DIY projects are an integral part of owning a home. Furniture restoration is among the many tasks that you will need to carry out after every few years. However, did you know that furniture restoration isn’t possible without a high-quality sander? Understand that sanding needs to be done before furniture refinishing. Whether you are a beginner or professional DIY, sanding is never an easy task. You need the proper equipment to get a smooth and even finish.
This is why I have brought to you a comprehensive review of the best sanders for furniture refinishing. Due to the many options available in the market, it is always a huge plus knowing which sander to purchase for your specific needs.
Makita BO5030K 5" Random Orbit
Power Source Corded, 3.0 AMP motor, 12,000 OPM
2.3 AMP motor sands at 14,000 OPM
BLACK + DECKER Mouse Detail Sander
1.2 amp motor, 14,000 OPM
7 Best Sanders For Furniture Refinishing -Reviews
1. Makita BO5030k 5-INCH Random Orbit Sander
If you are looking for a sander that offers precision and accuracy, the Makita BO5030k 5-INCH Random Orbit Sander is an excellent choice. This impressive machine delivers fast and smooth performance when dealing with woodworking projects. It is a suitable option for both woodworkers and carpenters who need a reliable orbit sander.
What I love about this model is the incorporated pad control system with a 12,000 OPM, 1/8-inch random orbit action, and a sturdy 3 AMP motor. The sanding experience with this machine is smooth and faster thanks to the quick-change hook-and-loop feature.
The ergonomic rubberized grip of the Makita BO5030k 5-INCH Random Orbit Sander ensures you can work for longer hours with minimal fatigue. You will enjoy every moment working with this sander because you can complete large projects quickly and effectively.
Note that the Makita BO5030k 5-INCH Random Orbit Sander includes a pad dust collection system. It is, therefore, quite easy to maintain the cleanliness of your workshop. You will save a lot of time to clean up when you purchase this device. Note that the dust collection system features an extra-wide mouth that makes everything easier.
However, some clients have complained of a few problems after about a year of consistent use. A common problem with this machine is a stopped breaker. It is also quite difficult to control, especially when you are a beginner. You will need a little bit of practice before you get a handle on how to use this sander properly.
- Easy to operate
- Lightweight and compact design
- Ergonomic rubberized palm
- Powerful 3 AMP motor
- Difficult to control when compared to other orbital sanders
2. DEWALT DWE6411K Sheet Palm Sander
If you are looking for a high-performance sander at an affordable price, the DEWALT DWE6411K Sheet Palm Sander is an ideal choice. It features a powerful 2.3 AMP motor that gets you 14,000 OPM. You will certainly enjoy furniture refinishing when using this model. Note that the height of this machine is significantly reduced to ensure you get close to your work. You will get better control when you work closer to your project.
Note that the counterweight of this model is separated to reduce vibrations and offer you a smooth and even finish. What I love about this model, however, is the dust-port system. you can quickly connect a vacuum cleaner and get rid of all dust quickly and effectively.
When working on old furniture, you will realize that a lot of dust gets collected. Without a proper dust collection system, you will spend a lot of time cleaning after a project. Understand that the dust also affects air quality and could lead to health issues.
The DEWALT DWE6411K Sheet Palm Sander was designed for both professionals and beginners. It is an easy to use model that offers increased control. Note that you can quickly learn how to operate the machine and get a professional finish. The fact that the device has reduced vibrations ensures that woodworking projects are made easy and simple.
- Robust 2.3 AMP motor
- Efficient dust-port system
- Less vibrations
- Easy to use
- Lightweight and compact design
- You need to pay close attention to the dust bag to avoid making a huge mess
3. Bosch GSS20-40 Orbital Finishing Sander
The Bosch GSS20-40 Orbital Finishing Sander is an excellent choice when it comes to furniture restoration because of the aluminum sanding plate. Note that the plate will give you a smooth finish that will greatly impact the quality.
What I like about this sander is the included soft grip. You will quickly notice the reduced vibration when compared to similar models. The soft grip and reduced vibration give you more control for precision sanding. You will find it quite easy to use this powerful machine, even when you are a beginner.
The Bosch GSS20-40 Orbital Finishing Sander also comes with a dust extractor that collects almost everything. The included micro-filter canister features a screw-off cap that ensures you get an effective dust collection system.
The clamping and pad design of this sander is reliable and effective. Note that the system accepts several sanding sheets which saves you a lot of time. Unlike other models, you won’t need to change your sanding papers often.
Finally, the Bosch GSS20-40 Orbital Finishing Sander features a lightweight and compact design. You will find it easier to work for longer hours with minimal fatigue. Furniture refinishing takes a lot of time and a heavy model will make the work more difficult.
