The Importance of Sanding Tools

Sanding tools will give you a smoother finish when appropriately used, helping upgrade your job’s look and feel to professional qualities. They will help you expose your wood’s natural beauty, smoothing surfaces and removing imperfections.

Why Use Sanding Tools?

You may think you can skip sanding tools but think again! Sanding tools will help eliminate any unsightly marks on the surface, including gauges, dents, marks, and other flaws. When done right, you’ll have a consistent look to your surface that’s smooth to the touch. If you’re staining, your project will look more uniform after sanding.

Sanding tools will come in handy in all your projects, and there are plenty of tools – automated and manual – that you can use to help you get the job done. The wrong tool can make your job feel twice as long.

Power Sanding Tools

Power sanding tools will be more expensive, but you’re paying for convenience when you get one of these handy tools. Depending on the job at hand, you’ll want to choose one of the following tools.

Belt Sander

Easy to use on large, even surfaces.

Belt sanders use a rotating belt to smooth surfaces. The two rotating drums will move the belt 360 degrees as soon as you turn the power on. It’s rectangular in shape, with two handles to help you grip the top for maximum control. There are different sizes of belts and grain that you can use, depending on the type of job. The smaller the belt, the easier it is to control. More oversized belts can cover larger areas but are more complex to master.

These are an excellent sander for both professionals and DIYers. Belt sanders are great for removing finish on all wood to help you paint and stain projects with ease.

Detail Sander

For that final, essential touch.

Detail sanders are similar to orbital sanders in function, but there are apparent differences. Detail sanders are shaped like irons, so they have triangle-shaped pads. They are typically finishing sanders, used to put the final touches on a job rather than completing it from beginning to end. It is a portable, easy-to-use sander that can easily sand hard-to-reach areas. Change out the sandpaper for different finishes, bringing your detailing work to the next level.

Disc Sander

Used on smaller surfaces.

A disc sander is lightweight, portable, and simple to use, no matter the job. You can get disc sander attachments for drills or table sanders; however, the disc sander itself is a great standalone tool. They typically weigh under 5 lb (2.2 kg) and are easy to use, thanks to their grip. You feel like you have control over the sander at all times.

Drywall Sander

A highly specialized tool.

Drywall sanders are large, powerful tools that are used to finish drywall. It removed adhesives and paint with ease. It has a long handle – usually between 10 and 13 feet long (3 to 4 meters) – so you’ll be able to reach the highest corners of your wall with this tool. A great feature of drywall sanders is that they often come with dust bins, so they will collect the shavings as you go for easy cleanup.

This is a niche tool but one that will make drywalling much easier if you regularly complete this job. It weighs 10 lb (4.5 kg) or less, so you’ll be able to move it from site to site easily.

Edging Sander

This tool will let you reach every nook on your flooring evenly.

Edging sanders may look intimidating, but they will change your life once you know how to use them! They work best with floors, especially when you are going to stain them. You’ll be able to reach all the nooks and crannies with this handy tool, including corners, staircases, and more. Edging sanders stay close to the floor, so pay close attention lest you accidentally sand too far down.

Edging sanders are an easy-to-handle sander that is great to have on hand for most projects, especially flooring.

File Sander

For finer details.

Grab a file sander if you’re looking to do fine, precision detail work or sand hard-to-reach areas that your other tools couldn’t reach. They are small and thin, powered with electric or air power. While it is affordable and easy to use, you cannot do large jobs with a file sander, so proceed with caution. File Sanders may be best used to clean up areas you couldn’t otherwise reach rather than completing the entire job.

Floor Drum Sander

This tool will finish the work quicker when you are dealing with a large area.

The floor drum sander is a push sander, larger and more powerful than other sanders on the list. Getting into tight spaces, like corners and stairs, can be challenging, so be careful when choosing the right sander for your project. Drum sanders are great at removing tough stains and items from your floor, including adhesives, paint, and other substances.

Because the floor drum sander is bigger, it can be difficult to control. It’s also heavy and may require multiple people to move. If you’re a novice sander, you may want to choose a different tool for your project. A floor drum sander is best used by someone with more experience.

Orbital Sander

A versatile and useful tool.

Orbital sanders are small, handheld tools that must be connected to a power source to work. It is a very precise and powerful tool that’s easy for both beginners and seasoned professionals to use. Grip the sander in one hand, turn the power on and move in small, circular motions across the surface, smoothing out imperfections as you go.

They can also be called circular sanders or palm sanders. Orbital sanders are reasonably priced, can be wired or rechargeable, and are simple to use.

Oscillating Spindle Sander

The oscillating spindle sander is mounted, lightweight, and portable. It’s most often used to sand out the edges of wooden boards. It has interchangeable drums and plates, which will let you customize your job with ease. It is cost-effective, user-friendly, and powerful, great for any level of woodworker.

Random Orbital Sander

This version won't leave a noticeable pattern.

The random orbital sander is like that traditional one; however, it uses round pads to sand. When you sand, it doesn’t leave circles behind. Like other sanders, the random orbital sander is easy to use thanks to its handheld nature. It’s a multi-use sander that will be great for all projects while being accessible to all, thanks to its low-price point.

Table Sander

Used when the object you're sanding is small, while the tool itself remains stationary.

A table sander is a table-top tool that is great for getting jobs done quickly. It may not be as precise as other sanders, but it will be a great tool if you don’t need perfection. You can use multiple belts to get the sand you need. They’re often used for industrial use, so they can be more expensive than other sanders. Table sanders are also called bench sanders, and it’s most used for woodworking projects instead of floor sanding.

Manual Sanding Tools

If you’re not afraid to put some elbow grease into your work, here is a popular manual sanding tool to keep an eye out for.

Sanding Block

For a quick spot fix.

Sanding blocks have a grip that makes them easy it use. Simply rub back and forth across the surface you’re hoping to smooth until you get the desired texture. The sanding block is best for smaller projects because of the manual labor required to get the job done. There are different shapes, sizes, and textures. The sanding block is the most cost-effective sander on the market.

The Final Say on Sanding Tools

Sanding tools are highly versatile tools that range in size, shape, price, and use. To determine which is the right sanding tool for you, consider the type and frequency of the job. If you’re looking for one-time use, consider renting a tool rather than purchasing one to get the most out of your money.

Posted by Melissa Jackson

Melissa is passionate about all things home and garden, helping others to fashion their dream home one space at a time. An avid reader, when she’s not writing, you can find her nose deep in a book, cuddling with her two dogs.