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The different types of sanders have different uses. Picking the wrong tool will only lead to frustrations and you will not be able to get the desired results. Each of the different types comes with specific uses and it is only advisable to pick one that serves your specific needs. Through this guide, my plan is to help you understand each type of sander and see if it meets your criteria. You will familiarize on the way each type of sander works and as such, you will be in a position to make the right decision. By the end of this article, it should be easy to make a decision on the type of sander that you need to buy.
What to Consider Before Choosing a Sander?
Before getting too excited about your sander, you need to have criteria that will help you shop for the right tool. Most of us know that the main use of a sander is to finish on surfaces before staining, painting or just to create a natural finish. With the different models and types of sanders, there are some questions that you may need to answer, as this will serve as your guide. Here are some key considerations:
Type of Material
What type of material will be sanding? This is an imperative question so as to find the ideal sander. Most sanders are able to do the basic sanding tasks as long as you have the right sandpaper, however, it is important to check.
Shapes and Sizes of Material Being Sanded
There are different types of shapes and scopes of sanding task. As such, you need to be sure of the size of materials you will be sanding, as well as the shapes.
Surface Quality Levels
There are some models that will give you a fine quality finish, while other will have a rough finish. Determine if your project needs a smooth finish.
Future Replacement of Accessories and Parts
At one point or another, you will be forced to replace some parts and accessories. Consider which ones need to be replaced and their availability.
You also need to ask how much money you are willing to spend on a sanding tool. When making this consideration, the biggest task is to balance price and quality.
These are some of the essential considerations that you need to bear in mind when looking for the right sander. With this clarity, we can now look at the different types of sanders so that you can establish which one serves your interests in the best way.
Types of Sanders
Here are the main types of sanders that you will be choosing from:
A belt sander is an electric tool that uses a continuous abrasive paper, known as a sanding belt. The belt is wrapped around two drums, which are spun by a motor. This will move the sandpaper in one direction, continuously. If you are looking for aggressive sanding, then, this should be the sander to pick as it used coarse grit sanding papers.
The biggest advantage is that you will be able to remove stock quite fast and as such, it is ideal for large sanding tasks. You may also find sanding belts with the finer grit, for a smoother finish, however, this may not be the best sander for smooth sanding. The electric belt sanders are ideal for sanding wood, but they can also be used on plastic materials. The variable speed will give you the flexibility to use the tool in regards to the task at hand.
The orbital sander is also known as a half-sheet sander and it comes with a base that is able to move in tight circles, known as orbits. This is ideal for a finer finish as the movements will minimize scratches, but the rate of stock removal is not as fast. This can be used on flat and medium sized areas, especially when you need to smooth out rough areas like plaster or paint when you need to apply another coat.
This was quite popular in yesteryears, but they seem to have been overtaken by the random orbit sanders. However, they are still available on the market and would be an affordable solution for anyone that is looking for general sanding.
Random Orbital Sander
This has become one of the most popular sanding tools on the market as it comes with a dual action. This is why it is known as a dual action sander or an eccentric sander as it is easy to use and quite effective. This moves in orbits like the orbital sanders, but it also has a pad that spins around a spindle, simultaneously. At the end of using this sander, you will not have any swirls left behind as the grit will move in different paths on every orbit.
This is considered to be the bridge of the gap between the belt and orbital sanders. You will be able to remove stock fast and therefore you can use it over larger areas. This will also be done and leaves out a smooth finish. There is a wide range of abrasive papers that you can use with this sander. This is a versatile tool and can be used for different sanding applications, including sheet, steel and wood as well as plastic.
Orbital Palm Sanders and Detail Sanders
A palm sander is actually an orbital sander, with the only difference being that is has a smaller baseplate and it is compact, such that it can fit in your hand. The biggest advantage is that it is quite light and easy to control and even be used on vertical surfaces. If you have light duty jobs, then you can buy this type of sander, seeing that is quite affordable.
The detail sander, on the other hand, is similar to a palm sander. However, this has a triangular base place, with a pointed tip, like an iron box. You can use this to sand tight spaces and corners and get the best result. You will have amazing results and a smooth surface when using this sander.
The multi-tool sander is also known as a multi-cutter and it is small power toll that is quite versatile. This can be used for various tasks and it works through a rotating and attached the accessory. The tools are able to produce sanding and cutting movements and this can either be used as a cordless or a corded tool. When you have small and intricate jobs, this is the right sander to pick. You will be able to remove stock faster and the triangular pad makes it easier to access tight spaces.
If you need to get a tool for only sanding applications, then it is not advisable to buy the multi-cutter. This is an ideal tool for those with diverse tasks including cutting tasks. With the right accessories, you can actually use this tool for sanding, scraping and even cutting different materials like wood, concrete, grouting and metal.
How to Choose the Right Sander?
Now that you have a clear understanding of the different types of sanders, you need to understand that there are also different models. All models are not the same and some may have more features than others. Here are some factors to consider when picking a sander:
- Power Capacity
The power capacity will vary in different models of sanders. You need to understand the specific power that the tool you want to buy. The amount of power is determined by the motor and this is what will determine the type of tasks that you can undertake with your sander.
You will definitely want to invest in a model that is built to last. This is why you need to pay keen attention to the quality of materials used to make the sander. For those who need to use the sander frequently, you cannot afford to compromise on the issue of durability.
- Vibration Levels
Vibration can really affect the result that you will achieve at the end of the sanding process. When you have a tool with high vibration levels, this can cause fatigues and is quite uncomfortable. You should pick a model with very low vibration levels so as to enhance your safety and comfort.
- Dust Control
Without any doubt, all sanding tasks will generate a whole lot of dust, which can be dangerous and also creates a lot of mess. This means that you need to check the dust management system so that you can tell how well the dust control system is effective. This ensures that your work area is clean and you will also have visibility of your workpiece.
- Easy to Use
You do not want to end up with a sander that is too complicated and makes it difficult to use. Analyze the features that each tool has so that you pick one that has features that support ease of use.
I have shared a whole lot of information and I would want to sum it up for you. Here is a summary of the sanders:
- The belt sander is efficient for sanding large areas, which are uneven and is not keen on a smooth finish.
- The orbital sander works at a slower rate in removing stock, but it is ideal when you are looking for a smooth surface.
- The rapid orbital sander is a combination of the belt and orbital sanders. As such, you will remove stock fast and end up with a fine finish. This can be used for large jobs.
- The palm sander fits in your palm and will be ideal for small and light-duty jobs.
- The fine detail sander is also useful for small jobs and the triangular base makes it possible to sand tight spaces.
- The multi-tool sander is the best option if you have small sanding tasks and other applications like cutting.
This is a comprehensive guide and since I have explained about each type of sander, picking the right one should not be so difficult, after all. You need to consider your needs and also look at the other factors that I shared and you will definitely be in a better position to find the right tool. If you still have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment. Share this guide with others so that they can be able to choose the perfect sander, for their specific needs.