A workshop isn’t complete without a reliable sander, but how do you know which one is right for you? Every project is different after all, and you don’t want something that’s not going to get the job done.
Nor do you want an unreliable tool that’s going to cut out on you just as you hit your stride.
Maybe you’ve found yourself frequently frustrated with how vague product descriptions of power tools can be. Isn’t it just maddening when you open the box of your new metal sander, only to find it’s only advised for woodwork?
You may get your money back, but you’ll never get the time you wasted returning a useless product and waiting for a replacement to be delivered.
Not to mention all the time you spent researching and shopping around online to get the best deal. That could have been prime crafting time and you’ll never get it back.
If you’ve ever caught yourself wondering what type of sander you need for work with metal and other materials to make a professional-looking, quality product you can be proud of then you are in the right place.
We’ve done the research for you and found the best benchtop sanders to complete your workshop.
Whether you’re a pro or a dabbler, you’ll need the right sander for finishing different types of projects, so we’ve taken the time to find out which will be the best fit for the purpose you need it for.
Below you’ll find a handpicked selection of some of the best benchtop sanders on the market.
We’ve also written a buyers guide so you can find out how to shop smart for your individual needs.
We’ll let you know what to look out for when buying a sander so you can make the best decision for you.
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Best Benchtop Belt Sander for Metal Work
OUR TOP PICK
You don’t need to worry about this bad boy getting the job done quickly and smoothly. It sure will. This sander can work on metal and wood to create that smooth finish you’re after.
The sanding belt can be rotated up to ninety degrees, so it is super flexible.
Excellent news if you’ve got some interestingly shaped materials for sanding or especially long items then this will surely help get the job done without you having to contort yourself into unnatural positions.
The driven drum also allows for sanding curved pieces while the sanding disc can adjust up to forty-five degrees for flexible sanding.
This is one powerful professional machine. The direct drive motor measures in at 1 horsepower which is more than most wood sanding power tools.
The fully enclosed induction motor ensures powerful yet quiet performance. It’s tidy too. When used in conjunction with the dust collector the dust outlet will collect dust and shavings safely and prevent melting.
Both the sanding belt and the sanding disc outlets are made from suitably heat resistant materials for your peace of mind.
Additionally, this handy all-rounder machine comes with knife grinding accessories to sharpen up your blades safely on the belt plate.
- Multifunctional – This sander can be used on either wood or metal.
- Convenient design – The power switch is located on the top of the machine right in your eye-line.
- Easy replace paper – The pasted design of the sand disc allows for quick and easy sanding paper replacement.
- Powerful – the 1 HP induction motor produces enough power for large and small sanding jobs.
- Adjustable – The belt sander tilts to 90 degrees while the disc sander tilts up to 45 degrees for comfortable crafting.
- May not work on plastic – It is not explicitly acknowledged as to whether other materials may be used with this sander, such as plastic.
This compact looking sander does everything it needs to while saving space on your worktop.
This sander features a 36” by 4” belt sander and a 6” disc sander. This tool would be perfect for smaller jobs and compact workshops but it’s still powerful enough to handle light metal work.
With sensibly priced attachments and replacement sanding papers, this would make an ideal sander for an avid hobby crafter.
While the ½ horsepower motor won’t be up to large projects, it’s just perfect for the odd woodworking or metal crafting project.
- Compact design – This is a smaller version of a traditional 2 in 1 sander. It takes up much less room too.
- Good for small projects – The belt sander is around twelve inches smaller than other similar belt sanders and the disc sander is two inches smaller than the usual eight inches. This makes it an ideal tool to work with more delicate and intricate projects where more control is needed.
- Adjustable mitre gauge – benefitting from an adjustable mitre gauge means that you can make sure your angles are right every single time.
- Less powerful – This sander is much more suited to smaller projects than for industrial use. It has lower speeds for the belt sander and the disc sander than some of its peers which would make it unsuitable for some large-scale projects.
- Only suitable for light metal work – This sander cannot handle too much metal sanding as it will be too much for it. It would be better for wood crafting with occasional use for light metal sanding.
This lightweight 2 in 1 sander weighs in at a modest thirty-five pounds. That’s at least five pounds less than the usual weight of a benchtop sander.
That doesn’t mean it’s any less powerful though.
While the 1/3 horsepower isn’t overwhelming you might be impressed by the RPM (revolutions per minute) for the disc dander which stands at 3500 RPM, while the belt sander boasts a 4400 SFPM (surface feet per minute).
