11 Angle Grinder Attachments for Wood (Uses FAQ). Angle grinder sander attachment

Angle grinder attachments for surface preparation

An angle grinder is a versatile tool that can be used for a variety of projects. The different angle grinder attachments allow the tool to be used for different tasks. The most common type of attachment for an angle grinder is a grinding disc. These discs come in a variety of sizes and can be used to grind down metal, concrete, or even stone.

Other common attachments for an angle grinder include abrasive discs, wire brushes, and polishing pads. However, there is a surprising amount of attachment that you can use to transform your angle grinder and transform it into the exact tool you need.

Wire brushes

Wire brushes for angle grinders are versatile angle grinder attachments that can be used for a variety of applications. They are commonly used to remove rust, paint, and debris from metal surfaces. You can thus use them for preparing surfaces for welding, painting, and more.

Knotted wire wheel brush

A knotted wire wheel is composed of loops of steel wires. If you’re working on a particularly stubborn patch of rust or old paint, this kind of wire brush is your best bet. It’s also suitable for cleaning up narrow surfaces, making it one of the best choices for cleaning up pipes and preparing them for welding and painting.

Knotted wire cup brush

Like the knotted wire wheel brush, the knotted wire cup brush is best used for removing material from surfaces. However, this wire brush is more suited for larger metal surfaces. You can also choose from a range of wire thicknesses depending on what you need the brush for. Thicker wires provide a coarse finish, while thinner wires provide a smoother finish.

Crimped wire cup brush

If you’re not dealing with thick or stubborn rust or paint, a crimped wire brush will probably serve you well. It’s best for light-duty to medium-duty surface preparation jobs. Thus, if you have to remove years’ worth of rust or paint, this attachment isn’t the one you should use. However, for thinner layers of material, this type of wire brushes for angle grinders is more suitable.

Sanding discs

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to sand down wood, metal, or plastic, then you need a good angle grinder and some quality sanding discs. Sanding discs come in a variety of sizes, grits, and materials, so you’ll have a variety of options to choose from. Just make sure to choose the right size angle grinder sanding disc for your angle grinder, as well as the right kind of disc for the job at hand.

Aluminum oxide sanding discs

There is a variety of sanding discs on the market, each designed for a specific purpose. Aluminum oxide sanding discs are versatile and reliable, which means that they’re widely used for a variety of projects. They’re suitable for use on wood and metal, and they’re made with a durable and long-lasting abrasive material.

You can use them for removing finishes, shaping wood, and preparing surfaces for staining or painting. Aluminum oxide sanding discs come in a variety of sizes and grits, so you can find the perfect one for your project.

Zirconia sanding discs

Zirconia sanding discs have a long lifespan and can be used on a variety of materials, making them a great choice for your next project. Additionally, zirconia is harder than aluminum oxide, making it ideal for tougher sanding jobs.

Another thing that works in a zirconia sanding disc’s favor is that it’s more heat-resistant. Because of this, it’s a good choice for use with power tools. You can set your angle grinder to higher speeds without having to worry as much about overheating. Thus, if you’re looking for an abrasive that can stand up to even the most challenging applications, a zirconia angle grinder sanding disc is a great choice.

Ceramic sanding discs

When it comes to sanding discs, there are many different options to choose from. Ceramic sanding discs are one option that can offer a lot of advantages. These discs are typically made from a strong and durable ceramic material, and they’re best suited for tougher jobs.

In addition, ceramic sanding discs can be less likely to clog than other types of discs. This can make them a good option for those who are working on projects that require a lot of sanding. They can work harder and faster than other kinds of sanding discs, and they can also last longer.

Flap sanding discs

While other sanding discs are used for removing material from surfaces, flap sanding discs can take you one step further. Not only are they used for surface preparation and cleaning, but they can also be used to shape metal.

These discs are composed of multiple overlapping abrasive flaps that allow you to make a metal surface conform to a shape you want. They’ll also leave a smooth finish, so you won’t have to spend much more time or effort on polishing or smoothening the surface.

Buffing and polishing attachments

Buffing and polishing angle grinder attachments are important accessories in the world of auto detailing and various other fields. In general, buffing pads are used to apply a polishing compound to the paint surface, while polishing wheels are used to remove excess materials and create a high-gloss finish.

