Best Sander Reviews and Buying Guide 2020

wood sander buying guide

When it comes to woodworking, sanding is by no means an enjoyable element but you really can’t avoid it.

Some form of mechanical sanding is absolutely crucial for any workshop, big or small. If you invest in the best sander, it might not make the undertaking fun but it definitely makes it less taxing and helps you get the job done quickly. Most importantly, sanders deliver superb results and you really don’t need to spend a fortune to get an effective, reliable workhorse.

In today’s best sander reviews, we’ll give you a snapshot of 5 of the smartest choices on the market. Rather than attempting to cover every option at your disposal, we instead focused mainly on random orbit sanders with a couple of combination machines thrown in.

What is a Sander?

A sander is a remarkably simple power tool that helps you to smooth surfaces harnessing the abrasive qualities of sandpaper.

This sandpaper is attached to the sander by an assortment of methods depending on the type of tool you buy. You’ll get a mechanism within the housing to move this sandpaper rapidly.

Sanders can be handheld or benchtop style. They are usually powered electrically but sometimes, particularly in garages, they use compressed air.

You might already own a drill or multi-purpose tool with a sander attachment but there really is no substitute for a dedicated machine.


Whether you’re a keen home DIYer, woodworker or contractor, negotiating the minefield of electric sanders can be incredibly confusing. We’ll walk you through the different types up for grabs next so you can see which of these variants would work best for your needs…

  • Random Orbit
  • Orbital Finishing
  • Belt
  • Disc

Random orbit sanders are arguably the most versatile way to buff up an array of surfaces and they are certainly the most popular choice today.

These sanders act as a kind of bridge between orbitals and belt sanders. They are flexible and also generally very affordable. With a random orbit, you’ll have enough power to deal confidently with rough timber but you’ll also be able to apply them to finishing work for the double-win.

Random orbital sanders are circular which allows you to work your way into awkward spots and corners with ease. They use a hook and loop system to keep the sandpaper attached.

The orbital action allows for a very clean finish with an absence of the swirl marks or scratches that can mar your workpiece.


​If you’re looking for a sander, you’re in for a treat today. As well as a comprehensive buying guide, we’ll walk you through 5 sander reviews to help you get the best tool for your needs.

First, here’s a handy look at 5 of the best sanders on the market…

Detailed Sander Reviews

1. BLACK + DECKER Orbit Sander

First up in our best sander reviews is an incredibly cheap but highly effective little unit from the legendary BLACK + DECKER.

We’ll be frank, the very keen price of this sander is one of its key selling points. Don’t let that fool you, though. Whatever your skill level from beginner through to expert, the BDERO100 will serve you well even though it costs less than a round of drinks.

With so many options at your disposal, a random orbit is probably your soundest bet if you’re looking for a single tool for finishing work so read on to see what makes the BLACK + DECKER well worth further investigation…

Black & Decker BDERO100

I purchased this orbital sander a year ago and have used it on several sanding projects. Inexpensive, light, and well-designed. It works exactly as advertised and is perfect for my needs as a homeowner with normal household projects.

By Matthew H,

Main Features

    • Random orbital action
    • Hook and loop
    • 3.2 pounds
    • ​Constant OPM (orbits per minute)
    • Sanding sheet and dust canister

One of the leading advantages of this sander, price set aside, is its ultra-compact nature. It weighs just a fraction over 3 pounds so you won’t get fatigued even if you undertake a larger project. It measures just 7 x 5 x 5 inches so you can use it one-handed. The rubberized, non-slip grip completes this ergonomic package and makes the BDERO100 a real pleasure to use.

With the sanding pad making miniature orbital rotations, you’ll get the smoothest of finishes while remaining confident your workpiece won’t get scratched up. Not only this, the orbital action also allows for a substantial removal rate so you can do more done in less time without compromising aesthetics.

By keeping the motor and sanding pad apart, you’ll be away to crack on with your work without being plagued by vibration. This is one of many in which the BDERO100 puts user comfort uppermost.

The 2-amp motor is not the hardest-hitting power plant available but it’s more than fit for purpose.

