If you’re here today, you’re either considering getting a bench sander or maybe you’re curious to what they are. Whatever the reason, there are great bench sanders that you definitely should consider, especially the ones we recommend. Even if you are not sure with those, we will also dig deeper into what bench sanders are and what to look for when you are ready to buy one.
Before we dive deeper, you’ll need to figure out what kind of bench sander that you need. There are different types of bench sanders that differ a bit and some have different types of features. These are the most common types of bench sanders:
- Smoothing Sanders
- Belt Sanders
- Edge Sanders
- Heavy Duty Sanders
- Sander Vacuum
You will want to pay special attention to their size, price, how durable they are and how capable they are.
Top 3 Picks
We love the JET J-41002 Bench Sander because it has a nice design. It can also be used on wood and metal, which is a bonus. It helps that it has dust ports too to keep the area clean.
The runner up, the WEN 6502, is very powerful. It’s also very versatile and you truly get the best value for your money with this bench sander.
We didn’t want to leave Bucktool off our list, but it can sand, grind and sharpen. It can be used with any material.
What is a Bench Sander?
Unlike most sanders, a bench sander is a heavy-duty tool that is 100% not portable that sits on your workbench. Most are corded and most are made out of quality construction to ensure their stability when it’s used to sand/grind.
The most popular options for bench sanders usually have belt, disk sanders, sometimes both, drum sanders, and oscillating spindle sanders.
Whichever the sander that has the appropriate abrasive that lets you sand any surface or any edge. There’s a variety of sizes and the price tag usually reflects that. A lot of pricier bench sanders do have dust ports included, which is always a nice feature to keep the area clean.
Do You Need a Bench Sander?
Your needs are 100% dependent on what you are trying to achieve. Do you have a dedicated workshop and always do things such as stripping paint from furniture? Then it’s worth getting a bench sander because a bench sander will make that job a breeze. They’re good for rounding out rough surfaces, so if you have wood that needs some sanding or smoothing out, a bench sander can help you out with that as well. Also, if you plan on grinding metal or plastic, you’ll want to look for a sander that can handle that, as different discs can be used on certain materials.
If you’re just doing a one-time project, you likely don’t need a bench sander because a bench sander will take up space in your workspace. In that case, you can opt for something smaller and cheaper.
Types of Bench Sanders
Belt and Disk
This is the most common bench sander out there. The belt and disk kind have a round disk that can rotate for sanding and there’s a flat belt on the top usually. These types can have square and curved ends because of the way it’s configured and there’s usually a tilting worktable.
If you have longer, wider or flat boards, you will want to use a drum sander to smooth them out. The belts on these sanders are more stationary and you can’t adjust them.
The hand crank allows you to open and shut the machine to accommodate the thickness of the object to be sanded. The auto-feed mechanism feeds your piece through the sander at a constant pace, and the boar emerges on the other side.
This sander has a drum that literally moves up, down and spins circles at the same time. These sanders are actually the more desirable sanders to use by professionals and DIY’ers because it’s more efficient and gets the job done quickly. It can also curve sand more precisely and you’ll get perfect contours, shapes and more. What’s good about these sanders, is that the drum is interchangeable so that means you can choose from a variety of abrasives and diameters needed.
Pros and Cons to a Bench Sander
- Most bench sanders, whether it’s a belt or oscillating sanders, usually have a very powerful motor. They start at 3 amps and have rpm of at least 2000. The disc speed usually has high feet per minute (FPM) so it makes getting any job done efficiently and quickly.
Some can grind metal
- Some bench sanders can actually grind metal, but you’ll have to make sure that it actually does. The ones that do, usually have a construction that’s high quality, especially the disc. Same goes with plastic.
Good with getting things done faster – Just as we’ve explained with power, it’s one of the quickest ways to sand wood or remove paint from older furniture. It saves you a lot of time.
- You will need a dedicated work bench or table to put the bench sander on. These are not meant to be moved around as they’re corded.
- A lot of bench sanders start at 30-pounds, and they’re made out of some steel construction, which contributes to their weight. While they are super durable, they’re not lightweight at all.
What to Look for When Shopping for Bench Sanders
As we mentioned in this guide, bench sanders are typically not lightweight. The reason for this is because it needs to be heavy enough to remain steady as you push wood but light enough if you need to move around in your workshop area as needed. You’ll want to look for 30 to 40 pounds, as it’s heavy, but not heavy enough to where you can’t pick it up. You should look for sanders that have a non-slip base (which is important) so that it remains stable on your workbench while it’s in use.
The amount of power required by a bench sander is determined by its intended function. Large projects benefit from a sander with a strong engine that can rip through a large amount of material quickly. Smaller, more delicate crafts require a sander with less power, since too much force might destroy a design or tear the material apart.
Furthermore, a strong sander is more difficult to handle, which is inconvenient when dealing with a little piece of wood. For most DIY sanding applications, a bench sander with 1/3 to 3/4 horsepower (HP)—or 1 to 5 amps—should be more than enough.