There are a few different types of buffing pads and polishing wheels available on the market today. Each type has its own set of advantages and disadvantages that should be considered before making a purchase.

Fabric polishing and buffing pads

If you’re looking for an easy way to polish up metal surfaces, you can’t go wrong with a fabric polishing and buffing pad for your angle grinder. These pads are designed to fit onto the end of your angle grinder, and they can be made of different kinds of fabric. Plus, they’re relatively inexpensive and easy to use, so they’re a great option for anyone who wants to add a little extra polish to their projects.

When it comes to finishing off a project with an angle grinder, buffing pads are a must. They help to create a smooth, even finish on your workpiece. However, it’s important to make sure that the buffing pad you’re using is suitable for the material you are working with. Additionally, make sure to choose a pad that’s the appropriate size for your angle grinder.

Fiber buffing wheels

A fiber buffing wheel for angle grinder models is similar to its fabric counterparts, but it’s made of cellular fiber material. Thus, unlike fabric buffing wheels, fiber buffing wheels are abrasive and can also remove grease from a surface. You can use these buffing wheels to clean up dirty surfaces before polishing, painting, or finishing them. They’re typically the first buffing pad you’ll use before the other ones.

Felt polishing wheels

Felt has medium hardness and is typically made of wool. For the most part, felt polishing wheels are quite versatile and can be used with different kinds of buffing compounds. Because these polishing wheels aren’t too specialized, you’ll be able to use them on a variety of surfaces. You can also use them on hard-to-reach spots to make sure that your workpiece is 100% prepped and finished.

Surface preparation attachments

Angle grinders are a versatile tool that can be used for a variety of surface preparation tasks. Common applications include removing paint, rust, or other debris from a surface, as well as smoothing or shaping edges. Additionally, angle grinders can be used to create a smooth finish on a variety of materials, including metal, plastic, and wood.

In addition, angle grinders can be used to quickly remove weld spatter and scale from steel surfaces. When using an angle grinder for surface preparation, it is important to select the correct abrasive disc and to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for safe operation.

Non-woven abrasive wheels

Non-woven abrasive wheels are made of a combination of materials, including synthetic materials and natural fabrics, that are bound by resin adhesives. These wheels work faster than older types of abrasive attachments, while also being more affordable.

In general, you should use a non-woven abrasive wheel if you want to remove paint or coating without damaging or scratching the surface underneath. If you want something that can remove more material, however, you can choose a non-woven abrasive wheel with a tighter weave.

Poly stripping discs

With poly stripping discs, you’ll be able to remove paint and corrosion from a wide variety of materials, including metal, plastic, and wood. These discs are made of spun fiber material and can be used for surface preparation, grinding, and polishing. It’s also built for longevity and can withstand heavy-duty use.

Additionally, these discs work fast. They can remove material more quickly than many other kinds of angle grinder attachments, but they typically don’t produce as much dust or noise.

Author Profile

Fagjun Santos is a content writer by day, recipe GIF enthusiast by night. When she’s not watching other people make food, she covers the good, the bad, and the technical in industrial equipment and various professional tools. Formerly a newbie at all things pertaining to HVAC, surveying, construction, and more, she can now tell a caliper from an angle finder.

Angle Grinder Attachments for Wood (Uses FAQ)

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Long gone are the days when you would have to mindlessly chisel away at a piece of wood to accomplish a beautiful sculpture. Now, you have access to angle grinders, a wood maker’s paradise. Angle grinders come with a variety of attachments that allow you a high level of modification in your work.

They are perfect for when you want your wooden pieces to be intricate with a minute design. Not to mention, while you are working on an industry-grade chunk of wood bigger than yourself, angle grinder attachments for wood will prove invaluable for you.

Let’s learn about some of the most important attachments for wood here.

Angle Grinder Attachments for Woodworking

Whether in the woods or the hoods, you can never go wrong by learning about the 11 types of angle grinder attachments we will be talking about today:

Attachment for Wood Cutting: Saw Blade

A good start is a battle half won. Of course, you would want to cut your wood into one or more decent-sized blocks before you start working on them. Saw blades will help you cut through your woods like a knife gliding through a Saran wrap.