These are actually faster than the 1 horsepower Bucktool one we showed you first.
It comes in two specifications. One features a six-inch disc sander such as the Grizzly Industrial had, but the larger version features a nine-inch disc sander.
There’s quite a big difference in the size of belt sanders in the two models too. The smaller one is 2” x 42” while the larger one is much wider at 6” x 48”.
The best model for you would depend on the size of the items you’re likely to be using it for.
The larger sander also features a 1HP motor, which should help for more heavy-duty tasks. This tool claims to sand, finish, polish, deburr and contour materials amongst other things and claims to be suitable for all materials.
It’s a bold claim but with that amount of RPM and power, we can see it living up to our expectations.
As with many of the other sanders, the belt can be adjusted to sand either vertically or horizontally and the worktable tilts for your convenience.
All in all, either of these Palmgren sanders would grace any workshop.
- Fast rotation speed – The RPM and SFM are impressive on this sander even on the lower horsepower model. That’s sure to help create a smooth finish on wood or metal.
- Reliable – The capacity motor claims to run under load without slowing. It’s heavy duty (yet lightweight design) ensures long life for the tool itself.
- Easy paper change – The simple belt tension allows for easy belt changes, so you don’t have to spend lots of your valuable time changing and replacing the papers.
- Mitre gauge included – It’s always handy to have a reliable mitre gauge.
- Not suitable for plunge cuts for knives – Despite its undeniable power, this machine’s design does not appear to be compatible with practicing blade plunging.
This sander is definitely a safety conscious 2 in 1 sander. Like the others, it has a belt sander and a disc sander.
Weighing in at only twenty-seven pounds, this pocket rocket is a compact, yet powerful addition to your workshop.
It boasts a sturdy design, as well as a flexible work lamp to help with precision work even in dimly lit spaces.
The base is designed for stability with non-slip rubber feet and a waterproof design for your peace of mind.
It also has a detachable sink for quickly cooling hot materials.
It can handle wood, plastic and iron which is impressive for such a small tool.
The belt sander can be adjusted up to ninety degrees for vertical or horizontal grinding and sanding.
It also features a protective eye guard over the disc sander to keep you safe from sparks and debris while in use.
Unlike other sanders in our guide, this one comes with a couple of accessories.
It has a replacement sander belt which is handy to have and two pairs of gloves suitable for use when handling crafting materials. Nobody likes splinters, after all.
- Safe and sturdy design – featuring a rustproof, waterproof base with rubber feet to avoid the machine rocking or walking as you work, we can tell that health and safety is a key priority for the manufacturers of this 2 in 1 sander.
- Compact design – This lightweight power tool doesn’t take up much space on the workbench, but can accomplish grinding, sanding, and polishing of wood, metal and plastic which is more than can be said of some of the heavier varieties.
- Extra features – The protective eye guard is a good addition to the disc sander, and the LED work lamp will help to make intricate, precise work easy. In addition, the work gloves and the replacement sanding belt are a welcome add-on.
- Disc sander doesn’t move - The belt sander does move and adjust for ease of work position, but unlike some of the other models, this tool’s disc sander is not adjustable.
- Its RPM is lower - While Revolutions Per Minute isn’t the only thing which can make a tool powerful, it does help. The belt sander can reach 3450 RPM, but this isn’t as high as most of the others. However, it does claim to be powerful enough to handle metal work, so maybe the RPM isn’t what it’s all about for this tool.
This is a grinder, rather than a sander so it can easily sharpen tools.
We include this because not all metal work involves sanding, specifically and most people have tools around the house for DIY or for work which need sharpening periodically to get the best out of them.
This double grinder can get it all done. Its six by ¾ inch disc grinders are designed to grind metal to a fine point.
As such, the protective eye guards are very welcome since you’re sure to be making sparks with this power tool. The unit also features a flexible work lamp, although the bulb is not included.
This grinder also features a tool rest feature to support accurate grinding.
The motor is said to be quiet which is a plus if you want to keep the peace with your neighbours and weighing at only 4 pounds, is semi-portable.
The WEN two-year warranty is a load off the mind too. In case anything does go wrong with it, you’re covered.
- Compact design – This small, but powerful grinder may be just the answer to your troubles. It can give your old, rusty tools and blades a new lease of life and make them fit for purpose again. It doesn’t weigh half as much as any of the other sanders and grinders, and it won’t take up much room so it’s ideal for smaller workspaces.
