silicon-carbide abrasive belt

What is the Best Sanding / Grinding Belt for Metal

This is a complicated question, but one we're going to try to simplify for you. Pretty much any abrasive can be used for sanding or grinding metal but different metals and operations make some abrasives better than others. We're going to help you sort that out in this post.

What kind of metal are you working on?

This is the first question you need to answer. Sanding or grinding aluminum requires different materials and technique than sanding or grinding copper because the metals have unique properties.

 Abrasive Type Metal

Aluminum Oxide (AO)


Effective on all metals including aluminum, brass, chrome, stainless, bronze, copper, titanium, etc.

Silicon-Carbide (SC)


For non-ferrous metals and softer metals such as aluminum and brass.

Zirconia-Alumina (ZA)

Generally used for stainless and tough metals.

Ceramic-Alumina (CA)

Best for stainless and tough metals.

What are you doing to the metal?

Polishing requires a totally different abrasive than material removal so you have to factor this into your selection.

Operation  Abrasive Type
Stock Removal

Ceramic-Alumina for hard-to-grind metals and alloys.

Zirconia-Alumina for stainless, exotic and heat-sensitive metals.

Blending Welds

Ceramic-Alumina for hard-to-grind metals.

Zirconia-Alumina for stainless steel.

Aluminum-Oxide for most metals.






While this isn’t a technical aspect of selecting your sanding belt abrasive, it often can factor into your decision, especially where more than one abrasive fits your requirements. One thing to remember when evaluating cost is belt life. For example, Ceramic-Alumina belts tend to be more expensive than other belts but have a longer life so you don’t have to replace the sanding belts as often.

Some Final Tips

When you’re sanding or grinding metal, it’s important to keep the metal cool. We recommend using water or a sanding/grinding lube to prevent overheating the surface.

Always follow safety guidelines. Don’t sand or grind around flammable materials. Work in a well-ventilated area and always, always, always wear eye, hearing and respiratory protection.


Ceramic Belts

Aluminum-Oxide Ceramic-Alumina Silicon-Carbide Zirconia-Alumina