The Best 8 Benchtop Sanders (By Type & Category)

Last Updated on November 2, 2023 by Barry Gray

I remember when you had to physically sand everything by hand in the old days. It was tiring and also pretty dull, if I’m honest. All I ever want to do is to feel as if I’m making progress with my projects, and that’s tough when you have to do things the long and slow way.

But that doesn’t have to be the case regarding sanding. Instead, there are many benchtop sanders on the market for you to choose from, and that’s what I’m going to focus on with this post.

You see, I love my benchtop sander. It makes short work of all those annoying and tiring jobs, and the result you can achieve is always pretty amazing. However, I know you will probably be like me and see the sheer number of options and have no idea where to begin.

So, I’m about to change that.

I have eight of the top benchtop sanders available right now, and I am confident that at least one of the eight will prove to be the perfect sander for your needs. But don’t worry, I won’t just let you try to work it out on your own. Instead, after I analyze the eight machines, I’ll also provide you with a few tips on choosing the right benchtop sander for your needs.

stationary belt sander

How I Made My List

But first, you should know how I made my list and narrowed down all options to just these eight sanders. Well, I had to consider different criteria for ease of use, maintenance, effectiveness, and reliability. 

I also looked at what other people had previously said about the sander. I wanted to ensure that other people were happy with the overall performance before suggesting the model to you.

Once I had worked through all of this, I was left with these eight, and I’m sure they are the best on the market right now.

Best Benchtop Belt Sander – Bucktool BD4801 Belt Top Sander

  • Power: ¾ HP
  • Sander Size: 36” belt sander and 8” disc sander
  • Sander Adjustment: 90-degree maximum

After much thought, I went for the Bucktool BD4801 as the best benchtop belt sander on the market right now, and let me explain why.

First, this has more than enough power with ¾ HP. That should suffice for most jobs and means it won’t have too many problems sanding things down to perfection. 

I also feel that both sanding options offer ample space and are of a good size. The belt sander is well positioned, and I think that the entire machine is straightforward to use. Also, the belt table is quick and easy to adjust, with you having the option of moving it between 0 to 90 degrees.

Moving to the base, this version is made from aluminum while it sits on non-slip feet. I believe that it does provide you with a stable base, 

Finally, it comes with two dust ports, which is excellent. They are easy to set up, and there’s no doubt they will reduce the amount of dust you then find working its way into the air around you.

Overall, I feel this benchtop belt sander makes life easy and does a fantastic job.

Pros

  • It’s very powerful
  • It’s easy to adjust the angle of the belt table
  • It offers both a disc and belt sander
  • It comes with two excellent dust ports
  • The base feels solid and won’t slip

Cons

  • The only negative is you need a specific wrench to adjust the table, so you need to buy one

Best Benchtop Oscillating Spindle Sander – WEN 6510 Oscillating Spindle Sander

  • Power: ½ HP
  • Sander Speed: 2000 RPM
  • Sander Size: ½ inch to 3-inch size spindles

An oscillating spindle sander can be a helpful tool at your disposal, and it’s completely different from any other type of sander. This WEN 6510 model is just one example of this type of sander, but it’s a model I have fallen in love with.

You get an array of spindle sanders, ranging from ½ inch to 3 inches in total, and you also get different grit sizes. That means this single machine is capable of helping you out with an array of projects, and I always love the versatility.

With this model, you get ½ HP, which I see as more than adequate. Also, with a sander speed of up to 2000 RPM, this sander will make quick work of pretty much anything you throw at it.

From a dust collection perspective, it comes with a 1 ½ inch dust port, and it does quite a substantial job at picking up as much dust as possible. In addition, I feel you get a large enough worktable with this machine at 11.5 inches by 11.5 inches to carry out your projects. This table remains steady at all times, which should give you confidence in carrying out your tasks.

Overall, if you want an oscillating sander, then this is the one I would recommend you go ahead and buy.

Pros

  • The number of options you get with this machine is outstanding
  • Changing the sanders is exceptionally easy
  • It’s more powerful than you need
  • The worktable feels steady and secure
  • It has a suitable dust port

Cons

  • Even though it has a dust port, you still need to buy the hose

Best Benchtop Drum Sander – JET JWDS-1020

  • Power: 1 HP
  • Maximum Width Capacity: 20”
  • Maximum Depth Capacity: 3”

If you thought that drum sanders would take up a lot of space, then this JET model will disprove that theory. This benchtop version comes with 1 HP, so it has a powerful motor capable of churning through those planks in next to no time.

But even though this is a benchtop machine, I love that it can still deal with planks up to 20” wide and 3” deep. That’s impressive, and it’s certainly bigger than you would expect when you look at the machine.

However, there is one point I love about this machine: the dust collection. They claim it catches up to 97% of all dust generated by the machine. That’s amazing, and it’s one of the most effective machines out there when it comes to dust collection.

