When you need a tool to remove material in a hurry—smoothing glued-up panels or rough-sawn boards, for example—few tools beat a belt sander. In our experience, a sander that weighs 9–10 pounds, provides the best control without being too heavy. We tested nine models and recommend these.
Photo of Metabo HPTSB8V2

Best Overall (tie)

Metabo HPT SB8V2

Belt size: 3×21"

(Photo, above) Deftly balancing aggressiveness and control, this 9-1⁄2-pound sander scored high in all of our tests. Its 5-1⁄4"-long platen—the flat "footprint" where sanding takes place—exceeds all other 3×21" models. It collected in its bag nearly all the dust it created, and performed even better when connected to a shop vacuum.

800-706-7337, metabo-hpt.com

Best Overall (tie)

Makita 9903

Belt size: 3×21"

Photo of Makita 9903

This model (also 9-1⁄2 pounds) performed as effectively as the Metabo HPT in aggressiveness and control and even better at dust collection. It also topped our tests in tracking and ease of belt changes.

800-462-5482, makitatools.com

Best Cordless

Ridgid R86065B, $139

Belt size: 3×18"

Photo of Rigid R86065B belt sander

We haven't found a cordless belt sander that matches the performance of most corded sanders. But for small jobs where a cord would be inconvenient or impossible, the Ridgid (8 pounds with a 4.0-amp-hour battery pack) delivered 20–30 minutes on a charge.

866-539-1710, ridgidpowertools.com

Most Aggressive

Makita 9403

Belt size: 4×24"

Photo of akita 9903 belt sander

With the largest belt and platen in the field, this sander removed material faster than any other sander we tested. But at 12-1⁄2 pounds, it's also the heaviest.

800-462-5482, makitatools.com

Best Value

Skil 7510-01

Belt size: 3×18"

Photo of Skil 7510 belt sander

Despite its small belt size, this sander removed material nearly as quickly as the Metabo HPT and Makita 9903 while maintaining control. Throw in its light 6-pound weight and low price, and it's a no-brainer.

877-754-5999, skil.com