Metabo HPT SB8v2 vs Makita 9903 Belt Sander (2020 Reviews)

The world has long revered Japanese machinery design and manufacturing. Japan’s industrial tools and processes have long been a standard for quality and efficiency for more than 50 years.

It’s for this reason we’re excited to look at two 3-inch by 12-inch belt sanders namely the Metabo HPT SB8v2 and the Makita 9903.

If you’re slight confused about Metabo, it’s not a new brand. It’s a new imprint under Hitachi since the Japanese company sold off its power tools manufacturing arm.

Makita, on the other hand, remains the same revered tools brand and is currently holds its headquarters in Anjo, Japan. The tools you see have been manufactured in different factories across the world from Brazil to China.

Now, let’s rev up those belt sanders and let’s talk about what makes each tick.

A Tale of Two Belt Sanders: Metabo HPT SB8v2 vs Makita 9903

1. Metabo HPT SB8v2

Metabo HPT Belt Sander, Variable Speed, 3-Inch x 21-Inch V-Belt, 9.0 Amp - 1020W Motor, Soft Elastomer Grip, 5-Year Warranty (SB8V2)

Many woodworkers can actually make the case that there are more powerful belt sanders in the 3″x12″ category than Metabo HPT’s SB8v2. What sets this product apart is how it is able to get sanding jobs done without emptying the buyer’s wallet.

When you work the dial to either bring it up to speed or work it down the notch, the sander pulls through by providing 820 to 1475 feet per minute sanding speed as advertised. This allows woodworkers to prep the work surface or perform finishings on a project.

Dust Collection

Metabo HPT fitted their sanding bag on the left side. This improvement makes it easy to work a project’s corners. Its dust collecting efficiency is average and comparable to sanders of the same size and make.

Powerful Motor

The Metabo HPT SB8V2 belt sander possesses a soft elastomer grip that reduces the fatigue of using a vibrating machine for hours. Its texture and hand feel also prevents the hands from sweating and potentially slipping from the hands of the woodworker.

Aside from the ergonomic grip, this Metabo HPT belt sander also reduces vibration. Metabo HPT achieved this feat by putting a ball bearing feature in the rollers. Not only will you be comfortable while operating the machine, it also allows you to turn in more efficient work.

Auto-tracking Belt System

Despite being in a mid-sized belt sander, the Metabo HPG product only weighs around 9.5 lbs – potentially vying for the lightest belt sander being sold in the market today. The light weight is a game-changer particularly for aging craftsmen who may no longer have the muscle strength to hold onto heavier tools for hours on end.

The Metabo HPG SB8V2 design move toward a lightweight frame and an ergonomic handle makes it the ideal partner for those long sanding jobs.

The machine sports a V-belt system that makes the belts last longer. This allows you to save money on belts.

When you’re working on the wood, you get to see the surface through the sander’s tracking window. It’s transparent so you get eyes on what’s happening to the wood while you’re running the sander over it.

User-Friendliness

The Metabo HPT SB8V2 belt sander possesses a soft elastomer grip that reduces the fatigue of using a vibrating machine for hours. Its texture and hand feel also prevents the hands from sweating and potentially slipping from the hands of the woodworker.

Aside from the ergonomic grip, this Metabo HPT belt sander also reduces vibration. Metabo HPT achieved this feat by putting a ball bearing feature in the rollers. Not only will you be comfortable while operating the machine, it also allows you to turn in more efficient work.

Build and Form Factor

Despite being in a mid-sized belt sander, the Metabo HPG product only weighs around 9.5 lbs – potentially vying for the lightest belt sander being sold in the market today. The light weight is a game-changer particularly for aging craftsmen who may no longer have the muscle strength to hold onto heavier tools for hours on end.

The Metabo HPG SB8V2 design move toward a lightweight frame and an ergonomic handle makes it the ideal partner for those long sanding jobs.

The machine sports a V-belt system that makes the belts last longer. This allows you to save money on belts.

When you’re working on the wood, you get to see the surface through the sander’s tracking window. It’s transparent so you get eyes on what’s happening to the wood while you’re running the sander over it.

Value for Money

Feature for feature, the Metabo HPG SB8V2 presents itself as a good solid buy. It may not have the same power in its motor as its competitors but it’s easy to be satisfied with its price to performance ratio.

Extra Features

What’s great about the Metabo HPG product is it allows you to upgrade certain parts. The speed dial, the front cover, and the handle lend themselves to replacements and upgrades easily.

Top FAQs

Q: How noisy is this belt sander?
A: We tested it and its no-load noise level is around 87 decibels.

Q: Does it come with its own case?
A: After unboxing, we found only a sanding bag and the belt sander unit itself. No box, unfortunately.

Q: I’d like to know if the cord will allow some wiggle room. How long is the cord?
A: Just about 5 feet long.

Pros

  • Powerful 9 Amp motor with variable speed of 820 to 1475 cuts down the time to finish the most challenging sanding tasks.
  • Metabo HPT designed the grip handles for comfort, hold, and durability.
  • woodworkers will be able to see sanding surface and sanding belt better thanks to a tracking window.

Cons

  • Sanding bag tends to hit your forearm if you’re right-handed.

