What Type Of Electric Sander Is Best For Wood?

Although you may have high woodworking aspirations, you're only as good as the tools you use. This is especially true for beginning woodworkers who don't yet have the skill and finesse needed to use a sander as second nature. A common question that many beginners and even intermediate woodworkers ask is what type of electric sander is best for wood. While it's true that you'll get different answers from different advanced woodworkers, many agree that random orbital sanders are the best all-around option for wood.

Random orbital sanders have more versatility when compared to belt sanders and sheet sanders. Although they lack the strength of belt sanders and don't offer quite as smooth of a result as sheet sanders, they offer the best of both worlds. They can work well for all types of wood projects and are ideal for making furniture and cabinetry, building staircases, and more. You can also use random orbital sanders to sand your deck.

Things to know about random orbital sanders

Remember that although they have similar names, there's a difference between random orbit sanders and orbital sanders, also known as sheet sanders. The main distinction is that random orbital sanders move in a non-predictable pattern that consists of a circular motion while also moving back and forth. An orbital sander only rotates in a circular motion.

A random orbital sander offers more versatility than other sanders, and the non-linear motion allows for a much smoother result. You can sand wood with no scratching in a short amount of time. This type of sander can help you achieve even sanding on any home improvement project. Random orbital sanders also use round, abrasive sandpaper discs that generally have a diameter of 3-inch, 5-inch, or 6-inch rather than the large sandpaper sheets that sheet sanders use.

On the other hand, sheet sanders are more affordable than random orbital sanders. Another major advantage is that they're a bit better suited for precision work and adding finishing touches. It's also very easy to find sandpaper to use with sheet sanders since any regular sandpaper is compatible with the tool.

Choosing a random orbital sander

When choosing a random orbital sander for wood, there are a couple of different types to consider. Always keep your unique needs in mind when selecting a random orbital sander so that you can get the job done right. Keep in mind that an electric sander is ideal for woodworking projects since you'll be able to power it at home easily. Pneumatic random orbital sanders are another option, but they aren't usually the best choice for woodworking projects and home use. They're more commonly found in professional shops and often used for automotive work.

It's also essential to consider the size of the random orbital sander you choose. Most random orbital sanders use 5-inch diameter sandpaper, which tends to be the best option for most woodworkers. Also available are 6-inch sanders, typically better suited for commercial applications. As an amateur woodworker, you might also want to consider a 3-inch random orbit sander — these allow for a bit more precision and allow you to easily work on small projects.