When it comes to smoothing metal, a good sanding belt is absolutely vital. Without one, the process is long and arduous, not to mention nearly impossible. Choosing one can be a tad difficult though, since there are so many different products and brands out there.
This article will cover a variety of different belt sanders that are available, as well as what things you as a customer need to consider when shopping for a sanding belt for metal. If you’re looking to buy, this guide is where you should start.
Our Overall #1 Rated Pick
These are premium industrial grade ceramic metal sanding belts, making them ideal for heavy duty metal sanding, weld removal, and the deburring of ferrous metal. We feel that it is one of the best options because it is a product pack, meaning it comes with various grits; the pack includes 120, 180 and 220 grit belt sanders. This is notable because it means you have many options available for many different tasks. On top of this, the ceramic grain has special properties that extend its cutting life to greater lengths, and the top coat reduces heat buildup, and the X-Flex backing is extremely durable. Finally, it’s quite affordable, to be getting three belts.
- Comes with three belts of different grits
- Ceramic belts last a long time
- Less heat buildup while grinding
- Belts drift just slightly during use
The Best Sanding Belts for Metal
If you are ready to get down to business regarding the selection of sanding belts for metal, this section is where we will go over some of the best products available online right now, from various brands and various materials.
The top best product [hide]
Excellent for sharpening knives and grinding metal
Various belts of different grits for an affordable price
Ceramic belts last longer than even zirconia
Less heat buildup while grinding
Less common 4 x 36 variant
Zirconia, resin bonded belts with great heat resistance
Ceramic lasts even longer than zirconia by a margin of 3x
Made in the USA, and very affordable
Heavy duty y-backing for longevity
Great for all types of metal
Sanding Belt for Metal: Buying Guide
Before we get into the actual products we are going to discuss, this buying guide will cover the things one should consider when shopping for a metal sanding belt in the first place. By taking these factors into consideration, you can make a more informed decision on which metal sanding belt will be most suitable for your particular needs.
What Are Sanding Belts?
Sanding belts are quite simple in design: by moving very rapidly across the surface of whatever you wish to grind, the abrasive belts wear down metal, wood, and numerous other materials. They are accelerated by the wheels and pulleys of a sanding device. Sanding belts come in many varieties, with different materials to use. Some use ceramics, and others use zirconia or aluminum oxide. They have different strengths and weaknesses, but they all achieve the same thing: they sand down the surface of whatever you are working with.
However, some are better for different materials, including metal. We’ll cover the different types of belts and which ones are best suited for metal.
What Types of Sanding Belts are Best for Metal?
There are four types of sanding belts out there: aluminum oxide, zirconia, ceramic, and silicon carbide. Most people are used to the typical zirconia sanding belts vs aluminum oxide, but each of these four options has strengths and weaknesses.
Aluminum oxide is an all-around choice that can be used for wood or metal, and it can be used with just about any type of belt sander. However, while it’s a jack of all trades, it’s also not the absolute best choice for metal. Zirconia is a better option. This material is self-sharpening, and is several times tougher than aluminum. It requires more pressure to sand effectively, but for heavy duty grinding like metal, that’s actually a given regardless.
Ceramic is self-sharpening, like zirconia. However, it is also a much cooler grinding material than zirconia, or any of the other options. This makes it the most suitable choice when you are working with very heat-sensitive materials. Ceramic is also the longest lasting material, so if you are looking for longevity, this is the way to go.
Finally, we have silicon carbide. These belts are very sharp and grind very well, but they are short-lived and wear down more quickly than the others. It’s not a good choice for metal grinding.
For metal grinding in particular, your best options are zirconia or ceramic belts, as they are self-sharpening, last a very long time, and perform well when being used for high pressure grinding.
What is the Difference Between a Belt Sander and a Belt Grinder?
Belt grinders and belt sanders both use sanding belts to grind down different substances. However, while they are both used for similar things, only one is suitable for metal. Put simply, a belt grinder is mounted on a desk, and applies more pressure to whatever is being grinded. A belt sander offers less pressure, and is generally not used for metals. In brief, you want a belt grinder if you are going to be working with metal.
This is not to say that you couldn’t use a belt sander, but it just wouldn’t be as effective as using a belt grinder. Thankfully, this information doesn’t have to be considered too heavily when shopping for sanding belts, because the vast majority of belts are useable on both belt sanders and belt grinders. That being the case, if you already have one of these tools but not the other, you can safely buy a sanding belt without fear of whether or not the belt will be compatible with the tool you currently possess.
A couple of sanding belt tricks are this video:
Sanding Belt for Metal: FAQs
Will these belts fit my tool?
Are these belts good for metal?
What grits are these belts available in?
When it comes to working with metal, zirconia and ceramic belts are the best choice. Thankfully, all of the products on this list are of those two materials. So long as you get the grit you think you need, the only other thing to consider is how many belts you are getting in one pack, as all belts of zirconia or ceramic material will function with roughly the same efficiency as one another.