Belt Sander vs Disc Sander – Which is Better?

A sander is a device that makes use of sandpaper to smoothen surfaces. They are used to polish and clean surfaces to give them a more befitting look. You can also use them before finishing touches are done on surfaces.

It is an essential tool for woodwork. Although, it can also be used on metal, aluminum, plastic surfaces, or any other suitable application.

Belt sander vs disc sander – what’s the main difference? Sanders differ in their mode of operation, structure, and features. They both have their merits and demerits when it comes to various tasks.

Sanding is an essential task when it comes to woodwork, and you’ll find yourself puzzling which sander is best for your job.

With the advancement in technology, various innovations have been made to make wood finishing and smoothing easy.

This article will highlight the differences between disc sander and belt sander. It will help you determine which of these two sanders will suit your needs, professionally or personally.

More Information: How to Use a DA, Sander.

Disc Sanders

A disc sander can also be called an orbital sander. It is a stationary device that is attached to a worktable to smoothen surfaces.

It can either be run on electricity or rechargeable batteries. It features a circular plate where the sandpaper is fixated.

Due to its stationary position, you will have to bring your workpiece to it. You can easily adjust this sander until you get the perfect position to work.

It also has a self-cleaning mechanism that gets rid of dust produced during operation.

This sander is a multipurpose tool that can remove significant substances quickly and is best for rough surfaces.

Depending on the size of your tool, you can either operate it with one hand or both hands.

They are the perfect tool for small projects such as removing wood paints, fragments, sanding plastic, or small wood. It is essential for finishing touches.

Belt Sanders

As the name implies, a belt sander comes with a sanding belt rather than abrasive sheets like a disc sander.

An electric motor that ensures its forward motion drives the belt. The belt flows in a loop manner, horizontally, vertically, or both ways.

Before you purchase a belt sander, you must factor in the size of the belt and what fits your purpose. The larger the belt, the more efficient and grinding capacity it has.

Belt sanders are usually bigger than a disc sander, and they do heavier work than it. It features a guide that keeps the belt in motion while operating.

And unlike a disc sander, it can either be stationary or handheld. You can bring your workpiece to it or take the tool to your workpiece, whichever suits you.

The belt sander also has a self-cleaning mechanism to get rid of dust like the disc sander.

It is perfect for flattening timber due to its flat surface. It is also ideal for shaping, trimming, or sanding your wood.

It would be best if you are well-trained to operate this tool, else you run the risk of injuring yourself due to its frenzy movement.

Belt Sander vs Disc Sander

No. Disc Sander Belt Sander
1. A disc sander uses circular abrasive paper attached to it to smoothen surfaces. A belt sander moves its abrasive belt over the workpiece.
2. A disc sander is suitable for working on edges. A belt sander works perfectly on flat surfaces.
3. A disc sander can reach places. A belt sander cannot reach places.
4. A disc sander is immovable. A belt sander, on the other hand, can be either mobile or stationary.
5. A disc sander can be used for simple duty operations. A belt sander is perfect for heavy-duty operations.
6. Being a heavy-duty tool, a disc sander is not expensive compared to a belt sander. Being a heavy-duty tool, a belt sander is usually more expensive than a disc sander.

How to Choose the Right Sander

Before you begin to ponder which type of sander is perfect for you, you need to define your goals.

Knowing the purpose you specifically need this tool for will help you make informed choices. They are both great tools.

Since you can use sanders for various purposes, you might find it challenging to choose a perfect fit.

We will dissect which sander is perfect for different scenarios to narrow down your options.


Be certain that your choice of sander can be used for an extended period. Depending on the type of work you want to use it for, it is best to choose a product that will be efficient and long-lasting.

Type of sanding abrasive

You need a suitable form of abrasive that is ideal for the surface you want to work on.

Dust extraction

Sanders is known to produce debris during operation. You need to be certain your sander choice comes with a cleaning mechanism.

This will keep you safe as it is dangerous to breathe in dust produced during sanding.

Type and size of the sanding pad

This will determine the surface finishing for your project.

Having talked about the factors to consider, it is worthy to note that a belt sander can work on hardwood floors.

On the other hand, a disc sander is fit for priming or when you are getting ready for varnishing to provide smoother surfaces.

What is the best sander to remove paint?

 A belt sander is designed in such a way that it can efficiently work on large surfaces. This makes it perfect for paint removal.

Even though paint removal can be a little problematic, a belt sander makes it fast and efficient.

You can easily control its speed, so it doesn’t damage the surface you are working on. You will also enjoy this tool due to its quiet operation.

What type of sander is best for refinishing furniture?

 A detail sander is your best bet for refinishing furniture. It allows you to work on large surfaces, likewise small surfaces, in little time.

They can get access to complicated areas because of their compact sizes.

However, when a detail sander is not available, you should go for a disc sander.

Not only is it powerful and easy to control, but it can work efficiently on a rough surface or a difficult wood.

Also read: How do you Attach Hook and Loop Sandpaper?


Sanding can be one of the most tiring and time-consuming tasks, but with the right tools, it becomes enjoyable. Times have changed, and people no longer have to spend eons doing manual sanding.

All sanders are designed to help you with your woodwork, and the only difference is in their features and functionality.

With the new knowledge you have gotten from this article, we hope you can now make an informed choice and work with the perfect tool.

Whether to refurbish your furniture, remove paint, or polish surfaces, we hope you already know the differences between a disc sander and a belt sander.

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