LAST UPDATED: October 20, 2020
The Best Disc Sanders (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Smooth and finish cuts with ease using these disc sanders
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PUBLISHED ON October 20, 2020
Smoothing a cut can be a daunting task if you do it manually. There’s always going to be some degree of elbow grease that goes into finishing a piece, but anything that can speed up the process certainly helps you deal with the major bits. That’s why there are so many power tools to help get the job done. One particular tool every shop will benefit from is a disc sander. Whether you’re dealing with wood, metal, or any other material, they smooth cuts and drastically cut down the amount of time you spend shaping a piece. These are more of a fabricator’s tool than anything. However, the attainable price and virtually limitless uses make it a desirable tool. Of course, you want to know as much as possible about any tool you’re investing hard-earned money into. And that’s why we want to give you a brief but comprehensive rundown of the things you should know about these devices.
Belt sander and disc sander combo featuring a 4.3 amp motor. This machine offers respectable performance while maintaining a competitive price.
- Respectable power output
- Sturdy cast iron base
- Great price point
- Will have trouble performing under strenuous use
Compact disc sander and belt sander combination. The competitive price point is highly attractive considering this option rivals many with higher asking prices.
- Decent performance
- Brushless motor boosts efficiency
- Robust housing construction
- Not intended for use in professional settings
Powerful belt sander and disc sander combination that performs well in professional settings. Robust construction and premium materials separate this from many budget-entry options.
- Powerful motor with high operation speeds
- Premium quality
- Small footprint concerning the quality
- Premium price tag
- Motor issues are commo
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Disc Sanders
- Smooth rough cuts. Disc sanders do a great job at smoothing rough cuts on thin or small objects. With some modification, they can even work on bigger workpieces.
- Speed things up. The primary objective of a sanding table is speeding up the process of hands-on jobs. Pieces that are too small for power tools benefit the most from these stationary sanding tools.
- Versatility. Disc sanders can be used for shaping and smoothing a variety of materials. That factor makes them a desirable tool for any shop owner.
Types of Disc Sanders
A dedicated disc sander is typically a benchtop tool that features a singular disc for smoothing cuts. Featuring only a single sanding disc offers several benefits. For one, it reduces the price quite a bit in many instances, which is something budget-minded folks are going to adore. These units also take up a lot less space on the workbench, which can be another major consideration. And because there’s only the disc, you might find that a larger disc may be present. That’s not always the case, but it certainly is a possibility.
Most offerings on the market are a combination of a belt sander and a disc sander. The inclusion of an additional tool can drive up the price but is well worth the money. After all, these two types of sanders complement one another in the working process. As for the room they take up, they tend to be larger than a dedicated disc sander. They are always going to take up more space on a workbench, and in some cases, they can be a station in themselves that takes up a portion of the shop floor.
Since 1919, Delta has been a staple of machining tool manufacturing. The company operates out of Spartanburg, S.C., and is responsible for producing equipment you could find in professional and home shops. An excess of 100 years of experience helps the Delta Power Equipment Corp 31-140 Disc Sander to make our list.
Grizzly Industrial Tools
While Grizzly may have a relatively short experience dating back to 1983, it is in no way wet behind the ears. With a headquarters in Bellingham, Wash., this company is responsible for enhancing woodworkers' lives across the nation. That said, the Grizzly Industrial H6070 Belt/Disc Combo Sander is a fine example of its productions.
With experience dating back to 1951, Wen is a recognizable brand to workers of all statuses. It's headquartered in Elgin, Ill., and is associated with developing affordable tools with decent quality. It's that balance that places the WEN 6502T 4.3-Amp Belt and Disc Sander on the top of our list.
Here we have another manufacturer's pros, and the serious hobbyists will recognize. Since 1958, Jet has been at the forefront of developing high-quality machinery. It's headquartered in La Vergne, Tenn., and is a go-to brand for ambitious woodworkers and fabricators. The Jet J-41002 Bench Belt and 8-Inch Disc Sander is only a taste of what it's capable of.
