November 15, 2021 3 min read

How To Measure A Sanding Belt

Quick Summary

If you don’t know the correct belt dimensions for your belt sander, there are four quick and easy methods you can use to determine the correct belt size. Those four methods are the double measurement method, the cut and measure method, the string method, and the rotation method.

Jump To A Specific Method: 

Belt sanders are highly versatile tools that make woodworking and metalworking easier and more efficient. They come in a range of types that include:

  • Belt File Sanders:Belt file sanders are handheld machines that use smaller, narrow, sanding belts. These machines are ideal for working in tight areas or removing welds from corners.
  • Floor Sanders: Floor belt sanders are manually operated to sand wood floors. 
  • Tube Belt Sanders:Tube belt sanders consist of a pulley system that contours the sanding belt around tube-shaped surfaces. 
  • Hand-Powered Belt Sanders: Portable belt sanders are great for smoothing and finishing small pieces and large surfaces, like decks and floors.
  • Stationary Belt Sanders: Stationary belt sanders can be bench-mounted, pedestal-mounted, or even mounted on a stand.  

Regardless of which machine you use, applying the right sanding belt is essential for performance.

Sometimes this requirement causes issues, especially if you’re using someone else’s sander or it has been a while since you had to change belts. If you don’t know what size belt you need, how do you perform an accurate measurement?

Start by trying to locate the product manual, which should indicate the correct belt size. If you no longer have a hard copy, most manuals can be found on the manufacturer’s website. Should you be unsuccessful, the team at Red Label Abrasives has some practical tips for accurately measuring a sanding belt, so that you know what size you need moving forward.

Method 1: Double Measurement Method

If your belt is smaller, press it down flat on a hard surface and measure it from end to end using a tape measure or string. Double the length and you’ll have a good idea of the belt size you require.

Method 2: Cut and Measure

If you have an older belt, cut it so that it turns into one long strip, then lay it flat and measure the total length. This technique works with belts of all sizes.

Method 3: The String Method

Take a piece of string and wrap it around the sander in the same way that you would apply the sanding belt. Cut the string where it meets and then measure the length to get the belt size.

Method 4: Rotation Method

Using a pen or marker, make a small mark on the inside of the belt. Then make a corresponding mark on the floor or a flat surface like a counter or benchtop. Slowly move the belt through a full rotation until the mark on the belt once again touches the surface, and then mark the touch point. You will get the belt length by measuring between the two marks.

Stock Up On Affordable Premium Quality Sanding Belts

Once you have the right sanding belt size, the next step is to find a reputable supplier of premium quality abrasives. At Red Label Abrasives, we manufacture and sell sanding belts of all sizes and in an equally diverse range of grits, so no matter what your application, we can match you with a product that gets the results you want. To learn more about our abrasives or place an order, please call 844-824-1956 or fill out our contact form.