Sounds lovely, but this practice comes with a disclaimer. Angle grinder manufacturers discourage attaching saw blades to your angle grinders because they pose a significant amount of risk. If you choose to attach a saw blade to your angle grinder, make sure that you are taking necessary safety precautions.

Shop angle grinder saw blade available at:

Attachments for Sanding and Grinding Wood: Abrasive Flap or Sanding Disc

Abrasive flap discs, also known simply as sanding discs, give a smooth finishing to your work. There are a few things that you need to keep in mind while using an abrasive flap disc;

You must be mindful of the angle you are applying your grinder at. If you are reckless about the surface you are doing your work on, your flap disc can break, or it can damage your wood.

angle, grinder, attachments, wood, uses

You have to use guards if your flap discs come with them. Not using guards is common malpractice. It is actually instructed in the manual that comes with the box, but who reads manuals anyway, right?

Shop angle grinder sanding disc available at:

Attachments for Wood Carving and Shaving: Abrasive Cutting Disc and Carving Wheels

Now that you have a shining piece of wood, you might want to carve it if you have a specific blueprint in your mind. Or maybe even shave it to give it a detailed appearance.

Abrasive cutting discs will help you achieve that. These are cutting discs made with several abrasive agents like aluminum oxide, silicon, zirconium, etc. You are going to choose the disc and the abrasion agent depending on how deep you are going to carve your wood.

Carving wheels have a similar function. But let me warn you about the potential dangers beforehand since using cutting wheels on wood is not an ideal situation. Firstly, wood is combustible, and using a high-power carving wheel might pose fire hazards.

Also, abrasive discs are more suitable for metal, having them on wood is a bit daring. Because woods do not offer the resistance as metals do, brace yourself for specks of wood flying in your direction.

Shop angle grinder carving wheels available at:

Attachment for Surface Preparation: Non-woven Abrasive Wheels

Non-woven abrasive wheels are a compact blob of synthetic fiber held together by abrasive agents. These wheels are used for the final touch on your surface that will render a neat polish.

Non-woven abrasive wheels are non-conductive, making them a safer alternative to any other instrument that will conduct electricity. You can also use them for cleaning, polishing, de-fuzzing, and scouring your wood.

The combustibility of wood will not play as a disadvantage here since the produced heat diffuses through the meshwork of the nonwoven product.

Shop angle grinder non-woven abrasive wheels available at:

Wood Saw Attachment

There is an abundance of metal cutting tools such as saws, chainsaws, etc., on the internet and in marketplaces. So, I can see where you might be having a problem finding the perfect wood saw Fflaattachment for your grinder.

The truth is, using instruments with high RPMs on wood can get a bit wild. And without experience, it is just another Final Destination movie waiting to unfold.

If you have used an angle grinder for quite a few years now and have enough faith in your motor abilities, a wood saw attachment would be: not great, not terrible.

Whether you will be using a hacksaw, a jigsaw, or a traditional handsaw as an attachment depends on the kind of geometric configuration you desire in your work, such as a plain cut, a curved cut, concave cut, etc.

Shop angle grinder saw attachments available at:

Wood Chisel Attachment

A regular wood chisel attachment is capable of scraping glue, paint, or rusted rubbish off of your wood. But a higher quality chisel can cut corners and motifs off the wood.

Smaller bladed chisels are required for artistic purposes like sculpting, designing architecture models, or making wooden cutleries. Chisel is an artist’s favorite tool, almost as if it is the paintbrush of a wood person.

Shop angle grinder wood chisel attachments available at:

Drill Chuck Attachment

A drill chuck is a spindle-operated tool that holds a drill or other similar cutting machinery. Now, there are two types of drill chucks: keyed or keyless. Keyed chucks use a key to tighten the drill into the mouth of the jawed machine. This has the disadvantage of frequent slip-ups, but this offers you additional torque.

On the other hand, a keyless chuck requires you to tighten the drill manually. Keyless chucks are more commonly used for their portability and ease of use. However, experts suggest that keyed chucks are more precise in terms of accuracy.

