What is the Best Sander for Wood Projects? (2022)

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Sanders are necessary finishing tools in any woodworker’s toolbox, but some of them can ruin the result with swirl marks or stripes. It’s difficult to know which wood sanders are worth your money, but our experts have done the hard part for you and identified the best ones on the market.

Premium Pick
Makita 9403
Editor’s Choice
DEWALT DWE6411K
Budget Option
Hammerhead HAOS020
Makita 9403
DEWALT DWE6411K
Hammerhead HAOS020
• Low noise operation
• Sealed motor
• Dust bag included
• 11 amp motor
• 14,000 OPM
• Dust port system
• Counterweight to reduce vibration
• Comfortable grip
• 12,000 OPM
• Hook and loop system
• Dust management
• Comes with sandpaper
Premium Pick
Makita 9403
Makita 9403
• Low noise operation
• Sealed motor
• Dust bag included
• 11 amp motor
Editor’s Choice
DEWALT DWE6411K
DEWALT DWE6411K
• 14,000 OPM
• Dust port system
• Counterweight to reduce vibration
• Comfortable grip
Budget Option
Hammerhead HAOS020
Hammerhead HAOS020
• 12,000 OPM
• Hook and loop system
• Dust management
• Comes with sandpaper

Reviews of the Top Sanders for Wood

1. DeWalt DWE6411K

Our woodworking team’s first choice is a palm sander that’s small to work with for all the smaller furniture projects. Gripping the small sander in your hand gives more precise control as you maneuver it across your woodworking project.

The over-mold grip gives users a strong and controlled grip on the small palm sander and the improved clamp for the sandpaper provides better retention. There is no need to worry about dust and debris with the dust collection system that attaches to a hose for easy cleanup.

The separate counterweight will help reduce vibrations as you use the DeWalt DWE6411K palm sanders. 

What We Like

What We Don’t Like

2. Makita 9403

The Makita 9403 belt sander is next on our list. It’s quite a low noise sanding tool compared to other sheet sanders our experts have come across, and the 4-inch wide belt allows for more material removal in a shorter amount of time.

The unique construction seals and protects the motor from dust and debris from sanding rough surfaces. The entire sander was created with the user’s comfort in mind with the large front-grip handle and absorbing vibrations from the 11 amp motor.

What our team loved about the belt sander is the inclusion of a dust bag that collects all of the debris from rough and fine-grit sandpaper.

What We Like

What We Don’t Like

3. Hammerhead HAOS020

On the more affordable end, we have the Hammerhead HAOS020, a random orbit sander. The best random orbital sanders are lightweight yet powerful, much like the HAOS020. It’s a small device with a 2 amp motor and it comes with an assortment of sanding paper.

The hook and loop system makes replacing sandpaper easy and quick and won’t take too much out of your work time. Much care was taken into designing the handle, which is soft and affords users precise control.

The HOAS020 also has its own dust bag attached to keep your workspace clean. 

What We Like

What We Don’t Like

4. Makita Sheet Finishing Sander

Our team also included a sheet finishing sander from Makita that provides a smooth finish thanks to the 11,000 OPM. The entire Makita sheet sander is well-balanced with a built-in counterweight that is engineered to reduce vibrations.

The aluminum cast shoe base is highly durable and the large clamping lever makes the paper on this wood sander easy to replace. The dust collection system works during the sanding process. Dust and debris go through the pad and into the dust bag for a cleaner environment.

There is also a 2-finger lock button that keeps the speed for continuous use.

What We Like

What We Don’t Like

5. ENERTWIST ‎ET-OS-280 Orbital Sander

The ENERTWIST orbital sander is another sander that operates in random orbital motion. What sets this sander apart from other sander types is it has variable speeds, which is a huge plus. The 6 variable speeds make the orbital sander suited for many different materials.

The unit is lightweight, compact, and has a 3-position rubberized grip for user comfort. The orbital sander also features a hook and loop system that allows for easy sandpaper replacement. 

The ENERTWIST ‎ET-OS-280 orbital sander is also a versatile unit that comes with sanding discs and buffing and polishing pads. The small disc sander is highly efficient with a 2.4 amp motor. 

