Makita 9903 vs 9403 vs 9404 Belt Sander (Full Comparison 2020)

You should be aware that having your own belt sander is definitely necessary especially if you’ve already worked with wood surfaces.

You see, belt sanders are powerful equipment that uses the movement of fine-grit belts, thus aiding to shape and evenly finish most types of woodworking tasks.

For the most part, belt sanders are very versatile tools and thus can save you a lot of time and money.

On the flip side, they are still not really considered an essential tool in many household owners out there. However, all do-it-yourself enthusiasts, carpenters, and professionals out there should acquire one.

Regardless if you are a hobbyist or do-it-yourself enthusiasts, you don’t pick a belt sander easily because there are certain factors you must consider before even paying the price for it.

And in this article, we will share with you those factors, tips, and even the top belt sanders you can get for your hard-earned bucks.

So, without further ado, let’s get this started!

Quick Summary

The Makita 9903 is in our number one spot since it is a nice addition to many DIY-enthusiasts arsenals. It is a premium-quality belt sander that offers impressive performance as well as longevity.

On the other hand, the Makita 9403 features a powerful 11 Amp motor that can give enough power output to do the work even on the most difficult material to polish.

Makita 9403 is perfect for both softwood and hardwood. Also, its motor can produce enough power to turn the large four-inch wide belt relatively effortlessly.

Lastly, the Makita 9404 comes with an amazing feature. It is called Auto-tracking Belt System that easily tracks the belt without the need for any adjustment.

Moreover, this unit is incorporated with a front grip for convenient operation. It also comes with a long power cord for extra maneuverability.

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Who Should Get This?

For the most part, these tools can round, shape, and remove edges in order to provide your misshaped wood surfaces a seamless finish. Moreover, belt sanders are amazing tools if you’re looking to sand big and flat wood surfaces efficiently.

Even though their primary purpose is to sand wood surfaces, users can also utilize it for certain grinding tasks which include sharpening metal tools. Overall, if you’re looking to remove large amounts of stock from wood surfaces, then this tool is absolutely for you.

However, if you’re not that talented at using a belt sander, then you might have some difficulty. So make sure you read some guides, especially tutorial videos.

For sure, with some training, you’ll be able to save a lot of time and effort by mastering this beneficial tool. 

What to Consider?

So, what are the factors we should consider before even paying for a belt sander? Well, let’s check them out!

Belt Speed

Lower end units don’t come with variable speed control. However, this factor is actually one of the most crucial features to have for belt sanders.

You see, variable speed control enables users to operate with a wider range of belt grits and provides enhanced control over the sanding process.

Belt Grit

You should know that when a sanding belt and a wood surface meet, it generates friction. And thus, if the tool’s motor can’t surpass this particular friction, it could cause the tool’s belt to skip, slip, or even stall.

On the flip side, if the tool’s motor is quite powerful, it might deteriorate the belt fast. So, what you want to get is acquire a belt sander that operates with 80grit and 120grit, or sometimes it would be better if you just get 220grit.


Having a belt sander that is incorporated with strong materials all over its parts is very important.  

In particular, you should check the tool’s tracking knob, platen, drive wheel, and idler wheel if they are durable enough. If you want to get some benchtop belt sanders, then get one with a solid base that can neutralize vibrations.

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Motor is every equipment heart. Handheld belt sanders are incorporated with a motor that can provide between 6amps to 10 amps.

On the other hand, benchtop motors come with fractional horsepower motors. The takeaway here is acquiring a higher motor power at the same price is always a smart decision.

Dust Collection

Well, it’s obvious that sanding will give you a whole ton of dust. That’s why trying to get a sander that is incorporated with a port for a shop vacuum or even a dust bag will do the trick.

If you opt for the port, make sure to check the size and shape so you know whether it is compatible with your shop vacuum.

Makita 9903 vs. Makita 9403 vs. 9404 Belt Sander


A Must Have Tool

We put this particular belt sander in the number one spot because it makes a nice addition to the arsenal of many do-it-yourself enthusiasts out there, seeking for a premium-quality belt sander that comes with an impressive performance as well as great longevity.

Amazing Durability

As for contractors out there, they will surely love Makita 9903’s solid durability, especially of its high-powered 8.8 amp motor. Not to mention that it offers efficient sanding.

This belt sander can keep its speed, even under load. Meanwhile, its electric speed control dial allows you to fine-tune the sanding action that is necessary to your current task.

Low Sound Output

Furthermore, you don’t have to wear any kind of ear safety equipment just to use this unit because it only produces 85 decibels of sound output, so it won’t really harm your hearing.

