraction system, knob overheating, short power cable, containment case missing, engine power management difficulties for the less experienced, design.
Black & Decker KA88 belt sander
Simply fantastic in terms of design, a feature that equates the Black & Decker KA88 belt sander to a Formula One car. The juxtaposition is not risky as the instrument is quick to carry out machining on large and sliding surfaces.
A feature that distinguishes this Black & Decker model from other competing alternatives is the sandable surface: this KA88 allows you to work on a useful contact surface 30% higher than other market proposals.
This means that you can operate in less time and act on larger spaces, also taking advantage of the self-centering of the tape which allows you to work with more precision. Furthermore, a relevant and highly appreciated aspect of the users concerns the grip: the double handle allows a firmer grip and the second is reclining up to 90 degrees to reach corners or more difficult parts, such as when you are near edges and baseboards.
That the construction of the product is careful and meticulous is demonstrated by the precautions, such as the front protection that avoids ruining other surfaces in the event that you accidentally hit against it.
The use is indicated both for hobby use and for some semi-professional jobs and in fact the Black & Decker KA88 belt sander is a product that is placed in a mid-market segment. For this reason, it is sold at a higher price than previous models in the economic or entry level range.
This do-it-yourself machine is more comparable to the first Bosch-branded model, even if it has fewer features and is offered at a list price less than a few tens of euros compared to the model with which it is partly comparable.
However, some negative aspects are present, such as plastics, which, although of a reasonable level, are certainly not the best. Another indication should be placed in relief regarding the cost of abrasive belts: those of the same brand have a higher than average cost.
The rotation speed of 250 meters / min is fixed and therefore not adjustable and this is a real shame because otherwise it would have really been an added value of considerable thickness.
The motor powered by current uses 720 Watts of power and offers 3 meters of cable (certainly not a great length but much better than other models that stop at 1.5 or 2 meters).
PRO: working area increased by 30%, design, practicality and comfort of use, also indicated for semi-professional uses, construction and safety, self-centering of the abrasive belt.
CONS: cost of abrasive belts, quality of the plastics used, non-adjustable rotation speed.
Belt sander: how to use it?
First of all, the belt sander is useful for sanding surfaces and if you need it, the purchase becomes practically mandatory. Thanks to this tool you can perform roughing but also finishing work, depending on the abrasive paper you decide to mount.
This is already a first step related to the use of the sander: to make it work you have to choose and fix an abrasive paper that varies according to the processing and the material you are going to work on. The purpose is to uniform the surfaces of wood, metal, marble, masonry, or paint stripping parts.
In a belt sander, the abrasive paper runs on a double roller that rotates at high speed: the friction between the support and the machinable surface creates the removal of the excess material. The operation of the belt sander finds its best use in the processing of large surfaces, reducing intervention times.
The abrasive component is decisive for the final success, but to make sure that the paper can work at its best it must be centered and taut, so that it does not come loose during operation. If this were to happen, the process would be uneven (crooked) and the belt would be consumed too much, which would then have to be replaced.
The centering can be done manually thanks to a small screw or a clamp system, or autonomously if this function is provided by the model of sander in use.
To operate the sander, once connected to the power supply or with the batteries inserted, it is sufficient to press the ignition button, but it is good to do it before putting the abrasive belt in contact with the surface to be sanded. This is because the cheaper models (but also others) do not have a smooth start and the sander suddenly starts leaving an unwanted groove. It is therefore better to start the vacuum instrument and then slowly approach the part on which to operate.
Particular attention should be paid to sanding the wood: to avoid damaging the aesthetics and the surface, it is always advisable to work with the sander maintaining the natural grain line of the material, acting very lightly to avoid grooves and irreparably repairable grooves.
Before starting any processing it is good to make sure that the dust collector has been well secured: not only is it important to keep the work area clean, but above all to avoid breathing wood dust, cement or metal. Some models have a container already inserted and a filter that occasionally needs to be cleaned, while others have an attachment system for a normal bag.
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