Disc Sanders Pricing
- $100-$150: Entry-level sanders appear in this price range. These machines are best suited for light use by hobbyists in home shops.
- $150-$200: As the price increases to this range, more capable machines will appear. Some may have what it takes to perform in professional shops, but most are best for use in home shops.
- $200 and up: Anything above $200 is usually designed to work in a professional setting. The higher the price goes, the more capable the machines will be in strenuous environments.
Speed and power are two determining factors of how the device will operate. The motor's power output is directly linked to the rate it can turn the disc freely and underload. How much power you need depends on the kind of work you are doing and how much patience you have. Lighter-use can get away with lower output. However, heavy use and more rigid materials generally warrant more power and speed.
The size of the disc is nothing to overlook. The size of the disc impacts the tool's overall length, and if space is limited, it's something to be considerate of. It's also worth paying attention to because it determines the size of the workpieces you can use it for. What size is best for you depends on the work you are doing. But keep in mind that a larger wheel can be useful for small pieces, but a smaller wheel will have trouble with big workpieces.
The quality of the design is critical to tool performance and tool life. As you know, the overall quality does go beyond the motor and other significant components. Consider the construction of the base, operation of the table if it is adjustable, and so on. You don't want to invest in anything that features flimsy parts as they are liable to come apart during use or impede your working process.
- Metal Construction. If possible, seek tools with an all-metal construction or that use as much metal as possible. While plastics have come a long way, it is still hard to top metal when it comes to rigidity and lifespan. This characteristic is going to dramatically influence the price point but works to ensure you have the sander for a lifetime.
- Stable Base. You must always make sure the sander you’re considering has the stability to keep it in place as you work. After all, this characteristic not only ensures you’ll have a pleasant working experience but can save your fingers from the business end of the tool. Balance this with the work you intend to perform and where you will locate the machine.
- Tilt Feature. A tilt feature gives you the ability to perform angular sanding. In doing so, you can smooth and finish pieces with total control. You do have the opportunity to grind pieces away from the titling surface on the tool. But, keep in mind that doing so lacks control for sanding with precision and doing so safely.
- Built-in Belt Sander. If you’re springing the money for a disc sander, you might as well consider one that features a built-in belt sander. These tools often go hand-in-hand when finishing and shaping workpieces. Buying both at once simply saves you from making a separate investment down the road and can even bring down the overall investment.
Best Disc Sanders Reviews & Recommendations 2021
If you’re looking for an affordable sander that provides excellent performance for light-duty jobs, this is the tool for you. It has both a disc sander and a belt sander, which makes the already desirable price point even sweeter. The 6-inch disc is perfect for shaping and smoothing edges, and the 4-inch-wide belt is there to perform the jobs that it can’t. This sander also features a super-sturdy cast iron base that limits safety issues by keeping the sander in place while you work. As for the guts, it’s got a 4.3-amp motor that can turn the disc at 3,600 RPM. That helps to make quick work of any project you’re likely to perform in a home shop.
Overall, this tool is excellent for the price. But you need to bear in mind that it’s not an industrial-grade piece of machinery. Performance is enough for the average hobbyist but not for professional settings.
This entry is hard to beat when you’re chasing down the most affordable disc sander on the market. What might come as a surprise is that it features a built-in belt sander (talk about bang for your buck). That said, the pros don’t end there. This model features a brushless motor, a solid construction featuring mainly meta components, a heavy-duty base, and elementary adjustment procedures. So, while you can find a cheaper alternative, you won’t get the same quality as you would with this one. The sanding disc measures 5-inches wide, and the belt sander is 1-inch wide. And despite having two machines in one system, it has a relatively small footprint, allowing you to place it on virtually any workbench.
Is this the best sander on the market? No. And you have to remember the price tag before you start knocking it. For the money, the quality is great. Compared to other, more expensive options, it is a little flimsy and lacks power.
