8 Different Types of Sanders And Their Uses

Different Types of Sanders

Sanders will get you that smooth, professional finish that you need when working on a wood project. When working with wood, you will need to use a sander at one point. However, if you have paid a visit to the local hardware store, then you know that there are different types of sanders.

Getting the right sander for your project can, therefore, be a colossal nightmare. Often, people are left confused once they realize that sanders come in all different shapes and sizes. In this article, we will take a comprehensive look at some of the most common types of sanders and their uses.

Different Types of Sanders and Their Uses

1. Belt Sander

The most common sander in the market is the belt sander. All modern workshops seem to have one or two lying around. It gets the name from the sanding belt that is placed around two drums. Understand that only the back drum is powered. The front drum spins freely once the back drum starts rotating, thanks to the integrated electric motor.

Understand that there are different versions of the belt sander. The benchtop version is the most common variation of the belt sander in the market. Only get the benchtop version when you plan on dealing with small projects.

The belt sander is primarily used for smoothing and flattening wood surfaces. When you need to level table tops, then this is the right device for the job. Note that the belt sander is also quite useful for scribing.

2. Disc Sander

The disc sander features a disc-shaped sanding pad, thus the name. Note that you can either get the benchtop disc sander or portable disc sander. We need to take a more in-depth look at each of the above types to get a clearer picture.

The portable disc sander is quite rare and works in the same manner as the angle grinder. The only significant difference is that the disc rotates in a perpendicular motion. The portable disc sander is excellent for flattening and smoothing wood surfaces.

The benchtop disc sander is commonly made of either aluminum or steel. It usually has a disc with a diameter of between 4 to 12 inches making it quite versatile. The integrated adjustable work table acts as the supporting unit for the entire equipment. It is a great tool when you need to sand a piece of wood quickly and effectively.

3. Orbital Sander

Also known as a circular sander, the orbital sander features a lightweight design. You get to control this piece of equipment with one hand, making it relatively easy to control. It has a square or rectangular sanding pad that moves in orbits or circular paths.

The orbital sander is excellent for finishing large surfaces since it saves a lot of time. However, to get better results, ensure that you pre-sand the surfaces using a belt sander.

4. Random Orbital Sander

The random orbital sander is often confused with the orbital sander since they both work similarly. The big difference, however, is that the sanding pad spins while moving in an orbital pattern. You, therefore, get a random movement when using this type of sander.

When you need to finish a woodworking project without swirl marks, then you need the random orbital sander. It contains a powerful motor that gives you a quick finish when working with large surfaces.

5. Palm Sander

The Palm sander brings a lot of convenience since you get to hold it in your hand comfortably. The paper that you need for this device is fine and smooth. Most people, therefore, refer to the palm sander as the finish sander due to this fact.

The square sanding pads make it great when working on corners. When compared to other different types of sanders, it is quiet and easy to use. However, note that the palm sander is suitable for the final finishes. Use the palm sander when you need to highlight the final details on your project.

6. Drum Sander

The drum sander has two distinct types – the benchtop and flooring drum sander. Now the benchtop drum sander features a large rotating drum making it perfect for reducing the thickness of wood boards. The flooring drum sander, on the other hand, is quite bulky and powerful.

The drum sanders are quite effective and fast when dealing with large projects. They are quite versatile, thus making them an excellent choice for large workshops. However, note that they are quite expensive and you will have to spend a fortune.

7. Detail Sander

The detail sander looks more like an iron than a sander. It is closely related to the orbital sander due to its triangular-shaped pad. With this device, you will need to use special self-adhesive sandpaper to get the best results.

Depending on the manufacturer, you might get an assortment of attachments to help you complete the different tasks. The shape of this device makes it quite simple to get to those hard-to-reach areas and crevices.

The detail sander is an excellent choice when you need to smooth narrow and tight spots. It features an easy to control and compact design that makes it perfect for beginners. Note that this device is rather noisy.

8. Drywall Sander

The drywall sander is a disc sander that is attached to a long pole. Now, most people get fascinated by the design of the drywall sander. Most designs include a vacuum to help collect all the dust particles that fall off during the project.

It features long handles that ensure the users get to the hard-to-reach areas such as the ceiling and high walls. With this device, you might not need the use of s stepping block or ladder. Although you could use a regular belt sander, the drywall sander gets the job done quickly and effectively.

The drywall sander is an excellent choice when you need to smooth the surfaces of drywall. You also get to remove any adhesives that are stuck onto your drywall. However, note that you may need to use a finishing sander to get than smooth, professional finish.


Now that you understand the different types of sanders and their uses, you will have no problems purchasing one. Note that the type of sander you buy will depend on the kind of job that you plan on doing. Finding the best type of sander for you ensures that you get the job done quickly and effectively.

Finally, ensure that you buy a high-quality product that will get you long-lasting service. Understand that sanders are an investment that offers a lot of versatility. Look at customer reviews to help you get a high-quality product with increased functionality.

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