If you have a piece of older furniture you just don’t want to give up, one of the best sanders for furniture refinishing is a tool you need asap. Wooden furniture has great value but old wooden furniture comes with sentimental value on top. Yes, you can totally refine the old finish and make your furniture like new again, provided you sand it properly.
Manual sanding would take a lot of time and energy, which is something you don’t want to gamble with if you are a professional carpenter. A sander can help you strip the old finish in one-two-three so you have a perfectly smooth surface to apply a new finish to.
We’ve listed the top picks in this category in the following sander for furniture refinishing reviews section so you can do the preparation the right way. You may find our buyer’s guide useful as well so make sure to take a deeper look as you scroll down low.
What Does a Sander for Furniture Refinishing Do?
An electrically powered sander is a tool that can help you achieve a perfectly smooth wooden finish by removing surface material and prepare the area for further treatment – staining. Sanding wood with your hands would be time-consuming and tedious but, most importantly, it would be almost impossible to achieve the same fineness you can achieve with a powered sander.
Note that an electric sander works wonders with large sanding tasks, but you would still need to engage sandpaper and your hands for smaller and intricate sanding tasks. Still, the convenience electric sanders provide is unbeatable and includes – reducing the overall sanding time, achieving a high degree of precision, protecting your hands from scratches, and saving some money you would, otherwise, spend on buying extra sandpaper sheets.
What Are Different Types of Sanders?
Although electric sanders have pretty similar purposes, you should get familiar with different types of sanders before making an investment. There are 12 types of sanders. Down below, we will list the best refinishing sander types for any woodworker, whether it be a professional or DIY-er.
1. Palm Sander
A palm sander is an ideal tool for small to medium projects. It is compact and fits perfectly into your hand. Once you fit the paper onto a palm sander, you can start preparing the wood and smoothing it out before you apply the finish.
2. Orbital Sander
Use an orbital sander when processing larger pieces of wood. This type of sander moves in an orbit-like direction so it covers and smooths the surface without requiring you to use much effort. Orbital sanders typically come with rectangular or square-shaped bases.
Orbital sanders reduce stress on your wrists so have this type in mind if you need to do some sanding on daily basis. Note that orbital sanders may not work as well as palm sanders with the finer details and narrow spaces.
3. Random Orbital Sander
A regular orbital sander may be a bit tricky to work with as its head is moving in circles and sometimes creates repetitive movement, which leaves flaws in the wood. Random orbital sanders move, as you can say by the name, randomly, which reduces the chance of making the surface uneven. Both types work better with bigger jobs while random orbital sanders weigh a bit more and come at a slightly higher price point.
4. Mouse Sander
A mouse or detail, corner, or triangle sander is very similar, when it comes to shape, to the steam iron so you may easily confuse these two items at first glance. A detail sander is practically a small orbital sander with a different base. This is its biggest advantage at the same time, as you can reach crevices and tight spaces (spindles of a chair leg, for instance) with the tip of the head – something you can’t do with a regular sander. A detail mouse makes a great choice if you are working with various shapes. It uses self-adhesive sandpaper, which ensures the whole surface is perfectly smooth.
Best Sanders Comparison Chart
BLACK+DECKER Random Orbit Sander
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Bosch ROS20VSC Palm Sander
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Makita BO5030K Random Orbit Sander with Tool Case
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BLACK+DECKER Mouse Detail Sander
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DEWALT DWE6411 Electric Orbital Sander
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Bosch GSS20-40 Orbital Finishing Sander
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Best Sanders for Furniture Refinishing Reviews
Why would you waste your time trying to find the right sander in a sea of seemingly similar products? We have researched the top sanders and seen most of them in action. Down below, we are sharing our experiences and impressions about each tool so you can make up your mind about the one that meets your needs easily.
1. BLACK+DECKER Random Orbit Sander
BLACK+DECKER designed one of the best random orbit sanders on the market – the BDERO100. This power tool works amazing when it comes to refinishing. It removes the old finish in the blink of an eye (operates at 12,000 OPM) and creates an even and smooth surface for further processing. You may find it useful even if you are a DIY-er as it is quite convenient to work with while professionals can take their woodworking to another level thanks to this tool.
The BDERO100 comes with a sanding sheet and a dust bag, which we find respectful. You won’t be dealing with tons of dust around your workplace, which is great for your health as well. Changing papers is easy-peasy with this tool. It comes with a hook and loop system so you can switch between papers without losing much time.
