Belt Sander vs Orbital Sander Comparison

Last Updated: by Peter Lynn

You have worked so hard, and the project is nearing completion. At the back of your mind, you know all your efforts will come to naught if you bungle the finishing. A proper and professionally done finish could make all the difference in so far as getting referrals is concerned. Indeed, this is a crucial step that you can’t afford to overlook.

To achieve that fine, professional, and attractive finishing, there are two different sanders that you can use, a belt or orbital sander.  The all-important question is, which one do you buy?

Although belt sanders and orbital sanders are used for the same purpose — sanding wood — they work differently. It is not uncommon to see woodworkers, even professionals, finding themselves at a crossroads. We’ve been in that position before. We found ourselves in a dilemma wracking up our brains trying to find the perfect sander.

Our troubles were further compounded by the fact that somehow, back then, we subscribed to an “anything goes” philosophy. The results were poorly done finish, disgruntled customers, and the pain of redoing some projects. Such an unfortunate thing, right? We want you to avoid such bottlenecks through this comprehensive comparison of belt and orbital Sander.

In this belt sander vs orbital sander comparison, we look at the two models and review individual sanders in each category. If you want the best results, you must get the best sander!

The Makita 9403 Belt Sander is our first choice in the belt sanders category. It is powerful, rugged and designed to make sanding, even the toughest tasks, easy.

Our Top Belt Sanders Are:

ProductDetails
1. Makita 9403 Belt Sander

  • 13 pounds
  • 16.1 x 8.9 x 9.8 inches
  • Corded-electric
  • 1,640 ft./min.
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2. Porter-Cable 352VS Belt Sander

  • 10.75 pounds
  • 14.2 x 8 x 10.2 inches
  • Corded-electric
  • 3 inches x 21 inches
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3. WEN 6321 Belt Sander

  • 6.2 pounds
  • 12 x 6 x 6.5 inches
  • Corded-electric
  • 2-years
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1. Makita 9403 Belt Sander – First Choice

The Makita 9403 is our first pick in the Belt Sander category because of its design that makes sanding easy and enjoyable. As an upgrade from the previous models, 9401 and 9402, this sander comes with features that every professional would want to add to his workshop.

This sander comes with a heavy-duty design that allows you to work even on very tough projects. Further, the sander uses a powerful 11 AMP motor that runs a 4-inch wide belt that aggressively removes a lot of materials from workpieces.

Another top feature of this sander is its dust collection system. It comes with a large dust bag positioned at the top for greater efficiency. You will also like the unique design that allows it to swivel 360 degrees so that it does not get on your way when sanding.

Specs

  • 13 pounds
  • 16.1 x 8.9 x 9.8 inches
  • Corded-electric
  • 1,640 ft./min.

Pros

  • Very powerful
  • Ergonomic handle makes it very easy to control
  • Quiet operations
  • Durable
  • Can be used on a wide range of sanding applications

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Heavy

Rating – 4.7/5.0

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2. Porter-Cable 352VS Belt Sander

Porter-Cable is one of the top brands that have demonstrated a relentless commitment to quality and innovation. Their 352VS is a testimony to this commitment. The sander comes with a creative design that makes sanding even the toughest workpieces easy.

The most notable feature of this sander is its strong all-metal housing construction. The sturdy housing helps to make the tool feel solid when sanding and resist wearing. You can easily sand your workpiece without putting a lot of pressure on the sander. The sturdy construction also helps to dampen vibrations and make the sander quiet.

This sander is powered by an 8 AMP motor that runs a 3×21 inch sanding belt. This is powerful and wide enough to help you complete even the toughest sanding tasks in no time. To give you extra control, the sander has a variable speed control system that makes it ideal for handling different types of tasks, from home improvements to construction site operations.

