When it comes to crafting beautiful wooden furniture, there are a lot of tools that you need to have access to if you plan on creating high-quality pieces of furniture that last.
One of the most important tools of them all is a high-quality sander, a sander will allow you to smooth out any rough surfaces on the exterior of your custom-made furniture in order to provide a safe and comfortable piece of furniture that you can use for years to come.
There are a lot of different furniture sanders available on the market which can make finding the right one for your specific needs a bit challenging. Before you purchase a furniture sander, you need to ensure that it comes with all of the features and functionality that you need in order to complete your furniture project.
Furniture sanders can also be very useful for restoring old wooden furniture that is beginning to decline in quality.
In order to make the right purchase decision, you need to compare all of the various furniture sanders out on the market to come to the conclusion about which one is right for you.
Sanders have a variety of useful purposes so once you obtain a premium tool, you shouldn’t have to worry about purchasing another one for quite some time.
Sanders can help you strip old paint, smooth out surfaces, restore old furniture, and a lot more. Many carpenters or simple DIY home renovation experts use Sanders on a regular basis in order to craft the type of furniture and carry out the repairs that they need.
Sanders is a very commonly used tool when it comes to woodworking so if you’re familiar with crafting custom furniture, you’ve probably heard of a sander before.
There are a lot of different sanders available on the market and each one of them provides their own unique set of benefits and features that you can use to achieve the results you want.
Depending on your intended use for the sender in question, certain sanders may be better suited for you when compared to other options out on the market.
In this guide, we’re going to give you detailed information about all of the various sanders available on the market to help you make the right purchase decision. You want to make sure that your selected sander comes with the essential features and functionality that you need by thoroughly reading each section of this guide prior to going out looking for a sander to use on your newest project.
We’re going to cover virtually every aspect of sanders and how to choose the right one for your needs. To begin, let’s look at the main types of sanders that are available on the market as of right now.
Types of Furniture Sanders
There are several different types of sanders available on the market all of which offer their own unique benefits and functionality depending on the type of work that you’re trying to complete.
Each sander listed below will allow you to successfully smooth out, create, or refurbish wooden pieces of furniture that may need attention in terms of its condition or quality.
Each furniture sander was designed to help you achieve a particular set of goals and design ambitions that aren’t possible with other sander options out on the market.
Continue reading this section to find out about all of the various types of furniture sanders available on the market and how you can choose the right type that will allow you to achieve any design, refurbishing, or woodworking task with ease.
One thing to keep in mind about Sanders is that each distinctive type also comes with variations. For example, if you’re interested in an orbital sander, you’ll need to figure out if a one-handed orbital sander is what you want or a two-handed one. This is just something to keep in mind when you begin searching for the right furniture sander to use on your next project.
Let’s look at some of the main types of furniture sanders available and how you can choose the one that fits your needs perfectly.
Belt sanders are probably one of the most well-known and commonly used types of sander out on the market. Belt sanders use one abrasive strip that rotates in a continuous and one-directional manner which is why they are so effective at removing paint and other substances from large surface areas in a very quick manner.
Belt sanders are very powerful which makes them great for removing coatings from decks or floors. Belt sanders also work very well for an evening out any uneven wooden furniture or spots that you may have throughout your home.
It’s important to maintain a tight grip when using a belt sander as they have been known to drag users forward due to their immense power.
You might also be interested: Belt Sander vs Orbital Sander: Which is the Best Tool for You?
Random Orbital Sander
Random Orbital sanders are round and use spontaneous orbits to achieve coating removal or surfacing smoothing. Random Orbital sanders rotate in random orbits which basically means that it vibrates in small circles which makes them one of the most versatile sander options out there.
Typically, random orbital sanders use circular pads that come in various abrasion levels and sizes so that you can ensure you get the results you want regardless of any problems posed by the furniture in question.
Random Orbital sanders use a circular motion, vibration, and a ball bearing mechanism to achieve automated smoothing by constantly exposing your furniture surface to an untouched area of the abrasion pad.
Rotary sanders and random orbital sanders are very similar however rotary sanders don’t vibrate which is the main difference between them and their counterparts.
Rotary sanders use around abrasion pad that is directly connected to the motor so you get a constant thrust of abrasive power that is balanced due to the rotating action of the sander.
Rotary sanders spin in circles in a very fast motion which allows you to sand away very tough spots or uneven areas of wood on your furniture. Rotary sanders are the perfect option for those who want a reliable sander that provides consistent and uninterrupted functionality.
Detail sanders come in a variety of shapes and designs however they all serve the same purpose, to provide you with the ability to intricately sand out details in any piece of furniture that you have. Detail sanders are also often times called “thumb” sanders due to their relatively small size and versatility.
