What is the Best Sander for Deck Refinishing? (2024)

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Refinishing your wooden deck is a popular DIY project, but here’s the catch: not all sanders can give your weathered deck that perfect, smooth look you’re aiming for.

To save you from any potential deck disasters, I took these sanders for a spin, testing them out in real-life scenarios. So, here’s my findings to help you pick the best sander for your deck refinishing adventure!

Premium Option
BOSCH OS50VC
Editor’s Choice
Makita 9403
Budget Option
Skil 7510-01
BOSCH OS50VC
Makita 9403
Skil 7510-01
• Type: Orbital Sander
• Dust Collection Filter
• SheetLoc Supreme Paper Clamping
• Orbital Diameter: 3/32 inch
• Low Vibration
• Sander Type: Belt/Corded Electric
• Speed: 1640 ft./min
• Grit Type: Medium Pressure
• Labyrinth Design
• Power Capacity: 11 Amps
• Micro-filtration Dust Collector
• Sanding Belt: 80-grit
• Vacuum Hose Compatibility
• Auto-track Belt System
• Power: 6 Amp
Premium Option
BOSCH OS50VC
BOSCH OS50VC
• Type: Orbital Sander
• Dust Collection Filter
• SheetLoc Supreme Paper Clamping
• Orbital Diameter: 3/32 inch
• Low Vibration
Editor’s Choice
Makita 9403
Makita 9403
• Sander Type: Belt/Corded Electric
• Speed: 1640 ft./min
• Grit Type: Medium Pressure
• Labyrinth Design
• Power Capacity: 11 Amps
Budget Option
Skil 7510-01
Skil 7510-01
• Micro-filtration Dust Collector
• Sanding Belt: 80-grit
• Vacuum Hose Compatibility
• Auto-track Belt System
• Power: 6 Amp

Reviews of the Top Sanders for Deck Refinishing

1. Makita 9403

Normally, a heavyweight power tool like Makita 9403 wouldn’t be on our list, but it’s great for sanding jobs. In fact, the heavier mass of this power sander enhances user control during deck sanding. 

Unlike other sanders, this unit has its power cord on the top. Through this, you could sand the entire deck without the need to adjust the cord as you move constantly. 

Although some people would recommend a model that can cover large decks, I’m certain its 4-inch belt can reach areas other deck sanders can’t.  

What i Like

What i Don't Like

2. BOSCH OS50VC

If there’s anything I liked about BOSCH OS50VC, it’s its half-inch sanding pad. Not many sanding machines include this feature, but it’s handy when sanding extensive wooden decks. 

It’s a popular option for sanding decks because it features a suspension mechanism that aids in better control as it minimizes vibration. During our hands-on test, its variable speed dial allowed us to match the needs of different woodworking projects. 

And because this orbital sander has an efficient Sheetloc clamping system, you can expect the unit to stay in place consistently during the deck sanding. 

What I Like

What I Don't Like

3. Skil 7510-01

Despite its obviously lower price tag, Skil 7510-01 is the kind of belt sander suited for sanding a rough surface. It has a 6.0 amp power rating, so this sander works well with any deck wood. 

The function that makes it one of the best sanders is undoubtedly its auto-tracking belt alignment. Thanks to this, it’s less likely for the belt to go astray during the sanding process. 

On top of that, this belt sander has a pressure control feedback system. It includes indicator lights that signal the user when the pressure should be applied to the sanding surface. 

What I Like

What I Don't Like

4. DEWALT DWE6423K

Another economical but efficient option you can consider is DEWALT DWE6423K. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that this random orbital sander has a shorter height than other models. 

Because of this, it can get really close to the deck material to get a smooth surface. And unlike other similar units, it features a dust port. All you have to do is connect it with other vacuum systems with 1-¼ inch configurations. 

The switch on this hand sander is also dust-sealed. It will prevent the switch from ingesting dust and getting damaged.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

5. Metabo HPT SB8V2

The right sander for the toughest sanding tasks should have a powerful motor like Metabo HPT SB8V2. Besides running with a power rating of 9-amp 1020-watt, you can match any application with its variable speed dial. 

It’s designed with a clear cover in the front, so everything will be clearly visible to you as the unit continues sanding the surface. And thanks to its flush surface construction, you can complete sanding tasks as fast as possible without compromising the deck’s smoothness. 

Feel the comfort of a soft grip as you embark on those extended sanding sessions. This tool is designed to make sure your hands stay cozy and fatigue-free, letting you work like a pro.