Overall, it’s the effectiveness I love about this machine the most. It spins at 1,750 RPM, and that’s fast enough to cope with smooth passes of those planks, giving you a great end result.

Pros

  • It has a strong motor offering 1 HP
  • It catches almost all of the dust it creates
  • It can deal with relatively large planks
  • It creates a smooth finish

Cons

  • It’s difficult to adjust at times, but as long as you sand planks you should be fine

Best Benchtop Disc Sander – Grizzly G7297 12-Inch Disc Sander

  • Power: 1 HP
  • Sanding Size: 12 inches
  • Power Source: Mains

For any individual looking to add a disc sander to their collection, I would suggest you don’t look past the Grizzly G7297 for several excellent reasons.

First, it has a 1 HP motor, and that’s powerful. It means it has no problem sanding down whatever you throw at it. Also, it has a maximum speed of 1,725 RPM, and this does help produce a smooth finish for your projects.

Another key feature is the miter table. It can tilt up to 45 degrees, making a difference on various projects. Also, it does come with a big old safety switch, and there is no missing that switch.

Finally, it comes with a built-in dust port, which I find performs reasonably well. Sure it may not catch as much dust as some, but I feel it does an adequate job.

Overall, as disc sanders go, this one performs well. It’s fast, powerful, and also suitable for people relatively new to working with disc sanders.

Pros

  • You will have no problem in the power department
  • The miter table is effortless to tilt
  • The safety switch is easy to find
  • It creates a smooth finish

Cons

  • The dust port works but is not the best on the market

Best Benchtop Belt Sander for the Money – Powertec BD4600

  • Power: ½ HP
  • Sander Size: 36” belt and 6” disc
  • Sander Speed: 1900 FPM and 3600 RPM

I love everything about the Powertec BD4600, and when you check out all it offers, I’m sure you will feel the same way. It comes with ½ HP, and that’s more than enough for most amateur woodworkers. Also, you get two sanding options with both the belt and disc sander, and each can get up to an impressive speed.

But one thing that stands out for me is the precision tracking system and the fact the table can tilt up to 45 degrees. It opens up this sander for a whole host of other possibilities, and you will probably find you will use it more than you expected.

This sander also makes less noise than you would anticipate. Actually, I think it’s one of the quietest sanders out there. Add in the fact you can change grit in seconds and that it delivers a smooth finish, and you will quickly ascertain why I wanted to include this model on my list.

Pros

  • The power is more than enough for most users
  • Changing the grit is exceptionally easy
  • It’s very quiet when in use
  • Both sanders give smooth finishes

Cons

  • The dust collection port is a bit on the small side

Best Benchtop Sander for Woodworking – JET J-41002

  • Power: ¾ HP
  • Sander Speed: 3,450 RPM
  • Sander Size: 42” belt sander and 8” disc sander

The JET J-41002 is a genuinely fantastic benchtop sander that I feel is the perfect machine for people looking for a sander specifically for woodworking. I love that it has two different sanders, and both work exceptionally well on their own. Also, it’s packed with power, which is always appreciated, thanks to it coming with a ¾ HP motor.

But aside from those very positive things, I need to mention the miter gauge that comes with this model. It’s astonishingly good with the way it’s easy to move and then lock into place. It allows you to work on angles knowing the sander will not do anything strange and ruin your project.

The other key feature I like regarding this sander is the cast-iron base. That gives you a solid platform to work from, and you then feel confident that nothing will move when in use.

Overall, the way in which you can use this sander in various ways, even including strange curves, helps this model stand out as one of the best.

Pros

  • This sander has so much power
  • You have both a disc and belt sander included
  • It has a strong base that won’t move around
  • It’s easy to angle the table to get those perfect sanding angles

Cons

  • It is quite heavy for a benchtop sander

Best Benchtop Sander for Metal – Bucktool BD4802

  • Power: 1 HP direct drive motor
  • Sander Size: 36” belt and 8” disc
  • Disc Speed: 3450 RPM

I wanted to include a sander that also works on metal because not every benchtop sander has this capability. So, if you work with metal and need to remove those metal fragments, I suggest you check out this Bucktool sander.

What you get here is a lot of power via a 1 HP direct drive motor. You also get a belt and disc sander, with the belt measuring 36” and the disc 8”. That’s perfectly reasonable, and they both hit high speeds with the disc measuring 3450 RPM and the belt 2161 FPM.

This sander also comes with an adjustable miter table, so you can get those sanding angles. It’s easy to adjust, which I always love, and you can alter it to a 90-degree angle.

Changing the sanding paper is easy as it uses a hook and eye method. It also comes with professional grade paper to polish metal, and you are pretty much guaranteed results.

Overall, this sander is reliable, sturdy, and very easy to use, and I highly recommend it if you plan on working with metal.