- Powerful 2.0 AMP motor
- Fewer vibrations give you more control
- An effective dust collection system
- Lightweight and durable design
- Has a lower OPM that other models in our list
4. Makita BO5041K Random Orbit Sander
If you are looking for the best sander for stripping furniture, the Makita BO5041K Random Orbit Sander is an ideal choice. It is a fantastic tool for both professional and commercial use. You will not go wrong with the 3 AMP motor that packs more than enough power.
This machine will do an excellent job of removing layers from your old furniture pieces. It is never a good idea to use chemicals for stripping old furniture. Most of the time, people end up damaging old furniture pieces. Your best solution is to use the Makita BO5041K Random Orbit Sander.
The variable speed of this sander ranges from 4,000 to 12,000 OPM. You get to quickly adjust the settings to suit whatever project you are working on at home. Note that the sander is designed from lightweight and compact material to ensure you get long-lasting services.
The low vibrations of the Makita BO5041K Random Orbit Sander offer a nice and smooth sanding action. You also get an extra foregrip that gives you better control to make work easier. Note that the 1/8-inch radius of the random orbital will give you smoother results with minimum swirl marks.
What I love about this sander is its quiet operation. When working at low speed, you will not hear a sound, which is impressive. You also get an effective dust collection system that works pretty well at high speeds. However, dust collection is relatively unsatisfactory at lower speeds. You can always connect your shop vac for a more efficient cleaning when working on large projects.
The Makita BO5041K Random Orbit Sander delivers heavy-duty services. You will enjoy working on woodworking projects with this sander. The good news is that you get a long-lasting device that delivers high-end services.
- Powerful 3 AMP motor
- Low vibrations increase comfort
- Lightweight and durable construction
- Very quiet operations
- Long handle ensures you can get to the hard-to-reach areas
- The shop vac adapter is not included during purchase
5. BLACK + DECKER Mouse Detail Sander(BDEMS600)
The BLACK + DECKER Mouse Detail Sander is an outstanding detail sander that delivers an amazing performance. The compact and lightweight design of this sander ensures you get long-lasting services. The machine also easily fits in tight spaces due to its small frame size, which makes it easy to work on woodworking projects.
The 3-position grip gives you more control which is vital when dealing with large projects. Note that you can efficiently use this sander for several applications around the home. You can use this sander in different positions.
What I love about the BLACK + DECKER Mouse Detail Sander is its effective dust collection system. Notice that it is small but quite efficient and easy to clean. You get to save a lot of time cleaning after you complete a project.
When purchasing this device, you get a detailed finger attachment and two sheet sandpapers. You can, therefore, start sanding immediately after purchase. If you are a beginner at woodworking, getting a device with several attachments is always a huge plus.
The BLACK + DECKER Mouse Detail Sander features a powerful 1.2 AMP motor that delivers an impressive 14,000 OPM. You can comfortably work on large and small projects with this sander. Note that having a versatile sander is always a huge plus when you are a regular DIYer.
- Easy to use design
- Compact and lightweight construction
- Unique shaped ergonomic grip for improved control
- God dust collection system
- You will need to replace sandpapers often
6. BOSCH ROS20VSK Palm Sander
The BOSCH ROS20VSK Palm Sander is an excellent choice for Individuals looking for a smooth finish during furniture refinishing. The pad dampening system eliminates any swirl marks on both contoured and flat surfaces. You will certainly enjoy working with this tool, especially when you are the type of person that needs a professional finish.
The hook and loop design save a lot of time when working on large projects. You get quick and easy attachment and detachment of sandpapers. Note that the sanding papers get to easily stick on the hand sander.
What I like about this machine, however, is the variable speed control. You get to match the speed of this sander with whatever project you are working with, in the workshop.
Note that you might need to use reduced speeds when working with old furniture to avoid any damages. Variable speed control also gets you versatility.The dust collection system of the BOSCH ROS20VSK Palm Sander is quite satisfactory. You get a micro-filter system that collects all particles up to ½- micron in diameter. Note that a good filter system ensures that the air quality in the workplace is not compromised.
When you purchase the BOSCH ROS20VSK Palm Sander, the kit contains a dust canister, dampening ring, hard carrying case, and vacuum adapter. You get all the necessary equipment you need for your first sanding project at home.
- An efficient dust collection system
- Suitable for large projects
- Lightweight and durable design
- Slightly expensive when compared to other models
7. Makita BO4556 Finishing Sander
The Makita BO4556 Finishing Sander is an excellent choice when you need to work on refinishing furniture. You get a powerful 2.0 Amp motor that gets you 14,000 OPM. Note that this sander can be used for various projects around the workshop or home.
The rubberized palm grip guarantees better control. The included ON/OFF button is a nice addition that helps you control your sander with one hand. Note that the rubber-sealed switch protects your tool and gives you long-lasting services.