There’s no variable speed on offer with this sander. Your pad will move consistently at the same OPM (orbits per minute) although this is not as bad as it might sound. Although it won’t be possible to tweak the pace, you can simply swap the paper and use different grit sizes to tackle various applications. This way, you can still exercise control without needing to pay for the cost of a variable speed motor.

Removing and swapping out the paper can be a real chore with some sanders. The hook and loop system on this orbital unit, by contrast, renders it an absolute breeze. You literally peel away your sandpaper and replace it then you’re good to go. While this approach might seem to lack security, the paper will remain in place and there’s little chance of it falling off even with vigorous sanding sessions.

There’s a dinky dust canister thrown in. While we could complain that this doesn’t work brilliantly and is on the small side, it’s certainly better than nothing. This canister is easy to remove for the purposes of emptying and cleaning.

All corded tools are to some extent restrictive. The BLACK + DECKER only has a 6-foot cable but, in the plus column, it’s housed on top of the sander and you can move it out of your way with ease. Just make sure that length of cord gives you adequate room for maneuver.

Woodworking obviously creates a large volume of dust. Even if you have a dust extraction system in full flow, how about your tools themselves? BLACK + DECKER made sure to design a sealed switch so none of this fine debris works its way inside meaning your sander will last much longer.


    • Incredible value without stiffing you on performance
    • Leaves an impeccably smooth finish without marking so ideal for working with sensitive timber.
    • Orbital rotation perfect for preventing blemishes.
    • Super-lightweight at just over 3 pounds so work for long spells without tiring yourself.
    • Rubberized grip is non-slip and very nicely balanced.
    • Minimal vibration thanks to separation of motor and sanding pad.
    • Changing paper is an absolute breeze with hook and loop system.
    • Accessories limited to a sanding sheet and dust canister but you can’t expect much more at this price point.
    • 2-year limited warranty for peace of mind.


    • There’s no variable speed control so you’ll be slightly limited
    • Although a dust canister is provided, it’s rather too small for comfort
    • 6 foot cord could be longer so make sure this gives you enough room for maneuver
    • Not ideal for preparatory work


If you’re a beginner looking for your first sander or a more seasoned woodworker constrained by budget, the BLACK + DECKER BDERO100 is worthy of a place on your shortlist.

While you won’t be overloaded with accessories nor delivered a sander capable of continuous use on a job site, you shouldn’t expect that for this price. What you will get is a top-notch orbital sander capable of serving up a silky smooth and flaw-free finish in a compact unit that’s a joy to use.

While it would be inaccurate to claim the BDERO100 is a contender for the best sander on the market, it’s certainly fair to say that in its class and price point, it has no serious competitors.

2. Bosch ROS20VSC Orbit Sander

Next on the list in our best sander reviews is another random orbit sander from the highly reputable Bosch.

While this sander is not as cheap as the BLACK + DECKER, it’s still remarkably affordable and it offers uprated functionality along with more power so it’s not money spent for nothing.

A glimpse at the main features before we explore this sander in detail…

Bosch ROS20VSC

I like it. The machine works like all the other Bosch tools that I own, smooth & seemingly effortlessly. The dust bag, which I use when I am not able to hook the sander up to a vac, is the best I have come across. BUT, one MUST remember to empty the dust collector often. The collector works so well that it fills up rather quickly. It helps to READ, HEED & FOLLOW the owners manual

By Maka D.

Main Feat​​​​ures

  • 2.5-amp motor
  • Variable speed from 7,500OPM to 12,000OPM
  • Hook and loop
  • Microfilter system
  • Dust canister
  • Damping ring 
  • Case or bag depending on model

Although it tips the scales at a mere 3.5 pounds, the poky 2.5-amp variable speed motor on the Bosch ensures its no lightweight when it comes to performance. You can fine-tune the running speed from as little as 7,500OPM right up through to 12,000OPM. This allows you to match the speed to your task without needing to fiddle around and change paper. Adjust the speed when required using a simple dial.

The motor also embraces smooth start technology. This is key for minimizing the likelihood of gouges.

