Different Types of Sanders And Their Usages

Whether a professional or DIY person, one cannot simply deny how much of a lifesaver a sander is in making the monotonous and time-consuming job of smoothening surfaces into an easy task.

But like everything else, this simple device depending on their purpose is seen to appear in different varieties. Hence like me if you are also interested in learning about the application of the diverse prototypes, then this is the place!

Why Need Different Sanders

Sanders comes in different shapes and sizes not to improve or compete with quality but to provide the right competency for the right kind of job.

For example, depending on the size and amount of material that needs to be sanded off to give your project the desired smooth finishing, you will find one type of sander more aligned to your requirements over the other.

Hence identifying the sander that would best fit your project specification is very important, as it helps to reduce the time needed to finish your sanding work with the greatest efficiency.

Therefore, without further ado let’s take a look at the different type of sanders and get to know in what areas they fit best!

The Various Sanders

Here we’ll talk about the various types of sanders. In this section, you’ll know about their advantages and drawbacks.

 1. The Orbital Sander (the Finishing Sander)



The orbital sander gets its name due to the fact that the square sanding pad vibrates in a small oval or orbital pattern. Known to be among the oldest types of sanders to be used for woodwork till date, an orbital sander is lightweight and easy to administer with only a single hand alone.

The device makes a very slight noise when in use and positions no threat to damaging the surface on which you are working. This is because this type of sanders is ideal for finishing works only as they sand away a small number of materials at a time.

Hence this device is more apt for passive projects such as rounding of sharp edges, getting rid of putty, or to simply generate an ultra-smooth surface texture.


  • Lightweight
  • Easy maneuver
  • Provides ultra-smooth finish


  • Not suitable for heavy works as they only use ¼ of an average 9/11 sandpaper for sanding operation.

 2. The Random Orbital Sander


The key difference between a random orbital sander and the one mentioned before is in their installed sanding pads and the motion patterns.

An orbital sander boasts a square-shaped sand pad with one directional oval vibration. While the random orbital sander has a round shaped sand pad and is seen to move in “random orbits”.

This means the particular device at the same time spins in a circle and also vibrates in an oval sequence.  Hence resulting in swirl free smoother surface texture as the fine particles of the sandpaper due to the motion benefit do not move across the same part of the material twice.

This type of sanders is ideal for projects consisting of large surfaces as they aggressively sand away a lot of substance at a faster pace. Thus, it requires careful maneuver so as to not cause any damages.


  • Versatile dual motion
  • Swirl free smooth finishing
  • Suitable for large surfaces


  • Requires attentive handling

3. Belt Sander


As the name suggests, these types of senders operate on a technique much similar to that of a conveyer belt.

The device is equipped with a sanding belt composed of superior abrasive cloth that spans over two round shaped drums. When turned on, the motor drives the drums into spin motion thereby resulting in the sand belt to move in smooth aggression over materials.

Because of their speed competency and physical strength, the belt sanders are the perfect go-to devices when endeavoring to undertake heavy duty smoothing of surfaces rough and large, fine-tuning slim&thick board edges, removing old varnish, paint, and other correlated tints.

Care should be taken however to sand materials laterally to their wood grain texture so as not to leave behind any scratch marks on the surface.


  • Suitable for heavy sanding jobs
  • Sandbelt comes in 4 different sizes
  • A superlative assortment of balance-speed-power


  • Heavy compared to other sanders
  • More suitable for professional users
  • Requires very careful handling

4. Floor Sanders


As the name entails floor sanders are generally used to smoothen or give finishing to wooden floors. Power-driven and heavyweight, this type of sanders requires expert handling while prepping floors across the large area so as to not cause damage to both the floor material and the operator involved.

Furthermore, floor sanders come in two varieties such as:

  • drum sander

a heavy device that needs to be operated like a lawn mower and especially used to eliminate paints or adhesive-like substances from floors along with sanding.

  • Edging Sanders

Used mostly to reach spaces where a drum sander doesn’t work out such as floor edge and staircases, an edging sander is more specifically used to refinishing floors.


  • Powerful and speed oriented
  • Fine-smooth floor finish
  • Great for house/floor remodeling purpose


  • More convenient for professional use
  • Requires handler expertise
  • Expensive compared to other sanders

5. Spindle Sander (Oscillating Spindle Sander-OSS)


The spindle sander is different from other sanders mentioned so far in two distinct aspects. First, it’s used to curve or smoothen and sand round instead of flat surfaces.

Second, it’s a bench-top sander meaning, the device remains stationary or freestanding on a table or bench and the user needs to maneuver the project itself around the oscillating abrasive material covered drum to get the desired effect.

Because of the dual combo of the oscillation and circular motion, a spindle sander guarantees a fine finish that leaves no traces of unevenness in the sanding process.


  • Great for sanding round surface
  • Lightweight and easy to operate
  • Offers fine even finishing


  • Bench-top spells user’s certain flexibility restriction


Apart from these, there are other types of sanders found such as disc, file, straight, detail, etc. However, as they exhibit features similar to the ones already stated, I will skip them today!

Hope this article will help you in choosing the right sander for the next project!