The Best Bench Sanders of 2024 - Picks from Bob Vila

By Timothy Dale | Updated Aug 25, 2023 9:59 AM

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The Best Bench Sanders of 2024 - Picks from Bob Vila

Bench sanders are designed to sand down large surfaces quickly and easily, so you can finish a woodworking project faster than you would with a handheld tool. They’re essentially a power sander with a weighted base for stability. Made to sit on a workbench, they are high-powered machines that can handle an array of materials.

The best bench sanders include additional sanding tools, like a disc sander, belt sander, and spindle sander; some may also include a grinding or sharpening tool. When searching for the right one for your workshop, consider the type of projects you work on, how much power the sander offers, and the adjustability of the sander.

From belt sanders to disc sanders, this guide describes important features to consider when shopping for the best bench sander. Read on to learn about the workings of bench sanders and why the models below are some of the best on the market.

We researched the most sought-after bench sanders in their respective categories. The best models are determined by their type, power, user-friendliness, and other special features included by top brands.

After extensive product research, we included options in our list of oscillating spindle sanders as well as bench and disc sanders made with outputs of 3.5 to 6.5 amps of power for light- to heavy-duty sanding tasks. Many of the top picks selected come with features such as miter gauges, adjustable tables for horizontal and vertical sanding, and dust collection systems or ports for added user-friendliness.

Plus, some of the top sanding machines have added safety features such as safety switches, LED lights, and adjustable eye shields to prevent any injury or misuse. For added help, we included options that have nonslip feet to prevent unwanted vibration or movement while sanding. Finally, some of these models are made to be compact and lightweight for transporting, and others are made with large, heavy constructions for professional use.

To help with the tool search, this list of some of the best bench sanders on the market is organized by type. You may find that one of the tools below is exactly what you need in the workshop to create that goal finish.

The Ryobi benchtop belt sander can get a lot of sanding done in a hurry, thanks to the wide 4-inch by 36-inch belt sander and the driving force of the powerful 4.3-amp motor. This impressive benchtop belt sander also has a 6-inch disc and an adjustable sanding table that can be set from 0 to 45 degrees for optimal material positioning. It features an adjustable belt sander that can be positioned from 0 to 90 degrees for horizontal or vertical sanding.

The integrated dust port on this benchtop sander can be connected to a collection bag or to a vacuum to quickly and efficiently remove sawdust as it’s created, keeping the work area clean and clear of obscuring debris. For angled sanding, the sanding table has a miter gauge intended to support material at user-specified angles for smooth, accurate results.

Get the Ryobi bench sander at The Home Depot or Walmart.

This Shop Fox packs a lot of versatility at a low price, thanks to its five sanding drum sizes and six sanding sleeve sizes. As a spindle sander, it’s a good pick for delicate finishing work. It has a 3.5-amp (½-HP) motor and a wide base with nonslip feet to prevent the sander from moving while in operation.

The Shop Fox sander weighs just 30 pounds, so it’s light enough to move around the workshop. It has storage slots in its base for keeping accessories organized and close at hand and a dust port for collecting debris. For additional safety, its power switch can be locked with a removable key.

Get the Shop Fox bench sander at Amazon or The Home Depot.

This Wen bench belt sander comes with two sanding tools—a 4-inch-wide belt sander and a 6-inch-diameter disc sander—so it can handle a range of projects. It weighs a portable 39 pounds, which is heavy enough to not easily wobble or slide during use. The sander has a durable, heavy-duty cast iron base. Both sanding tools have adjustable sanding angles.

The Wen belt and disc sander is powered by a 4.3-amp (1/2-HP) motor and has a simple tension release lever for changing the sandpaper. The sanding belts on this sander are designed for easy replacement as well. Its dust collection port doesn’t direct the flow of sawdust on its own but provides an available place to connect a dust collector.

Get the Wen belt and disc bench sander at Amazon or The Home Depot.

This Bucktool bench sander has a 2-inch by 42-inch belt sander that can be adjusted from 0 degrees to 90 degrees, so it can be set up to run horizontally or vertically, depending on needs. There’s also a 6-inch bench grinder that can be used for sharpening and a brush wheel for removing rust from tools.

The combination belt sander/bench grinder has a 5-amp motor and a cast-iron base for better support while working. The grinder also comes with an adjustable eyeshield and a built-in LED light, which illuminates the work area while the wheel is in use.

Get the Bucktool bench sander at Amazon.

Woodworkers in search of a highly functional benchtop belt disc sander may want to check out this tool by Jet that has a powerful 6.5-amp motor. This ¾-HP motor drives the vertical 2-inch by 42-inch belt sander at up to 3,100 SFPM (surface feet per minute) and the 8-inch disc sander at up to 3,450 RPM (revolutions per minute), helping to ensure a smooth finish on woodworking projects.

The high level of power and the heavy-duty steel and cast-iron construction adds to the weight of this benchtop belt sander, sitting at a hefty 60 pounds, so it may not be a good choice for users who want to pack it up and take it to multiple job sites. However, the 45-degree sanding table does come with a removable miter gauge to help users produce a smooth, accurate finish while sanding at an angle.

Get the Jet bench sander at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Walmart.

Those who need a bench sander for cleaning dirty or rusty tools or sharpening blades can rely on this ergonomic option from Wen. This single-speed disc sander combo has 6-inch by ¾-inch disc grinders with ½-inch arbors and a flexible work light. The best part: The grinder has a 60-grit wheel and a 36-grit wheel for sharpening metal to a fine point or removing light layers of rust.