Detail sanders are perfect for removing imperfections on small surface areas and in very shallow areas like cracks or crevices. Often times, detail sanders are used in combination with more traditional sanders that are larger because they lack the ability to cover large amounts of space in a short amount of time.
Detail sanders are great for woodworking artists who are starting a new project or DIY specialists who are trying to smooth out kinks in their old furniture.
Palm Sheet Sanders
Palm sheet sanders get their name from the fact that you can operate them simply using your palm and hand. Palm sheet sanders are very lightweight and small which makes them ideal for those individuals who need a tool to handle small wooden objects or any other project that doesn’t require sanding across a very large surface area.
Palm sheet sanders are known to be very reliable which makes them the perfect option for those woodworkers who want a simple and effective tool that they can use to get work done.
Now that you’re familiar with the vast number of different sanders available on the market, it’s time to determine which features you need most to make the right purchase decision.
The next section is going to go in-depth about all of the essential features that anyone interested in purchasing a sander should look for, these must-have features will cater to those in virtually all areas of the woodworking industry.
Features to Look for in a Furniture Sander
If you’re interested in purchasing a sander for any wood related work that you’re involved with at the moment, you need to make sure that you purchase a sander that offers the exact features and functionality you need in order to complete any job successfully.
There are a few key features that everyone should take into consideration when buying a sander, below, you’ll find a list of all of these features in addition to an explanation about how each feature plays a role in how effective your selected sander will be when used on your projects.
Most if not all sanders are controlled using solely your hands which is why making you need to make sure that your chosen sander fits comfortably in your hand.
Given the fact that you’ll be using your sander on a constant basis, great ergonomic design can help significantly reduce the amount of pressure and force applied to your hands while in the process of sanding.
Ergonomic just basically means how well a particular shape or material adapts to your body, there are several high-quality sanders out there that provide a natural and comfortable fit to allow you to continue working for extended amounts of time without getting tired or experiencing any pain.
The most important factor aside from how comfortable any given sander is in your hands is the amount of power output that you’re able to achieve by using the said machine.
Depending on the size and complexity of the furniture that you plan on sanding, you’ll need to purchase a sander that is able to keep up with the surface area demands that you have.
Before making the final purchase decision on any sander, make sure that you read the fine details to ensure that it has sufficient power to complete your jobs the right way.
Every sander comes with its own pre-set power output and sanding capabilities so confirm all of these details before purchasing any sander that you’re interested in.
Sawdust is an undeniable factor that occurs anytime you sand wood, one of the best ways to protect your health and workshop form sawdust is by using a sander that comes with a dust collection bag.
Most simple, small, and relatively cheap sanders do not come with any sort of dust collection apparatus or ability which is why they’re typically reserved for relatively small home improvement or furniture restoration projects.
Many of the high-end or professional sanding machines come with dust collection apparatuses which collect excess sawdust and give you the ability to maintain a pristine workshop.
Some sanders even give you the ability to connect your shop vac to your sander in order to thoroughly remove any excess dust from the air and your surroundings.
There are also dedicated dust collection systems available on the market that you can use in order to reduce the overall amount of sawdust given off by your sanding machine.
As long as you make sure that your chosen sander meets all of these criteria, you should have no problem choosing the right sander option for your needs the first time.
Which Furniture Sander is Right For Your Needs?
Now that you’ve read all the information about different types of sanders and the various features they provide, it’s time to decide on which sander is right for your furniture building or restoration needs.
There are a lot of ways that you can determine whether or not a sander is right for you however the best way to go about doing so is fairly simple, look at the scale and complexity of the work you need to accomplish then base your decision from there.
Due to being able to perfectly reach the 90º edges and corners (instead of doing them by hand or leaving them unfinished due to the circular shape), you’ll get a uniform, coherent and incredibly high-quality finish on any piece of furniture.
You get the best of both worlds as well, you can use them to remove old paint (with rougher grit sandpaper) and to apply a silky smooth high polish finish as well (with higher grit sandpaper).
This is their strongest quality when matched against their rounded counterparts. With a circular sander, while most surfaces would be nicely dealt with, you’d have the problem of not being able to properly sand corners or edges.
With a rectangular shaped one such as a belt or palm sheet sander, you can perfectly match the sander to the furniture’s shape (such as 90º corners or regular chair legs and backs).
While this point is shared among circular ones as well, it’s a very important quality to have when dealing with furniture. Since you’ll often be working with one hand only and in uncomfortable positions, a lightweight and easily maneuvered sander is a must-have.
A lot of these machines are very inexpensive, especially for the value you get out of them.
You can get more or less inexpensive solutions, depending on your level of work, but even the professional-tier choices won’t break your bank. For the casual user or hobbyist especially, there are excellent choices that give you a superb bang for your buck.
