Best Sanders for Deck Refinishing: How To Find The Right One

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From small-scale kitchen table projects to hardwood floors, many projects require the use of a handheld sander. Sanding is no one’s favorite task, but with the help of power sanders, it can become a little bit easier and a lot less stressful.

Working with a power sander requires a bit of a learning curve, but we’re here to start you off in the right place with our recommendations for the best sanders for deck refinishing. We’ll cover the different types of sanders available—and which are best for deck projects—as well as how to find the best sander for your needs.

We have a list of the seven best sander for deck refinishing to share with you, ensuring you’ll find the best tool for the job without wasting daylight scouring the web for answers.

Bottom Line Up Front

To most of us, the prospect of sanding and refinishing an entire deck isn’t an exciting one. Sanding is tough and demanding work, especially if the weather doesn’t cooperate, so an efficient sander is crucial to getting things done and on time.

We recommend the 9403 Makita Belt Sander for just about any deck refinishing project because it’s an absolute beast. In terms of both weight and power, the Makita Belt Sander outperforms every other sander on our list, earning top marks for performance and helping us get our decks getting done as fast and as painlessly as possible.

Our Best Pick
Makita 9403 Belt Sander | Amazon

The Makita 9403 Belt Sander is the overall best pick because it simply outperforms its competitors by providing more weight and power thus making the deck refinishing job quick and efficient. You can't go wrong with this one.

Buy at Amazon.com
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Different Types of Sanders for Deck Refinishing

Refinishing a deck is an intimidating project to tackle. Going the DIY route can save you a lot of money, so it’s worth considering whether doing it on your own is feasible. The first stage of deck refinishing involves stripping any coating, sealant, or paint off the wood surface of your deck or patio.

It’s important to find a heavy-duty sander with the features you need to make a quick and comfortable job of it. Here are the different types of sanders we recommend for deck finishing, plus other types of sanders that may come in handy at some point during this or another project.

Belt Sander Deck Refinishing

Belt Sander

A belt sander might be the most traditional of all sander types. Like the way, you would apply sandpaper to the deck surface manually, so a belt sander moves. A sanding belt winds around the sander’s mechanisms and, with proper balance, can make short work of many sanding tasks.

Orbital Sander

An orbital sander is a popular choice for decking projects. Many people use a floor drum sander when refinishing a deck, but the drum sander may end up permanently gouging the surface. An orbital floor sander moves in a circular motion for a gentler sanding treatment—floor sander which won’t ruin your deck’s finish.

How does an Orbital Sander compare to other sanders?

Random Orbit Sander

Random orbital sanders feature round pads and add another layer of movement to the sanding process. Instead of moving only a circular motion, a random orbit sander also uses an orbiting movement, preventing marring of the surface you’re sanding with swirl marks.

Other Types of Sanders

We recommend any of the types of sanders that we mentioned above for deck refinishing because they are capable of handling large surface areas without burning out. Other types of sanders might work in a pinch, however, especially if you have a smaller deck floor but also intend to complete other sanding projects once your deck is done.

  • Disc sanders are primarily for finishing off projects, so their round sandpaper pads are often a finer grit. You may also use a disc sander for a deck project, but it’s not advisable if your deck has many layers of gunk or other debris you need to remove before you use a sealer to finish it.
  • Detail sanders are another option that you might want to use for more intricate areas of the deck, such as corners or railings. Detail sanders have a triangular sanding surface which can reach into crevices.
  • File sanders are another detail-focused sander, which is often helpful in the automotive industry. When you need to remove debris from a tight space, a file sander can reach in and provide the abrasion you need to get the deck surface clean without damaging them.

Does Your Deck Require Sanding?

Most deck refinishing projects tend to involve sanding, especially if it’s been a while since you resealed or treated the wood in any way. Some decking boards are in decent shape already and don’t need sanding, though, so you should take a close look before investing in a sander you might not need.

Other steps in the deck refinishing process involve inspecting the wooden deck for damage and performing any necessary repairs. It’s never a good idea to refinish a deck floor with loose or damaged deck boards as you’ll just have to fix them later anyway.

Cleaning the wooden deck thoroughly is the next step in prepping for deck treatment, and you’ll either scrub it, hose it off, or use a power washer or pressure washer to remove debris and dirt. After power washing your desk, sanding is the step that follows, and finally, you’ll get to the deck stain and sealing stage of the project—which means you’re nearly finished and ready to enjoy your newly revived deck.

Best Sander Deck Refinishing

How to Find the Best Sanders for Deck Refinishing

Refinishing a deck is a substantial job, so it’s essential to have the right tools and prepare beforehand. Here’s what to consider when shopping for sanders for deck refinishing, including the top features we recommend.

Dust Collection Features

Because sanding an entire deck is a huge job, you know there will be a lot of dust flying. While the face and eye protection are essential, like with any other power tool-oriented task, dust collection is a helpful feature to look for in your deck sander.

Instead of allowing the dust to fly all over the place, sanders with dust collection attachments either bag up the dust as it escapes or allows you to hook up a vacuum deck cleaner to suck the dust-out. Either way, eliminating at least some of the particles from your immediate environment can help make your job easier and less messy.

Speed Settings

When you are just starting a sanding job, you might find “fast and furious” settings are your favorite. As you tire out, though, and the top layer of gunk has come off, you might want variable speeds to address different aspects of the project.

For example, you will want to use extra care when sanding a deck around railings and any other features on your deck, so multiple settings can help dial the sanding frenzy down a notch.

Multi-Functional Sanders

Most sanders accommodate different grit paper, but some also have other functions in addition to heavy-duty sanding. You might find a polishing feature on some disc sanders, for example, but for most decking projects, you won’t need that level of care and precision.

Noise Level

You might not expect a sander to be noisy, but some are. Either plan to invest in some ear protection—and be sure to use it—or search for a lower-decibel sander which won’t disturb the neighbors or wreck your eardrums.

The CDC recommends using hearing protection when using loud tools, highlighting the potential damage prolonged exposure to loud noises can cause. Using ear protection is advisable when you’re operating an electric drill, chainsaw, lawnmower, and other common power tools.

Power Options

Most sanders come in corded options, and most users appreciate consistent power. Sometimes managing extension cords, and cords, in general, can be frustrating, though, so it’s worth considering a battery-powered tool if you don’t have an outlet handy during your deck project.

Brands like DeWalt offer battery-powered sanders, and we’ve included on our list of top picks. We don’t often see a huge demand for battery power options, but it’s worth mentioning as for some deck refinishing jobs, portability is key to actually get the project finished.

1. Bosch 1250DEVS Electric Orbital Sander

If “aggressive” sounds like the way you’d like to approach deck sanding, Bosch’s 1250DEVS orbital sander might be the best option for you.

  • 6.5 amp
  • Six-inch disc size
  • Random orbit mode
  • Aggressive turbo mode
  • Ambidextrous auxiliary handle
  • A passive dust collection system
  • Variable speed motor
  • Onboard pad removal tool

“Aggressive turbo mode” gives you the power to tackle even the roughest sanding scenario with confidence, and the normal random orbit mode helps with finer finishing details and regular sanding work.

Ergonomics are ideal, too, with an auxiliary handle to make grasping the sander easier. Even in turbo mode, the dampening feature helps prevent visible markings on your wood surfaces, eliminating unsightly swirls from your finished product.

Pros

  • Passive dust collection system works with vacuum attachment
  • Exceptional ergonomics (ambidextrous aux handle)

Cons

  • Hook-and-loop sanding pad is less secure than alternatives

2. DeWalt DWE6421K Random Orbit Sander Kit

DeWalt DWE6421K Random Orbit Sander Kit

Very little feedback through the tool and an effective dust collection system makes DeWalt’s DWE6421K another fan favorite on our list.