Specs

  • 10.75 pounds
  • 14.2 x 8 x 10.2 inches
  • Corded-electric
  • 3 inches x 21 inches

Pros

  • An effective dust collection system
  • Ergonomic handle for easy control and use
  • Changing the sanding belt is easy
  • Designed to last

Cons

  • Very heavy

Rating – 4.4/5.0

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3. WEN 6321 Belt Sander

Are you looking for a machine that can handle both professional tasks and DIY operations around the home? One of the best answers is WEN 6321. With its powerful 7 AMP motor and heavy construction, you will find this sander pretty fun to use, no matter the sanding task.

The sander comes with an ergonomic design that makes it possible to work for more hours without getting fatigued. The front handle is positioned well so that you can alter the pressure easily, depending on the sanding task. Further, it comes with a rear handle that allows you to control the sander with both hands, especially when working on more demanding sanding tasks.

With its protruding front roller, this sander can easily smoothen even the hard to reach areas such as corners. Further, the sander has a tracking adjustment that helps to keep the belt in position for optimal performance. Simply turn the tracking adjustment to get the belt back to position — no need for special tools.

Specs

  • 6.2 pounds
  • 12 x 6 x 6.5 inches
  • Corded-electric
  • 2-years

Pros

  • Very good for high-speed sanding
  • Easy tensioning and tracking adjustment
  • Ideal for handling a wide range of sanding tasks
  • Affordable

Cons

  • The dust bag is small

Rating – 4.1/5.0

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Our top pick in the orbital sanders category is the DEWALT DWE6423K Random Orbit Sander, with its compact design and rich features, this sander will be a great addition to your workshop.

Our Top Orbital Sanders Are:

ProductDetails
1. DEWALT DWE6423K Random Orbit Sander

  • 4 pounds
  • 10.4 x 7.2 x 6.2 inches
  • Corded-electric
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2. BLACK+DECKER BDERO100 Random Orbital Sander

  • 3.16 pounds
  • 7 x 5 x 6 inches
  • Corded-electric
  • 2-years
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3. Makita XOB01Z Orbital Sander

  • 2.9 pounds
  • 5.2 x 8.1 x 6.9 inches
  • 18-volts battery
  • 5" Round Abrasive Disc,
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1. DEWALT DWE6423K Random Orbit Sander

The DWE6423K random orbit sander is our first choice in the orbital sander category. Its design comes with features that help to reduce fatigue and make the sander long-lasting. Whether you want to sand the corners of your new cabinet or a demanding project, this sander will be a great pick.

This sander runs on a 3.0 AMP motor that produces a maximum of 12,000 OPM (orbits per minute). To make sanding more effective, the sander has a counterweight system that reduces vibrations and makes the sander quiet. Whether you are a new or pro carpenter, working with this sander will be really fun.

The sander also rocks a highly effective dust management system that helps to remove more than 90% of the dust. It is designed with a 1-1/4-inch dust port that removes most particles leaving your workplace mess-free. You can also connect the port to a vacuum for faster and more efficient dust collection.

Specs

  • 4 pounds
  • 10.4 x 7.2 x 6.2 inches
  • Corded-electric

Pros

  • Switches and sensitive parts are dustproof
  • Easy to use
  • Long warranty of three years
  • Can be used on a wide range of sanding tasks

Cons

  • Pricey

Rating – 4.7 stars

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2. BLACK+DECKER BDERO100 Random Orbital Sander

If you want to buy a great orbit sander on a budget, consider trying the Black+Decker BDERO100. Black+Decker designed this sander with the goal of helping people on a budget to get professional results. They did not disappoint. We were amazed by the features of this sander because they can qualify it for a higher price tag.

The sander is light and has a compact design. Measuring 7 x 5 x 6 inches, we found this sander to be great for smoothing edges, corners, and hard-to-reach areas. Unlike other orbital sanders that only focus on smoothing, you will like the Black+Decker because it can also be used for faster removal rate.

Although this sander has a low price tag, it is very easy to work with. Most carpenters fancy the ergonomic design that makes it possible to work for more hours without suffering from fatigue. With this sander, you can sand with just one hand, or use both hands to exert more pressure on the tool for faster sanding.

