Belt Sander Vs Orbital Sander Comparison | Which One to Pick?

Want to know the differences between orbital sander and belt sander? You just landed on the right page! These are both sanders and that is what throws people in confusion. Though they both are sanding machines but they work differently and serve a different purpose. Both of these two machines are very famous and not having the right knowledge about both devices can get you to invest in the wrong one. Which is something that you don’t want!

And in order to get you out of the confusion, we have come up with an in-depth belt sander vs orbital sander comparison. We have covered everything about these two machines. Go through the comparison, and you will have enough knowledge to pick the suitable one for you.

Belt Sanders

Belt sanders are used for aggressive work. Two drums which rotate attached with the motor and a belt is attached with the two drums. So when the motor runs, the drums rotate and so does the belt. And when the belt is rotating, anything that comes in contact with the belt that gets sanded.

The main purpose that belt sanders serve is removing the materials within very less time. Belt sanders are fast, really fast. Whether it is smoothening hardwood surface, making curves, making smooth edges, remove coatings, belt sanders can do it all. However, below we have described the advantage and disadvantages of belt sander so that you can understand better.

Belt Sander Advantages

Wide range of use

There is a lot of use of a belt sander. You can use it on metal items, floorings, and wood items obviously. Smoothing corners, deburring, removing stains, varnish, paints, you can do all of these with a belt sander very easily.

Fast performance

One of the best perks of owning a belt sander is they are very fast, and that’s why they are called aggressive sanding machines. It can sand really faster and efficiently. When the task requires removing a lot of materials then belt sander is the way to go.


Belt sanders come in two different types, handheld belt sander and stationary belt sander. Handheld sanders are used by hands. And stationary belt sanders are placed on a workbench and you have to bring materials to the sander in order to sand them. Stationary belt sanders are also called as bench-top sanders since they are mounted on the top of the bench.


Using a belt sander is extremely easy, even a beginner can use it in the first go. You just have to turn the machine on, hold it securely, and contact the sanding belt with the material that needs sanding. You don’t need to put any pressure, the belt will do the work. You just move the machine slowly and the job will be done.

Relevant Review Content: 

Belt Sander Disadvantages

Since this is an aggressive sander, it cannot be used on delicate materials, otherwise, you will end up damaging it. Plus, when a belt sander is used there will always be slight sanding marks on the material, you cannot get rid of that. Belt sanders are suitable for smoothening materials but not for do the final sanding. The aggressiveness will damage the project.

Orbital Sander

This machine is mostly used in carpentry works for smoothening and level uneven surfaces. Orbital sanders are used after using a belt sander. Belt sanders leave the surface little uneven and the orbital sander makes that even. In other words, orbital sanders are for the finishing.

Compared to the belt sander, orbital sanders are small and easy to handle. However, have a look at both the advantage and disadvantages of this sander.

Orbital Sander advantages


One of the best perks of using an orbital sander is its shape. The sanding sheet of this sander is square which enables you to sand the corners as well. Doing this with other sanders is tough.


When you are using an orbital sander, you won’t have to buy large sandpaper sheets. There are sheets which are rectangular or square, they come with different coarseness. Pick those sandpaper and stick that on the pad.

However, if there isn’t any way, you can purchase large sandpapers and cut them down to suitable sizes.

Smoothens the surface

As we said before, orbital sanders are for smoothing surfaces. They actually fix the mistake done by the belt sander. The finishing you will get from an orbital sander is so satisfying. Since orbital sander is used in back and forth motion, that makes sure there isn’t any scratch mark on the material.

Orbital Sander Disadvantages

With an orbital sander, you cannot remove a large amount of material within a short time. And orbital sanders are not meant for that. You will not get aggressive sanding with this sander, and you have to spend more time on a single section of the material with an orbital sander.

With orbital sander you have to make sure you keep the pressure constant, you cannot put hard pressure and nor light.

Which Sander Should You Choose?

Here comes the tricky part. You need both of these two machines if you want a satisfying result. The belt sander will do the heavy sanding on a lot of materials within a short time. And after that, for the final finishing, you will be requiring an orbital sander.

However, if you still need to choose one then we will suggest going with the belt sander since it is faster and aggressive. With a belt sander, you can complete a lot of tasks. And since it takes very little time, that is something really good. Having that said, without an orbital sander you wouldn’t get the even and smoother finish.


We tried to make this belt sander vs orbital sander comparison as in-depth as possible. Going through the guide should give you enough idea about both of these sanding machine. If you want faster and aggressive sanding, go for a belt sander blindly. And for smoother satisfying finish choose orbital sander. For complete work, a woodworker will be needing both.

Leave a Comment