If you’re beginning a project that’ll involve woodworking, it’s important that you have all necessary tools to complete the job.
This entails cutting tools such as saws, nails, and saw blades. But to get those finishing touches to your wood requires sanding, something that you’ll quickly grow tired of if doing it by hand.
You don’t want to find yourself working on a piece of furniture and later realize that sanding is needed at the last minute.
Below are the best sanders for furniture refinishing, picked for handling, dust port quality/compatibility, and power.
Be sure to check out the Buyer’s Guide after the reviews, it’s filled with great tips that’ll help you zero in on the sanders that are best for you.
Table of Contents
- 5 Best Sanders For Furniture Refinishing
- 1. Makita BO5030K 5″ Random Orbit Sander – Best for Large Furniture Projects
- 2. BLACK+DECKER Mouse Detail Sander, Compact Detail (BDEMS600) – Best For Detail Work
- 3. DEWALT Palm Sander, 1/4 Sheet (DWE6411K) – Best For Ease of Handling
- 4. Bosch BDEMS600 Orbital Finishing Sander (1/4-Sheet) – Best For General Purpose Sanding
- 5. SKIL 7292-02 Palm Sander With Pressure Control – Best For Dust Pickup
- Buyer’s Guide
- Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)
5 Best Sanders For Furniture Refinishing
1. Makita BO5030K 5″ Random Orbit Sander – Best for Large Furniture Projects
The Makita BO5030K has a lot to offer, both to professionals and hobbyists. First off, it’s very comfortable to hold.
When you grab it for the first time, you’ll immediately notice how firm it is in the hand.
This goes for the entire time that you spend sanding. There’s no fatigue, thanks in part to the excellent grip.
The dust bag is also nice. You’ll have minimal dust to pick up when you’re done-less of a mess for you to worry about getting when afterward.
In fact, most will experience no dust at all. This is especially true if you end up using the company’s dust bag.
However, this is something that you’ll likely end up doing anyway since alternatives that’ll find with the sander are difficult to find. Although not proprietary in this regard, it’s highly recommended that you stick to the Makita’s own dust port.
If that isn’t a problem, you’ll find that the BO5030K is a remarkable sander that alleviates some of the major issues that are almost commonplace with other similar sanders.
The noise level it produces is low, and won’t disturb your next door neighbors when it’s running. Overall, the BO5030K is highly recommended for all.
- Comfortable to hold for an extended period
- Dust bag collects ALL dust, no residue from leaks left in the work area
- Not a noise pollutant; noise level stays at a comfortable level
- Finding a dust port that can fit could be a hassle
2. BLACK+DECKER Mouse Detail Sander, Compact Detail (BDEMS600) – Best For Detail Work
The Black and Decker Mouse Detail Sander carries many of the same useful features that are seen in the previously reviewed sander.
In its product description, it looks much heavier than it feels. When you’re ready to work with it, take note of how the exterior body doesn’t seem to attract dust.
This is important, especially for those that like to work with sanders that won’t accumulate dust all over.
You can sand in those tight spaces and you might have had trouble with doing by hand, or with other sanders. The iron-shaped tip performs a good job at this.
The total weight of the product is 2.4 pounds, and a 1.2 amp motor that works well with soft highly abrasive sander paper. It does go through the paper pretty quickly, so be sure to have a good supply on hand prior to using the Mouse Detail Sander.
- Dust doesn’t stick to the machine, making it easy to clean after the work is finished
- Capable of sanding in tight corners and other small spaces
- Lightweight built that’s easy to hold without hand exhaustion
- Sandpaper insert pieces don’t last long & an abundant supply is required of the velcro sandpaper pieces
3. DEWALT Palm Sander, 1/4 Sheet (DWE6411K) – Best For Ease of Handling
Looking at it for the first time, you’ll notice that the Dewalt Palm Sander has a nice carrying case included with the machine itself.
Dewalt is known for their accessories provided with their products, something that isn’t seen very often with sander in the first place. You can hook up your sandpaper easily here.
Make sure that you cut it well, and nothing will come off as you work. The build is definitely made for a rough environment, and it shows.
Working on a construction site or a setting that’s partially outdoors, you’ll appreciate how it doesn’t break and dent.
If you’re all for durability in your sandpaper, place this product high on your list. You will experience a bit of dust seeping out of the machine.
Furthermore, slightly gritty sandpaper that’s higher than 80 might not work well with this machine.
It’s not the complete fault of the sandpaper, mind you-yet rather the amp level of the sander itself. 120 volts at 2.3 amps is good.
But it is not great to use here unless you don’t mind spending quite a while going over your mistakes with a finer paper.
- Attaching sandpaper pad to the machine is easy to do, so long as they’re cut well
- Vibration is kept to a minimum
- Holds up well in a heavy-duty environment; no susceptible to easy damages
- Leaves lots of dust lying around after the job is finished
- Sandpaper grit that’s higher than 80 might not work well due to the power/wattage constraints
4. Bosch BDEMS600 Orbital Finishing Sander (1/4-Sheet) – Best For General Purpose Sanding
The Bosch BDEMS600 is another orbital sander with a dust collector that never pours out if the sander is handled too poorly.
Using stick on paper? This is easy to attach, and even better for normal sandpaper.
The on/off switch is conveniently located directly in front of the handle, so all you must do is push it slightly when you’re ready to work, or almost finished.
Shakiness is not here at all. It doesn’t vibrate harshly although the handle might be a bit comfortable for some to hold after a while, especially if the hands sweat quickly.
- Turn on and off quickly, thanks to the well placed standby switch
- Maintains excellent stability and a low vibration
- Handles well with most stick on and sandpaper, regardless of grit rating
- The handle is a bit slippery, especially for sweaty palms
5. SKIL 7292-02 Palm Sander With Pressure Control – Best For Dust Pickup
The final product is the Skil 7292-02, a strong sander with great dust collection capabilities and even better control. When you’re sanding, pay attention to how the dust level stays clear.
Of course, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t be using face protection for your eyes and mount, but the air around your work area should remain at an acceptable level for you to focus on the task at hand.
When you move it, the dust sucks into the dust compartment fast. But where this machine really shines is how well it moves with paper that’s sanding a wood surface without the annoying marks.
You may find yourself putting little effort into straightening out the rough patches on your furniture.
Yet it’s not a big deal, so read the instructions of the product prior to using when it arrives at your door.
- Doesn’t fling dust into the air when sanding
- A majority of the dust won’t leave the machine, with or without the the company’s sandpaper
- Leaves no marks and tracks; recommended for fine sanding work
- Requires a bit of pressure when held down to sand in an efficient manner
This section provides all that you need to know about sanders, and will allow you to get a clearer picture of which of the five shown earlier are better for you.
How To Choose The Best Sander
Find out what kind of wood you’re primarily going to be working with before you begin. Some woods are denser than others, and might require a specific sandpaper for sander featured on the list.
Will your sanding cover a large area or fine details? How large is your working area?
When building new furniture, it might be suitable for you to have more than one type of sander, more so if you’re a professional or need to detail.
Check out the wattage and amps to get a strong sander, choose the highest possible when fine sandpaper is going to be used.
You can get away with a smaller amp if paper with a low grit is anticipated to be used. remember, the lower the grit, the more abrasive the paper will be.
In any case, it’s suggested that you acquire grit in varied strength, just to have around in case one doesn’t work as good as you thought it would.
A sander’s power is typically gauged by its wattage, or amps. Most models are corded and contain long plugs that will reach the entirety of an average-sized room.
Motors are generally between the 1.2 and 3.0 amps. Of course, the higher the number, the more powerful your motor will work.
However, keep in mind that 3.0 amps aren’t suitable for everyone. If you anticipate sanding on a small scale, such as one piece of furniture over a sporadic period, small would probably suffice.
But for those that plan on assembling multiple pieces of furniture at home or on the job, more power is highly suggested.
If you were to read the reviews of a large number of sanders, you would quickly discover that vibration is a recurring criticism.
But not all sanders have this problem; there are brands that have done wonder to mitigate the annoying shaking.
It’s done through a suspension technique that minimizes pressure traveling to the handle during sanding.
As a result, vibrations are greatly reduced. Vibration control is best for people with sensitive hands, especially those working with variable speed.
If your sander is uncomfortable for you to hold, then it’s only a matter of time before you it’s tossed.
To avoid this, check to see how well it holds. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to go about this at 100% success if your only view of the sander is through photos.
Still, you could see what others have stated about your brand of-interest. You could also check the size, and shape of the sander.
People with small hands would do better with one that’s smaller in scale.
Most mid-level sanders produced today are built to last for many years without breaking.
Like most power tools, the exteriors usually consist of a hard plastic that will stay in one piece when dropped from a small height.
