The belt sander is a go-to tool for taking lots of wood off in a hurry. Getting the right one for your needs – and deciding between a belt sander and other options like the random orbit sander – will depend on your needs.

A thread at WoodNet set me off on a belt sander odyssey – here’s the original thread: Your preferred 3 by 21 Belt Sander. I poked around and found similar threads at other forums and counted up preferences to help you make the decision on a belt sander!

Mr. Stuart Ablett from the FamilyWoodworking forum had some great advice in a thread on picking out your next belt sander: “I have found that they way the fit your hand really matters, when you get to the good quality of the PC, Boschs, or say Makita, the fit in the hand, and the deal you can get comes into play.”

Here are the results of opinions from WoodNet, FamilyWoodworking and Sawmill Creek:

Porter-Cable: 21
Porter-Cable 352VS 8 Amp 3-Inch by 21-Inch Belt Sander

Dewalt: 8
DEWALT DW433K Heavy Duty 8 Amp 3-Inch by 21-Inch Variable Speed Belt Sander

Bosch: 6
Bosch 1274DVS 6.6 Amp 3-Inch by 21-Inch Belt Sander

Ryobi: 6
Ryobi ZRBE321VS 3-inch by 21-inch Belt Sander

B&D Dragster: 2
Black and Decker DS321 Dragster 6 Amp 3-Inch by 21-Inch Belt Sander

Makita: 2
Makita 9901 6.7Amp 3-Inch by 21-Inch Belt Sander

Rigid: 2
R2720 3″ X 21″ Belt Sander

Craftsman: 2
Craftsman 3 x 21 in. Belt Sander, 7.5 amp

Resources used in this post:
Your preferred 3 by 21 Belt Sander
PC Belt Sander Disappointment
Belt sander need
P-C Belt Sander Questions
Belt Sanders Get Better
Survey of 3-in. by 21-in. Belt Sanders (Taunton… from 1999 not included above)