You don't the permission to view this video

There will come a time when the project calls for sanding a surface to make it smooth. While there are plenty of hand sanding products you can use to get the job done, there’s nothing like a portable power sander to get it done fast and ensure a smooth finish. We’re going to look at the most common types of portable power sanders that will tackle most DIY applications. We’ll also discuss choosing the right sandpaper.


  1. 1.step 1

    Always wear a dust mask whenever you’re sanding for a project. Make sure the dust mask is certified for catching sanding dust. This information can be found on the packaging.

  2. 2.step 2

    Random orbit sanders are the choice of woodworkers because they use a round disc of sandpaper to sand in both an orbital as well as rotary motion. By combining these two sanding motions at the same time, it reduces swirl marks that can ruin a fine finish.

  3. 3.step 3

    Sand paper attaches to a random orbit sander using a sticky backing or a velcro backing. The holes allow the sander to remove dust from the sanding surface.

  4. 4.step 4

    Palm sanders, also known as finish sanders, move the pad in small, circular orbits.

  5. 5.step 5

    Sandpaper attaches to a square pad on the bottom of the palm sander with these clamps. It’s extremely easy to handle and can use standard 9”x 11” sheet sandpaper cut to size.

  6. 6.step 6

    Detail sanders are ideal for getting into some of the tight spots where other sanders won’t fit.

  7. 7.step 7

    Detail sanders are extremely easy to use and can accept a variety of attachments for particular applications.

  8. 8.step 8

    Belt sanders can be used for removing material fast and aggressively. It sands using a continuous belt that rides between either two or three pulleys. Most belt sanders have an adjustment feature that automatically maintains the belt in the center of the pulley during operation.

  9. 9.step 9

    Along with this 21” model, belt sanders also come in 18” models, which are more suited to do-it-yourself activity. The most common models of each size accommodate 3” wide belts.


Project Faqs « back to project

What types of power sanders are there?

The four most common are belt sanders, finish sanders, orbital sanders and random orbital... More »

Are there any power tools I should own?

A power drill is a must for general maintenance. A drill, a circular saw, and a saber saw can handle most household repair and carpentry... More »

Where in the room should I place a portable heater for best results?

Place heaters under a window to warm cold air as it enters the room through possible gaps around the... More »

Which type of sander do you recommend?

For the homeowner, I suggest a random orbit sander because it balances the two main functions of a sander. It removes stock quickly and still... More »

Which type of sander do you recommend?

For the homeowner, I suggest a random orbit sander because it balances the two main functions of a sander. It removes stock quickly and still... More »

I want to make a pegboard to hang tools in my workshop, what kind of wood do I need?

Use a perforated board. If you are planning to hang heavy items, I suggest a 1/4”... More »

Is there a power tool that I can use to trim evergreens with?

Yes, there are electric hedge trimmers. They come in different sizes. The larger units are more powerful, but do not buy a model that is... More »

When purchasing outdoor power equipment, what should I consider in a leaf blower?

It’s best to buy a blower that can be reversed and also used as a vac. This allows you to sweep up the leaves, and some models even have a... More »

I'm buying outdoor power tools. Are cordless electric hedge trimmers a good choice?

For general use they are more than adequate, but most only offer run times of less than one hour and some corded models are more heavy... More »

How do I choose a cordless power drill?

For occasional around-the-house chores, a lightweight 9.6V model is a cost-effective choice.  It will drive about 50 screws between charges.... More »

« back to project