Different Types of Sanders 

Thanks for taking your time to read our article on the different types of electric sanders available on the United Kingdom marketplace. In this detailed article we explain the various sander types available, and what they are used for.

If you have ever needed to buy a sander, then the choices can be truly bewildering. The good news is that for the huge majority of home owners, we think there are really only two options worth your consideration:

  1. The belt sander - ideal for doing floors or large surfaces
  2. The palm, mouse detail sander - ideal for finer work such as chairs, staircases, door frames etc

We have covered all of the electric sander types available in this article, including the two we have mentioned above.

Who Needs to Buy an Electric Sander?

If you plan on doing any type of wood working around your home then an electric sander is certainly a very good investment.

However, if you plan on doing just a few small jobs, then there is no real need to own one at all. It is easy enough to buy some sandpaper, and perhaps a sanding block, and simply use those to sand down whatever wood work you need to do.

Sometimes it is even better to use sandpaper as it allows you to get into awkward corners that most electric sanders can not reach.

Only if you plan on sanding down large areas such as floors, doors, cupboards, chairs etc should you consider buying some type of electric sander.

They will save you a lot of physical work and save you a huge amount of time. Let's have a look at what sanders are available.

12 Types of Electric Sanders

Just below you will find a list of the sander types available. We will then explain each one of these in a lot more detail. We have provided a link in each summary where you can then read even more detail about any specific sander type.

That is a surprisingly long list, and yet each sander type does have its own individual purpose as we shall see in the section below.

In this article we will examine all of the sanders that are available, and what they are used for. 

Belt Sanders

belt sander

The belt sander is the perfect choice for larger areas such as floors, beams, doors and tables. These are powerful sanders that get the job done very quickly.

They work on a simple principle, where a belt of sandpaper rolls around the sander. This belt is then quickly replaced when it wears thin. You can buy these belts in different grit sizes.

They come in different sizes and widths, and they are considered to be quite an aggressive sander. They are ideal for removing large amounts of wood very quickly.

Palm Mouse Detail Sanders

sander uk reviews

These small detail sanders are called various names such as mouse sanders and palm sanders. These are very popular with many home owners as they cover the surface really well, and the point allows you to get into most corners.

They are also affordable and very easy and safe to use. Most of these use small sandpaper pads which stick using Velcro to the bottom of the sander. You can buy these in different grit sizes.

Orbital Sanders

orbit sander uk reviews

Orbital sanders are a general purpose sander that are round in shape. They are used for sanding wood by using a rotational spinning action. 

You buy circular sandpaper pads which attach either by Velcro or by a clip and hook attachment to the base of the sander. These pads are available in various grit sizes.

Most of them have adjustable speed and some form of dust collection.

Random Orbit Sanders

Makita random orbit sander

Random orbit sanders are an improved version of the orbit sander. Orbit sanders work by spinning around in a circle and if not used by skilled hands can leave circular marks on the surface.

With a random orbit sander, the sander still moves in circles, but the circular motion is more random, and this action prevents the risk of circular marks.

These come with sanding discs which are attached by a hook and loop and the holes in these discs line up with the dust holes on the base of the sander. That is great for dust collection which is very important when sanding any surface.

Power Sanders

power sander reviews

Power sanders are the beasts of the electric sander world. These are designed for optimal stock removal and for those tougher sanding jobs.

They work by using a screw operated belt tracking system. Most of them will have a variable speed option and good dust collection.

They can be used for sanding curved surfaces, shaping wood, removing excess weld, filing down nails and screw heads, and cleaning out apertures.

Unlike the belt sander, these have a narrow sanding belt is ideal for removing rust, paint and bolt heads.

Belt/Disc Sanders

belt disc combination sander

These are a very popular sander for people who love their DIY or do a lot of woodworking around the home. They usually sit on a bench and have a disc for sanding and also a belt for sanding. You can easily switch between the two.

These will have sealed switches and a good dust port. These combination sanders give the user various options for sanding. The belt sander can be used for a lot of stock removal, and the disc sander can be used for finer sanding.

Sheet Sanders

sheet sander reviews

Sheet sanders are rectangular in shape and designed to sand down large flat surfaces quickly. They use a hook & loop system that allows for fast paper change.

You can buy sheets specially made for the detail sander, or you can use sandpaper and cut it to shape.

Many buyers will tell you that this type of sander is the one that can do all the donkey work of sanding.

Multi Sanders

multi sander uk reviews

Multi sanders will have a two piece plate as you can see from the image above. That makes this type of multi-sander a very versatile sanding tool, and one that is handy for use around the home.

These are light in weight and very easy to move around, especially into the more awkward corners and restricted spaces.

A lot of craft people prefer this type of sander and we think they are really useful if you plan on working on sanding furniture such as chairs, coffee tables, chest of drawers etc.

Air Sanders

air sander reviews

Air sanders are described as such as they use air to power the sander. Almost always these double up as a polisher as well.

These are worth your consideration if you have a compressor for other air tools. If you don't own a compressor then this is not an option for you. Air compressors are expensive so you would be better off buying an electric sander.

These air sanders are powerful and very effective to use. The dust extraction is almost always excellent on this type of sander.

Telescopic Pole Sanders

telescopic sander reviews

Telescopic pole sanders are usually used for drywall or plaster sanding. Now you can buy handheld drywall sanders which we have explained below. The clear benefit of the telescopic sander is that it can be extended.

That allows you to reach easily to the tops of walls.

They have many uses that include grinding drywall, ceilings, interior walls, exterior walls, clearing floor residue, paint coatings, adhesives and loose plaster.

Cordless Sanders

cordless sander uk reviews

Cordless sanders are simply preferred by some users as you never have to worry about an annoying trailing electrical lead. You simply use a battery like you would do in a cordless drill or a cordless screwdriver.

That does make this type of sander slightly heavier, but you do have a much better range of portability.

Drywall Sanders

drywall sander uk reviews

Drywall sanders do exactly what the name would suggest. We have shown just above the telescopic versions of these, but many professionals prefer to use these handheld drywall sanders, as shown in the image above.

They help a lot to achieve a perfectly smooth finish on any primed plasterboard wall or ceiling.

Most of these have excellent dust extraction and built-in LED work lights which are handy for poorly lit areas.

The most popular use is to sand down joints on drywall.

So hopefully, you are now much better informed about the wide range of sanders that are available, and what they are used for. Most home owners would be best advised to buy a palm detail sander as that will do most jobs around the home.

If you plan on doing floors then a belt sander will always be your best option.

Hopefully we have been able to explain what is available, and what they are used for. If you are not sure that this is the model for you then check back to our Painting and Decorating Tools article for some more ideas.

Sandpaper Grades

Sandpaper Grit

Type of Sanding

40-60 grit

Coarse sanding

80-120 grit

Medium sanding

150-180 grit

Fine sanding

220-240 grit

Very fine sanding

280-320 grit

Super find finishing sanding

360+ grit

Will remove scratches for perfect finish

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