When it comes to belt sanders, there is no shortage of brands to choose from. In fact, the selection is so vast, you might have a hard time figuring out which brand offers the best belt sander for your situation. But do not worry, as I will explain the basics behind what you should look for when buying these machines.
Speed is one important factor. However, instead of looking for something that is slow or fast, get a machine that offers variable speed. With this option, you can adjust the speed according to your situation. For example, if your project involves sanding softer lumber, you will need a sander with a less powerful setting. And with a machine that offers variable speed, you can lower the setting while still having access to more aggressive ones.
Pressure is next on the list when it comes to what you should look for when buying a belt sander. Unfortunately, there is no real way to test such a feature. Some people go by amperage, but that method is not reliable. With that said, consider reading reviews from other people who bought your belt sander of interest. If these reviews are posted in an interactive forum, ask them directly how much force they had to use when working with the belt sander.
Third, you need to look at the type of motor the belt sander has. They can either be in-line or transverse. Transverse motors are lighter in weight, but their pulley system may make for an “unbalanced” feel. However, you may still want them over an in-line motor, as they have a flat top that allows them to be used in a stationary manner.
Lastly, you need to investigate the sander’s tracking control. This is a type of mechanism that keeps the sander’s belt from moving in the wrong direction. In turn, the belt does not become damaged. However, in order for the knob to do its job, it must be easy to work with. If the knob cannot be turned properly, the belt may veer off into one direction. So, make sure the knob does what is needed with just one or two turns, as too many turns can also cause problems.
In any case, this list of factors will give you a very good head start when buying your belt sanders. Yet keep in mind that what matters first and foremost is what your situation. If you find a sander that goes against some of the suggestions here, yet it seems more suitable for your work, go with that sander. A good example could be if you find a low-powered sander that does not offer variable speed. As already mentioned such sanders work well with soft lumber. So, if soft lumber is the main type of wood you work with, and your sander of interest is significantly cheaper than ones with variable speed, it becomes pretty clear which model you should purchase. Conversely, if you spend a lot of your time working with a variety of wood pieces, you might want to follow my suggestions. Remember, I give these tips as a guide to make things easier. And really, that is what you need to focus on, which sander will make your woodwork easier.
That said, if you would like more information about belt sanders, feel free to take a look at my reviews. Here I go into greater detail into which brands are best for which situation. It will help make things clearer if you still have questions or concerns after reading the suggestions provided above.