Belt sanders are a lifesaver when it comes to polishing and smoothing out surfaces like wood, metal, plastic, and others. In this post, we will only be talking about the best 1×30 belt sanders.
The 1×30 belt sanders have thin sanding surface and generally cost less than other thick belt sanders. This is the belt sander you will need if you are just starting at knife making or working with light-duty projects.
There are a lot of things you can’t do with these belt sanders. But why should you pay more when you can do your job perfectly with these.
We reviewed 5 top-notch belt sanders with different price ranges to suit your budget.
Let’s jump in!
Best 1×30 belt sander Review
1. WEN 6515T
The WEN 6515T is the best 1×30 belt sander under $100. We first thought that the low price might make the sander less appealing. But after analyzing the features, we found this device to be very effective.
In addition to the belt sander, there is also a 5” disc sander that can help you to achieve a better finish. However, changing the disc sander is problematic as it is attached with glue.
The motor is 2.3 amps, which is not so much powerful but will get your job done. The speed of the belt sand is 3160 ft per minute, and that of the disc is 3450.
With both the belt sander and disc sander, there is an attached beveling table that will give you support. You can move these tables up to 45 degrees, and this provides a little bit of flexibility. The only issue is these tables are not sturdy enough.
The base of this sander is made from cast iron and doesn’t wobble when you work.
- Belt and disc sander combo
- Dust ports for both sanders
- Strong and stable base
- Miter gauge added to the disc sander for more precision
- Compact and easy to transport
- The beveling tables are not strong enough
- The disc sander is glued which is hard to remove
The quality and finish you get at this price from WEN is unimaginable. If you are just starting with metal works and knife making, the budget is perfect for you. But you need to consider the fact that this belt sander has a single speed setting. So, it will take some time to get hold of it.
2. EX ELECTRONIX EXPRESS Belt Sander
The Ex Electronix Express is a pretty basic belt sander that is suitable for medium to light shaping jobs. The price is damn cheap, and that’s the main reason people buy it. You don’t need heavy-duty and large belt sanders for knife sharpening.
The unit is extremely lightweight. Though this doesn’t add anything valuable to the functionality of the belt sander, transferring this is easy.
The motor is 3 amps and has a speed of 3500 rpm with a single speed setting. Judging by the price, the power is good enough.
The beveling plate near the belt could have been great if it was stable enough. It might bend if you apply pressure. Most users have made their own supporting table.
You get a belt sander of 80 grit. But you can buy other belt sanders of higher grit if you need. Just make sure that the belt is neither too tight or loose, especially for metal works.
- Super lightweight
- Extremely affordable
- Suitable for sharpening knives and light woodworking
- Beveling plate is pretty much useless and unstable
- Need to buy the specific belt length; otherwise, it will not fit
If you just wanted a device to sharpen your knives or to learn to make knives, this belt sander is perfect. It offers moderate durability and basic shaping function. The vacuum port is an excellent addition to have for metal works.
3. RIKON Power Tools 50-151 Belt Sander
This Rikon 1×30 belt sander is the best belt sander for metal works. You do have to go above $100 range to get this machine, but it will pay off big time.
It has one of the best belt disc sander combinations with separate vacuum ports. The disc sander is 5” and will help you to get more finished work. But it seems one single vacuum ports would have been better.
The Rikon belt sander has a heavy-duty base with rubber feet. And that’s the reason it doesn’t vibrate as much as other belt sanders of similar price. Initially, you won’t need any protective hearing tool. But as the machine will get older, the sound will rise.
The motor is 2.3 amps, and so you can’t really do heavy-duty jobs with it. But very useful for light and medium sanding projects.
- Strong and adjustable beveling tables on both belt and disk
- Minimal vibration and noise
- Has an on and off switch for eliminating unplugging
- Durable and robust base eliminates wobbling
- Dual vacuum port
- Disc has an adhesive back that can make it difficult to change the sandpaper
- The motor can get hot after a few hours of use
This belt sander will last long, and that’s the reason it’s wise to spend a bit more on this. If you are buying a sander for just sharpening knives, you can buy other models at a cheaper price on this list. But for versatility in working with wood and knife making, this is perfect.