Shop angle grinder drill chuck attachments available at:

Wood Belt Sander Attachment

Sander is a requisite tool for you if you work with wood. Apart from sanding wood, a sander is used for slicing a piece down to a calculated thickness or breadth. It can also be used to remove splinters and specks from wood.

A sander can either be battery-operated cordless or an electric corded machine. Although a cordless sander is easier to handle, it has a battery life of thirty minutes. This is an insufficient time if you intend to be sanding for longer periods.

However, electric sanders will offer you more power, and there is no time limit! Just sand away.

Shop angle grinder belt sander attachments available at:

Buffing, Padding, and Polishing Wheels Attachments

Buffing wheels are used to add a nontextured finishing to the contour of your wood piece. It is similar to the ones used for metal buffing, but this conforms to the reduced durability of wood and ensures to preserve the details.

Buffing wheels add a layer of carnauba wax. It is a natural wax that will render your wood waterproof since wood is one of those substances that tend to gather moisture by the imbibition process.

Another generous feature of the buffing wheel is that it is designed to reach the creases and curves of convex surfaces that other tools usually cannot reach. Choose your buffing wheel depending on the size of your convex bowls, plates, cups, etc.

Now, if you add the padding to it, which is made of natural wood itself, it is used to polish wooden jewelry and other materials such as metals (Yeah, your attachment for wood can polish metal too!).

Polishing wheels are made of felt or cotton. This is usually the last step of finessing your finishing touch, and it will leave a mirror shine on your wood.

The thickness of your polishing tool will depend on the material used and the number of layers made from them. Thicker bristles allow you to accomplish a more versatile look on your work.

Remember to clean your polishing wheels regularly because this is one of those tools that accumulate dust, asbestos, and wood dust.

Shop angle grinder polishing wheels available at:

Diamond Cutting Blades Attachments

Diamond cutting blades are used to cut through materials with high power and accuracy – providing you with explicit edges. These cutting blades are made of a hard steel core that has fine ground diamonds embellished on it.

As expensive as diamond sounds, this is the hardest element on earth. A diamond cutting blade uses that to its advantage and makes for a great attachment that saves time and hard work.

Disclaimer: Diamond cutting blades were primarily made for metals. As we discussed before, how detrimental it is to use such attachments for wood, make sure that you are being safe.

Also, keep in mind that your blades should work in the direction of splinters. It is almost impossible to find a piece of wood that does not have a splinter or a grain. So, keep in mind that if you direct your blade in the direction opposite to that of the splinter, the wood will snag.

Shop angle grinder diamond cutting blades available at:

Wire Brush Attachments

The last attachment on the list is named wire brush. It has a flexible wire that twists and bends to polish, deburr and remove contaminants from wood.

You have to choose the right wire brush while considering a few things like the function and precision required. Wire brushes can be made of several materials, including brass, carbon, stainless steel, etc.

A few types of wire brushes are scratch brush, channel scratch brush, welder brush, toothbrush type, utility type, and many more. To avoid confusion, use a wire brush selection guide that will tell you exactly what kind of wire brush you will need for your exact job.

Shop angle grinder wire brushes available at:

Frequently Asked Questions

We are one step ahead of you. Here is an article we have written on how to choose an angle grinder that suits your wood carving needs

An angle grinder is used in wood carving, wood sanding, and giving a piece of wood its shape. This is the only tool that can do multiple tasks without any hassle.

However, to put it bluntly, no woodworking task requires an angle grinder. You can always use a manual tool.

But if you are Smart enough, you will use an angle grinder for all your woodworking tasks to save time, energy, and money.

An angle grinder is a versatile tool that allows you to do sanding, shaping, and carving.

You get a whole box worth of tools as attachments. You just install those attachments to your angle grinder, and voila, you have everything you need and more.

Angle grinder allows all these attachments to work at their optimum power because the grinder is an industry-grade instrument with a high RPM. – a great investment for your woodworking journey.

Yes, you can, but you shouldn’t. Metal cutting blades are meant for resistant and durable materials like iron, bronze, copper, etc. If you cut wood with a metal cutting blade, it may pose harm to your safety. Not only this practice creates a fire hazard, but there is also a risk of splinters flying about.