You’ll get an orbit diameter of 3/32 inches and a radius of 3/64 inches. The eccentric offset also measures 3/64 inches.

Compact sanders like the Bosch are tailor-made for long and involved projects where a bulkier unit would leave you feeling weighed down. You can wield the ROS2OVSC in one hand and keep going for hours without straining yourself. You can grip this sander in a number of positions and both the grip and body feel very comfy in your hand. This is crucial if you plan to work on bigger, rougher projects without feeling like you’ve been mauled.

Although it’s a corded sander, the cable is 8 foot long so you should be able to move around the workshop without feeling hemmed in. The trade-off is that corded tools generally deliver far more power.

In common with all good random orbit sanders, you won’t be menaced by anything much in the way of vibration as you work away.

Another advantage of using a smaller sander is that you can kiss goodbye to swirl marks that spoil the finish. Even when you’re working with hard surfaces and endgrain boards, you’ll experience a superbly smooth finish every time.

This 5-inch sander harnesses the popular hook and loop system for attaching the discs. This is highly user-friendly while also ensuring that the discs don’t come hurtling off mid-flow. 35,000 top-tier hooks do their job in fine style.

Whether you’re a home woodworker, cabinet maker or professional carpenter, using a sander is a messy business. Luckily, Bosch has your back. This model features an integrated filtration system so that the very finest particles down to 0.5 microns are wicked away not spewed back in your eyes and mouth.

You can choose between a cheaper package with a soft bag or pay a little more for a hard case thrown in. There’s no right or wrong answer here, just make sure you think about your intended usage and buy accordingly.

Bosch offer a solid 1-year guarantee so you can invest in this sander without any real concerns.


    • 2.5-amp motor delivers a great punch for such a compact sander
    • Orbit and rotation combine to allow for rapid removal with a top-tier finish.
    • Variable speed motor so operate anywhere from 7,500 orbits per minute up to 12,000OPM at the top end.
    • Kiss goodbye to the plague of fine dust particles thanks to nifty microfilter system.
    • Dust canister twists off easily for emptying or cleaning and completes the dust elimination system letting you work safely and in comfort.
    • Sandpaper secured nicely with simple but effective hook and loop system so no risk of flying discs.
    • Changing the sandpaper is an absolute breeze.
    • Available with hard or soft carry case.


    • Can be messy using indoors as dust tends to blow around a bit.
    • Not cut out for hardcore professional use.


For anyone looking for a small sander that promises a finish you’d normally associate with a larger and more expensive model, the Bosch ROS2OVSC is well worth checking out.

Since Bosch started producing sanders, more and more woodworkers have switched to using them. You get great brand heritage, fantastic value and, perhaps most importantly, first-class results. There’s little point in buying an inexpensive tool if it lets you down. The ROS2OVSC is built to stay the distance.

If you are looking for a versatile random orbit sander at a pocket-friendly price point, pop the Bosch ROS2OVSC on your shortlist. It will not disappoint.

3. Makita BO5041 Orbit Sander

Our third random orbit sander comes from Makita, a titan in the power tools space. While their products come in at a reasonable price, you get more than enough performance for use on the job site as well as the home workshop.

The B05041K is the range-topper in Makita’s line of 5-inch sanders. We chose this model because it’s affordable while also featuring variable speed, an elongated handle and a rotating fore grip not present in the cheaper pair of sanders.

We’ll have a quick look at the principal features of the Makita before digging into this to-notch sander in more depth…

Makita BO5041K

Great tool for all the resurfacing / rust removing applications I have applied it to. If you can manage to attach a dust collection / shop vac to this thing it actually works pretty well to reduce dust mess. I highly recommend using a dust mask while doing any sanding as any small particulates even just wood can be hazardous to your lungs.

By Graham P.

Main Features

  • 3-amp motor
  • Variable speed from 4,000OPM to 12,000OPM
  • ​Front handle fully adjustable
  • Pad control system
  • Random orbit action (1/8-inch)
  • Lock-on button for trigger
  • Case available

Whether you’re a home woodworking enthusiast, a carpenter undertaking finish work or a contractor needing something portable yet powerful for the job site, the Makita hits the spot. We’d have to consider this 5-inch random orbit sander among the very best sanders in its class.