  • Dust collection baг
  • Vacuum compatibility
  • Rubber over-mold for a comfortable grip
  • Dust-sealed switch
  • Hook-and-loop sandpaper pads

It seems counterintuitive, but DeWalt’s DWE6421K random orbit sander has no handles to speak of, only a top grip housing to hang onto. For most users, having an auxiliary handle isn’t necessary, but some find the lack of options to be a drawback.

Only a bit of vibration transfers through the rubber housing, however, making sanding a deck a simpler task than with other more abrasive models of sanders. Swapping outa a sanding pad is simple, too, with hook and loop fixtures. Some users might avoid hook-and-loop because they seem less secure, but the feature makes for quick changes mid-project, and convenience is always a desirable characteristic.

DEWALT DWE6421K Orbit Sander | HardwareWorld

Shorter height of the hand sander allows the user to get closer to work piece. Separate counterweight design reduces vibration for improved comfort of the electric sander.

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Pros

  • Rubber grip enables comfortable grasping
  • Minimal vibration while sanding

Cons

  • Hook-and-loop pads seem less secure than tool-affixed ones
  • No auxiliary handle; one-handed operation only

3. TACKLIFE Belt Sander

TACKLIFE Belt Sander

An out-of-the-box ready sander with a selection of belts to work with, TACKLIFE’s belt sander also doubles as a bench sander once you’re done finishing the deck.

  • Includes 13 pcs sanding belts
  • Variable speed (six speeds)
  • A high-performance dust collection system
  • Vacuum cleaner connection
  • Converts to a bench sander

Versatility is a great feature of TACKLIFE’s belt sander; it comes with two clamps you can use to install it on your workbench or another surface. For all projects, it offers six speeds for variable control, and the included sanding belts come in two different grits for various tasks.

Dust collection is superb, and the unit comes with adapters to connect your vacuum deck cleaner if you prefer that to use the bag TACKLIFE includes.

TACKLIFE Belt Sander | Amazon
$49.97

Provided with two metal screw clamps, TACKLIFE belt sander can be turned over and fixed to table, acting as a bench sander, lock-on button helps to free your hand, providing more convenience and flexibility.

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09/23/2021 01:25 am GMT

Pros

  • Easily converts to a bench sander
  • Six-speed variable controls

Cons

  • The grip design is lacking

4. Makita B05041K Random Orbit Sander Kit

Makita B05041K Random Orbit Sander Kit

Aggressive sanding combined with adjustable ergonomic handles makes Makita’s B05041K sander kit one of our top picks.

  • Variable speed controls
  • Adjustable front handle
  • Lock-on button
  • Hook-and-loop discs
  • Dust collection system
  • Vacuum adapter

Many sanders transfer vibration through the tool into the user, but Makita’s B05041K random orbital sander has a smooth ride. It has padded grips and even an adjustable front handle, so you can operate either one-handed or use both hands to guide the tool.

Apart from the hook-and-loop discs, everything else about the kit feels heavy-duty. Since hook-and-loop is so common (and easy), we can’t fault Makita for it. A continuous operation mode more than makes up for that minor drawback; just lock the switch in place, and you can sand comfortably and efficiently.

Makita BO5041K Orbit Sander Kit | Zoro.com
$109.00

Variable speed control dial (4,000 to 12,000 OPM) enables user to match the sanding speed to the application.

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Pros

  • Multiple handling modes; adjustable front handle
  • Lock-on button for continuous operation

Cons

  • Hook-and-loop discs feel less secure than alternatives

5. Makita 9403 Belt Sander

Makita 9043 Belt Sander

Industrial-strength power and ease of operation are two qualities Makita’s 9403 belt sander has, earning it kudos for deck refinishing pursuits.