Yes, absolutely. A standardized angle grinder is meant to accommodate all kinds of discs there is.

Yes, not all sizes fit all angle grinders. So, you have to consider the size of the disc before trying to mount them on the arbor.

Final Words

It is grind time, homie! Now that you know all about the most commonly used angle grinder attachments for wood, you have a whole new world to explore that includes you, yourself, and wood.

If you enjoyed this article, then see our article on the 14 essential table saw accessories for woodworking

Enjoy our articles? You can follow us on for more woodworking power tools tips and tricks.

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Angle grinder sander attachment


Angle Grinder Belt Sander Attachment For Pipe :-

A belt sander is a sander used in shaping and finishing wood, metal, and other materials. It consists of an electric motor that turns a pair of drums on which a continuous loop of sanding paper is mounted. There are different types of belt sanders. Belt sanders may be handheld and moved over the material, or stationary (fixed) type, where the material is moved to the sanding belt. Stationary belt sanders are sometimes mounted on a workbench.

Angle grinder belt sander attachment can have a very aggressive action on wood, metal, and other materials. Belt sanders are normally used only for the beginning stages of the sanding process or used to rapidly remove material from the objects. Sometimes they are also used for removing paints or finishes from wood and metal. Fitted with fine-grit sandpaper, an Angle grinder belt sander attachment can be used to achieve a completely smooth surface of the objects.

A belt sander is generally used for the flat surface smooth surface of the workpiece. For round shape, we need a different belt sander, called a belt sander for pipe or tube. In this post, I show you how to make a belt sander attachment for pipe powered by an angle grinder. It is very difficult to produce good results on round objects with an angle grinder with a sanding disc, for this, a flexible belt sander is needed. A belt that’s flexible and can contour to the shape of the object to be sanded is ideal.

This is an excellent belt sander to sand pipe or tubing and a round-shaped workpiece to eliminate welded seams to make it look as though it was a solid piece of material. Generally, straight tubing doesn’t conform to what we want to build, or we need to join two ends together to make extra length – necessitating a tool such as this. The faster the speed of the sanding belt, the smoother the finish of the workpiece. A 50 grit belt on this tool can achieve a finish similar to the 120 grit hand sanding process simply by sanding it with a great amount of speed.

Parts Used :

Metal plate 8.5 inch4 inch (6mm thickness)

Metal plate 6 inch2.5 inch (8mm thickness)

2 nos. 12mm half threaded bolts with nuts (70mm length)

8mm half threaded allenky bolt with locknut (25mm length)

Sanding belt 30mm width and 600mm length

5mm countersunk allenky bolt for spring support (15mm length)

How to make :

I have used two metal plates to make this belt sander attachment. One is the 8mm thick plate and the other is a 6mm thick plate. The 8mm plate will be supported with the angle grinder.

Cut the 8mm plate in the shape like, as shown in the image. Drill a 45mm hole with the 45mm hole saw cutter. All drills and thread sizes are shown in the image.

Also cut the 6mm thick plate in the shape like, as shown in the image.

I have used 44 Bearings of 6201 numbers. In this, the four bearings are used as one roller. So, to make two rollers, I have used 8 bearings.

To attach these bearings with a 6mm plate I have used 2 nos. 12mm half threaded bolts with nuts (70mm length).

I have used the wooden piece to make the main roller. The diameter of the main roller is 45mm.

Drill a hole and attach the 10mm long nut (32mm length) in this hole with the Araldite glue. This roller will be attached to the angle grinder spindle, to give power to the sanding belt.

I have painted the metal parts with black color.

Assemble all the parts of the belt sander. Attach handle and spring also.

Attach this assemble part with the angle grinder using screws, as shown in the image.

At the last, attach the sanding belt. Now, the belt sander attachment is ready to use. It’s perfectly worked.

Fixed Disc Sander From Angle Grinder

I always found myself needing a bench mounted disc of belt sander for rounding edges of wood mainly when building wooden toys for my son. Being a tight ass meant that shelling out NZ180 for a unit like the one in the photo was not an option especially since i could get a bottom end angle grinder for only NZ15 a snading disc attachment for NZ8

Mount it to a box, add a solid work surface and TADA a 10000rpm wood destroyer.