Ease of use
This is pretty important because there is nothing worse than buying a bench sander if you don’t know how to use it. The faster you set up; the faster things get done. The best-case scenario when you buy bench sanders, is that it’s already pretty much assembled and it’s straightforward to use (most of them are).
Every time you’re sanding wood, whether with a bench sander or another tool, dust is most certainly bound to happen. So, you’ll want to look for bench sanders that at least include a dust port, so it can be attached to the bench sander. A clean workspace, free of dust, means higher productivity.
The best bench sanders on the market, allows you to adjust the speed, sanding angle and sanding surface. Some of the best sanders will let you control the angle from a vertical or horizontal standpoint, so that you can get sanding or grinding done in the right places.
Best 5 Bench Sanders For Any WoodWoorker
If you are looking for something versatile and the best value for your money, you are going to love the WEN 6502 Bench Sander. To start off with, it was a 4.3-amp motor, so it has the power to do all your sanding needs. It can perform a variety of tasks and it has a common 4 by 36-inch belt type so it’s easy to maintain and if you do need to replace it, it’s not hard to find. The belt tilts at 90 degrees so you have a choice of sanding it vertically or horizontally. It’s extremely reliable and durable, and for the price, it’s a tool definitely worth considering.
- 2 in 1
- Belt is adjustable
- Wide belt
- Very affordable
- Can not be used on any metal
There’s a reason that this bench sander is one of the best sellers. It can be used on both wood and metal, which makes this sander a worthy tool. The JET J-4002 has a very nice design and it has an adjustable dust port, which you can maneuver so it will keep your workspace clean. The drum has a miter gauge which is easy to use and will help you get the perfect angles at 45 degrees with precise measurements. The bench sander is heavier, weighing in at 60 pounds and the motor has 3400 RPM.
- Dust port
- Miter gauge
- Heavy, not portable
If you’re looking for a bench sander that has the “all in one”, you’ll like the Bucktool BG2600 bench sander. It also doubles as a knife sharpener and has two worktables where you can put other tools or material there while you’re sanding. It has not only a 2 x 42 inch sander but it also has a 2 x 42 inch metal sander that can be used on metal, plastic and more. There’s also a white grinding wheel that can be run and help lower the temperature while grinding. This model has a full belt guard, fast belt tensioning, easy belt tracking knob and tool free belt changes. With sanding, you can do it from multiple angles, ranging from 0 to 90 degrees. The motor itself is 3.8 amps, runs at 3450 RPM and the belt speed is 4480 FPM. There is a safety switch with a key that you can use to turn off or on when using it.
- Two worktables for stability
- Works on wood, metal, plastic and more
- Tool free belt changes
- It’s not as high quality as the material is cheaply made, which may affect performance
Yes, there is another Bucktool bench sander in this roundup, but we promise that the Bucktool BD48401 was worthy of this list. It has a powerful motor of 3450 RPM and belt speed of 2161 FPM, and it can increase 25% of sanding efficiency. The sanding belt and the disc are directly driven by the motor shaft so that you don’t have to worry about maintenance. Speaking of sanding, this machine is a 2 in 1 sander, with a 4 x 46-inch belt and an 8-inch disc. The belt can work from 0 to 90 degrees. This machine is made out of sturdy cast aluminum so that when you go to use it, it will give off less vibration which is important when handling power tools. There are 2 dust ports, a bonus that we love, that allows free movement and will keep your area clean while you’re sanding. While it doesn’t really work on metal, it’s definitely a sander worth considering for your workshop.
- 2 in one sander
- Made out of cast aluminum
- Doesn’t work on metal
Finally, the VEVOR combined belt and bench sander is definitely one to consider because it can do both vertical and horizontal sanding. The disc sanding tables can tilt at 45 degrees. This sander is made out of durable steel construction and a pure copper motor. That means you’ll never experience this sander breaking or being of low quality, which is important. The 375 watts motor runs smoothly too, so there’s low vibrations on this sander. If you’ve been wanting to grind metal, plastic and more, this is the sander for you as it can handle that job with its belt and disc sander. It’s very easy and fast for you to change the build if you need to, as there is a miter gauge on here, helping you make your work more accurate. The no loading speed for the disc is 1420 fpm/min, which is pretty fast. There is a safety switch which is easy to find, turn on and off when you need to. Overall, it’s a bench sander by VEVOR that deserves a spot in any workshop.
- Combined belt and bench sander
- Can tilt at 45 degrees angle
- Can work on metal, plastic etc.
- Instructions on using the bench sander may be difficult to follow according to some users
The Bottom Line
By now you have an idea what a bench sander is, why you should get on and all the benefits of having one. The most important consideration is you’ll need to decide on your budget and what kind of functionality the bench sander should have. Should it just be a sander? Should it also grind metal and other material? Should it come with anything extra?
Those are important questions you’ll need to ask when you are researching for bench sanders. We showed you the best five on the market that we highly recommend, but if you have found other brands that’s better, you can consult the guide to see what you should look for in a bench sander. If you’ve enjoyed reading this guide, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!