Pros

  • You can work with both wood and metal with this sander
  • It delivers a serious amount of power
  • You have two different sanding options
  • The table tilts to a 90-degree angle
  • The casing is designed to ensure it doesn’t melt even at high temperatures

Cons

  • Some people report it doesn’t quite get up to the full 1 HP

Best Budget Benchtop Sander – Rikon Power Tools 50-151

  • Power: ⅓ HP
  • Sander Size: 30” belt and 5” disc

If you are new to the concept of a benchtop sander, then I understand you might not want to spend a fortune. So, I suggest checking out this model by Rikon Power Tools. 

It comes with ⅓ HP, which does mean it’s on the lower end of the power scale, but don’t stress. It just means this is also one of the best sanders for people new to these tools.

You still get two sanding options via a 30” belt and a 5” disc. In addition, the belt table also adjusts up to a 45-degree angle, giving you more opportunities to use this sander for many more projects.

Overall, this sander does manage to cover the basics, and that’s why I have included it in my list. It keeps things nice and straightforward, and there is very little not to love about it.

Pros

  • The sander is well made and very reliable
  • You get two sanding options with the one machine
  • The table tilts up to 45 degrees
  • It’s perfect for anybody new to these machines

Cons

  • The motor is on the small side, so it’s not suitable for heavy projects

How to Choose the Right Sander 

working with benchtop belt sander

The different sanders I’ve listed above are all excellent in their own right, but I have a few tips here that I feel will make a difference when it comes to choosing which sander you should purchase.

You can see that you have different types of sander to choose from, and then there are the materials they work best with. So, that’s where I need to start when giving you some tips.

Power

The most important thing here is the power of the benchtop sander. Without ample power, you will tend to find that the sander will struggle to get things nice and smooth. 

As a guide, I feel any sander in the region of ⅓ to ¾ HP should be more than enough for most DIY projects. So, as long as the model you are looking at falls within those limits, you should be fine.

Pulleys or Direct Drive?

The motors are generally operated via either pulleys and a belt or direct drive, and there is a slight difference between the two and the result you can achieve. 

Honestly, the direct drive option is far more efficient. Also, it does require less in the way of maintenance as pulleys and belts have a tendency to come out of alignment if misused.

But on the flip side, direct drive sanders do cost more to not only purchase but then to repair. However, they last longer than the pulley and belt option, so it’s a case of weighing everything up.

Dust Collection

cleaning benchtop sander

The problem I have with some sanders is the amount of dust they manage to throw up around you. I hate it, and that’s why I suggest you spend time checking out how well a sander will collect dust when in use.

This dust collection can come via either direct ports on the sander or the ability to use a vac to catch the dust. Either option is acceptable, so I wouldn’t stress too much. However, just double-check that the model you are looking at does have a dust collection option of some kind.

The Speed

By speed, what I really mean is to get a benchtop sander that does come with some option to vary the speed. That makes it a lot easier to keep control of the sander and get the best possible end results.

But I admit that this is not always possible. Several sanders only come with a single speed, which means the onus is on you to maintain control. 

How speed is measured depends on the type of sander you are looking at. If it’s a belt sander, it’s measured in FPM. I wouldn’t want you to go for anything less than 1500 FPM. Under that speed, it’s just not going to have the speed and power to remove material fast enough for you.

With a disc sander, the speed is measured in RPM. For this, I would aim for something in the region of 1750 RPM. That should be fast enough to cover most eventualities and help with the majority of projects.

The Tables

A benchtop sander will come with at least one table, but the ability to move it around and adjust it is important. Some sanders come with pivot arms to help steady things up, and you should also look for one that includes a miter gauge.

A miter gauge makes life easier for lining things up and getting those perfect angles. Ultimately, the table can play a massive role in the effectiveness of the benchtop sander.

Making Adjustments

I’m a real advocate for tools making life as easy as possible, and I include adjusting the tools in that. Changing the belt, as an example, should be a quick and painless task. Most sanders come with a lever designed to provide tension to the belt, which should be easy to set up.

I’ve ensured that every benchtop sander listed above makes life as easy as possible for you in this respect. The last thing I want is for you to feel like the benchtop sander is holding you up because of these changes.

Aside from those various points, I feel you have nothing else to think about when choosing a benchtop sander. Your primary focus is on the power aspect and knowing the sander can remove the right amount of material.

Each benchtop sander I’ve mentioned above will undoubtedly prove highly effective in helping you in all these areas. Now all that’s left for you is to find one out of my list that you feel is perfect for your needs. 

Overall Conclusion

So those are eight of the best benchtop sanders available to purchase right now, and no matter which one you choose, I’m sure you will love the results it can produce. 

A benchtop sander can make life so much easier. If you regularly work with wood or metal in your workshop, I suggest investing in one of these machines. It will not only produce a better result than what you can achieve manually, but it also does it in a fraction of the time.

I just cannot imagine a life without a benchtop sander now. It has completely transformed my approach to various projects, and I admit that it has made me feel like tackling new things directly because I know I have a machine that will sand things down to perfection.

If that can happen to me, then I have no doubt that the same thing will happen to you.

Photo of author

Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.

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