Step 1: Find a Suitable Box

First find or make a wooden box. at least one side and the top must be pretty square to each other. I used an old nail box.

Step 2: Procure Cheap Angle Grinder

Buy the cheapest angle grinder you can find, this one cost me NZ15 for 10,000rpm and a 12 month warranty. 100mm is the smallest available but you could get bigger.

Also get a disc sanding attachment, either the sticky back type or the velcro type will work.

Discard the angle grinder handle and safety guard, then attach the sanding disc to the spindle.

Step 3: Mount the Grinder to the Box. Cut Slot

Mounting the angle grinder and cutting the top slot was actually a series of steps but they all happened at once to get the arrangement right so i will document them all here.

I first positioned the grinder with the centreline of the spindle about 30mm from the top of the box. This meant having it on an angle.

Next i screwed the 2 square pieces of timber as shown to the side of the box to locate the grinder.

Then i drilled a series of holes on each side of the grinder body and used 6mm cable ties to secure it down. Cable tie ends are inside the box.

I didnt really trust the cable ties at first so i decided to make a steel bracket to fix the existing handle mount hole to the wooden block. as shown in the second photo. This may actually be overkill but hey it is going at 10,000rpm.

Cutting the slot in the top of the box was actually done before the sanding disc was attached. just make sure it is big enough to allow at least 10mm clearance around the disc. you dont want it touching anything.

Step 4: Attach a Solid Work Surface

You need a solid piece of wood for the work surface, make sure one edge is straight and square (not chamfered at the top)

Position the square edge about 1mm away from the angle grinder disc face.

I could have just nailed it down but that would make changing the grinder discs impossible without removing the grinder.

My solution to this was to hinge the work surface and hold it down with a sliding bolt latch. the photos show the installation pretty well. Main thing to note is that the wood doesnt touch the sanding disc but is as close as practical to the disc.

Step 5: Add a Base and Fire It Up!

If you box doesnt have a base like mine didnt, add one since it will help keep all the sanding dust inside.

Also add another cable tie to hold the power cord if required, it will depend on your grinder orientation.

I dont know how powerful proper disc sanders are but this one howls.

Ii is best to use the side of the disc that is travelling downwards to sand with as the dust goes into the box, if you use the other side it goes up into the air.

A safety guard could be added if required also.

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Комментарии и мнения владельцев

Build wooden toys for your son? Very loving father, must support. In addition, the use of angle grinders this idea is very good.

Thank you, that I was looking for such a structure.

genius! I need this in my garage.ThanksGreg

Going to do this with a old grinder wire a dimmer switch inline a foot pedal and drill some small holes in the box where the dust will fall through and be sucked in by a vacuum

Attach an inline RPM controller and wire tie the control knob to the base, then you can easily attach a 7 1/2″ disc and boom! you have full size sander. It cut down on the torque ’cause it’ not geared down, but still very effective.

Great Idea! Now I can use my angle grinder for yet another purpose. I currently have it set up as a cut off saw. It works great, come to think of it I may have only used my grinder twice as an actual grinder.Good Job.https://www.instructables.com/ID/E6LE48HQPDEQHOA8TK/#post comment

What if you attach a vacuumcleaner to the box? Then you have less dust in the working area. And saves time cleaning it. To reduce the noice it’s also possible to mount a beam slantingly to the sides of the box. So that the sides of the box won’t function as a soundboard and won’t resonate. Note that the beams are off centre and are unequal placed. That will prevent resonation.

angle, grinder, attachments, wood, uses

Cable-ties, fantastic. Surely cable-ties are one of the better inventions of the 20th century?

This thing must rip stock down! I have seen discs you can put on a tablesaw, or radial arm saw to attach discs to. RPM and noise might be a bit saner with those. Maybe one could use a beat old sawblade to the same effect? Grind the teeth off it or something. Me, I actually have a stationary disc sander. Don’t use it very much but I got one. My belt sander is a rig I should post that someday. The belt sander I use a lot. One of the angle grinders I have I have dedicated to belt sanding too, and I made a fixture to clamp that down. A piece of wood that bolts to the handle thread. Throw that in a vise and you’re good to go!