Since we’re talking about a tool that exists within an industrial space, our premium pick has an industrial-size price tag. That’s part of what makes this such an attractive option. The price is much less than what you could spend on something of this quality. It’s also three times smaller than many sanders, making it the perfect size for many shop owners. That said, it’s got a lot of bite to match the bark. This sander is powered by a 3/4-horsepower motor and operates at speeds up to 3,450 RPM. It also features a built-in belt sander to tackle the jobs that a disc just can’t chew into. Of course, it’s all packaged on a super-sturdy cast iron base that ensures it stays put as you work. And as the price tag might entail, high-quality components are included in every corner.
Unfortunately, some users indicate that the motor can run into some problems. But excellent customer support and its overall quality ensure it’s the tool you’ll only need to invest in once.
If size is a concern, this is a great tool to consider. Despite being from an industrial-grade tool manufacturer, this tool offers one of the smallest footprints on the market. Therefore, it is the best option for anyone working with particularly small projects or those who don’t have a lot of room to work with. And yes, it is a combination of a belt sander and disc sander. And it's very capable. The disc measures 5 inches wide and is joined by a 1-inch wide belt. The power source is a 1/3-horsepower motor that turns at speeds of 3,400 RPM. And the disc is matched with a tilting table that allows you to work at any typical angle.
The motor does lack a little in the power department. And if you’re not patient, you can cause damage to it. Excessive force will bog the motor down and potentially fry it immediately.
Big projects often need big tools, but this is not always the case. If you are working with bigger workpieces but need something that’ll still fit on the top of a workbench, this is the disc sander to consider. It features an 8-inch disc that allows you to work on larger surfaces and is paired with a 4-inch wide belt sander to complement its efforts. That said, a 3/4-horsepower motor is the heart of the whole thing and can turn that disc at speeds of 1,725 RPM and the belt at speeds of 3,450 RPM. In short, you shouldn’t have much trouble with spending time sanding with this tool. Furthermore, its robust construction and easy-to-use layout cement it as a quality tool worthy of the price tag.
There’s not much to complain about with this sander other than its dust management system. Even with everything hooked up correctly, it produces a lot of debris. Being mindful enough to wear proper PPE is essential to safely operate it.
Here we have another excellent option for the budget-minded consumer. This belt sander/disc sander combo comes at a price tag any hobbyist or weekend warrior could swing. Not only that, it offers some decent performance characteristics that sweeten the pot. The respectable 4.3-amp motor helps the sanding disc chew through most materials with ease. And that 4-inch wide belt is perfect for working on surfaces the disc simply cannot. Another nice detail is the fact that everything is adjusted with the use of oversized knobs to keep things easy. It’s also worth mentioning that the use of cast aluminum in the base’s construction is plenty sturdy but relatively light. That makes it easy enough to reposition the entire unit as needed.
As you might expect, this is a light-duty machine. And while that’s good enough for small projects, it’ll fall on its face under excessive load. Therefore, it’s essential to take extra care when using it to prevent damaging the motor.
Finally, an option that doesn’t feature a built-in belt sander. The inclusion of a belt sander is far from a detriment to the right people. But, the fact that the sanding discs are often far too small turns away many consumers. That said, this bad boy does away with the bells and whistles, which contributes to an inflated sanding disc. The sanding disc on this model measures 12 inches wide, to be exact. That’s precisely what larger projects are going to demand. Not only is it big, but it's beefy, too. This sander is powered by a 1.25-horsepower motor that can turn the disc at speeds of 1,750 RPM. You also can adjust the sanding table so that you can make quick work of anything while sanding at any standard angle.
Overall, this is a great machine, and you’re going to pay a little extra for it. But before you let the price tag turn you away, remember that it’s an Eastwood. That means it is much more affordable than many alternatives but still offers quality cheapy competitors cannot.
