Sande scooped the first award of the night, winning best British female.
Clearly ecstatic, she tweeted:
The Scottish singer - who won the Critics' Choice award last year - then followed up with the biggest award of the night, winning best British album for Our Version Of Events.
It clocked up sales of 1.39 million in the UK last year.
ITV News Correspondent Nina Nannar reports.
Many people had not heard of Ben Howard until this evening but after winning both best breakthrough act and best British male, he is the name likely to be on everyone's lips.
Howard had found little mainstream success until his inclusion on the Mercury Music Prize shortlist last year.
As he collected his first award, he said: "I'm not very good at speeches. I'm not very good at dancing."
As he accepted his award for best British male, Howard said:
Adele's Skyfall - which is the theme tune for the latest Bond film - won best British single.
The singer was not there to receive her award, but in a video she made a joke at the expense of last year's awards when her Best Album acceptance speech was cut short.
Mumford & Sons picked up the prize for best British group. It was the band's second Brit win, having collected the best album prize in 2011.
Frontman Marcus Mumford said: "Thanks very much indeed. We weren't expecting that. I don't think we've really taken the opportunity to thank people who have come to our gigs.
The full list of 2013 Brit Award winners:
- British breakthrough act - Ben Howard
- British female solo artist - Emeli Sande
- British group - Mumford & Sons
- Live act - Coldplay
- British male solo artist - Ben Howard
- British producer - Paul Epworth
- British single - Adele, Skyfall
- Special recognition award - War Child
- Global recognition award (for international sales in 2012) - One Direction
- Critics' choice - Tom Odell
- International female solo artist - Lana Del Rey
- International group - Black Keys
- Best album - Emeli Sande, Our Version Of Events