What Grit of Sandpaper is Equal to 0000 Steel Wool?

If you buy something through our posts, we may get a small commission. Read more here.

Share It

Are you tired of figuring out what grit of sandpaper is equal to 0000 steel wool? Searching for the perfect substitute can be frustrating and time-consuming, and if you use the wrong abrasive, you might end up damaging your project.

So, our woodworking experts are here to solve this problem and provide you with a clear and easy-to-use comparison.

What is the Sandpaper Grit Counterpart of 0000?

Steel wool grade #0000 is equal to 300 to 600-grit sandpaper. On average, #0000 sandpaper is about 400-grit sandpaper.

Despite this estimation, it’s worth noting that there is no accurate equivalent for #0000 sandpaper. Sandpaper and steel wool are different abrasives, and there is no exact counterpart for their grit number and grade, respectively.

various types of sandpaper

To give you an overview of all the steel wool grades and sandpaper grit numbers, use the table below to get a close idea and figure out which steel wool is best for your project:

Matching Equal Sandpaper Grit and Steel Wool Grades

As an overview, there are about eight grades of steel wool, but several industry experts only count seven, omitting 000-grade steel wool.

Steel wool grades include #0000, #000, #00, #1, #2, #3, and #4. The finest quality grade is 0000, with #4 being the coarsest. There are manufacturers who offer steel wool grade #5, which is significantly coarser. In some cases, it is only referred to as “coarser Grade #4 steel wool.”

As mentioned, there is no exact way to match the various grades of steel wool to sandpaper grit numbers. Regardless of the task, these two materials are distinct. If you want a close estimation, though, here’s a general comparison of the two:

Steel Wool43210000

What is the Equivalent Sandpaper Grit of 000 Steel Wool?

sandpaper and steel wool

The table above shows that #000 steel wool is the same as sandpaper with 280 to 320 grit. This grade of steel wool is called “extra fine.”

It is often used to puzzle out cabinetry and new wax furniture. It can also be used to fix small burns on wood. It also gets rid of paint drippings and splatters.

But remember that this is only a rough estimate because steel wool and sandpaper are not the same and leave different finishes.

Differences Between 000 and 0000 Steel Wool

When it comes to fine polishing and cleaning delicate surfaces, Grade 0000 steel wire wool is the thinnest and most delicate option. It is best used on metals. 

sanding stainless steel

On the other hand, Grade 000 steel wire wool is slightly more coarse and is typically used to clean, smooth, and prepare metal or wood surfaces before polishing, waxing, or painting. 

Both grades of steel wire wool produce better results when used with the appropriate solvent

Can Steel Wool be Used as an Alternative to Sandpaper?

Steel wool can be used instead of sandpaper without any problems. Steel wool can effectively remove paint, rust, or stubborn stains from various surfaces. It is particularly useful for smoothing wood, metal, or other materials. 

Because steel wool leaves behind small pieces of steel after sanding, it’s usually not a good idea to use it on water-based finishes because the steel pieces rust when they come in contact with water.

steel wool

Still, if you want to use steel wool on a water-based finish, you might be able to avoid the rust problem by giving the finish enough time to dry completely.

More sanding materials here:

Steel Wool vs. Sandpaper: Which is Better?

Both sandpaper and steel can be used for sanding wood. Nevertheless, remember the following:

Use Steel Wool for Hard to Reach Areas

You can make steel wool into any shape you want to reach places like corners and edges that are hard to get to.

Also, it’s easier to pinch a small amount of steel for finer finishing work, like making curves. Sandpaper isn’t the easiest to finish corners and small areas.

Steel Wool is Best for Oil-Based Surfaces

Steel wool works better with finishes made with oil. Unfortunately, using steel wool on water-based finishes can cause rusting because steel wool is made of iron, which reacts with water.


Sandpaper is Best for Post-Sanding Cleaning

After sanding, sandpaper and steel wool need to be cleaned. But steel wool makes it hard to clean up after sanding because you have to clean up fine wool and wood dust. On the other hand, after sanding with sandpaper, you only need to clean up the wood dust.

It Boils Down to Choosing the Right Grit or Grade

The quality of sandpaper is based on how many sharp pieces there are per square inch. This is also known as the grit number. The greater the grit number, the finer the finishing qualities. So, check the high-quality sandpapers for wood here!

Most sandpaper has grit numbers between 60 (extra coarse) and 400. (extra fine). On the other hand, steel wool is graded from grade #4 (very coarse) to grade #0000 (extra fine).

Overview of Steel Wool Grades and Their Uses

0000FinestFor buffing and cleaning. 
It smooths out shellac, varnish, lacquer, and woodwork. Kerosene can be used to get rid of rust on chrome. You don’t need water or cleaners to do the job for these purposes. 
000Extra FineFor buffing, polishing, and removing. 
It also polishes cabinetry and applies new wax coatings. It can also be used for polishing aluminum, stainless steel, copper, zinc, and brass. 
It removes minor burns [1] from leather and wood. Removes also paint drips and splatters.
00FineFor buffing, cleaning, cutting, and removing. 
It is best for rubbing painted trim to a final sheen and cleaning golf clubs, screens, and frames. It also eliminates antiques’ old finishes.
0Medium-FineFor cleaning and removing. 
Copper, barbecue grills, aluminum, zinc, and brass are the metals it cleans. It eliminates rust from metal tools. It’s ideal for cleaning copper pipes before soldering.
1MediumFor cleaning and preparing.  
Cleans asphalt, rubber, linoleum, and other tough floors, as well as the white side walls of automobiles. Smooths out the grain of the wood and prepares it for the first coat of paint.
2Medium-CoarseFor cleaning and removing. 
It’s highly recommended for cleaning abrasive surfaces such as glass blocks, metal, and stone. It also removes rust and grime from garden tools and equipment, including scuff marks and old wax. 
You can also use it to remove varnish from ancient objects with varnish remover.
3CoarseFor removing.  
In addition to removing old paint and varnish, it can be used to clean glass blocks and repair exterior wood. It can be used to plug holes to repel rodents.
4Extra-CoarseFor cleaning and removing.  
It can remove the most tenacious corrosion, grime, old paint, and varnish. It is capable of cleaning engines. However, it’s not suitable for surfaces with a high gloss or easily damaged finishes.


Which is the coarsest steel wool grade?

The coarsest steel wool grade is number 5. Steel wool comes in different grades, from the coarsest, which is number 5, to the finest, which is 0000. With the coarsest grade of steel wool, you can take off paint, varnish, or finish from wood to get it ready for more work.

Is 0000 the finest grade?

Yes. 0000 is the finest grade of steel wool. It’s considered an ultra-fine steel wool that is highly suitable for cleaning and finishing delicate surfaces. 

We highly recommend using this steel wool grade with soap and water to buff marble, glass, or porcelain. It will not result in marks or damage on these types of surfaces.


Sandpaper and steel wool are both abrasives used for different purposes. While many are asking what sandpaper grit is equal to 0000 steel wool, it is impossible to directly compare grit numbers to wool grades. 

A rough comparison can be made by noting very fine grit sandpaper. Remember, choosing the right abrasive for your specific task is important for the best results.

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. 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
Related Articles
Join our community on facebook and get 3 woodworking plans for free!

Join Our Woodworking Community on Facebook And Get 3 Woodworking Plans for Free!