4. Central Machinery Belt Sander
The Central Machinery is an average belt sander that is suitable only for sharpening knives. You can also use it to learn knife making to some extent.
The USP of this device is the price. This is the cheapest belt sander we have on this list. So, don’t keep very high expectations from it.
The motor power is low, but it still gives you a 3400 RPM. This is suitable for light-duty sanding projects.
We loved the adjustable belt tracking system on this device. The base is made from aluminum and has rubber feet. The vibration is quite lower than expected.
There is a beveling table, and it can tilt up to 45 degrees.
- Cheap and extremely affordable
- Adjustable belt tracking system
- Rubber feet help to minimize vibration
- Adjustable beveling table included
- Not suitable for woodworking and heavy-duty sanding jobs
Judging by the price and functions, this device seems like it’s made for home usage for hobbyists. You can’t expect any professional-grade performance from this belt sander. But if sharpening knives and sanding light materials are your main focus, it’s useless to spend anything more than the price of this machine.
5. Rikon Belt sander with 6″ disc
If you really have the budget, this sander from Rikon is the best 1×30 belt sander for starting knife makers.
The additional 6” disc sander will give you better finishing on materials. It also has a miter gauge for more precision sanding.
The motor is moderately powerful with 4 amps. But the best part about this belt sander which will make your money worth is the variable speed setting with dial-in speed control. For newbies, it’s absolutely necessary to have this feature. You can change the speed from 2000 rpm to 3400 rpm. This will give you more control and flexibility.
The beveling table is included with both the belt and disc sander. You can tilt them in various angles to achieve a quality finish.
Last but not least, there are vacuum ports that will keep your surroundings clean.
- Tracking knobs enables to adjust the belt easily
- Powerful motor with variable speed setting
- Miter gauge on the disc sander for precision
- Durable base
- The motor doesn’t get hot too much
- The beveling tables doesn’t lock down as securely as you might expect
- The disc sandpaper is attached with adhesive. So, it’s tough to change it.
If you can spend close to $200 for a belt sander, this is the one you should buy. It will cover most of your light-duty works from knife making to wood repair works. The extra price you pay is for the adjustable speed setting and higher power of the motor. If both these function doesn’t mean a lot to you, the other Rikon 1×30 belt sander should be just fine.
What is a belt sander?
A belt sander is a professional grade power tool that provides shaping and finishing for wooden, metal, and other surfaces.
It works similar to a treadmill except for the fact that here sandpaper rotates.
The device consists of a powerful motor, a pair of drums and sandpaper. The sandpaper moves around the drum in a continuous loop with the help of the motor.
You can put the materials to the face of the sandpaper and see the magic happen.
Why do you need a 1×30 belt sander?
The 1×30 belt sander has a very thin sandpaper belt. While wider belts will give you more versatility, the 1×30 costs less and helps in sharpening and making metal tools with more precision. If you have the budget, you can simply get something larger, but that will be a waste of money.
1×30 Belt sander buying guide
Handheld vs. stationary belt sanders
When you are going to buy a 1×30 belt sander, you will almost always find them in stationary forms.
Stationary belt sanders are the best suited for the job you wanted to buy a 1×30 belt sanders. These belt sanders remain fixed on a surface and are generally a lot heavier than other sanders.
If you want to sharpen knives or do finishing job for a small piece of wood, it’s best to use a stationary belt sander.
On the other hand, handheld belt sanders require you to do the opposite. These sanders are more lightweight and suitable for doing heavy-duty jobs on materials that you cannot carry.
Size of the sander
As we are reviewing 1×30 belt sanders, we haven’t included other sizes of belt sanders in this list. But it’s important to know the difference.
