All the Different Types of Sanders You Need to Know | Expert Guide

Ah, sanders! The prized possession in any passionate woodworkers’ arsenal. If you’re into this stuff, you probably own one or two types of sanders yourself. But do you know exactly how many types of sander there are?

Belt and circular sanders are the most common ones. But guess what? There are sanders with long handles that can reach up to 13 feet! Yeah, those exist. Here are all the types available. Who knows, maybe you will stumble on something you need but don’t know yet.

Types of Sanders

There are actually many different kinds of sanders. One might even say that there are too many types. But each of them has its unique characteristics and use cases. Here are all the types you need to know about.

types of sander
man sanding wood floor

1. Disc Sander

First up we have the disc sander. These are super versatile. The main strong suit of these is that they can be used in different scenarios. It’s very straightforward to use as well.

You have a wheel that’s covered by sandpaper and a motor will rotate the wheel. For better grip, there are rubberized handles.

When to Use?

Disc sanders work on flat surfaces but belt sanders are the best for that case. If you have jobs like smoothening plastic or wood, then disc sanders are great. You can also get rust out from wood.

2. Belt Sander

Belt sanders are one of the most common sanders you will see used in a professional setting. They are powerful and very useful. You can probably imagine how the mechanism works for these.

belt sender
Belt Sander

You have two drums and a belt welded over them. When the motor rotates the drums, this will power the belt as well. Then you can start sanding just as you normally would. These are great for professional-level jobs.

One thing you need to remember with these is the smaller the belt the better the control you get.

When to Use?

Since these works great on a large surface, belt sanders are perfect for removing any kind of finish from the wood. You can use it to sand flat surfaces and floors easily. Speaking of floors, there is a totally different class of sanders for that. So, keep on reading.

3. File Sander

Perhaps one of the most unique-looking sanders. If you aren’t familiar with the world of woodworking and DIY, you might not know this sander even exists. But they do and they have a lot of uses as well.

File sanders feature a very narrow belt that lets you get into those tight spaces. These are perfect for getting into nooks and crannies. If you have a job that needs a lot of detail and precision, these will come in handy. And of course, they aren’t suited for a large surface.

When to Use?

Any sort of narrow space or any detailing work will be the perfect place to use one of these. You can also use it to sand at an angle.

4. Detail Sander

From the name, you would think these would be the ones for detailed sanding. While you aren’t quite wrong, the main benefit of these is the compact size and their ability to reach tough places.

You can also change the way you hold it too. Go for either a palm grip, precision grip or handle grip. You can easily change out the sandpaper to the grit you want for the job you’re doing.

When to Use?

Any sort of smoothening on large surfaces.

5. Circular Sander

Circular sanders we think are perfect for small DIY projects. They are hands down one of the easiest to use and are very compact. Plus they don’t cost all that much either. Since circular sanders are so easy to use, that makes them the perfect sanders for beginners. These are also called orbital sanders.

When to Use?

Circular sanders are mostly used as a finishing touch. They can give you a nice smooth edge and also clean out things like putty. All in all, that isn’t quite bad for a little guy like this.

6. Drywall Sander

Can you even be more obvious about what these are for? We mean it’s directly in the name. Drywall sanders will have a long handle attached to them. This will let you reach those high and far places.

drywall sander
Drywall Sander

Lengthwise you get between 10 – 13 feet, usually. Quality drywall sanders do not come cheap though. But they are fantastic at what they do. And they even come with a dust collecting bag as well.

When to Use?

These are for sanding drywall. To be more specific, you can use it to remove any excess adhesive.

7. Random Orbital Sander

At first glance, random orbital sander might look very similar to a circular sander. But the difference is the sander moves in circular orbits in addition to circles. One of the biggest benefits is this movement pattern won’t leave any swirls.

orbital sander
Orbital Sander

These are fairly easy to handle and more impressively they aren’t too expensive. A pretty solid sander indeed. You can also get a lot of similar jobs done with this one just as you would with a belt sander.

When to Use?

These are great for smoothing surfaces and carving detail.

8. Oscillating Spindle Sander

Quite a fancy name, isn’t it? The mechanism is impressive and fancy as well with this one. These work by raising a drum inside and a spindle get lowered at that point. It will prevent any grooves and also decreases wear and tear.

When to Use?

Best for use on curves and corners.

9. Floor Sanders

While the previous sanders are most common, there is another family of sanders called floor sanders. And of course, you can probably tell what these are for. They are for sanding floors (duh).

There are 2 main types:

  • Drum Sanders: Very powerful and difficult to control. These are used to sand floors and are perfect for removing paint and adhesive. But aren’t the best for working on floor edges.
  • Edging Sanders: These are a little less powerful compared to floor sanders and are easier to control. You can use it to sand floor edges easily.

Wrapping Up

There you have it. Now you know how many types of sander there are. We are sure at least one has surprised you. Picking one is all about matching it with the right use case.

That’s how you make sure you get one that’s right for the job you want to do. Otherwise, you will end up getting the wrong one and waste money and not to mention time.

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