All in all, the Makita 9903 comes with the power you require for any type of sanding project. It also maintains a user-friendly experience that provides you with impressive control over the machine during the task.

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What We Like:

  • It is double insulated
  • This sand belt can even remove paint and rust
  • Has long 16.4 feet power cord for convenient maneuverability
  • Incorporated with a dust bag for neater work output
  • Variable speed belt sander with powerful 8.8 amp motor

What We Don’t Like:

  • Its dust outlet doesn’t seem to fit a standard hose
  • It doesn’t come with a plastic tool storage box

2. Makita 9403 Belt Sander

Motor Power

This unit comes with a powerful 11 Amp motor that can provide enough power output to sand even the most difficult material to sand.

The Makita 9403 is capable of sanding both hardwood and softwood with equal comfort to the user. Its motor generates sufficient power output to turn the large four-inch wide belt easily.

Speed Output

Even though it possesses a great amount of power output, it doesn’t really feature amazing versatility. One main reason is that it doesn’t feature a variable speed control.

In fact, it is only restricted to a one-on-load speed option – which is around 1640 feet per minute.

Dust Collection

This unit is quite generous as it provides you an effortless time to gather dust since it already features a readily fixed dust collection system.

The dust collection is smartly implemented at the right top side in order to make it easy for you to control the tool when sanding the corners of a wood.

What We Like:

  • Features innovative design for sanding flush to the wall with nose and side of sander
  • Its large front grip is strategically placed for operator comfort
  • Comes with labyrinth construction that safeguards bearings and motor from contamination
  • Quietest belt sander in its category of only around 84 decibel
  • Its dust bag swivels 360 degree for extra convenience

What We Don’t Like:

  • The metal flap is not flat at all
  • It’s quite hard to work on vertical surfaces or underneath surfaces

3. Makita, 9404 Belt Sander

Combined Speed and Power

This belt sander amalgamates speed and power along with awesome features as well as minimal noise for efficient and quick stock removal. It is perfect for contractors, deck builders, floor installers, furniture crafters, carpenters, and of course woodwork out there who need the best-in-class tool.

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Powerful Motor

This particular unit comes with a powerful 8.8 Amp motor incorporated with electronic speed control to keep constant speed even if it is under load. Its variable speed control, on the other hand enables the user to match the speed to the current task.

Auto-tracking Belt System

When it comes to amazing features, it is incorporated with an auto-tracking belt system that effortlessly tracks the belt without any kind of adjustment.

It is also integrated with a front grip for easy operation. Makita 9404’s low-profile design gives a better overall balance. Also, with its 16.4-foot power cord, users can easily maneuver the tool.

Great Versatility

Overall, it is perfect for woodworking and cabinetry projects. It is also suitable for making closets, furniture, panels, and a whole lot more. This particular belt sander is simply a good example of Makita’s commitment to innovative technology.

What We Like:

  • Smooth, quiet, and tracks perfectly
  • Not too hefty, but not plastic cheapness either
  • Unique design enables flush sanding to the corner of the wall with the nose and side of the sander
  • Its dust collection system is impressive if connected to a shop vacuum
  • Auto-tracking belt system tracks belt without adjustment

What We Don’t Like: 

  • Its power output is not enough for bigger jobs
  • The white plastic slide that locks the bottom of the dust bag doesn’t hold tight

Useful Tips

Wearing a Dust Mask

Always wear a dust mask because it’s not good for your health. For the most part, belt sanders can generate a whole ton of dust, that’s why having a dust mask is very helpful.

Cleaning the Tool

Belt sanders are not only for wood but can also be used on metals. However, you should completely clean first your belt sander if you want to work on metal especially if you just worked on a wood surface. You don’t want to start a fire as working on metal creates a spark, right?

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Don’t Forget to Unplug

Obviously, you would want to unplug the tool first if you want to empty the cloth dust or if you want to change the belts. This advice is pretty standard for most corded tools out there. Primarily, it is for safety precautions.

Closing Words

When it comes to many types of sanders, belt sanders are famous for being the most steadfast among them all. Aside from being a versatile tool, belt sanders are also easy to use unlike many versions of sanders out there.

Picking the best sander needs you to consider crucial factors which include ease of use, weight, size, speed settings, and power. If you consider such factors, then for sure, you’ll get the best bang for your buck.

Now, if you don’t have the time to think about these factors, then just simply pick from the top 3 belt sanders we featured above. All of them are the best units you’ll find in the market today.

And that sums it up. If this review is helpful, kindly leave any feedback in the comment section below. Thank you and see you in another review!

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