If you do not have the time to read the entire article, I want to let you know that we have selected Rockwell RK7866 as the best benchtop belt sander
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 the belt sander. This machine saves me so much time with sanding pieces of wood and it could help you do the same.
Included below is information on what to look for in the best benchtop belt sander products, along with reviews of five potential machines that may fit your work style.
In this article, we will be reviewing these tabletop belt sanders:
- WEN 6515T 1 in. x 30 in. Belt Sander
- Rockwell RK7866 Belt Disc Sander
- JET J-41002 2-Inch by 42-Inch 3/4-Horsepower Bench Belt and 8-Inch Disc Sander
- RIKON Power Tools 50-151 Belt with 5″ Disc Sander
- Palmgren 2″ x 42″ Belt, 6″ Disc bench finishing machine
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 Sander Design Different?
When compared to a hand-held belt sander, the benchtop version allows you to operate the machine in a hands-free mode. Instead of running a belt sander across the material being worked on, the benchtop version is stationary. You hold the material and move it across the belt’s surface.
A benchtop belt sander resembles a traditional stationary belt sander and is used in a similar way. The key difference between the two is that the benchtop 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 these 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 this sander. That can become important if you are looking to round over edges along the grain of long boards.
I have also used my benchtop belt 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 sander of any type 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 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 disk 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.
Now let’s dive into the part you have been waiting for. Let’s find out which specific benchtop belt sander models are the best ones out there.
The 6515T by Wen provides you with 2.3 amps of power, which should allow you to take on most projects without difficulty. I also found the orange adjustment knobs easy to locate.
- It uses orange markings on the miter gauge that are easy to read against a black background
- The table surface on the belt sander can be adjusted to multiple angles, making beveled work easy to smooth
- This model has a heavy-duty base that provides stability during use while allowing you to mount it securely as well
- The lock lever is attached to the mounting bolt, which can make it difficult to use when trying to thread it on the locking nut when you are securing it on your table
- Wen uses plastic for the adjustment knobs on this sander, which can crack or strip if they are over-tightened after adjustments are made
- It uses a thin sanding belt that does not provide a lot of sanding area, making larger projects take longer to complete
This belt and disk 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.
- It uses a wider sanding loop that users will appreciate with larger flat surfaces
- An adjustable table on the belt sander allows you to operate it in a horizontal or vertical position, as well as angles in between
- A quick-release lever allows owners to add or remove sanding belts quickly, a feature that makes changing between belts with different grit sizes easier than on other belt sander models
- This benchtop sander has a larger footprint that will take up more room on your workshop table
- The table used for the belt sander extends a fair distance from the main body and will stick out considerably from the table unless the unit is mounted away from the table edge
- It has an adjustment for the belt platform that can become loose during operations on the belt sander
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.
- Its 42-inch long belt is capable of chewing through wood very quickly and will not heat up as fast as a shorter belt will
- Multiple adjustment points on this power tool allow you to present the wood at a variety of angles, giving you more versatility with your wood projects
- Four rubber pads located on each foot prevents the machine from moving across the workbench as it is used while helping to absorb vibrations generated by the motor and drums
- Its cast-iron body brings the weight of this power tool up to 60 pounds, making it more difficult to move when compared to other benchtop products
- The heavy-duty cast iron construction is limited in its potential due to the two-inch-wide sanding belt, something that is sized for smaller projects or deeper curves
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.
- This model comes at an economical price point considering the adjustability it provides for users
- All of the knobs and lever are large enough to be handled with ease and are located in positions that are easy to reach
- It includes a two-inch dust port that should provide you with enough suction power to grab most of the debris it traps
- This model includes a clear cover located across the on/off switch that will help to prevent it from accidentally shutting down in the middle of a pass
- It has a table adjust with readings that are not colored, making it hard to see the angle that the table is adjusted to
- This model is made from some materials that are lighter and thinner, generating more noise and vibration while the power tool is running
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.
- It has a belt tension lever that is located to the side of the sanding belt instead of behind the device, making it easier to use
- A 3.5 amp motor generates up to 1/3 horsepower, allowing it to operate without bogging down on all but the largest of woodworking projects
- It has a brightly colored on/off switch that is centrally located and is easy to reach for fast emergency shutoffs
- Surfaces on both tables have groves that help keep dust and debris away from the point of contact with the materials that you are working on
- Proper belt tension can sometimes be difficult to achieve with the adjustments that will need period tightening as you work
- The thinner metal stock used for the tables will transfer vibration through the wood as you hold and can create more noise
Of the products reviewed above, the Rockwell RK7866 Belt 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.