If you have a woodworking project that has a very large surface area or complex design, you’ll need a sander that can handle large areas as well as a sander that can accommodate the intricate patterns of said wood furniture. Every situation is different which is why it’s difficult to give a definitive answer about which furniture sander is right for you.
The best way to ensure that you’re making the right decision when it comes to a furniture sander is by always assessing your work prior to initiating the project. This will allow you to properly analyze all aspects of your woodworking project to cater your furniture sander choice to fit those exact requirements.
This will save you tons of money and wasted time so always approach each furniture building or restoration project on an individual basis.
Best Furniture Sanders Available
You know about all of the different types of sanders out on the market and how each of them varies from one another.
Now it’s time to make a purchase which will require that you choose between a selection of different furniture sanders available in order to choose the best product and company.
In this section, you’re going to find out top recommendations for furniture sanders currently available on the market to make your purchase decision a little easier.
All of the furniture sanders listed below come in various types and designs so you have a wide range of options to choose from all of which can offer the perfect solution to your woodworking needs.
Let’s take a look at some of our top furniture sander recommendations below:
The Corded Detail Sander by SKIL is a wonderful detail sander for those that need intricate smoothing on a relatively small surface area.
It comes with an array of different configuration options and settings which allow you complete versatility when restoring or building furniture.
It has been nicknamed the “Octo” because it comes with eight different detail attachments that allow you to adapt your sanding at any moment. It has a 12,000 OPM which provides more than enough power to those who want to sand through any imperfections in their furniture.
This sander by SKIL features a comfortable and ergonomic design that makes it easy to use for prolonged periods of time in addition to its being the perfect sander tool for relatively small areas.
- Comes with eight nifty attachments to make it easy to sand the tiniest and hardest-to-reach areas
- 12,000 OPMs
- Doesn’t hold up to anything other than the lightest and daintiest of use
- Breaks quite easily and could use design improvements
This nimble sander has the power and sophistication to deliver fine finishes and is packed with features that keep your hands comfortable, dust contained and simple, no-tool sanding sheet replacement.
The PORTER-CABLE 382 is a ROS (random orbital sander) and provides powerful sanding capabilities for virtually any furniture restoration or building project that you have.
The PORTER-CABLE 382 Random Orbital Sander is a good choice if you’ve already got palm and detail sanders and simply want to add a more powerful sander that can cover larger surface areas.
It comes with a 1.9 Amp motor and 12,000 OPMs, but users feel it lacks power and works best on lightweight jobs. It’s also the heaviest on our list (at 3 lbs.), so expect a little more fatigue.
One of the complaints is a frustrating on/off switch, which won’t seem relevant until you think about how often you’re turning a sander on and off. The PORTER-CABLE 382 also comes with an integrated dust collector
- Only random orbital sander on our list
- Works adequately if you have only modest demands of it
- Feels weak and underpowered
- Poorly-designed on/off switch
- Poorly-designed dust collector falls off easily
Providing maximum sanding speeds needed for smooth finishes the PORTER-CABLE Random Orbit Sander features a controlled finishing system maintaining controllable pad speeds while minimizing gouging during start up.
The Makita BO4556K is the perfect finishing tool for those woodworkers who are interested in getting quality results.
With a 2 Amp motor driving 14,000 OPM (orbits per minute) to give you an outstanding finished product, this Makita is also applauded for minimal vibration and hand fatigue.
Even the on/off switch makes sense, indicating overall attention to design details and responsiveness to the consumer.
Paper installation is a breeze and the dust collection system rid your surface of as much sawdust as anyone could expect.
In a machine this well-liked, the only feature arguably missing is an option for variable speeds, but that would cause a significant bump in price which most people would not be pleased with.
- 14,000 OPM for fast and smooth finish sanding
- Low vibration
- Logical design – comfortable ergonomics
- Quick and easy paper change
Only comes with one variable speed setting
The Black & Decker BDEMS600 Detail Sander packs a significant punch in an unassuming package.
Only 1.2 Amps but with an impressive 16,000 OPMs, it balances power and control with the ability to get into tiny spaces, especially with the included finger attachment.
It doesn’t have the option of attaching a dust collection hose, but the on-board dust collection system works fine for the small volume of sawdust you’ll generate with a detail sander.
It’s best suited for small and light jobs, though, and the triangular shape means you’ll be hunting for the sandpaper.
- Super high 16,000 OPMs
- Gets the job done in the nooks and crannies
- Smaller price tag
- Might be overworked if it’s your only sander
- Can be tough to find replacement paper
- No hose attachment for dust
The Black & Decker BDEMS600 Mouse Detail Sander features a 3-position grip for control and ease of use in multiple applications; the palm grip is ideal for sanding surfaces, the precision grip provides extreme maneuverability, and the handle grip allows you to get into ultra tight spaces.