Specs

  • 3.16 pounds
  • 7 x 5 x 6 inches
  • Corded-electric
  • 2-years

Pros

  • Effective dust management system
  • Compact and light
  • Cheap
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • The dust bag is small

Rating – 4.5 stars

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3. Makita XOB01Z Orbital Sander

Tired of being tied to a cable? It is time to break loose with this Makita XOB01Z orbital sander. It is the best cordless orbital sander that makes it possible to work on sanding projects, even when away from the electricity supply.

This sander is powered by a rechargeable 18-volt Li-ion battery that delivers enough power for you to work away from the workshop. Depending on the nature of the project, the sander allows you to select between three speeds, 11,000, 9,500, and 7,000 orbits per minute. This is similar to most corded sanders.

The design of the sander also makes it easy to control and use for better results. The sander comes with an ergonomic handle that allows you to sand comfortably with one hand.

Also, the one-touch electronic speed control switch is positioned strategically to make adjustments easy and fast. These features make this sander a great option, especially for DIY jobs around the home.

Specs

  • 2.9 pounds
  • 5.2 x 8.1 x 6.9 inches
  • 18-volts battery
  • 5″ Round Abrasive Disc,

Pros

  • Designed with a highly efficient dust collection system
  • The sander is compact and light
  • Ideal for working away from the mains

Cons

  • Can only sand for a maximum 40 minutes with a single battery

Rating – 4.7/5.0

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Belt Sander Vs Orbital Sander — What Is The Difference?

Belt sanders are big and designed for more aggressive sanding. They also use bigger and more powerful motors that make them ideal for faster sanding, especially when you want to remove a lot of materials. They use sandpaper wound on two drums that are rotated by a motor.

Orbital sanders, unlike the belt sanders, are lighter and relatively small. They move the sandpaper in a circular motion to give you a fine finish. The small design makes them ideal for sanding the corners and other hard-to-reach areas. So, if you want a more exceptional finish, go for an orbital sander.

Buying Guide

The sander you buy, whether a belt sander or orbital sander, will determine the nature of your project finishing. After reading through the reviews in this belt sander versus orbital sander comparison, the distinction is now clearer.

But you need to finish the job: picking the ideal tool. Here is a guide to help you identify the perfect option. So, what do you look for when selecting an orbital or belt sander?

The Brand

There is no guessing here: one of the methods of identifying a great sander is choosing from the top brands. Brands such as Makita and DeWalt have been in the market for years, and the good quality of their products is known globally. These top brands want to be associated with success stories and, therefore, do anything to deliver high-quality power tools.

Durability

A sander is one of the important tools in any workshop. It is, therefore, crucial to look for the model that is durable to enjoy high value for money.

To know if a model is designed to last, you should look for things such as long warranty, heavy construction, parts availability, and dust protection.

Power

The work you can do with a sander is dependent on its power. Therefore, the sander should be powerful enough to allow you to complete the sanding tasks with ease. If you have a lot of heavy-duty sanding tasks, consider buying a belt sander with a strong motor.

Dust Removal

One of the top threats to any sander is dust. If dust settles on its parts, such as on/off switch and motor, they are likely to wear down fast.

Therefore, go for the sander that comes with a good dust bag for collecting most dust particles. If the sander is used for a lot of sanding, consider the model with a dust port for connecting to a vacuum.

Final Thoughts

Although the orbital and belt sanders do the same task, sanding, they are on the opposite ends of the sanding spectrum. Belt sanders have thick rolls spun on two drums and are meant for tough sanding tasks. They are brutally powerful.

The orbital models, on the other hand, are smaller and ideal for lighter sanding tasks. So we recommend them when you have projects with hard-to-reach areas, and that need finer finishing.

Although the models we have looked at in this belt sander vs orbital sander are the best on the market, the Makita 9403 Belt Sander and DEWALT DWE6423K Random Orbit Sander are our first choices in the belt category and orbital sander category, respectively. They are designed by top brands and rock features that make sanding easy and fast.

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