With a potent 3-amp motor kicking out a high rotation speed, the Makita lets you get through your sanding projects in double quick time. With large, sealed ball-bearings, the motor doesn’t just serve up plenty of power but it will last you longer into the bargain.

The pad control system that kicks in when you fire up the Makita puts paid to any nasty marks and gouges that can spoil your finish before you even get started.

The 1/8-inch orbit is fairly generous for a sander this compact. While the Makita will be obviously outflanked by more substantial sanders, for something this size it’s pretty tough to beat.

The handle is a pleasure to hold and you won’t feel the pinch even if you use this sander for lengthy spells of tough work. This handle rotates 360 degrees so you’ll have more latitude to work in line with the exigencies any given project. The trigger is designed to be used with 2 fingers and its nifty lock-on mechanism lets you carry out ongoing work without needing to maintain continuous pressure.

One serious issue with the Makita it’s worth being aware of is the way it vibrates excessively at lower speeds. This effectively limits using it to a few minutes at a time without running the risk of injuring yourself. You’ll also notice an unwelcome dip in power at lower speeds so think seriously about the type of work you have in mind before potentially wasting your money.

In the interests of fairness, this does disappear as you crank the speed up to halfway and above. At higher speeds, the B05041K is blissfully vibration-free and suitable to prolonged sanding.

Noise also varies considerably depending on speed. At full-clip, you’ll experience the terrible racket doled out by pretty much all compact sanders. Dial things back a notch and the Makita is surprisingly quiet.

Every sander stands or falls with finish quality and the Makita delivers work that’s beyond reproach with no visible marking at all and a supremely smooth surface you’ll be proud of.

There’s an abrasive disc, dust bag and tool case included with the Makita which goes some way to make up for the price. Also, if you’re not satisfied with your sander, you’ll have a month in which to claim a full refund. Beyond that, there’s the standard 1-year Makita warranty to cover all reasonable repairs without dipping into your pocket.


    • Powerhouse 3-amp motor
    • Outstanding finish quality offers you a rapid rate of removal along with a flawless finished product
    • Adjust the front handle to sand in any awkward spots and tight spaces fuss-free.
    • 2-finger trigger features lock-on functionality, perfect for continuous use without clawed fingers.
    • Comfortable to use and designed so you stay in full control at all times however demanding the project.
    • Operates almost silently at lower speeds.
    • Fore grip rotates through 360 degrees for maximum flexibility.
    • Pad control system when starting up to reduce the chance of any unsightly marking.
    • Wide range of applications from general carpentry and cabinetry through to decking and boat building.
    • Disc, dust bag and case chucked in adding to already great value.


    • A few complaints leveled about dust collection.
    • Relatively expensive when compared to the competition although still sound overall value.
    • Tends to vibrate more than similar sanders in its class, particularly at lower speeds.


While the Makita is not the cheapest option at your disposal, not everyone is on the trail of the lowest-priced product. In return for paying a little more, you’ll be rewarded with a truly versatile random orbit sander equally at home in your DIY workshop or out on the site.

The B05041K is a first-class sander which, if you’re prepared to cope with a few quirks and niggles, offers a wonderful finish alongside more than adequate power to churn through the most taxing projects.

Road test the Makita today and you will not be sorry you gave it a shot!

4. WEN 6502 Belt Disc Sander

Next up in our best sander reviews is something rather different…

The WEN 6502 serves up 2-in-1 functionality operating as either a 6 x 6 inch disc sander or a 4 x 36 inch belt sander.

This benchtop unit is a lot bulkier than the random orbit sanders we have looked at but still keenly priced so read on to see if this is something that might fit the bill for your sanding needs…

WEN 6502

This is my first WEN product. I was hesitant to purchase it due to the low price and expecting to "get what you pay for". Well, I was wrong. I have used this for two days, a few hours each day. The belts are still intact and have not had to make any adjustments. I am not 100% convinced the instructions were correct, but if you use your head, logic and common sense, the installation works out. This is a well made sander with a powerful motor.

By Cooper D.

