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Best Belt Sander For The Money  
Everything You Need to Know to Get a Great Belt Sander at a Great Price
Top Five for the Money (Based on our Frugal5 Formula)
How do we pick these products? We spend many hours doing unbiased research to only give you the highest rated products at the best price. We first come up with a list of features, which you can see below, that we feel the majority of people will need. We then look for the highest quality products with these features and only show you the top five with the best value. Our mission is to provide you with the best five options based only on the facts. Don't see the product you were thinking about getting? Click here to calculate it's frugal score.
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Product
Black & Decker BR318 3-by-18-Inch Low ProfileSKIL 7500 6 Amp 3-Inch by 18-InchRidgid ZRR2740 6.5 Amp 3-in X 18-in Variable SpeedPorter-Cable 371 2-1/2-Inch by 14-Inch CompactPorter-Cable 352VS 8 Amp 3-Inch-by-21-Inch
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Product Rating
 
 
 
 
 
Good
 
 
 
 
 
Good
 
 
 
 
 
Good
 
 
 
 
 
Good
 
 
 
 
 
Great
Average Price
 
 
 
 
 
Cheap ($50)
 
 
 
 
 
Cheap ($65)
 
 
 
 
 
Cheap ($76)
 
 
 
 
 
Cheap ($102)
 
 
 
 
 
Cheap ($165)
Frugal5 Score
Details
8.8
8.4
8.2
8.2
8.1
Features Needed
Between Five And Eight Amps
- 6 amps
- 6 amps
- 6.5 amps
- 5 amps
- 8 amps
Dust Collector
- Dust bag
- Micro filter canister
- Dust bag
- Dust port
- Cloth dust bag
Front Handle
Included Belt
- 80 grit
- 80 grit
- 80 grit
- 100g ceramic aluminum oxide belt
Portable Design
Features Not Needed
Auto Belt Tracking
Movable Front Handle
Variable Speed
- 850-1,300 SFPM
What You Need To Know In 5 Minutes

Belt sanders are important tools to have because they make the beginning of any woodworking job that requires sanding a lot easier. This is because they’re able to remove a lot of wood from whatever surface you’re working on quickly.  As such, they’re not well suited to finishing wood jobs, as the way they operate is much too aggressive. 

So, what types of features are necessary when looking to buy a belt sander on a budget?

Amp Rating  

Belt sander power is measured in amps. There’s an old analogy for this that compares amperage to a garden hose. Think of amps like the volume of water that flows through a hose. If the hose is wider, more water can pass through. Amps are measured in this way. The higher the rating, the greater the electric current that passes through the tool.   

With that being said, for the average guy or girl that’s looking for a belt sander to use on occasion, an amp range of between five and eight is best. Anything over that, and you’ll be paying way too much. 

Portable vs. Stationary

Belt sanders come in two different forms, stationary and portable. The portable version is probably what you’ve seen if you’ve ever seen a belt sander before. Since portable sanders are more convenient, and because stationary sanders are a lot more expensive, a portable belt sander is a must for those on a budget. 

Dust Collection

Since belt sanders remove so much wood in a quick and aggressive manner, they produce a lot of sawdust. Due to this, whatever sander you choose must be equipped with something that collects the dust. This makes as minimal a mess as possible, and ensures you’re not accidentally breathing it in.  

A Front Facing Handle

Whatever sander you decide to purchase needs a front facing handle as well. This allows you to use your sander in as comfortable a manner as possible. Plus, the rotating motion of the belt on the sander will pull it along while you’re using it, so a front facing handle will allow you to guide the sander as easy as possible. 

Included Belt

The sander you purchase needs to come with an included sander belt. Who wants to buy additional stuff? You should be able to use it right out of the box. 

Now that we’ve talked about necessary features, what are some qualities that may be useful, but ultimately not essential?  

Variable Speed 

A variable speed sander will allow you to change the speed of the belt to suit whatever surface you’re working on better. It’s useful, sure, but I have a variable speed sander and I’ve only ever changed the speed once, maybe twice. It’s not super important to have this, and you certainly don’t want to pay more for it.  

Movable Front Handle

Some sanders offer a front handle that can be moved, or even removed completely, so that the user can place it in the best position for them. Again, this is handy, but it probably won’t make much of a difference if the handle is in a slightly lower or higher position than usual.  

Auto Belt Tracking

An auto belt tracking feature keeps the belt centered automatically, meaning you don’t have to adjust it by hand. It’s useful to have, because if the belt goes off center it can tear it up, but centering a belt by hand isn’t a super big deal. 

Another thing to keep in mind with belt sanders in terms of useful information is to never apply pressure when in use. Let the tool guide you, or you'll eat through belt after belt. Nobody wants to incur extra costs, especially when on a budget. 

In terms of good quality sanders at a decent price, Black and Decker, Porter-Cable, and Skil are best. Brands like Makita, DeWalt, Hitachi, and Bosch offer top of the line sanders, but they’re much too expensive to be practical on a budget. 

Buying a reasonably priced belt sander isn’t hard. Keep the key features in mind, don’t be swayed by bells and whistles, and you’ll get a great deal. 

Features You Need
Between Five And Eight Amps, Dust Collector, Front Handle, Included Belt, Portable Design
Features You Don't Need
Auto Belt Tracking, Movable Front Handle, Variable Speed
What You Should Pay
Between $49.97 - $165.00
Top Of The Line Price
Over $500.00