Belt Sander Vs Planer: Differences & Which is Better [2022 Guide]

Belt sander and planer are commonly used woodworking tools for a wide range of projects. One tool is good for shaping and finishing, while the other is efficient for removing staff and flirting surfaces.

Although there are no differences between the works, both complete the project following different techniques. This means they are different and have distinctive pros and cons.

Let’s get into the job and find out the differences between belt sander vs planer.

belt sander vs planer

Planer Vs. Belt Sander Comparison Chart:

Read the comparison chart carefully. You will quickly understand the difference between the planer and belt sander.

Comparison Features Belt Sander Planer
Versatility Low High
Cutting Edge Capable of rounding the edge Yes
Operating Effortless Challenging
Adjustable depth Unnecessary Necessary
Noise Level Low High
Workspace Requires little space Requires large space
Accuracy Less More
Power Consumption Less More
Cost Inexpensive Expensive
Safety Low High

What is a Belt Sander? Basic Discussion:

Using belt sander

A belt sander is considered one of the useful tools in the woodworking industry. This tool is commonly used to remove imperfections from drywall, especially from wood.

It is designed with a 1 HP – 5 HP motor that powers a loop of mounted sandpaper. The tool rotates at a very high speed and removes uneven materials from the surface.

Belt sanders come with a lot of power under the hood and are easy to use once you are familiar. However, you need to be careful when working with it because it can remove too many materials if you are inattentive. As a result, you will have to spend a lot of time to get a perfect finish.


  • Fast and efficient
  • The tool doesn’t require a large workspace
  • Suitable for large space
  • The sanding belt changing process is easy
  • You don’t need to be a skilled worker to operate it
  • Smoothens rough surface easily


  • Only best choice for flat surfaces

What is a Planer? Basic Discussion:

Using planer

If you need to level a surface, grab a planer and start working. A planer removes wood slivers every pass and leaves a uniform finish. When it comes to finishing a wood, a plane is more effective than a belt sander.

A planer is a reciprocating machine that performs following a relative linear motion between the object and the single-point cutting tool. Planers can be electric and handheld. Electric planers are equipped with 2 HP – 10 HP motor.


  • Leaves smooth and even finish
  • Cost-efficient
  • Straight and uniform
  • Impressive efficiency for surface planning
  • Low maintenance tool
  • Planer blade is easy to change


  • Skill is necessary to work with it

Belt Sander Vs Planer – Differences & In-depth Discussion:

The in-depth discussion of the differences between wide belt sander and planer will help you decide precisely.

1. Blade:

The prime difference between a hand planer vs belt sander is the blade. A belt sander uses sandpaper of different grit based on the project. The sandpaper enables the tool to remove paint from different surfaces or smooth any corners.

On the other hand, both electric and handheld planers are equipped with a blade of steel, metal, carbide or other rigid materials. The blade cuts the extra wood from the surface or furniture to make the surface smooth. Generally, electric planers cut rough woods easily for their impressive power.

2. Usability:

Planer is the best choice for flattening an uneven wood surface. With little practice, you can easily remove any excess wood from furniture or other wood surfaces. The planer’s blade is so sharp that it removes a lot of wood at every pass. A planer lets a user work with large or long wood pieces efficiently.

A belt sander is suitable for removing paint from wooden surfaces or auto bodywork. Even if a metal surface requires removing rust or corrosion, a belt sander offers the best performance. Belt sanders are suitable for smoothing rough surfaces and shaping or carving wood pieces.

3. Cutting Stability:

In terms of cutting stability, both perform quite inefficiently. However, a large handheld planer is much more stable than a belt sander.
The reason is that large wood planers are equipped with rollers to hold the wood precisely. The roller pulls the wood piece to the blade to make the task easy.

While, with belt sanders, you have to use your hands to feed the material to the sander.

4. Cutting Technique:

Adjusting the depth, like how much you want to level the wood, is impossible when working with a belt sander. Manual measurement is necessary, and you have to be careful when sanding to avoid over sanding the surface. Moreover, a belt sander is eligible for sanding the wood piece’s top surface.
Meanwhile, the planer comes with a depth guide, especially large planers. All you need to do is, select the depth level and cut wood to the specific level.

5. Mess:

A belt sander creates lots of sawdust. For this reason, wearing a face mask is mandatory when working with a belt sander. However, a few models are available, consisting of a dust collecting system that collects dust efficiently, keeping the work environment clean.
On the other side, a planer removes wood chips with its sharp blade, creating less mess than a belt sander.

6. Ease of Use:

You can effortlessly work with a belt sander. You don’t have to be a professional or skilled worker to get the job done.
But with a planer, little skill or experience is required. You can’t remove straps or chips of wood with the first pass if you are a novice. With little practice, working with a handheld planer becomes easier. However, electric planers are easy to work with, and skill is not mandatory.

7. Electric / Hand Planer Vs Belt Sander – Which One to Choose?

Based on their functionality, both belt sander and planer are efficient tools.
Choose a planer,

  • If you have a straight and flat wood surface and require a uniform, smooth finish
    Choose a belt sander,
  • If you need to smooth a rough surface, remove paint or rust from auto body

Frequently Asked Question:

Question: When would you use a planer?

Answer: Planer is good for correct dimensions and smooth rough wood surfaces. They offer the best result when the project requires,

  • Chamfering a board corner
  • Shaving a sticking wooden door edge
  • Straightening twisted or warped wood surface

Question: When would you use a belt sander?

Answer: Belt sanders are a multi-purpose tool. They are ideal for the below works,

  • Sanding rough surfaces
  • Removing paint and rust from auto body
  • Surface leveling
  • Trimming a scribed line

Question: Can you use belt sander as planer to plane a door?

Answer: A belt sander is the best tool to plane a door. The coarse texture of the sandpaper removes wood quickly and delivers an even finish.
Will a belt sander flatten aboard?

Yes, a belt sander can flatten aboard, but the board shouldn’t be larger. For larger boards, a planer is the best tool.

Question: Does a planer sand wood?

Answer: You can even out a wood piece with the exact thickness everywhere quite easily. A planer removes chips or strips of wood with its sharp blade, eliminating uneven, rough spots.

Question: Does a planer make wood smooth?

Answer: Yes, a planer is good at making wood smooth. The blade of a planer is so sharp that it takes out uneven wood and offers a smooth wood surface.

Question: How effective is a belt sander?

Answer: Belt sanders are engineered with a powerful motor and coarse sandpaper to remove wood from rough surfaces easily. Their sanding action is linear, which makes sanding easier. Finally, you will get a good-looking outcome.

Question: Planing vs sanding deck boards: which is better?

Answer: Although both planer and sander are used to even out the wood surface, they have different usability and can’t be used for the same types of jobs. More importantly, a planer can’t be an alternative to a sander. Use planer for smoothing the wood surface to the exact thickness in every area. In comparison, a sander is best for making the rough and uneven wood surface smooth. Also, you can use them for rust and paint removal tasks.

Final Words:

Planer and sander are 2 different tools commonly used in the woodworking industry for finishing wood pieces. But their functionality and working area are not the same.

By reading this guide on belt sander vs planer, hopefully, now you know which tool is best for what purposes.

Which tool to choose entirely depends on the task that you have. Now, you can easily make a precise decision between these 2 tools. Both tools are efficient for different tasks, and having them in your toolbox will surely be beneficial in the long run.

Last Updated on May 4, 2022 by Rogers Weber

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