This lightweight model is made with a 2.1-amp motor that can produce 3,450 rpm for quick and quiet use. The only downside of this model is that it does not come with a light bulb for the work light.

Get the Wen single-speed bench sander at Amazon, Lowe’s, or The Home Depot.

Wen combines portability, affordability, and functionality in this portable oscillating spindle sander. It comes with three rubber spindle sizes at ¾ inches, 1 inch, and 1½ inches. The tool can be used as either a handheld spindle sander or a benchtop spindle sander when it’s secured to a workbench with the included mounting hardware. It’s equipped with a powerful 5-amp motor and features adjustable speeds between 1,800 and 3,200 RPM and oscillation rates between 50 and 90 strokes per minute.

This spindle benchtop sander is a compact option that’s about the same size as a standard drill, making it easy to carry the sander to the workpiece or to take the piece to the sander. The 1½-inch dust collection port helps collect some of the mess and minimizes cleanup as well.

Get the Wen oscillating bench sander at Amazon, Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Walmart.

The Rockwell Belt/Disc Combo Sander can get a lot of work done fast, thanks to its wide belt sander and 4.3-amp (½-hp) motor. The Rockwell tool also has a 6-inch disc sander and an adjustable sanding table that can be set from 0 to 45 degrees for optimal material positioning. This belt sander can be adjusted from a horizontal position to a vertical sanding position.

The Rockwell has a safety switch for preventing accidental starts. For convenience, both the belt and disc sandpaper are easy to change. The Rockwell sander also comes with a dust collection system. It weighs 42 pounds, which is light enough for most to move it around or store it away.

Get the Rockwell bench sander at Amazon, Lowe’s, The Home Depot, or Acme Tools.

There is a lot to consider when searching for the right bench sander. From the space available to the type of sander, the following are some things to think about when looking for the best benchtop sander for a workshop.

One of the best features of a bench sander is that many different types of sanders fall under the category of bench sander, giving tool users a range of options for their woodworking projects. Bench sander types include belt and disc, drum, and oscillating spindle sanders.

The amount of power a bench sander needs depends on how it will be used. Large projects benefit from a sander with a powerful motor that can rip through a lot of material in a short period of time. Smaller, delicate projects need a less powerful sander, as too much force can ruin a design or tear the material apart.

Additionally, a powerful sander is harder to control, which is not ideal when working with a small piece of wood. A bench sander with a ⅓- to ¾-horsepower motor (HP)—or about 1 to 5 amps—should be sufficient for most DIY sanding projects.

The best bench sanders for woodworking can be adjusted to customize motor speed, sanding angle, and sanding surface, which gives the tool the ability to handle a wider range of projects and materials. A bench sander with speed controls lets users throttle its power output.

The sanding angle on some belt sanders can be adjusted horizontally or vertically. There are also bench sanders that can be set to use a range of sandpaper types for smoothing materials other than wood.

If the goal is to find a tool that’s easy to use, look for a sander with intuitive controls, clearly indicated measurements, and clear instructions for use. A bench sander needs to be heavy enough to remain steady as wood is pushed against it but light enough to move around as needed in the workshop. A tool in the weight range of 30 to 40 pounds is usually ideal. Even with sufficient heft, it’s helpful for a sander to have a nonslip base so that it remains stable on the workbench during use.

Make sure to choose the right kind of bench sander for the work that’s planned. If the plan is to do fine work, a bench sander with a spindle sanding tool is the best bet. If a wide range of projects are planned, a sander with a belt sanding tool, disc sanders, or a grinding wheel may be the better choice.

Bench sanders can come with several different accessories or built-in features to help make it easier to control the sander and achieve the best finish possible on projects.

Safety is important when working with a bench sander. It’s crucial to use personal protective equipment (PPE), including safety gloves, safety glasses, hearing protection, and a dust mask.

Operate the sander with a slow, deliberate pace to avoid accidental over-sanding of the material. Like any benchtop power tool, a bench sander should be operated on a flat, stable surface so it doesn’t slip, wobble, or fall over. To recap:

With so many bench sander options and features, it’s understandable to have some lingering questions. If you still aren’t sure how to choose the best bench sander, the following helpful answers to common questions about bench sanders may help.

Bench sanders may have several different sanding tools built into them, including disc, spindle, and belt sanders. Each type of sanding tool on the bench sander has a different purpose. Disc sanders are good for sanding a lot of surface area in a hurry or stripping paint from old furniture.

Belt sanders can handle rough surfaces, and you can use them to round and shape wood. Spindle sanders are designed to produce a smooth finish on detailed edges and curves, so they’re good for fine carpentry and refinishing furniture.

Belt sanding machines have a horizontal or vertical adjustable belt of sandpaper that runs through the tool like a conveyor belt. Belt sanders can trim edges, level surfaces, and shape materials.

Spindle sanders have a single vertical oscillating spindle with a piece of sandpaper wrapped around it. They’re good for shaping edges, adding curves, and doing detailed work.

Bench sanders can handle a range of tasks, from smoothing long boards to beveling the edge of a dowel. They can handle big jobs or smaller jobs that would normally be done with a rasp or hand plane. The size of materials a bench sander can handle depends on the type of sanding tools it has and the size of the sanding surface.

Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.

Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.

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The Best Bench Sanders of 2024 - Picks from Bob Vila

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