Main Features

  • 4 x 36 inch belt sander and 6 x 6 inch disc sander
  • 4.3-amp motor
  • 3600RPM
  • 2 ¼-inch dust port
  • Tension lever

This benchtop sander has such a reasonable price tag, it’s difficult to believe the multi-purpose functionality you’ll be rewarded with.

We’ll say straight off the bat that this sander is not perfect but it does offer a great scope of work and it doesn’t cost the earth either. If you have more modest sanding needs and you’re operating on a limited budget, the 6502 is the ideal solution.

Whatever the condition of your lumber, however ragged and splintered it might be, the WEN will ensure it ends up perfectly slick and smooth with the minimum of fanfare.

While the 1/2HP motor might not be the most powerful on the market, for its intended use, it’s more than fit for purpose. The 4.3-amp power plant will generate up to 3600RPM which is sufficient for most reasonable home-based sanding projects.

The belt is fully adjustable. You can tilt it with ease through a wide range of configurations depending on the work you’re undertaking.

Stability and vibration-dampening are key in a benchtop sander. The rugged cast iron base makes certain that the WEN won’t start wobbling or moving. You’ll get refreshingly little vibration either so you can focus fully on the job at hand.

A decent work table is crucial with a sander like this and, with the WEN, you’ll be able to accommodate even larger timber on the aluminum table. You’ll be able to miter up to 45 degrees and there’s a neat, removable miter fence included. This comes fully to the fore if you want to exercise unwavering control when sanding any angled edges.

When you also factor in the 6-inch side disc, imagination is your only limitation when it comes to sanding. There are no other sanders in this price range offering comparable breadth of scope.

The safety guard does more than stop your fingers or stray hairs getting snarled up in the works. It also functions as a stop for your workpiece so you can beaver away with real precision.

Thinking of safety, there’s nothing more conducive to accidents in the workshop than dust and debris everywhere. There’s a regular 2.5-inch port on the WEN so it’s no hassle at all to hook up your sander to a shop vac and keep everything immaculate and free of fine dust and irritating particles.

We should mention a couple of the less striking elements of the WEN so you are properly informed before making a possibly rash purchase…

If you need something rugged and able to cope with extended heavy use in a commercial setting, the power and build quality of the 6502 combine to make this a poor choice. The plastic might look attractive enough but this sander is not really resilient enough for more than home use. The power, too, is something of a letdown if you are expecting a real beast of a machine.


    • Incredibly straightforward to set up so get going straight out the box.
    • 4.3-amp 1/2HP motor offers serviceable power in a highly affordable benchtop unit.
    • Multi-purpose blade guard lessens the probability of any accidents while also funneling dust into the spout and acting as a wood stop.
    • Alter the belt from horizontal to vertical or somewhere between for the ultimate in adaptability.
    • Cast iron base gives you great stability keeping things centered even under heavy load.
    • 2 ½-inch dust collection port so hook up your favorite shop vac and keep the workshop spotless.
    • Belt changes are a walk in the park.
    • Sizeable table that bevels from 0 to 45 degrees and features a removable miter fence.
    • 80-grit sanding disc, 80-grit sanding belt, work table and miter gauge all included for a really generous package.


    • Better suited to woodworking hobbyists than professionals.
    • Power is somewhat underwhelming.
    • Plastic gives it a cheaper feel and raises questions about lifespan.
    • No dust collection included.


If you’re prepared to overlook the cheap-feeling plastic construction and the fact the WEN is not exactly supercharged with power, the 6502 has a great deal to recommend it…

Anyone not sure whether to roll with a belt sander or disc sander will find the 2-in-1 nature of this machine a godsend.

For any casual home woodworkers, the inbuilt flaws of this sander are not particularly relevant. For basic needs, you’ll have all the performance you need and the build quality is unlikely to let you down if you’re not pummeling it day in, day out on the job site.

This benchtop sander is well worth further investigation if you think it meshes well with your requirements. Check out the WEN 6502 at your earliest opportunity!

Like all WEN power tools, you’ll benefit from a comprehensive 2-year warranty. This lets you access a very helpful customer care department and you can avail yourself of their skilled technicians if required.