What i Like

What i Don't Like

Sanders for Deck Refinishing Buyer’s Guide

Sanding Area

When on the hunt for the perfect sander, it’s crucial to think about the surface you’re planning to sand. Keep in mind that not all sanders are created equal when it comes to tackling rough spots.

If the deck you’re working on is flat, I recommend going for a sander with adequate speed and power. Meanwhile, you’ll need a more versatile unit if you sand inconsistent surfaces and corners. 

Type of Sander

You’ll encounter different sander options if you scan through today’s market. Here are the most common and versatile ones you need to watch out for. 

Belt Sander

These electric sanding machines are made with abrasive-coated [1] belts. These components are rotated by powerful motors, making them suitable for sanding, trimming, and leveling round and flat surfaces.

Random Orbit Sander

Because they have round sanding paddings, our experts consider random orbit sanders the most versatile sanding machines in the industry.

It revolves in circling motions, so it’s not a surprise any random orbit sander can get rid of surface swirls that other tools leave behind. 

(You may also want to know more about the differences between orbital sander vs belt sander for an in-depth comparison)

Commercial Wood Floor Sander

This category includes the likes of orbital and drum sander options, which are regularly available in rental outlets. They’re heavy machines, making them unsuitable for transportation or beginner use. 

Sheet Sanders

For this type of sanding tool, you’ll need to insert 9×11-inch sandpaper inside for it to work. The sander will deliver tiny orbital vibrations. This allows it to move in various directions without any hassle. 

Power

Another thing you should know before purchasing a sander is it comes in electric and battery-powered variations. If you ask us, wired or electric models offer more power than wireless alternatives. 

However, if you really should buy a battery-operated sander, we suggest going for one with lithium-ion batteries. 

Dust Collection System

Like any other power machine, your sander will produce dust. So besides wearing a particle mask, you can protect yourself with the unit’s dust collection system. It also lessens the wasted time cleaning dust particles in your workshop.  

Cost

Discovering the ideal sander for refinishing your deck shouldn’t break the bank. If you’re just tackling typical home improvement sanding tasks, you don’t need to splurge on high-end models. Nevertheless, it’s wise to carefully consider your choices before making a decision.

Deck Maintenance

Importance of Power Washing

Before sanding the deck, consider pressure washing the entire area first. Using a power washer will reveal if the deck has heaved wood fibers. You can also do this to do a pressure test on the material. 

How to Properly Sand for Every Refinishing Job + Get Rid of the Sanding Dust

After the pressure wash, don’t forget to check if there are screws or nails on the surface that can damage the sander while sanding. Once cleared, you can begin the task. The railing must be sanded in a uniform manner as it’s the most visible part of the deck. 

After sanding, you must vacuum and wipe the area thoroughly. If you can, use a tack cloth for wiping. Through this, you can gather even the smallest particles in the deck. And then, finish it by applying denatured alcohol so the surface will be left with enough moisture.  

Sandpaper to Use

Don’t use a sander with rough grit specifications if your deck is made of softwoods. Sandpapers around 60 to 80 grit should work well if you’re trying to remove old paint or stain without jeopardizing its smoothness. 

On the other hand, 120-grit sanding papers are great for smoother finishes. However, you better apply minimal pressure when using this. 

While there are different grits suitable for finishes, it’s important to keep in mind that there’s also a particular sandpaper grit specification before painting wood

Safety Reminders to Know

As you’re dealing with a powerful tool, you should not forego using a dust mask, knee pads, and hearing protection for woodworking. It’s also best to do the sanding in good weather because all of these will be for nothing if it rains.  

FAQ

Will you feel sick after sanding wood? Is it dangerous?

Sanding wood produces dust particles that can harm your health and trigger allergic reactions. However, it wouldn’t be dangerous if you’re wearing the right safety gear and if your sander has a reliable dust collector bag. 

Is it possible to sand a wet deck?

No, a wood sander won’t operate in a wet area. It’s highly recommended letting the surface dry before doing this task. 

My Top Pick For a Sander for Deck Refinishing:
Makita 9403

Out of all the best sanders for deck refinishing, I prefer using Makita 9403. While putting this unit to the test, I observed that it excels at completing sanding jobs faster compared to typical orbital sanders. 

It boasts the right combination of speed and power, making it a versatile choice that can handle various sanding requirements in any project.

robert headshot

Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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