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Sander buying guide

Guide written by:
Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds

Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds

51 guides
Do you want to refinish a damaged parquet floor, repaint your kitchen furniture, or sand your doors? For every problem, there is a solution! Discover the prowess of a belt sander, the advantages of a vibrating sander, or the advantages of an eccentric sander. Let’s go!

Important features

  • Power
  • Plate shape
  • Sanding motion
  • Type of work

Which sander for which task?




 Take on heavy duty tasks like sanding shutters with a belt sander.

Curved shapes are sanded with an eccentric sander or an orbital sander.

Sanding up high is done with a wall sander or a giraffe sander and the  Parquet flooring with a parquet.  

Finishes? A vibrating sander is the tops!

Why choose a belt sander?

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A belt sander is used for coarse sanding (parquet, joists, trusses, etc.) and only from front to back. It consists of two parallel rolls on which a strip of abrasive paper is attached.

The belt sander is powerful and noisy, it should be used with both hands as it weighs between 4 and 8 kilos and raises large clouds of dust! This sander will be your ally for finishing wood floors but you can also use a parquet sander that will offer better performance.

For example, it takes 3 passes from the coarsest to the finest grain, not to mention the edges.

What is an electric file?

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In short, an electric file is a fine grain belt sander intended for use with hard to reach corners and depths.

The electric file is lighter and more manageable but should be saved for precision work rather than large projects.

Why choose an eccentric sander?



For coarser work and for pre-finishing. Thanks to its turning plate - up to 15 000 rpm, enough to take you for a spin! - the eccentric sander is suitable for flat or curved surfaces and offers high-quality results.

Professionals and sanding crews general prefer compressed air sanders, models specially designed for regular, long-term work.

What is an orbital sander?



Basically, the orbital sander is an eccentric sander with a swash plate.

The advantage? With the combination of two movements, rotating and oscillating, it’s more efficient and versatile.

The orbital sander is particularly suited for coarse sanding and pre-finishing. Pneumatic models are also available for the pros and the sanding enthusiasts! I love it!

What other functions for disc sanders are there?



Disc sanders (eccentric sanders and orbital sanders) can also be used as polishers. To do this, replace the abrasive paper with a polishing foam or disc. Be careful to match the diameter!

For those of you who only want to polish, find a polisher instead!

For geometry aces: Disc sanders are unsuitable on angles.

Vibrating sander: the ultimate sanding machine

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Without a moment’s hesitation!

Light weight and reasonably powerful, the vibrating sander vibrates for the user’s greatest enjoyment!

Its rectangular tray is suitable for large surfaces while the triangular vibrating sanders will be able to access even the sharpest angles.

Suction sander: useful option or not?


On vacuum sanders, the vacuum tube is connected. You have to check that your tip is compatible with the intake system.

If you work alone with a volatile or dangerous substance, a vacuum sander is recommended in addition to wearing protective respiratory equipment.

The work surface remains clean and at the same time, the risk of inhalation and respiratory problems is reduced.

Especially suitable for sanding of harmful materials or working in enclosed spaces.

What is the wall sander and the giraffe?


The wall sander is specially designed for vertical use. Its true value is demonstrated working on arched doorways between two rooms. Its weight is adapted to suit its use, between 2.5 and 5 kilos maximum – this provides a great opportunity to boost your endurance!

Some wall sanders have a telescopic pole to save you having to work on a step or stepladder, which has earned them the sweet nickname of giraffe sander, because of their long neck!

Attention: the total weight can go up to 12 kilos. Just look at this as an opportunity to combine bodybuilding and DIY! Perfect for sanding plaster and joints.

Be careful never to press the tape and opt for a suction system combined with anti-fouling paper.

Does power matter in choosing a sander?



This is the type of sander that is most important as each appliance is used for a given task and a specific material.

There are models that require less than 100 Watts and others that require more than 1200 Watts!

Remember that the finer the work, the less powerful or heavy the sander needs to be.

The number of revolutions per minute is also a good indicator and a good point of comparison when making your selection.

What options are there for sanders?







Checklist of things to consider:


Suction or Filter Cassette?
 
For larger areas, use a vacuum cleaner. On a vacuum sander, be sure to see if the extraction case can be easily removed for optimum cleaning. The plastic box eliminates the need to buy disposable bags, be eco-friendly.
 
With Electronic Dimmer?
 
Very useful for all types of sanders. The low speed allows for finishing work on hardwoods and metal, the speed can also be put all the way up for roughing up a surface.
 
With Anti-Vibration System?
 
Similar to a shock absorber, the anti-vibration system offers comfort during use for easy and even sanding.
 
With or Without Iron Blackening?
 
This is more of a concern for professional sanders, the models without blackening benefit from less energy consumption, less engine wear and longer life.

Wired or Battery Powered?
 
Undoubtedly, the wire sander allows for much longer work. As far as batteries are concerned, Lithium-Ion is the best (charging in 1 hour), it’s recommended that you buy them in pairs. Battery sanders, however, remain under-represented by comparison.

Sander: tips and tricks to know

The abrasive you use is just as important as the sander itself: Carefully choose the paper that best suits your task to achieve the desired result.

Keep the sander moving along the surface as you work, otherwise, you are sure to miss a spot!
 
Wear gloves and protective goggles to avoid injury. Hearing protection is also recommended. Even with extra fine paper, the sander should never be used to bleach your teeth!
 
Get your goggles ready, hit the power, and sand!
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Guide written by:

Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds 51 guides écrits

Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds

With a handyman-father, I grew up with the soft sound of the sander and hammer on weekends.

I am both manual and cerebral (yes, it is possible.), I learned the basics of DIY and the customization of furniture because I was passionate. The salvage mentality is a true way of life that allowed me to know how to use all the tools and products needed to give something a second life, from sander to varnish.

I have two favorite activities: the transformation of old furniture and decoration tips. I am always ready to lend a helping hand to revamp a table or to restore a mirror that was intended for the trash that will become a friend’s centerpiece.

I’m convinced that it’s possible to reinvent an interior by small, regular modifications, I constantly research low-cost, test ideas.

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