The Bosch GSS20-40 came in second place but is still a great choice.
With a more powerful feel than the Top Pick Makita but with minimal vibration, it has many of the same features – accommodates a dust collection hose, 2.0 Amp motor, good ergonomics, and clamped-in sandpaper.
A unique feature on our list is the Bosch’s 3-sided vertical sanding along the edges of the pad, a real plus when sanding in drawers and bookshelves.
And many users report less noise than expected from a sander. The only place it lost out was in OPMs, unable to quite match the finish offered by the Makita.
- Powerful feeling
- Little vibration
- Easy change paper
- Can attach to your shop vac
- Relatively low OPM power
All of the furniture sanders mentioned above come with all of the must-have features that you want in a high-quality sander tool. Use the information listed above to make the right decision about which furniture sander is best for you.
The German engineered Bosch GSS20-40 Orbital Finishing Sander (1/4 Sheet), commonly known as a palm sander, is a must-have tool to add a professional touch to each of your sanding projects.
Frequently Asked Questions about Furniture Sanders
When you are stripping furniture the wood remains stained once you are done, whereas Sanding goes a step further and removes the residual straining.
We typically lean more towards using palm sanders for furniture sanding as orbital and table top sanders are heavy-duty tools, whereas Palm sanders are lightweight, portable, easily maneuverable, and give a smoother finish.
If you are looking to sand your cabinets, we suggest going for Orbital sanders as they are your best bet for heavier projects. Orbital sanders will do a great job when removing material from cabinets by not penetrating deep into the wood.
Our recommendation for the best sander for cabinets is: PORTER-CABLE 382 Sander
If you’re engaged in any big home decorating project; dust is a major issue. Dust in your lungs, dust in your eyes, and around your home should be avoided. There are various options but most involve the protection of yourself with a mask, filters on your sander, dust extraction units, or a combination of these things.
In my experience dust bags on sanders are effective with the coarser particles but poor at providing protection from finer dust.
If you happen to have something like a Shopova vacuum with standard, large-diameter hose connectors, it is worth checking if a sander you are thinking of buying can hook up (many cans). Even if you use a vacuum unit, sanders blow out a lot of air to stay cool and quickly fill interiors with fine dust.
A quality face mask is always a good option. Also, open windows, close doors to living areas, and change your clothes before entering. This can save many arguments, as well as your health…
A lot of people ask me what the best sanders for furniture are, to which I always answer rectangles. When it comes to furniture such as tables, chairs, and cabinets, rectangular-shaped handheld sanders give you unbeatable efficiency and ease of use which is both reflected on the stunning high-quality results.
Also, the smaller they are the better since you’ll be able to fit them in wherever you need without being blocked by a stocky body. Usability with 1 hand is also a fantastic advantage when dealing with furniture so you have one hand free to move it around or support yourself.
Some things to consider when buying a sander is how it feels in your hand. Are the top and bottom plates surrounded by plastic or is it metal? Does it have a removable tip and is that tip likely to break? Does it have the detachable Velcro for easy removal of sanding pads? Does it use generic size sanding pads? Does it have a dust catcher and how effective is it?
I took all these things into consideration as I review these 6 sanders below to determine the best sanders for wood.
You can buy abrasive rolls with adhesive on the back, too. This is a good option for bench work. For rough, home decorating jobs the adhesive pads tend to ruck. Abrasives with a backing that includes cloth reinforcement are more durable than a purely paper backing.
Thin, non-reinforced sheets break easily on rough surfaces or edges. Redecoration of older homes can be hazardous. Old paint can have high lead content and asbestos can be found in textured wall coatings. Extra care is worthwhile and a mask capable of dealing with toxic dust is a good investment.
So, because of these requirements, a 1/4 sheet sander or palm sander will certainly be an excellent choice. However, if the piece of furniture has unusual detailing, sharp corners, and very tight spaces, a detail sander would be a fantastic sidekick to any of the rectangular sanders.
Individual abrasive pads, purpose-made by the manufacturer to fit a specific model, are convenient and ideal for smaller jobs, but they are expensive. If you have a lot of work to do, using rolls or sheets is much more economical.
You cut the right size and attach it to the sender with clips. These clips are critical in the long-term use of a sander, so look for a model with robust features. If the clips break, the sander is useless.
If you can iron a shirt, you already know how to use an electric sander. First, set the sander down with the grit pad attached to the Velcro underneath. The weight of the sander does most of the work. Just move it back and forth enough to take the sheen off of the furniture.
You just want the surface roughed up enough so that the new paint grabs onto the old surface. When you have sanded the surface, wipe the furniture piece down with a moist rag and you are ready for primer.
Use all of the information in this article to help you make the right decision about which furniture sander is best for your needs. Happy woodworking!
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