5. Festool 571810 RO 150 FEQ Rotex Sander

We’ll round out our best sander reviews with an exceptional dual-mode sander from the colossus Festool.

Festool are the Rolls-Royce of power tools. If you’re on the hunt for one of the very best compact sanders money can buy, you’re in for a real treat.

Festool 571810 RO 150

I use this 24/7. 2nd one I have. Have over a thousand hours on 1st one sanding fiberglass all day.Bearing went out on first one within a year. Was covered under Festool warranty. I fear this new one will do the same because right out of the box the bearing is very noisy( just like the first one).Funny because once bearing is replaced by Festool sander service is much more quiet and runs better. This Is a good sander.

By Kenny Y.

Main Features

  • Dual-mode sanding
  • Dust extraction system
  • Variable speed
  • Soft-start motor
  • Tool-free pad changing system
  • 6-inch disc

Are you torn between buying a sander designed for coarse sanding and one capable of polishing and finer work?

If so, the Festool Rotex RO 150 FEQ steps in and saves you buying two sanders in the form of an extremely desirable single unit.

The 6-amp motor gives you 720 watts of power which is more than enough to deal with even exacting jobs fuss-free. This doesn’t mean you need to cope with a bulky sander, though. Weighing just 5 pounds, the Festool looks rugged and hulking but is surprisingly agile when it’s tucked in your hands.

Build quality means if you invest in a Festool, it will keep going for years on end. Extra bonuses like a fully enclose gear system add further longevity by keeping the innards of your sander free of contaminants.

Using a simple switch on the top, you can match up your sander according to the application. If you activate the more aggressive mode, you’ll be able to remove large quantities of material in record quick time. Flip to random orbital mode and you’re perfectly placed to take care of fine sanding. This renders the separate purchase of a belt sander unnecessary.

While in rotary orbital mode, there’s a winning combination of 2 movements. At the same time as the pad rotates, it also makes an eccentric pattern. Although this makes the Festool very forceful, it won’t end up scratching the material like belt sanders are prone to do. It also makes the Festool a great bet for any polishing needs you might have.

Efficient dust extraction is key with all sanders. The amount of dust that flies around the workshop means you need it sucked away to enjoy a clear line of sight and prevent any injuries from flying debris. The Jetstream extraction is a wonderful filtration system that effectively sucks away dust as you create it. You can also connect the Festool to a dust extraction system with ease. The connection port is located at the bottom rear of the machine.

You can change the 6-inch pads quickly and easily. The hook and loop design means this can be carried out without needing to reach for your toolkit.

Although this Festool sander is fit to grace any construction site, it’s also great for use at home. The compact and user-friendly sander is comfortable in any setting and for more or less all your sanding needs.

When it’s time to pack your sander away or move it around, Festool’s Systainer is a wonderful touch. You can slot everything neatly away and if you get confused, there’s even a thoughtful diagram to simplify things for you. Attention to detail with storage solutions like the Systainer are the kind of touch that sets the Festool apart from cheaper competitors.

Whether you need to sand the toughest materials or roll out finer finishes, this dual-mode Festool sander is a very strong contender for the best sander on the market.

Before wrapping up, a quick look at a summary of its upsides and drawbacks…


    • 2 modes: remove stock swiftly in geared mode or harness random orbital mode for polishing and fine finishes
    • First-class Jetstream dust extraction system keeps the air around you clear while extending pad and abrasive lifespan and imparting a superior finish
    • Extremely poky 720-watt, 6-amp motor kicks out enough power for the most demanding projects
    • Variable speed: Eccentric (3,300 to 6,800OPM) and Rotary (320 to 660RPM) for your convenience and best results whatever the surface
    • Acts as a polisher at low speeds to leave a beautiful high gloss finish on your workpiece when required
    • Tool-free changing of pads couldn’t be simpler
    • Weighs just 5 pounds so despite the jaw-dropping performance and flexibility, you’ll be able to beaver away for hours without feeling burdened
    • Enclosed gear system keeps out all foreign objects to maximize the life of your sander
    • Power cord twists and locks in place so no danger of tripping over the cable and pulling it out
    • MMC electronics prevents overload upon starting the sander


    • The price is just about the only area where the Festool falls down.