We’re car nuts, which means speed and performance is always a concern no matter what we’re talking about. Here we have a model with a little more emphasis on those characteristics than most. It’s packing a 1/3 horsepower motor. Despite being of relatively low power, it still turns the 6-inch sanding disc at speeds of 3,500 RPM and the 2-inch belt at speeds of 4,400 RPM. That’s pretty good for any sander in this division. On top of being speedy, it’s sturdy but flexible. We mean that it has a base with a small footprint, allowing you to mount it anywhere and won’t budge once anchored. That said, it’s also packing plenty of adjustments to sand and shape objects at most standard angles.
Out of the box, this is a good sander that any beginner will appreciate. However, many reviewers talk about making mods to the tool to enhance the user experience. While one might expect that to some degree, it shouldn’t be so common considering the price tag.
We have one more dedicated disc sander to add to our list. And don’t worry, Delta isn’t pulling any punches with this entry either. As for the essentials, this 12-inch disc operates on a 1/2-horsepower motor that produces speeds of 1,750 RPM. It also features a sturdy cast-iron base and robust construction throughout. It truly is as reliable as you could expect from the brand and is a perfect entry to any shop in need of a large sanding disc. What you’ll also get plenty of use out of is the dust management system. It collects dust from under the table, as you would expect, and hooks up to any dust collection system or Shop Vac featuring a 2-inch hose.
Despite the high pricing, it would seem that precision is a concern for this entry. Of course, there are plenty of reviews highlighting this as not being an issue. But far too many for comfort do state that it is a common defect.
And we are bringing this list to an end with a bang. If you’re not looking for a bench-mounted option, this is the disc sander for you. Well, that and if you need something with a little more power than most. The first thing you’ll see is that this sander is a work station in itself. It’s got four legs underneath so that you don’t have to worry about clearing space to anchor down another tool. That in itself is a pretty handy feature considering you’ve already got a ton going on there. And because it’s on an independent stand, you can position yourself in any spot that feels comfortable as you work. Beyond that, its use of a 1-horsepower motor turns the 9-inch disc and 6-inch belt at speeds that’ll finish anything without a snag.
Make no mistake. This is a significant investment in comparison to pretty much anything on our list. But it is still much more affordable than other options with similar features, so it’s hard to consider the price too much of a snag.
- When sanding soft materials, it’s good practice to clean clogs in the disc whenever possible. Doing so extends the life of the sanding disc.
- If your sander has a dust port, put it to use. This is the best way to keep the shop clean and the air breathable.
- Because a disc sander typically spins counter-clockwise, you want to stick to sand on the left side so that dust can collect in the dust ports if it turns clockwise, sand on the right side.
- You can fabricate your table extensions to allow you to work on bigger pieces. Just be mindful of how big your extensions are to prevent throwing the tool off balance.
- Even though they may function as one in given circumstances, disc sanders aren’t grinders. If a lot of grinding is on the agenda, consider investing in bench grinders and angle grinders.
Q: Which is better: a belt sander or orbital sander?
Either tool has a dedicated purpose. Belt sanders are better for removing a lot of material in small spaces, while orbital sanders are better for removing little material from broad areas. If you need an orbital sander, consider our buying guides for random orbital sanders and buffing pads.
Q: What's the best sander for wood?
What sander works best ultimately depends on the job you are doing. A disc sander works best for shaping and smoothing edges after cuts, whereas something like an orbital sander works to smooth broad surface areas.
Q: What do you use a sander for?
A sander is used to smooth and shape a surface. Different materials and surfaces warrant the use of varying sanding machines, which is why so many different types are available to you.
Q: How do you use a disc sander safely?
Always sand on the side that is rotating down, be mindful of finger placement, brace the workpiece on the tool, and always wear safety glasses.
We favor the WEN 6502T 4.3-Amp Belt and Disc Sander because we see it serving most of our readers well. It’s affordable, offers decent performance, and has a built-in belt sander. But we do see the Rikon Power Tools 50-151 Belt with Disc Sander being favorable due to the even lower price tag.
But that doesn’t mean they’re your top choice. So, reach out and let us know why you favor the sander you do and what projects you’re using it for!