How to Choose between an Orbital Sander vs Palm Sander

Orbital Sander vs Palm Sander

At the end of every woodworking project, there is always one final task that most men dread. That task is known as sanding. This is the process that you do in order to make sure that your final project has a nice and smooth wooden surface. It is absolutely essential that it is done correctly.

The only way to make sure that it is done correctly is to use the right types of tools. When it comes to standing there are two types of Sanders that are more common than others. Let’s go ahead and take a closer look at these two types of Sanders.

Which Type of Sander Is Best for You 

The two most common types of Sanders that you will run into are the orbital sander and the sheet Sander or otherwise known as Palm Sander. The factors that separate these two types of Sanders include the amount of material they can remove, the overall size of the product, the design of vent as well as the movement you will use with it.

The palm sander is typically going to be smaller and hasn’t an overall simpler design. The orbital sander is going to be a little bit larger and can have different types of shapes.

Orbital Sander

 The most common form that you will find an orbital sander would be the random orbital sander. This one has a round face. The base rotates and moves in a backward and forwards motion. The ultimate result of this type of motion is a randomized pattern. The effect of this on your final product is there will be fewer circular patterns in the wood grain that were created during the sanding process.

The other most common type of Sander is going to be the sheet Sander or otherwise known as the palm Sander.

Palm Sander 

This type of Sander is going to have a rectangular head. They will most commonly use a cut sheet as they are sanding material and will use around one-quarter of a standard sheet at a time. They will move in an orbital motion. They are a little easier to handle but they can leave circular sanding patterns in the final product.

Comparing the Two Head-To-Head 

The palm sander is always good to be the right tool for the final part of the job. This is perfect for when you are finishing up a repair job on a piece of furniture that was already a finished work. They are great for working with delicate edges because of their compact design.

The random orbital sander is going to be a much better option whenever you are dealing with large surfaces that have not already been finished. They will not leave the characteristic circular sanding marks that many other types of Sanders will leave.

The Best Sanders on the Market Today 

The random orbital sander will be the absolute best choice if you are working on a broad or large piece of wood that also has many flat surfaces. It is another great option if you are working on stripping paint or varnish from pre-existing work.

Because they are so versatile and they lack the circular sanding marks that many other types of Sanders will leave these are one of the best options that you can find on today’s power sander market. 

Although it is impossible to say exactly which type of Sander is going to be the best for every single job. Perhaps the most prudent choice would be to get a solid model for each type of Sander so that when you are well prepared for every single scenario your next woodworking project to throw you.


at the end of the day, the best sander for you is going to come down to personal choice and circumstance. As you gain experience in woodworking you will develop an intuitive sense for which type of Sander will be the best fit for the current situation. For now, you should know that there is a tool for every type of scenario you could run into. The best path if you can afford it is to get one from each type.

This way you have the tools ready for every single scenario you could possibly run into. That way you will never run into a woodworking problem or project where you were not ready to answer the challenge with the right kind of tools so that way you can bring a new type of creativity to your work while also enjoying it with the confidence of knowing that you have quality craftsmanship on your side.

About the Author Daniel Patrick

Hi. This is Daniel. I have nearly 5 years of experience in writer and technician specialized. Having been a project manager at an engineering firm. Currently working as the Writer and Chief Editor at ToolsLord.

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