Those in the know gravitate toward Festool power tools since they unfailingly deliver fully, whatever the application. This Rotex sander is no exception.

We really can’t unearth anything negative to say about this dual-purpose sander aside from its steep pricing. Even with regard to this, it still represents stunning value for money when you consider the range of functionality you get in return.

If you have the budget to justify the purchase and you’re serious about getting the very best sander on the market, we have no hesitation in suggesting you buy the Festool immediately. It really is that good.

Who Needs Sanders?

In short, pretty much anyone engaged in woodworking, whether casually at home or professionally, would benefit from buying a great sander.

From making and repairing furniture through to preparing surfaces for painting, a good sander comes into its own for a vast array of applications.

These are extremely simple tools but that doesn’t make them any less effective. The alternative, hand sanding, is really not practical in terms of either speed or finish if you’re looking to work with any reasonably large projects.

So, if you are a woodworker of any skill level, you need a sander. It’s really just a question of which one would work best for you.

THE COMPLETE WOOD sander Buying Guide

Whenever you’re looking to add a new tool to your workshop, it always pays to take your time rather than rushing in and potentially wasting your money.

And money is where you should kick things off… Think about your budget and this alone will immediately narrow your choices. We would never encourage you to spend more than you can comfortably afford. What we would advise is that you buy the best tools you can muster rather than trying to scrimp and save a few bucks at the expense of results.

As ever, we would point you towards user feedback to get a rounded and frank idea of where these tools excel and where they fall down. It’s also wise to read a decent selection of reviews so you can find out from people who have tested the tools which one would work best for you.

To help you further, we’ve broken down 8 leading factors to consider when you’re looking for the best sander…

What To Consider When Buying a Sander

    • Price
      We rarely flag pricing as something worth considering above all else when buying any given power tool but sanders are slightly different…

      Where a sander is such a fundamentally simple tool, there really is no need to splurge a fortune to get something more than capable of delivering superb results. You won’t notice a chasm of difference between cheaper and more expensive models so pay close attention to the price and ask yourself whether you really need to spend what you have in mind.

      The exception to this is if you are a professional carpenter or woodworker. In this case, you’ll need to laser in on a sander that’s designed for heavy, sustained use and this usually commands a premium.
    • Type of Sander
      Flick through the main types of sander outlined at the beginning of this article. To refresh your memory, they are:

      Random Orbit Sander
      Orbital Finishing Sander
      Belt Sander
      Disc Sander

      If none of these sanders seems suitable, there are more variants on the market so think very careful about the projects you’ll undertake and make sure you start things rolling by doubling down on the best type of sander for you.
    • Sandpaper
      Some sanders demand that you use a specific type of sandpaper. If the model you’re interested in has limitations in this area, check the sandpaper is readily available and affordable.
    • Comfort and Grip
      Ergonomics should be uppermost when you are investigating the purchase of any power tool. Portable sanders are no different.

      Look for user reviews that comment on comfortable handles, well-balanced tools and also think about the weight.

      Even if you plan to buy your sander online, it should still be possible for you to pop into a physical store and at least hold the sander you have in mind to see whether the handle and grip feel just right.

      If you are looking for a benchtop unit, think about how user-friendly it is in general and whether or not it’s appropriate for your skill level.
    • Trigger Lock-On Mechanism
      Anyone looking to engage in continuous sanding is well advised to track down a sander with a lock-on mechanism on the trigger.

      There’s nothing worse than needing to apply constant pressure as you work and this feature can be worth its weight in gold for heavy users who just want to concentrate on the job free of all distractions.
    • Power and Portability
      Sanders vary considerably in shape and size from small cordless units right through to large benchtop corded models.

      There’s no right or wrong answer in this regard, simply honestly analyze your sanding needs and home in the most fitting solution. There’s no need to buy an industrial beast if you’re a home hobbyist. Equally, it’s senseless thinking a weaker and cheaper sander will make the grade for prolonged commercial use.