What I love about the Makita BO4556 Finishing Sander is that it lets you work without having to worry about creating a mess. Your device will collect most of the dirt, thus leaving your working area clean and well-organized.
Finally, the design of the Makita BO4556 Finishing Sander is flawless. You will get to enjoy noise-free operations when working on large projects. It also has fewer vibrations, thus ensuring you get a smooth experience when using this sander.
- Powerful 2 AMP motor
- Quiet operations when working on large projects
- Compact and lightweight design
- A good dust collection system
- Only one-speed setting is available
Best Sanders for Furniture – buying guide
Before you start working on any furniture project at home, you need the right equipment for the job. Note that among the most essential things that you need is a high-quality sander. However, most people don’t know a lot about furniture sanding machines. In this next section, we will take a more comprehensive look at furniture sanders
What is a Furniture Sanding Machine?
A furniture sander is a machine that has a moving abrasive surface used for smoothing surfaces. Note that the abrasive surface is usually a disk, belt, or spindle. Using a furniture sanding machine ensures you get a smooth surface and a professional finish when painting.
Different Types of Sanders
When looking for a sander to suit your furniture refinishing project, you will need to choose among three main types: orbital sander, detail sander, and a random orbital sander. Let us take a look at each of these types to give you a better understanding of what you need.
With an orbital sander, you will immediately notice the rectangular or square base that rotates in small circles. Most models contain a clamp that holds onto the standard-size sanding paper. The good news is that you can easily cut the full sheets to suits the size you need for your sander.
Note that the orbital sanders are less aggressive when compared to other types of sanders. It is, therefore, easy to handle and use when you are a beginner. The vibration is also kept at a minimum, thus giving you more control.
When using an orbital sander, it is almost impossible to make costly mistakes. Most professionals will recommend the orbital sander when working with old pieces of furniture. Note that your old furniture can easily get destroyed when you use an aggressive sander.
If you want to produce the smoothest finish, then the orbital sanders are an excellent choice. Note that the less aggressive workings give you sufficient time to work on your project. You can take your time to ensure you get the surface just right.
Because the orbital sander is square-shaped, you can easily work on corners and edges. Getting to those hard-to-reach areas is made simple with this sander. You don’t need to worry about using your hands to manually sand down such places.
However, note that this sander might not be ideal for large projects with multiple layers of finish. Since it isn’t aggressive, you will spend a lot of time working on removing a single layer. You also need to ensure you work with the grain to avoid causing any damages.
Random Orbital Sanders
Commonly referred to as ROS, the random orbital sanders have a round surface used for sanding that moves in an eclipse. Note that this device needs specially-designed paper due to its unique round surface.
The good news is that this type of sander features a simple hook and loop system that holds the sanding papers in place. The bad news is that you won’t be able to cut regular sandpaper and use it with this device. Most people, therefore, find it quite expensive and time-consuming to purchase
However, with the random orbital sanders, you can remove thick layers of finish. Working on large projects is made simple and quick with this sander. You won’t need to repeat sanding over one area to completely remove several layers of finish.
Because the random orbital sanders move in a circle, you get to drive this device in any direction. You won’t have to worry about working with or against the grain. However, this can be a huge disadvantage when working with old or delicate furniture.
Note that the circular rotation might also cause a few drag marks that might impact the quality of the finish. You need to keep this machine under control at all times to avoid these marks. A good solution is to practice before you start the project.
If you are a beginner, you will need to practice a few times on scrap wood. This device isn’t ideal for corners and edges because it is round. You might need to sand manually to get a smooth and consistent finish on the edges and corners.
The detail sander is also known as the mouse sander. Right from the name, this type of sander is used for details. It is a suitable sander when your project includes a lot of nooks and crannies that need sanding. Some pieces of furniture have carvings that need sanding for a more professional and smoother finish.
The detail sander features a triangular piece of sanding paper. You cannot cut this piece for yourself and you will need to buy specially-designed sandpaper at the local warehouse. The good news is that it is quite affordable, even when on a budget.
The triangular shape of this sander ensures that you can easily get into those tiny crevices. Working with this sander is, therefore, comfortable since you get more control. You can complete a sanding project quickly without needing to physically sand those hard to reach areas.
However, note that the detail sander is less powerful than other types of sanders in the market. On the positive side, they are less expensive. You will get an affordable sander that can help you with furniture refinishing, which is a huge plus.
Which Type of Sander is Better for Furniture Refinishing?
The type of sander that you will need for furniture refinishing will come down to your personal preference. However, orbital sanders are a great choice because they get you more versatility. With the random orbital sanders, you can’t work effectively on corners and edges. The detail sanders, on the other hand, aren’t practical when dealing with large projects.
How To Choose the Best Sanders for Wood Furniture
1. Power and Vibration
The best sander for your furniture refinishing project is one that is powerful, but with reduced vibrations. However, you don’t need a lot of power unless you need to remove a lot of material from the furniture. It is also never a good idea to completely remove all layers, especially when dealing with old pieces of furniture.