What We Like

What We Don’t Like

Sanders for Wood Buyer’s Guide

Power

A powerful sander may not be for everyone. The speed you need depends on your sanding task and the material. Our experts would suggest picking a sander that works with your pieces that have variable speed adjustments, that way, it’s easier to find the speed requirement you need and use the same sanders for different materials.

Most manufacturers will list the speed of the sanding, which outlines the power very clearly. If not, just pay attention to the motor amperage [1] to figure out how powerful the unit is.

Type of Sander

You should also consider the type of sander you need. First off, we have the detail sanders, which are, as the name suggests, used for finer tasks. They are small, fit comfortably in the palm of your hand, and work well into tight spaces. The Black+Decker Mouse Detail sander is an example of a sander with a detail finger attachment that is great for small spaces.

We then have the orbital sander, where the sanding pads move in random circular motions. The randomness of the movement gives a smoother finish and decreases the chances of leaving swirls. If you could only pick one, our team would definitely recommend orbital sanders as they are the best sanders for wood and the most versatile and reliable power sanders out there.

We then have the belt sanders, which are another common type of sander. These sanders, unlike the finishing ones, are meant for the preparation of wood for a project. It operates by moving a belt with various grit sandpaper over a surface to remove large amounts in order to smooth out the surface.

A drum sander sort of resembles a belt sander, but they have rotating drums that smooth over materials. Most of the time, a woodworker would take the material to the drum sander instead of the other way around. Drum sanders are excellent for sand curves and grooves other sanders cannot reach. 

A disc sander has a large wheel, or sanding disc, and is also used to remove large amounts of material. You may even find some disc sanders with a belt attachment as well.

Also read:

Difference between orbital and drum sander

Corded vs Cordless Sander

Whether consumers should choose between corded or cordless models is an age-old question. Sanders for wood can be either corded or cordless – it depends on your preference. Cordless models have a wider range of motion, but they are more expensive. Our woodworking team suggests choosing a cordless model if portability is of importance.

Corded sanders for woodworking projects usually have more sanding power and are lighter weight without the presence of a battery pack. However, they do not offer much range and you must be close to a power source.

Dust Collection

If you already have a dust collection tool or shop vacuum at home, then you will know what a huge benefit it is. If not, then our construction team advises you to choose the best sander that has some sort of cleanup mechanism.

Dust collecting is important to keep your workspace clean, and it can also prolong the life of your tool by keeping the bits from accumulating inside the motor.

Trigger Lock

A random orbit sander, or any other wood sander, without a trigger lock, could result in finger cramps. This locking mechanism won’t require users to keep their finger on the “on” trigger the entire time the tool is in use. Preferably, you can find a tool with a one-hand locking system. 

How to Use a Sander For Wood + Tips

Wood sanders are easy to use, and the best sanders for wood take only around 3 steps to get started. First, you would pick the right grit of orbital sandpaper and load it onto the power tool. Once the paper is properly installed, turn on the sander and test it out on a scrap piece of wood. If everything is working fine, you can then take the sander to your workpiece.

Our team has a few tips to ensure no disasters will happen on a finish-ready surface. You should always make sure your workpiece is always clamped down securely. It’s very easy to make a mistake if your workpiece moves around.

Don’t take the sander to the surface of your project without it having reached its max speed, just like you need to wait for the tool to completely power off before unplugging it for safety reasons.

You shouldn’t need to apply too much force. If you notice your arms consistently start to feel sore after extended periods, then change to higher grit sandpaper. 

Lots of manufacturers put great consideration into balancing their machines. This is because a sander that is not level will produce uneven results.

FAQ

Is an orbital sander good for wood?

Yes, an orbital sander is good for wood. It is also great in polishing your natural wood used at residential homes. In fact, it is the most versatile, trusted, and reliable sanding tool. If you could only pick one, our experts would definitely suggest this type. We would also suggest picking a random orbiting sanding tool instead of a regular one because due to the consistent circular motion, regular orbitals can leave swirls.

Our Top Pick For a Sander for Wood:
DeWalt DWE6411K

Out of all the best sanders for wood, our experts have chosen the DeWalt DWE6411K palm sander as the top choice. It’s a small yet powerful device that has a separate counterweight to reduce vibration while you work. Everything is upgraded including the paper clamp and the handle for ease of use and comfort. 

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen and women. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson