Recently updated on May 5th, 2022
A lot of homeowners enjoy fixing or even building furniture on their own. You, too, maybe one of them. Furniture can be easily upgraded or restored with some simple DIY. Similarly, building some from scratch can be a relatively easy project. With the right tools, you can ensure your DIY project gets a professional finish. An easy way to ensure a polished finish is to sand the surface properly. An even sanding makes the tint and polish spread and absorb better. This means your project will achieve the best possible finish at the end. A sander can help make this job much simpler for you. It is particularly wise to invest in a sander if you take up DIY projects often. But, you may be finding it difficult to decide which sander is the best for your needs. This is why we have compiled this review for you. We present the best sanders for furniture in the market for you to pick from.
Types of Sanders for Refinishing Furniture
A detail sander is the smallest type of sander you can find. As the name suggests, it’s great for pieces with many details. You can cover small nooks, spindles, and edges with this. Also called palm sanders, they usually have a small, triangular base. The narrow front of the triangle makes it easier to reach difficult places with this. But, this is not the most suitable for large-scale projects.
Also Read: Best Sander for a Deck, Review and Buying Guide
Orbital sanders have a square or round base. This rotates or orbits at different speeds, which helps with sanding. Random orbital sanders have an added oscillating movement. One has to be careful while using orbital sanders. They leave unsightly marks on the wood if you press too hard while sanding. These circular marks are difficult to buff out once made. They might get more obvious when you polish or stain the wood. You can avoid this by moving over the surfaces quickly. Applying even and balanced pressure all over is very important when sanding.
Belt sanders are made of a long strip of sandpaper looped around two drums. These rotating drums move the sandpaper around for sanding. Belt sanders are easier to use than orbital sanders at times. They only need a balanced grip and even pressure. They are a lot more forgiving in case of mistakes. Belt sanders can also leave marks in the wood with too much pressure. But, it’s much easier to get out these marks. A belt sander may be for you if you find it challenging to control orbital sanders. It is most likely to give you a smooth and even finish in this case. But, this usually fits bigger projects a lot better.
7 best sander for furniture: Reviewed
Bosch ROS20VSC Palm Sander
This professionally built model is one of our top picks on this list. It is not the lightest in terms of weight. But, at 3.5 pounds, this is a sturdy machine that helps maintain an even weight. It is ergonomically built for a comfortable grip. It also comes with a pad dampening system that results in low vibrations. Both these features reduce the chances of gouging the wood. The ability to adjust the speed is a great added feature.
- Weight (pounds) – 3.5
- Dimensions (inches) – 9 x 5 x 6
- Amps/volts – 2.5
- Speed (FPM/OPM) – 7500-12000 OPM
- Grit – N/A
- Pad dampening system prevents gouging
- Seems a little slow even on the high-speed setting
SKIL Corded Detail Sander – SR250801
You would think the best part about this sander is its compact size, but it’s not! The dust-collection box on this device takes the cake. The handy collection box and the microfiltration system make cleaning the simplest task. This lightweight sander packs a punch even with its 1 Amp motor. You can easily reach corners with this detail sander. While it might not be for big projects, this is an excellent pick for working on smaller furniture.
- Weight (pounds) – 2.3
- Dimensions (inches) – 6.77 x 4.06 x 5.2
- Amps/volts – 1 amp
- Speed (FPM/OPM) – 12000 OPM
- Grit – N/A
- Comes with a microfiltration system for dust
- Extremely easy on hands and wrist
- A narrow head allows you to sand corners
- Highly affordable
- A small motor at 1 amp
- Correct sandpaper size is difficult to find
Also Read: Best Sander for Body Work: Review And Buying Guide
Black & Decker BDEMS600 Detail Sander
When they say “detail,” they mean it with this sander. If the narrow front wasn’t enough to get into all corners, they have an additional attachment. This detail attachment is thin and long and will quickly reach all nooks. The built-in dust-collecting system ensures you don’t have to spend hours cleaning up after sanding. It’s lightweight, durably built, and gives an excellent power output. The only thing that could have made this sander better is an adjustable speed.