- Safety conscious – The protective eye guards will no doubt come in handy when grinding metal. The tool rest will also help you stay safe and in control of your work.
- Work light – The flexible work light will surely be most helpful when working with blades and smaller tools. You want an even finish, after all.
- 2 grinding wheels – The two grinding wheels have different grit levels, which will ensure you can bring all your old tools back to life in no time. The motor is also quiet for a powerful machine.
- Not suitable for sanding – This is a grinder, not a sander and is not suitable for working with wood or other materials. It is only to be used for sharpening metal items.
- Not suitable for large items – the six-inch grinding wheels are not large, so working on large areas will take time, but it is very well-equipped for smaller items.
Benchtop Metal Work Sander Buyer’s Guide
There are lots of factors to consider when choosing a benchtop sanding machine. For a start you need to think about whether you need a static sander at all or if a smaller handheld one might serve your purposes better.
Bigger isn’t always better where power tools are concerned. It completely depends on what you’re likely to be using it for. Here are a few things to consider when buying your next sander.
Handheld Or Benchtop?
While you might think a benchtop sander is the only way to go, the positives of an orbital or handheld sander might have passed you by.
While benchtop sanders are the most efficient way to achieve a smooth finish in a short amount of time, they are also bulky and hard to move.
If you needed to sand something which was too big to lift for example, then a corded handheld sander might just work better for you, as you can work around the object rather than trying to get material to work around the sander.
Also, if you were planning to work with bumpy or unusually shaped pieces then a more flexible sander might give you more control over your work than a large industrial style one.
Many carpenters and craftspeople find that owning a combination of sanders is the best way to go. That way you have a heavy duty one for your workshop, while you have more portable ones to hand for work outside of the workshop.
Lightweight Or Heavy Duty?
Again, this depends on the type of projects you’ll be using it for and about the amount of space you have available in your workshop.
We know it’s tempting to fill up your worktops with gadgets, tools and machines and forget to leave any workspace for the actual work you intend on doing.
For smaller workshops, you may benefit from a smaller unit to save space for other power tools or for space to craft.
If you have a large area with plentiful surface areas for tools, then good for you. Many of us handcrafters must prioritise space for what’s most needed.
A lightweight sander or grinder will do for most amateur or DIY projects, whereas a heavier duty one with larger sanding surfaces on the belt and disc sanders may be beneficial for a professional carpenter, joiner or metal worker who may need to work with larger items.
We have spoken about the power of the units and explained their horsepower where the information is available, but horsepower or watts aren’t everything.
The rotation speed of the sanding units themselves are tell-tale as well about how powerful they are. A high RPM on the disco sanders or SFPM on the belt sanders can help you to understand how fast the tools move.
As a rule of thumb, the faster they go, the quicker they’ll work and the smoother the finish.
Then again, if you are only wanting to work with small, delicate items such as soft wood, then a slower speed would give you more control over your work.
No one wants to be sanding a doorknob and quickly realise that their sander is way too powerful and has reduced the sphere to a stump in two seconds flat.
You need the right power for the project, so don’t automatically assume that more power is better.
Sanding Belt Width
You need to consider the widths of the sanders because it will affect what they are suitable for. Some sanders have a thinner belt sander and smaller disc sander than others.
This is a deliberate design feature which makes them more suitable for smaller crafts and especially those with unusual shapes and lots of lumps and bumps.
If you’re only wanting to sand planks of wood, then a bigger belt sander will benefit you, as more surface gets sanded at one time. Think about what you’re likely to be using it for most to determine which size sander is right for you.
Frequently Asked Questions About Benchtop Belt Sanders For Metal Work
Does A Sander Make A Lot Of Mess?
Well, the short answer in most cases is yes, but it doesn’t have to.
Many larger sanders have a dust outlet which can then be vacuumed as the machine is operating.
This minimises the mess that the sander creates by collecting much of the dust and debris from the sanding or grinding.
Then again, if you don’t have a compatible hose or vacuum attached then this will just shoot the sawdust and mess at the wall or in whichever direction it is pointed.
Some sanders are compatible with household vacuums while others need specific units to make them tidy. Sanding any material such as wood, metal or plastic will create a mess, because you are shaving tiny particles off the material.
Those specs of debris must go somewhere so there will inevitably be some mess when working with a sander.
At least the larger benchtop ones have a way of tidying up after themselves a bit, whereas handheld sanders demand a good old-fashioned dustpan, brush, and an able pair of hands to clean up after them.
Last update on 2023-02-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API