  • Four-inch-wide belt
  • 1,640 feet per minute speed
  • Large front grip for comfort
  • Powerful 11-amp motor
  • Noise level of 84 dB
  • Swivel dust bag
  • Vacuum connector
  • Weighs 13 pounds

Makita’s 9403 belt sander has a utilitarian design, but its purpose is to be a workhorse, so looks are unimportant. A large front grip helps you control the beast, but it’s unlikely the 11-amp motor will get too out of hand as the hefty sander is well-balanced and easy to manage.

Eliminating dust is often one of the biggest struggles to sand down a deck, but the blower on Makita’s belt sander helps direct all the dust away from your work surface and you. Connect a vacuum hose or use the attached swivel bag and forget about the dust.

Our Best Pick
Makita 9403 Belt Sander | Amazon

The Makita 9403 Belt Sander is the overall best pick because it simply outperforms its competitors by providing more weight and power thus making the deck refinishing job quick and efficient. You can't go wrong with this one.

Buy at Amazon.com
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Pros

  • Well-balanced despite its weight
  • Powerful dust blower

Cons

  • Heavy at 13 pounds

6. BLACK+DECKER BDERO100 Random Orbit Sander

BLACK+DECKER BDERO100 Random Orbit Sander

Comfortable in hand and extremely portable, BLACK+DECKER’s BDERO100 random orbit sander is the little friend you need for your next deck refinishing job.

  • Hook-and-loop sandpaper system
  • Dust bag
  • Compact size
  • Dust sealed switch

A palm-grip design and trim profile help the BDERO100 with maneuverability, but it’s the relatively quiet operation we like. As small as the dust bag is, dust extraction is efficient, though you might have to empty the bag more frequently than is desirable.

An alternative to the small dust bag is to throw together your own adapter for a vacuum connection, which would allow you to keep working for longer periods without worrying about filling up the bag. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly sander without a lot of bells and whistles, BLACK+DECKER’s random orbit model might be the perfect fit.

BLACK+DECKER Orbit Sander | Zoro.com
$40.95

High Performance Orbit Sander - 2.0 Amp corded electric random orbit sander for a swirl-free finish.

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Pros

  • Comfortable grips
  • Efficient dust extraction
  • Low noise level

Cons

  • A dust bag is small and not ideal

7. DeWalt DCW210B 20V MAX Orbital Sander

DeWalt DCW210B 20V MAX Orbital Sander

If portability is crucial to your deck refinishing operation, DeWalt’s 20V MAX orbital sander will give you the freedom you need.

  • Variable speed
  • Texturized rubber over-mold grip
  • Hook-and-loop sanding pads
  • Tool only
  • 20V MAX power
  • Locking dust bag
  • Can attach to alternate dust collectors (sold separately)

Thanks to 20V MAX power (purchase the batteries separately or use existing ones from your collection), DeWalt’s DCW210B is the most portable sander we’ve seen. Hook-and-loop sand pads are par for the course, and a small dust bag helps control errant sawdust.

By adding a few accessories (such as spare batteries), you’ll have a hard-working and handy kit for refinishing even the most remote decks and other wood projects. Variable speeds help make fast work of any task, and you’ll appreciate the rubber grip after a bit of time on the job.

DEWALT 20V MAX Orbital Sander | Hardware World
$109.99

Orbital sander with brushless motor provides runtime and efficiency to get the job done. Variable-speed control of the hand sander from 8,000 to 12,000 OPM to match the speed to the application.

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Pros

  • Extremely portable
  • Comfortable rubber grip
  • Variable speeds

Cons

  • Comes as a tool only; must purchase the battery separately

8. Craftsman Corded Belt Sander

The Craftsman Corded Belt Sander has an angled belt design so that you can sand close to adjoining surfaces.

  • 800 FPM motor
  • Angled belt design
  • 3-position over-molded handle
  • Seven amps
  • 21-inch belt length
  • Corded
  • Dust collection bag included
  • Variable speed

This corded model has super-fast material removal, with variable speeds, so you can adjust it as you go. With seven amps of power, it’s a rigid sander. However, the angled belt design makes it easier to get right into tricky corners and joints, making dealing with those problematic areas much easier.