- Weight (pounds) – 2.4
- Dimensions (inches) – 10.25 x 4.63 x 5.44
- Amps/volts – 1.2 amps
- Speed (FPM/OPM) – 16000 OPM
- Grit – Coarse
- Detail finger attachment for tight corners
- Lightweight and compact
- Can be used as a final step before polishing
- Comfortable grip
- Extra attachment feels a little wobbly
- Sandpaper size is not easy to find
Dewalt DWE6411K 1/4 Sheet Palm Grip Sander Kit
This smooth-running sander kit is easy on the furniture and your wrists. It provides great power for the given price point. The sander comes with a dustbag and a carrier to keep all bits in place. The sandpaper punch that comes with it is the best part of this sander. This allows you to cut and punch the sandpaper to fit the sander. This saves all the hunting you may have to do to find correctly sized papers for other sanders.
- Weight (pounds) – 2.3
- Dimensions (inches) – 7 x 6 x 10
- Amps/volts – 120 Volts
- Speed (FPM/OPM) – 14000 OPM
- Grit – N/A
- Highly efficient
- Comfortable to hold
- Easy to find sandpaper that fits
- Very affordable for a reliable brand
- Difficult to remove or reattach dust-bag
Jellas 5-Inch Random Orbital Sander OS280
With six adjustable speeds, the Jellas random orbital sander is highly efficient. However, some projects require a lower sanding speed for an even finish. With this sander, you can achieve it at a low rate of 8000 OPM. The sander itself comes with a wide range of sandpaper grits. This makes it great for all types of sanding jobs. In addition, the well-built handle comes with a rubber grip. This will make handling the device easier for you without worrying about fatigue.
- Weight (pounds) – 3.1
- Dimensions (inches) – 10.16 x 5.04 x 6.46
- Amps/volts – 2.5 amps
- Speed (FPM/OPM) – 8000-13000 OPM
- Grit – Multiple (60-320)
- Dust-collection bag for easy clean-up
- Adjustable speeds
- 6 different grits of sandpaper
- The dust bag can be difficult to remove and clean
Makita 9031 1-1/8″ x 21″ Belt Sander
This sander can be best praised for its versatile usage. You can use it not only on wood but also on metal and fiberglass. You can hook it up to a dust collector or a vacuum cleaner for easy clean-up. The 5 AMP motor is potent. The size of the sanding belt makes it easy to use on smaller furniture. You can even sand detailed pieces without any frustration. With the multi-position side handle, you can move the device around easily. It has a variable speed control which means you can use it for different projects. This sander is best suited for working on cabinets and shelving units. But, the well-known Makita brand comes with a heavy price tag. This sander may work beautifully with almost all projects. Sadly, it is not set in a price range that everyone can afford.
- Weight (pounds) – 4.6
- Dimensions (inches) – 5.89 x 2.63 x 1.39
- Amps/volts – 5 Amps
- Speed (FPM/OPM) – 656 FPM – 3280 FPM
- Grit – N/A
- Highly efficient
- Best for working on cabinets
- A thin belt reaches difficult corners easily
- Reliable brand
- Very expensive
- Heaviest sander on the list
- Not suitable for smaller projects
Also Read: Best sander for removing paint: review and buying guide
PORTER-CABLE 382 (Random Orbital Sander)
This final random orbital sander on the list is a good choice for an additional device. This sander works best to provide a finishing touch to the wood. While it is heavier, it doesn’t feel as sturdy. The dust collection system seems to be poorly attached and often falls off. But, reviews mention a few tricks on fixing this issue. Also, the on-off switch may get finicky with use. Overall, it performs above average and is great for small and lighter DIYs.
- Weight (pounds) – 3.6
- Dimensions (inches) – 8 x 9 x 7
- Amps/volts – 1.9 amps
- Speed (FPM/OPM) – 12000 OPM
- Grit – N/A
- Perfect for small to medium projects
- 3-years limited warranty and 1 year of free servicing
- One of the heavier sanders
Tips on Using Sander for Furniture
Sanding furniture may seem overwhelming if you do not know where to begin. Different layers of paints and stains might need different techniques to sand them off. Here are a few tips and tricks to make sanding easier for you –
With sanding furniture for refinishing, you may have to switch grits. If there is thick finishing that needs to be removed, you will need low grit sandpaper (60-100). But a grit of 100-150 usually works to remove most finishes. But, to smooth out the surface before re-painting it go over it once again, this time using a finer grit (150-200). If you want to stain the wood, a higher grit of 200+ is most suitable for the best finish. Changing sandpaper often gives a smoother result.
