How to Choose the Best Electric Sander is your guide to picking out the perfect sander for your woodworking needs. There are a few things to look for, and I’ll show you everything you need to know to make the right choice. Enjoy.
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Electric Sanders for Woodworking
No matter what type of woodworking you do, you are more than likely going to need some sort of an electric sander as part of your tool kit. Being such a common tool, there are many different models to choose from.
This is where being new at woodworking can get a little confusing. There is a large marketing element to woodworking, because the manufacturers know that we like to buy tools. This is a good thing and a bad thing.
The good thing about it is that there are a lot of options. The bad thing about it… is that there are a lot of options. However, when it comes to picking out the perfect electric sander for your shop, you just need to think of a few things first.
Coming up, I’ll show you the questions that you need to ask yourself, and a few things that you can do to prepare yourself for the right purchase. After all, you and this sander are going to be really good friends for a really long time.
What Types of Projects do You Make
The first question to consider is what projects do you make. A better way of asking it would also be what projects do you plan on making. The answers to these questions will help guide you in the right direction.
For example, if you’re doing a lot of general woodworking and making medium to large projects, then a palm sander or an orbital sander is a good choice. However, if you’re doing a very large projects, sometimes they don’t keep up as well.
For most woodworkers making normal/general woodworking projects, a palm sander is the perfect electric sander in this case. It’s the right size, removes material aggressively enough but not too aggressively, and is inexpensive.
See Also: The Ultimate Guide to Sandpaper Grits
How Often do You Sand
Another good question to think about is how often do you actually sand. If the answer is not very often, then you don’t necessarily have to look at all the comfort features that are available if you think you’re going to be sanding all the time.
Some projects just lend them selves to more sanding than others. Some also almost completely delete sanding from any part of the process. For example, rustic furniture looks better rough than sanded.
For the average user, you need a sander that’s comfortable, easy to hold, good enough to tackle your routine standing tasks. Some extra comforts are nice, but they’re not completely necessary for the regular user.
See Also: 7 Helpful Wood Sanding Machines
Sanders With Vacuums and Filters
If you are wondering what those comforts are that I am referring to in the previous section, here they come. There are some sanders that are very high-end, and they come with their own suction and vacuums.
These are a little wonders, and not only is the tool itself amazing but it also sucks away all the dust and provides additional pressure as you sand. This increases the efficiency of the tool, and keeps your environment really clean.
If you have a sensitivity to airborne dust, one of these vacuum enhanced palm sanders is definitely the way to go. It will reduce the overwhelming majority of airborne dust, and keep your shop air a lot cleaner.
Since these are higher end tools, they tend to vibrate a lot less, and perform a lot better than standard models. If you’re willing to spend the money, those comforts are sometimes nice to have.
Palm Sanders and Orbitals
For most woodworkers, the best electric sander that you can buy is a palm sander, which basically means it fits in one hand. These come in a number of different models, and they function in a fairly similar way.
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Most palm sander pads oscillate, and some also spin at the same time. This is what causes the abrasive paper to wear away the surface of the wood, and it’s way more efficient than trying to do the same thing by hand, without power.
These are great for doing rough sanding as well as finish sanding. You can prepare a project really well, and in a fraction of the time it would take to do the process with a block. That’s the advantage to using power.
If you’re looking for a good electric sander, I’ve had this Dewalt in my shop for probably over 20 years now and it’s been excellent. The tool is comfortable, and one of the big advantages is that I can use any type of sandpaper I choose.
That may not seem really important just yet, but I’ll tell you why it is in the next section.
See Also: 12 Awesome Uses for 80 Grit Sandpaper
Sandpaper Can Get Expensive
The more unique and fancy the sander you buy, the more unique and fancy and expensive the sandpaper for that machine is going to be. This is just part of the way the system works, and the manufactures know you have the money.
If you want to break yourself out of that cycle, you need to find a sander that takes sandpaper that you can find anywhere. Get yourself away from sanders that require special paper in certain sizes, or they need to have certain backings.
These sanders will always require special sandpaper that cost significantly more than the standard sheets of paper. You will always end up spending a lot of money, or you’ll end up sanding way longer than you should with used that paper to save money.
Both of these cycles are awful, so if you are thinking about buying a palm sander at this point, the best electric sander you can buy is one that takes a quarter sheet of sandpaper, because you can buy full sheets and make the quarter sheets yourself.
See Also: Are You Paying Too Much For Sandpaper?
Electric Sander Tips and Tricks
Picking the best electric sander is largely a matter of knowing what’s available in the market, and picking something that’ll make you happy. Either way you go, these tips will help you pick the best sander you can possibly find.
- When you get your sander, hold it in your hand and make sure that it feels comfortable. If it’s too big or too small, you may not be able to hold it as long as you’ll need to.
- Pick a name brand that you trust. It’s usually only an extra few dollars to get a nice tool, and since it’s going to be with you for a very long time, it’s worth the price difference.
- Look for a sander that takes quarter sheets of sandpaper, and it will save you a lot of money over the years.
- Practice with your sander when you get it into the shop, and get a good idea of what it can do before you start sanding your projects.
- Get used to using your sander, and it will become a natural extension of your body and help you finish your woodworking projects much more cleanly.
See Also: A Woodworking Notebook
Your Action Assignment
Now that you know how to pick the best electric sander, it’s time to put all of that information into motion and take action. Take a look at some of the sanders that I recommend on this page.
These are some of the best electric sanding machines that you can buy, and they will provide you very good service that beats the heck out of sanding by hand. Once you use an electric sander instead of sanding block, you’ll see the speed difference.
If you have any questions on picking out an electric sander for your shop, please post a question and I’ll be glad to answer them. Happy building.
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