      If you’re looking to take the sander onto the job site, it’s also worth taking into account whether it has a hard carrying case and whether or not it’s convenient to carry without straining yourself.
    • Variable Speed
      Sanders with variable speed control allow you to use lower speeds for delicate work and finishing then ramp it right up if you want to churn through larger, rougher pieces quick-smart.

      Again, think about the applications you have in mind and decide whether variable speed is a necessity or luxury for you. Buy accordingly.

    • Dust Collection
      Obviously, sanding is a messy business and you’ll generate a great deal of sawdust and debris as you work.

      Check that the sander you’re looking into has a suitable dust collection port so you can hook it up easily to a shop vac and keep your workshop safe and free of dust.


Now you have an idea what to consider when you’re looking for the best sander, a quick overview at some useful tips to help you use and maintain your new tool…

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Usage and Maintenance Tips

The first step in safely using a sander is to choose the right type of tool…

Belt sanders work well on larger surfaces, vibrating sanders impart excellent finishes, disc sanders are better suited to smaller surfaces.

All usual safety guidance should be followed…

- Wear safety glasses
- Wear a dust mask
- Make sure the sander is switched off before connecting it
- If you are making adjustments, changing the sandpaper or belt, always switch the sander off
- Do not use worn belts or discs
- Keep your hands well clear of the belt
- Clean the dust away regularly

That aside, using a sander is really rather simple and any specific advice depends on the type of sander you’ll be using so practice on some waste material and you’ll be up and running in no time.

Much like with usage, maintenance differs according to the type of sander you have. In general, make sure everything is clean, make sure the rollers are properly aligned if you are using a belt sander and check for any wear and tear on a regular basis.

The leading cause of sanders malfunctioning is dust working its way inside so it’s a good idea to periodically vacuum your sander to keep it top-top.

Maintenance is not taxing so take care of these basics and your sander should give you many years of faithful service.


​For anyone carrying out any meaningful woodworking or home DIY, investing the time and money in getting the very best sander is time and money well spent.

We hope that through a combination of these sander reviews and the buying guide, you’re now perfectly placed to hunt down the ideal tool for your requirements.

As always, feel free to shoot us a message if you have any queries or feedback at all. We are working hard to keep expanding Miter Saw Judge so it encompasses all your power tool needs alongside plenty of handy hints and actionable information.

Before we close for today, we assembled 10 frequently asked questions to make your life even easier…

Do you want to know what is the next best tool on the market?

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The grade of sandpaper reflects the amount of abrasive material per square inch. Higher numbers mean a finer grit with lower numbers indicating coarser grits.

Extra fine: 280-320
Very fine: 220-240
Fine: 150-180
Medium: 80-120


These fine grit sandpapers get rid of the scratches left by coarser grits. They are used for finishing.

Coarse grit sandpapers remove lots of material quickly. They are a great way to save time in the early stages before moving on to progressively finer grits to apply your finishing touches.

You should always sand in the direction of the grain. If you choose to sand across or against the grain, you’re likely to end up with some very unattractive sanding spirals totally ruining the finish.

It’s possible but that doesn’t mean it’s a wise idea. Some people do use spray bottles alongside their sanders but this is a job best reserved for hand sanding. As everyone knows, water and electricity are not the best mix!

These are caused by removing your sander from the workpiece and placing it back down again mid-flow. Try to keep the sander constantly moving over the material to avoid these distressing marks.

A belt sander is often used for form sanding. The belt will run its way over a form specially constructed to create the intended shape of your finished piece. Form sanding comes into its own in small shops where you need to round out edges and bevel more rapidly than you could by hand or using a wood router.

This is when you get a belt and disc sander mounted on the same machine. They share the same motor but perform different tasks giving you a much wider scope of work without needing 2 machines.

No! Let the sander do all the work, keep it moving and avoid using excessive downward pressure for a superior finish.

Even if you invest in the best sander, you’ll still occasionally need to hand sand something. Using a sanding sponge helps you to contour to the piece and is great for curves and detail work. The sponge helps you get a more even finish and it’s also easier to access tight spots.

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