Compact and efficient, this random orbit sander can help you take off the old finish from almost any type of hardwood. It is comfortable to hold and doesn’t put a strain on the wrists. This could be your best bet if you need a sander for a few hours each day but keep in mind it is not designed for heavy use.
- Comes with a dust-sealed switch,
- You should empty the dust bag more often, otherwise – sanding dust will be all over.
2. Bosch ROS20VSC Palm Sander
If you need a compact sander that works with various type of finishes and shapes – flat and contoured surfaces, the ROS20VSC might tick all the boxes for modern carpenters. This lightweight sander fits into your palm, which makes it very comfortable to hold and work with for extended periods of time.
It operates between 7,500 and 12,000 OPM so you can adjust the speed according to your needs. Needless to say, you can’t work your way around tight and contoured surfaces at full speed. Palm sanders are, in general, most suitable for small projects while this little guy can handle bigger ones as well, thanks to its high operating speed when you turn it to the max.
The ROS20VSC produces low vibrations so your wrists won’t suffer and it is practically noiseless. If you are tired of cleaning the dust collecting in your garage or workplace, you will like the dust collector that comes with this model. Overall, this Bosch’s could be everything you need if you need a handy sander for different types of woodworking projects that require working at different speeds and provides comfort to your hands therewithal.
- Effectively removes bumps and swirl marks, leaving a perfectly smooth surface,
- Comes with a powerful 2.5 AMP motor,
- Multiple grip positions.
- Having to clean the dust collector every couple of minutes is a bit annoying.
3. Makita BO5030K Random Orbit Sander with Tool Case
The BO5030K sander combines all the top-notch features – the utmost precision, fast performance, accuracy, and capacity. This is a 5-inch random orbital sander that could be a great fit for professional woodworkers.
Equipped with a powerful 3 AMP motor and a pad control system, this model creates a smooth surface in the blink of an eye. It operates at 12,000 OPM, which is typical for random orbit sanders that are considered the best in class for bigger projects.
One more reason that could make the BO5030K the right choice for professionals is its ergonomic design. The rubberized palm makes it comfortable to hold and use for hours each day. The wide-mouth dust collection system works perfectly, way better than with some other models on the list as it prevents blockages and requires less maintenance.
Very durable, suitable for heavy use, the BO5030K falls into the category of high-end sanders and offers performance that comes at a higher price, but the one that could be totally worth it.
- One-hand operation,
- Creates a swirl-free finish,
- A ball bearing construction extends the tool’s life and ensures smooth performance.
- Beginners may find it difficult to control and use this sander the right way.
4. BLACK+DECKER Mouse Detail Sander
Here comes one of the best mouse detail sanders for woodworkers. The BDEMS600 is a lightweight and compact sander that can easily reach the tightest spaces and provide superb preparation for sanding by creating a sleek and smooth surface.
This model comes with an average motor (1.2 AMP) but delivers an amazing 14,000 OPM. Now, this means it is super-fast so you already should have some experience with power sanding tools before trying this one. However, if you are a professional, you will know how to handle its capacity.
It comes without a dust collection hose but generates low dust so this is not a major disadvantage. The BDEMS600 makes a great choice for lighter and smaller jobs. Its ergonomic design makes it a breeze to hold and gives you maximum control when working around corners, table legs, etc.
- Works great with nooks and crannies,
- Finger attachment included,
- The 3-position grip provides comfort while working.
- It overheats when you use it for more than 10 minutes.
5. DEWALT DWE6411 Electric Orbital Sander
If you are looking for a sander with some high-end features, take a look at this DEWALT orbital sander. It comes with a relatively powerful motor (2.3 AMP) and operates at 14,000 OPM. Due to the fact orbital sanders are most suitable for refinishing larger surfaces, this speedy tool can help you complete your projects much quicker.
Speaking of high-end features, the DWE6411 is covered in textured rubber so it won’t slip out of your hands but provide a high degree of control over the process. Equipped with paper clamps, this sander ensures the paper stays in place. DEWALT reduced the height of this model to make it more comfortable to hold and use it.
You get a sander, dust bag, paper punch, and a sheet sander in the package, which means you are ready to use it as soon as it arrives at your address. If you would like to prevent the dust from flying everywhere, you can attach a vacuum hose to a locking port and enjoy a cleaner working environment.
- Produces low vibrations,
- Super-convenient to load,
- Multipurpose tool (you can use it for refinishing, replastering and wall painting.)
- The dust collector bag doesn’t have a large capacity and attaching a vacuum hose might be a problem for some users.
