Do you just want to know which benchtop belt and disc sander is the best right now? WEN 6502T is your best option.
As I draw closer to 30, I find myself always looking for ways to save time in the shop. One tool I discovered a couple of years ago was a belt and disc sander. This machine saves me so much time with sanding pieces of wood and it could help you do the same.
This article will explain what to look for in the best benchtop belt & disc sanders, along with reviews of five potential models that may fit your work style.
Best Benchtop Belt Sanders Compared:
1. WEN 6502T
- Two-in-one sanding machine includes both a 4-by-36 inch belt and a 6-by-6 inch disc
- Belt tilts anywhere from 0 to 90 degrees
- Sturdy cast iron base prevents any heavy vibrations
WEN 6502T benchtop sander uses a 4.3 amp electric motor, which is sufficient for most hobbyist applications. It generates up to 3,600 Rotations Per Minute (RPMs) under no load. Those may not be the highest rates for a benchtop belt sander, but they will suffice for most beginner and intermediate woodworkers.
A small tabletop supports wood on both the disc and belt stations. The belt can tilt up to 90-degrees for flat beveling on the edge of your lumber.
The sander measures 22 inches in length, 11 inches in width, and 12.5 inches in height. It weighs just under 38 pounds which makes this combination belt/disc sander compact and lightweight.
2. Rockwell RK7866
- [HORIZONTAL & VERTICAL SANDING] The spacious 4” x 36” belt platform raises and lowers from 0-90° to accommodate almost any project
- [BEVEL EDGES] The sanding table adjusts from 0-45° for smoothing out beveled edges—you’ll have the nicest picture frames in the business
- [HEAVY INDUCTION MOTOR] Powerful 4.3-amp motor provides plenty of power to sand down all your woodworking projects
This belt and disc sander combo is part of Rockwell’s Shop Series line. The surfaces provided by the sanding materials is larger, a feature that will be beneficial for those working with long and wide boards.
3. JET J-41002
- DELUXE MITER GAUGE: Turns and locks for common angles, 45 degrees both left and right
- HEAVY-DUTY: Has a steel base, rubber feet, and cast iron construction
- REMOVABLE PLATEN: Allows for sanding, grinding or finishing of outside curves or odd shaped work pieces on the belt
This product from Jet is made with cast iron parts, providing you with plenty of longevity. that heavy-duty material will also help to dampen vibrations and chatter the motor may produce.
4. RIKON Power Tools 50-151
- Belt Table Tilts from -0Degree- 45Degree
- Belt Tracking Knob
- Safety ON/OFF Switch
Rikon’s economical 50-151 provides a thinner belt and smaller disc that will suit the needs of many novice woodworkers. A guard along the top of the belt sander helps to limit debris flying everywhere.
5. Palmgren 81061
- 1/3 HP, 120/240VAC motor, 3.5/1.75 amp, 3500 RPM
- 2-Inch x 42-Inch Belt speed 4400 SFPM
- 6-Inch PSA abrasive disc, 3500 RPM
The stand out feature of this product is the motor. A strong conductive motor and drive train help to generate plenty of RPMs for both sanding surfaces and should not bog down under the workload.
What Is A Belt Sander?
These power tools are also known as strip sanders. They can be used to finish wood surfaces as well as shape them.
A loop of sandpaper is placed over two rotating drums that are powered by an electric motor. Belt sanders come in hand-held, stationary, and benchtop designs. While each is different in its construction, they all work off of the same principle.
How Is tabletop Belt and disc Sander Design Different?
When compared to a hand-held belt sander, bench and disc sanders allow you to operate the machine in a hands-free mode. Instead of running a belt sander across the material being worked on, the benchtop belt and disc sander is stationary. You hold the material and move it across the belt’s or disc’s surface.
A benchtop belt and disc sander resembles a traditional stationary belt sander and is used in a similar way. The key difference between the two is that the belt sander, as the name implies, is smaller. These power tools were designed to offer users portability and can be used in smaller spaces that many of us work in.
What Are The Best Uses For Belt And Disc Sanders?
This type of equipment is used to quickly remove material from wood stock or other items. It is a good option for initial smoothing of flat wood surfaces. The aggressive sanding would not be useful for finish sanding, however.
Another job that belt and disc sanders excel in is when you want to shape wood. You can quickly produce curves on stock edges with the belt. The amount of curve that you can produce will depend upon the width of the belt that you are using.
You can also round the corners and edges on your projects with a belt/disc sander. That can become important if you are looking to round over edges along the grain of long boards.
I have also used my bench sander to smooth out surfaces on oddly shaped wooden pieces. No matter what you are working on, this tool will get the job done quickly.
Always remember that you will get the best results if you sand with the grain. Sanding across the grain has a tendency to produce rough results (the exception being at the end of boards). The aggressive sanding from these machines can rip small chunks and fibers of wood from the surface if you are not careful.
Precautions When Using table Top Belt & Disc Sanders
There are certain things to keep in mind when using a belt and disc in order to get the job done safely. That starts with eye protection, which protects you when (not if) the wood stock kicks back towards your face or chips fly off of the surface as you work.
These machines can be loud and the continuous hum will become uncomfortable at the least or cause damage to your ears at worst. Always use hearing protection when operating your belt and disc sander.
Think through your sanding or shaping before you start. This will prevent you from trying to place the wood in an awkward position while you work. Planning out beforehand can also help to keep your fingers away from the fast-moving sandpaper which will rip your skin off in an instant.
Avoid loose-fitting clothes that can become caught in the spinning drums as you work. The tailor, as well as your stomach and ribs, will thank you.
When possible, sand with the grain. This will help to prevent the wood from skipping off the sanding belt as much while it is in motion. Finally, always sand with the downward motion and not the upward movement of the belt (this allows you the best control).
How To Choose The Best Benchtop Sander
Start by determining the power that you will need. If your projects consist of small toys of thin stock for tiny boxes, you can get away with less power. Larger wood (or metal for that matter) pieces will require more power to prevent the sander from bogging down.
What type of versatility are you looking for? If you are a cabinet or furniture maker that uses larger material, you won’t need a lot of versatility. If, however, you plan to make a variety of projects that vary in size and shape you will want something that can take on curves at the least.
Many of today’s models will also incorporate a disc sander and wheel that is attached to the belt sander. That will add diversity as well.
Dust collection is a major consideration considering how much material these tools can remove. Look for safety features like large on/off buttons that are easy to reach as well as surfaces that will help to hold the wood level. Finally, any ease of maintenance features are a bonus.
Of the products reviewed above, WEN 6502T 4.3-Amp 4 x 36 in. Belt and 6 in. Disc Sander is my favorite. Compared to most of the others, it uses a four-inch belt that works well with larger flat surfaces. It has a motor capable of handling the loads that a wider belt will take on.
While it provides plenty of power, it will also give plenty of adjustabilities to take on various angles. There are two mounting holes that are easy to access for solid mounting to your workbench. Lastly, it may take up a bit more room on the bench, but it does come at a reasonable price point.
Do you need a good handheld sander also? Read some of our other sander guides: