Best Belt Sanders of 2020 – Ultimate Guide

As a true woodworker, you will know how important the finishing of the wood is. For this reason, sanders are such an imperative tool for any woodworker. However, with so much variety in the market, it can be rather difficult to find the best one that will do the job for you perfectly. 

So, here is a list of the best belt sanders, reviewed and looked at thoroughly so you can make an informed decision. 

Comparison Chart of the Best Belt Sanders

PRODUCTDETAILS
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WEN 6502T

  • Belt can tilt between 0 degrees and 90 degrees
  • Cast-iron base that is high-quality
  • Comes with sturdy cast-aluminum work table
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Makita 9403

  • Quiet, fast and strong motor performance
  • Designed with large front grip for operator comfort
  • Unique construction seals and protects motor
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SKIL 7510-01 Sandcat

  • Best for the Money
  • Easy-to-use belt alignment system
  • Dust canister is see-through for convenient use
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TACKLIFE Belt Sander 3×18-Inch

  • Best Mini Belt Sander
  • Dust collecting box is easy to install and detachable
  • Metal clamping lever makes sanding belt change easy
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WEN 6515T

  • Best 1 Inch Belt Sander
  • Compact designfor easy storage and transportation
  • Includes 80-grit sanding disc
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Makita 9032

  • Best Hand Held Belt Sander
  • Convenient lightweight and compact design
  • Easy use of variable speed control dial
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Genesis GBS321A Single Lever

  • Best Benchtop Belt Sander
  • Tight spots are accessible thanks to low-profile design
  • Comes with quality sanding belt and dust bag
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CRAFTSMAN CMEW213

  • Best Craftsman Belt Sander
  • Allows for tool-free belt release
  • Comfortable use with a molded handle
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Ryobi ZRBE319

  • Best Ryobi Belt Sander
  • Efficient sanding with performance speed of 820 FPM
  • 6 amp motor for powerful performance
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Grizzly Industrial H6070 Combo Sander

  • Best Belt Sander for Knife Making
  • Great for dry sharpening and contour sanding
  • Equipped with universal positioning lock levers
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What is Belt Sander and What is it Used For?

If you put in simpler words, belt sanders are used for finishing off the surface of the woodwork. For example, if it is a piece of furniture, a table, or a small-sized decoration piece, the surface needs to be evened out. 

These work on a motor that, when turned on, turns a pair of drums that are mounted with a huge loop of sandpaper. This sandpaper is used to smoothen and finish off the wood surface. These units come in a variety of options and feature many different ranges of features such as adjustable speeds, different grips, and quality of sandpaper too. 

WEN 6502T

How to Choose a Belt Sander

Whether you are buying a belt sander for the first time or have owned one before, you still need to make some important considerations. The following are the features and functions you should always inquire about before making the purchase. 

Weight

The weight of the belt sander is directly related to the comfort, ease of use, and ease of handling of the machine. If you need it for hobby-based jobs or home-based working where there is limited storage space, then a lightweight unit should do the job for you. 

You should not go for a unit that weighs too much for you to handle; otherwise, it might put a strain on your hand. 

Grip

The grip or the handle part of the unit is very important. If this is not sturdy and stable enough, all your woodwork can go to waste. Make sure that the grip is of good quality, preferably rubberized and textured, so that you get a stable control over it. 

Speed Adjustment

Different units work at different speeds. However, the important feature to look for here is the adjustability and speed variation. Do not go for a unit that has limited speed adjustment options, or has none. 

A machine with more levels of different speeds will be suitable and functional in different woodwork situations. 

Quick Take: Best Belt Sanders

Want to skip the review? Here is a quick look at the best belt sanders:

1. WEN 6502T
2. Makita 9403
3. SKIL 7510-01 Sandcat

Review of the Best Belt Sanders

Coming to a very important section of the article, here are the best belt sanders in the market today. Make sure to read the pros and cons to find the best unit for your own preferences. 

Best Overall:
WEN 6502T

WEN 6502T 4.3-Amp 4 x 36 in. Belt and 6 in. Disc Sander with Cast Iron Base

PROS

  • Sturdily built, minimal wobbling 
  • Features both 1x30 and 5-inch disc
  • Comes backed by a 2-year warranty
  • Efficient vacuuming with 2 dust bags
  • Base has mounting holes for added stability

CONS

  • Difficult to assemble
  • Tightening knob can be unreliable 

What Recent Buyers Report

The majority of the buyers of this unit were really satisfied with the price to performance ratio. They find this machine lightweight, yet they were able to do heavy-duty work with it. Many buyers also used it for home-based projects and were satisfied with the results. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Overall, the unit is equipped with extraordinary features and functions. However, the most outstanding feature is its base holes that ensure that the unit does not wobble, and stays on the surface with a sturdy and highly reliable grip. In addition to this, it comes with 2 dust bags to further ensure cleanliness. 

Who Will Use This Most

We sternly recommend this to professionals who need a heavy-duty unit for large projects. This is also a good unit for beginners since it is safe with the wobble-free design. Home users can also make great use out of it. 

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this is a great piece of machinery that features versatile functions. It has an easy to use tightening knob, along with mounting holes, and is also supported by a 2-year warranty to further add reliability to the unit. 

Runner-up:
Makita 9403

Makita 9403 4' X 24' Belt Sander

PROS

  • 6-dials speed variables
  • Backed by reliable customer support
  • Aluminum oxide belts for added durability
  • Hands-free usage with lock-on button feature
  • Detachable dust collection bag for ease of cleaning

CONS

  • Motor burns out very quickly

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of the buyers of this MAKITA unit used it on flat surfaces and reported it to be stable and reliable on them. Other buyers also report that the unit is truly powerful and is, therefore, more suitable for heavy-duty projects. The balance of the unit and its stability are also highly applauded.

Why it Stands Out to Us

A feature that we find truly impressive and useful is that the dust bag is very easy to detach. This allows you to easily clean it and get rid of the dirt without having to disturb the whole unit. Also, the aluminum oxide belts, along with the hand-free usage, make it a highly versatile product. 

Who Will Use This Most

We do not recommend this unit to beginners and home-based users. It is a suitable product only for professional users who need to work on heavy-duty projects. The unit has a powerful design, can be noisy as well, and is therefore good for use in garages and workshops rather than homes.

Bottom Line

Summing it up, this MAKITA unit is an outstanding product due to a number of reasons. It has variable speeds, allowing you to use it on multiple occasions, and is a powerful machine with a highly reliable and responsive customer support.

Best for the Money:
SKIL 7510-01 Sandcat

SKIL 7510-01 Sandcat 6 Amp 3-Inch x 18-Inch Belt Sander with Pressure Control

PROS

  • Belt changing is very quick and easy
  • Does not let fine dust particles get away
  • Clear-view dust bag for easy maintenance
  • Auto-track feature ensures belt stays centered
  • Prevent excessive pressure with a pressure control feature

CONS

  • Not durable enough
  • Might create huge sparks, causing danger

What Recent Buyers Report

If performance, design, and appearance are what you look for in a belt sander, then this unit is the one for you. Buyers report it to be highly useful in terms of keeping the dirtbag clean due to the clear-view window. Reports also suggest that the unit is good for use by beginners since it is user-friendly.

Why it Stands Out to Us

When it comes to belt sanders, the price range varies a lot, and sometimes, you tend to buy expensive products. For this reason, we like this product a lot since it is on a more affordable side of the spectrum, but it offers exceptional features, including an efficient dust collection system along with a pressure control feature. 

Who Will Use This Most

Considering the range of essential to extra features, we think this unit is made for all. Not only will professionals make good use of it, but the easy cleaning system and the pressure control technology will aid beginners to use this unit as well. 

Bottom Line

Overall, this extraordinary looking unit is all about performance and affordability. If it’s your first time using or buying a belt sander, this unit makes up for a great choice of product. It will surely be a great investment. 

Best Mini Belt Sander:
TACKLIFE Belt Sander 3×18-Inch

TACKLIFE Belt Sander 3×18-Inch with 13Pcs Sanding Belts, Bench Sander with Variable-speed Control, Fixed Screw Clamps, Dust Box, Vacuum Adapters, 10Feet (3 meters) Length Power Cord PSFS1A

PROS

  • Comes with a 1-year warranty
  • Compact and small for easy mobility
  • 360 degrees swivel dust bag for ease of use
  • Made with really quiet and silent technology
  • Ensures quick action with 1640 feet per minute design

CONS

  • Might not be the best for large projects
  • Not for professional, heavy-duty requirements

What Recent Buyers Report

Many buyers used this sander on steel doors and metal surfaces to get rid of paint stains and even rust. They were quite happy with the final results. Some reports also suggest that this sander is backed by a reliable customer service, which proved to be highly useful for beginners in particular. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

When you are working on a project, mobility and maneuverability are very important. For this reason, this compact and lightweight unit stands out in the market. Its small design, packed with exceptional features, such as swivel-based dust bag and fast speed ensure a comfortable experience. 

Who Will Use This Most

The lightweight and compact design make this unit the best choice for home-based users and projects. It’s the ideal gift you can give to a woodwork enthusiast. The small size makes it good for storage; therefore, if you have limited storage space, this will work for you.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, we think that portability with a sander is very important. Therefore, this unit is a great pick. It also comes with a warranty and has exceptional quality features such as sturdy built and a silent technology. 

Best 1 Inch Belt Sander:
WEN 6515T

WEN 6515T 1 in. x 30 in. Belt Sander with 5 in. Sanding Disc

PROS

  • Fast, 3600 RPM 
  • Easy to use lever for tension release
  • Cast iron base adds great sturdiness
  • Tilt-able, adjustable belt for versatile usability
  • 90-degrees tilting allows you to use it in small spaces and edges

CONS

  • Not for beginners
  • Dust bag needs to be attached separately

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers were initially hesitant in buying this product because of the low price tag but were hugely satisfied with it once they found out how useful and well-performing it is. Many of the buyers used this for home-based projects and were beginners and had no problems in using it. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

We are really impressed by the maneuvering design of this unit. It is suitable for sanding edges and small places due to its 90 degrees tilting design. Also, it has a fast motor ensuring faster and lesser work time. The overall construction quality is also phenomenal and is truly very sturdy. 

Who Will Use This Most

This is an ideal pick for beginners who don’t want to invest a high sum of money on a sander. This is also good for professional commercial-grade usage due to its efficient and fast motor and an extraordinarily sturdy built with a cast iron base. 

Bottom Line

Overall, this makes up to be a great product, considering the features and the price to performance ratio. It has an easy to use dust bag port, along with a tilting design for easy accessibility to tight spots and spaces. 

Best Hand Held Belt Sander:
Makita 9032

3/8'' x 21'' Belt Sander

PROS

  • Speed is variable
  • Fully adjustable belt 
  • Handheld, compact and lightweight design
  • Japan-made construction ensuring high quality
  • Available with 3 differently-sized belts for multi-purpose functionality

CONS

  • Instructions only come in Japanese 

What Recent Buyers Report

Some buyers used this unit for filing door sides and found it to be really useful. Buyers also report that it is more of a specialized tool and is useful for particular jobs and tasks. People were able to reach hard-up welds and areas which needed to be sanded.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Considering the range of versatile features, there is not just one reason to like this unit. However, what we really like about it is its handheld design that is lightweight and compact, too, making it easy to use and store as well. Another great feature is the multi-purpose design of this unit with 3 different sizes of the belt.

Who Will Use This Most

This would be a good unit for woodworkers who have limited garage or workshop space. It can be used by carpenters and furniture makers, considering that it can reach small holes and spaces so they can deal with details of furniture. It is long-lasting and well-built, making it a good one-time investment. 

Bottom Line

The Japan-made sander, with its compact design and powerful motor, is a great product overall. It’s good for beginners, as well as for people who need a task-specific, specialized unit. Its lightweight and compact design make it good for home use and for woodworkers who have small workshops.

Best Benchtop Belt Sander:
Genesis GBS321A Single Lever 

Genesis GBS321A Single Lever 3' x 21' Variable Speed Belt Sander with Adjustable Front Handle and Dust Collection Bag

PROS

  • Versatile and easy-to-use features
  • Highly efficient dust collection bag
  • Features an auto-tracking belt system 
  • Includes a long 6.5-foot power cord for larger projects 
  • Consists of a powerful 8.0 AMP motor ensuring continuous speed control under load

CONS

  • Dust bag may not have much capacity

What Recent Buyers Report

This belt sander by Genesis comes with great features. People who purchased it were highly satisfied with its functions and powerful features. Its powerful 8.0 AMP motor enables it to maintain speed under pressure. Also, the belt could be tracked without adjustment through the auto-tracking belt system. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Most distinctively, this belt sander is easy to use with outstanding features. It has a powerful motor that controls its speed under pressure. Moreover, its 6.5-foot long power cord enables you to complete larger projects easily. It is affordable and offers all the essential features one would want in a belt sander.

Who Will Use This Most

This is a belt sander that consists of all the essential features. It works great and aligns with your idea of a perfect unit. This model is designed for woodworkers, carpenters, furniture makers, floor installers, and general contractors requiring a perfect benchtop belt sander. It is designed specifically for woodworking and cabinetry.

Bottom Line

To sum up, this is a perfect belt sander offering outstanding features. It is specifically designed for woodworkers, carpenters, furniture makers, and basically professionals who are on the lookout for an excellent belt sander. It is user-friendly and has the strength to perform its function effectively. Therefore, it is the perfect pick for you.

Best Craftsman Belt Sander:
CRAFTSMAN CMEW213

CRAFTSMAN Belt Sander, 3-Inch x 21-Inch (CMEW213)

PROS

  • Consists of a tool-free belt release 
  • Includes an onboard dust bag for dust collection
  • For fast material removal, it has a maximum of 800 FPM
  • Comfortable to use with 3 position over-molded handle
  • Features 7.0 AMP motor along with an angled belt design 

CONS

  • Does not have variable speed

What Recent Buyers Report

This unit is backed by a range of positive customer feedback. The belt sander functions fairly well, as reported by purchasers. It is easy to use, lightweight, and economical. The dust collection bag works perfectly well. 

Moreover, it features 800 FPM to get the job done quickly. It consists of a tool-free belt release that allows easy belt changes, which makes it easy to use for the purchaser.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Craftsman belt sander comes with an angled belt design, enabling it to sand as close as possible to the adjoining surfaces. It has 800 FPM which helps it get the job done easily. It is easy to use and has all the essential features required for a belt sander to function effectively. All these great features come at a fairly low price. 

Who Will Use This Most

Those who need to sand woodwork with lots of tiny details will be able to make great use out of this unit. It is lightweight and consists of an effective dust collection bag. Moreover, with easy belt changes, it comes in handy for beginners too. People looking for a belt sander for woodworking or cabinetry could consider this.

Bottom Line

Craftsman’s well-designed, lightweight, and easy-to-use belt sander. If you want to get your job done quickly, then this model with 800 FPM will make it possible. It offers all the crucial features at an economical price, which makes it even better.

Best Ryobi Belt Sander:
Ryobi ZRBE319

Ryobi ZRBE319 6 Amp 3 in. x 18 in. Belt Sander (Renewed)

PROS

  • Efficient sanding with 820 FPM
  • Easy to use, even for beginners
  • Has a low-profile design to access tight areas
  • Consists of a powerful 6 AMP motor for better performance
  • Comfortable to use thanks to its improved GRIPZONE over mold

CONS

  • No dust collection bag

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers who bought the Ryobi belt sander find it a powerful tool. It has a powerful 6 AMP electronic motor that improves its performance, and therefore users were able to get incredible project results. It features 820 FPM for efficient sanding. 

Moreover, it offers great comfort to the user with its improved GRIPZONE over mold, which buyers report prevented strain on the hand. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This Ryobi belt sander consists of all the amazing features. It is convenient to use with improved GRIPZONE over mold, and on/off switch. Also, it is a powerful model that features 6AMP motor for enhanced performance. It is an excellent belt sander that comes with easy-to-use features at an affordable price.

