15 Types of Wood Sander with Pictures (For Every Project)

Last Updated on August 28, 2022 by Barry Gray

When choosing a sander, you need to determine the type of projects you typically work on. Know the size of the items you work with and compare prices. You will also need to know how much space you have available because sanders can be huge. 

Handheld sanders tend to be easier to use, and you have more control. Read this article to determine what type of sander you need. 

Sanding wood can be a tedious process. However, it is necessary to get the project completed. You want to get a sander that suits the project you are working on. You must know what each type of sander does and how to use it. 

The following are all the different types of wood sanders and their functions:

File Sander (Hand and Electric)

using file sander for metal

A file sander has a slender sandpaper belt that extends outwards. It is used for making surfaces and corners smooth. It gets to places that are not accessible with more significant types of sanders. It can be employed to get between timbers of chairs and take care of rusting on rails. 

A file sander also works well for detailed auto body repairs or smoothing smaller areas. It is excellent for grinding metal edges and rusted bolts or nuts. It is easy to use and flexible. 

Belt Sander (Handheld)

using handheld belt sander

A belt sander is a great multi-purpose tool. It has a rotating belt, and it is commonly used for sanding rough surfaces or leveling surfaces. It requires being operated with two hands. One hand uses the index finger to operate, and the other is placed on the forward handle. 

A belt sander has a lot of power, and it can sand coarse grits. It is fantastic for removing wood. Woodworkers and carpenters use it for labeling tabletops and dressers, etc. This tool will ultimately save you a lot of time to finish your project.

Hand Sander 

using hand sander

A hand sander has a handgrip and a flat surface that can keep you from straining your hands and wrists. It is the most valuable finishing tool. Hand sanders can be electric or drill operated, and they can also be used manually. 

A hand sander is ideal for making surfaces smooth and varnished. They are great for sanding edges and curved surfaces both horizontally and vertically.

Strip Sander

using strip sander

With a strip sander, you can sand complicated internal cut-outs on all kinds of projects. 

You can also use a strip sander to sharpen tools such as:

  • Chisels
  • Scissors
  • Knives
  • Lawn or garden tools
  • Metal snips

A strip sander is used for shaping and finishing wood. It has a hard surface instead of a blade.

Orbital Sander and Disc Sander

using disc sander

You use a disc sander to shape wood. It contains a round sanding disc attached to a circular piece to shape wood pieces. A disc sander is commonly used for the following:

  • Straight cuts
  • Sharp corner cuts
  • Sanding curves
  • Smoothing end grain
  • Fine-tuned finishes
disc sander use

The disc sander allows you to work quickly and efficiently, covering larger areas like sanding edges and curves. They can also sharpen tools and blades. 

Drum Sander 

sanding drum

The objective of the drum sander is to accomplish a large quantity of sanding projects that can be achieved quickly and cleanly. You can use it to sand wood and plastics. You can arrange the drum sander attachments on a power drill that does the sanding. 

The drum sander is much faster than other types of sanders. It is adept at sanding wood floors and sanding more significant pieces of wood completely flat.  

Palm Sander

palm sander

The palm sander fits into the palm of your hand. It has a weak motor compared to other power sanders. However, it will take care of small to medium jobs. It is also a dream for paint removal and polishing wood pieces. 

If you are not going to paint the wood after you shape it, a palm sander is ideal. It is also great for polishing work. However, they are not suitable for heavy-duty sanding. 

Oscillating Spindle Sander

An oscillating spindle sander has a vertical spindle, and you can use it to sand the edges of boards. It contains a small tabletop and sanding drum. It is excellent for sanding curved cuts made on a band saw. You can also use it for sanding long edges of straight cuts.  

The oscillating spindle sander comes in different sizes, and you can get a benchtop model or a drum. It can also make sloped or beveled edges. 

Belt Sander (Standup)

benchtop belt sanders

This belt sander looks like a handheld file sander, except it sits on a stand. You can lower and raise the sandpaper belt to suit the angle you want. It is used for the edges of the wood and a smooth finish. 

Keeping one hand on the machine and the other on the wood while working can be tricky; however, a belt sander stand solves the problem.  

Bench Sander

bench sander

A bench sander is a stationary bench-mounted machine. The construction of it varies depending on the project. 

Bench sanders are faster than handheld tools. A good bench sander will include the following:

  • Disc sander
  • Spindle sander
  • Belt sander
  • Sharpening tool

Bench sanders can fall into a few different categories of type. These include:

  • Disc sander
  • Oscillating spindle sander
  • Drum sander
  • Belt sander

A bench sander is ideal for sanding smaller workpieces and sanding them quickly. It provides a smooth finish and a straight edge. 

Floor Sander 

floor sander

A floor sander takes off the top layer on a piece of material. You can perform this action on one of the most extensive surfaces imaginable: the floor. The machine is rather heavy. It stays in steady contact between the sandpaper and the surface. 

The belt that holds the sandpaper down moves rather quickly, and the speed and weight combined produce the most impact in the least amount of time.  They can handle large and small boards. 

Floor Drum Sander

floor drum sander

A floor drum sander looks like a vacuum cleaner made for heavy sanding of solid wood flooring. It cuts through wood and varnish, producing a brand-new finish.

The floor drum sander only moves forward or backward in a straight line, and you cannot operate the machine while turning or changing direction. A flooring drum sander is typically rented due to its large size and cost to purchase. 

Edging Sander

edging sander

An edging sander is like a drum sander, except it is used for areas that a drum sander cannot reach, such as edges and stairs. It is an electronic piece of equipment in which there are two kinds. One is handheld, and the other is a belt sander. 

The handheld edge sander is portable and easy to use. It is an expert wood polisher, as it takes care of uneven surfaces. It has a continuous belt of sandpaper spread among two metal drums. 


sanding wood with sandpaper

It may seem silly to mention sandpaper, but do not dismiss it.  It is a powerful tool in its own right. You can get sandpaper to different levels of roughness, which is referred to as grit. You use it by hand, and power sanding is quick and effective. 

You can get rid of surface marks and level and shape the wood. You can also use it to prepare surfaces for painting. 

Bow Sander

sanding with bow sander

A bow sander is an excellent tool for sanding anything with a curvy shape or constructed surface. It works much faster than sanding a sponge, and you can even make one yourself. 

A bow sander features a wooden frame that has the appearance of an archery bow, and it has a curved edge. A flat strip of sandpaper operates as a replacement blade. It is a tool that does not require electric power. 


If you are getting a sander, consider the type of project you are working on. It would be best if you also considered the price. Sanders can be expensive, especially the bigger ones. When you visit the hardware store, this information can help you decide. 

Photo of author

Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.

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