Every good DIY-er knows the value of a good, reliable power sander. There are so many different types of jobs that all require sanding at some point, that if you’re handy, or at least want to be, you already know that owning a sander isn’t just a good idea; it’s practically a prerequisite. Of course, different types of jobs need different types of sanders, so depending on what you’re trying to tackle next, you might not know what type of sander you’re looking for. We say that to say this: it’s important to make sure you always have the right sander for the job. This is true whether you’re taking paint off of a house or building a deck. And no two sanders are really alike.
It’s especially true if you’re in the process of refinishing furniture. This is a tricky sort of job that requires a sander that can handle many different tasks. Sometimes you need power, other times you need finesse. But, can you get one sander that helps you with all of that? Thankfully, we’ve put together a guide that can help answer that question. Read on, because today we’re going to try and help you find the best sander for refinishing furniture.
The Dewalt D26451K is a random orbit sampler that’s designed to provide a smooth finish on a variety of surfaces. It’s 3-amp motor powers a 12,000 opm sanding surface, which is the ideal speed for removing a maximum amount of material while preventing unsightly swirls or blemishes. Adding to the clean finish, the controlled finishing system helps to prevent gouging at startup, so the final surface is consistently clean. This sander also features an anti-slip top with comfort grip to give you control while keeping your hands fresh and unfatigued.
As far as cleanup goes, the D26451K has the one-two punch to take care of dust. The included dust bag collects most dust right off the surface, so it never has the chance to escape into the air. For longer jobs, the built-in vacuum attachment can attach directly onto most vacuum hoses, so dust is sucked away.
For ease of transport and storage, this sander also comes with a convenient carrying case.
If you’re looking for sheer power, look no farther than the Porter-Cable 362V. Belt sanders are known for their ability to chew up and make short work of any surface, and the 362V is no exception. With a 100-grit belt included, and the ability to crank it up to 11 (which, in this case, means 1,500 sfpm -- that’s surface feet per minute, by the way) this belt sander can handle anything you put in its way.
So, if you’re looking at a lot of sanding to do, this might be the one to check out first.
On top of the belt is a conveniently-placed motor, centered for balance and control. You’ll also find a dust bag that collects dust and stops it from polluting the air. Lest the dust bag gets in the way of seeing what you’re doing, its 360-degrees rotation swivel ability lets you move it to just about any position.
On the other side of the spectrum from the belt sanders comes the B & D MS800B. While belt sanders are built for power and speed, the Mouse Detail Sander is all about finesse. While this sander might not be great for larger jobs or rough surfaces, its multitude of sanding attachments and contour accessories are specifically designed for detailed work.
Whether it’s sanding corners, getting into small, hard-to-reach areas, or handling curves and other odd shapes, the MS800B has the attachments you need to turn those areas into a scrubbed and polished surface ready for the next step.
The soft-body grip lets you keep your grip without getting tired, and the attached dust collection system traps dust until you’re ready to dispose of it. All of this makes the Mouse Sander a great finishing tool for your furniture.
The Ryobi Corner Cat comes with a corner design similar to the Black & Decker Mouse, but as the name implies, the Cat is alike a bigger, meaner version. While it also has the specially-shaped corner design that allows it to reach into tight spaces and corners, the powerful 1.2 amp motor pushes the sanding pad at a lightning-fast 12,000 opm to delivery a strong, swirl-free finish.
The Cat comes with several special accessories, including four different sanding pads of varying grits to tackle different types of finishes, as well as three different scrubbing pads and a polishing pad for post-sanding applications. The hook-and-loop sanding makes pad replacement a cinch. As with most Ryobi products, a carrying case is included for ease of storage, and a three-year warranty makes sure that any problems will be quickly dealt with.
We end this list with another strong, powerful sander. The Porter-Cable 330 is a model with decades of reputation behind it, and that reputation is genuinely earned. This sander is known for its durability and strength. The 1.2 amp motor pushes the sanding pad at an incredible 14,000 opm to chew through a lot of wood in a short amount of time.
The ergonomically designed handle gives you comfort to grip, and the minimal vibrations let you hang on for longer periods of time without fatigue. The square design allows you to fit smugly into most corners, as well.
Now that you’ve seen some of the best sanders for refinishing furniture, which one should you go with? This can be a difficult question. If you’re looking for sheer power, the Porter-Cable 362V belt sander is the one to beat. If your project requires finesse and attention to detail, the Black & Decker is by far the best bet. However, if you’re looking for a good all-around power sander that checks all the boxes, our money is on the Dewalt D26451K. While it might not be able to hit every corner, its combination of power, control, finesse, and ability to keep your working area dust-free is what gives the Dewalt D26451K the edge on this particular list.
But first, there are several factors to consider when looking for a sander. Of course, some of it depends on the job at hand. But even then, there are some general things that need to be looked at before buying a power sander:
Of course, any power sander needs to be able to dig in and get the job done, and this situation is no exception. When refinishing furniture, whether it’s a chair, bed, chest, cabinet, or whatever, there’s a lot of square footage to cover, and the last thing you want is a sander that can’t cut it. If it’s going so slow that you might as well be doing it by hand, then what’s the point? So, one of the first things to look for in your sander is how powerful it is. This can be found in measurements like amp and voltage, but also in speed of rotation or movement. Numbers like this should be able to tell you how quickly (or slowly) a sander can eat up what you put you in front of it.
Power is great, but if you can’t control it, what good is it? That’s why you also need a sander that puts you in control. This can mean several things. Can you adjust the speed for various jobs and various surfaces? If all you need is a light touch, then anything stronger than that isn’t helpful at all. Can you easily replace parts, swap paper easily, and adjust the things you need to in order to get ready for the job? If your sander is only good for one type of job, then you really aren’t getting the help you need out of your toolbox.
Speaking of power, does your sander give you the power to handle the smallest details? This is where finesse comes into play. When dealing with furniture, you’re going to have small areas, corners, hard-to-reach bits, and other sections that require a sander that can do more than just grind down a flat surface. Does your sander give you the ability to handle these small details? If not, then once again you’ve bought the wrong tool for the job.
A fourth factor to consider is convenience. This is harder to measure, but you’ll know it when you see it. Things like clean-up become important here. If your sander is as fast as possible, but leaves a mess so large it takes the rest of the day to clean, then how is that helping you? Is it easy and convenient to carry from place to place? How about storing it -- does it come with its own storage? While these factors might not directly affect the sander’s ability to do the job, they will affect how easy it makes your life before, during, and after the job.
Imagine getting a sander that checks off all the boxes: it’s powerful and can make short work of any surface you need it to. It also has the control and finesse you need to handle small jobs, minor details, corners, and other tricky surfaces. Cleanup is a snap, and it’s easy and convenient to transport and carry. Sounds great, right? But, what if that same sander also leaves behind an unattractive finish full of swirls, digs, and other blemishes? Whatever sander you get, nothing beats the final result.
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.