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What Type of Sander Should You Use?

The Advantages and Applications of Different Sanders


As most of us already know, sanders are a type of power tool that let us smooth surfaces with sandpaper. Sanders can be used for woodworking and industry, but in this tutorial, we'll be focusing on the best types of sanders for your garage project.


Orbital Sanders

Orbital Sanders are handheld, square sanders that vibrate in small circles when switched on. They don't need a specific type of sandpaper as they have spring-loaded clips that can attach a sheet straight on. They can also be called 'Quarter-Sheet Sanders' because they usually fit a quarter of a sheet of sandpaper although larger sizes are available.


These sanders are good for preparing a surface for painting and sealing or sanding down a layer of paint.


Orbital sanders have many advantages, such as their square shape allowing their users to get into any corners that would be tricky for circular sanders. They are also ergonomically designed with good handling and an attachment system that allows gor changing the sandpaper quickly and easily.


This type of sander is often used for precise work, meaning that you are unlikely to damage the surface you're working on. However, this means that you would struggle with projects requiring heavy removal.


Random Orbit Sander

Random Orbital Sanders (also known as Dual Action Sanders) are one of the most popular types of sanders. They're a lot like Orbital Sanders as they are handheld and vibrate in small circles, but unlike the Orbital Sander, these are circular and move on a constant axis, so the direction of the sanding is random.


An advantage to using this type would be that because of the unpredictable pattern, any scratching is less visible and it can be used for many types of jobs. Despite this, it can't get into corners due to the shape and you need specific sanding pads to attach.


Random Orbit Sanders have variable speeds, so can handle both aggressive and delicate sanding. Depending on the attachment, this type of sander can be recommended for finishing jobs on account of the rotating axis eliminating sanding lines, and also for jobs where many layers need to be removed.


Rotary Sanders

Rotary Sanders are circular like Random Orbit Sanders but are directly linked to their motor, causing much more aggressive sanding. The pad moves in a complete circle very quickly with a lot of power.


This sander has a quick and high abrasion rate, the motor giving it full power. This makes it perfect for heavy-duty sanding, but wouldn't work if you're looking for a gentle abrasion. This tool is ideally suited for jobs like polishing metal, stripping away paint, or removing rust.


Belt Sanders

Belt Sanders are sanding belts wrapped around two metal drums, one moving freely while the other moves the belt with a motor. They come in different sizes, varying the speed, balance and power to your liking.


While Belt Sanders can be hard to control, they sand flat surfaces quicker than any other type. Because of their shape, they also do a good job sanding edges and corners.


This is the list that we would generally recommend to anyone looking for a good, handheld sander. However, if none of these sanders suit your project, you can always use a sanding block to get the job done!


Sanders for you to try:

Orbital Sander

Festool Orbital sander RUTSCHER RTS 400 REQ GB 240V


Random Orbit Sander

3M Electric Random Orbital Sander, 150 mm,2.5 mm orbit


Rotary Sander

Festool Rotary polisher RAP 150-14 FE GB 240V


Belt Sanders

Indasa NCNA-115 - Air Palm 20mm Belt Sander