Who Will Use This Most

The Ryobi belt sander is mostly used by a carpenter and general contractors, and others who require an excellent model. It’s a good choice for beginners or home users as well. It offers belt changes that makes it convenient to use. Also, it is perfect for medium or occasional duration use, so it can be good for home-based jobs.

Bottom Line

Summing it up, this Ryobi belt sander is convenient to use with its easy-to-use features. It is comfortable to handle with an improved overmold. It has a 6 AMP electronic motor for enhanced performance, which makes it function perfectly. Also, it comes at a low price despite its amazing features.

Best Belt Sander for Knife Making:
Grizzly Industrial H6070 Combo Sander

Grizzly Industrial H6070-1' x 30' Belt/5' Disc Combo Sander

PROS

  • Perfect for sanding intricate parts
  • Features universal positioning lock levers
  • Belt and disc sanding tables tilt 45 degrees
  • Includes tracking adjustment and dual dust ports
  • Consists of 1/3 HP, 110V, single-phase, 3450 RPM motor

CONS

  • Fragile clamp lever

What Recent Buyers Report

It is rather difficult to find appropriate sanders for knife sharpening purposes. Therefore, buyers report that this model’s powerful 1/3 HP, 3450 RPM motor with a safe locking system made it good for that purpose. Buyers are highly satisfied with the product having amazing features. Its manual belt tracking adjustment makes it convenient for use. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

We like this model because it features a combination of belt and disc sander, making it suitable to use for knife work. It includes tracking adjustment and dual dust ports. Moreover, it features universal positioning lock levers and machined aluminum tables. All of these features make it stand out amongst other similar products.

Who Will Use This Most

This product is mainly used for detail sanding or knife work. The combination of belt sander and disc makes it perfect for knife work. It is suitable for contour sanding and dry sharpening. The belt and disc sanding tilting at 45 degrees makes it versatile. 

Bottom Line

To sum up, this is a well-built belt sander that comes with amazing features. It functions perfectly and produces the best results. For people looking for a belt sander with a combination of belt and disc sander, this is the right pick for you. 

When Would I Need to Use a Belt Sander?

If you are a hobbyist woodworker and still confused whether or not investing in a belt sander is the right thing to do, here are some ways you will be able to make great use out of this unit: 

Remove Unwanted Material

Wooden objects have lots of unwanted materials on the surface once completed. These include glue, glue residue, and other small, very tiny twigs that often come out of the edges of unfinished woodwork. Removing these materials just by hand can be difficult and even dangerous. 

Beginning Stages

If you are working on woodwork that has lots of detail, then the beginning stages of this project will need a sander. You will need to even out the surface so you can get the desired details on it. 

Smoothen the Surface 

When you cut the wood into particular shapes and sizes, the surface often left behind is edgy and uneven. Sometimes, woodwork is also rough. To smoothen this out, sanders come into play. 

Rounding a Wooden Surface

For woodwork that requires rounded edges, you will need to use sanders. 

Polishing Metal Surfaces 

It might look like sanders are only good for woodwork. However, truth be told, these can be used on metalwork as well. However, there are some precautions needed to be taken. 

Makita 9403 4" X 24" Belt Sander

Comparison Overview

Sanders come in various kinds and types. Some common types are belt, orbital, and palm sanders. Take a look at how each of these has different features. 

Belt Sander vs. Orbital Sander

Belt sanders:

  • Good for removing large materials
  • Loop of sandpaper with rotating drums
  • Good for large surfaces and projects
  • More heavy-duty and professional 
  • Suitable for metal surfaces too
  • Might not work well on flat surfaces 
  • Might leave slightly rough surfaces
  • Used to remove paint and stains too

Orbital sanders

  • Useful for sanding and smoothening edges and corners
  • Rectangular shape with orbital movement of sandpaper
  • Handheld, better portability
  • Uses standard sandpaper, thus easy to access
  • Lightweight and more suitable for home-use
  • Gives an amazing finish to the project
  • Usable for removing paint 
  • Difficult to replace sandpaper 

Belt Sander vs. Palm Sander

Palm sanders:

  • Great for sanding small, tight spaces like holes and pockets
  • Lightweight, compact and therefore easy to move around with
  • Cheaper than orbital sanders
  • Require less power, making it good for home use
  • Good for polishing wood
  • Not good for removing paint
  • Don’t require a lot of energy or pressure when in use
  • Good for use on shaped wood

TACKLIFE Belt Sander 3×18-Inch

Verdict

In conclusion, orbital and palm sanders are more similar to one another with their small size that fits in one hand. They have similar functionality and are designed to be used on shaped wood. Belt sanders are comparatively more heavy-duty and professional. 

