The two pictures below tend to be referenced as belt sanders. When I search the web for "bench-top belt sander", images of bth types appear. The two tools look different enough to have distinguishing names. Friends and I have colloquially taken to calling the one "ribbon belt sander" because we don't know its additional name.

What are more specific names for these two style of bench-top belt sanders?enter image description hereenter image description here

  • I like this question cause I had the same thought looking into your other question about sanding small blocks.
    – Matt
    Feb 28, 2016 at 10:05
  • 1
    There is also a third type of sander with the belt rollers oriented vertically instead of horizontally called an edge sander.
    – Ashlar
    Feb 28, 2016 at 14:01
  • 2
    Googling 'sanders' got me pages of info on Bernie Sanders :-)
    – Ashlar
    Feb 28, 2016 at 14:01
  • @Ashlar - feel the burn.
    – NipFu
    Feb 28, 2016 at 14:50
  • Would changing the question and adding the case of the third sander mentioned by Ashlar add value to this question?
    – NipFu
    Feb 28, 2016 at 14:59

1 Answer 1


They're all called "belt sanders", but typically have some descriptive adjectives in front of them. "Hand Held" and "Stationary" are generally used to distinguish portable hand-held tools with tools that stay in one place on a workbench:

Hand Held Belt Sanders - These are belt sanders you can hold in your hand:

enter image description here (source)

Stationary Belt Sanders - These are belt sanders that remain stationary, like on a bench top (if you also said "benchtop belt sander" you'd be able to get the point across, too -- these typically seem to be combo belt + disc sanders these days, although that is not a rule):

enter image description here (source)

Then you can describe stationary belt sanders in various ways, e.g. vertical stationary belt sanders:

enter image description here (source)

The angled one you show isn't special, the angle is just... part of the specification of that tool, sort of like a 3" vs 6" belt sander. You can find ones with adjustable angles, too.

The one interesting iteration is stationary belt sanders with a vertical sanding plane but with the belt moving horizontally are often called edge sanders, e.g.:

enter image description here (source)

And there you might have oscillating edge sanders, as well, which are edge sanders that, as implied, oscillate back and forth.

But basically, edge sanders aside, they don't really have special names. They're all belt sanders. "Hand Held" vs "Stationary" is the most important categorization, but beyond that, you essentially just tack a reasonable descriptive adjective on the front.

Note that the "hand held" and "stationary" qualifiers are fairly common among many types of tools, not just belt sanders, e.g. hand held planer and stationary planer, etc.

I will not attempt to guess the difference between hand held and stationary Bernie Sanders, though.


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