Could you maybe fill the box with something to help cut down on the noise? Maybe some foam panels along the inner walls. That hollow box must make a great resonating chamber!

Good idea. it surely howls. I just did a decibel test and it make 98dB at about where your head is when using it. definitely earmuff material.

Thanks trebuchet03. its my first instructable.

I vote this. at the very least, honorable mention worthy for the project of the month contest.

The Best Orbital Power Sanders, Cordless and Corded

These tools let you quickly strip weathered exterior paint, remove a finish, smooth a tabletop, and do basic metal prep.

By Roy Berendsohn Published: Mar 27, 2023

Orbital sanders are primarily wood-smoothing tools. But they do a lot more than just that and in the process become a versatile workshop staple. Use these power tools to strip paint or sand the gloss off a painted surface to prepare it for the next coat. The tool strips rust, cleans up flea market finds, and acts as a power file to take the sharp edge off a freshly-cut piece of metal. Put a 40-grit disc on the tool and it acts as a grinder; apply a 400-grit disc and it’s a polisher.

We’re constantly using orbital sanders at work and at home, testing them, evaluating them, and getting feedback from users. Read on for our advice on buying these use-tested tools, our reviews, and tips on how to maintain a sander.

The Best Power Sanders

Know Your Sander

Most of our test sanders are random-orbit types with a round pad measuring 5 or 6 inches across. Random orbit means the pad spins and oscillates in, just that, a random orbital motion. This reduces the chances of leaving swirl marks on the surface and allows you to move the sander both with and across the grain. We also tested an orbital sander with a square pad (also called a quarter-sheet sander). These tools sand with a consistent orbital motion and work more slowly than random-orbit types. But the square pad allows them to sand into corners.

Another difference between these is that the random-orbit variety take sandpaper discs that attach to their bases with hooks and loops. Orbital sanders use peel-and-stick sandpaper that comes precut or that you cut to fit, or you attach an abrasive sheet to the tool with the clamps on the sander’s sides. Both types of sanders have a bag that will capture most of the dust the tool produces. For more thorough dust control, use a sander that has a round exhaust port to facilitate hooking up to a hose on a shop vacuum.

angle, grinder, attachments, wood, uses

Battery-Powered Versus Corded

We evaluated both battery-powered sanders (called cordless) and corded models. At the outset of the test, we wondered if the battery would cause a cordless sander to be too heavy. But when we weighed the two types of tools, we found they weigh about the same, once you factor in the cord’s heft. Select a cordless sander if you spend a lot of time on job sites and already have lots of cordless tool work going on. Cordless tools are handy and more mobile when you’re climbing a ladder or a scaffold because you don’t have to contend with the weight of a cord hanging down.

Select a corded tool if you spend long sanding sessions at a bench, especially if you can plug the sander directly into an outlet without an extension cord. In these cases, cord drag isn’t an issue and there isn’t a pressing need for mobility. A good example of this is when you sand a piece of furniture. You just need to work your way down through each grit, slowly perfecting the sanded surface.

How We Test

To put these tools through the paces, we drew rectangles on pieces of oak and maple, plywood, and softwood and sanded each rectangle with an 80-grit disc. Next, we emptied the dust container or bag to check the volume of dust the sander collected. We also carefully wiped down the work surface to get a sense of how much dust the sander missed. As we worked, we assessed the sander’s vibration and whether it produced an unpleasant gyroscopic effect when we lifted it off the test board. We examined the sanded surface under bright light to see whether the tools left swirl marks.

Any of the sanders in this test will serve a homeowner. Professional-grade models such as the sanders from Makita, DeWALT, Bosch, and Metabo-HPT vibrate less and are more durable. For homeowner-duty power tools that give nearly a professional level of performance, see the reviews of the Ryobi sanders and the Craftsman. Also note that a less expensive tool equipped with a high-quality abrasive sheet will prove more than adequate for most uses around the house.

Scroll down to see our reviews, and keep scrolling right to the end to read a brief tutorial on how to use a sander, and how to protect yourself from the sanding dust that you’ll inevitably create.