Belt Sander Vs Orbital Sander | Which is Best for Your Next Project?


Writions is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

A guide like this may be helpful if you are a beginner seeking guidance or a professional attempting to upgrade his workshop. Due to their brute force, belt sanders are not ideal for amateurs because they require an experienced user to utilize their full potential. Here we discuss Belt Sander vs Orbital Sander in detail.

However, if you’re working with large objects or offensive materials, belt sanders are necessary tools to finish the job. Oscillating sanders and belt sanders differ significantly. Let’s debunk some misconceptions and figure out which type of sander is best for your purposes.

Belt Sander Vs Orbital Sander

In the vast majority of woodworking projects, sanding is an important step. It is common for woodworkers to use these techniques to shape and polish wood, just as you do. However, beginning users have difficulty deciding which to use, and even experts occasionally have difficulty deciding. It’s not a heavy-duty tool but helps rearrange curves, trim hedges, and removing uneven spots. 

You can also use orbital sanders as an alternative. Depending on the process you’re going to pursue, you may even need a belt, orbital, and random orbital sanders. So, to help you choose which one to buy when you visit your favorite hardware store, here is a list of considerations:

Belt Sander

random orbital sander vs belt sander

Belt sanders consist of a motor and two rotating drums that are attached to them. With its cutter, You can remove many different types of material from wood surfaces very aggressively. 

Handheld belt sanders and benchtop belt sanders are the two main types of belt sanders. As soon as the drums start spinning, the sandpaper belt starts moving, and we can begin sanding. As their name implies, handheld belt sanders are portable versions of belt sanders that you can take from the job site when needed.

In contrast, benchtop belt sanders are designed to perform more burdensome duties, while portable models are lightweight and can be used anywhere. On the other hand, benchtop belt sanders are more significant, heavier, and more powerful than portable ones.

1. Belt Speed

Depending on the amount of power its motor has a high belt speed but you can customize its speed. Therefore, variable speed control is a must if you are looking for belt speed. Sanders with this feature are great because they lead to greater versatility in sandpaper grit selections and greater control of your sander’s power.

2. Dust Collection

The market offers almost every type of sander that comes with this feature. Usually, sanders come with dust bags, but some can also be attached to a vacuum. In the course of sanding, we produce dust and fragments. Therefore, you need a collection mechanism for this dust. Dustbags can effectively collect dirt by vacuuming, but you need to ensure that the sander you choose with vacuum connectivity works with your vacuum.

3. Motor Power

Belt sander motor power is the first thing you should consider when choosing a belt sander, whether benchtop or handheld. You should get as much motor power as possible if you spend precisely the same amount of money.

4. Durability

You should pay attention to the durability of your tool. For example, if you’re going to use a sander for several months, you don’t want to see it break down. Therefore, your tool must be designed with the ability to absorb vibration.


  • Good size
  • Sleek design
  • Excellent length
  • Made with premium quality material


  • Don’t use for a refined finish.

Orbital Sander

circular sander vs belt sander

This lightweight, portable sanding tool is versatile and can be used on materials of different types and places. As we discussed previously, belt sanders are powerful tools that are aggressive. As a rule, sheet sanders are called orbital sanders, whereas random orbitals are called random orbitals.

Therefore, if the belt sander is equivalent to an ax, then a scalpel can be comparable to an orbital sander. The final step of a project usually involves orbital sanders to polish rough surfaces and smooth out some rough spots.  Randomly, the orbits revolve in an orbital fashion that does not adhere to a design.

1. Performance:

An attached sanding pad increases the performance of these sanders. To sand and smooth the workpiece, the sanding pad spins in a circle, or orbit, fast enough. Regular orbital sanders spin their sanding pads in a consistent pattern, whereas random orbital sanders do not.

2. Smoothness:

A rotating lathe or sander only leaves swirled marks on wood or metal because of the orbiting pattern they follow. Small-scale carpentry projects usually call for orbital sanders to smooth spots that have been unevenly sanded by belt sanders or for some final finishing touches.

3. Motor Power:

It is important to remember that randomizing the oscillation requires more power and a more powerful tool, making the random version more expensive than the regular version. A random orbit sander doesn’t leave a mark, so that’s an option as well.

Oscillating sanders are available in various powers. Combining these two features will give a tool the capacity to sand harshly, just like a belt sander, and sand precisely like an orbital sander.

4. Durability:

The orbital sander is much durable and perfect for the long time use. Alternatively, a regular sander is better for corners and curves and an orbital sander for uneven surfaces. Because of this, if you cannot afford both types of orbital sanders, you should consider the jobs this tool needs to accomplish. An ideal random orbital sander has a powerful motor and a switch for controlling the speed.


  • Versatile
  • Durable
  • Perfect grip
  • Smooth finish


  • Leave swirling marks

Frequently Asked Questions

Are belt sanders better than orbitals?

It’s better to use a belt sander when working with large pieces of material and an orbital sander if you need to fit into small spaces and your project is small. Orbital sanders can be used on surfaces with complex angles, while belt sanders are best suited to flat surfaces.

What is the difference between a belt sander and an orbital sander?

Sandpaper is looped over a belt while spinning discs are used in orbital sanding machines. Sanding with an orbital sander is often the best option for surfaces with steep angles while using a belt sander will yield smoother results.

When to use a belt sander?

It is getting a surface ready for painting and for cleaning after painting. Among its applications are woodworking, plastic working, as well as metalworking. The random orbital sander produces smooth sanding with its tiny circular vibrations. From restoring headlight transparency to painting projects, random orbital sanders are helpful tools.

What are belt sanders used for?

Belt grinders or strip sanders are two common types of handheld sandpaper that helps in shaping and finishing wood. An electric motor rotates a pair of drums containing sandpaper mounted in a continuous loop.

What does a belt sander do?

The belt sander and strip sander provide a quality finish on wood in addition to other materials, such as metal. Sometimes, they’re also used to turn a pair of drums with continuous loops of sandpaper mounted on them. In general, they remove the wood finish and paint from it.

What is an orbital sander?

Sanding tools that use random orbital motion, or random orbital sanding, are hand-held power tools. In other words, the head and disk rotate at varying angles. Rupes Tools was the first company to commercialize this technology in 1968.


Finally, let us sum up this article with a few thoughts. You have learned belt sander vs orbital sander comparison completely. The first thing that deserves recognition is that both belt sander and orbital sander are excellent tools, which should be part of any workshop. The former is appropriate for some tasks, while the latter is appropriate for others.


Leave a Comment