If you’re handy, then you probably have a lot of tools in your arsenal to get the job done. You probably also know that getting the perfect tool for a job is essential. Without the right tool, you’re looking at extra work and headache in whatever project you’re working on. With that in mind, we’re going to be looking at disc sanders. Disc sanders, also known as random-orbit sanders, are versatile sanding tools that are built to be able to handle both heavy sanding work as well as ultra-light detail work. In short, they are one of the most versatile sanding tools available, and a must-have for the DIYer.
While we could talk about disc sanders and all their various uses, in this review we’re going to specifically focus on sanders and how they work on pallets. More than just great for hauling cargo from one place to another, pallets are useful for many reasons. Built sturdy, and containing plenty of wood, they can be transformed into just about anything--the only limit is your creativity. Of course, all that wood needs to be sanded before it can be used, which brings us back to today’s article. What should you use to sand those pallets? Read on as we talk today about the 5 best sanders for pallets (and other surfaces) that are available on the market.
Ingersoll Rand 311A
As I mentioned above, disc sanders like the ones we’re going to be talking about occupy a special place in the lineup of available power sanders, and if you don’t have one, you really should consider getting one. While belt sanders like this one are perfect for heavy-duty sanding and stripping, full of speed and strength, they are not ideal when it comes to details and light work. Orbital sanders, however, like this one, are great for detail work and small projects, but not good for large-scale projects or jobs where a lot of power is needed. This is where a disc sander comes in. As sanders designed for middle-of-the-road use, they have the power needed for heavy use, but also offer much more in the way of control and finesse when it comes to lighter work and detailed performance. This is why a disc sander is considered an essential tool to own by many in the DIY community.
The first product on our list is a powerful model that might be lighter on the wallet than some models out there, but still comes ready to work. The Ingersoll Rand 311A is a reliable and powerful air-powered sander with a 6-inch disc that can spin at a maximum of 12,000 rpm. The dual-action in the title refers to the motion of the disc, which both vibrates and spins, providing a swirl-free sanding experience.
This sander is ideal for pallets and other wood projects, but can also work well on other surfaces, including metals. Built with a balanced ball-bearing construction, the Ingersoll Rand allows you fine-tuned precision for beautiful and sophisticated sanding work.
The Ingersoll Rand is designed with your comfort in mind, as well, with a built-in muffler to help keep your hearing safe, a light-weight construction (the entire unit comes in at less than four pounds) and a lever throttle to help take stress off your palm during those all-day sanding jobs. In addition, this unit is designed to keep vibrations to a minimum to further ensure your comfort.
The Makita GV5010 is a sander that boasts a powerful 4.2 amp motor, which gives you a strong and consistent 4,500 rpm sanding speed. Unlike the Ingersoll Rand, this sander is electric, so there’s no stopping to wait for your air compressor to catch up. This unit is well-balanced and easy to control, giving you workhorse performance as well as a bit of finesse. Constructed with a ball-and-needle construction and double insulation, this sander is built to last for a long time.
This extremely light-weight sander (only 2.6 pounds) is ergonomically designed with a soft grip for easier handling while working, and comes complete with everything you need to get to work right away. Furthermore, it is backed by Makita’s 1-year warranty, giving you ease of mind.
The Bosch 3727 is another great disc sander to check out. This unit comes with a powerful 3.3 amp that lets you adjust the speed, from a modest (yet effective) 4,500 rpm to a blazing 12,000 rpm. This is a solid and well-built piece of machinery with a rugged aluminum exterior.
The random-orbit motion helps to deliver a clean, swirl-free finish, and the 6-inch discs let you cover a lot of real estate in a short amount of time.
One of the more innovative features of the Bosch 3727 is its built-in dust canister, which scoops up dust as you go. Not only does this help you breathe easier as you work, but it makes it much easier to clean up when finished. In addition, the tapered soft-grip handle gives you a more comfortable user experience, and the front handle can even be removed to help you reach some of those tighter spots.
The Dewalt DWE6420 is another sander that is designed to make your life easier. As a random-orbit sander, the dual-action sanding motions help give you a smooth, natural, swirl-free finish. This smaller model, weighing only slightly over 3 pounds, still manages to crank out an impressive 12,000 opm (orbits per minute) to make short work of any sanding project you have lined up.
Dewalt also has your comfort in mind. The sturdy rubber molding and grip makes it easy to hold, and the counter-weight design lessens vibration. Also, the DWE6420 contains a dust port that can attach to several different Dewalt-brand dust collectors to vacuum away the mess. Even better -- this dust port is easily attachable to other hoses with the right connector!
The final sander on this list is not a disc sander like the others, but it still delivers a solid performance. The Black + Decker BDEMS600 is a smaller model, weighing less than three pounds. The 3-position handle gives you several options when it comes to holding the sander -- choose between a palm grip, a handle grip, or a precision grip for superior performance and control.
The tapered ending allows you to reach into corners or in between nooks and crannies, allowing the BDEMS600 to go places that no other sander can reach.The included dust collector also makes short work of messes and makes cleanup easy.
With five sanders like this, you might think it would be difficult to pick a winner. These five sanders represent a wide variety of styles, designs, and options, so it can be hard to figure out what works best for you. When it comes to power, Ingersoll Rand’s 6-inch sander gives you a consistently strong performance, but still lets you adjust as needed for heightened performance. The Black & Decker rates high on comfort, with multiple ergonomic grips to make it easy to hold, and a dust collector that makes clean-up a breeze.
With everything said and done, however, the Bosch might just rate the highest all around. With a variable, yet powerful rotation speed, this extremely light, yet comfortable sander is the best bang for your buck, giving you a natural-looking finish on your pallets, wood objects, or whatever surfaces you’re working with.
There are a lot of different features to consider when purchasing a sander, and only one of them has to do with how well it actually sands. To help you make an informed decision, here are a couple of things to keep in minds:
You definitely want to make sure you get a sander that packs a lot of punch. Pallets have a lot of wood on them, and all of those surfaces need to be treated. And if you’re dealing with multiple pallets? Well, let’s just say that the more powerful a sander in your toolbox, the quicker you can make short work of all that wood. And even if that project you’re working on now might be small, who’s to say what you’ll try to tackle in the future? You need to make sure you get a sander that can go the distance and deliver maximum performance and speed to get the job done right and quickly.
A good sander makes your job -- and your life -- easier. This means a powerful performance while sanding, of course -- but what else? What about cleanup? Do you spend all of that saved time cleaning up a mess that could have been avoided? What about versatility? Does your sander change and adjust as needed to fit exactly the job that you need it to? Addressing questions like this can help you take that power we talked about already, and use it more efficiently. After all, it does you no good to save time on the front end if you wind up wasting it on the back.
Some sanding jobs are going to take quite a while. With dozens of square feet of wood to get through, you might be holding on to that sander for quite some time. That’s why it’s important to make sure that the sander you buy treats your hands right. It needs to be comfortable, easy to grip, and while you want a powerful sander, you don’t want that power to come out in the form of vibrations that hurt or make your hands go numb. Also, sanders can oftentimes be notoriously loud. If you can find a tool that does the job quieter, your ears will thank you in the long run!
In the end, though, it all boils down to the finished product: you need a sander that gives you a smooth, natural, beautiful finish regardless of the size of the job at hand. If your sander can’t do that, then it doesn’t matter how strong, convenient, or comfortable it is -- you’ve bought the wrong tool for the job.
I believe there is a handyman in all of us as long as you have the right tools. I started this blog to help anyone who is interested in fixing things to learn their way around the different tools and to know how to perform different DIY tasks. I have been doing this for years and believe I am a master of this art.