It has a comfortable over-molded handle, and the included dust bag does an excellent job. It’s a solid, well-built, reliable little tool that gets the job done. It may take some practice to get the belt in the right place, though.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Fast material removal
  • Variable speeds
  • Comfortable handle
  • Sturdy and well-built

Cons

  • It takes some practice getting the belt in the right place

9. SKIL Belt Sander

The SKIL Belt Sander has some great features, including an auto-track belt alignment and a clear-view dust canister – small touches that make it easier to use.

  • 1050 No-Load SFPM
  • 6.0 Amps
  • Pressure control technology
  • Single-lever belt changes
  • Built-in vacuum port
  • Clear-view dust canister
  • Micro-filtration

This model is corded with an 8ft cord, giving you plenty of room to maneuver. It’s a lever-release type sander, giving you a lot of control over the speed as you go along. It has a built-in vacuum port and a clear-view dust canister, so you can see how much dust is collecting, preventing it from overfilling (although it does fill up quite quickly).

It’s a belt sander with a single-lever belt change system that makes it very easy to swap belts in and out. It’s powerful, fast, and easy to use – a good all-purpose sander for all kinds of projects.

Pros

  • Belts are easy to change
  • A clear-view dust canister is useful
  • Easy to control the speed
  • Good all-purpose sander

Cons

  • Dust canister fills up quickly

FAQ’s About the Best Sander for Deck Refreshing

How can I prepare the deck for sanding?

First of all, you have to power wash the deck and allow it to dry completely in order to be able to start sending it smoothly with a deck sander. After this step, you can start the deck stain process usee a sealer for a final touch.

How often should you stain your deck?

This really depends on the conditions that your deck is exposed to and the staining materials you are using, but usually, you need to refresh and stain a deck every 2-3 years if they are exposed to sun and heat. If you have a pergola over the whole deck, you might be able to prolong the time and do it every 4-5 years.

Should I paint my deck or stain it?

If you are looking for a long term solution, then painting your deck is definitely better, as colors can last up to 10 years before having to paint again. Oil-based colors consist of latex, which adds more protection from UV rays, and they also have mold protection.

Comparing the Options

Product Type of sander Power Top features
Bosch 1250DEVS Orbital (round) 6.5 amp corded “Aggressive” sanding mode
DeWalt DWE6421K Random orbit 3.0 amp corded Exceptional dust collection feature
TACKLIFE Belt Belt 5 amp corded Converts to a bench sander
Makita B05041K Random orbit 3 amp corded Lock-on button
Makita 9403 Belt 11 amp corded Exceptional dust blower; powerful motor
BLACK+DECKER BDERO100 Random orbit 2 amp corded Comfortable and quiet
DeWalt DCW210B Orbital (round) 20V MAX battery Battery-powered and portable

Final Thoughts

Deck refinishing projects are complicated and can seem daunting. With the right sanding tools, you can make quicker work of the project and get to enjoy the view when it’s over. Our top picks for the best sanders for deck refinishing help you get the most out of your power tool budget and eliminate many of the concerns DIYers have when approaching such a big project.

Our Best Pick
Makita 9403 Belt Sander | Amazon

The Makita 9403 Belt Sander is the overall best pick because it simply outperforms its competitors by providing more weight and power thus making the deck refinishing job quick and efficient. You can't go wrong with this one.

Buy at Amazon.com
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Are you done with your deck project? Check out our top 25 Under Deck Ideas to Consider.

Further read:

Head Builder

With a passion for home renovation projects of all kinds, we provide real user reviews, guides, how to articles to help any homeowner achieve their dream home. Whether you want to use electric or hand tools, our advice will help you build. From bathrooms to attics, to kitchens, we cover them all with skilled insights and real-life advice you'll love.

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