Last Update: 10 Jan 2021

The 11 Different Types of Sanders and Their Uses

James Kelly
James Kelly

Hi! This is James. I'm a professional writer and working on this field for a long time. Basically I love to write about everything related to tools, diy and home improvement. All my writings speak for itself as I'm passionate about this. I love to explore new things as well as new places whenever I get free time. You'll never find me free for this reason!

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Are you one of them, who does a lot of smoothening or flattening works in their wood project? If you are, no doubt, a sander makes your finishing work much easy. Whether you are working with woods or any other solid materials, there is sander for every kind of project.

Speaking of different types of sanders, each type serves a specific work profile. Some sanders are portable or handheld, some sander comes with its bench to process the large workpiece. So, knowing the types can help you invest in the right tools to build your inventory. Trust me; you don’t want to end up with sanders that have little to no use for you.

Every woodworker or handyman used a sander at some point in their work life. They know very well; how important it is to their work. If you are a person buying sander for the first time and you are not sure which type to choose? I have here the list of various sanders and their uses that can help you out.

We explored through a wide range of sander, from handheld to bench sanders. After researching thoroughly, we have included different types of Sanders and their uses. This is to give you useful insights on which one you can use for a specific task.

Without further ado, let’s start.

Different Types of Sanders:

Our list includes the best type of Sander like electric handheld sanders, manual sanders, sandpaper or sander block, and some bench sanders. For your convenience, we added a brief usage description.   

Read More: How to Sand Cabinets

1. Sandpaper

First on the list is sandpaper. It’s just good old all-purpose essential sandpaper. Back in the days, ‘ people use these a lot for any sanding work. After power sander took over, now sandpaper is used in a less tremendous or small job. The sandpaper has a number that determines the grit level. The higher number represents finer grit. Although sandpapers have its perks, it also has a disadvantage.


The sandpaper is used in precision work. Wood sculpting, Pre-paint sanding, carving, etc. Sandpaper is perfect for nearly any job profile if you have the patience and energy.

2. Sander Block

If your sanding work is large enough that there’s a chance that your wrist could wear out. In this case block, sander may be your only go-to option. Sander Block allows you to use the block as slowly as you like and. The key feature of this hand sander is, you can keep track of what you are doing quickly.

Unlike any other power sander, it does not need any electrical power. Let alone; it does not have any moving parts. Sander blocks offer so many features that it can be a reasonable substitute to an electrical sander. If you don’t have enough money for a power sander, it is highly recommended that you try a block sander at least once.


Curving Large wood piece, removing a deep stain, flatten Big bump, etc.

3. Orbital Sander

An orbital sander is also known as a circular sander, finishing sander, palm sander.

This sander is compact, lightweight, and provides excellent handling. This tool comes with a circular pad that rotates in orbital motion. Hence the name orbital sanders.

This tool is great for last-minute touching or retouching, and merely the best option to use before applying paint.


Sculpting, precise finishing, curving wood, finishing before applying makeup.

4. Random-Orbital Sander

This is another finishing sander. Instead of the round circular sand pad and orbital motion like an orbital sander. It comes with a rectangular pad and random all direction movement. This unique motion is significant for tough jobs.

It comes with a dust collector and an internal clamp system to hold the sandpaper. The design is so compact that you can efficiently operate with one hand. Also, you can run it without previous knowledge about the tool.


Hardwood carving, wood panel finishing, paint removing, etc.

5. Detail Sander

This is another excellent finishing sander. Compared to other finishing sanders on the market, it offers a lot of features. Its unique sanding pad design can reach any corner of your wood piece. Whether you are a professional sculpture or a carpenter, a detail sander will be the best sanding tool in your workshop.

The great feature of detail sander is it does not need any particular kind of sandpaper. Just buy regular sandpaper or the one you like. Then cut the sandpaper according to triangle sand pad shape.


Detail sanding, finishing sanding,

6. Belt Sander

The belt sander is one of the best sanders in any modern workshop. It called belt sander because it uses a continuous 3-inch-wide sand belt. The belt is wrapped around two drums, one of them is motorized. It comes with adjustment nob to keep the sand belt in place.

This is a powerful sander capable of removing a stubborn stain, rough edges, old paint, etc. If you are doing a large project that needs a reliable service track record. This is it; belt sander can be a great addition to your tool inventory.


Great for rapid work, work on hardwood, remove old paint finish, smoothing rough edges, etc.

7. Disc Sander

Disk sander is a unique type of sander in the sanding tool family. You may have seen this tool in many car workshops. It is a disk shape sandpaper. back in the days this tool used in various car repair.

Disk sanders make use of a wheel rather than a disk, which allows more area to cover. Several grit numbers are often applied to those sanders, according to the work profile.

It is ideal for pulling a soft finishing to critical spaces. The Table version of the disk sander is often used on woods and metals. The sanding surface can be changed to line your workpiece at desired angles.


Ideal for small workshops and jobs can use different materials like metal, plastics, etc.

8. Drywall Sander

This sander machine is a lot like a disk sander. The only difference is, it comes with a long handle. The drywall sander is relatively bigger and longer than other sander types. The main reason behind this long handle is to work on places you can’t reach with just only hands.

The drywall sander is capable of sanding high places like ceiling, upper parts of walls, and so on. For attaching different finish pattern, it comes with a circular or rectangular sand pad. Another great feature is it comes with a sand dust collector. You can either attach dust container or hose to your vacuum, to get rid of the sand dust easily.


Great for working from a distance, working on a massive piece, sanding ceiling, walls, etc.

9. File Sander

The file sander can run on an air compressor or electric power. It comes with a very slim sanding belt. Which allows you to fit sander into tiniest places your workpiece. That’s why some call it a finger sander.

Therefore, the file sander is great for detailed work. for example, curving, sanding narrow places on the workpiece, and so on.


Finishing in small places.

10. Oscillating Spindle Sander (OSS)

It is a bench-type tool. It comes with a sand drum that protrudes from the tabletop. This is a specific design for a particular purpose. Such as finishing sides of your wood panel and workpiece.

The Oscillating sanders are great for flattening the sides of wood panels. A different model of OSS comes with different angles of sanding drums.

The tool has a unique vertical over the table design. That means it runs flawlessly on curved panels while still having the ability to sand up efficiently.


Sanding rough edges, curves, and sides.

11. Table Sander

This is a fixed type belt sander. which sometimes comes with a long horizontal sand belt. They are sturdy, and that makes them accessible in larger wood furniture factory and wood workshop. Also known as a bench sander.

The Taut belt sanders are the foremost frequently used tool in the workshop, but lack of precision sanding and soft sanding ability. It’s not suitable for DIY use. Its aggressive sanding nature may remove large amounts of stuff quickly. Slack belts are accessible in guitar making, and therefore the sander is often won’t deliver smooth and soft finish, even if a finer paper is applied.


Precise sanding operation on small to large pieces.

What Kind of Sander is Best for Finishing

Final Verdict

Choosing the proper sander is that the key to finishing your project effectively. Hopefully, we have delivered an informative article on different types of sanders. Through which you can develop and a better understanding of the various sanders and choose the right one for you.

The 11 Different Types of Sanders and Their Uses 1