But if durability is a top concern for you, consider looking for a sander that has its own carrying case. Soft or hard will do, so long as you’re careful with how you store it.
Some sanders have their own dust collection bins. Others may require you to buy them separately.
Check to see whether or not the sander that you’re interested in is proprietary, or capable of being equipped to bins that aren’t produced by the same company.
And don’t forget about its suction power. Sanders that are higher in amps tend to perform better at picking up sawdust.
There are variable speed sanders, and those that are fixed to one speed setting. Whether or not you would need variable speed depends mostly on your preferences.
Some jobs may require that you sand sections of wood more vigorously than others, to which variable speed would be beneficial. But if not, be sure to have multiple grit levels of sandpaper on hand.
Safety should be your utmost priority with any power tool that you use.
As for the sanders themselves, check to see if one that has caught your attention has an easy-to-reach off switch.
Most of them are directly in front of the handle and can be pressed without using your other hand.
Different Types of Sanders
Here are the primary types of Sanders. Each type detailed is shown in the reviews and will allow you to see which is best geared for your intended job.
Able to cover large surface areas, orbital sanders are the most popular sanding power tools, and for good reason.
You can sand down wood of varied density, and at a fast rate. It moves in a circular motion, so you’ll have to adjust accordingly to avoid patterns showing up in the wood as you work.
Orbitals also do a phenomenal job of keeping your working area clean, with a nice mechanism that picks up most dust without spreading it on the wood.
When comfort is your primary concern, go with a palm sander, the name gives it away, since they won’t require that you hold the sander down with too much force in order for things to sand out.
A lot of models aren’t as strong as orbitals, but do maintain enough amps to keep the dust collected.
And like the DEWALT Palm Sander, they’re also great for keeping the vibration levels low.
If you have sensitive hands and want a sander for small-scale furniture projects, they’re a good alternative to orbitals.
At first glance, one might think that a detail sander was some high-tech ironing board.
Most models maintain a similar shape to one, and for good reason. The tip at the end helps the board reach into small crevices that other orbiters simply wouldn’t be able to reach.
If the furniture that you’re building contains designs or curved shapes, this is definitely the sander you’ll want around.
The Black and Decker Mouse sander fits this description, and carries a lot of positives over the way that it smooths out the intricate details of wood.
If you’re contemplating this but know that you’ll need a general-purpose sander at some point during your work.
A random orbital sander is a lot like the basic orbital, but lowers the need for sanding areas again due to tracks.
Instead of spinning in an ordinary circle, the piston moves in a way that prevents it from having the same rotation during movement.
As a result, you can move quicker with a random orbiter under some circumstances.
And for this reason, they’re recommended for professionals and others that are serious about the furniture that they’re building.
Random orbiters like the Makita BO5030K offer plenty of features and make them stack up against all other sander types shown in the list.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)
Is Using Sandpaper Manually Recommended?
In some circumstances, it might be. For example, maybe there’s a small spot that your detail sander cannot reach, or some awkward part of the furniture that requires you to smooth a part that’s at an unnatural angle or shape.
But in most cases, the sanders shown will be able to do a much better job than your arms can manage.
Will I need a Carrying Case?
If you’re working at a site and don’t have one, probably. The Dewalt brand shown above has a carrying case, which is big enough to hold more than the sander itself.
But most sanders are small in dimensions already; you might have something lying around your home to carry and/or store it in when you’re not using it or are in transport.
How to Prevent Damages?
Look for a carrying case, or ensure that the area it’s being stored in isn’t high in humidity.
Most sanders won’t rust, the exterior is usually plastic. But as a precaution, always cover it with something; never leave it exposed.
Are Sanders Easy to Learn how to Use?
Absolutely. Most brands contain booklets that’ll help you figure out ways to use the machines to maximum efficiency.
Some companies also upload video tutorials online, so check on the web for additional instruction.
Did you enjoy learning about the products listed? If so, which were your favorite? The best sanders for furniture refinishing should be specific to how you plan on using the tools.
Out of the five featured, there’s one in the list that has it all: great handling, good dust pickup, and solid controls.
This is the Makita BO5030K, which also comes with a tool case. Being that you’re getting the whole package with this, and the fact that random orbitals are a great all-purpose sander, it easily tops the list above the others.
However, this isn’t to say that the other sanders shouldn’t be ignored, particularly if there’s a specific task that needs to be done that falls within the range of the sander’s specifications.
But no matter which product you end up with, the sanders featured all maintain the ability to help you bring out the wood quality of your furniture.