Because sanding takes a lot of time, it is practical to get a device with fewer vibrations. Note that sanding projects take several hours. During this time, you need to be focused to get better control of your sander, and the vibrations don’t help. It is quite simple: the less vibration, the more control you have during the project.
When choosing the best sander, you have to consider speed. When looking through different sanders in the market, you will come across the OPM. Note that the OPM is a representation of the speed levels that you get with a particular machine.
The more OPM a device has, the faster it is. However, the best models are those that let you adjust the speeds. Understand that you will need different speeds for different projects. For example, certain wood surfaces will need slow speeds to avoid any damages.
A palm sander, right from the name, needs to fit perfectly in your palm. Before making a purchase, ensure that the sander can fit comfortably in your hand. You don’t want a bulky design that will have your hand feeling fatigued after a couple of minutes.
Note that a sander that doesn’t fit your hand will make the task more difficult. Most people end up returning these devices because they are impractical. Sometimes, the sander might turn out to be too small. Ensure you check the dimensions before purchasing a sander for your next project.
Safety is an important consideration when working with any type of tool. Before purchasing a sander, ensure that it includes all the necessary safety features. Some components that you need to look out for include pad brakes, a dust collection system, and ergonomic handles.
Most people tend to assume that sanders are mall tools and not much protection is needed. However, accidents are unavoidable and you need to take the necessary safety precautions. Having safety boots on, for example, will come in handy when a piece of furniture falls on your feet.
5. Dust Collector
A lot of sawdust gets produced while sanding, especially if you are dealing with old pieces of furniture. Which makes it essential to get a sander with a good dust collection system. Most models in the market will let you connect the sander to a vacuum cleaner to prevent a huge mess in the working area.
All sanders in the market feature a dust collection bag. In case your model doesn’t have one, then you will need to purchase one. Note that a good dust collection unit also ensures that you spend a shorter period on cleanup after a project.
When purchasing any piece of equipment, you have to consider your budget. You don’t want an expensive model that will need you to break the bank. Note that the point is to get a high-quality model that fits within your price range.
Understand that the cheap models are usually constructed from low-quality material. You will, therefore, need to carry out replacements after every few months. Look around for a high-quality model that is made from durable material and fits within your budget.
Although I have reviewed the top models in the market, my pick has to be the Makita BO5030k 5-INCH Random Orbit Sander. This impressive sander features a powerful 3 AMP motor, an ergonomic rubberized grip, and a state-of-the-art dust collection system. Understand you get a high-end model at an affordable price, thus ensuring you get value for your money.
Finding the best sanders for furniture refinishing is not going to be an easy task. Ensure you look through customer reviews to get a clearer picture of the product before making a purchase. The experience of other clients will let you know whether a particular sander is worth the price tag.
Which is the Best Way to Sand Pieces of Furniture?
The condition of your furniture will dictate the answer to this question. However, before you start the project, the first step is to clean and dry the entire surface. You then have to decide whether it is necessary to sand the bare wood. Note that sanding has to be done if you are thinking about re-staining the piece of furniture.
Start with coarse-grit sandpaper to remove the previous finish. Increase the grit by about 50% and continue sanding to get a smooth and even finish. Note that increasing the frit size between the finish coats will help you get a super-smooth finish.
However, if you want to paint the furniture, sand lightly with a medium-coarse sanding paper. You can then use the appropriate primer or paint for your piece of furniture.
Is a sheet sander better than an orbital sander?
What most people don’t realize is that an orbital sander is the same as a sheet sander. The random orbital sheet sanders are slightly different, however, from the orbital sanders. For one, the RO sanders feature a round base while the orbital sanders have a rectangular base.
Random orbital sanders are also quite aggressive when compared to the sheet sanders. For this reason, the RO sanders remove more material and are better suited for projects with many layers. However, you will need a sheet sander to give you a consistent and smooth finish after using the RO sanders.
What type of sandpaper do I use for refinishing furniture?
Use fine and medium grade sandpaper for refinishing furniture. Understand that coarse-grit papers will damage the wood finish. Popular medium grits used for furniture refinishing include the 120 and 150 options. Ensure you exercise a lot of caution when refinishing old pieces of furniture. You don’t want to end up damaging your antiques.
Should I strip or sand furniture?
Stripping, according to experts, is safer and faster than sanding. You should always consider stripping before you start sanding. However, with old furniture stripping can cause irreversible damage. Always sand down the old pieces of furniture and antiques.
Should I and against or with the grain?
When sanding wood, it is important that you sand with and not against the grain. Note that sanding against the grain may damage your furniture. Ensure that you exercise a lot of caution when sanding to avoid causing irreversible damage.