Sanders come in all shapes and sizes, from belt sanders and palm sanders to random orbital sanders like the Makita bo5030, with belt sanders being used for the widest range of applications. Looking for the perfect 3×21 belt sander paper for your project? In this article, we will go over belt sander papers that will make your job go smoothly.
Learn a Bit About the Grit – Sand Paper Grit Numbers
Before we jump into the different brands you need to familiarize yourself with how the grit numbers work. The grit numbers for sanding products are a reference to the size of the abrasive particles that give the sandpaper roughness. The lower the number gets, the larger the particles are. Heavy-grit sandpaper will remove lots of material quickly but also greatly scratch the surface. Lighter grit sandpaper removes less material but leaves a much more polished surface. Below is a general guide on grit levels.
36 Grit to 100 Grit – Removing material and work with power sanders. Generally used for:
- Removing finishes from the surface like paint or varnish
- Removing rust or natural flaws in the wood
- Leveling, shaping, and shaving large areas of wood
100 Grit to 180 Grit – Works decent with both hand sanding and power sanding, and even work with the electric sander for walls. Generally used for preparation like:
- Smoothing off areas
- Removing light scratches
- Last step before applying a finish
180 Grit to 320 Grit – Works best hand sanding before applying a finish. Hand sanding is generally used for:
- Removing wood grain fibers that are sticking up
- Roughing the surface to apply another coat of finish
At the end of the day it’s important to remember that throughout the course of a typical woodworking project, you will end up working with sandpaper of varying grit because they all serve a different purpose. In the case of belt sander paper, the brand name doesn’t matter much – you just need to pay attention to utilizes the proper grit.
Buying Sanding Belts on Amazon
Amazon has a huge selection of pretty much any grit you could ever need for your belt sander. Below are the common listings you’ll find if you do a search for 3×21 belt sander paper:
- Amazon Best Selling – POWERTEC 110430 3-Inch x 21-Inch Aluminum Oxide Sanding Belt. Comes in grits ranging from 40 to 400 and will work for just about any sanding application you can think of.
- Amazon Top Rated – M-jump 3 inch x 21-inch Aluminum Oxide Sanding Belt. This listing is most likely the top rated because it’s actually a package that contains 3 belts from several grits, ranging from 60 to 400. This is a great choice if you just purchased a belt sander and need to stock up on sandpaper.
- Amazon Lowest Price – Sackorange 30 PCS 3 inch x 21-inch Sanding Belts. If you need a large number of belts so that you basically never run out, then this is the deal for you. When you purchase them in a pack of 30 like this listing, you get the cost down to almost just $1 per belt. This is a deal you won’t likely find at your local hardware store.
Reusing your old sandpaper
As well as buying your sandpaper from places such as Amazon, you can also reuse your old sandpaper. It is possible to repair, clean, and then reuse orbital sandpaper. This can then be repurposed for either hand sanding blocks or even for belt sanders after some small modifications.
Purchasing an All-in-One Kit
With smaller sanders, it’s common to see a complete kit for sale like the Makita bo5041k 5-inch random orbit sander kit. Sanding belts are much larger than orbital sanding pads so it’s not surprising to see them being sold separately.