Sanding produces a lot of dust. This is a fact known to pretty much everyone. Constantly inhaling this can cause a lot of health issues, especially in the long run. It can cause irritation and itching in the eye. It can also cause you to cough and sneeze a lot. Over time you could develop a dust allergy with exposure. Most sanders are also noisy. This can damage your ears and hearing, too. Remember to keep your eyes, ears, nose, and mouth covered and protected during sanding.
With too many layers of paint and polish, you may need to apply more pressure. But, this is not always the best idea. Pressing down too hard with your sander can cause gouging. They make the wood look damaged and will require extra work to fix it. These unsightly marks get even more prominent with staining. To avoid this, apply even pressure all over. Work at a steady pace, and move along with the wood grain. Properly sanding down your furniture will take patience.
Cleaning up the dust after sanding wood can seem like a chore. A lot of sanders these days come with dust-collection bags. This will help reduce the clean-up task by a lot for you. But, you will need to keep a vacuum cleaner on hand. Before you begin to paint, stain, or polish the furniture, vacuum the area thoroughly. This will ensure that the dust does not stick to the pain and spoil your finish.
Buying Guide: What to look for in a sander for furniture?
As stated above, there are several types of sanders to choose from. Random orbital sanders are great for finishing off a sanding job. They give the smooth finish that you most likely desire. For multiple bigger projects, you can invest in more than one sander. This way, you can switch them around according to your needs. If you work mainly with tables and flat surfaces, orbital sanders can work well. It is difficult to get them into corners and smaller spaces. This is where a detail or palm sander comes in handy. They are smaller in size and have a narrow front end. This makes them great for smaller or detailed furniture refinishes.
Setting a budget is always an essential step before you buy anything. The same goes with a sander as well. This will help you understand your options without going overboard. The good news is that you can find a sander at various price points in the market. So, no matter your budget, you’re likely to find one that fits your needs. We hope to make this task easier with this list of reviews for you.
Sanders can receive power in one of three ways. One is cordless, the other is the corded type, and the last one is the pneumatic kind. Rechargeable batteries power cordless sanders. This is your best bet if you need to move about a lot without getting stuck in wires. But, most cordless sanders only run for 30-120 minutes, so you will have to recharge them in-between.
Sanders with cords are the most common type. You simply plug these into a power outlet and use them as any other power tool. It might restrict your movement as this is attached to a power source. But, you do not have to worry about them running out of juice often.
Lastly, the pneumatic sanders are powered by air compressors. These are the least common type of sanders for many reasons:
- You will have to buy the sander and the air compressor, which adds to the cost.
- Air compressors can be heavy and difficult to lug around.
- The more compact ones give out uneven pressure, which is not good for sanding.
- Air compressors can be very noisy, which can damage your ears.
Overall, this is the least efficient power type for sanders.
You may want the highest speed to get the job done quickly. But, sanders at high speed can be more damaging to your furniture. Different layers may also require different speeds of sanding. The best idea is to use a medium speed and a steady pace. This is least likely to gouge the surface and keep it looking smooth. But, finishing off with high grit sandpaper works at a higher speed. The best type of sanders is those that come with variable rates.
Yes, you can use orbital sanders on furniture. But, it works best with flat surfaces like tabletops. Also, orbital sanders are difficult to get into corners. You will need a detailed sander for that.
Orbital sanders are meant to give the best finish as they are finishing sanders. But with the right technique and sandpaper grit, any sander can do the job.
Fast may not always be the best when it comes to sanding. But, the quickest way to get the job done is to maintain an even balance and steady pace. This ensures fewer mistakes so you won’t have to go over gouges. Move swiftly without staying at one spot for too long.
Sanders come in various shapes and sizes. This means there is a sander out there that is made to fit your needs. Researching and finding the right sander for your project may seem confusing. That’s why we have come up with this extensive list to make the job easier for you. We hope you can find the sander that helps you finish your project with ease with this buying guide. Remember, a good sanding job takes patience. Balanced pressure and a steady pace will bring you the best results.