How to Use a Belt Sander

It is important to learn some crucial and technical things about the usage of belt sanders. Here, we have listed down some key steps during the installation of the belt and while using the sander. 

  1. Whenever you are changing the pads, the sander needs to be unplugged first.

  2. To install the belt, first, unlock the tension between the two wheels/drums.

  3. If the belt is non-directional, you can install it either way. Make sure to check for the right installation method in the manual or follow the directions on the belt for a directional belt.

  4. Remember to flip the tension back when the belt is installed.

  5. Use an adjusting knob to ensure the belt is centered for optimal performance.

  6. Always move the sander at an even and consistent pace.

  7. Avoid pressing down too much on the sander to avoid over-doing the sanding process.

Belt Sander Tips, Tricks, and Hacks for Success

There are many important tips that you need to keep in mind when using heavy machinery, such as belt sanders. These tips are good for your safety as well as for doing a remarkable project too.

Face Mask

You need to keep yourself protected at all costs. With sanders, there is always a lot of sand involved. Very tiny pieces of wood and sand can easily get into your eyes, nose, and mouth, which can be rather hazardous for your health. Therefore, keep wearing your goggles and a face mask all throughout the process. 

Keep the Sander Clean Before Using With Metal

If you plan on polishing a metal surface with a sander, always remember to clean the dust bag and the sanding surface of the machine. Sawdust can react with metal and cause a fire. Therefore, always keep the sander clean before use with metal.

Always Unplug When Not in Use

Never leave the unit plugged in. This can save energy and also ensure minimal accidents. 

Unplug Before Cleaning 

When you are cleaning the dust bag of a sander, always turn off the unit before you start cleaning. 

Conclusion

To conclude the article, we would strongly recommend all woodworkers to go through important considerations and gain maximum knowledge about a machine they are going to invest in. 

Whether you want to polish metal surfaces or need to smoothen out a wooden piece, belt sanders will be there for you. The article will be of great help in choosing any one best unit. 

People Also Ask

Now that you have taken a look at some of the best units available in the market, here are some other questions that might help you learn more about belt sanders. Give them a read to find out. 

How Much Does a Belt Sander Cost?

Belt sanders are available in a diverse price range. Their cost can start from as low as $40 and go up as high as $250.

Can I Use a Belt Sander on Hardwood Floors?

Hardwood floors can be sanded with belt sanders. However, it is not the most appropriate tool for it. You might need a different kind of sander that is particularly designed for sanding the floor, so you don’t have to bend or put a strain on your whole body. 

What is the Difference Between a Belt Sander and an Orbital Sander?

Belt sanders are more suitable for aggressive work. They have 2 drums with loops of sandpaper used to quickly remove lots of material from a surface. Meanwhile, orbital sanders are handheld, lightweight machines that rotate sandpaper in small circles rather than two drums. 

Is an Orbital Sander Better Than a Palm Sander?

Orbital sanders are remarkably good for precise sanding. Palm sanders, on the other hand, are more suitable for polishing, painting, or smoothening a surface. 

Can You Use a Belt Sander to Sharpen Knives?

Yes, many people use belt sanders to sharpen knives. However, always clean the dust bag before you do so. 

Can You Use a Belt Sander on Concrete?

A more suitable machine to sand concrete is palm sanders as they have much smaller circles and are much better at the job than belt sanders. 

Why Does my Belt Sander Keep Breaking Belts?

It is unlikely that belt sanders fail their belts. However, if this is happening with you, then causes extreme heat or extreme humidity can be the reason behind it. Moreover, you should also check the manual and see if the belts rotate in the correct direction.