6. Bosch GSS20-40 Orbital Finishing Sander
Last but not least, the Bosch GSS20-40 is a powerful high-speed power sander that can help you with refinishing wooden furniture. It is equipped with a 2 AMP motor and operates at 12,000 OPM. One of the things that set this model apart from similar sanders on the market is the aluminum sanding plate that offers better precision and leaves a swirl-free, smooth finish.
This sander is also packed with a micro-filter dust canister that makes dust collection super-efficient and makes it more convenient for you to spot the unsanded areas. This extends the life of the unit, as dust never creeps into the mechanism or cause buildups.
Low-noise, vibrationless, ergonomic GSS20-40 offers comfort when handling, great performance and durability, which all makes it one of the hottest available sanders.
- A soft grip ensures stable handling and control,
- Fits perfectly into the palm of your hand,
- Flush sanding ability.
- Paper sheets may move slightly during the process.
Sanders for Furniture Refinishing Buying Guide
Let’s take a look at the most important features to consider when buying a sander for furniture refinishing, hoping these hints will help you make a final decision.
We’ve already spoken about various types of sanders suitable for furniture refinishing. Are you working with certain shapes or you just never know what’s your new project going to look like? Ideally, you should have one sander for bigger pieces and one more for smaller pieces of wood if you are a professional carpenter. Palm, detail, and random orbital sanders work best in tighter spaces while orbital sanders do great with bigger surfaces.
A pneumatic nail gun is another must-have tool for a carpenter or construction worker. If you need one, check out our guide on the best pneumatic nail guns.
Depending on how powerful a sander is, you are going to complete your refinishing project in less or more time. The more powerful the sander, the quicker you are going to take off the old finish. Also, consider the type of wood you are working with.
If you are working with softwood such as fir, redwood, pine, and cedar, you don’t need an overly powerful sander. On the other hand, you do need a powerful one when working with hardwood (cherry, maple, ash, mahogany, oak, and/or birch).
3. Ease of Use
Sanding is one of the least favorite tasks of any woodworker, yet – unavoidable. If you have to do the sanding for several hours each day, you need a lightweight, easy-to-hold sander that won’t put a strain on your wrist. Also, it would be great to find a model that comes with well-positioned switches.
Ergonomic sander will reduce vibrations and fit in your hand naturally. After all, your hands won’t be able to handle vibrations after you’ve been holding the tool for hours. This can even cause damage to your wrists after some time. If possible, find a tool that produces as low vibration levels as possible.
4. Dust Collection
You already know sanding involves tons of dust. Not only dust can make your workplace dirty but breathing it in can cause damage to your lungs. If you have some extra money to spend, it would be great if you could afford a sander that comes with a large-capacity dust bag. Otherwise, you are going to have dust all over the place, but in your body as well.
Investing in a power tool is a smart move. It can help you finish your tasks quicker but also give you more precision. Yet, be careful when investing a significant amount of money in a sander. Check whether the one you’ve laid your eyes on has a sturdy body or not. Check whether it comes with a warranty and how long the warranty lasts.
Although most sanders for furniture refinishing fall into the category of affordable tools, you will find some high-end models on the market. If the tool comes with some bonus accessories and offers extra features, such as dust collection, it would be worth the investment. We did our best to find and list products in our reviews that balance quality and price.
FAQ About Best Sanders for Furniture Refinishing
1. Will My Sander Come with Some Other Items in the Package?
Most of the time, you will get a sander only. Some manufacturers will include a dust bag as well. Make sure to double-check product details before ordering your sander.
2. What Is an Average Speed for a Sander for Refinishing Furniture?
If you are refinishing furniture, speeds from 8,000 to 14,000 orbits per minute (OPM) would work best. However, you can adjust the speed to your liking and according to your needs, depending on the type of wood you are working with.
3. Is an Orbital Sander Better than a Palm Sander for Furniture Refinishing?
A palm sander is lightweight and compact while an orbital sander falls in the category of heavy-duty tools. The latter works best with bigger sanding tasks and large pieces of wood, while palm sanders work great with small tasks and small pieces of wood but also create a much smoother surface.
Aren’t you excited about your upcoming refinishing project? Now that you have several best sanders for furniture refinishing to choose from, we have no doubts you will figure out the best fit for your needs. Whether you are a woodworking novice or a professional furniture craftsman, this tool will come in handy numerous times.
Did you like our sander for furniture refinishing reviews? Then, we would like to invite you to browse our other guides about all kinds of tools. If you are excited about working with other types of power tools, no doubt you will find more useful information on these pages.