This 3 inch by 12 inch Metabo sander is almost the perfect product. There are just one or two caveats like the belt going off track from time to time – nothing a little adjustment can’t fix. There’s also some reports of the sander giving an electric shock. Metabo HPG has to check if these are just potentially a few defective units and not the entire line.

If you’re looking for something solid at a slightly lower price point, I’d say go for the Metabo HPT SB8v2. You can say it’s cheap but it’s not a lackluster product. It will give you hours of good sanding thanks to its lightweight frame, ergonomic handle, and vibration reduction mechanism.

2. Makita 9903’s

3"X21

The Makita 9903 gets its power from an 8.8 amp motor. It’s not as powerful as other sanders in the market which draw from 10 amp to 12 amp motors. We think it trades the extra power for the extra quiet since at 85 decibels, it’s only as noisy as a car.

What’s awesome is the sander also offers a variable speed setting from 690 surface feet per minute to 1440 sfpm. You can definitely strip paint from a wall or polish balsam with this unit and slow it down if you want to be extra careful not to sand away too much.

Friendliness Dust Collection

There’s a slight issue with hose not being a perfect fit for the dust bag. You can fix this with a little duct tape or some retro-fitting on your end. Also, the hose may fit some shop vac adapters so you can try the attachments after getting an outline of the size and shape of the vent.

User-Friendliness

The Makita 9903 comes with an ergonomic grip that you can hold onto for hours. Although the quiet operation feature is something woodworkers don’t look at when choosing a sander, it’s a good thing to have nonetheless. It cuts down noise pollution and reduces ear stress while working.

You also get an automated tracking belt that reduces the worry that the belt will go off track. It’s good to have one less thing to worry about while going against the grain.

Build and Form Factor

This variable speed belt sander comes in the same boxy build that other belt sanders are encased with. Its pistol-grip design allows you to rest your hand for long periods of time even while sanding.

Powerful Speed Output

The Makita 9903 comes with an ergonomic grip that you can hold onto for hours. Although the quiet operation feature is something woodworkers don’t look at when choosing a sander, it’s a good thing to have nonetheless. It cuts down noise pollution and reduces ear stress while working.

You also get an automated tracking belt that reduces the worry that the belt will go off track. It’s good to have one less thing to worry about while going against the grain.

Value for Money

The Makita 9903 offers a reasonable buy at its price point thanks to its decent power and its cool innovative features like the quiet, silky, smooth sanding operation. It’s perfect for craftsmen who want to hear themselves think while polishing up furniture or stripping paint off a wall.

Extra Features

What’s good great about this sander is it comes with an extra-long power code – 16.4 feet. You won’t have to worry about the sander suddenly snagging if you move away beyond 10 feet. This variable speed belt sander comes in the same boxy build that other belt sanders are encased with. Its pistol-grip design allows you to rest your hand for long periods of time even while sanding.

Top FAQs

Q: Does the drive work with belts or with gears?
A: It has a drive belt.

Q: I want a tidy work surface. I’m not sure how good the dust collection is on this one.
A: About average. Some wood dust remained on the table and these had to be vacuumed.

Q: Can this be used as a stationary sander?
A: Yes, but you will have to flip it over the top, create a mount for it, and lock the trigger.

Pros

  • The Makita 9903’s 8.8 Amp motor works on a variable speed of 690 to 1440 feet per minute and can easily remove paint from wood or rust from metal.
  • This variable speed sander boasts of 84 decibels during operation which is unusually quiet for a machine of its type.
  • The 16.4 feet long power cord allows for greater freedom of movement with the sander.

Cons

  • It’s slightly more expensive than other belt sanders of its size.
  • Replacement parts are non-existent or are hard to find.

It’s a small thing but I would have loved if Makita included a carrying case for this product considering its cost. An extra like that would have told buyers they’re getting a premium product.

It’s also hard to find replacement parts for the Makita 9903 so if something breaks down, we might be out of luck. It’s possible we’ll en up buying a new Makita 9903 or waiting a while until the company sends in a replacement.

The Makita 9903 will serve your needs well especially if you want to work without noise and you want a cleaner output.

Metabo HPT SB8v2 vs Makita 9903: Which is Better?

We’ve put the Metabo HPT SB8v2 and the Makita side by side and we can say we’re having a tough time deciding which is the better belt sander.

Speed and performance-wise, the Metabo HP SB8v2 beats the Makita’s by around .2 amps. There’s not much difference there and both of these sanders do sanding jobs just fine.

In terms of build and user-friendliness, both sanders are just 9.5 lbs. This will go down the wire especially since both units are ergonomically designed. You will have to test each unit in a shop for grip and hand-feel and see which you like better.

The Metabo HPT product loses out to the Makita in terms of noise reduction by around 2 decibels but that’s still a narrow margin.

Despite the similarities of the products, the Metabo HPT SB8v2 is the clear winner because they were able to match the Makita 9903 feature for feature and still keep the SRP 35% lower than its competitor. You get to take home a solid product with money to spare for extra belts.

Final Thoughts

It’s refreshing to see power tools manufacturers embrace user-centered design in terms of their products. We didn’t expect noise reduction to be a feature but these Japanese brands pulled off something we didn’t expect to find in power tools.

We hope to find more small features like this that add new levels of comfort and usability not just in belt sanders but in other power tools in the feature.