You can get larger sizes of this device like 2×72 or 3×72, and it will work for metals and knives. But why do you want to spend more for a device that will give you no added value?
The 1×30 sanders are the cheapest and will get your job done.
If you have just started in knife making, this is the size you should go after. But if you work with multiple types of tools and larger materials, you should consider buying something larger.
The frame of the belt sander is crucial. These devices are expensive and want it to last longer than usual devices.
While buying belt sanders look for the one that has a strong and durable frame. The frame should be able to hold it’s shape and functionality over the years.
Usually, top quality belt sander brands will provide you with robust frames.
Whenever we see something that has a motor on it, we tend to buy the one that has the most powerful motor.
The power of a 1×30 belt sander is not the best way to measure its full potential. If you buy a belt sander with a superpower motor, you will be wasting your hard-earned money.
A 4-6 ampere motor will be enough to get your job done. Look for features like durability, how long it can run, and the sound of the motor.
You only need a motor in the range of 10 amperes when you have heavy-duty wooden materials to work on.
Single-speed vs. variable speed
Single-speed belt sanders have been in the market for a long time. This limits to work in only one speed. If you are experienced enough, you can buy a single-speed belt, and it will save you some money.
If you are new to this and need a bit more versatility, a variable speed model should suit you best.
For newbies, it’s tough to know how much pressure and contact you need to have with the sandpaper. The variable setting will solve this issue.
Ease of changing the belt
Changing the belt is a straightforward activity while working with belt sanders. So, you need a machine that allows you to change the belt in the least amount of time and with minimal effort.
Working with belt sanders involves lots of dust accumulation. So, choose a model that has some kind of dust collection mechanism to keep the work neat and clean. Some belt sanders might have shop vac ports, and others will have additional features.
Track centering system
In faulty belt sanders, it’s a common issue that the belt moves from its position. This is very annoying and will hinder your work, especially if you are doing something that requires precision.
Look for belt sanders that have a track centering system to keep the belt in place.
Belt sander safety tips for newbies
Accidents happen quite frequently in woodworking and metalworking jobs. If you can do it safely, why take the risk? Here are 3 safety tips that might be helpful to you:
#1 – Dust musk is a priority: Metal and wood dust are the worst for your health. In fact, long term exposure to metal dust can cause chronic respiratory issues. If you are looking to work professionally in this field, you need to wear a dust mask. You can’t fully rely on the dust disposal system.
#2 – Unplug the device before you do any maintenance work: Maintenance work involves changing the belts and emptying the dust bag. But many handymen forget to unplug the machine and cause serious accidents.
#3 – Keep the sander clean for metal works: Working with metals and knives can create sparks. But that is not the issue. If you don’t clean the sander often, the sparks can ignite the metal dust and start a fire. So, vacuum the sander every now and then if possible.
Belt sander FAQ
Can I use 1×30 belt sanders for woodworks?
Depends on the size and position of the wooden material. If you want to apply sanding on a hardwood floor, a 1×30 belt sander will not work, and you also need a handheld version.
You can easily work with wooden materials that are small in size, and you can carry it to the sanding belt easily.
How to change the sandpaper on the belt?
Changing the sandpaper on the belt sander is quite easy. If you follow these 5 steps, it will work for most belt sanders:
Step 1 – Find the belt tension lever. If you pull it back, the belt will lose the tension, and you can get rid of the old sandpaper
Step 2 – Next get the new sandpaper on the belt. There should be some sort of arrows, and you have to follow that direction to place the sandpaper.
Step 3 – Align the sandpaper with the wheels and make sure that it fits properly
Step 4 – Use the lever again and re-tension the belt.
How to use a 1X30 belt sander to sharpen or make knives?
Using a 1×30 belt sander to sharpen a knife is pretty easy. Here’s a video demonstrating that.
If you want to make a knife professionally or have a passion for the work, you can watch this video to see how the 1×30 belt sander works.